If you are looking for the blog for Dustin Aagaad, I moved sites. You can now find me at http://dustinaagaard.wordpress.com/ Thanks!

Parental Half Time by Bob Barnes

This is a great post from Bob Barnes via http://www.sheridanhouse.org/
If you are a parent of a school-aged child, January isn't really the beginning of your family's year; it is half-time. Your year began in August as the children started school and all their extra-curricular activities. The question is - what should you do during half-time? Coaches utilize the half-time break to instruct and encourage their players to finish strong and be successful. They evaluate and make the necessary adjustments. That's exactly how parents should view the first few weeks in January. As you reflect on this past year, are there any regrets regarding your parenting or family decisions? Ask yourself the question, "What would I have done differently with my children this first half of the year? What got away from us as a family?" As you review the first half - and you must - was there too much in your family schedule or was it just not enough of the best stuff? Chances are, it was a little of both; too busy and not making the best use of this year. This January, take full use of the half-time and finish the year strong. The most important element in a child's life is his/her personal faith development. It will directly affect each and every decision he/she makes and it will ultimately determine who they will become and how they will spend eternity. Therefore, it is imperative for you, as the parent, to put their spiritual development on the calendar each day. Some people have developed the habit of waking up early each morning to workout. Since their personal health and wellness are important to them, they make it a priority. Show your family that your #1 priority is their spiritual development. Lead your family each morning as they work out their salvation. Paul challenges us to work out our salvation God has placed in us when we come to Christ (Philippians 2:12). Helping your children work their salvation into their daily lives takes time, but it is extremely practical. Get the family disciplined to eat breakfast together at a table. While the children are eating, take a few minutes to read a passage from the Bible, and then spend the remainder of breakfast discussing what you just read. Finish breakfast with prayer. At the end of the day, be sure to follow-up with each of your children. Sit on the side of the bed with your children and pray with them before they go to sleep. Ask them what requests are on their hearts. Guide them through their prayer concerns and remind them later of answered prayer. Every great coach has a vision of victory for their players. As a parent, remember to look at the end of the game. In the years or months to come, when you are dropping your children off on a college campus, what do you want to make sure they know? I have to say, there are few parents who wish they had spent more time honing the child's soccer skills. I've never actually heard a parent say that they were disappointed that their child went off to college and walked away from soccer. No one has said that college so overwhelmed their child that he/she dropped a sport from their schedule. Over and over parents have asked me, "What did you do with your children to keep their faith in tact while they were in college?" My response was and is, "Both of my children actually grew their faith while they were away in college because it was a priority in their lives." Paul told his "children" at the Philippian church that they did what they needed to do when he was with them. Now, he was challenging them to continue to work Christ into the center of their lives when he wasn't with them. The same is true for our children when they are away at college and on their own. This is half-time. Don't go back out and play the same game during the second half. Make the appropriate adjustments. Go for the win. So, when the day comes for you to drop your child off at college, you'll be able to say, "I'm glad I did!" rather than "I wish I had!"

Answered Prayers from "Lift" Retreat

I began the New Year in Winter Place, West Virgina speaking at a Winter Retreat with 4 different youth groups from Florida & Georgia. Before I left I asked many people to pray for God to move in a mighty way. Well, this is a picture of one of the kids that gave his life to Christ. (Not the short one, that's me. He's the taller one with the mohawk.) I wanted you to see how real God answers your prayers. This is a real student, with real struggles, who just surrendered his life to a real God. Thank you to those who prayed for me & the students on this trip and thanks for partnering with me to expand His Kingdom!

My Son Riley's first Sermon

Last summer my family got together with a family from Hillsong Church in Australia (one of the most influential churches in the world). Through our time together their ministry to thousands not only inspired TJ & I but it also inspired our kids, both Riley and Callie Joy. Since our time together Riley (who is 6 years old) has said often that He'd like to one day minister to as many kids as Hillsong Kids Ministry does. So for some time He's been working toward speaking in the AZ Theater,which is our environment for 1-5 graders. We'll this past weekend He did just that during our 6 pm service and I couldn't be more proud of him. To see my 6 year old son speak and teach 1-5 graders was a true joy. I pray God continues to use him especially from a young age to glorify our Savior and King Jesus Christ. Thanks Hillsong Crew for your ministry and impact to a 6 year you that's never even been out of the country. May God continue to bless you as you continue to bless others.

Thankful for Martin Luther King

I just got finished watching this video with my kids and explaining to them why Martin Luther King Jr. was so important. Amazingly they couldn't comprehend why people would hate other people just because of the color of their skin. I am grateful for MLK as well as all the other black people before me that suffered and fought for what they knew to be true. Before my kids had their first ever dream, MLK's dream had become a reality. I can't think of how many good black friends I would have never known if his dream had not become a reality. Happy Martin Luther King day! May we as a nation and as a people continue to mature and root ourselves in loving one another as we are called to in the Bible.

Praying for Haiti

By now we are all aware of the horrible wreckage done by the earthquakes in Haiti on Tuesday, Jan 12th. This is horrific and breaks my heart personally, so I do not mean for the following to sound insensitive or belittling to the hugeness of the tragedy.
Last summer July 13 - 18 2009 during our Adventure Week aka LegoLand we challenged are kids & families to collect shoe boxes for kids and fill them with toilet tree stuff, books, toys, etc. We ended up collecting over 400 boxes. We worked through an Orlando based ministry called New Missions, check em out @ http://www.newmissions.org/ The goal was to deliver them for Christmas. But God always has the big picture in mind. Through unforeseen circumstances a team of missionaries headed over to Haiti to deliver our shoe boxes along with 9,600 others this past weekend and yes they are still there (pray for a safe return for them). So a total of 10,000 shoe boxes just arrived just outside Port au Prince just before the earthquakes. How God is that! No one is able to get in or out for aid but God is using our measly old shoe boxes to let Haitian families know they are not alone nor forgotten. I'm not dumb or being insensitive. I realize that a shoe box is a shoe box and it's not going to fix everything in Haiti. But I couldn't help but praise God when I found out that our little notes of love, prayers, and encouragement are hitting the people of Haiti during a time they need it most. Please continue to pray for the victims and families in Haiti and find ways to help by going to New Missions site @ http://www.newmissions.org/

Ski Trip