#1 in 2011: Celebrating Adoption

It is hard to believe that two years have passed since Liz and I were blessed with four children through adoption.  What God has in store is AMAZING!  Sharing our adoption journey is the top post of the year.  Thank you!


Celebrating Adoption

Two years ago today, Liz and I were standing court side in Radom, Poland.  Not basketball court side, but law and order court side.  We were hoping to adopt four siblings from Poland and gain the stamp of approval.

The female judge peered over her throne and spoke to us.  Through the words of a translator, we learned that we had officially become, “Mama and Dada.”  This is a story we love to tell:

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#4 in 2011: True goodbyes are the ones never said or explained.

One of my best friends moved away this past year.  We’re still serving the Lord together, it’s just that he was taking new position more focused on young adult ministry and leaving the full-time junior high realm behind.  These ten pointers to help with the transition made the fourth most popular post in 2011.


True goodbyes are the ones never said or explained.

One of my best buds in ministry in life moved away this week.

I couldn’t be happier for you, Steve.  I am happy for your family and for the congregation you are moving to serve.

My wife thought that I would cry (actual tears) when you officially moved away but I didn’t think so and here’s why: it’s not goodbye.  Yea, we’re not doing junior high ministry together anymore but I know we will still be in the trenches for the Lord!  There’s no front we’ve gotta maintain with each other and I know we will continue to encourage along the way.

Knowing that you are switching things up with your new gig by making the seamless transition from junior high ministry to young adult ministry, I thought I would give you some things you can expect with the new job.  So here we go:

10 Insights for Transitioning from Jr. High to Young Adult Ministry.

  1. Asking someone how much they’ve grown over the summer will not be a compliment.
  2. It will now be much harder for you to win a game of knock-out.
  3. “Would you rather poop a pine cone or a cucumber” is no longer a good small group question.

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#6 in 2011: Let Grace Take the Cake

Some junior high students were seen throwing cupcakes down the church hallway.  You would not believe the janitor’s response when he saw this happening.  This is the sixth most popular post in 2011.


Let Grace Take the Cake

I got word that some cupcakes were being throw up the hallways after CHAOS last week.  At first I thought, “I cannot believe our volunteers would do such a thing!”  Then I was told that it wasn’t the volunteers that were throwing cupcakes, it was a group of students.  I should have figured.

So I sought out a janitor and I said, “Hey, Mike!  I heard you saw some students throwing cupcakes down the hall, is that right?”

Mike almost interrupted me with his reply, “Ya know, Ben, there were some guys throwing cupcakes but it’s no big deal.  See, I know things like this will happen.  We just don’t want it to get out of hand.  These students just need to be loved on and when their behavior get out of line then we just gotta redirect it.  If things didn’t get a little rowdy at times I would wonder if you were even doing your job.”

Wow.  That was refreshing to hear.  And I couldn’t have said it better myself.

After that conversation, I walked away thinking two things:

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#8 in 2011: Judgment Prevents Love [Sermon Notes]

I enjoy taking Sermon Notes on a weekly basis, so it fits that at least one of them would make the Top Ten.  Here is a sermon about hitting the ‘pause button’ and rethinking how we judge.  This is the eighth most popular post from 2011.


Judgment Prevents Love [Sermon Notes]

“Don’t Judge”
Series: The Pause Button
Dave Bartlett
Orchard Hill Church

God has created humans with a pause button. Ability to stop, seek God, and decide something. Humans have this ability.

The Twix commercials have this “pause button” idea.

There is stimulus, then hit pause, then respond. Pray to respond with love, joy, courage, not judgment.
Sometimes the busyness “gets to me” but I need to pray and see the opportunity to share Christ.

7 habits of highly effective people by Covey.

  • Story of Franco in the Concentration Camp.
    • One freedom that could not be taken away was his decision to how he could respond to everything around him.
    • He got clear enough on what his freedoms were. And lives on them!
  • Between stimulus and response, God has given us the freedom to choose.

Memorial Day Weekend is a type of “pause button” weekend.
. We take some time to slow down and remember.

Kids grow up and graduate FAST. Like a click!

Push the pause button and withhold judgement.

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#9 in 2011: Tell Your Story to Your Kids

This was inspired by incidental learning as I received a “tell me more” response from my kids when I told them bits of my story.  Here is the ninth most popular post from 2011:


Tell Your Story to Your Kids

“Let me tell you about when I was going to second grade.”

That’s what I said to my second-grader-to be the other day while we were in the kitchen together.  Her eyebrows raised high as she said, “What did you do in second grade?”

At first, I was thrown off a bit by her excitement and the anticipation to hear my story.  Then, I remembered when my mom or dad would tell me stories about their childhood how much I enjoyed hearing those.

In that very moment, as I began to share about second grade, I made the mental note: Tell YOUR story to your kids.

“My second grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Dimitricopolous.  And she was a short lady.”

“Oh, my!  What was her name???  I can’t even say that,” she replied.

“Mrs. Dimitricopolous.  She was very nice.  She taught us Math, Reading, Spelling and World Studies.  I remember she would give us a state and we would have to name the capitol before we could leave school.”

“That must have been hard.  Who was your friend?”

I replied, “Well… my friends were Josh, and Karl, and Aaron.  I remember that we would always play sports together during recess.  We really liked soccer and football.”

She had a few more questions and then we got to talk about what she was excited about in second grade and that was the extent of the conversation.

It was so good.

Here are four reasons why I believe it is important to share your story with your kids:

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