Category Archives: Headlines

Are Today’s Teen’s Putting the Brakes on Adulthood?

Recently, I read an article that made a little too much sense in identifying the current teen culture.  A culture that is dominated by screen time, technology, and social media.  But, researchers are finding the behavior of these teens is somewhat tamer than previous generations, even those just decades ago.  Well, that’s good news, right?  Well, the bad news is research is also discovering the positive news of delayed rebellious acts such as alcohol and sex has a flip side.  The negative side is these teens are delaying other social aspects of adulthood such as vital problem-solving skills, conflict resolution, and relationship building.

Generally, this article is on to something that seems to be common within the current adolescent landscape.  Take a peek at the article and see if you agree, and maybe comment on what some solutions might be to the negative side of the culture swing.

Find the Article HERE

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10 Things to Say While Someone Is Recording a Snapchat or Instagram Story

Snapchat and Instagram are great for recording memories and pictures of family and friends.  Birthday parties, vacations, achievements, hilarious kid moments…it’s great to have the phone there to video these special moments.  But, when it is a “slow news day”, it’s fun to add a little narration to the stories on Instragram or Snapchat.  Here’s a few to help you take full advantage of those moments.  (Warning:  When using these, they will be much funnier to you than to the person recording the video.)

  1. Hey can someone check out this rash on my back side…seems to be oozing…do we have a mop?
  2. This trash can smells like a small creature has died in there, and has been dead for years.
  3. Hun, did we let the kids out of their cages last night…oh are you recording?
  4. If you’re a Russian spy, does that your secrets are passed down to our kids?
  5. I just told this cupcake “I love you” and I really meant it with all my heart.
  6. They didn’t have wart remover at the pharmacy, so I bought needle-nose pliers at the hardware store. That should do the trick.
  7. How many kids do we have again? I think we may be missing one.
  8. Remember when you cried during that dentures commercial…I don’t think I’ll ever get that one.
  9. A bat just flew in our living room again. Make that two bats.  Whoa, this one is carrying our neighbors pet rabbit.  How we going to tell little Johnny what happened?
  10. Alright, it’s done. All the evidence is buried in the backyard.  What’s for dinner?

 

 

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10 Ways Christmas is Different as an Adult

  1. The energy level from a new toy or video game system lasted all day as a kid.  Now after the rush of Christmas morning, by dinner time it felt like 2 am, I just ran a marathon, and a bus hit me while I were crossing the finish line.
  2. Your Christmas list was toys, games, and fun stuff…now it is programmable thermostats to save money in the winter, socks, and a waterproof vest…and the funny thing is, you are just as excited!
  3. It used to take a week to play or enjoy all the presents…now I look for a box that I can fit my presents in and I’m all set.
  4. I cannot think of one Christmas dinner I had growing up…but this Hickory Honey Ham presentation with Hawaiian rolls, loaded mashed potatoes, carrot casserole, and a chilled IBC root beer will not be soon forgotten.
  5. Matching jammies with my family as a child would be thoroughly resisted in every way…but as a grown up it’s hilarious, fun, and great for pictures.
  6. Opening presents was just the best…now opening your own presents can get in the way of watching your kids open theirs.
  7. When you were a kid it was fun to make Christmas lists…now it takes me all year to compile things I want (it’s true, I keep a notes list on my phone – the programmable thermostat held the #1 spot since summer).
  8. What happened to me? I went from “Merry Christmas ya filthy animal” to where I couldn’t wait to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and allow my eyes to well up…it’s only a matter of time till the tears start rollin in.
  9. I don’t remember when I stopped believing in Santa Claus, but I know I won’t forget when my kids have that experience!
  10. One thing will never change with my age, I still am thankful for the reason for the Season and love to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus with my kids…The Hope that Christ brought me as a kid is the hope I still hold on to today.

15697298_10157887449565246_5706098247670253993_nHoping you and your family had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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How to Vote as a Christian

What a time to be alive!  This is the closest I have ever followed an election.  Now that I am a parent of young kids, a family pastor, and starting to fit in my big boy slacks…I’ve been following this election season pretty carefully.  Although it has brought anxiousness and frustration, I’ve sat through the debates, followed articles on Twitter, and even read numerous postings from all the “experts” on Facebook.  In the end, sometimes I feel like this…201603_2000_hfcfd_smUntil now, I have bit my tongue in the social media world.  There have been numerous times when I have had to type out responses…and then delete them just so I could move on.  It was my therapy.  And it also saved me from saying things I would regret, cause division, and embarrass others.  This election has already taught me humility, self-restraint, and a whole lotta trust in my Sovereign God…a whole lotta.

As a pastor, I get asked this from time to time.  How should I vote in this election?  It seems like this election, for obvious reasons, has been the most highly debated among Christian circles.  My response was never “Vote for _______”, end of story, check please.  Instead, I was able to present the issues in the lens of a Biblical worldview, trying my best not to influence or push my biased opinion.  Here are some of my points that may help you vote as a Christian this coming election…

What’s the Bible Say?

Can’t I just read a Bible verse that will tell me what to do?  Well, you could try Ecclesiastes 10:2 (ESV).  Nice try, but I don’t think the application would be very accurate…clever…but not the original intent of the passage.

The best article I have come across for a Biblical approach is found here.  I encourage you to read it.  In fact, I’d rather you read that article than my blog.  Yes, there is a candidate leaning in this article, but the principles cannot be ignored.  But bear in mind this is written by a man whose theological books are used in most conservative Christian universities.  And when I did a poll last year with youth pastors about what theology book they use, it was Mr. Wayne Grudem’s.  It is well worth your time.

Social Issues That Make You Grab the Tissues.

Here’s where I have the most difficulty.  Abortion.  How could you vote for that?  Yes, it is just one issue, but the magnitude of that one issue is indescribable.  Truly, there are no words.  To think of someone who can defend a partial birth/late-term abortion.  It breaks your heart, and should not even be a discussion point…but sadly it is.  Why not just take the baby early?  Give that beating heart a chance.  I’ve seen an ultrasounds of my kids, and it is unimaginable.  I’ve been there when you are searching for  heartbeat.  Your vote can be a voice to all those little ones that do not have a voice.

Never Say Never.

I really needed to come to the election box with an open mind.  Sure, you can see some bias in my writing.  But the #never______ hashtags on social media don’t help anyone.   If you do, make sure your reasons are not just media or campaign fabrications.  You say I will never vote for Trump because of how he made fun of those with disabilities (proven to be a lie) or what he said about Hispanics all being rapists (slight exaggeration).  Or you could say believe the lies about Hillary’s tax plans where Trump may be stretching the truth (seen here).

The point is, do your research beyond watching character attacking commercials and the playground arguments that we call Presidential debates these days.  Take a look at the facts yourself from independent sites, watch the actual footage of accusations, and dig a little deeper.  It’s muddy water for sure, but I think you can still go fishing and catch what you need to make dinner (did that illustration help anyone?).

You’re Not Voting on Your Pastor.

It would be nice if we could just vote for our pastor to be a candidate.  A man who follows Scripture, lives a godly lifestyle, treats others and even their enemies with love and respect.  But you’re not voting on a pastor.  You’re voting on a presidential candidate.  This is a politician we are talking about here.  And remember, you are voting on their policies…and possibly even more bigly, who they will choose on the Supreme Court (this might make this the most important election of our lifetime).  These are very flawed candidates, and that is what is making this decision difficult, I get that.  Both candidates must have frog collections, because they each have warts galore!  Each have actions in the present and the past that cannot that are indefensible.  That can’t be denied, but we also must remember this is not a church vote for a pastoral candidate either.  I’m not condoning behavior, just providing a reality check.

Prayer.

Last but certainly not least, pray.  People we need to pray.  Pray for wisdom.   Pray for our leaders.  Pray for those voting.  Pray for unity among believers.  Pray for our nation.  Whoever you vote for, I encourage you to take the advice of Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence…

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In the Middle of the Night…A Superhero Emerged

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(IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY…I’M GOING TO REPOST THIS)

What does a hero look like? This weekend, yet another superhero movie makes its debut. Can’t say I’m not excited about it (I may or may not be going with some college students to opening night…come on, it’s Batman!). Not sure what sparked this deluge of superhero movies. Was it the success of the first Spider-man, which was masterfully done?   Or could it be the Batman trilogy that Christopher Nolan compiled that quite possible had the best ending of any movie ever? In walks Ironman, Captain America, and Thor to set up the blockbuster Avenger movies.

Our culture is obsessed with superheroes. From the little kids that dress up as Incredible Hulk and Spider-man for Halloween to the big kids, like yours truly, who get way too excited about the upcoming movies featuring their favorite childhood heroes. Then there’s those that know the difference between Marvel and DC and will look at you like you cannot add 2+2, if you do not know which superhero belongs to which comic empire. Not gonna call the Nerd Squad on you if you do, but Best Buy is hiring (and if you were going to argue that Best Buy is Geek Squad, I rest my case).

But what does a true hero look like? Is a hero someone who has a cape, a super power, superhuman strength, or a genetic mutation? Is a hero only those that grace the cover a comic book? Are the heroes the ones that drive the box office? (I mean…is Ant Man a sign that we are running out of characters?)

The upcoming Batman v Superman is not the only reason I bring this up. Last night, I saw a superhero at my house in the middle of the night. It’s true. But there was no cape, no super power, not even a weapon…

Before I reveal the superhero, let me give you a little background. If you know me, my kryptonite is vomit. That’s right, whatever you want to call it. Technicolor yawn, bowing down to the porcelain throne, yak, ralph…whatever you call it, it’s my biggest fear. Why? Let’s just say it was a combination of a horrific experience of the stomach flu outbreak at camp and bad seat placement during a 3rd grade lunch.

But now, with kids…it’s a whole new level. If you like horror movies, this tops the list. Think about it. At night, as you try to sleep, you hear a cough. It’s coming!!!! Run for your lives! Take cover! Every man for himself! Freddy Kruger ain’t got nothing on 4 kids sharing a stomach virus. If he was in my house last night, I think he would have run away too.

That’s right…the horror movie was a reality last night in the Beckley home. Like an outbreak with no antidote…the stomach flu. It began with the oldest, then it hit me…then we knew…we’ve reach DEFCON 2.

So who was the hero in this horrific experience? Me? Let me put it this way. If this was a Batman movie, I might have gotten the Alfred role if I was lucky. The superhero was my wife. Her cape was the countless towels she used in cleanup. Her superpower was her composure amidst the reruns of meals from days gone by. No weapons…but she did have medicine, Lysol, and a full washer.

BnXkGvVIAAABf-jIf you asked Batman to do what my wife did last night…Christian Bale would probably go off on set (like he would ever do that). Superman would probably fly as far away as possible. And Incredible Hulk’s face would be green, but not because he was mad.

Hopping from room to room, wiping up pools of puke, changing laundry, getting them medicine, checking temperatures, staying up all night…suddenly Thor’s hammer doesn’t seem so impressive, does it?

I was there to help where I could, but she knew. She knew I couldn’t get too close to the kryptonite or it would bring me to my knees. She was a superhero last night, and I was that token little boy in all those movies with his mouth open saying “Whoa, did you see that?”

So this weekend, even when I see Batman fight off a dozen bad guys by himself and Superman leap over buildings and heat up his microwave dinner with his eyes…they pale in comparison to my wife. She is the one with the “S” on her chest. She may not have a bat signal in the sky, but she is called upon many times in the dead of night.

I honestly don’t know how she does it day in and day out. Maybe she does have superpowers after all.

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God Bless America

Thankful for the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.  Your life, your sacrifice is not forgotten…but is remembered today and generations to come.  God bless you, and may God bless America.

Credit:  The Skit Guys

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Which Movie Will You See Valentine’s Day?

There are two completely different movies coming out on Valentine’s Day this year.  One is called “50 Shades of Grey”, and the other is called “Old Fashioned”.  This video helps parents help direct their kids to the right movie.  But it also is a great reminder to dads of the responsibility we have to not only be an example to our daughters, but teach them the type of man they should be seeking in marriage someday.

Check this out:

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Generation “Me”…Just how bad is it?

The generation of baby boomers, because of its narcissistic nature, has become known as the “Me Generation”.  Well, the millennial generation that has followed them has followed suit.  As Time Magazine puts it, this generation is more like the “Me Me Me Generation”.  Sure, they are more cause focused and seek out relationships over real estate.  But the “me” is definitely growing.  For those that work with this generation (technically I am part of this generation as well) know how true this can be.  Listen to this secular presentation as proof to this claim.  The statistics and measurables are worth the price of admission (High School Seniors mentioned at the 8:40 mark).

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5 Ways A Pastor is Like Being an NFL Coach

The Super Bowl is just around the corner, the playoffs are here, and the NFL is dominating the sports world. As I think of the life of an NFL coach, there are many similarities between the life of a pastor and the life of an NFL coach. Here are five examples that may or may not be true in your ministry:nfl-coaches-ownersmtg-belichick

Power Struggle

All too often, the coach and GM do not seem to get along. We saw this in the case of Jim Harbaugh. Why in the world would you fire a coach that led you to 3 straight conference championships and one year removed from a Super Bowl? It makes little sense. But it was the power struggle that forced the hand of the owner.

When a church does not work like the body described in I Corinthians 12, there will be power struggles. Church members holding ministries too tightly and pastors forcing their hand in places where grace was needed… can cause a power struggle. It makes little sense when we all should be reaching for the same goals of reaching the lost and building the faith of believers. Yet, Satan grabs a foothold on the team and causes separation.

Work Long Hours

This is a great article. An inside look at the life of a Super Bowl winning coach, John Harbaugh. NFL coaches work ridiculous hours trying to gain that extra advantage on their opponent and to make their team better.

Many pastors lives are no different. I love this article. Some congregations expects a pastor to fulfill these roles each week, but there just isn’t enough hours on the clock. As a result, pastors are putting in crazy hours to fulfill very high expectations. Am I complaining? No. I find it a privilege to serve my people, but it makes for long hours at times (More so for pastors in senior or lead pastor roles).

Criticism Often Comes From the Fans

You’ve seen it driving down the freeway. Fans have bought billboards asking for their coach to be fired. Have you ever gone on a message board for your team? Goodness, the criticism is ridiculous. Even when the team wins, fans are screaming about how bad the QB or coordinator’s play calls were. Most of the criticism a player or team receives is ironically from its own fans.

Now, I’m hoping there will never be the day where I drive down I-70 and see my picture on a billboard asking for me to be fired by my church. However, the principle is often true. Criticism of pastors often comes from within and from the church members, which the pastor loves and seeks to serve. It’s not a new thing, there was inner conflict all throughout the early church, and it often came from within.

Losing The Turnover Battle

If you are like me, and your NFL team suffers from years of futility, this time of year is not about enjoying the anticipation of a playoff game. But the inevitability of a search for a new head coach. (I have the daunting task of being a Bills fan, so we are usually searching for more than just a coach)

If you are a football fan, you know that the Monday after the season, many coaches receive the pink slip. It’s become so notorious for firings, it has become known as “Black Monday”.   According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, “Going back to the start of this century, there have been 95 head-coaching changes since 2000 — an average of 6.8 per season.” That’s astounding.

So how does this compare to the life of a pastor? Lance Witt, in his book “Replenish” outlines a similar problem. According to his research from various surveys, 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month. John Larue’s article in Christianity Today revealed 23% of pastors had been fired at some point, and 34% of pastors pastor a church where the previous pastor was forced to resign. With only 1 in 10 pastors actually retiring as a pastor, it shows you how much longevity is a challenge.

Rely on Elite Players vs. Developing Role Players

Look at the best teams in football. They typically have great drafts, team players, and key role-players. The teams that rely simply on their star players will never get very far. It has to be a team effort.

It is the same with the church. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule of church? In many churches, 80% of the ministry work comes from 20% of the people. This should not be true. Pastors must disciple and train up volunteers and people to serve.

It seems like discipleship has become a lost art. It should not be like the ugly step-sister of the Great Commission, but should be an integral part of the process. Not only should we go and share the Gospel, but ministry should be about discipling new believers, challenging them to serve, and equipping them to longevity in ministry.

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So now what?? Much of what was written was negative about the church. The last thing I would want to do is stop this blog leaving the church in a bad light. Even in the NFL, there are good coaches that consistently lead their teams well and have produced a winning culture.

I’m blessed to be in a church that is led Biblically, and by God’s grace has a culture of love, accountability, and is Gospel-driven.   Although we do not claim to be perfect, by any means, please do not take this article as a venting session of our problems, because that is far from the truth. But the purpose was to shine light on some flaws of the church that we each can do our part in changing.

Here’s what you can do to build up the church. Be in prayer for your pastor.   Encourage him. Support the leaders of the church. Find ways to serve. Don’t allow the church to be like the NFL. Do your part in making the church like the beautiful bride of Jesus Christ.

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Why a $325 Million Contract Does Not Equal Happiness

Giancarlo Stanton. If you are a sports fan, you know the name. He is the Miami Marlins star outfielder that just signed a 13 year, $325 million dollar contract. To put it into perspective, this baseball player will make more in one at bat than my current annual salary! Every hour, he makes nearly $3,000 or $70,000 per day. That’s insane, and still some writers say he is underpaid.

stanton_signing.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxImmediately following his contract signing, he goes out and parties the night away. His exploits included attending a night club and drinking from a $20,000 bottle of champagne. I blush at the price of a milkshake at Steak n’ Shake sometimes. I can’t imagine paying more for a drink than for my family’s minivan.

You are probably wondering my point. Athletes sign exorbitant contracts all the time. See Kevin Durant, or this list when you have a spare second. You will wonder where the money comes from, and what in the world they do with all that coin (I know I would be tempted to put it all in gold coins and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck). Big deal (pardon the pun) right? In the end, it isn’t a big deal at all. In fact, I think of the many athletes that squander their money, only to find themselves selling their Super Bowl rings, going bankrupt, or putting their mansions on the market.enter-through-the-narrow-gate-001

What is missing? I can’t help but think of Giancarlo Stanton after he wakes up from a night of partying. Did the money really give him the satisfaction he was hoping for when he picked up the pen to sign that monster deal? (Read Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 for the answer to that question)….

For those that didn’t take the time to read Ecclesiastes, I’ll give you the short answer “No!”. Money can’t buy happiness. In fact, even the hip hop community makes the claim “Mo Money, Mo Problems”. But yet people still buy lottery tickets, flood to casinos on pay day, and hope for that next promotion. But what does money promise? Nothing that lasts.

Although in Matthew 7, we learn that few will take the narrow road to eternal happiness. Many will take the broad road filled with shallowness, futility, and corruptible gains. While there was nothing wrong with Stanton’s contract per se, I just wouldn’t waste your time being jealous of it. For those who know Christ, your reward is much greater.  If you don’t know Christ, I encourage you to sign your life over to him…it’s a contract with no fine print, but many built-in incentives, it’s not performance based, and it lasts forever.

Matthew 5:12a – Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven

DCF 1.0

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