Thursday, May 21, 2009

First Real World Parents Seminar

This is a bit late...but here is what I posted on the Real World Presenters forum. (If you have NO IDEA) what I'm talking about, surf around at or read this).

I presented May 3 at Southcliff Baptist Church in Ft. Worth. I think 60+ registered and 50ish attended (not bad considering it was the prime swine flu time down here in Texas). I had a great time and felt really good about how things went. I presented it pretty straight-forward except for a few changes to session 3. Stuzilla and I agreed that ending the seminar with the Skit Guys' "Dad and Son" video really hit the goal home, sort-of a, "Here's one goal we all have, a hope that when our kids are adults they can have a perspective like this, will remember our wisdom, etc." Apparently it was a hit among attendees and provided future discussion. I also greatly edited the "7 Marks" slides to have more elements similar to the workbook, which I think also helped. But what may have helped me most of all is that Stu and I met together twice to essentially give each other our "mock-up seminar", critique, offer suggestion, etc. That was huge...and I think absolutely made me a better presenter on game day...

Now, some lessons I will take with me to remember before I do another RWP:

*** I will try my best to order resources for sale MUCH earlier, and seek for mailing confirmation. I waited as long as I thought I could (6 days prior to seminar) so I would have a better idea about numbers attending, etc., and the stuff never came. After some phone calls post-seminar, we figured out there was some sort-of payment question, BUT it would have been nice to know that immediately (I never got any emails, calls, etc. letting me know like some online purchases do when there is a question) so I could have remedied it pre-seminar. The cool thing is that YS did give me free next-day shipping due to the snafu and I was able to just take "orders" for materials, sell them at a discount since I did not have resources in hand, and deliver them to Southcliff...

*** I am going to try and find a way to better present the "Isolation/Regulating/Accepting" section of session two. I don't think I did the best job there...essentially, I in the future need to probably still acknowledge that there are still times that we need to isolate or regulate, but what RWP is talking about refers more to parents who "live in those worlds" of isolation/regulation/accepting. There was one comment made to me that apparently I presented it all as if you ever did any of those things, then it was wrong. You and I know that's not true...just when it becomes all-encompassing. So just maybe something to think about...make a disclaimer about, etc.

*** It was REALLY tough for me (and Stu Cocanougher when he presented at our church) to finish in 3 hrs. Sure, we need to start on time (a late-arriving crowd made me have to delay the start about 15 min). Sure, I need to make sure breaks that are meant to be 5-7 min long don't become 10 min like they are prone to (I do think having a "countdown" slide here helped, though...). But by session three, I had to rush just to get done somewhat close to the advertised time (because 3 hrs having kids in the nursery=chaos about to ensue!). We just finished a bit late but wow I feel like session 3 was a blur. But where to cut? Some of the stats in session one? Less personal examples? I realize some of it is just being timely...but sometimes it is hard to control that (like, when a large portion of the group is not you just begin?).

But overall, I LOVED IT! Summer will be tough to schedule any, but I will certainly look at Fall 09/Spring 10 to get some more presentations lined up...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The God of All Comfort
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our[a] behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 1:11 Many manuscripts your

Have you ever had one of those, "I think God is trying to tell me something"-moments? This passage is one of those. I read it a couple days back and since then it has been a major part of two separate sermons I've listened to while exercising. One interesting thing is that different parts of that passage are standing out to me today than did when I read it originally (a cool aspect of scripture...always something new despite repeated readings!).

You see, at first glance, I was drawn to verses 3 and 4, dealing with all the ways the Lord gives compassion and comfort. But after stewing more, being spoken to through the sermons I mentioned, I am today drawn to verses 5-7:
5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
I too often cry out to God to make me feel better, have peace, experience comfort. But why? Usually for selfish reasons, I have realized these past couple days. I just want to feel better. I want to worry less about the unknown. I want folks to not get upset with me for various reasons. I basically want God to slap a band-aid on me. But is there something deeper to the things gnawing at my heart that God will comfort me in? These two verses talk about that purpose. It is so I can empathize (instead of just sympathize) with others going through similar things. It is about the ministry God wants to do through me where I can relate to others, tell of how God got me through, share wisdom, etc. But, I just don't think about it that way enough...

Take right now, for example. The big issue in the Davis household is my wife Missy's struggles to find a full-time teaching gig. She searched so hard a couple years back, decided to just sub, and through that was hired at a local school. But, they didn't renew her contract for whatever reason, and the past year has been spent frantically searching for another full-time teaching job to fill that void, to satisfy Missy's desire to teach, etc. But so far, no dice. And it's getting frustrating. But we need to ask not just, "God, comfort, please!", or, "Hey God, fix this, ok? Thanks," but instead live in the comfort provided by the Comforter AND then seek to minister to others who may be able to relate. In the midst of all this, we also need to re-visit the concept of contentment . As Mark Matlock on a recent post of his said, "When I look back on my life, I can trace my current place in ministry back to specific moments of obedience to live for God in the "now"." This is where I need to live again. Seeking to be faithful to God NOW. Looking for ways I can live in the comfort he promises and minister to those who may benefit from my experiences.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lessons Learned During an Unintentional Blog Silence...

So after a whirlwind end of 2008/first few months of 2009 blogging-wise, last month something happened: I just didn't blog much. If you've been keeping up with good ol' haphazardangus for awhile, you know that the vast majority of recent posts have been in the form of "faith ponderings". Essentially, a re-visit of some scripture passage I've read recently. As I had a personal resurgence in late 2008 for personal scripture study, I felt like blogging about my thoughts, challenges, etc., that I found within the readings. It became a pseudo-journaling experience (something I've often been challenged by others to do as a good spiritual exercise, but for whatever reason, just couldn't "get into"); one that I know some read and were blessed by, and I am humbled by that! But in late March and into April (and, if I'm not careful, it could easily bleed into May as well...), I simply got busy. Now, I didn't get too busy to spend time in the Word nearly daily (whew!), but I just didn't "have the time" to revisit the passages later on and reconnect, seek wisdom, share thoughts. At first it was no biggie, but looking back at the past six weeks or so of general silence, I have learned and noticed a few things:

While I am grateful for the continued discipline to seek God first thing in the morning, so seek his wisdom in the scriptures, etc., I now know that all the "you need to journal, Ben"-types were onto something. I realize now that that exercise of regular posting of those ponderings really helped me engage Truth more deeply. I would be forced to make the placing of scripture on my heart an "all-day" affair, as I would ponder Truth multiple times a day. I would more easily remember what God was trying to say to me. And I would also be more apt to look back at old posts and be reminded of stuff, encouraged, challenged. Now? Well sure, I still get up and give God the firstfruits of the day...but too often, what I read in the morning just stays on that couch. I often can't tell you, say, at dinnertime what I read before the sun came up like I used to. That bothers me...

I also have learned that I am crazy busy right now. It's not even "bad stuff", and in many cases, it's necessary stuff. But there is a lot of it right now. Prepping and leading my first Real World Parents seminar (I think it went well; I may post my thoughts soon). Working on a curriculum with other area youth ministers that needs to be ready for "prime time" by early June (and I'm struggling for inspiration). Being a big part of our church's confirmation program going on right now. Trying to help Missy find a teaching job somewhere (I'm helping fill out online applications, etc. They are tedious!). Jax's soccer "stuff". Some new stuff at church I'm somewhat involved in (new parent group, occasionally filling in for the drummer in our contemporary service band, even giving a message later this month, hosting our own Real World Parents seminar, and trying to figure out how to "raise leaders" in our ministry to take them to the next level...). CTCYM mission trip planning that is looming large on the horizon. Some health issues recently (not serious, but more "annoying" that required way too many doctor visits that cut into my time...). And all the while, seeking to be the best dad and hubby I can by giving Jax and Missy as much attention and service I can. But it's a bunch of things, and unfortunately, blogging went by the wayside. What used to be a nice mid-day "break" became, "Oh jeez, now I need to post something..." My breaks became less about renewal (blogging, exercising, etc.) and more just sitting, staring into space or at a facebook page. Something needs to give here...

So, as I sift through this first week of May, my prayer is that my heart will be stirred up to make it all happen again. I am not in a "bad place", but I can tell the "meh" is creeping up if I don't be proactive and do something. That is another lesson I've learned that I wish more Christians would do: When you see the "meh" attitudes toward faith creeping in...DO SOMETHING. Too many times I see myself and others just let the ambivalence creep in...and don't fight it. And then, six months later, you just don't care at all... Thankfully God bashes through at some point, but why wait for that? Let's go NOW!

See you guys here again soon!