Parents: Watch this…

I really think this U2 song/video is one of the most powerful songs about a child’s relationship with a parent (especially a son’s relationship with his dad).  Bono sang this song at his Dad’s funeral.  Just listen to the lyrics… you can really feel what Bono’s feeling in this song.  I think one of the biggest reasons this is one of U2’s best songs is because so many people feel the same exact way about one of their parents…  check it out:

Was Adam Lambert’s AMA Performance Enough? Probably Not…

Really, does anything shock us anymore?  In the 80’s it was Madonna, in the 90’s it was Britney Spears, now it seems that Lady Gaga has taken the throne as the “envelope pusher” for this generation.  Now Adam Lambert’s trying to make a name for himself and is trying to get in the ‘game’ too.

Was Lambert’s performance at the American Music Awards (AMA’s) on Sunday night shocking: Yes and No.  If you’ve been living under a rock, maybe you haven’t heard about his performance.  The most recent winner of “American Idol” performed his new song while a dancer simulated oral sex on him, hold a leash with a male dancer on the end of it dancing provocatively, and then full-on makes out with the male keyboard player.  Then he says, “I don’t know what all the controversy is about.”

Seriously, he must be kidding.  He got exactly what he wanted, and we’re all playing into his hopes… who doesn’t know the name “Adam Lambert” anymore?  As they say, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

But as a Christian, and as a Youth Pastor, I think this is indicative of something more going on in our culture.  There’s nothing “out of bounds” anymore.  The AMA’s were on ABC at 8:00… prime time television!  This wasn’t on MTV, this was on a “reputable” broadcast.  Supposedly.

Much like the infamous kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears on the MTV Video Video Music Awards in 2003, there’s a ton of backlash – but it will all calm down in a few weeks and life will move on… with Adam Lambert on the cultural map.  Whether or not he’ll be a footnote or a chapter is to be decided, but he IS paving new territory whether we like it or not.

The issue for Christians is this: When will we be shocked enough to turn off the TV and to stop feeding the shockers?  The reality is, the media gives us what we consume.  Teenagers, Parents, Young Adults, all of us: When is enough enough…

Parents, talk to your teenagers and ask them what they think about Lambert’s performance.  Ask them to tell you what people are saying about it in their schools… and just listen, maybe you’ll get a glimpse into the world where these “shockers” are coming from.

Thinking WITH Your Teen…

I was listening to a podcast today with Dr. Walt Mueller (Founder & President of CPYU) where he was talking about his experience parenting his own teenage children.  Here’s my summary and re-wording of what he had to say:

The goal of parenting is for your children to learn how to make good, biblical decisions on their own when they’re adults.  In order to do that, they need to know how to think “Christianly.”  That won’t happen on its own, it takes a lot of work.  Here’s what Walt Mueller had to say about how he and his wife approached raising their own kids to think Christianly.

When kids are young, we do all their thinking for them: we dress them, we feed them, we make all sorts of decisions FOR them.  As they get older, they ask for permission for certain things (“Can I go to Johnny’s house to play?”) and we say Yes or No.  We’re given this gift, this opportunity, called “Adolescence” where kids aren’t really “kids” anymore, but they’re not yet “adults” either.  We can’t simply think FOR them anymore, but they’re not ready to think completely on their own either.  This is a time when parents have the great opportunity to think WITH their kids and to MODEL how to think Christianly about life, faith, and the world around you.

Kids who make mistakes while learning how to think Christianly are better off in the long-run than kids who didn’t make any mistakes because they were always told what to think and do.

Walt shared the story about one of his sons coming to him and asking about this new band, Green Day, whom he had heard and liked.  Instead of immediately saying, “No, their lyrics aren’t good for you.  You can’t listen to them.” he gave his son the lyrics to the song his son said he liked and explained t0 him what the song is about.  After that, his son (still in junior high, at the time) clearly saw that this is not a song he should be listening to.

Parents, how are you training your children to think Christianly?  Are you interacting with Youth Culture enough to be able to model Christian thoughtfulness to your teen, or are you too busy to put in that work?  I know it’s difficult and takes time to know what’s going on in your teen’s world, but there are great resources available to you!  Sign up for CPYU’s e-updates to be sent to you via email to keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in Youth Culture.  Also, check out the links on this website to “Youth Culture Window,” “Real World Parents,” “Plugged In,” and especially “Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.”  These are great resources… take advantage of them.

And of course, if you have questions, please ASK ME!!  I guarantee that I do NOT have all the answers, but I might have some, and I might know where to look to find the answers I don’t have.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” Sets a New Record

Video Game manufacturer has raked in $550,000,000 in just one week of sales through the newest edition of the popular “Call of Duty” video game!  Whoa!  If that doesn’t get your attention, I’m not sure what will.

Those of you who know me should know me well enough to realize I’m not the type to have knee-jerk reactions against video games and movies.  Generally speaking, I keep my opinions on such media fairly unbiased, but with such hype around this game.

I can’t help wondering how many teenagers are going to enter the Armed Forces only to realize “it wasn’t like this in the video game” when they or someone they know gets injured in war.  I just have this gut feeling that games like this (and similar games) reenact such lifelike violence and warfare that they impersonalize war to our detriment.

There are some people who say paintball and airsoft are similar in minimalizing the reality of war and cause people to be more violent – I disagree… for the most part.  So I’m not typically prone to encourage banning certain video games… that’s just not my style.  But this is different.

Check out the trailer below.  Notice how life-like the graphics are and how vividly they re-create warlike scenarios.  Parents, please be cautious with this game.  This is the type of game that your son will play for hours and hours and hours on end, is this really what you want consuming his thoughts for so much of the day (while he’s playing, but also while he’s looking forward to playing it when school-work’s done)?

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Are You Immune to Culture?

A few weeks back I wrote about “Cave Dwellers & Teflon Christians.” As believers in Christ, we tend to gravitate towards extremes when it comes to culture’s influence on us: It’s either to blame for everything bad in our world, or it has no influence on me whatsoever.

If you think you’re immune to the influences that marketing (commercials, advertisements, and especially subliminal advertising), then watch this!  Derren Brown is a Brittish illusionist/mentalist who in this video sets up a marketing team to show them that they’re influenced by subliminal advertising just as much as their customers are.  Seriously, watch this!

Leeland: Via Dolorosa

I just got Leeland’s newest album, Love is on the Move, and so far this is my favorite song on it.  “Via Dolorosa” is the Latin name for the road in Jerusalem that Jesus Christ likely walked on his way to Golgotha, where he was crucified and died for our sins.

He traded his crown for a crown of thorns
He picked up His cross and laid down His sword
He stumbled down the road bruised and beaten for me
Jesus walked the way of grief

On the via dolorosa!
All my sin was carried away!
And the power of Him was broken
As He gave His life away

He knew it was to come from the very start
But his love for the world beat inside His heart
He climbed the road of suffering to the hill of calvary
Where the saints would be redeemed.

On the via dolorosa!
All my sin was carried away!
And the power of Him was broken
As He gave His life away

Jesus fixed His eyes upon the new horizon
Soon he would arise and the world would be forgiven!
Jesus fixed His eyes upon the new horizon
Soon he would arise and the world would be forgiven!

Hallelujah, Jesus rose again!
On the cross He she’d His blood on Calvary
I’m thankful for the journey of my King!

On the via dolorosa!
All my sin was carried away!
And the power of Him was broken
As He gave His life away
As He gave His life away

He traded his crown for a crown of thorns

How to Share Your Faith During Thanksgiving Week

If you’re anything like me, you should really read this article by Jane Dratz!

Here’s an excerpt:

Thanksgiving. Turkey and stuffing. Pumpkin pie. Family gatherings/family squabbles. Football. These are the trappings that crowd our days and fill our conversation. The ‘thanks’ part of the deal sometimes seems peripheral to the whole production. Maybe God gets allotted a 30 second timeslot where heads are bowed and eyes closed – just before everyone digs into the feast spread out before them.
But what would it look like in our hearts and our lives if day-by-day, moment-by moment, we were thankful to God?

Last Week at Youth Group: Ultimate Authority

Sunday marked the penultimate lesson in our Vital Signs series.  (Yes, I just used the word “penultimate” – it makes me feel smart.)  Just as there are vital signs a doctor checks to measure physical health, there are vital signs God checks to see whether or not you’re spiritually healthy.

The Principle to remember is this: “Maximum freedom is found under God’s Authority.” Most people don’t associate freedom with submitting to authority.  I don’t know a lot of people who like to be told what to do.

Authority is like an umbrella in the rain: You need to be under it to keep dry.  If my umbrella’s in the closet, it’s not doing me any good.  If I know what God wants me to do but don’t submit to him, my knowledge isn’t doing me any good either.  Likewise, I shouldn’t be surprised to get arrested if I steal a computer from Best Buy even though I know stealing is against the law.

Romans 13:1-2 says,”Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  God has given us worldly authorities to serve as a mirror, as a reminder that ultimately we need to obey God’s authority.  If we refuse to listen to human authorities, we’ll probably reject God’s authority too.  But as we respect and listen to human authorities we’ll learn more about what it means to follow and honor Jesus Christ.  Authorities aren’t simply here to “keep the peace” but to give freedom.


  1. Human Authority is given by God
  2. Life is a mirror: As you submit to authority you’ll learn more about submitting to God.
  3. Maximum freedom is found under God’s authority.

We all have people we need to listen to.  Parents, Teachers, Principals, Coaches, Pastors, Bosses, Police Officers, Politicians and other Government Officials, and others.  But what if an authority figure tells you to do something God wouldn’t want you to do?

When I was a senior in high school my football team got a new coach.  Now I wasn’t a great football player, but I was good enough to be a starter on the defensive line.  A few weeks into the season the coach instituted Sunday morning practices from 10-12… I had to choose whether or not I’d go to practice or church.  I chose church.  Shaking in my cleats, I approached the coach after practice and told him my decision, I clearly remember him saying, “You do what you have to do; I’ll do what I have to.”  I never started another game in my senior year.

So here’s the principle for dealing with ungodly authority:

  1. Be open about your intentions to not obey… but present an alternative.
  2. Willingly accept the consequences

I wish I had presented an alternative.  I could’ve gone to the first worship service at church so I only showed up 45 minutes late to practice and maybe the coach would’ve let me stay late to run extra laps or to lift weights after most people had left.  I also wish I had talked to the Athletic Director (appealed to a higher authority) and told him what was going on.

As Andy Stanley write in The Seven Checkpoints: “You can’t be in rebellion against God-appointed authority and be in fellowship with God.”