Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Articles Worth Reading and other Misc.

Here are some articles that caught my eye the past few days:
Growing Gap Between the Rich and the Poor
Channel 9 included this article on their website this week. The recent census shows a record gap between the rich and the poor. Some interesting information from the census was also included in this email. It's a good reminder that God has given us what we have so that we can bless others. Just like he told Abraham in Genesis 12:2

Saffron Coffee 
This is an article about a group Parkside has partnered with in Laos, that helps farmers who used to grow opium learn to grow Coffee. Pretty cool concept and pretty good coffee!

Family Dinner Helps Teens Avoid Drinking and Using Drugs
This article is from Time magazine.  I hope you don't find it surprising that the teens from families that spend more time together are less likely to try drugs or alcohol. It's definitely worth it to make some sacrifices to be able to eat as a family.

UFO's Studying our Nuclear Weapons?
This one comes straight out of left field. A group of former Air Force Officials held a press conference where they all stated that they think that Aliens have come and studied our Nuclear Missiles. They even go as far as to say the Aliens temporarily disabled them. Somebody call Will Smith before this gets out of hand!

Previous Blog Entries:
Youth Ministry 3.0

Last Year's Middle School Retreat 

Part One: Are We Talking About the Same Person?

Part Two: Do As I Say Not As I Do

Oh and this is just a little tag on, but I am speaking this Friday at Miami Valley Christian Academy. They asked me to speak about what it means to seek God. Any thoughts on that topic and what it means?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Check out this article from CNN.COM that is a collection of little white lies that parents have told their kids. No worries this isn't some set-up for a convo about white lies. Everybody loves shows like Kids Say the Darndest Things and this article is just kind of the Parent version of that.

Pretty funny stuff too:
White Lies We've Told Our Kids

I think my favorite from the article is:
Before moving into our house, I told my kids that we paid extra to have it sprayed for ghosts.
--Amy Talcott Kennard; Peoria, Illinois

How about you Moms and Dads? What are some of the 'white lies' you have told your kids? The best comment on this post after a week will get a free Rel Community or Isaiah117Challenge T-Shirt.

(Just to get you all thinking, when I was a kid I wrote a letter to my favorite singer. My mom wrote a fake letter back pretending it was from the singer's mom. I totally believed it was really his mom too. I fell for it hook line and sinker...)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Cool and Convenient Tool For Student Ministers

For a little while I have been trying out this thing called SNAPIT by Digeus, which is a program for your computer that makes saving images from your computer screen really easy and convenient. Here is how it works. You open the program and it is a small icon on your toolbar. When you want to save an image from your computer screen you press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. Then you simply highlight the area you would like to take a picture of on your screen and it automatically takes a picture of that portion of your screen. Here is an example.

Here is how your computer would normally take a picture of your screen:
Normally if you want only a specific part of the screen captured you then have to crop the picture and it ends up pixelated. The whole process can take you a few minutes too.

Here is how you can do it with SNAPIT... I took this picture from the same screen pictured above:

Pretty cool huh? It's quick, easy and a better quality with just cropping the image. I love how quick it is and how simply it is to use. I've been having fun goofing off with it too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We Are Having a Baby!

I am so glad that I can finally let all of you know that Alicia and I are going to have a baby! We have waited as long as we could before we let everyone know. We wanted to be sure that our families knew first, and that we had made it through most of the first trimester.

So here is the info. Our baby's due date is April 1st (No fooling I promise!) and just this past week we got to hear the babies heartbeat. We are really excited! Thanks for celebrating this with us, and for praying that this child will be healthy and do great things for God.

It's pretty crazy to think that I am going to be a dad. Is the world ready for that?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Part Two: Do As I Say Not As I do

Last week I asked everyone to read an article by CNN's John Blake about Teens becoming Fake Christians. The article was the result of a study done by Princeton professor, Kenda Creasy Dean, about the shallowness of teens' faith, and their general inability to talk about their faith/beliefs. In my opinion the most notable finding of the study was that most teens who profess a faith in God, practice something that Dean calls 'Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,' which in short means they believe God exists, wants them to be good, and be happy. Somewhere Christianity has been misconstrued to teenagers, because following Jesus is so much more than just 'being good' and he didn't die just so we could 'be happy.'

At the end of my last post I challenged everyone to join the discussion about where the disconnect was, and what we should be doing about it. Some of the causes we came up with were that America's 'What's in it for me?' Culture, the medias constant advertising barrage, self-centered morals, and a lack of genuine Christ followers.

I have a nephew who is nearly 2 years old named Ryan. Alicia and I got to visit him just last week at my parents' house. Right now Ryan is at a stage where he will do absolutely whatever you tell him. We had our miniature dachshund, Hans, with us and he started licking Ryan's face. "Ryan," I said, "When he licks you, you should give him kisses back." Sure enough, Ryan leaned in right away and started trying to lick Hans. The moral of the story isn't just that I'm a bad Uncle either.

Its not just toddlers who mimic what they see or do whatever they are told. Ryan, will grow out of the stage where he quickly does whatever is suggested to him, but he won't outgrow looking at the people around him to see how he should act and behave. His parents, family, and friends will constantly be shaping his beliefs, and his actions.

One of the passages that Clayton, Paula, and I are always coming back to is Deuteronomy 4:9 where God challenges His people to not forget His words, and to pass them on to their children so that they might now what is right. Ephesians 6:4 echoes that challenge and tells fathers to train and instruct their children in the Lord. Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 11:1 , "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."

Students from early childhood to their late teen years look to the action, behavior, and culture around them to form their own behavior and beliefs. We clearly see in the Bible that God not only recognizes this truth, but created it for us to use to raise up children to follow God and be an active part of God's Kingdom.

John Blake told us on CNN.com that most Christian teens' faith is shallow, and they really can't even express what they believe. We can clearly see how as a child grows up their beliefs and actions are shaped by the people in their lives. So the questions I want you all to answer this week are simple. Are we doing anything as God's church worth following? What's it going to take for teenagers to discover a real faith built on a deep foundation?