Цель общения в сети


This is a translation of the original English version of this post.

Зачем нам нужна страничка в социальных (на Фейсбук, в Одноклассниках, В контакте и т.д.)?

Вы задумывались об этом?

Я часто слышу от подростков, что они не могут дождаться, когда родители разрешат им зайти в интернет, в частности на Фейсбук и если я спрошу, почему это так важно для них, почти всегда слышу один и тот же ответ: «все мои друзья сидят там…»- не очень убедительный повод!

Я вижу много разных сообщений, комментариев от  тех кто называет себя «христианами», и меня эти действия настораживают, особенно от молодежи (старшеклассников и студентов). Я провел последние 10 лет работая с молодежью и поэтому большинство моих друзей на фейсбук молодые люди, и чаще всего я не вижу разницы между тем что пишет христианская молодежь и неверущие. И это печалит, раздражает и иногда даже вызывает гнев, в зависимости от того что написано. Я только прихожу к одному выводу, что все эти обсуждения, фотографии и выражения кажутся нехристианскими потому что они бесцельны и это большая проблема. Continue reading Цель общения в сети

To the Class of 2012

I wrote the following for the senior class at Trinity Christian School as part of a special issue of the student newspaper that was dedicated to them:


Beloved Class of 2012,

I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to play a role in your lives and development (1 Thess. 2:8). As you head off to college, allow me to impart some final wisdom. Continue reading To the Class of 2012

A Resolution Worth Keeping

Every year on January 1st, teenagers around the country resolve to try harder in school, eat better, exercise more, get a job, save money, or be less distracted by the opposite sex. And every year on January 2nd, those same teenagers decide that it’s easier to just do nothing, and their resolutions are forgotten more quickly than information after a test is handed in.

As Christians, instead of setting goals that deal only with surface issues and are dependent on our own efforts, we should think like Paul, who wrote in Philippians 3, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (vv. 12-14). Paul wasn’t pressing on toward a healthy diet, a 4.0 GPA, or a PR in track. He wasn’t forgetting last marking period to press on in this one. Rather, he was counting everything except Jesus as loss (v. 8) and straining (because it’s not easy!) to become like Jesus in his life and in his death (v. 8-9) that he might gain Christ (v. 8) and the resurrection from the dead (v. 11). And he was doing it all as a response to what Jesus had done for him (v. 12). Paul’s goal wasn’t focused on self-improvement or motivated by pride; it was focused on Christ-likeness and motivated by reciprocating the love that he had been shown. He went on to say, “Let those of us who are mature think this way,” (v. 15) and, “join in imitating me” (v. 17). This isn’t something that only super-saints like Paul are called to do. It is to be every Christian’s goal. Every year. Every marking period. Every day. Continue reading A Resolution Worth Keeping

The Purpose-Driven Facebook

Why do you have a Facebook account?

Have you ever really thought about it?

I hear all the time from pre-teens and younger teens that they can’t wait until their parents let them get a Facebook account, but when I ask why, their reasons are almost always some variation of “all my friends have one.” Not an extremely compelling reason for them to get one.

But would your answer be any different? Why did you sign up for Facebook? What is your purpose for signing on each day (or however often you sign on)? Do you even think you need a purpose for signing on? Or is your activity on Facebook without purpose, just going with whatever pops into your head at a given moment?

I see a lot of activity on Facebook from people claiming to be Christians that concerns me, especially from those in the high school and college age group. And since I’ve spent the better part of the last decade working with youth in some capacity, that’s a sizable portion of my friend list. Often times, I see no difference between the posts and comments of “Christian” young people and those who are unbelievers. This literally stirs up grief, frustration, and sometimes even anger depending on what is posted. And I can’t help but think that a big reason behind the status updates, pictures, links, and comments that seem so not-Christian is the fact that they are purposeless. And this is a big problem. Continue reading The Purpose-Driven Facebook

Is Student-Athlete Becoming an Oxymoron?

Is it just me or have sports gone a little mad recently?

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions coach Jim Schwartz almost come to blows after a game in October. Ndamukong Suh was suspended for slamming an opponents head into the ground and then stomping on him during a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving and showed no remorse afterwards. He then wrapped his car around a tree and had his passengers lie about their injuries. Throughout the current season there have been numerous brawls during and after high school and college football games. It’s crazy.

What I have found really interesting, however, is how the people involved have responded to these incidences.

On Saturday, the annual rivalry basketball game between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University was marred by a brawl between the 2 teams with 9.4 seconds remaining. Here’s a clip if you haven’t seen it:

Perhaps even more frightening than the brawl itself was the reaction afterwards by the Xavier players. In the post-game press conference, they actually bragged about the fact that they were “gangsters.” Rather than being embarrassed over how they behaved, they were proud that they had enhanced their street cred. Continue reading Is Student-Athlete Becoming an Oxymoron?

Forming Intergenerational Connections, Part 3

This is part 3 of a 3-part series on helping the younger and older generations form relationships within the church. For why these relationships are needed and who they should be formed with, read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.

Forming new relationships can be intimidating, especially for those of us who aren’t very outgoing (I, for one, am extremely introverted). There is always a risk of rejection (or just plain awkwardness) when you put yourself out there. But hopefully these tips for forming relationships between teens/young adults and those who are middle-aged or AARP members will be simple enough to avoid some of that awkwardness. For those of you who are outgoing and have no problem just walking up to someone and starting a relationship, feel free to jump right in and let us know how it goes. Continue reading Forming Intergenerational Connections, Part 3

Forming Intergenerational Connections, Part 2

In my previous post, I detailed why it is important for young people to form relationships with older believers in the church. Today I want to briefly describe who they should form relationships with. Because of the subject matter, instead of addressing parents, I’d like to directly address those who will be used by God to speak into the lives of our youth.

I suspect that one of the reasons why older people fail to mentor or shepherd the younger generation is because they feel like they don’t have much to offer or that the younger generation wouldn’t be interested in what they have to offer. While this is an understandable fear, the fact remains that whether the older generation wants to mentor the younger one or not, today’s young people need to be mentored (reread part 1 of this series if you need a reminder why). And it doesn’t need to be done by some super saint, corporate CEO, or athletic superstar. It just needs to be done, by anyone who is willing. Continue reading Forming Intergenerational Connections, Part 2

Forming Intergenerational Connections, Part 1

Earlier today I read an article in Leadership Journal on how intergenerational connections help young people develop a faith that endures the transition from living at home to going to college or entering the workforce. Because this is something I would love to see characterize our church, I thought it might be helpful for me to elaborate on the subject. So over the next few days, I’m going to write up a 3-part series looking at why we should help our children build these connections, who we should help them connect with, and finally, how we go about initiating those connections.

I know how important connecting with other generations can be because I benefited from those types of relationships when I was a teenager and young adult. I love my parents, and I had (and still have) a good relationship with them, but as important as that relationship was in terms of helping me come to and mature in my faith, my relationships with other adults were also a vital part of that process.

Adults that influenced my life (both spiritually and otherwise) ranged from the youth pastor (just a few years older than I was) who poured his life into those of us in youth group to the senior citizens group that seemed to adopt me as a surrogate grandson, praying for me, supporting my missions trips, and becoming teary-eyed when I left New Jersey to move to Louisiana. (In fact, the seniors invited me to speak at their monthly meeting while I was still in college, giving me one of my first experiences in intergenerational ministry.) Relationships with those closer to my parents’ age also were important in my development, whether it was the pastors at church or those with whom I served in various ministries.

I think you see something similar in Scripture with Paul and Timothy. The foundation of Timothy’s faith was laid at home, apparently by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5), but the relationship and ministry experience that he shared with Paul were what developed him into a pastor and leader. Paul became a spiritual father to Timothy, to the point that he refers to him as his “child” (1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2, 2:1). 1 and 2 Timothy are essentially Paul continuing to speak into Timothy’s life and ministry through the means of epistles.

So what makes these intergenerational relationships so valuable? Why should we help our children form them? Continue reading Forming Intergenerational Connections, Part 1

Learning from Joe Paterno

I’m not going to rehash the Penn State sexual abuse saga here.

For one thing, I have no desire to do so. Over the past 48 hours, I have read some great articles criticizing all those who refused to look into the allegations against Jerry Sandusky and standing up for those children who were victimized by him. I don’t have anything to add to what has already been written on the subject.

For another, I’m not even sure I could. I can’t remember the last time a story made me this sick to my stomach. I’ve had to lessen my exposure to the news coverage as the story has dragged on because I couldn’t stand to read or hear anymore about what Sandusky is accused of doing. It’s just disgusting.

As awful as the story is, however, I think there are some important things that we as parents and youth workers need to pay attention to, especially as the story pertains to Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno.

Paterno is one of the most legendary and revered figures in college football history, holding his position at Penn State for an astounding 45 years. Even when the team wasn’t having much success on the field and some were calling for him to be fired, no one ever seemed to question the fact that he was a good, moral man who at the very least instilled discipline and values into the young men he coached.

However, all of that went out the window this weekend when the story broke that a graduate assistant had alerted Paterno to Sandusky’s behavior a decade ago. Rather than confront his former employee (and reported good friend) or call the police, Paterno chose to pass the information on to another university official and wash his hands of it, content that, “I did what I was supposed to.”

Paterno has understandably (and rightfully) come under fire for fulfilling the minimal legal requirement without questioning what his greater moral responsibility was, especially since innocent children paid for his failure to do so. Whether this costs him his job or not is yet to be seen (Update, 11/9/11: Paterno has been fired.), but it begs an interesting question for us:

What can we do as parents and youth workers to ensure the safety of children entrusted to our care? How can we protect against passing the buck of responsibility at the cost of a child’s innocence?

Here are a five things I think we can need to do to try and avoid the mistakes Paterno and other Penn State officials made: Continue reading Learning from Joe Paterno

Serving while Young

The Bible recounts numerous stories of God calling a person to service and so we also have many examples of how people respond to God’s call. I have always tended to believe that if you look hard enough, you will find someone whose response mirrors your own. For me, that person is Jeremiah. I came to faith when I was 15 and almost immediately began serving in various ministries. Because I was so young and serving with and to people older, wiser, and more experienced than myself, I often told God something like, “Oh, Lord GOD, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.” (1:6) I especially felt too young to be able to do anything in the context of the Church, where youth is often reason enough for people to ignore you. Because of this God’s words to Jeremiah have often been a rallying point for me, serving as both a reminder and a comfort when I feel too young or too inadequate to make a difference, and there are a few points in particular that I want to bring out that I think can help people of any stage in life: Continue reading Serving while Young