Monday, December 17, 2007

Caroling Time Changed!

Due to weather our Family Christmas Caroling has been changed to this Wednesday night at 7 PM. Sorry for the schedule change but we want people to be safe during travel and wanted to be cautious. See you there!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can Your Family Make Some Noise?

Can your family make some noise? Well the Bible tells us to. "Make a joyful noise to the Lord."

This Sunday night is Family Caroling Night at First Baptist Church. So many times our children get, get and get. This is one way for your family to give back to others. I know this is a busy time, but our kids need experiences where they give to other people.

Join us at the church at 6:30 pm and then we will divide into groups to go Christmas Caroling in our community. We will be done around 8 pm. Please bring your family and give a little of Jesus' love this Christmas!

Don't worry if you can't sing. You will fit right in with me. We might even have more fun! See you there.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Golden Compass: My Thoughts

There is a new film that will be released this weekend called The Golden Compass. Many times I don't speak directly about a film or other media points but I do feel a responsibility to share with you, parents, my thoughts concerning this new film. I am also going to post parts of two other articles I found concerning this movie. So please read the following two posts after this one.

My Thoughts:There are times when Hollywood or other media outlets will attempt (and unfortunately very successfully) to desensitize Christians through shows, movies, music, games and even cartoons to God's truth and moral standards for Christ followers. Many times this is done through the back door and we don't see it coming.

However, this is not the case with this movie. I did some research through Chrisitan and secular mediums and through official sites of this movie and found that there is clear attack upon the belief of God and the role and purpose of His church. The movie is based off of Phillip Pullman's books titled His Dark Materials. A direct quote from Pullman concerning his writings was "my books are about killing God."

Where are the dangers? There will be a time in your children's life where they question the existence of God. Most people ask that question. Proponents of the movie will say "what are you worried about." Well, as a Christian parent I don't want to be the one to introduce my child to questioning the existence of God. I want to build them up in the truth of God. In time as they get older and ask those quesitons I believe what was taught at home will be the very thing that will help point them to the reality of God. The movie also speaks strongly to evolution, witches supporting evil as actually being good and the role of the church is falsly portrayed.

You may say that is alot for a kids movie. The use of symbols is strong, yet undeniable. By watching the previews you may say it looks alot like C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and those were good movies for Christian children. Again the author of the book, Pullman, represents the polar opposite of Lewis. Pullman has repeatedly—and with apparent glee—lashed out at both Lewis and the faith he represents. "I hate the Narnia books, and I hate them with a deep and bitter passion."

Please take caution concerning this movie. But don't run and hide. When your kids ask about the movie take time to explain to them why this is not a good choice in movies. Talk to them at their age level. And don't say its just not for kids and then go see it with your spouse. Kids are smart and what they will learn is not to only allow Godliness into our lives, but that God's standards change when you get older. But's that another story. Please take time to read the two following posts that provide more detail.
Posted by Rich Cochran at 1:33 PM

The Golden Compass Article Two

The following is taken from an article written by Adam Holz on Focus on the Families website The article is titled Sympothy for the Devil.

A gargantuan polar bear bounds through snow dunes. A well-coifed gentleman whispers to the snow leopard at his side. A golden-hued beauty gives her ferocious monkey a furtive glance. And a young girl traces her fingers over symbols on a device vaguely reminiscent of ... a compass.
If you've been to the movies lately (or watched much TV), these images from the Dec. 7 film The Golden Compass (starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig) may have caught your attention ... and perhaps even whetted your appetite for fantasy and adventure.
Which is, of course, exactly what New Line Cinema is hoping.

To stoke the fires of imagination further, the studio's early promotional material went so far as to equate this adaptation of author Philip Pullman's work with The Lord of the Rings. "In 2001, New Line Cinema opened the door to Middle-earth," says one trailer, "This December, they take you on another epic journey." It's a safe bet, however, that J.R.R. Tolkien wouldn't be amused by the comparison of his story to that of Pullman (who, coincidentally, also hails from Oxford).

The 1995 book The Golden Compass is the entry point to Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy—a series of fantasy novels aimed at children that loosely draws inspiration from John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. This time around, however, "God" gets overthrown and the "Fall" becomes the source of humankind's redemption, not failure.
These three books, along with at least one (and presumably two more) movies, constitute British agnostic Philip Pullman's deliberate attempt to foist his viciously anti-God beliefs upon his audience.

A Different Kind of WardrobeThe Golden Compass begins with a precocious 12-year-old girl named Lyra clambering into a wardrobe to avoid detection ... a choice that unwittingly launches her into a universe-altering adventure. (Sound familiar?) Lurking in the wardrobe, she hears her uncle, an iconoclastic explorer named Lord Asriel, describe a mysterious substance called Dust to a group of scholars.

Several events then occur almost simultaneously: Lyra is given a truth-telling device called an alethiometer (the golden compass) and told to keep it secret; she begins to hear rumors of children disappearing without a trace; and she's whisked into the care of a glamorous but ruthless agent of the church named Mrs. Coulter. Lyra soon discovers that the church is also desperate to learn about Dust—a substance they believe is somehow connected to original sin—and that Mrs. Coulter is spearheading chilling experiments on children in her pursuit of "truth." Specifically, she's separating children from their dæmons (pronounced demon), animal spirits that physically embody each person's soul and accompany them throughout life.
As The Golden Compass draws to a close, the forces of good (represented by the church-rejecting Lord Asriel) have begun to array themselves against the forces of tyranny and wickedness (represented by Mrs. Coulter and churchmen who blend the worst of, say, the Spanish Inquisition and Adolf Hiter's dreaded SS). The battle will span not only Lyra's world, but many other alternate worlds. In Vol. 2, The Subtle Knife, Lyra meets 12-year-old Will, who comes into possession of a potent blade with the power to slice portals between those worlds. The Amber Spyglass concludes the series, with angels, armored bears, witches, a shaman, a lapsed nun-turned-physicist and other fantastical creatures marshalling their resources against the hated Authority—the "god" whose reign they can tolerate no longer—even as the mystery of Dust is finally resolved.

The Anti-LewisThere are no shortage of parallels between His Dark Materials and C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series. Lyra instead of Lucy. A wardrobe. Alternate worlds. Talking animals. Cosmic consequences linked to a final battle. Oh, and witches—this time on the side of so-called good rather than evil. But beyond those superficial similarities, Pullman represents the polar opposite of Lewis. Pullman has repeatedly—and with apparent glee—lashed out at both Lewis and the faith he represents. "I hate the Narnia books, and I hate them with a deep and bitter passion," he told one interviewer, "with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are a falling-away."

Such venom isn't the exception when it comes to Pullman's stance on all things Christian. He told the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, "Atheism suggests a degree of certainty that I'm not quite willing to accede. I suppose technically, you'd have to put me down as an agnostic. But if there is a God, and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against. As you look back over the history of the Christian church, it's a record of terrible infamy and cruelty and persecution and tyranny. How they have the bloody nerve to go on Thought for the Day and tell us all to be good when, given the slightest chance, they'd be hanging the rest of us and flogging the homosexuals and persecuting the witches."
exception, Pullman characterizes churches and anyone connected to them as agents of wickedness, oppression, torture, murder and malevolence.

At the most basic level, His Dark Materials is an attempted refutation of the Christian faith: "The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all," says an influential character named Mary Malone, who then goes on to relate her own "testimony" of why she abandoned her calling as a nun. Other messages woven into this story exalt witchcraft, evolution, divination, homosexuality and premarital sex. Accompanying them are smoking, drinking, occasional mild profanity and moments of visceral violence.

That Pullman's message is blasphemous and heretical goes without saying. What's more diabolical—a word carrying with it an original Greek meaning that literally means to separate into two pieces—is the fact that he's aimed his well-written tale and its messages directly at children. "I wanted to reach everyone," he says, "and the best way I could hope to do that was to write for children." Pullman's strategy for inculcating his beliefs involves planting these bad seeds in the minds of those who may not have the discernment to understand what he's doing.
Beliefnet's Rod Dreher writes that that's exactly why he intends to protect his children from Pullman's poisonous influence. "One expects that religious parents will keep their children away from the [Golden Compass] film. 'But why?' the question arises from liberals. 'What are you afraid of?' My children losing God, especially before they have a firm hold on Him, that's what. At some point they will question the existence of God. I did. It's normal to do so. I want more than anything else I want for my children, even their own happiness in this life, for them to believe in God, who is their salvation. If you believe in God, and that the loss of God is the worst thing that can happen to a person, then you would sooner give your child a rattlesnake to play with than expose him or her at an early age to the work of a man who openly says he wishes to destroy God in the minds of his audience."

Trying to Kill God Pullman has said unambiguously, "My books are about killing God." But despite a great deal of publicity on this subject, the series never addresses the issue of God's existence with any real certainty. There is a character who masquerades as God, known as the Authority. But we discover he was simply the first being to evolve—and there's definitely a heavy emphasis on evolution in this story—out of Dust into conscious existence. As to whether or not a real Creator is responsible for everything, however, another character says simply, "There may have been a creator, or there may not: We don't know." Ultimately, then, the story remains agnostic about God's existence. And with regard to death and the afterlife, Pullman first imagines a dark underworld where all the dead go, regardless of their actions or beliefs. The dead are then released by Lyra, and their molecules are dispersed throughout the world.

In the final analysis, Pullman has nothing of substance to offer when it comes to concocting an alternative to the Christian faith he detests so venomously. Which is why, perhaps, flowery-but-empty passages and promises like the one above seem to echo those of a well-known serpent.
And lest that comparison sound too harsh, the author himself seems quite comfortable with the association. "[English poet William] Blake said that Milton was a true poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it," Pullman has said. "I am of the Devil's party and know it."

The Golden Compass Article One

This is an excert taken from wikipedia concerning the movie The Golden Compass:

Several key themes of the novels, the rejection of organized religion and the abuse of power in a fictionalized Catholic Church, are to be diluted in the adaptation. Director Weitz said "in the books the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic Church gone wildly astray from its roots" but that the organization portrayed in his film would not directly match that of Pullman's books. Instead, the Magisterium will represent all dogmatic organizations.[34] Weitz said that New Line Cinema had feared the story's anti-religious themes would make the film financially unviable in the US, and so religion and God will not be referenced directly. Attempting to reassure fans of the novels, Weitz said that religion would instead appear in euphemistic terms, yet the decision has been attacked by some fans,[35] anti-censorship groups, and the National Secular Society (of which Pullman is an honorary associate), which said "they are taking the heart out of it, losing the point of it, castrating it",[36] "this is part of a long-term problem over freedom of speech." The changes from the novel have been present since Tom Stoppard's rejected version of the script,[23] and Pullman himself believes the film will be "faithful."[34]

On October 7, 2007 the Catholic League called for a boycott of the film.[37] League president William A. Donohue said he would not ordinarily object to the film, but that while the religious elements will be diluted from the source material, the film will encourage children to read the novels, which he says "denigrate Christianity" and promote "atheism for kids."[4] He cited author Pullman as saying that he is "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."[38] The League hopes that "the film [will fail] to meet box office expectations and that [Pullman's] books attract few buyers."[39] Other evangelical groups, such as The Christian Film and Television Commission, are adopting a "wait-and-see" approach to the film before deciding upon any action,[40] as is the Roman Catholic Church in Britain,[41] while the Catholic News Service suggests that instead of a boycott, it may be appropriate for Catholic parents to "talk through any thorny philosophical issues" with their children.[42]

Pullman has since said that the books do not have a religious agenda, saying of Donohue's call for a boycott, "Why don't we trust readers? Why don't we trust filmgoers? Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world."[41] In a discussion with Donohue on CBS's Early Show, Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, said that rather than promote atheism, the film would encourage children to question authority, saying that would not be a bad thing for children to learn.[43] Director Weitz says that he believes His Dark Materials is "not an atheistic work, but a highly spiritual and reverent piece of writing",[35] and Nicole Kidman has defended her decision to star in the film, saying that "the Catholic Church is part of my essence. I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic".[26]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Beginning Wednesday December 5, 12, 19 the country of Moldova is about to come alive. Moldova is located in the former Soviet Union and had been locked away from the Gospel of Jesus. But in the last few years God opened the doors and the people in this distant land are beginning to hear the good news of Jesus.

During each of these Wednesday nights kids will experience their culture by eating foods, making crafts and playing games from Moldova. They will also hear the stories of present day missionaries and how God is moving people to follow Jesus.

A few weeks ago, I had the priveledge of attending the commissioning service for 82 Southern Baptist Missionaries. God reminded me that our kids need to know that there are men and women working right now telling other people that Jesus loves them. Don't let your kids miss one week of THE MOLDOVA EXPERIENCE!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

From my family to yours we want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. There are so many things for us to be thankful for. I think one of the best things about being your Children's Pastor is that I get to so many happy faces on Sunday morning. Each child comes on Sunday and is filled with so much potential. Sometimes I find myself like a kid in the candy store thinking of ways to help pull that potential out of your kids. We have so much potential packed into our rooms on Sundays to leave a major spiritual mark on the coming culture.

One thing I am more sure of today than I was 18 months ago is that kids need a great Sunday experience, but what they need even more than that is for spiritual conversations to take place at home. Take time to talk with your child each week about Jesus or to read Bible stories together. That will leave the biggest spiritual mark on your kids as the grow up.

Thanks for letting me and our team (which is the finest I know of) partner with your family. I can't wait to hear the stories in 20 years of everything your child has accomplished for Jesus.

Kidz Living For Christ!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Moldova Experience Coming in December

Here's What's Up in THE NEIGHBORHOOD:

The Kids Christmas Production is coming fast. There will be a dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 1 at 9 am. The Production is Sunday night at 6:30 pm. Stay tuned for more details as the day approaches.

On Wednesday night, December 5 we will have the Moldova Experience. Every year we look at a foreign country and discover their customs, the people, and to see what God is doing in that country. This will take place on December 5, 12, and 19. Don't let your child miss one evening.

Family Christmas Caroling is scheduled for Sunday evening December 16 at 6:30. Make this apart of your family schedule this year. This is one way your family can share God's love this Christmas. More information to come!

Remember you are UNIQUE. Talk to your children about how God has created them very special to do very special things for Jesus.

Coming on in the next few days will be one way that your family can spiritual anticipate the coming of Christmas. Thanks for partnering with us so that your child will live for Christ!

Monday, November 5, 2007

You are a Piece of Work!

Atleast that is what God says. He created a you a special one of a kind person. You are UNIQUE. We are going to be talking about UNIQUENESS throughout the month of November. UNIQUENESS is learning more about others so that you can learn more about yourself. We are going to be helping boys and girls learn that God created them special and because of that He loves us so much that He won't ever forget about them. WOW!!! We have 6 FAMILYTIMES Devotionals left. FAMILYTIMES is a monthly tool to help your family integrate the Bible stories we talk about on Sundays into your home on Monday-Saturday. They are $8 and can be purchased at the registration table. They will not be here long so please get yours soon.

Some things to remember:
This Sunday, November 11 is the day to bring your shoeboxes. Please return them to the table in the upstairs hallway. Also, the Kidz Christmas Production is on December 2 their will be an important practice on Saturday, December 1. Please make sure to be there.

I know these are busy days for your family. Please make sure to have conversations in your home about God. Please check out for help this holiday season to make the holidays a spiritual journey for your family.

Please take a moment and complete the poll at the top left of the site. Your answer cannot be tracked backed to you in anyway so please be honest. Thanks for your help.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Just a quick update on some loose ends and upcoming events.

Operation Christmas Child is in full swing. You can pick up an informational brochure upstairs at SHOEBOX Central. The big day for shoeboxes to be returned is Sunday, November 11. Please follow the instructions in the brochure and bring it back to SHOEBOX Central. Remember to have your family pray that the boy or girl that will receive the box will know that God loves them.

Upcoming FAITH CLUB. FAITH CLUB is the new christians class for kids and will meet on Saturday morning November 17 from 9:00-12:30. Please RSVP at the registration table upstairs or by email me at If your child is attending I would like for parents to return at 12:00 so that I can talk about what will happen next for your family in your child's faith journey.

Remember Script is a good way to save money for Kidz Camp 2008. For information give us a call at 667-8221. The date for camp is June 9-13.

We will see you Sunday in THE NEIGHBORHOOD and we will have a brand new virtue. I will reveal the new virtue later in the week and let you know what your child will be learning about over the next few weeks.

Coming Soon: I believe that the strength of our children's faith will be based mostly on the quality of spiritual conversations that are happening at home. I think parents want to talk about God with their kids, but we just aren't sure their interested or confident in what to say to them. Let's journey together. Deutoronomy 6:4-9 See you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We are often repelled by change. A couple of weeks ago we made some changes to our Sunday morning experience for kids. Many of you have noticed because your child's class is not in the same location anymore. To tell you the truth I was pretty nervous about. Not because I was unsure if it was the right move, I believed in my heart it was the only thing to do, but because the first few weeks would be hard and maybe even confusing for you and our leaders.

Our Kidz Team is second to none though. They want more than anything for your child to live for Jesus and so they are working even harder to see that become a reality for your family. The big question is why did we make these changes?

Two Reasons:
1. We were out of space and needed to create more room. All of our classes had atleast 25 children in them and some were pushing 35. So we are working to create two classes for every grade (we still need lead teachers, come join a great team and invest in kids that matter to God).

2. We created two large group worship / teaching times in the 9:15 hour. One for K through 3rd grade and another for 4th and 5th graders. This allows us to communicate to those age kids better so that when they leave on Sunday AM they really get it!

Here's the bottom line. Life is too short. We have to help these children live for Jesus. That's why we do what we do. We are working hard to provide great learning moments every week. Don't let your child miss one. Because your child needs every spiritual experience possible!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tis the Season to Shoebox

It's shoebox time once again! So Ladies here is your chance to go shoe shopping for a good cause.

We are partnering with Franklin Graham's organization ,Samaritan's Purse, and we will provide Christmas gifts to children that live in war torn areas of the world. I think this is one way that we can help our children understand that God does love all the people in the world. This Sunday, October 28, we will have a brochure for you to use as a shopping guide and it will provide you with all the instructions. I encouarage you to take your child shopping with you and talk with them about caring for people all over the world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's HERE!!!!!!

The very first post on THE NEIGHBORHOOD's very first blog. We are getting extremely high tech around here. The purpose of this blog is help keep you, moms & dads, up to speed with what is going on here at First Baptist Church, Maryville and THE NEIGHBORHOOD Kidz Ministry.

Please make sure and sign your friends up to receive the blog as well. That way other people know what is going on as well. Let's not make THE NEIGHBORHOOD the best kept secret in the Metro East.

This month we are talking all about RESPECT. Can I get a high five on teaching this one? Respect is responding with words and actions that show others they are important. Don't let your kids miss out on one week as we spend the next 2 weeks helping boys and girls learn how to be respectful.

If you are interested in the FamilyTimes Devotion kit for $8 please the Kidz Registration Desk this Sunday and they can assist you. See you lat