Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

Blog

Self-Injury. . . The Scream On The Skin. . .

As a culture-watcher, I sometimes like to “rewind” as a way to gain perspective on just how much and how fast youth culture has changed. The practice serves to wake me up at times when familiarity with what was once relatively unknown lulls us to sleep because it’s become all-too-common and widespread. That creates huge... more »

He Makes Her Walk To School. . . This Dad Is Awesome! . . .

This morning, someone I know sent me a link to the video I’ve embedded below. It’s going to be very interesting to see what kind of response snowballs as people watch a 10-year-old girl walking 5 miles to school as discipline for getting thrown off the school bus the day before. Listen as her dad... more »

Detecting Body Image Issues In Teens. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

We’re told that the average teen in America sees between 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages a day. So many of those messages picture idealized human beings. . . defined primarily by appearance. These standards imprint themselves into the minds and hearts of our kids. As they grow and ponder what they see in the mirror,... more »

What Do Kids Brag About On Social Media?

I ran across this data on teens and social media bragging/boasting from Pew today. I’m reminded that our sinful/broken default setting leads us to try to assuage and eliminate our insecurities (we all have them) any way we can. Social media, if we’re not careful, can become an enticing playground on which to boast. .... more »

Youth, Faith, and Church. . . Will They Stay Or Will They Go? . . .

I’ve been around way too long to think that it really isn’t an issue. Sadly, my personal “way too long” includes way too many stories of kids who were a part of my youth groups. . . who then graduated from high school, youth group, and church. And judging from the number of ministry efforts... more »

Navigating The Difficult Sexual Issues With Kids. . .

“Transgender” . . . “Pansexual”. . . “LGBTQ” . . . “Hook-Up”. . . every one of those terms was part of a foreign language for those of doing youth ministry in the 1970s and 1980s. I could have ventured a guess on definitions, but I certainly had no idea on the specifics regarding how... more »

Thanksgiving Communication With Teens. . .

Happy Thanksgiving! Your kids are home for a few extra days of vacation, you spend more time around the table at meals, and you might even be spending extended periods of time together in the car as you travel to visit family and friends. The good news is that all this time together opens doors... more »

The Deadly Path of Following Your Heart. . .

It’s the mantra for life in today’s world. It accurately reflects the spirit of the times. It’s a recipe for disaster, destruction, and death. It’s the advice we give, get, and follow so often in today’s world: “Follow your heart.” I’m pondering those three dangerous words this morning as I prepare to speak this week... more »

Kids and Sleep. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

If we are truly called as followers of Christ to do all things to the glory of God, then we’ve got to include sleep in that list. Yes. . . sleep is actually a form of worship. Who knew?!? And since worship of God through sleep requires holding to that sacred rhythm of work and rest... more »

Teens And Dating Abuse. . .

If you start your day with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, you are aware of two realities in today’s world. First, relationships and dating among our teenagers are horribly broken. And if that’s the case, then those of us who love, lead, and minister to kids need to embrace... more »

Facing Grief And Other Difficult Stuff. . . This I Know. . .

A recounting of a 1962 interaction during a post-lecture Q and A session between a university student and the late theologian Karl Barth tells of the inquisitive student asking Barth, “Can you summarize your whole life’s work in theology in a sentence?” Barth answered, “Yes, I can. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the... more »

Grief. . . and God. . .

Things are not the way they’re supposed to be. God’s good creation has been broken, marred, and distorted by sin. Death is now part of our lives. Perhaps we put off the thoughts until the tragedy of death hits home. . . or close to home. After a weekend where thoughts of brokenness and death... more »

Friday Fodder. . . The Meaning of Sex. . .

Navigating the emerging landscape of sexuality and gender is a difficult endeavor in today’s culture. How do we come to a deep understanding of the Creator’s design for sex, sexuality, and gender? How do promote human flourishing (facilitated by God’s design) when we are taught that human flourishing comes through authenticity and allegiance to one’s... more »

Teens and Texting While Driving. . . A Helpful Infographic and Advice. . .

Did you know that almost 40% percent of driving-aged teens here in the U.S. say they text while driving. One of the first times I ever spoke publicly on this issue here in Pennsylvania I was saddened to learn that a grieving mother was in the audience. She was on a mission to warn other... more »

A Letter to Youth Workers. . . (aka “Theologians”) . . .

“We’re not going to be talking about theology here.” I’ve heard that statement uttered many times as a preface to a youth ministry training session. I’m not sure that maybe I haven’t said something like that myself on occasion. If so, please forgive me. I don’t ever want to say it again. Theology matters. If... more »

Friday Fodder. . . Teaching Kids About The Surety Of Troubles. . .

“Come and follow Jesus. . . and everything will fall into place.” Count me in as someone who has heard, believed, and sought after that reality over the course of my life. In many respects these words are true when understood in the context of what we wait for with eager expectation. But I came... more »

Youth Ministry’s Crucial Cultural Mission. . .

Because I grew up in a Pastor’s home, we oftentimes had missionaries visit and stay with us. I remember listening to the stories and watching the slide shows they’d deliver during the all-ages Sunday School hour. These encounters shaped my understanding of “mission.” I rapidly learned that the Christian’s calling is to fulfill the Great... more »

Youth Workers. . . Nurturing Parents Into Nurturing Their Kids. . .

Youth workers. . . three realities about life and youth ministry. . . and one response. . . Reality 1) Jesus calls us to “come and follow me” in every nook and cranny of life. Discipleship training must touch every square inch of a student’s life. Reality 2) Marketing is a nook and cranny usually... more »

Transgender Kids. . . And Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria. . .

I’m not sure that there’s anything these days that’s created a greater cultural buzz in our youth groups and churches than the issue of transgenderism. For those of us who are older, the long-view of life offers a perspective that leads us to conclude that at least to this point, nothing has jumped on to... more »

A Message To Moms About Their Influence On Body Image. . . .

Several years ago I embarked on a little journey into the world of advertising to get a better sense of how marketing has shaped body image pressures and expectations for our girls. I began by looking at marketing efforts to women who were a part of my grandmothers’ generation. . . those born at the... more »