Free Friday: Free (and sale) Apps for iPad/iPhone


Assuming you are one of the millions of people who own an iPhone or iPad, you know how easy it is to browse around the app store. It is not hard to find some way to spend your app store gift cards.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a spare iTunes card laying around, you can try what I do to stretch your app dollars. I have found several websites that monitor the price of apps, and they will feature apps that go ‘on sale’ or even free.
If you want to go a step further, you can even sign up to receive emails from the sites to receive sale notification. I have enough junk mail, so I just visit the site directly. There are even apps that you can download to browse sale and free apps, but again, I prefer to visit the site directly.
http://www.iosnoops.com/

This is my favorite of the three because of the rating system. When you see an app you are interested in you can click to see a description. If you scroll down toward the bottom you will see “Our Verdict”. I have found the verdict to be pretty accurate.
The following two sites are very similar, but sometimes will feature different apps.
http://appshopper.com/
http://www.bestappsales.com/

As with anything, use your own discretion when purchasing/downloading apps. With hundreds of thousands of apps available, many of them are not of very good quality. Many times I have downloaded an app only to have to delete it after two minutes because it did not do what it was supposed to do.

What kind of apps do you use? Do you know any other sites to find sale or free apps? Leave a comment and let me know.

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FamilyTalk ranks #18 on an Amazon best seller list!


You may have seen some earlier posts I wrote about Family Devotion times, or my book- FamilyTalk: a guide to family devotions.  Whether you have seen the posts or not, I have some exciting news to share.

After much reading, learning, and experimenting I finally formatted my book for Amazon.  The link went live on New Years Day, and after a few sales and several reviews from people that already had the print version, FamilyTalk ranked #18 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for its category.  That means out of over 300 books in the category, it ranked #18 in it’s first day!

Check out FamilyTalk on Kindle!

Amazon Best Sellers- best Children's Christian

That may not mean much to you, but that was very exciting for me.  It was not long after that I noticed it was #1 in the Hot New Releases for it’s category.

FamilyTalk- a guide to family devotions- Ron Brooks- Amazon.com- Kindle Store

If you haven’t seen it yet, it is listed at a great price right now on Amazon.  If you have a Kindle, or a Kindle app on an ipad or iphone this would be a great investment for your family.  If you decide to get a copy, don’t forget to leave me a review!  And you are welcome to post your thoughts here too

Top Leadership quotes from CMLeaders


So I’ve had a little time to start processing everything from the CMLeaders conference.  If you weren’t there, I would highly recommend you attend next year.  I searched through my twitter account to find some of the quotes I posted during the conference.  I understand that sometimes a quote out of context may not mean much to you, but this list is just as much for my sake as it is yours.  At least this way I have all of my ‘top quotes’ in a single place.

Your devotional time determines your emotional time @craigjohnson5

Kids don’t need to love me, they need to know someone loves them @samluce

Help those u lead succeed and shine brighter than u do. @samluce

We need to get back to “Jesus is everything” @samluce

The value of a volunteer in the United States is $27.79 per hour. – Sheila Robinson Continue reading

Thoughts from CMLeaders conference


I just got back from the very first CMLeaders conference, put on by INCM (International Network of Children’s Ministry).  It was a GREAT experience.  As expected, the quality of speakers was top-notch.  I walk away challenged to not only be a better leader, but a better follower as well.  I have just started to review and begin to process my 25 pages of notes.

The structure of the conference was great.  There were no breakout sessions, only large group ‘TEDTalk’ style sessions.  This was nice because I did not have to worry about choosing the wrong session or wondering what I would miss out on in the break out group I didn’t go to. Continue reading

4 steps to better teaching and storytelling


Speaking to children is much different than speaking to adults. An adult usually has the self-control to sit and listen, even when not interested. A child, no matter the age, does not possess that same skill. They may be able to sit for a few minutes, but if they aren’t interested, you will soon know it. If you find yourself presented with the opportunity to teach children, whether in a  classroom, a library, a small group, a ministry,  a Sunday School, or you name the setting, there are a few things I have learned over the years that could be beneficial.

It is important to remember that everyone learns  differently. The fact is most of us will teach the way that we learn best. The problem with that is there will always be kids you are dealing with who learn differently. If you are  not prepared to vary your methods, you can be sure you will lose many of them. And we all know what happens once a child is no longer interested. Let the discipline issues begin!

There are lots more tips and tricks you could employ, but here are 4 that will help take your teaching or story telling to a new level. Continue reading

2 questions away from a ministry or classroom improvement


The dictionary says a consultation is a time of seeking advice, guidance or information. To consult means to consider or deliberate or to take counsel. We often consult with a doctor before special treatment. We consult with a lawyer before signing legal documents. A time of consulting is a time of informing yourself of the state of your current condition, or before a major decision.

So, what is the state of your current ministry or classroom? Are you getting ready to make a major decision? Who have you consulted with concerning either of these two situations?  It is wise to gather information, ask opinions, and seek counsel and advice no matter what stage you are at or how good you think things are going.

Often those that we ‘consult’ with are close to the situation. Those close to you
have similar views and opinions as you. It is nice to have the advice or opinion of
those outside of your circle to help you asses your situation. A fresh set of eyes
can help you see things you may take for granted, or things you may not even see at
all. Continue reading

5 classroom and behavior management tips and tricks


Classroom/Behavior Management tips

School is starting soon, so I thought I would share a little from my days as a teacher.  As you know, many of my thoughts have ministry applications, and this one is no different.  Whether you are a classroom teacher, a home school teacher, a Sunday School teacher,  kids ministry leader, or even a parent, this may be something that can help.  When I was teaching there was something we called ‘classroom management’. I know that you may be in a small group/classroom setting, or you may be in a large group setting, but either way, the principles are the same.

Classroom management (sometimes behavior management) is something that I learned over several years of trial and error. It was a skill that I often make use of in parenting and also in a ministry setting.   A key to remember is the more you are able to identify and reinforce positive behavior, the less you need to try to discourage negative behavior. Most of the time the kids will want to imitate the positive behavior you are rewarding, because they like the reward and affirmation.

In ministry settings I have often divided the group into 2 teams, usually boys against girls.  This may or may not work in your setting, and if it doesn’t you still should be able to find a way to adapt these ideas.

Zonk Board:

This is large felt board with large felt circles. On the back of the circles are various point values. When you want to reinforce a positive behavior you can allow the child to choose a circle. Add the points to that team’s total. On the back of two circles put a ZONK, which means no points are awarded. (see the photo)

Continue reading