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

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Kintsugi and Kids. . . An Amazing Metaphor of Grace. . .

When I first read about Kintsugi, I was blown away, overwhelmed, and filled with joy about the work of restoration God does in our lives. I had never heard of Kintsugi until I read Mary Elizabeth Podles’ article on the Kintsugi bowl in the September/October 2021 edition of Touchstone Magazine (which, by the way, I... more »

Four Words Of Life. . . Four Words Of Death. . .

A few years ago, a prominent Christian leader suggested that followers of Jesus living in today’s world would do well to “untether” themselves from the Old Testament. If I had followed that advice, I would have not only jettisoned a significant portion of the canon of Scripture, but I would have untethered myself from the... more »

GAYLE’s “abcdefu” – A Pop Music Discipleship Tool. . .

What is 17-year-old music sensation GAYLE teaching to our kids? What is 17-year-old music sensation GAYLE teaching us about our kids? Those are two very important questions that we’ve always been passionate about answering here at CPYU regarding any pop music or media that’s gained traction in contemporary youth culture. As we always say, music... more »

Kids, Parents, & Smartphone Addiction. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

Later this morning I’m headed into the CPYU studio to interview tech expert and author Chris Martin for an upcoming episode of our Youth Culture Matters podcast. Chris has written a fantastic new book, Terms of Service: The Real Cost of Social Media. I’m excited to chat with Chris as he’s doing the kind of thinking about... more »

Helping Kids Understand Love. . .

Happy Valentine’s Day! A few years ago, as I was eating my breakfast in a hotel lobby, I was reminded that it was the weekend we celebrate love and fill the pockets of the folks at Hallmark. A fifty-something husband enthusiastically called his wife away from the cereal bins and back to the table where... more »

The Super Bowl and Glory-Seeking. . .

Super Bowl Sunday. It’s here. Most of us will be watching. Yes, it’s the game that is the culmination of the long NFL season where remaining team will be crowned this year’s best. But its so much more than that. For four to five hours beginning early this evening, viewers will be showered with a... more »

Will The Super Bowl Teach Kids On-Field Arrogance? . . .

We’ve watched lots of sports in our house. Chances are, your family has done the same. And like you (most likely), we’ll be watching along in two days as the Bengals meet the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. As we always do, we’ve been getting ready for the big game here at CPYU. Why? It’s... more »

Let’s Get Ready For Halftime! . . .

Get ready for this year’s “Pepsi Halftime Show.” It’s become such a big deal that many viewers hush the room and call everyone to attention when the first two-quarters of play end and the halftime show gets ready to begin.  Could it be that the game plays second-fiddle as a kind of after-thought to all... more »

Youth Workers And The Super Bowl: A Ministry Idea And Resource. . .

Well. . . here we go again! For many, next week’s Super Bowl won’t be about the big game, but about the advertising. The previews and teasers for the ads are starting to drop. . . yep, we have so bought into the importance of the ads that we now run preview ads for ads!... more »

A Light-Hearted Look At Teenagers. . .

Last week I was in Nashville to speak at the Reformed Youth Ministries Youth Leader Training event. Along with catching up with old friends and the joy of making new connections, I was introduced to the music of Andy Gullahorn. My friends at RYM brought in Gullahorn to sing for us after dinner. When I... more »

A Sunday “Something To Think About”. . .

On this day established and set apart by God for worship and rest, here are some wise words from Bernard of Clairvaux to read and ponder. . . “God alone can satisfy our desires. A man with a lovely wife may still look lustfully at an attractive woman. A well-dressed person wants more expensive clothes.... more »

A Dangerous Directive From Instagram. . .

It was with great reluctance that we began reviving our CPYU presence on Instagram (cpyuyouthculture) a couple of months ago. It was with even greater reluctance that I established a personal Instagram account. Still, we’ve gone there because we realize that that’s where people, sadly, are living these days. For us, our Instagram presence serves... more »

Praying For Our Healthcare Workers. . .

Thinking today about our hospital and healthcare workers. They are having to navigate so many challenges. God bless them. Here is a prayer I wrote to pray for them as they are stretched to their limits. . . Great Physician, we thank you for the wide variety of gifts and abilities you bestow upon your... more »

Parents & Teen Body Changes. . .

Editor’s note: This post is reprinted from the lead article in our January 2021 CPYU Parent Page. . . a monthly subscription resource available for youth workers to distribute to parents in efforts to encourage, educate, and equip them for the task of hope-filled Christian parenting. To learn more about the CPYU Parent Page and to subscribe,... more »

The Strange Case of Antonio Brown. . .

Perhaps you, like me, were left scratching your head as you watched whatever NFL game you were tuned in to on Sunday when one of those “Game Breaks” featured a video clip and report of more strange shenanigans from the Tampa Bay Bucs’ Antonio Brown. Pads, jersey, and helmet off right in the middle of... more »

Youth Workers. . . Something To Do In 2022. . .

This morning, once again, the rich and meaningful words of a long-dead saint hit me hard. The words were written by Richard Baxter way back in 1656 in his classic work, The Reformed Pastor. Baxter’s book was titled as it was not as a defense of pastoring in the Reformed theological tradition, but rather as a... more »

Confronting The Lie Of Christmas. . .

I believed it would change my life. Even though I began my impatient wait for its arrival sometime in September, it usually arrived in our mailbox at 1162 Beverly Road a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Its shiny full-color pages consumed my thoughts and attention for weeks. I ignored the first two-thirds of the book. Those... more »

“All I Need For Christmas” – Help For Parents & Youth Workers. . .

I was probably about 15 years-old when I finally got to the point where I knew not to use the word incorrectly in front of my dad. Slip-ups always seemed to result in a repeat performance of his well-rehearsed lecture on the difference between requirements and desires. The word I’m referring to is need. If your... more »

Rachel’s Pastoral Letter To Her Students. . .

For the last month I’ve been pacing myself through a process which most professors lament: grading. Earlier this fall, I spent a week teaching three dozen graduate and undergraduate students in a youth culture class offered through The Coalition For Youth Ministry Excellence program founded by my dear friend, Marv Penner. This resulted in a... more »

The Push-Back For My Apathetic Christmas. . .

This will be my 66th. Christmas, that is. If anyone needs proof of the sad and deplorable fact that “familiarity breeds apathy” . . . look no further than me this time of year. I’m ashamed that it’s this way. Like everything else in our broken and messed up world, this is certainly not the... more »