Saturday, June 27, 2015

happy stories, june 2015

I've had a pretty great couple of weeks.
last week we had our annual elevation summer camp- and it went perfectly. great weather, great leaders, great students. it was the perfect mixture of fun and serious.

like every year, we spent a lot of time at the lake, we went to the outdoor movie theater, and we had out door teaching and music. we also had jiffy pop and smores over an open fire.

this year I taught on joseph, and talked about how God gave Joseph a dream for his life- and how Joseph got clues of God's dream when he was a teenager.
at the end of the camp, I urged the students to dream and consider what God's dream might be for them and their lives. I encouraged them to paint a picture of how God might use them in the future. the students sat quietly for about 15 minutes and painted their pictures. I walked around and peeked over some shoulders to see what they were making. some drew teachers, some drew doctors, and one it was a painting of my little green youth room, with tvs on the wall with the (678) logo on them- and at the front of the room was a man teaching the students- except it wasn't me- it was the grown up version of himself.
his dream was to be like me.
how cool is that?
when I was a teenager, my dream was to be just like my youth pastor, and by God's grace- that dream moves past me and forward to this student.

when I got home from camp, I got this cool father's day card and went to Malibu grill to get ribs and French fries! I think the painting is supposed to be of me- even though I don't like wearing ties.

jane got to go to her last VBS this year- and she didn't get sick this time! she loved all of the teaching and the music.

on the second to the last day, we got tickets to go to a giants day game, but she refused to leave town until VBS was over. she said, "VBS is more important than sports, DAD!" I told her that I agree 100%. The game was a blast, and it was so cool to go to the place that we have seen so many times on tv.

on the way home from the game I snapped this picture of a happy kid with her mermaid toy in her hand and with a cherry lollipop in her mouth-

the other day we were driving to dinner and we saw a news reporter outside of our house- jane was so excited and we stopped to meet her and to take a quick picture- she showed us her news van and told us how she films her stories:

back to VBS- I was delighted to watch my wife lead so many volunteers and be respected for her leadership abilities and not just for being the pastor's wife. I was also thrilled to see so many of my current and former students serving God and helping kids.
my favorite story of the week happened on the last day of VBS. I picked up Jane and took her to lunch. I asked her how everything went and she told me about the songs and the dramas and the games. and then she said, "in the big group someone asked the teacher how old David was when he became king." apparently the teacher walked around the room and asked students what they thought his age might have been when he was crowned king. Then Jane said, "then I raised my hand and said, 'well, I read in my adventure bible that he was 30 when he became king.'" apparently someone googled it and confirmed that jane had it right.
I almost wrecked the car.
I said, "wait. there was a question about the bible- and YOU answered it?!" I was beaming with pride. I high fived her. I said, "Jane- that is awesome! I'm so proud of that!" she said, "I'm feeling my cheeks get red!" MY KID read her bible and knew the answer to the bible question. to me- that is the coolest thing ever.
jane was telling me that she wants to serve at VBS next year and keep on serving until she is a senior citizen like miss carol. I told her that I plan on serving kids until I'm a senior like miss carol too.
what a great week!
God is love.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

found wisdom:: part 1

recently I was leading a bible club at a local middle school and I was handing out candy to some students. there were some youth workers there from another church- I said to one of them: "it really bugs me when I'm handing out candy to students and they grab at it like savages."

we were borrowing a classroom from a Christian teacher. she overheard what I said and said, "you know why that happens don't you?" in an instant I thought to myself, "no- I don't know why it happens- does she know?"

she said, "you have trained them to have that behavior by repeating it and rewarding them with candy. you need to manage your class through clear expectations. In the future I would say, 'I have some candy for students who are sitting and listening.'"

for a second I thought, "why are you listening in on my conversation? and what do you know about youth ministry?" but that was just a second. I quickly realized that this lady is a WEALTH of knowledge about how to manage rude students. I said, "that is genius. tell me more. I want to know everything that you know about classroom management!" she didn't give me anymore free advice.

a few weeks ago I took some students to the boardwalk, and we rented a big school bus. we were cruising down the road, and one of the leaders was talking about how she had just got her driver's license and how she was a little unsure about driving on the freeway and changing lanes. I started giving her some driving advice (because after all, I DID used to drive a little church bus!) but the bus driver chimed in, "you know what I do to change lanes?"

and again, I thought, "why is she listening in on my conversation?" but that lasted only a second. after that I thought, "what DOES she do to change lanes?! I'm curious!"

she said, "I listen to my blinker. when it has clicked ten times, then I feel like I have given the people behind me plenty of notice that I am about to change lanes. so after ten clicks, I just make my way over." then she said, "here is another tip: don't worry about the drivers behind you. its not your job to keep them happy. if they think that you're driving too slow, they can pass you- but don't drive faster just to make them happy." she had a few more bits of advice that I didn't really catch.

in both of those situations, I got some pretty good advice! I wasn't looking for it, but I found it and accepted it. people like to tell me what I'm doing wrong from time to time, but rarely do they share what has helped them, and what can help me. I think at some point, you get to an age when people don't think you want to be coached anymore- but when I am getting coached by someone who is clearly smarter than me, its refreshing.

there is a story in the book of genesis, when the king of Egypt had a dream that the land would have 7 good years followed by 7 bad years. he didn't know what to do with this information. but a Hebrew slave that had just been plucked out of prison said, "why don't you save up for 7 years to plan ahead for the 7 bad ones?" the king could have easily said, "what do you know? you're a slave that was just pulled out of prison!" but instead he said, "that's genius!" and put him in charge of the whole operation.

well if the king of Egypt can accept advice from an unlikely source- why can't we?
we need to be on the look out for wisdom. you never know where you may find it. a school teacher and a bus driver gave some advice to a youth pastor and now I'm better for it. where will you find wisdom? the book of proverbs says, “Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.”

there is a treasure chest of wisdom out there- you can find it in books and teachers and seminars- but you can also find it in everyday people and in everyday life- if you tune your ears to it.

God is love.

graduation stories

my kid is a home schooler-
every year during her promotion story she reads one of the books that she had written in the previous year- here are the books and their presentations:


jane's graduation story from rob walter on Vimeo.

first grade:

amanda pig and the lemonade stand from rob walter on Vimeo.

second grade:

amanda pig's slumber party from rob walter on Vimeo.

third grade:

3rd grade graduation story from rob walter on Vimeo.

and just last week- 4th grade-
4th grade graduation story from rob walter on Vimeo.

you can see how she gets taller each year, and how she grows in confidence as she reads. this last year she seemed a little self conscious- but what do you expect? she's a pre-teen now!

sigh. my little author!
being a dad is fun.