Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV84) Do you remember elementary school? I sure do!  Sitting in metal desks, playing kickball during all three recess times, and, of course, writing “I will not talk in class” on the black board 100 times over recess only to watch Mrs. Sowers erase my chalk scribbles immediately after I completed my punishment are just some of the memories I hold on to.  Ah, the good ol’ days, right? But one of my favorite elementary school memories was something my parents did for me back in 3rd grade: they enrolled me in Camp Joy El’s “Bible Released Time.”  Released Time allowed students to be released from their classrooms once a week to go to an offsite location to receive Bible teaching.  From its inception, Released Time included Scripture memory, and we...

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land-- the LORD is his name.  Amos 5:8 (NIV) The night was close, hanging on us like a damp sweater in the mid-July summer swelter of the South Florida Keys.  John Pennekamp State Park was abuzz not only with scores of family campers and Boy Scouts but also with scores of ravenous mosquitoes and “No-See-Ums” anxious to feast on our exposed arms and legs.  And the zings and stings on our skin were a jarring reminder that it was dinner time for the bugs!  Seeking relief, a fellow scoutmaster and I led a group of about a half dozen scouts through the dense forest to a marina less than a quarter mile away.  To our delight, the...

  My totally unexpected first thought of parenting… There’s a first time for everything: tying your shoes; shaving; flunking a math test; and driving.  But this time was different – very different – so different that it would irrevocably change our lives in an amazingly unexpected way. It was Friday, February 20, 1998, and, by necessity of a scheduled C-section at Andrews Air Force Base, my bride and I would soon be thrust into first-time parenthood – rookie parents for sure! Can you reimagine that moment, too? After 10 months of growing anticipation followed by several traumatic delivery room moments including both mama’s and child’s racing heartbeats, God climatically blessed us with the most welcome of sounds, so clear, so precious, so purposeful.  In that instant the gasping, tiny cries of our newborn daughter, Elizabeth Mae Zimmerman, flooded the room like the welcoming morning’s sunshine unbounded by a raised up window blind.  Like so many...