Monday, December 25, 2006

Turkey junkie

"It's a well known fact throughout the midwest that the old man is a certified turkey junkie" - from The Christmas Story. I admit I adore turkey done right. Thanks to our Ronco rotissiere we had a scrumptious turkey. Very juicy. And of course when its done at my house I get to carve it up.

Merry Christmas

This year we experienced something we have never had before. A Christmas with just the four of us - plus Jesus makes five!
Anyway its been kind of nice. We talked to family and everything but for the most part we just relaxed and played games and played with the toys and put together a puzzle. Very nice change-up. The boys wished for a cat - and they got one. They decided on the name Star since it was under the Christmas tree. Anyway hope everyone had a great day celebrating Jesus Christ - "The Famous One."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Jesus

Great Job too all the kids who sang Happy Birthday Jesus this morning in the "big church."
They all did a great job

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This December in Kid Kove I decided to do a series based on the Charlie Brown Christmas story. So far it has gone very well. December 3rd we talked about the crazy rush of Christmas spotlighting Snoopy's quest for victory in the decorating contest. December 10th we looked at what some of the Peanuts gang wanted for Christmas and talked about what Jesus might want from us for Christmas (Sally really rang it home with the wish for 10s and 20s). This week we will talk about Charlie Brown's tree and and how like this tree and Jesus many things start with humble beginnings but God has a special plan for them (and us). On Christmas Eve we will talk about how Luke and Linus were in agreement on the real meaning of Christmas. It's so great working with kids you get to relive your own childhood at times which is not really what its all about but hey we take what we can get!

In a totally unrelated story - Tuesday was my 37th birthday and one of the 3rd grade girls gave me a card she made. I scanned the inside because it was cool!

Another holiday anomoly

When and where did the holiday family newsletter get started? Who invented it and what coursed through their brain during this moment of mad-scientist style inventive streak? What do these updates have to do with the birth of God's Son? It is another holiday anomaly much like eggnog, ornaments shaped like tiny mp3 players and Elvis singing the Christmas blues. no evil conspiracy theorist here - is just boggles the mind. What is even weirder than the newsletter is that I read them all. Call the men from Padded Cells Inc. but I actually like to hear them. One of the oddities about these little letters is people are allowed to refer to themselves in the third person without any recrimination. I mean this sort of habit may have cost Bob Dole the presidency in 1996 (who can forget "Bob Dole would make a great president"?).

Major confession here - I have written them before. Not my wife but me a real football loving long underwear wearing guy - writes the newsletter every couple of years when we send one out. Patsy does proofread.

So I will post the 2006 Martin family Christmas Newsletter here soon. Wait in abated breath for Marty Martin to talk about himself in the third person.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Below is a story from my home town. I have been in this mall hundreds of times.

Feds: Man Planned to Blow Up Ill. MallDec 08 2:06 PM US/Eastern

By MIKE ROBINSONAssociated Press Writer

A man who authorities said wanted to commit acts of "violent jihad" against civilians was charged Friday in a plot to set off hand grenades in garbage cans at a shopping mall, authorities said.
Derrick Shareef, 22, of Rockford, was arrested Wednesday when he met with an undercover agent in a parking lot to trade a set of stereo speakers for four hand grenades and a handgun.
Shareef was acting alone and not in concert with any terrorist group, authorities said.
Officials said Shareef had been under investigation since September, when he told an acquaintance that "he wanted to commit acts of violent jihad against targets in the United States as well as commit other crimes."
The acquaintance immediately informed the FBI, officials said.
Federal officials said Shareef planned to set off four hand grenades in garbage cans at the CherryVale shopping mall in Rockford, about 90 miles northwest of Chicago.
He was charged with one count of attempting to damage or destroy a building by fire or explosion and one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
"While these are very serious charges, at no time was the public in any imminent peril," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a news release.
Other potential targets that Shareef allegedly discussed included government facilities such as courthouses and city hall, authorities said.
Shareef and his acquaintance cased the CherryVale Mall on Nov. 30, discussing the layout and spots where they might set off several grenades simultaneously to create more pandemonium, according to an FBI affidavit.

Tuff guy Santa

Yes Tanner has had the question and no he doesn't want his 2 front teeth for Christmas. He kinda likes the look actually. He does have a way of lighting up a room. He lost one on Tuesday and the second on Wednesday.

Monday, November 27, 2006


One of the great things about traveling to the midwest or anywhere for that matter is getting to go to some different eateries. There are several that are very midwest centered. We like Steak-n-Shake and stopped at one in Indiana and also ate at a Bob Evans on the way home in Chillicothe, Ohio. But my favorites that we managed to get to this vacation:

We had Giordano's Pizza with my sister Becky and her family (Thanks Joe for buying!)

My mouth is watering just looking at this pic. Go to for more info.

We went to a Rockford only favorite after church on Sunday called Beef-a-Roo. Beef, Ham and Turkey sandwiches, cheese fries and great shakes! Plus free after dinner mints! Try We went to the train themed one in Roscoe.

Patsy's parent's took us to Happy Joes we tried to take them to Culvers ( but they wouldn't let us pay. These are both great midwest restaurants that will never be in Roanoke during my lifetime! I had the best pumpkin spice frozen custard shake at Culvers. To die for my friends!

My dad bought some of the famous broasted chicken from a supermarket chain called Logli's and he did let us buy him a great gyro dinner at Tom and Jerry's. All this plus Thanksgiving it's a miracle I only gained 5 pounds! Maybe I lost it going our Black Friday with my brother-in-law Bill to the great midwestern man store Menards!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving trip

We had a great trip to Illinois for Thanksgiving. A visual narrative follows:

Blake in a box

Boys with my mom and Grandma March

Boys and their Papa

My kids with my sister's kids

Will's eye

Blake and Levi at Parade

Uncle Bill and Tanner

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


OK I know some people may like me less after this post but as Popeye said "I yam what I yam".

Now that I have finished King Me, which was really good btw, I am reading Sean Hannity's book Deliver us From Evil. I hate to admit it by I have had a bit of an election hangover and I thought a good conservative book would help me out. Even though I am a pastor I am a big fan of talk raido. I usually listen to Mike and Mike on my morning commute and Sean Hannity during my evening commute home. So far the book it is quite good. After all Hannity is a great American! I have also been reading a great book about the Revolutionary War with my family. It's about a boy who joins up as a fifer and what life was like for soldiers during this time. You really have to wodner if we would have the will to fight that fight today. Sad - but probably not. Next I am going to read Rediscovering God in America by Newt Gingrich. what a right wing nut!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Soccer officially over

Since Homeschool Soccer is officially over I thought I'd post a couple of photos of our big season.

More trophies

Here are those photos we promised. Blake had the wedge car and won third place for T and T. Tanner had the shark car and won second place for design in Sparks. Pretty cool day as we had over 50 kids race cars!

Monday, November 06, 2006


Wow, the post I wrote about why we don't do a fall festival made it to the premier children's ministry website as a link. linked it under their children's minsitry blog watch. Too cool.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


It's that time of the year again! Time to carve out the cars and make sure they are exactly 5 ounces! We are ready to defend the Martin pride and take the design trophies again! Awana Grand Prix will be held at the church on November 11th! Watch for photos of our cars coming soon!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why we don't do a Fall Festival

I have had about 30 requests to do a Fall Festival this year and here are the top 10 reasons KidZone does not sponsor a Fall Festival or Trunk or Treat.

1. There about 100 churches in the valley doing something.
2. Being on top of the mountain it could be a very chilly and windy night.
3. The vast majority of our events are geared towards bringing the parents and children back together in some positive ways.
4. As a staff we have been discussing moving towards a more simple church, less event-driven model. We are looking to trim down not add on more events.
5. We do a Christmas choir, an Easter egg hunt, a father-daughter banquet, a lock-in, a mother-son event, a grand-prix, children's basketball league and summer camp along with VBS. Enough!
6. It's one holiday I can just be dad and not Pastor Marty to my own children.
7. We do a huge carnival and spend buckoo bucks every summer as a climax to VBS. We would have to take money away from that and try to do two. Why?
8. Some people like to do an outreach in their own neighborhoods.
9. We do a fall festival for our preschool - don't want to plan two.
10. Because I don't want too!

Patsy at a fall fair we did in 1995

All Hallow's Eve

What to do about Halloween? What to do when good people disagree? These two questions go together like peanut butter and jelly. I grew up in a conservative Pentecostal church and thank God for my upbringing. About this time of the year there was plenty of teachings going around about the history of Halloween and evils of participating. As children we did not trick or treat or anything of the nature. I totally respect each parent's decision on what to do during this event. For my family we have decided to try and redeem the holiday. Martin Luther and others tried to do this by celebrating Reformation Day and All Hallow's Day on November 1st. For awhile this worked but at some point Christians such as the Puritans in America pulled out all together of all holidays and this left the void to a complete reversal into paganism. Our society has completely embraced this holiday and we have chosen to be part of a growing movement to redeem the holiday. To take what Satan meant for evil and turn it to good. The book Redeeming Halloween by Kim Weir and Pam McCure has lots of ideas on how to do this.
There are certain aspects of the holiday that are just cultural and for the most part are harmless in my view. Here is what we do or have done:

1. The Pumpkin devotional (see below)
2. Visit a nursing home/shut-ins for trick or treat
3. Only dress in positive good costumes
4. Give Christian comic books
5. Trunk or treat at a church
6. We have hosted a fall festival at church before (I will post why we don't now later)
7. Talk about Reformation Day and who Martin Luther was
8. Roast pumpkin seeds and eat them!!!

My goal here is to be a positive impact on the culture and teach my kids how to be a light on a dark night.
This is an example of the pumpkin devotional:

Halloween devotion. Get a large pumpkin and recruit six group members to help. As yourkids carve the pumpkin, have them use the following devotion to help remind the children what it means to have Jesus in their hearts:
Group Member #1-(Cut out the stem part and pull out the gooey insides.) *Say: Yuck! This is what we look like inside when Jesus doesn't live in our hearts. All the bad things we do and all the mean and grumpy things we say are rotten and slimy just like the inside of this pumpkin. Just like our pumpkin couldn't clean itself out, we can't clean ourselves up without Jesus' help.
Group Member #2-(Show the inside of the pumpkin all cleaned out.) *Say: When we decide we want to love and follow Jesus, he comes into our hearts and cleans up all the nasty stuff sin causes. And Jesus gives us all a very important job.
Group Member #3-(Carve the eyes.) *Say: Jesus wants our eyes to look at everyone with love.
Group Member #4-(Carve the nose.) *Say: Jesus wants our noses to sniff all around and find all the kind and wonderful people we know: teachers who help us to learn, parents who cook us our meals, and the mail carrier who brings us our mail. Jesus wants us to be sure to thank all the special people we know.
Group Member #5-(Carve the mouth in a smile.) *Say: Jesus wants us to use our mouths to tell everyone we know about him. So be sure to tell someone about Jesus' love this week.
Group Member #6-(Put a candle in the jack-o'-lantern and light it.) *Say: When Jesus lives in our hearts, he cleans out the mess inside. Even better, he lights up our lives so that everyone who looks at us can see his love shine out, just like this pumpkin shines right now. Close with a song such as "This Little Light of Mine.

Author: Lana Mclaughlin

You can buy some great gifts to hand out at this website

Other great ideas for an an outreach at your home can be found here

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I am reading a great book right now on fathering called "King Me". It deals with the father-son relationship and it is very insightful. For those who know me this is one of my passions. Christians today stand on the precipe of irrelevancy in American culture. In my opinion if we loose another generation to the world the church will become an insignificant remnant. Not that it will remain that way forever, but might for the foreseeable future. Sort of like Europe where huge cathedrals stand empty as tourist destinations. Why is this coming. For three generations the church has been in decline in America in terms of attendance. A lesser percentage of people claim Christ as their Savior with each generation. Part of this reason is because we ignore our own children. We sacrifice them on the altars of money, social life, ministry and

sports. Its sad that so many parents honestly do not like being with their kids. Christian parents. I'm not thinking of a particular person here but so many in general. This is a little radical here, but maybe fewer people should have children. To give them nice clothes, sign them up for ballet and soccer and karate, to limit their fat intake and make sure they do their homework is not enough. We have to passionately pursue their heart. Much like we have to passionately keep our hearts aflame for Jesus and our spouse. It tears me up to see so many parents miss the boat on this. How do we inspire them and equip them? There are so many resources out there. This book is just one example. In one excerpt author Steve Farrar talks about a railroad built over Panama before the canal was built. It is an engineering marvel, especially for it's day. Many bridges had to be built which drove the costs up and caused many delays. The author talks about how this parallels parenting. We always have to be building bridges to our sons (and daughters). Just because we built one when they were three doesn't mean we don't have to build another one at age five. And so on. I am far from a perfect father. But I will tell you this - I not only love my sons, I love to be with them. I don't like leaving them for more than a couple of days and then I get real homesick for them. I am also more passionate about seeing them find their place in God's kingdom than I am in my retirement account or my next series in Kid Kove or the Bears football team or going to see a movie with "the guys" (whoever they are!) or who is going to win the upcoming Congressional elections or how well my boys perform on the soccer team. I do like and pay attention to all these things. Sometimes I have to refocus my priorities. But after 15 years in Children's Ministry I see what's at stake. The Barna poll in the graph says it all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Working with children is always full of surprises. One of the little things that just recently took me off guard was how many children I heard talking about the death of Steve Irwin. So much so that I even felt a need to pray for his family in Kid Kove.

Actually its cool that he had such an impact on kids. In that sense of the word I looked up to him. Anybody who can be a little silly and way creative in teaching kids is alright with me. As long as the message is truthful. One of my unsung hereos is Mr. Rogers. What a great guy he was. He just plugged away at year after year and he was really an upstanding guy. He was a Christian too. I heard somewhere that the Croc hunter was too. I hope so. I'd like to see him in the "Children's Heroes" wing of heaven.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lego fun

We started a new series in Kid Kove based on Legos. The first week was a huge hit. Blake and Tanner got inot the spirit and built some lego creations with a Biblical theme. Take a look.

I challenged all the kids to make some Bible Lego creations, so we'll see what they come up with the next few weeks.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I warned you

I said I would post vacation photos so here are some! this past month we travled to Williamsburg and the outer Banks and had a great vacation. Here are some of the places we went: Petersburgh, Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, yorktown, Mini putting, Kitty Hawk, the Lost Colony play, Fort Raliegh, Cape Hatteras beach (several times) and three different lighthouses including climbing the tallest lighthouse in America. We also went crabbing and caught several blue crabs as well as some hermit crabs. The best part was just relaxing and playing board games and flying kites and making sand castles with the family!