KWAT: Kids, Work, Acting, and Trees

So it doesn’t spell a real word.  Sue me 😛 (no, please don’t- who can afford an attorney these days?)  Anyway, it is time for my bimonthly update it would seem.  Let’s try bullet points since much has gone on- not so dull after all.

  • AWANA- ended several weeks ago.  First year of round 3 complete.  In my previous round, the Sparkies I had the first year were K-2.  This year they finished 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.  Hard to believe there was a round even before that, but I have been serving in kid’s ministry since fall ’98, and started that first AWANA round fall ’99.
  • My AWANA team had a *lot* of 3rd-graders.  Where are they now?  Why, many of them have shown up in my weekend classroom.  That’s right, 3rd grade through high school officially moved up at the beginning of this month.  Younger kids don’t move up until the end of summer.  I can hear the sing-song voices of the older kids: “I’m now in 4th grade, but you’re still in fir-irst.  Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!”
  • 5th graders moving out at the end of last month was as usual sad.  Some didn’t even bother showing up (not their fault I’m sure) which was even more sad because I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to them.  Especially since the week before I missed.
  • What?  I missed a week of church?  Blasphemy!  Okay, I have an excuse- I was in southern Illinois for my nephew’s graduation.  From college.  Yes, I am officially old…  I never want to repeat that weekend again, by the way.  We stayed at my nephew’s house (take that, h/motel industry with your doubled prices for graduation weekend!) which was in and of itself not a problem, but he had parties going on Friday and Saturday night.  Think me and parties, those that know me- college parties.  Kegs, beer pong, hip-hop (non)music…  Yeah, I appreciated going home at the end of it.  Oh yes, I watched my pastor’s sermon on the web, so I only missed the fellowship, not the message.
  • The boy’s TnT director had a mini-golf outing two weeks ago for kids who finished a book that year.  Does anyone recall the mini-golf outings my church experimented with a couple years ago for 4th and 5th grade small groups?  I’m sure I wrote up something as back then I was still making semi-regular posts here…  Yeah, it went like those.  28 book-finishers.  Two showed up.  Two.  Out of 28…  Sigh.  Still, for the few of us it was an enjoyable afternoon.
  • Two new employees for my company.  One person had moved to sales, so really just one new for all intents and purposes.  It does free me up a little for camp in August since I gave her two of my stores.  Yeah, August- two months later than prior years.  Well, six weeks anyway.  And minus a day too.  The church decided to change things for this summer to add two extra camp sessions, which actually gave them three because they are consolidating the two 4th and 5th grade weeks into just one for all campuses.  It is going to be crowded I think.  But it will still be fun.
  • The book store is closing at my church so I used the gift card that one of my AWANA kids gave me for Christmas (sweet of him) and added $20 of my own to get four books at 40% off.  Books by John MacArthur, Greg Laurie, David Jeremiah and John Piper- the former three who can be heard on Moody radio on a regular basis.  I also have a book from Erwin Lutzer and others books as well, so I really had better start reading them.  The only fiction book I am waiting to read is the final Wheel of Time book due out sometime this year.  No, scratch that.  It *was* due out in March of this year after having been pushed back.  Now it has been pushed back until next January.  Oh, well.  Plenty of time to read the more inspiring books of my collection first.
  • What of the musical I tried out for?  Didn’t make it.  Oh, well.  I wonder if God wants me to use my gifts elsewhere?  I sent an email to CYT Chicago, now apparently called Spotlight Youth  Theater to see if they had volunteer opportunities for non-parents.  Apparently not since they never bothered to email me back, even with a reply of “no.”
  • Today there was a short period of wind and a thunderstorm.  Sometime during it I heard a funny sound from outside.  I looked and saw that one of the trees in the front yard had assumed a mostly horizontal position.  Yikes!  I expected to see a scorch mark on what remained of the trunk, but apparently it was rotting and all it took was this wind storm to finish it off.  Praise God though- it fell on the ground and driveway and not on the house or one of the cars *on* the driveway.  In fact, there was at least a foot between the butt of my car and the nearest branch (which would have done little more than scratch the car- there was even greater distance from the thicker branches and trunk which could potentially have caused catastrophic damage.  Again, Praise God.

Saved the best for last, right?  Okay, maybe not, but at least it comes with pictures!  I have AWANA award ceremony pictures too, but I probably shouldn’t post them.


What can happen in just one weekend in the populous metropolitan Chicago area?  Check this photo out:

Harvest Crusade Chicago 2010
Harvest Crusade Chicago 2010

As if that first picture didn’t say enough, the second picture shows that people are still filing down the ramp in the center!  What is this guy on you may ask?  Well, two weekends ago (yeah, I’m a lazy poster…) was the Harvest crusade at the Allstate arena.  Greg Laurie, the pastor from Harvest Christian Fellowship in California (not to be confused with Chicago’s Harvest Bible Chapel though the two pastors are good friends) came to our area with a message of hope for everyone.  I attended Sunday night, which hosted a standing-room only crowd!  If I am not being clear, I apologize and think of Greg Laurie as today’s Billy Graham, bringing the message of salvation via crusades in various cities when he is not firing up his own congregation in California.  I have to say- well never mind what I have to say except that it was an awesome experience.  Yes, only God is awesome but since this is His work after all…

Why forget what I have to say?  Because they posted videos of all three nights on their website!  And each night is different.  I actually attended on the night he talked about following Christ even through the pain of loss.  A couple of years ago he lost his own adult son due to a tragic car accident so I would say he is well qualified as a follower and as one who has experience.  Two of the musicians that night also suffered loss- Steven Curtis Chapman who lost a young daughter the very same year as pastor Laurie’s loss, and Jeremy Camp who lost a wife due to cancer several years ago.  Their pain is evident in their songs following the deaths, and they show their faithfulness in the face of it like pastor Laurie by continuing to follow Christ and spread His good news.

Each night is different, so just because you watched one in no way means you’ve seen it all!  Okay, I will have to put my money where my mouth is and watch the other two nights myself.  Saturday I believe was geared toward young adults and teens.  Friday I am not sure, but if you fall into neither category mentioned then Friday will probably be the best choice to watch if you only watch one.

So what does that number in the title represent?  Well, Allstate Arena (formerly Rosemont Horizon) seats well over that amount- in fact over 47,000 attended all weekend.  No, that number represents decisions for Christ made that weekend.  That was one big party in Heaven, as there is much rejoicing over just ONE soul saved.  Look at those pictures again.  The floor of the arena was mostly empty during the presentation and music.  In those photos people who accepted Christ that night came down to receive Bibles and followup information.  Okay, many of the people were follow-up workers (I could have been one since I went through the training beforehand, but I felt I wasn’t ready- next time!) but still- we were told around 2600 had accepted Christ over the last two nights, which means over 2000 were just on Sunday!

Time for me to shut up and let you click to the website.  To a certain blogger who lost his own wife- PLEASE WATCH SUNDAY’S PRESENTATION.  That is all.  And some videos below. [No, the songs I would link to are contained in the messages on the website, so I will not distract you from them].