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

Blog

Cellphone Addiction. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

Tethered to our devices. . . that’s what we are. Do we really need to be this connected to our digital tools. . . especially when our digital tools steal our attention from the people in our lives and noble pursuits? And, what are we doing to keep our kids from going down this habit-forming... more »

Another Tragedy. . . Beginning the Day After. . .

It’s all over the news. . . and it should be. And as is always the case in the minutes, hours, days, and weeks after, social media is overflowing with finger-pointing and arguments over solutions. We’ve heard that before, as well. These discussions must be had, for sure. But I would suggest that our first... more »

Fifty Shades Freed. . . A Plea To Christian Parents And Youth Workers. . .

Thirty-nine million dollars. That’s the gross for the weekend’s #1 film. . . the just-released Fifty Shades Freed. . . the third installment in the Fifty Shades series. We all know what the movie is about. No need to go see it or recount the plot. But that’s certainly not what everyone is believing and doing. Just like... more »

Youth Ministry. . . Addressing The Sad Reality of Sexual Abuse. . .

This morning, I stumbled upon an article I had written almost 10 years ago for Youthworker Journal. At the time, the issue of sexual abuse of children hadn’t yet assumed the oh-so-necessary place that it increasingly holds in our culture. Yes, we talk about it more. . . and we should. Yes, the Larry Nassar story... more »

Football, A Parade, And Perspective. . .

If you are a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, how did you feel in the days leading up to the Super Bowl? And what have you been thinking in the days since? How would you answer the same questions if you are a fan of the New England Patriots? And if you are a fan... more »

Crazy Love. . . A Valentine’s Preview. . .

There was a father-son conversation that several times left me scratching my adolescent head. I kept coming back to my dad’s words over the course of my teenage years for the simple reason that they were so contrary to my own teenage reality. I was so baffled by it all that I think I brought... more »

Only A Game? . . . Thoughts On What Spectating Tells Me About Me. . .

Last night I watched a panel of pundits on ESPN ponder and debate what’s going through the heart and mind of Nick Foles in the days leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. Over the course of the last week, I’ve heard numerous others talk about the thoughts and feelings of all the other players. .... more »

Big Game. . . Big Marketing $. . . Big Ministry Opportunity. . .

Does marketing work? You bet! If it didn’t work, then why are companies willing to fork out $5 million for a 30-second commercial spot during this year’s Super Bowl? If you’re one of those parents or youth workers who plan on shutting off the commercials during the Super Bowl, let me ask you one question:... more »

Kids, Cutting, and Self-Injury. . . And a Helpful Handout. . .

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 »

Kids And Self-Harm. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

An epidemic. That’s what its become. It is now estimated that 105 of kids in the U.S. deliberately engage in self-harm. Far too many are cutting. I’ve blogged on cutting in the past. We’ve had a “Youth Culture Matters” podcast discussion with my good friend Marv Penner, an expert on the issue of self-injury. And,... more »

Reminders For Parents Of Questioning Kids. . .

Yesterday I sat with a group of parents concerned. . . and rightly so. . . about the challenges they face in communicating the biblical narrative to their children and teens when the cultural narrative is so loud, so pervasive, and so convincing. The questioning attitude of a teenage child who has been raised and instructed... more »

Dr. Larry Nassar. . . And A Culture of Enablers. . .

The story coming out of a Michigan courtroom this week is sobering, horrifying, and one that cannot be avoided. Dr. Larry Nassar’s systemic serial abuse of more young ladies than we probably know is frightening. More than 150 brave girls stepped forward during the sentencing phase of his trial to address the ongoing fallout his... more »

Teen Suicide. . . Warning Signs (Part 4). . .

Here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, our local paper regular publishes the Coroner’s Report. Last week, I spotted the November report and read it. Sixty-four deaths investigated.  Many listed as “natural.” Others listed as “accidental.” Six were listed as “suicide.” Some of those were young. The reality is that any time a human being chooses the... more »

A Theology of Masturbation. . . Tackling One of the Toughest Questions. . .

Yes, we want our kids to ask questions about God’s good gift of sex, gender, and sexuality. We might not be well-prepared to answer their questions, but as many parents have said to me, “It’s easier for my kids to bring up the questions rather than me!” But there’s one question that always seems to... more »

Teen Suicide. . . Warning Signs (Part 3). . .

Kids who are considering the dark road of suicide will many times tip you off by giving signals and signs. The last two blog posts looked at the first two (emotional and physical) categories of signals and signs that we can be looking for. Today, we look at the third category known as behavioral cries. Teens... more »

Teen Suicide. . . Warning Signs (Part 2). . .

Teen suicide. . . the reality is sobering. It’s on the rise. And, we need to be aware. Certainly our response must be prophetic (instilling biblical hope and the reason for living in kids) and preventive (taking steps to build relationships with kids that build resiliency, for eexample). And sadly, we must also be redemptive.... more »

Teen Suicide. . . Warning Signs (Part 1). . .

Last week we hunkered down in the CPYU studio to record a rather difficult yet necessary upcoming episode of our Youth Culture Matters podcast. We interviewed our good friend Marv Penner, tapping into his years of expertise in youth crisis intervention to get some help with how to address the issues of teen suicide. .... more »

Forty Minutes Of Conviction. . .

It is what got us in trouble in the first place. . . way back in the Garden. We still invite it in to do its dastardly and destructive work in our lives. It is pride. On this morning’s walk, I listened to one of my favorite preacher/teachers, Tim Keller. I want to encourage you... more »

Suffering. . . The Missing Element In Youth Ministry? . . .

When our kids graduate from our youth ministries and our homes, what will they have learned? And. . . will what they have learned reflect a balanced and truthful understanding of just what it means to follow Jesus? Ask me that latter question in the speed of the moment and I will shoot back with... more »

At What Age Should A Child Get A Smartphone? . . . .

Is it my age? My experience? Is it good old common sense? Or, is it some combination of all three? I haven’t yet figured out where its coming from, but “it” is the way that I’m teetering very close to telling parents to buck the trend and love your kids by keeping the smartphone out... more »