Children & WW II Generation

Right now I teach 5th and 6th graders (with Jill) on Wednesday nights and WW II generation class on Sunday mornings called “Joyful Class.” I’ve found they–and perhaps everyone in between–like some of the same things:

  • Stories with suspense
  • Sticking to the Bible and its core messages and not tangents
  • Personal testimonies or ways of bringing the text of Scripture to the here and now
  • Remembering their names and hearing what they have to say
  • Seeing and hearing the point with audio/visuals
  • Being challenged to go deeper into the word themselves

What are other things that help all ages learn?

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Questions about videos in worship

ZOE and Wineskins have had a lot of requests for several important and moving videos. Let me explain about a few of them:

  1. Give Me Jesus – Leonard Sweet (, according to his office, bought the rights to put a Fernando Ortega ( song, Give Me Jesus, together with art photos of Christ images and other images related to words in the song. Sweet’s office said they owned the copyright for the music video for about three years and no longer own it. The song itself can be played publically if a church has a CCLI license but the song and the video cannot be used together. There is no known availability of this music video that many of the ZOE conference attendees saw at our conference in October 2003.
  2. Baptism video – I have shown this at Pepperdine and ACU, and several have asked about the source. I purchased the DVD from Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana ( tel 574.243.3500. The video was done in 2002 at a baptism ceremony for the Granger Community Church and shows many baptisms set to a song that says, “Living Water, Jesus, More of Thee.” One of the most unique features of the baptismal experience of Granger is that they baptize some couples or families simultaneously with locked arms.
  3. That’s my King – From the jacket of the Vertical Sky Productions Igniter Vol 1 DVD: “The late S.M. Lockridge once presented an incredible message, describing God and who He is. Though God can’t be described with just words, this is as close as you can get this side of Heaven.” Makes you want to get up and shout, “That’s My King!” Find this and four other videos on the Igniter Videos Vol. 1 available on DVD from The ZOE web site.
  4. Team Hoyt – From the DVD jacket: “Together, Dick and Rick Hoyt have run in marathons, competed in triathlons and once even trekked 3,700 miles across America. Together, what they have accomplished is simply amazing, even more so when you consider that Rck cannot walk or talk.” Mike Cope uses this video and shares his own family’s experience with their daughter, Megan, who died in 1994. Vertical Sky Productions this Igniter Video Vol. 2 available next week on DVD from The ZOE web site

One of the best connections a church can make in the use of video is CVLI (Christian Video Licensing International). I spoke to a very helpful David Weighman this morning, and I have available for anyone who requests it an application for a church license to use major studio films and faith-based production films. The license should cost about $600 a year but check with for more details.

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Hotter than…August

A repairman and I went into our attic the other day to check some wiring. “It’s hotter than hades up here,” Stron Johnson, the large African American man, said.

“You can go ahead and say hell, though I’d say hell’dbe worse,” I said.

“Makes you wanna be good,” Stron said.

“Problem is,” I replied as I crawled on the itchy fiberglass insulation, “none of us is good enough—only way any of us can be good is through the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“You got that right,” Stron said.

We wiped sweat from our brows, itched, and checked the wiring.

By Greg Taylor Posted in General


Though the prospect of these talks having any real impact on the dire circumstances of nearly a million refugees in Sudan, please pray for the talks and continued international and Sudanese government support for giving the refugees relief.

Straw demands action in Darfur. The UK foreign secretary touring a refugee camp urges Sudan to do more to make the Darfur region safe.

[BBC News News Front Page UK Edition]

[comment – imported from my Radio blog]
The problem with these peace talks is that they are just talking while chemical weapons are being used on people. I wish countries (other than us for a change) would do something besides “deplore in the strongest possible terms.” Stop the killing, beat the bad guys and then decide the peace. God Bless.
Ed Harrell • 8/28/04; 5:11:13 PM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Prayer from Ghana

From An African Prayer Book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

O Lord, O Ruler of the world, O Creator, O Father

This prayer is for Africa, for our brothers in the South, our brothers in the North…

We know that our White brothers have made their Black brothers second class people. O Lord, this hurts us so much. We suffer from this.

You have given us a dark skin so that we may better bear your strong sun.

Why have our brothers done this to us? They are not better than we. And we are not better than they.
What comforts us is that you always love most those who suffer most.

We call ourselves Christians on both sides, but we go to different churches as if there were also different heavens.

The White men still have power in parts of Africa. Help them to use their power wisely and accept us as brothers. Take the mistrust out of their hearts and minds and make them share with us. For this is our continent, or more truly, Yours. For you have marked us for this continent and them for the North.

We also pray for ourselves: O Lord, keep our hearts from hatred, and help us also to be grateful for what missionaries have done here too, for government and the economy. Let us become brothers again, as it should be among your children.

You have died for all and risen. Hallelujah! We praise you, our Father. Who is greater than Europe and Africa, who loves where we hate, who long ago could have destroyed us. But you love us so much, and we have not deserved it. Praise be to you, O Lord.


[comment imported from my Radio blog]

Interesting prayer by ole Tutu. I wonder what he means when he says “You have marked us for this continent, and them for the North.”

I think this is one fundamental view that will have to change for there to be peace in Africa. As the son of a son of Africa, I resent the inference that “we” (aka white people born and raised in Africa) somehow don’t belong there. Look at what’s happening in Zimbabwe. Do we justify that because white people were marked by God for the North? If we do, then we must sit back idly when and if the Cherokee and the Sioux start taking back their lands and forcing us off of farms and land our ancestors have owned for generations.

I think it is imperative that “spiritual” leaders like Desmond Tutu should be at the forefront of reconciliation between whites and blacks in Africa. The sort of divine division that he seems to propose here in this prayer (and I hope I am mistaken), will only lead to more animosity and, like Zimbabwe, more bloodshed because of the color of people’s skins.
Greg • 8/24/04; 2:45:46 PM #

I wondered about that phrase–“marked for the North”–as well. There is an implication that White people belong in the North and Blacks in the South, which may have worked in previous centuries but does not work, nor is it appropriate nor the reality today. Thanks for your thoughts and well taken. gt
Greg Taylor • 8/26/04; 12:07:44 PM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Oblivious Dads Anonymous

In the last month our family has gone through a challenging transition. Jacob, our last of three, entered kindergarten, all our children are in new schools, and Jill started back teaching. Though I’m the only one not in a school, I have been learning not to be an oblivious dad. Just when I think I’m doing pretty well, another wide open plain of needed growth in this area lies before me…

Jill is teaching algebra, geometry, and general math in an inner city middle school. Probably more than half of her students are African American, and regardless of race nearly half are living with a single parent. She daily asks for prayers of anyone willing to offer one for her and her mission.

Meanwhile our children are experiencing more of dad’s awareness of their daily needs–to many concerns, programs, daily lunch money or prep and homework, I have been traditionally a skosh oblivious. Things like sports–I’m coaching all three in soccer this year–and formally trying to pray and read the Bible with my kids are more naturally on my mind, but it’s those daily concerns of a child’s life that I constantly have to remind myself to connect with. And with Jill now teaching, I’ve needed to take that torch more.

The Lord is so very good to us and all is well, but we would appreciate your prayers in this transition. Even for the guy who is learning out of school to be more aware of those around him. Is dad awareness something all men fight uphill to conquer?

[comments imported from my Radio blog]

“Dad awareness” is a good term. I think in our important world with our big problems it is hard for us to see our children’s lives from their perspectives. Thanks for being a part of a powerful minority … Dads who care about being good dads.
John Dobbs • 8/24/04; 3:18:59 AM #

hey Greg, my husband and I have had this very same conversation. I also went back to work and I had always stayed on top of all the kids’ needs. My husband and I have very different styles and I had to learn to back off and let him do in his own style. Very hard for me to do and many times I lapse into my complaining mode. Just keep your antennae up and try to be aware of all the little stuff. Ask every day to see their backpack and check for any correspondence from school…and make sure you read it all. That can save lots of headaches later. I know that you are a great dad. Shared stories about you this summer with Mark and Marnie….they love you! grace, Julie
julie danley • 8/25/04; 2:56:00 PM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Lost one and broke the other

When I’m trying to fix one thing, I usually break another.

For example, while wiring a CD player for Jill’s van (our first auto CD player!), I plugged the connector in wrong and had to pull it out. As I pulled, two tiny wires popped out of the plug like plucking dandilions. What should have taken two hours took four, because I had to replace those delicate little wires first before I could get back to the original installation.

You could tell the old mechanic joke on me: Gave two hunks of galvanized steel to the mechanic. Came back the next day and he’d lost one and broke the other. That’s me. I have hard contacts. A few years ago I literally broke one and lost the other within a week’s time.

Yep, many times in my life I’ve broken something in the process of “repairing” something else. Anyone relate? Our lives are full of frustrating broken places, whether by our own fault or with the “help” of someone else. Sometimes we labor to patch the places we’ve broken in order to get back to the business of our original installation–our dominant vision or mission.

[comments imported from Radio blog]
GT, been there done that……..more than you want to know! Good to know someone else has that same struggle! Hey, I meant to tell you that I spent some time with Brent Abney in the Northwest a few weeks ago. He sends his love to all you Uganda folks! It was great to get to be around him again, even if it was for a few hours. I wish he lived closer to Searcy.
Come see us! David
David • 8/21/04; 9:13:36 AM #

A CD player? What’s next? A telephone?
What I hate is when I am all prepared for a project and realize I don’t have the most important thing. Most of mine have to do with paint. Saturday I painted a shelf in the garage. I had the paint, the trays, the dropcloth, etc. Then, I looked for the roller brushes. Nothing. Regular paint brushes? Not a one. Keys for the car for a trip to Lowe’s? Ah, there.
I find myself doing the same thing with big projects for God. It is frustrating to get all the pieces in places and then realize I’m missing the most important element: GOD himself. Can’t count the times I’ve dropped everything and ran for that element. However, there have also been times (like the time I painted the bookshelf with a windshield wiper) that I go off on my own tangents and end up with a shoddy result. Hmmm…..can’t blame God for that one.
Anne-Geri’ • 8/23/04; 9:42:56 AM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

God’s Neighborhood

Today I interviewed an inspirational man named Scott Roley.

Scott grew up in D.C., privleged son of a Washington attorney and advocate for civil rights. He wanted to be a rock star but he didn’t have what it takes, to sort of quote Third Day. He wanted more than music.
In the next week I’ll prepare a written interview for Wineskins from the tape that I recorded while talking to him, and we’ll see if it makes the cut with Mike, Darryl, Thom, Lynn, Rubel, and Larry.

Turning points for him throughout his life led him closer and closer toward ministry of racial reconciliation: he heard firsthand Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech; an African-American woman told him he loved the world too much; he visited his first Black church worship in Detroit (and he said it wouldn’t be his last–he was captivated)…

Years later, Scott moved with his wife and five children (three adopted, one African American, one Hispanic) into an area mostly Black neighborhood near Nashville called “Hard Bargain,” a neighborhood where drug deals are made and many meals on wheels are served to poor widows. They moved there to “re-neighbor” or “re-locate” at Jesus did when he relocated from heaven to earth, the incarnation.

I have much more to tell you about this incredible person, Scott Roley, and may post more later. See his book, God’s Neighborhood: A hopeful journey in racial reconciliation and community renewal, and look for interview in the Sep-Dec 04 Wineskins.

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Kindergarten Conversation

Jacob, when asked if he made any friends yesterday in Kindergarten…
Jacob: “I played with a boy…”
Me: “What’s his name?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did you ask?”
“Yes, I asked him his name and he said, ‘I’m not going to tell you unless you tell me yours.’ I told him we had name tags.”
“So neither of you told your names?”
Kids don’t care about names…neither do their dads–here’s a sample adult conversation:
Another guy: “How ya doin?”
Me: “Great.”
Pause. Silence.
“I’m Greg.”
“Greg, I’m Bill.”
“What’s your last name?”
“Taylor–Greg Taylor. Yours?”
“Good to meet ya.”
Silence. “So, what do you do?”
Blah, blah, blah, blah back and forth.
Before taking leave of one another: “So, what was your name again?”
While walking off: “What did he say his name was?”

[comments imported from my Radio blog]
isn’t it written somewhere in Leviticus that all adults MUST wear name tags? I think that’s right. When shall we begin enforcing this?
Brandon • 8/18/04; 1:22:11 PM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Connecting worship with discipleship

“The Christian church in America is comprised of many converts, but shockingly few disciples,” according to Barna Group Research. The research goes on to point out that “less than 1 percent of all believers perceived a connection between their efforts to worship God and their development as a disciple of Jesus.”

Some say part of the response to this is to move from program-driven churches to disciple-making churches. How do we do that without making another program out of discipleship?

[comments imported from my Radio blog]

My guess is to slowly extinuish our educational models and try an intentional experiential live that is lived out in discipleship. A lot easier than said. This may be the intent on church plants that arise in the future and even now. But we should pray for the Holy Spirit to engage us toward our true and only allegiance, Jesus. Check out the Ekklesia Project on the web.
Clark Christian • 8/18/04; 10:19:00 AM #

Perhaps as long as we approach discipleship as another task to do, then we will programize it and end up not finding the discipleship we were seeking. Analyzing the problem and strategizing about solutions will inevitably lead to programmatic answers. The process is human-centered and will lead to human-centered ends . . . which isn’t discipleship! The same thing happens when modern churches adopt a new model of doing church to supposedly become less modern. It can’t happen that way.

The paradox is that the more one tries to figure out HOW to be a disciple through methodologies, the less one will be a disciple. Discipleship is walking along a path that is God-directed without trying to figure out where it goes. It is not deciding on a destination and then strategizing on how to get there.
Greg Newton • 8/19/04; 8:54:46 AM #

I wonder if we can define the difference between nominal Christians and disciples?
I tend to think of the former group as just ‘growing up in the church’ a product of systematic tradition or a recent ‘convert’ who is swallowed up into a cold mechanical system and doesn’t know that there are living churches out there.

The later group (maybe I’m over simplifying) falls head over heals in love with Jesus. They fully accept His love, and therefore stop hating themselves and their neighbors. They have probably been broken, and in their brokeness have become humble (teachable).
Carlos Aleman • 8/19/04; 12:47:23 PM #

I couldn’t agree more with the assertion that discipleship cannot be programmed into the church’s weekly schedule. To borrow an old phrase, discipleship is more caught than taught. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be intentional about our discipleship efforts. We ought to think about how our programs can support discipleship, but this is different than thinking our programs are the best means by which we nurture disciples. We just need to broaden our horizons and think outside the box. With all of our emphasis on church programming, we have somehow convinced ourselves that adequate spiritual growth can take place 2 or 3 hours on Sundays and an hour on Wednesday night. Most of this time we are sitting in large groups facing forward listening to one man we pay to do our Bible study for us! In reality, we learn how to be disciples of Christ by living life as a community of disciples. We do it by community reflection and Bible study, and we do it by lots of time together- serving, laughing, crying, loving, playing, singing, and praying together!
Danny Freeman • 8/19/04; 12:52:29 PM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

School…of prayer

All my children started school this morning in two new schools. Jacob began kindergarten. Jill began teaching Algebra and Geometry today as well after 10 years out of teaching to be with our children.
I’m the only one not starting in a new school. With all these changes and me left out of the school scene, maybe I’ll read Andrew Murrary’s With Christ in the School of Prayer.

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Desperate need of exercise

The Olympics in Athens open today. I’ve posted some entries below from an Olympics blog you may be interested in. I enjoy the Olympics, watching till midnight, dragging the next day, someone saying, “you look tired,” and me saying, “yeah, I tell ya it takes it out of a guy to watch those Olympics.”

Reminds me of this great quote by Bud Wilkerson, former Oklahoma Sooners football coach, who was asked if football is good exercise. He replied,”No. In football, there are 22 people on the field in desperate need of rest. And there are 50,000 people in the stands in desperate need of exercise.”

Hey, wait a minute. Was he talking about football or church?
wade • 8/13/04; 7:02:37 AM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Things that my mother-in-law and I both like

Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” (get some eggnog streaming through your veins at Christmas, crank this song, and see if you and your mother-in-law don’t start dancin’)

  • My wife
  • Good foreign films like Chocolat and The gods must be crazy
  • A well-constructed sentence
  • My mother-in-law’s grandchildren
  • Good coffee
  • Jesus Christ
  • Third Day
  • Making a difference in the public education system

What do you and your mother-in-law enjoy?

[comments imported from Radio blog]

Cool post, Greg. I’m blessed with wonderful in-laws (and there is no chance they’ll even read this).
We like:
* My wife & daughter * Eclair cake (hers is the BEST) * Laughter * Games with the whole family * Singing * Also making a difference in public education–She just retired from teaching special ed. I am from a family of three generations of teachers, principals and superintendents. * Jesus–I thank the Lord for her example of faith and godly parenting.
James • 8/12/04; 7:21:06 AM #

Thanks, James. Enjoyed your list and thanks for response. I visited your blog and commented–God has blessed us richly with good family!
Greg Taylor • 8/12/04; 7:46:34 AM #

Olympic Games Athens 2004Olympic opening ceremony to kick off Athens Games. “The Olympics are returning to their birthplace, putting a new twist on old traditions for the extravagant opening ceremony: The last will be first. The first will be last. And they’ll all be Greeks. Greece, as host of the inaugural… [Athens Olympic Games Blog]10:30:20 PM

Myths and Olympic Games in AthensOlympic organizers, church at odds on mythology’s role at games. “First out will be the drummers, playing to the rhythm of a beating heart. Then a meteorite will streak across the night sky. Later, a centaur will gallop to center stage with a javelin, followed by the ancient Greek demigod… [Athens Olympic Games Blog]

An education is…Anatole France. “An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.” [Quotes of the Day]

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

Do you like your spouse

I’m convinced we all need to decide we like our spouses, our mother-in-laws, our parents, our neighbors.
It may sound overly simplified, but one prerequisite to divorce is one or both spouses deciding they really don’t like each other and one another’s family. Preventing divorce is, of course, not as easy as simply liking one another (not to mention loving) but it’s often overlooked and undervalued. Like being 50 yards from the green and pulling out a driver, that’s the wrong approach.

Try praying for your spouse and then liking him or her. When Jill and I decided we’d just enjoy and like one another and we grew together over the last 15 years, we’ve experienced joy inexpressible.

CAUTION: prayer and liking each other is a start but there are many resources that can help. Some need competent Christian counseling. Don’t be afraid of this. Jill and I have been to counseling at times when we needed to work through some deep issues. One of our favorite “marriage” books is Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages that details how we love and desire to be loved through one or a combination of quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

[comments imported from Radio blog]
I like MY spouse! We began as close friends, then came love and marriage, then the wars of the early years. Now we’ve gotten back to being friends again — it’s the best.
Clarissa • 8/12/04; 7:33:26 AM #

By Greg Taylor Posted in General