Monday, March 31, 2008

Teens & Swearing

I recently came across this article on teens cussing and just got to reading it today. It all seems about right, based on what I've noticed when at school and just around town.

Timothy Jay, author of two books on teens and swearing, "estimates that the average adolescent uses roughly 80 to 90 swear words a day."

The article goes on to say that teens are losing the ability to adjust their language to their audience. Saying the same words around parents, teachers, at church as they do around their friends. I haven't noticed too much of this going on at youth events. But I have noticed it while around students at school. Some of them do not try to "adjust" their language based on the fact that I (a youth minister) am around.

When it becomes an issue at an event, I like to talk to the person quietly and just ask that they respect everyone and not use that language. In our community, most of the teens understand the standing of the church on cussing and have enough respect to not use swear words.

Do you notice this at your events? How do you handle it when a student continues to use foul language during a church sponsored event?

I'll leave you with this quote, that really stuck out to me...

The solution, says Jay, is for parents to teach the etiquette of swearing.
I didn't realize there was an etiquette to swearing.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Poll: How many times a week do you teach?

How many times a week do you teach? It can be either a Sunday school, Bible study, small group, a theology class... Most youth workers, not to mention other ministers, have multiple teaching responsibilities during any given week.

How many times a week do you teach?

  • I normally don't teach
  • 1 time
  • 2 or 3 times
  • 4 or 5 times
  • way too much
Plus I'd be interested to hear what kinds of classes you are teaching. Please let us know in the comments.

For me, I teach high school Sunday school regularly, lead a jr high small group each week, lead a high school small group every other week, and help teach the jr high Sunday night class. Plus twice a month I teach a 5/6 grade class during service. That seems like a lot as I type it in a row like that. :)

Poll Results: Most used Social Networking Sites

The latest poll on the site was on Social Network sites. I asked which one you use most. At the beginning of the voting, I was a little surprised that MySpace was leading, but it didn't take long for Facebook to just take over. What I did learn is that most youth workers use whatever networking site their students are using. Most use more than one, but only one can be the "go to" site. According to the poll, here are what youth workers use most:

84% (22 people) use Facebook most
11% (3 people) us Myspace most
3% (1 person) doesn't use them and thinks they are evil
(I don't know where the other 2% went, but hey maybe their still trying to figure out what a social networking site is)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Photo Friday: Adam & Eve walk with God

I took this picture at the Creation Museum. It is the representation of when Adam and Eve walked with God, before the Fall. It looked so cool, I had to take a picture. And I must say the picture turned out much better than I thought it would. It is my favorite picture from the museum (and probably one of my top 3 of the year, if not longer)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trivia Wednesday #62: Bison

answer #61 - 1962

question #62 - True or false? A bison calf is born blind?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Discussion Starter: couple gets married in swimming pool

Alaska couple gets married in a pool.

NIKISKI, Alaska (AP) - Mark Confer and Joanne Wainwright took the plunge. Literally. The two were married Saturday in a swimming pool. They didn't exactly jump in with both feet; instead, both came whooshing around and down the 136-foot water slide into the pool.
This is a fun little story to use when discussing marriage or weddings. You can use it as an example of a nontraditional wedding or of incorporating your interests into your wedding.

Parenting mistakes (1 of 5)

Parenting is tough. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't. I believe you are constantly learning and improving as a parent, and should always be looking for ways to improve. Over five posts I'd like to share some thoughts/advice on parenting, by looking at 5 mistakes parents make.

Mistake #1: Never let your children cry (in public).

Think about the last time you were at the store and you heard a kid crying. Better yet, think about the last time you were at a restaurant and heard a child crying. What thoughts went through your head? Did you hope the parent would take the kid out? Or did you want the parent to give the kid what s/he wanted?

I think it is an unspoken rule of parenting. I have heard too many parents make comments about how embarrassed they get when their child cries in public. Or they comment about how they just want their kid to be quiet and will give him/her whatever they want - to accomplish that goal.

I have always thought this mistake stems from the desire of the parents to not have attention drawn to themselves. If children learn to equate "throwing a fit" with "getting what they want" guess what they do? I have known a lot of children who learn to play the system and end up with more toys, games, _______ than they really need. Then as they grow up, this behavior transfers to how they react when things do not go their way. They complain about teachers who are too strict. They make scenes hoping to get someone to back down and give in.

Instead of giving in to your child, there are other options. Be willing to leave the store without finishing your shopping. Be willing to continue shopping with a crying child. Take a moment and stop to talk to your child about the situation. Remember that just because your child is crying in public does not mean you are a bad parent.

Sunday, March 23, 2008 vs. a sixth grade boy vs. a 6th grade boy

Lets compare...

Plug Rug 6th Grade Boy
Noise level none a lot
Conflicts avoidable oh yeah
Level of Trust
90% .5%
Honesty Level won't lie to you don't trust them
if you don't like "push under the rug" wait for them to graduate
overall thought great source of ideas never a dull moment

so, who wins? its a 50/50 tie

Go check out PlugRug, add to the articles, spread the word, learn from others

Friday, March 21, 2008

facebook & YM

Jay, over at ysopenbook, posted about this mindmap from Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg recently. (click the image for a larger version)

What's the role of Facebook - creating empathic social relationships

What's the role of your ministry?

Photo Friday: Easter Eggs

Last night, we colored easter eggs with the boys. It was actually the first time we've done it with them and the first time in a long time either Amy or I have done it. I thought I'd share some of the photos with you all for this edition of Photo Friday.

Look at dull and white they are...

Then you add the color (in this case blue)

Don't they look happier?

The final products. (we had a few casualties during the process)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trivia Wednesday #61: Space Needle

answer #60 - Artichoke

question #61 - For which year's World's Fair was the Space Needle erected?

Monday, March 17, 2008

YM Resource: Invisible Bookshelf

Looking for a place to put those Bibles in the classroom? Or those information packets? Or that collection of cd's from the 80's? Look no further. Here is a fun idea for storing some of your stuff on the wall. It will also make a good project to work on with one or two of the students in the ministry, as well.

I want to do this, but I have to find the right place to put it first. I'll post pictures if/when I do it.

Psalm 33: we serve a BIG God

These verses, along with the rest of Psalm 33, remind us what a great/loving/powerful & BIG God we serve.

He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.

13-15 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth - he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

check out the entire chapter here or in your
Bible at home.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Poll: Which social networking site do you use more?

I'm working on an upcoming meeting/seminar about technology and teenagers. So I thought I'd ask you; youth workers, ministers, random people which sites you use more often? (now this will not be an exhaustive list, so if you can't find your site, leave a comment to let us know.

Which social networking site do you use more?

  • Facebook
  • Myspace
  • Bebo
  • other
  • I don't use them, they are evil

I know some of you, like me, use multiple sites to connect with people. Try to think of the one you use the most - if you could only check one today which one would it be.

If you have any stories (funny, inspiring, boring) about using a social networking site, leave a comment and share.

Poll Results: paper or plastic

People have spoken on which they prefer, paper or plastic. I must say, I was not surprised at the winner.

80% (4 people) voted for paper
20% (1 person) voted for plastic

Now, neither one is great for the environment. but I feel better with the paper myself.

lesson from the YM Summit

The Youth Ministry Summit at CCU has come and gone, but the lessons go on...


Don't allow pressures to steal your soul, including...

  1. Pressures from the church
  2. Pressures to produce
  3. Pressures for success
  4. Normal desires of the flesh
  5. Money
"Don't let the church squeeze you into it's mold."

When teaching, give yourself time to think about the text. Always have your radar on the lookout for illustrations, music, videos or whatever.

3 tips when teaching:
  1. have a simple tag
  2. give the students a story to be a part of
  3. have a practical connection
Believe that your ministry is worth asking people to be a part of.

Frozen Grand Central Station & Mobile Desktop

two fun videos from improv everywhere.

Friday, March 14, 2008

to quote someone else: Dick Alexander (church conformity)

"Don't let the church squeeze you into it's mold."
spoken by Dick Alexander, at the YM Summit at CCU, during a message on 'How to stay in youth ministry and not lose your soul'

Does your church expect you to act/be a certain way? Do you feel you are not allowed to be yourself in your ministry? Is your church leadership expecting you to fit into their mold of what ministry should be like? Does the molding come from just the local congregation or the church as a whole?

What happens when you don't fit the mold?

Photo Friday: Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake: Before.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

YM Resource: hulu: watch shows and movies

Apparently has gone public. I've been using it in the beta version for some time (a few months) and have really enjoyed the variety of material. And they have added more movies to the site, now that it is public.

My biggest complaint would have to be the lack of full episodes for some of the newer shows. Some have many clips, but no episodes. Besides that, there is a bunch to find on the site. I would recommend taking a look at it. The biggest plus is the ability to watch a show when I want to, not necessarily when it is on TV.

I've even found a few clips from older shows that I am planning on using in ministry (whether it be a promo for an event or part of a lesson)

Trivia Wednesday #60: Vegetables

answer #59 - NY Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers

question #60 - The heart of which prickly vegetable is a delicacy?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Uniterian Universalism: Open Source Faith

While doing some research for a small group study on Uniterian Universalism, I came across this video. Its a message given by Rev. Christine Robinson of the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque.

Does this mean that if you like Open Source Software, you should be a Uniterian Universalist? If so, I'm going to rethink my liking of Open Source. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

new NASA research and the early universe

Another article on the age of the universe.

Opening paragraph:

A treasure trove of data released by NASA this week is giving astronomers insight into what the universe is made up of and how it developed, including that it is awash in a sea of weightless sub-atomic particles.
Where is God in all that new info?

Lord's Prayer: Rewritten by jr. highers

A few weeks ago, in a lesson on God being a good and loving Father, we were talking about the Lord's Prayer and I asked the class to help me rewrite it in light of what we had just been talking about. Here is the jr. high version they came up with...

Father, who lives in Heaven
we will honor Your name
May You rule as the ruler of Your kingdom
May it come soon here on Earth
Your wants come true
for all of Your creation
Give us daily what we need
Forgive our messes
as we don't hold things against others
Protect us from things that will tempt us
and keep us safe from Satan

puts a different light to the verses.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

New Poll: Paper of Plastic

It is an age old question asked in grocery stores across the country.

Paper or Plastic?

I'd love to hear your reasonings, too.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Grand Canyon is 17 million years old?

That is what this new research is saying. Interesting read, especially since I was just at the Creation Museum on Wednesday - and they have a whole section on the Grand Canyon.

Apparently new "research" is saying that one side of the canyon is 11m years older than people have thought. Not to even start that discussion...

Here is part of the article:

The findings: The western side of what is now the Grand Canyon started forming about 17 million years ago, and that initial erosion was fairly slow and steady — a couple of inches every thousand years.

The canyon formed not just downward and westward but it opened steadily to the east, too, through what geologists call "headward erosion," the team reports — until the western side cut through enough rock to meet water on the eastern side, around 5 to 6 million years ago.

and this:
While geologists point to some questions in the new research, overall it does fit with various theories about how the Grand Canyon formed, said Rebecca Fowler of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who also studies the Grand Canyon.

You might want to use this new study in a lesson on creation.

Poll Results: spring break trip

Well, it seems like no one reading this blog will be taking a group to do anything during spring break. No beach trips. No mission trips. Apparently no mall trips, either.

Here are the results from the question: are you planning a spring break trip with your students?

75% (3 people) just said no
25% (1 person) said there were too many different breaks

In any case, I hope you all have a great spring break (whenever it is).

Photo Friday: Inedible Tanker Truck

I took this picture a couple years ago. I just found the word "inedible" funny on the side of a tanker truck. I guess if it was full of milk, then it would be edible. But it still is funny to me.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Trivia Wednesday #59: Baseball World Series

answer #58 - red

question #59 - Which two baseball teams from the same city competed in the 1956 World Series?

life. love. pain.

This is a modified version of an article I wrote for the church's weekly Epistle back in January after my grandma passed away. I thought I'd share it with you all...

Life. Love. Pain. Three words that carry with them a lot of meaning. Meaning that changes over the years or through certain circumstances. Regardless of what they mean to you, these words are connected to memories and stir emotions.

Life. When I was younger, it meant getting to play anything I wanted to at any time. It has meant playing cars on the fireplace with my best friend. It has meant playing wiffle ball with the other kids on the street. More recently, it has meant playing cars and putting together puzzles with my two boys. It has also meant purposefully making time to do things with Amy.

Love. I like this word. It has been connected with Snoopy, Star Wars, and Full House. In high school, it was connected with anything from Third Day to golf. While I was dating Amy, love took on a new meaning (and became deeper). Today, my definition of love is still changing thanks to being married for 6 1/2 years and having two wonderful sons.

Pain. I don't like this word. I didn't like it when it was associated with falling down and scraping my knee. I didn't like it when it was associated with being picked last for the kickball game. I didn't like pain when it meant I was made fun of by other students. I didn't like it when it meant being far away from my family. I didn't like it when I sat at the breakfast table and got a call telling me my grandma had passed away.

Though I felt a lot of pain with my grandma's death, I know my grandpa experienced a deeper and more intense pain. I know this because I know how much he loved my grandma. They had spent their life together (65 years of marriage) and loved each other very deeply. My grandpa lost part of who he was when my grandma died. That is a pain I do not understand. But, I do understand that my grandpa would not give up the deep love to avoid the intense pain he is feeling.

This pain/love connection reminds me of another strong love which leads to intense pain: God's love for you. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus knew the pain would come, but he chose to experience it because of his deep love for you. His love led to his pain.

Do you love others, even knowing you will be hurt? John says in 1 John 4:11, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." Starting today, love one another. Your life will be richer because of it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Youth Ministry Summit @ CCU 2008

On Thursday, March 6, I'll be at the Youth Ministry Summit on the campus of Cincinnati Christian University. I'll be taking notes and will post what I learn when I get back.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Reflections on: funerals

This past week, I attended two funerals in as many days. (there was another one that I was unable to attend this week, too) Before these two, the last funeral I was at was for my grandma a few months ago. With these funerals fresh in my mind, I have a few reflections I thought I would share.

Some reflections on funerals:

  1. Words are difficult to come by.
  2. You can tell a lot about a person's life at their funeral.
  3. The loss of a loved one equals deep pain.
  4. Even when you know your loved one is in a better place (Heaven), your joy for them is mixed with the pain of missing them.
  5. Both funerals this week used Pr. 31 - I don't usually hear that passage at a funeral.
  6. More comfort comes from God's Words than from anything a person can say.
  7. Just being there is enough. One thing I experienced at my grandma's funeral was the power of presence (God's and those you love)
  8. I don't remember much, if anything, of the message spoken at my grandma's funeral. And I'm ok with that.
  9. Funerals, and the loss of a loved one, help remind us of the important things in life (God, family, friends)
  10. As much as a funeral represents an end of a person's life on earth; it is much more a beginning of a life eternal.