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

Blog

Marriage Is Truly A Mystery. . . 40 Years In!

Later this week Lisa and I will be celebrating our 40th Anniversary. Like all might say, “it’s been a blink”. . . or “where has the time gone”. . . or some other cliche that reflects the reality of just how quickly time passes. I’m already pretty deep into the process of remembering and pondering.... more »

Kids As Idols. . . What Does Social Media Say? . . .

If you picked up your smartphone at all yesterday, you know was happening on social media. It was Mother’s Day. God’s good gift of mothers and the power of Godly parenting is what we’ve come to celebrate.  .  . or at least should be celebrating. Like me, you saw plenty of posts thanking and honoring... more »

Understanding and Helping Kids Who Cut. . . Part 3

Self- injury. Cutting. Yes. . . it’s out there and it’s widespread. So, what should we do? First, we must come to an understanding of the path this trend looks to take. We can be sure that the stigma associated with SIB will continue to disappear as this generation’s bloody cry of confusion and self-hate... more »

Understanding Kids Who Cut. . . Part 2. . .

If we care at all about kids we should learn to recognize, understand, and answer these visual cries of a generation longing for spiritual truth, emotional healing, and answers. Self-injurious behavior (SIB) or self-inflicted violence (SIV) has been defined as “the commission of deliberate harm to one’s own body. The injury is done to oneself,... more »

Understanding Kids Who Cut. . . Part 1. . .

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 »

American Youth Ministry: What Would Bonhoeffer See? . . .

This is probably more true than when I first wrote and posted it here back in July of 2011. I had been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer at the time and I was struck by how his writing decades before offered a prophetic and spot-on evaluation of our 21st Century youth ministry world. I stumbled on this... more »

Youth Min & Parenting On The Edge. . . .

Over the course of the last few days, I can’t help but be reminded of the seriousness, complexity, and head-spinning challenges of our times. When Bob Dylan sang to us way back in 1964, little did we or he know how fast things would be morphing as he told us that “The Times They Are-A-Changin’.”... more »

Parents. . . Take 5 Minutes To Learn About Your Kids And Pornography. . .

You can’t effectively address a danger until you see and understand the danger. For the follower of Jesus Christ, Paul’s words in I Corinthians 6:18 offer a warning about the great danger of “sexual immorality”, along with a very blunt four word instruction: “Flee from sexual immorality.” The great challenge for all of us living... more »

Will We Speak Up For The Transgender Kid? . . .

What does it look like to respond with love to our kids who say they are embracing an LGBTQ+ lifestyle? What does it look like to lead them well? We can start by seeing them as God sees them. . . something we’ve often failed to do. One of the great truths of the Creation... more »

“What The Heck Is Easter?”. . . Four Life-Changing Words. . . .

The fallout from our culture’s growing reality of biblical illiteracy hit me hard a couple of years ago when the day after Easter my daughter-in-law, an athletic trainer at a large suburban high school, shared with me a conversation she witnessed between a group of a dozen student athletes who were in the training room.... more »

I Am Free. . . Thank You Jesus. . .

Good Friday. . . thank you Jesus. As I grapple with the glorious and almost incomprehensible meaning of today, I will spend time looking at this David Arms painting that’s in our house. Arms writes this about his painting “Free”: The cross frees us from bondage to all those things that weigh us down…guilt…need for approval…fears... more »

Will Smith, Hillsong, Branding. . . and Me. . .

Brand. While it’s one of the most-used words in today’s lexicon, I’m not sure we should like how it’s being used. Or maybe, we should aim to use it properly. The term brand as it’s most-used these days originated in the world of marketing. . . that sneaky-world where our attention is grabbed, held, and turned into... more »

Youthworkers. . . A Way To Help Parents Teach Easter. . .

The fallout from our culture’s growing reality of biblical illiteracy hit me hard a couple of years ago when the day after Easter my daughter-in-law, an athletic trainer at a large suburban high school, shared with me a conversation she witnessed between a group of a dozen student athletes who were in the training room.... more »

Easter Week, Trauma, and the Cross. . .

We’re almost there. Easter week. . . a week that’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older. In fact, as I’ve gotten older life has gotten worse in many respects, thus leading to new experiences of the joy of Holy Week and all that it means. When I say that life has gotten worse I’m referring... more »

“You’re Not The Boss Of Me”. . . Authority In Today’s World. . .

I’ve long since forgotten what occasioned the fight between two neighborhood boys that required my intervention. Since the scuffle between these two fourth graders was happening in my backyard and I saw it unfolding, I needed to step in. When I told the boys to break it up, one of them looked up at me... more »

Parents and Youth Workers. . . Is Love Love?

“Love is love.” You might be hard-pressed to find a more dangerous three-word combination floating around as a life-shaper (or life-mis-shaper) in today’s culture. It’s thrown around widely and accepted just as widely. . . typically without thought or critique. Understood in the context of today’s youth culture, to love someone means that we affirm... more »

Youthworkers. . . As You Minister To Students Today. . .

As so many of us continue read, study, ponder, and respond personally and in our ministries to contemporary trends that mis-shape and de-form us and our kids, turning us into idol factories. . . including expressive individualism, living intuitively, bowing to the authentic self, creating and curating personal identity, critical theory, the therapeutic, generationalism, etc.... more »

Shepherding Kids 101 For Parents and Youth Workers. . .

It’s been said that a good sermon will comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. That’s certainly what the Word of God does to us. That’s what happened for me on Sunday when I was recalibrated (afflicted!) by a sermon on the book of Ezekiel. Perhaps it can happen for you. Our pastor, Chris Walker,... more »

The Latest On Media Use By Teens & Tweens: A Helpful Infographic. . .

How much time are our kids spending with their screens in non-school-related activities? Our friends at Common Sense Media have released the results of their most recent media use survey. Overall, media use grew faster in the last two years than it did in the four years prior to the pandemic. It rose 17% among... more »

Sports Parents. . . Who Will You Be? . . .

The sun is going down later. Spring is springing. Athletic fields are filled with kids gearing up for participation in a variety of spring sports. Sadly, when the games begin, some of the most discouraging activity will be taking place in the stands and on the sidelines. Perhaps the decline of civility in our culture... more »