The BEST Nerf War Mission Ever

On Monday we had another massively successful Nerf War at the Kirk!  We played to the Star Wars theme this year, and one of our missions was trying to control Hoth.  This was easily the best nerf war mission we’ve ever created.


Here’s how we did it:

Supplies –

  • 1.5″ PVC pipe (you can get these pre-cut at Lowe’s; qty. 5)
  • Black tape
  • Red tape

Rules –

  • There is a 20 minute time limit for this game.
  • Students knew the location of the bases, but at the start of the game, no base was controlled.
  • There are 5 bases spread throughout the church.
  • The goal of this game is to have the most bases under your team’s control at the end of the game.
  • To control a base, a team must have the PVC pipe with their team’s color showing (black tape on top or red tape on top).
    • The PVC pipes may not move.  They have a specific spot and it stays put (versus just a general “room” that it’s in).
  • If another team captures the base, they merely flip the PVC pipe to show it is now under their control.
    • We set it up so that if the “Flag Holder” was hit, the flag goes down.  Whoever grabs it “controls” it.
  • When a player gets hit, they must go back to a respawn point before rejoining the action.
  • If a player is hit in a base, they must fight their way back into the base to rejoin their team (no free passes).

Why it worked –

  • With 5 bases and the need for constant defense, NO ONE knew who was winning, NO BASE was ever “locked up,” and NOTHING mattered until the final whistle.  This was a highly strategic game because if you control a base, who leaves to go take another one?  Who stays behind to help defend?  How do you know if you still control one or not?
  • There were 2 areas that were under constant attack, but that left the other 3 ignored at times.  So what does your team do?
  • For most of the game it was 3-2 black, then 3-2 red, then 3-2 black, etc.  I witnessed one base change hands 3 times in 60 seconds.
  • In the end, black won 4-1

Try it out!  It’s an incredibly fun way to play!


How Extroverts Die


Recently I read a great post from Tim Challies about how he (an introvert) learned to embrace the “stand and greet time” at church.  And it inspired this post, so allow me to paraphrase his for a second:

In Challies’ post, he posed the question of why do you go to church?  It’s either for yourself or for others.  If it’s for yourself, it’s easy to hide on the back rows and in the corners and justify that it’s because “I’m an introvert.”  But Challies challenges us in this way: we are called to die to ourselves as followers of Christ.  That means, from his post, introverts need to die to what makes them shy for the good of the church.


What about extroverts?  How do they die?  Probably from high blood pressure, but how do they die theologically?  How does someone that talks loud, moves fast, and always sweats die to themselves during the church “stand and greet time?”

Like this: stay with one person.  It is SO easy for us to try and shake as many hands as possible in the 150 seconds we’re given.  We blow right past people, look through people, strategize our “route” as soon as announcements start.  We do all the talking and rarely listen (and then say, “Oh, I’m just bad with names.”)  Spoiler alert – you won’t be bad with names if you stay with one person.  Slow down (seriously – I almost knocked over one of our oldest founding members last week because I was on a mission).  Talk.  Plan your “route” but make sure it’s just from point A to person A (and not B, C, D, E, e, F, F#, F#m, G, 11, squirrel, you know?)

Also: not everyone likes a bear-hug.  Remember, there are introverts in the room.  You can OVERWHELM them with your enthusiasm and this can be unloving.  Be aware that not everyone wants to be picked up and swung around.  Be aware that a hearty slap on the back could just as easily be a boot out the door.  Be aware that some people do have a hard time making eye-contact.  Die to yourself and tone it down a notch.  Greeting is not about you.  It’s about connection.

So if you’re an extrovert, I’m proud of you.  Love the church enough to be mellow for Jesus…but just for a moment.  If you’re an introvert, I’m proud of you.  Love the church enough to give extroverts someone to talk to; let them in so you can be known.

It’s not about handshakes, high-fives, or ha-ha’s!  It’s about connecting.  Who will you connect with this Sunday?  Who will you die for?

You Came!


I recently had the chance to travel to Texas and speak at a Disciple Now weekend. I was scheduled to speak relatively early on the first night, so I planned on going to “Food & Fire” (great name) afterwards. This started at like 9:30pm.  It was a time for all the students to meet at a house and eat and hang out together before heading back to their host homes.

While I was there, one of the students recognized me, did a double take, and said, “You came?!”

In my mind I was thinking, “Of course I came. Am I JUST the speaker?”

But the reality is without relationships, that’s all we are. It would have been really easy (and justifiable) for me to go back to my hotel room and start prepping for the next morning. After all, I had been on the road all day, I just spent 45 minutes blitzing through introducing myself and preaching, and I was expected to speak again in less than 11 hours; going back to my room would’ve been an easy call. But I would have missed this moment and these connections with students.

My fear in youth ministry is that we acknowledge the importance of relationships but we’re content to take care of other things first. My fear is that we’re ok with being just the speaker.

So let’s evaluate a few things:

  • Do you ignore the call of a student so you can finish your Instagram announcement design?
  • We may train our volunteer leaders to go do contact work, but when was the last time you set your own feet on a school campus?
  • Are you available/approachable before you speak?

Speaking takes work, for sure.  But playing 9 Square doesn’t.  Eating S’mores doesn’t.  And
doing things like this will multiply your speaking efforts because students will see you’re not just the speaker anymore.  You traveled a long way to show them you care about them.  Sounds a lot like Jesus to me.

Videos for Student Ministry

Here are the videos we showed at COLLISION last night:




What Does The Fox Say?


I saw a post on one of the youth ministry resource sites that I follow that made me say “ugh, why?”  It has to do with the painfully obvious mashup of Ylvis’ viral video and youth ministry talksheets.  One youth pastor made an entire message around the video “What Does The Fox Say.”  Props for creativity, for real.  It was clever.  But, at least for me, it’s another example of how we’re doing it wrong. (You can see the message notes at the very end of this entry because the link to the actual file had the youth pastor’s name on it).

When we preach the Bible to teenagers, youth pastors are notorious for using the Scriptures to illustrate their main point rather than making Scripture their main point.  I’m guilty of it.  I did a message based on clips from the TV show “Wipeout” because the clips were funny.  I tagged a few verses about how “sin makes us wipeout” and went with it.  I used Scripture to illustrate my point rather than making Scripture my point.  This What Does The Fox Say message is a classic example.

When we speak to teenagers we need to give them the solid truth of Scripture, using the text to preach.  Now I’m not against making it fun, or even funny, or illustrating the heck out of passages so it becomes easier to understand.  I’m not against using culture to inform how we present things.  I’m not against media or pop-culture at all!  But what I am against is when one youth pastor somewhere in the country comes up with a clever but weak idea and it gets picked up and implemented all across the nation.  It’s like a majority of guys in my position unanimously go, “Sweet!  This is funny!  Now I don’t have to prepare anything this week!”  And instead of reading the Scriptures and praying for what God wants to do in our ministries, we settle for a download and some down time.  Not everything has to be a Greek word study, but when you preach, it at least needs to be in context with what the text is saying instead of what the culture is saying.

Youth pastors: study the Scriptures.  Don’t troll the internet looking for someone else’s talksheets.  9 times out of 10 it won’t work for your group.  You are creative.  Use it.

What Does The Fox Say is a funny and dumb and addictive video and it’s awesome.  But it’s already tired.  And it will be replaced in a matter of weeks.  How about when we preach we stick with the one thing that is still relevant?




The message notes:


You have seen the viral sweeping video with already 55,000,000 million views in
just a few short weeks.
Itʼs funny, creative, and really dumb. So, we naturally love it!
What does the fox say? “Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!”
TRANSITION: The Bible actually talks a lot about foxes and we are going to ask
the Bible “What does the fox say?” tonight. We will cover 3 main things a fox
says and does…
Back in the day… way before Jesus the Fox really annoyed people.
They would destroy the vineyards.
“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin our vineyards, our
vineyards that are in bloom.” Song of Songs 2:15
In the Bible the fox was sometimes used to illustrate the destructive
characteristics of Satan and what he desire to do with our spiritual growth (the
You have something really beautiful and nice and the fox comes to destroy it.
Our life is beautiful and we naturally fall prey to sin.
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is
full-grown, gives birth to death.” – James 1:15
Vineyards make fruit…
Luke 6:43 puts it this way,
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good
When you chase after Jesus and live out his commands you produce spiritual
growth and fruit. Take a look into your life and think about the kinds of things that
people see in you and the things that you do that are spiritual. Spiritual fruit in
your life may look like the way you treat others, friends, family, your decisions,
and your goals.
The enemy wants to take that evidence away so that the people we care about
and those weʼve never even met, never experience the love of Christ.
When this happens it puts new meaning to the phrase we often hear about “You
just got out foxed!”
Satan wants and knows how to spoil the spiritual fruit in our life.
Luke 32:31-33 puts it this way,
“At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want
to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”
Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and
healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my
Yes, today, tomorrow, and the next day I must proceed on my way. For it
wouldnʼt do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!”
Even Jesus was being persecuted for spreading Godʼs kingdom. Satan himself
attempted to diminish the effect of Godʼs presence in the world.
Herod was like a fox (sly and crafty, skulking and cowardly) trying to find ways to
remove Jesus from becoming the “King”. At one point, Herod tried to manipulate
the wise men into giving up where the Christ child was born. Herod even
attempted to kill Jesus by issuing a decree that all children born during the time
of Jesusʼs birth be killed.
Nothing could stop Christ from coming to the world to show us how to live and
most importantly give his life for us on the cross to redeem our sin.
Keep on serving Jesus. When you serve Jesus you will come into persecution.
Youʼll experience times where it seems hard and times when it makes you
– Donʼt give up or stop serving God due to persecution.
You WILL be persecuted as a disciple – Donʼt fall away and stand your ground.
LUKE 32:57-62 puts it this way,
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you
wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man
has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and
proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say
goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, ʻNo one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for
service in the kingdom of God.ʼ”
You want to follow Jesus? What will it cost you?
Sometimes we get scared to take the next step. There were those, who when
Jesus said, “follow me,” struggled through the commitment because they knew
that it would change a lot of things about their life. Look at some of the things
they said.
“He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and
proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Jesus wasnʼt being cold or insensitive he simply got to the point. Sometimes we
worry about our past or we thing about things we canʼt fix or explain away. When
we think about those kinds of things they can keep us from moving forward
toward Jesus. Some of you may say in your heart, “If I live for Christ in every part
of my life the friends who have seen me fail will hold me back.”
Sometimes our friends donʼt. We live in a time where people who believe in
something and live their beliefs are secretly respected. Think about people you
know who live out their values. There are a lot of people who look up to them.
Even if your friends donʼt value your decision you have to understand that if you
made what Jesus did on the cross count for you, itʼs really not worth the pain of
being trapped by our past. If you want to move forward, move.
The Bible puts it this way,
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the
kingdom of God.”
– You canʼt live in your past and let your old habits control your ability to say
yes to Jesus everyday in your decisions, words, and intentions.
Illustration: Driving a car.
What Jesus is saying to us in this verse is that if we want to move forward, we
canʼt look back. You would never sit and watch the rear view mirror while you are
trying to drive forward. You look ahead!
Foxes destroy
Foxes persecute
Foxes have homes
Just so you know, the fox barks and growls like a high pitched dog in real life.
Google it. Theyʼre kind of cute. God used foxes in the Bible to teach us a lot
about life and how we live it. Foxes in real life are just trying to catch their next
meal. Foxes in the spiritual world are trying to slow down your walk with Christ.
All that matters…
1. What does God say? Are we following Godʼs will for our life? Do we know what
the Bible says? Are we living it out?
2. What do you say? Do our friends at school know we are Christian by the way
we talk, act, and live our life? What you say can be a GREAT way to lead others
to Christ. What are you saying?
Close in prayer.

How To: Make 3D Hexagon Maps For Axis & Allies Miniatures

I recently got into the game “Axis & Allies Miniatures.”  I love it, but found the stock maps leave a lot to be desired.  So after a lot of research I started making my own larger 3D maps for game.  Here’s how I did it:

1)  Buy an 1/2″x8’x4′ sheet of extruded polystyrene foam at Lowe’s.  This is important.  Other types of Styrofoam will crumble.  Here’s what one looks like:


2)  The tools you’ll need: 1 metal straightedge (18″ is better than 12″), 1 box cutter or similar knife, and 1 soldering iron:


3)  Pick up a can of Dark Green Satin spray paint to spray the foam board (so you have a more realistic green undercoat beneath your terrain instead of sky blue foam):

spray paint base

4)  Make a hexagon template whatever size suits you at this website.  I preferred having a larger map.  Mine looked like this (I’d recommend cutting out a template that’s more than a single hex because it becomes easier to keep your lines true if you have more points of reference):

hex template


Edit: Using the above website I formatted my hexagon template as follows: PDF Document Size > Other > 17 by 11 inches; Minimum border 0.5 inches; Line weight 0.7 inches; Hexagon size 2.5 inches; check the “Add a dot” box; make the “Hexagon Color” black (then print this on cardstock).

5)  I cut the 8’x4′ foam sheet into 4 proportional sections (as long as they lined up with the actual game maps and the hexagon template I created).

6)  Here is one piece ready to go:


7)  Here is how I applied the hex pattern with a regular ink pen:



Note: using a single hex as a pattern took WAY TOO LONG and if I was off by even a degree, my whole map was skewed.  Make a template like this one.  It will save you time, frustration, and effort.

8)  The foam board with a complete hex pattern (including center dots):


9)  Use a hot soldering iron and a metal straight edge ruler to carve along the inked hexagon lines.  I cut mine around 1/8″ deep.  The foam board is only 1/2″ thick, so don’t go too deep or your board will break.  And be careful.  Soldering irons get hot and can severely burn you.  That covers liability right?


10)  The foam board with a complete hex pattern after melting with a soldering iron:


11)  I had leftover material from 8’x4′ board so I used the extras and my hex template to cut out hills with a box cutter knife.  I used the soldering iron along the hex lines (if there were more than one hill attached to each other).  Also, if you have water (such as rivers and ponds) on the map you are making, use the soldering iron to create these features.  Just melt at a wavy angle.

Here you’ll see a hill (superglued to the base board) and a river melted into the board with a soldering iron:


12)  Next I used Scenic Cement and fine grass turf to flock the whole board.  I scattered some bushes as well for effect.  The snaking green line is the layout for a road.  I used a toilet paper tube folded in half twice while the glue was still wet and scraped out a road (Later on, I put down some Hob-e-Tac and fine sand from my kids’ sand box as the road):


13)  Next I added trees by super gluing the bases down (they come in a pack of 36 at Hobby Lobby) and marsh hexes (the marsh weeds are a single piece of a corn husk broom, cut and splayed and stuck into the foam).  The base marshy areas are painted with brown acrylic paint for a muddy effect:


14)  Then I finished the river and marsh with a dark blue acrylic paint.  The way I applied the sand was with a table spoon.  I used the curved part of the spoon to smooth out the road.  Then pick up the whole board and “dump” it to get any excess and or flocking to fall off:


15)  For the city hexes (not pictures in this guide) this is the BEST website I found for making paper buildings that actually look really good for this kind of map (scroll down to “Paper Buildings” and print according to your scale).

If you buy things individually from Hobby Lobby and use their 40% coupon you can assemble 4 maps for game play for less than $50.  It took me about a month to make 4 at a leisurely pace.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!