Friday, May 30, 2008

Rolling into Summer

It's been a while since I posted so I wanted to give a quick update...

  • All the Booples videos are online at to view online for free!
  • I'm talking w/ 2 different non-U.S. networks about airing Booples
  • I've been making some logo promo videos for Phil Vischer's new Jelly Telly
  • I'm almost done w/ the next Booples episode "God Made Everything" (not set on that title)
  • I'm talking w/ another children's show producer about putting Booples in that show
I have a lot going on, but unlike a couple months ago, I'm very much at peace w/ it all. No stress, just fun. It's all in God's hands and His timing. Not only does it feel better, but I think I'm actually getting more done! Great combo!

It's very freeing to "give up" (e.g., die to yourself). Not that I've "arrived", but I can see a little bit more down that path.

I'd love to hear from you: write me or comment on this post.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Conspire Conference in Chicago (Part 7)

The last day was 2 keynote sessions. The first was David Staal who leads the children's ministry at Willowcreek (I think).

He talked about "owning a burden" one given by God. Like Nehemiah - something that causes you to "sit down and weep."

Also, he talked about "loving one another" and how we're commanded to do so.

He shared a story of how he was a secret Santa for a girl in class. She asked for a piece of candy, he gave her (his mom's idea) a big box of chocolates.

The point being that "getting by" and "nice enough" is a piece of candy, but that "owning a burden" and "loving one another" is a box of chocolates.

The last session was Phil Vischer's key not address called "Don't Eat the Glue." He shared a great story of driving on a trip w/ his daughter and son. His daughter got sick just after he was pointing out the beauty of God's creation. The point being that kids can be random.

He shared how burned out he was when he got pericarditis and more. And his burden for the kids at Columbine. He owned a burden that wasn't his.

He realized one night that the fruit of the spirit isn't a commandment, but "fruit" produced naturally when you have the Spirit. He wasn't producing that. Paul had it w/ beatings, jail, etc. so why didn't Phil?

Because Paul was dead to himself, crucified in Christ and alive in Him. What he did was in God's energy and not his own.

I purchased a few of the sessions and I encourage you to do the same. I can't find a link to them, but I'm sure you can if you're motivated. Please comment w/ it here if you do.

It was a great conference and I was very refreshed and can confidently say God used it great in my life.

I was able to see Chicago a bit some and spend time w/ friends which was awesome.

God bless!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Conspire Conference in Chicago (Part 6)

The Timbuktoon session was on Relevant Media and Modern Storytelling. They used several clips and shorts to show how stories can be told visually ("Lifted") and how far Pixar had come ("Andre and Wally B").

Another good point was about how Jesus invaded culture when telling His stories.

We did a great exercise on story construction picking words from a few lists (adjective, animal, trait, etc.) and using the story structure:
1. Setup/Exposition (Creation)
2. Conflict (Fall)
3. Resolution (Redemption)

They also talked about archetypes and monomyths. Also, the referenced a book called "Ideas for the Animated Short."

They had a handy memory device for stories: What's HOT and what's SNOT.
HOT: High energy, Over the top, Teasers (support or reinforce message)
SNOT: Sensory deficient, Narrowly focused, Outdated and Tried/Tested

Next: The last day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Conspire Conference in Chicago (Part 5)

Unfortunately in the second session w/ Phil Vischer (a discussion session about his book "Me, Myself, and Bob"), many people had not read the book so it basically became Phil telling the story in the book. Everyone, including me, was ministered to this intimate telling of his story. I believe we were all ministered to. Though I was looking forward to the discussion, I know God is in control and it went just as it should.

Phil talked about ambition and dreams... our dreams. About how we mix up the American dream, the Protestant work ethic with the gospel. We get missed up with mixing these things up w/ God's calling.

He mentioned applying an "expediency test" to his efforts he had heard once. "Which path will impact more souls?" It's a formula and can lead us to measure our effort in impact and numbers.

"Until I'm ready to do nothing (rest) for God, I'm not ready to do anything for God."

Phil read several parts of his book and it was very emotional and he was very vulnerable. It was a great session despite not being what *I* wanted/expected/etc. It was just what God wanted it to be.

After lunch, I went to the story telling session w/ the guys from

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Silly Jokes with Poodle

Here's a quick little video I did called "Silly Jokes with Poodle".

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Conspire Conference in Chicago (Part 4)

The second day at Conspire started with a session w/ Phil Vischer on kid's media. I saw the same presentation at NRB last month (which was great) and he commented on how I had seen it before. I felt like "Fred" in "Cars" ("He knows my name!").

The presentation was great and I can't wait to read more about Jelly Telly at Phil Vischer's blog:

He shared some great info:
* Kids 8-18 years old watch about 4hr of video, 1.75 hr music and 2 hours of games/internet per day.
* Christian TV is usually pay-to-air like infomercials so the model doesn't really work for filmmakers
* Christian media is behind the curve for the industry and Christian retail is on the decline

Kids TV is plentiful, good and mostly moral so there's no motivation to go looking for something to pay for. Therefore there's no platform for Christian filmmakers to work and grow.

The new model must:
* use new technology
* scale to match audience size and economics
* create opportunities for entire Christian creative community
* must create something to aim for: community w/ Christian families and long-term teaching relationship w/ Christian kids

Enter Jelly Telly! multi-platform, Christian kids mini-network online: new model, "open source", 2-5 min shows, ministry driven.

It's something to also "connect the dots" btwn the Sundays for kids. Hopefully it can keep Sunday school from being the one time a week kids get good Christian input.

After the first session, I went straight to the second session room for a couple reasons. The second session was a discussion group about Phil's book, "Me, Myself, and Bob" and I was most looking forward to this session. I wanted a good seat.

Also, I wanted to let other people have a chance to talk to Phil. I tend to try to hog his time. I had just re-read his book and God speaks to me so clearly and directly in it. I have asked Phil a few times w/ help in direction, but I felt I had it now. Read the book and you'll get that I felt I needed to rest, wait, listen and trust. Not that you need to read the book to understand that, but you'll see how I felt.

More next about the second session w/ Phil, Timbuktoon guys and more!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Conspire Conference in Chicago (Part 3)

The next session after lunch was by Rick Dempsey (senior VP of character voice direction for Disney), Glen Keane (senior supervising animator at Disney) and Aaron Reynolds (children's ministry guru).

Rick talked a lot about stories and they their truth relates thru the story. Jesus told parables where an earthly story has spiritual truth w/in it.

Some great points he made were:
* Know your audience/be relevant
* Avoid talking down to your audience (Heb 5)
* Good stories have heart (Jonah) - good setting, identifiable situation

Glen Keane told his story of conversion and related it to his characters The Beast and Ariel.

Aaron tried to tie Rick and Glen's points into children's ministry directly:
1. In order to reach kids, we must know kids.
2. We must equip kids for transformation through "ruthless application" (Phil 4:8 - XBox temptaion illustration)
3. Use/tell stories w/ heart and sincerity - we MUST bring the Bible to life

It was a great first day!

More to come on day 2: TWO sessions w/ Phil Vischer and Timbuktoons!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Conspire Conference in Chicago (Part 2)

After the first session, I saw that Phil Vischer was doing a book signing. I'd been meaning to get his 2 children's books so I did and got him to sign them for my sons. He remembered me from NRB (and emails) and we talked for just a minute and I got another pic. It was great to see him again.

The second session was by John Trent and Kurt Bruner mostly talking about ministering to the family. They had some great illustrations and references to mini-vans and how we neglect these years of parenting.

But that they are the best years! Also, the most important spiritual years for kids though parents are the least likely to be intentional about their children's spiritual growth.

They had some great stats:
* 65% of Christians become believers as young children
* 31% of Christians become believers before 13 years old
* 4% of Christians become believers after 13

Generally it's believe that the loss of faith has led to a loss of family in societies and cultures. However, recent research is showing that the loss of family has led to a loss of faith. And many children today are growing up and leaving the church - I believe the number was 50%.

So churches are starting to see more of their congregation being made up of previously unchurched people. Also, people that aren't believers, but think their kids need something good and figure church is it.

Another good point they made was that the family can't be the church and the other way around. Both are vital.

They gave more information and things we can do to help. A great resource is here:

Conspire Conference in Chicago (Part 1)

I got back from Conspire in Chicago on Saturday. I wanted to take some time to write about it, but if I wait for "enough" time, I'll never write about it so here goes...

I got there Wednesday morning and heard Christina Yount Jones speak about "Erase Your Fears." It was great to hear her and others make the point that "you are the right person to be here." It was comforting to believe the God meant for me to be there and that I was the right person to be there.

She talked a bit about how Jesus calmed the wind and the waves (Luke 8) and how that related to all the "storms" we go through. She encouraged us to "Stick with It" and not just change courses for the sake of fearing we might not be doing enough (Ecc 11:4). Don't just change, but if there are problems address those. Also, don't give up best practices for "quick" results.

She also talked about what your "worst case scenario" might be. We fear something bad that can happen be she encouraged us to "lean into" it. She told a heart-wrenching story of losing her husband. She's lived thru her worst case scenario and God is faithful (Ps 23:4).

The last fear she talked about was "Fear of Breaking Something." She encouraged us to "breat it" (Dt 31:8). In many cases God might be calling us to change things up completely and if so He's prepared the way. She felt led to change up her church's children's ministry a few years ago which was strange b/c she wasn't the leader. However, when she shared her thoughts w/ the leaders, she found out they were praying for God to raise someone up to take over!

I'll try to post more in the following days of the rest of the conference.