Meeting Recap (10/24/16)

20161024_193849Another great night for our Stockaders!

We focused on an introduction to basic first aid techniques for cuts, sprains, and carries (we only carry an injured person if they’re in danger of becoming hurt worse if we don’t move them).

We also read the account of the Good Samaritan — one of the accounts in the Bible where first aid is used to help save someone’s life.  More importantly, we discussed how the story explains basic truths about our commitment to care for people – even those who we don’t know.

Luke 10:25-37 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And He said to him, What is written in the Law? How does it read to you? And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. And He said to him, You have answered correctly; do this and you will live. But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?

The Good Samaritan

Jesus replied and said, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And 10-27-2016-9-25-32-amby chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands? And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, Go and do the same.




Meeting Recap (10/3/16)

jeep-under-construction-1We had a couple new faces in the crowd this week, and continued out theme of “cars and trucks” through our activities and devotional.

Following our opening ceremony, the Junior Rangers organized teams for games and led the fun while monitoring for good sportsmanship.

Our activities included several word searches and crossword puzzles on the cars and trucks theme.  Boys were encouraged to work as teams, taking turns finding key words or solving riddles for crossword clues.  Junior Rangers stood close by to offer assistance and individualized encouragement so that no one became frustrated or felt isolated during the exercise.

Ranger Stephen offered the devotional discussion on “ENGINES”:  he took time to present open ended questions to the group, and draw from them their creative and fun answers.  While they typically presented the most obvious response, he was able to encourage them to think about a broader context and discover new connections.  As part of his program, he handed out select bible verses and asked volunteers to read a short set aloud.  Following each reading, he would ask the group how that set of verses helps to clarify our thinking and understanding of our own roles as specially created individuals.

Ranger Stephen provided a concise recap of that discussion, below:

Tripod TrebuchetWe’ve been talking about cars and trucks as of late, and they are driven by engines, however, in the world we also have search engines like google, siege engines like catapults, and locomotives like steam engines besides.

So what is an engine? An engine is something built to accomplish a particular task, something made with a purpose in mind.

Thinking about that, we can say that God made the world with a purpose in mind, so that can be seen as a form of engine. It is worth noting that it is an engine we are responsible for, as pointed out in Psalms 8, God has made mankind rulers over the works of his hands, this is also seen in Genesis 1:26-28. Beyond even that, the task of general stewardship of the world given, God has special purposes in mind for each one of us, making us all engines of a sort!

Now, there is something else that needs to be said about engines, engines require certain things (i.e. fuel, input of data, etc.) to run correctly:

  • a diesel engine needs diesel fuel, and
  • a basic calculator works with numbers,

However, if you were to substitute sugar-water for diesel fuel, the engine not only might not run, it might flat out destroy the diesel engine, and if you tried to use letters instead of numbers, the calculator wouldn’t understand the input and couldn’t provide it’s services to you.

So it is important that we learn to distinguish good fuel from bad, and proper operation from improper operation.

The bible on the whole is great for that, but Proverbs is a very dense collection of suggestions to work with:

  • Proverbs 3:5-8 reminds us first that we will not understand everything that happens in life, but God has his reasons if we will trust him. Further, his rules will, to stretch the analogy, keep the driveshaft aligned, and finally, even in less profound issues, we don’t know everything, but turning away from evil will be refreshment.
  • Proverbs 3:27-31 Suggests that we should not withhold good from others when we can give it, be it encouragement, service, or physical support. Moreover, this passage warns us against seeking conflict where none has been called for and to choose role models with care.
  • Proverbs 10:17 points out that instruction, from trustworthy sources, is meant for your good, and introduces the concept of a “reproof.” When a younger sibling reaches for a hot pot, you would warn them, you would tell them not to touch it, you would be reproving them. It’s not a very scary word or concept, it is simply to warn sternly.
  • Proverbs 12:25 introduces a simple example of both good and bad fuel directly, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” We probably won’t always resist anxiety, but it is something to remember.
  • Proverbs 12:26 notes that those who are righteous, those with good fuel, is a trustworthy guide to his neighbor, and then warns that the wicked, those with bad fuel, will lead them astray.
  • Proverbs 13:12 talks about a few issues we can’t always control, “hope deferred,” the forestalling of that desired, can weigh you down, and in some cases weigh heavily, and a longing fulfilled, a true longing, is almost never fulfilled purely on your own sole efforts, expectations can be adjusted slightly, but such adjustments will require a lot of time, and if care is not taken to have the right mind about things before such delays appear, they can be a weighty matter to deal with indeed.

Obviously, there is much more that can be said on the subject, but for now, this is what I have to provide based on what I was able to read in preparation for tonight’s discussion.



Brigade Experience 2016

Today, we had the opportunity to receive regional training and a National update on what’s happening with the ministry.

Offering a total of ten different workshops over the course of three time periods, we found that there was “something for everyone” — whether very experienced or brand new to the program.

Peter Westerman offered a three part series to enable adult leaders to become “certified” with basic training on: “Brigade Principles”; “Brigade Ministries Overview”; and “Leadership Skills”.

Joel Fiscus, from our National support team, offered a pair of workshops:  “Fatherless No More” (delving into ways leaders can better support boys from single parent homes) and “leaving a legacy” (looking at ways to build up bench strength in adult leaders so that the program will continue at your church).

Ron Rynd offered two sessions: “Why Achievement?” (promoting the value of the achievement program for boys to feel a sense of accomplishment and goal setting); “Brigade Chairman” (covering the distinct mission of the Brigade Chairman position and how it is different from the role of Chief Ranger)

Duanne Moeller from Rutherford Bible Chapel offered a workshop designed to help familiarize leaders on the various stockade booklets, leaders guides and other deliverables.

Andy Puttbach had a seminar on getting your unit ready for a Shape N Race event (pinewood derby).

Paul Farrell covered how to leverage social media to better connect with parents, church supporters and the local community.


Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake

2013-11-02_13-06-37_938I like to test new recipes from time to time – partly because I’m hungry and partly to see if it would be workable on a camping trip or for use at a Stockade meeting at church.

I noticed we had an abundance of Yellow Cake Mix as we tend to stock it for pineapple upside down cakes.  To thin the “herd” I tried making a simple Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake.


  1. 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (in juice)
  2. 20 oz can of cherry pie filling
  3. 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
  4. 1 bag of shredded coconut
  5. 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if outdoors, prep and preheat charcoal – arrange on dutch oven lid and under dutch oven to suit (see for basics)
  • Lightly butter the inside edges and bottom of a 9X13 pan.
  • Dump pineapple (with juice) and cherries into center.  Spread around for even layer.
  • Sprinkle cake mix over fruit.
  • Sprinkle coconut over cake mix.
  • Pour melted butter evenly over top of coconut.
  • Bake for one hour.  Let cool – can be served warm as cobbler, or cooled to “room temp” and served as slab pie.

What went well:

  • 20160917_193811_resized

    The aftermath…

    it was super easy with quick prep, quick clean up.

  • boys should be able to do this with little or no prior cooking skills (impossible to mess up short of dropping the mixture onto the floor)
  • less finesse and fumbling with the mixture assures better outcome (just dump and go)
  • tasty combo of flavors, crunch of toasted coconut was appealing – even to those who had previously said they don’t like coconut.

What didn’t go as planned:

  • WOW – it is sickeningly sweet.  Over The Top, Sugar Rush! (Of course, to elementary-school aged boys, this is probably going to be perfect).
  • Very “tart” or “sour” taste from the acids in the pineapple juice and cherries. (See parenthetical statement, above).
  • By layering the components, the cake mix didn’t pick up much liquid from the bubbling juices and we got a thin layer of “brownie-bake” texture.  Had we been less clinical in the approach and simply made a mess of it, we might have gotten a better mixture of flavors and textures.
  • The coconut absorbed a lot of the butter that was intended for the cake mix – maybe drizzling the butter first, and then adding the coconut might have helped.
  • The recipe I found for this called for sliced almonds as a topping instead of coconut (which I didn’t have on hand – hence the coconut) — the almonds might have toned down the sweetness and the coconut increased it.  Something to consider if I try this again.

Reminder – if doing this at club, always check for food allergies.  Almonds and coconut are suspect to food “sensitivities” more than genuine allergies, but better to check, warn, be sure to avoid problems.  When we plan to cook, we often send the ingredients list home the week before (and we ask parents during initial registration if they’re aware of food allergies or sensitivities ahead of time).

Despite the outcome being a mixed success, it was devoured quickly (over two days).  At club, I think making one wouldn’t be near enough as the boys would likely descend on it like a flock of locusts.  It did inspire me to consider a dump cake using devils food cake mix, coffee, cherries and almonds for adults.  Maybe some twist on “rocky road” ice cream as a dump cake?


“Beef on a Weck” (specialty sandwich on a Kummelweck Roll you’ve gotta try when attending a National CSB meeting in the Buffalo, NY area.  MMMMM.

Go have fun with your family

IMGP6935There are 16 days until Father’s Day.  Today’s quote:

A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father. — Frank Abagnale

I encourage all Dads to take a moment today to think about how you could invest yourself in your family’s life this weekend. Can you adjust your schedule to surprise them with a picnic, a walk at a local park, tossing the ball with your son, having a chat with your daughter, reading portions of a familiar book together, getting something “extra” done from your wife’s “please fix this” list?

The founder of the Scouting movement, Sir Baden-Powell, offered a lot of great statements that resonate through the past century.  One of my favorites is this:

bshb0…the final and chief test of the scout is the doing of a good turn to somebody every day, quietly and without boasting. This is the proof of the scout. It is practical religion, and a boy honors God best when he helps others most. A boy may wear all the scout uniforms made, all the scout badges ever manufactured, know all the woodcraft, campcraft, scoutcraft and other activities of boy scouts, and yet never be a real boy scout. To be a real boy scout means the doing of a good turn every day with the proper motive and if this be done, the boy has a right to be classed with the great scouts that have been of such service to their country.

What if it said this instead?

…the final and chief test of the Husband/Father is the doing of a good turn to support forest-e-witcraft-quote-a-hundred-years-from-now-it-will-not-matterhis family every day, quietly and without needing to be recognized for each task’s accomplishment. This is the proof of the Husband/Father. It is practical religion, and a man honors God best when he helps others most. A man may wear many hats (of responsibility), win many trophies and accolades, know all the manly skills and critical familial activities, and yet never be a real Husband/Father. To be a real Husband/Father means the doing of sacrificial good turns every day with the proper motive and if this be done, the man has a right to be classed with the great Husband/Fathers that have been of such service to their country.

Certainly not a perfect translation, but it is motivational.  Giving up your time, self-interests and self-focused pursuits in order to serve your family’s needs is what’s father with childrenneeded.  Does this mean you never get to do some of the things you really desire, of course not, but it does mean that sometimes it’s going to hurt a little to make the sacrifice play at a moment in time where you may feel justified in being selfish.  Make the tough call, put your family first and don’t keep score of your perceived injustice at having to give up that golf game, fishing trip, or such.

Invest time in doing things that you and your family enjoy.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated – often the simple things work best.  Experiment, try new stuff, have fun.



Meeting Recap (3/7/2016)

Another great meeting last night.  Dodgeball has been the local favorite for game time lately and the new balls received work well with their “nerf-like” construction.

For the activity, one of our junior rangers talked to the boys about “reaction time.”  Reaction time is that amount of time which elapses between recognizing a threat and taking action to deal with it.  This could be recognizing that someone has thrown a ball at you during dodgeball and then deciding whether to try to catch it, duck, jump or run.

In real life, reaction times are important for professional athletes who need to have a keen eye to follow a ball’s trajectory.  Drivers need to be able to recognize a hazard in the road and react quickly to avoid a crash.  CSB image

We showed the boys how to measure their reaction time using rulers and some mathematics.  One boy would hold the ruler upright and then release it. The other boy would need to recognize when the ruler is released and grab it.  By measuring the distance which the ruler fell between each action, we could apply a formula to determine the amount of time that elapsed.  This measure is the reaction time.

In talking about units of measure, we also asked the following question; “what is the measure of time elapsed between slipping on a peel on the sidewalk and hitting your head  when you fall?”  The answer?  “One Bananosecond!”

For our story circle, we had a discussion about bravery.

Who comes to mind when you think of people who exhibit “bravery”?  The boys almost universally linked bravery to soldiers and emergency service providers such as police, fire or EMTs performing their best despite life or death circumstances.  That is bravery to be sure, but we pointed out that it can also carry other meanings.

IMGP6811For instance, isn’t it brave to: stand firm against injustices; take a risk to tell someone what you really believe even though they may disagree or reject your statements; or keep trying to accomplish a goal when you feel defeated?

We shared an example definition from the Boy Scout Handbook (from 1911); “A Scout is brave. He has the courage to face danger in spite of fear, and to stand up for the right against the coaxing of friends or the jeers or threats of enemies; and defeat does not down him.”  The more recent wording is “A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.”

Bravery is also about recognizing the “right thing to do” and doing it – especially when others disagree or might mock you (i.e. “… the jeers or threats of enemies”)  This is especially true when we consider our spiritual lives.

We asked the boys about accounts in the Bible dealing with bravery.  They mentioned several, but most of the responses dealt with David and Goliath.  We asked for volunteers to read three selections about David and Goliath.

The first selection describes the scene confronting the Israelites (1 Sam 17: 8-11&16):

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

1 Sam 17:32-37 defines bravery.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”  Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”  But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”  Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

1 Sam 17:45-47 Shows us why he was brave – he trusted God to prevail.

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

We also talked about other situations like Daniel standing up for what was right (Daniel 1:8-10), and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3: 15-18) being cast into the fiery furnace and surviving to show what what right.

Bravery is something that takes time to develop and when it comes to standing up for what is right, we need to learn from David that our real strength comes from God, not ourselves (Psalm 121).


The Pinnacle of the Program

Many youth programs have awards to recognize either individual or team achievement.  Award programs have many pros and cons that are well beyond the scope of this article – suffice to say, well designed programs help to recognize healthy achievement, personal growth and commitment to big goals.

Within Christian Service Brigade, there is a pinnacle point where a young man has gleaned a lot from participating in the program — both from adult interactions, bible study and enjoying the fun of program activities while leading other boys in the program.

The Herald of Christ Award is the name given to this ultimate step in the program and CSB Ministries recently provided a wealth of detail about the award and how to set about completing it’s requirements….

I encourage you to review their blog posting to learn more about this fantastic program for young men.