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

Blog

No Thanksgiving Eat And Show! . . . A Smartphone Challenge. . .

Whenever we’d sing it we knew Thanksgiving was on its way. It was the standard Thanksgiving hymn from my childhood: “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing. . . ” I suppose most of us will be gathering together tomorrow. But will our “together” really be what it should be? Will it be a... more »

Spacey, Moore, Louis C.K., Weinstein, etc. . . . And Ten Years Hence. . .

Something hit me last Wednesday night when I was speaking to a group of parents, grandparents, and youth workers in the Philly area. I was presenting some of our No Parent Left Behind material and we were in the midst of talking about teenage physical development. We focus on the changes in the body, and the emerging... more »

What Youth Ministry Is Not About. . . And Something To Ponder. . .

Forty years ago next summer I will have been in youth ministry for 40 years. Those of you who have been doing youth ministry for four days, four weeks, four months, or four years must think of that as an eternity. You might wonder, “What was it like to minister to kids when they were... more »

Stranger Things. . . And A Golden Opportunity To Nurture Kids. . .

It’s back. Stranger Things that is. I’m glad. Perhaps I’m just a big kid, but watching season 1 of the Netflix series hooked me. I’m not a science fiction fan so the attraction was a bit of a surprise to me. I get why so many kids binge-watched the first season, and why so many will... more »

Youth Workers. . . Going Deep?. . .

How do we best glorify God and serve kids in youth ministry? I’m not sure there’s any way better than pursuing a pathway to spiritual growth and depth ourselves. Rather than spending our time curating style, we need to pursue substance. The former often-times become a great tool in the arsenal of the enemy. Get... more »

Me Too, Sexual Aggression, and Harvey Weinstein. . .

Late last week I scrolled through a list of two-dozen-plus actresses who were opening up and telling their stories of sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein. Careful reading of their stories wasn’t necessary to lead one to conclude that if the allegations are true, this guy has engaged in some deplorable behavior. .... more »

Youth Workers. . . Seeking Spotlight Fame or Shadowed Faithfulness? . . .

There’s a question I’m asked quite often that either makes me smile, or makes me cringe. The asker is always a youth worker. The ask typically takes place while I’m gathering my things after a seminar or other presentation. Here’s the question: “How can I do what you do?” I smile when the question is... more »

Social Media. . . And The Sharing Of Ignorant Noise. . .

Regrets. . . I’ve had a few. . . well, more than few. The older I get, the more I realize that my default setting is to be and do in ways that lead to a hindsight oftentimes filled with regret. There are far too many thoughts that have gone straight from my brain to... more »

Sometimes, Scripture Scares The Hell Out Of Me. . .

There’s a place where Jesus addresses “whoever” that pushes hard on me whenever I read it. I read it again this morning. And to be honest, I should probably be reading it everyday. He says to his disciples, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better... more »

Hugh Hefner Wrecked My Life. . . Sort Of. . .

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, died last night. Based on your age, you may or may not be aware of just how significant a cultural figure the man known as “Hef” actually was. . . or perhaps I should more accurately say is. Shortly after his death last evening, his son Cooper stated that his father... more »

The NFL. . . Thoughts Today. . .

First off. . . four things. . . I love football. I’m a life-long die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan. . . which means I’ve been dying-hard once a year for my entire life. Our culture is spiraling around in a head-spinning mess that reeks of disunity more-and-more every day. Things are changing and they are changing... more »

A Letter To Senior Pastors. . . .

Dear Pastor, I’ve asked your youthworker to forward this letter on to you. It’s about the kids in your congregation and the powerful role that you play – as their pastor – in their spiritual nurture. I know that you’ve got teenagers sitting in your congregation every week. From your vantage point up front, you... more »

Youth Workers. . . Will You Mobilize Students For Hurricane Aid?

By this time tomorrow we’ll have a fairly good idea of the extent of damage that will be done due to Hurricane Irma. Add that damage to what’s happened already from Hurricane Harvey, and as they said on the news tonight, it’s “devastation.” I’m guessing that most of you will be scheduling Harvey and/or Irma... more »

Youth Workers – Are You Giving Parents Bubbles?

When scuba divers are down deep, it is easy for them to become confused and disoriented. Since water diffuses light, divers often find themselves surrounded by illumination, making it difficult to discern which way is up. Feeling weightless and without a sense of gravity contributes to this confusion. The only way to distinguish up from... more »

The Power Of Teachers. . . It’s Back-To-School. . .

I’m like Pavlov’s dog. Since today is the first day of school in our community, the school bus went down the street bright and early. . . and I began to “salivate.” In this case, salivation takes the form of a quick memory-whisk back to my own summer endings and school beginnings. . . and... more »

Social Media Eclipse. . . .

Yesterday’s solar event clearly points to the amazing realities of Creation, Providence, and the order that God has placed in our world. The eclipse and all the emerging science also points to the reality of the imago dei. . . the fact that humanity is the crowning point of His creation. . . that we... more »

What Is The Goal Of Your Youth Ministry This School Year? . . .

Okay. . . . this one might get me in some trouble. And it’s all because I’m increasingly convinced that we’re doing something wrong in youth ministry. . . and perhaps in ministry in general. We’ve been chugging along thinking that we’ve been doing it right. As a result, we continue to do it wrong... more »

The Empty Promise of Stuff. . .

When you’re a kid, the prospects for happiness and fulfillment seem endless. There’s a yearning for the accumulation of experiences and material things. . . all of which, at some point, we believe will allow us to rest our heads on our pillows at night with a sense of satisfaction and completeness that is permanent.... more »

Praying For Our Kids. . . Beautiful And True After 400 Years. . .

When the nexus occurs, it brings great joy. It happened again yesterday. . . and it always leaves me excited.  Yes, God still speaks. I reached the milestone of 61 years on this earth yesterday. (The birthdays seem to come around more quickly these days, and I seriously feel like yesterday was the day I... more »

Scripture. . . Not What You Think It Means. . .

One of my morning companions over the course of the last 25 years is Scripture Union’s Encounter With God. For the last several days it’s been taking us through the latter half of Genesis. What I read this morning prompted a memory of a conversation from my high school days that shaped me in ways I... more »