Purposeful Parenting

Going for Broke

We all want was is best for our kids but what does purposeful parenting look like in practice?

Follow the creator of Anton’s Antics’ as he negotiates the challenges of being a parent.

“The blog's slogan started off as a joke between my wife and I, as it can be tough making ends meet and parenting is not easy. I want to hear Jesus say ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ with what He has entrusted to me.  We have to go for broke don’t we?

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Kids ‘outdo’ adults on NY resolutions

sydney-harb-firework-blogIt’s New Year’s Eve and we’re sitting around the restaurant table, playing simple improv theatre games to pass the time while waiting for our meals to arrive. Then one of our kids starts thinking about 2019, and for once, perhaps the very first time, we start talking about what we what to keep and what we want to be different in 2019.

I’m astonished when one of the kids shares that their goal is to keep inviting their friends to youth group, hoping some will come regularly, others to step up into youth church as well.


 It wasn’t her only goal, there were other ambitions as well, but it was a great reminder of what’s really important in life…

...'from the mouth of babes'…right?

My goals were far less grand.

Things like cracking on with a video series for preschool age kids. It’s been on the back burner for a while, breaking my heart…so in 2019 I want to get back on the horse and give it more than just a kick start.

Often people have personal well-being or health goals like:

‘I want to quit smoking’, others ‘alcohol’.

What about turning away from specific sin?

What about quitting gossip, slander, covetousness, non-contentment, jealousy, anger, hatred?

How often do we target our character, our godliness?

If only to be a sporting hero, we’d wash that sin away and rebrand overnight.

Australia’s summer has been rocked by the poor performance of our national cricket team against a top Indian line up. One of the main reasons for our lack luster batting has been the loss of our two best batsmen, Smith and Warner. They were banned from playing for 1 and 2 years respectively for ‘cheating’; scuffing the cricket ball up with some sandpaper to try and win advantage against South Africa.

But now, nearly one year later, out they come with TV ads telling us they want to ‘take responsibility’ and ‘come back better than before’…all the while earning lucrative sponsorship money through the advert!

I never knew repentance could be so profitable.

For most of us, it’s just hard slog.

We may not be forgiven by those we’ve hurt.

Our progress may not be noted.

We don’t have a PR machine to spin us into the people we want others to believe we have become.

I don’t normally set New Year’s Resolutions, how about you?


Goals are different.

Without aiming for something, we’re bound to hit our target, right? i.e. nothing.

I don’t want to hit nothing…do you?

Last year I didn’t put much thought into it. I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t set myself any specific targets. Maybe I just didn’t feel enough control over my circumstances to set concrete goals. I remember making that decision not to make a decision all through 2018 and regretted it.

We still did good things.

For example, Anton did a new devotion series in James, then we even revisited it with your help and tweaked it up a few notches, now we’re going to expand on it and take it up few more notches. It’s exciting, teaching kids the Bible verse by verse. Wow!

But in retrospect, I’d rather set some specific goals for 2019 and reach for them, risking the disappointment of missing those targets, than not.

Without specific targets, I found myself getting business done, but without the focus, pressure or edge needed to drive me.

So, this year, I decided ‘enough of that’.

Would you like to join me?

Here are some ideas or goal areas for you to mull over before 2019 gets too far underway:

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3 Recent Threats To Kids' Freedom Parents Can’t Ignore

roxanne-desgagnesice sheetsgimpWhen the temperature plummets or suddenly spikes, it’s the small talk of the day, right?

‘What is this, winter in the middle of summer?’

‘I know it’s crazy!’

But when the temperature just rises a little, over time…well that’s manageable and no fodder for small talk. You’d be a right bore to make small talk with the mums at the school drop off about how evenly the temperature is rising! What our bodies do is adjust to the rise in temperature and accept the new conditions.

What’s this all got to do with raising kids to be godly or being purposeful in our ministry to kids?

Our western, democratic societies are gradually raising the heat against Christianity and it’s easy for us to comfortably adapt, lower our expectations and relinquish our space to others who speak louder.

We are not seeing outrageous, sudden spikes in persecution against Christ in our societies, but we are seeing a slower, gradual shrinking of the breathing space of Christ and his church in those societies.

I’ve got three examples in the past week that have had media coverage in Australia and which directly affect our kids.

  1. Principals wanting to remove Religion from high schools
  2. Primary School Principals removing the Scripture ‘default’ and instead requiring parents to choose between Scripture, Ethics or nothing upon enrolment
  3. Government seeking to pass legislation that will prevent Christian schools from discriminating over who they employ = Christian schools won’t be able to reject gay teachers.

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Anton's Christmas Sticker Stories Set Standard for Your Ministry

visitor overviewMost kids sit in church on Christmas day next to their parents, itching to get back to their presents. But what if your church could give them a mini-story with stickers and activities that would teach them about the significance of Christmas and keep them occupied during the service?

What if you work at a school and you want a fun packed activity that will explore the Christmas message with zero preparation for you to do?

Or maybe you’re a mum or dad, just looking for a new way to ‘do the Christmas story’ at home?

Whether its your church, school or home, Anton's Sticker Stories raises the bar on the ministry to your kids this Christmas

But time is getting short, you really must order Anton’s Amazing Christmas Sticker Stories NOW!

What makes Anton's Sticker Stories so good?

Anton’s Antics sets the standard for superior kid’s resources.

  • First, there's the beautiful stickers – kids love them!
  • Second, there's the incredible quality of the illustrations
  • Third, there's the way each story is packed with a variety of activities on each page and…
  • Drum roll…there's the fresh way each sticker story teaches the Christmas story, while remaining Bible focused.

Four different story lines, two age versions

 Plus, there’s four different story lines to choose from and two different age groups, before school (3-5-year old’s) and school age (6-12-year old’s) sticker stories.

Don't miss out, make Christmas super easy and set the standard high!

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How long before your kids lose interest in the Bible?

bored-gonzalo-arnaiz-129020-unsplashblogAsk yourself:

If I gave my kids (or the kids I teach) a short passage of Scripture, would they have the skills to interpret the passage?

Or would they cherry pick the bits that make sense or they like most?

Cherry picker, right?!

Kids love reading the Bible, but their early enthusiasm will soon be lost if they can’t see the Bible’s relevance for their lives. Unless they can learn how to link ideas in a passage together and break out beyond the straight narratives they’ve become familiar with, they’ll grow bored and miss God’s purpose for them.

But we're not giving up right?

Kids can kick goals for Jesus!

Kids can make a difference in the world, in their families, in their schools if they believe God’s word is relevant to their daily walk.

So, how do we make sure they ‘grow into God’s word’? Not grow out of it!

Why your kid needs to interpret the Bible, verse by verse, for themselves.

Initially stories and lessons from the Scriptures will be fine but as they grow toward their teens, they’ll need more ‘meat on the bone’. Actually, they’ll need to know how to find the bones of Scripture, link them together and what they mean for our daily lives.

Unless they learn to read and interpret the Bible for themselves it will soon become a fog of disconnected, random ideas that don’t clearly seem relevant to their daily lives.

Then, it’s another young life, ineffective and unproductive in the Lord.

Or worse, a ‘I don’t want to go to church anymore’, teenager.

The old parable stands true for personal Bible reading:

Give a person a fish and they’ll be fed for a day. Show a person how to fish and they can feed themselves for life.

Yet most kid’s ministries, most families, just give their kids a fish. We fail to teach them ‘how to catch a fish’ or ‘how to interpret the Bible, verse by verse, for themselves.

Give a child a Bible story and they’ll be fed for a day. Show a child how to interpret a passage of Bible verses and they can feed themselves for life!

I’m here to help guys, so reach out…or better try out my latest work…FREE

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From Bored to Brave: Reigniting Spiritual Growth in 9-12 y.o.’s One Verse At A Time

unpollutedpicFBthumbAre your older kids bored by the Bible?

Is their faith hitting a plateau or worse, heading for a nose dive?

What about the older kids you lead at kids church or school?

Let’s face it, when they’re younger, kids’ picture Bibles and lessons about key characters are fine. But once they hit about 10 years of age…many kids start disengaging and as parents or leaders we wonder when the Bible might again make an impact on how they live. Or worse, we worry that they’re moving away from the Lord as they hit their teens.

What we need to do is move our kids from just recalling the same old disconnected set of Bible stories and teach them, slowly, how to understand the relationship between verses so that God’s word can impact their daily walk with Him.

My wife and I wanted our kids to continue growing in Christ, loving His word and learning how to interpret it for themselves. But nothing out there existed that did this in a way that was fun and age appropriate...

For the past 10 years I’ve performed live shows teaching the Bible to kids in Australia called Anton’s Antics. Recently, with my own kids I’ve been experimenting with a unique video devotion format that teaches older kids, verse by verse from the Scriptures. That’s right, verse after verse…it’s pretty cool!

Rather than trying to solve big questions, big topics like I had been doing with my shows, I decided to zero in on the 'daily walk' and routine of reading the Scriptures one verse at a time. I began experimenting, doodling on an iPad, explaining small chunks of Scripture together with my crazy friend, Anton. So far, we've covered 12 verses of the letter of James using 5 videos! My kids got heaps out of it, but I'd love to know how your kids respond. 

Here’s your chance to put an end to all those times you sighed thinking about trying to read the Bible with your older kids but felt out of your depth.

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A fresh take on Christmas without breaking the budget

Want to get kids ‘hands on’ with a fresh take on the Christmas story without breaking the budget? 

Anton’s Antics has four different mini-stories with stickers that take a fresh look on the Christmas narratives. Each page is packed with activities like code breakers, join the dots and mazes. There are also 2 versions of each story to cater to different age abilities, school ages (6-12 years old) and before school ages (3-5 years old). Kids absolutely love these and once completed they become a complete story they can keep and re-read at home. Best of all, kids love the stickers because, first, kids love stickers but also because they must put them carefully into the story for it to be complete. Xmas-2015-Before school-shop

Where do Anton’s Sticker Stories get used?

Often the stories get used in schools and churches, so that’s why we put them into packs of 25.


School’s ministries in Australia use them for Scripture classes, often as a gift from their teachers.

Sometimes school chaplains will buy them to give to the kids they’ve been ministering to all year.


Churches use them for Christmas services and holiday lessons when the leadership team might be taking a break. Anton’s Sticker Stories make awesome stand-alone lessons, especially when you’re on a tight crew.

Often at major events churches will buy hundreds and even thousands of the stories to give away to families or kids from the general public. This way the good news can be put into the hands of kids who are at an event and will complete the sticker story at home later.


If you’re looking for an inexpensive, high quality, Bible focused, fun gift for your kids then Anton’s Sticker Stories are impossible to beat. You can purchase a range of the stories in packs of 6 for under $10.

Make your selection today from Anton’s store.

Sold in packs of 25 for churches and schools and look out for the mixed ‘Devotion packs’ of 6 for families.

Here’s the different titles to look out for and remember to choose correctly from either ‘before school’ or ‘school aged’ packs.

Shepherd and the King – follows the story of King David, the shepherds and the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem

Who’s For You? – follows the edict of Caesar Augustus and Mary and Joseph’s travel out of Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Star Struck (School age out of print) – follows the journey of the wise men to follow the King’s star to Jerusalem and then Bethlehem.

The Visitor – follows the announcement of the long-awaited king by the angel to Joseph

Don’t leave it, make your selection and get your order in today before it’s too late!

Contact me for international shipping as the store only includes shipping in Australia

Ready for Christmas?

Christmaskidchris-benson-489184-unsplashblogDo you want to keep Jesus front and centre this Christmas?

Would you like some cool gift ideas that will deepen your kids love for Jesus?

Are you keen to get your hands on some resources that will save your church a lot of hassle making it easier to reach the lost this Christmas?


Then let me show you four amazing ways that Anton can make your Christmas hassle free and completely brilliant…

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I was ready to punch someone by the end of the week

Call me hopeless, but I didn’t cope too well in the past week trying to play 'single dad'.

To make ends meet, my wife took off to a far-flung part of Oz for a week’s work as a locum, leaving dad here, to hold the fort.

Except I wasn’t just holding the fort, I had full time work as well. That means I’m solo dad and full-time worker for the week.

‘Dad where’s my…

Dad I can’t find…

Dad how can I…

Dad can you pick me up…

Dad can Susie come over…

Dad when is mummy coming home…

I miss mummy…’

It’s all dad…the kids have no-where else to go. Even when you’re doing your business…there’s no escape…right mums?

So, after a full and sometimes difficult day at work, I come home sort the clothes, unstack the dishes, make the dinner…and my kids help out, their pretty great really.

But I still feel the exhausted under the weight of holding everything together. They cope better than I do.

At night I barely can be bothered saying good night to the kids. I’m that tired…and we have some elaborate bed time routines, that normally fly smoothly…not this week!

Even though we pray together most nights and I make the effort to read some Bible and pray myself for the first half of the week, by Thursday it’s all coming apart.

I’m toast, I’m roasted…I’m more than done. I'm double baked and charcoal chicken. Every morning I’m waking exhausted. I’ve got less than zero in the tank.

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My Biggest Mistake in Children’s Ministry

Bundle-Image-1-600x327I’d just left four years of theological college behind and landed my first full time job as a children’s pastor. I was thrilled to have landed a job at a church that cared so much about kids and families, they put serious dollars towards a person who could lead their team.

The size of the kid’s ministry on Sunday mornings was a bit daunting. Previously I’d lead small teams and small kids’ ministries of around 30 kids. This position was for over 130 kids! Yet despite my bible college education and years of experience in volunteer Christian ministry, I was about to make the biggest blunder. A blunder that could be averted if the whole church, from parents to pastors, had the right mindset.

I’m not blaming anyone else…it was my fault. I take responsibility.

What was it? How can you avoid it?

What have parents got to do with it?

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What’s the biggest mistake churches make?

fp-church-checklist-350If you’ve been in any form of Christian service, whether it be leading a kid’s ministry or an adult bible study, a creche or a whole church, then you’ll probably have, like me, sighed, at one time or another, wishing you had more leaders.

It goes like this:

‘If only I had more helpers…’

‘We could easily take on more kids but without more leaders I don’t think we should advertise the kids club.’

‘We’re stretched so thin, all we do is run the ministry, we don’t have time for the people in the ministry’

Parents don’t switch off, because we’re not off the hook either. If we don’t raise up our kids to follow us in Christian service, prayer, reading God’s word and godliness, then we are failing to have the impact on our kid’s lives that God seeks from us.

 ‘If only I had some help around the house…I’m overwhelmed’

 ‘Why are the only ever looking out for themselves when they get their breakfast?’

 Big mistake parents make = not raising their kids to be leaders

It is part of our job description to raise up Christian leaders. They may not run churches one day, but they should grow up being teachable and have a self-sacrificing attitude of service to Christ’s church.

It all starts in the family...

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