Tag Archives: gaming

3 Ways to be a Bold Father

Being a father is not easy.  It is a tough task that takes time, patience, energy, love, and a tremendous amount of help from the ultimate example of Fatherhood, our Heavenly Father.  When thinking of a picture of a good father, another word that comes to mind is boldness.  Men, it’s time we be bold fathers.

Here are 3 ways to be a Bold Father (applications from the story of Elijah vs. the Baal Prophets in I Kings 18)

1.  Bold in the Fight Against Evil – “Don’t Compromise”boldness

Don’t compromise to appease the moment. That’s not bold, that taking the easy way out. Stand for righteousness. Even though you know you will get groans when you turn the TV off when the show turns from funny to raunchy. Even though you will get backlash from saying no to purchasing the new video game, because you know what mature rating could mean. Even though you might hear stomping up the stairs when you tell your daughter to go change again because it doesn’t meet the standards of modesty.

Take a stand for godliness, for holiness, for righteousness. Take a stand against evil.

2.  Bold in Witness – “Don’t Baal Them Out”

You can’t “Baal them out”. Listen, there will be times when you know the right answer, you told them how it will end if they continue like this, but they simply disobeyed, ignored, and did it anyways.Don’t “Baal them out”. Suffering the consequences is something that will be their only teacher at times.

We live in a culture that everyone gets a trophy and you can’t grade in red pen anymore because it may damage a 1st graders psyche… our kids, in their disobedience and rebellion need to face consequences…don’t Baal them out.

3.  Bold in Humility – “How can I Serve You?”parenting

Dads, do you serve your family? Before you answer a quick yes – by saying you “work hard everyday to pay the bills and put a roof over your head and this is the thanks I get…” Oops, sorry, that was a speech I was saving for when my kids are teenagers.

Serving your family is more than just going to work everyday, although that is a very good start for a father.I’m talking about, do you serve your family?

Do you sacrifice purchases for yourself to give to your family? Do you give time, even when you have very little to give? Do you find joy in your kid’s joy or do I hear a “you know when I was your age speech a-coming…

Do you give to your kids special times like vacations or daddy dates? Or do you find yourself complaining more about how much this is costing you?

Do you lead in humility? Or as the leader, you just are leading yourself to your happiness?

Do you sacrifice, serve, and lead your family in humility?

 

You see men, being bold is more than being willing to fight a lion. It is being willing to sit down by the little lambs and talk about what is in their heart. Being bold is more than just climbing a mountain with little air supply, it is being willing to work through problems step by step until you reached the peak. Being bold is more than just standing out in the crowd, it is being willing to stand by your wife in good times & bad, stand by your kids when the love you give does not equal the love you receive, and stand by your God when your culture is telling Him to take a seat.

 

 

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5 Teen Culture Trends of 2013

As a youth pastor, youth culture is a passion of mine.  Throughout the year, I do my best to stay current with the trends, cultural shifts, and behavior of this generation.  Here is a summary or review of the youth culture in 2013:2012culturecloud

  1. Violence and bullying is a growing problem among teenagers.  (Dating Violence; Teen kindness & cruelty; Teen Violence; E-Venge)
  2. Social Media is taking over…As if you didn’t know.  (Social Media Report; Information Age; Boys & Girls Messages)
  3. Pornography use is just going to get worse and worse, as it gets more accessible.  (ABC News Report; What Parents Don’t Know; Biggest Issue of Teenagers Today)
  4. Cell Phones used to be for safety…now becoming more dangerous – From car accidents to easy internet access.  (Sleep Texting; Internet Use on Mobile Phones; Texting & Driving; Smartphones Causing Dementia?
  5. They like to play video games…a lot. (Gaming Addiction; Call of Duty; Grand Theft Auto Sales)

Articles are listed after each cultural trend.  Credit is due to http://www.cpyu.org for finding many of these articles and my favorite app Evernote for keeping them organized throughout the year)

 

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What Technology is Doing to Children & Teenagers’ Bodies – A Must Read

Ever heard of “i-Posture” or “Facebook Depression”…Did you know too much time gaming or on internet during childhood is linked to cardiovascular disease?  Technology may be more than just a distraction, it could affect a child’s health.

This fascinating article called “Here’s What A Constantly Plugged-In Life Is Doing To Kids’ Bodies” posted in the Huffington Post (see below) describes the effects technology is having on children now, and later in life.


Infographic by Alissa Scheller for The Huffington Post.

If it seems like your kids are constantly plugged in, tapping away on their iPhones, obsessively gaming and SnapChatting way more than they’re actually … chat-chatting — well, that’s because they are. It’s estimated that children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of seven hours a day behind screens; teens send an average of 3,417 text messages each month; and 97 percent of adolescents have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms.

What’s just as scary as how much time kids spend on screens is the effect it can have on their health. Their backs and wrists are sore, their sleep is disrupted and their attention spans are diminished.

While it would be impossible to rid your kids’ lives of technology completely — and you wouldn’t want to, because of its many joys and benefits — parents can take a few measures to help prevent its negative mental and physical side effects.

Here are some ways screens may be harming your kids’ bodies and what you can do about it:

They’re Hunched Over, And Their Necks And Upper Backs Are Sore

The human body’s natural position is an erect posture with a little bit of lordosis (inward curve) in the neck and a bit of kyphosis (round curve) in the upper back. A person sitting at in front of a computer is likely to have rounded shoulders and forward head posture, which puts a strain on the muscles and joints, causing soreness and fatigue.

What To Do: Dr. Sherilyn Driscoll, a doctor of pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, recommends that parents be conscious of ergonomics when kids are at their computers: It should be on a desk with the keyboard at hand level, there should be a supportive backrest, and kids should try to maintain an upright position.

They’re Less Active

Research has linked childhood obesity to too much screen time. In a recent study, 61 percent of obese boys and 63 percent of obese girls reported watching television for two or more hours each day. Studies have also suggested that TV viewing habits in childhood can predict obesity risk in adulthood.

What To Do: According to government guidelines, kids and teens should get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day at least three times a week to increase strength and develop strong muscles.

Their Fingers And Wrists Are Suffering

Wrist and finger pain is common in kids who play video games. A study (done by a kid!) found that children were 50 percent more likely to experience pain for every hour they spent gaming. Dr. Eric Ruderman, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said video game playing may be harmful for children’s developing muscles and tendons.

Too much texting can also lead to soreness and cramping in the fingers, known as “text claw.” According to a 2012 Nielsen report, the average teen sends 3,417 texts a month, which is about seven an hour. Ouch.

What To Do: Ruderman says parents need to limit game time: Two hours per day is too much for a 7- or 8-year-old. Additionally, HuffPost Healthy Living has put together a comprehensive guide to alleviate pain from smartphone use that you can share with your teen.

Their Sight Could Be Affected

Teens’ constant use of electronics at home and at school is taking a toll on their eyes, according to David Epley, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Kirkland, Wash., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Whenever someone spends time in front of a screen their “blink rate” goes down, which can lead to dry, itchy eyes and eye strain. While teens’ eyes can get used to screens, Epley said, damage can develop over time and even cause myopia, or nearsightedness.

What To Do: The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that a computer user shift focus away from a screen every 20 minutes and take 20 seconds to look at something that is at least 20 feet away. “This gets you blinking again,” Epley said. “And restores moisture to the surface of the eye.”

Their Sleep Is Disrupted

According to a 2010 Pew Study, 4 out of 5 teenagers sleep with their cell phones on and near their beds. And they’re not just using phones as alarms; another study found that teens send an average of 34 texts a night after getting into bed.

Teens’ sleep can be disrupted by screens because the bright lights that glow from the devices “wakes up the brain,” Michael Decker, a sleep specialist and associate professor at Case Western School of Nursing, told The Huffington Post. The light can confuse the brain since our circadian pacemaker does not differentiate between the sun and a computer screen. “Teens are getting this bright light and it’s making them go to bed later and want to sleep later,” said Decker, “but they can’t deal with the sleep loss.” Not getting enough sleep has a psychological effect on teens, and can lead to irritability and poor social skills. Memory is also negatively affected, which in turn can diminish academic performance.

What To Do: The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teenagers get 9.25 hours of sleep each night (although for some kids, 8.5 hours is enough). Dr. Suzanne Phillips suggests discussing a nighttime plan with your kids -– either phones off after 11 p.m., or requiring them to charge it in another room overnight.

They’re Losing A Little Bit Of Hearing

One in 5 teens has experienced hearing loss — a number that’s increased in recent years. Though it hasn’t been proven, experts suggest loud music coming from digital music players could be to blame. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Personal music players, such as MP3 players, can cause lasting hearing loss if you turn the volume up high enough to mask the sound of other loud noises, such as those from a lawn mower.”

What To Do: The Associated Press points out that parents can set the maximum volume on their kids’ iPods and lock it with a code.

Their Brains Are … Different

Breathe out. There is no hard evidence to suggest that technology is rotting your kids’ brains. Sure, screens can be harmful: Today’s teens are more distracted; social media can contribute to psychological problems; and most obviously, they can’t read maps.

But there are also benefits to growing up with technology. Dr. Larry Rosen, author of Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and The Way They Learn, says that social media can help teens find their identity in the world. A recent study found that interactive tools did help kids learn. Toddlers who interacted with the screen picked up concepts and words faster.

While experts on both sides of the issue have strong opinions, most agree that moderation is key. And as parents, one must look at one’s own screen habits and remember that the kids are watching. “Kids do not need our undivided attention all day long, but they do in those real-life moments of talking and reading and doing the hard work of parenting — dealing with meltdowns, teaching them how to pick up their clothes,” Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, told The Huffington Post.

So, moms and dads, it’s time to walk away from the computer, put the phone down and enjoy your kids face to face.
(After you share this article with your friends.)

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Student Cliques…How to Stop Them and Share Jesus With Them

Later this month, I’ll be conducting a “Real Life Simulation” during youth group.  I’ve asked the small groups of the church to come and act as high school students in a make-believe cafeteria.  Why?  To have the students practice sharing the gospel in a venue they face each day at school.  Sounds like a great idea…and hoping God can use it despite my crazy ideas.  As I gave the small groups a list of the possible “high school characters” they could act like…it got me thinking.  Wow, there are so many different student cliques, different personalities, and different student groups.  I had no idea there was such a diverse group of students at an average cafeteria.

Check out this list of student cliques: Jocks, Academic Over-Achievers, Rebel Loner, Popular Crowd, Rich/Wealthy, Cheerleader, Teacher, Gothic, Well-dressed (Preppy), Pep Band Member, Philosopher, Dazed & Confused, Skater, Tattoos & Piercings, Freshman/Young Crowd, Tomboys, Thespians, Artsy, Class Clown, Political, LARP-ers, Emo, Exchange Students, Hippies, Gamers, Atheists, Scene Kid

Sure, I’m sure some of those show how old I am.  But for the most part, that is what a high school cafeteria could look like, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some groups.  And as I looked at that list, I couldn’t help but think about two questions:  How do I stop these cliques from forming in our student ministry? How do I reach each of these student cliques with the Gospel?

Here are some solutions that came to mind:

How to stop student cliques:

  1. Change it up.  Change the seating periodically.  You see it in the church service every Sunday.  People sit in the same spot virtually every service.  Don’t let these habits form in your student ministry…it can cause cliques very quickly.
  2. Spread out.  Challenge your student leaders to branch out.  When they catch this vision, cliques start to deteriorate.
  3. You know better.  Don’t have student pick their groups for activities, games, group projects.  Split up your student leaders, and allow relationship to build outside the comfortable friendship zone.

How to reach different student personalities with the gospel:

  1. Educate yourself.  Study up on what the latest games are coming out to start a discussion with a gamer (October was a pretty big month).  Find out the latest tracks that might interest the different genres of music lovers (emo, gothic, skater, etc).
  2. Take a step.  You may just have to take a step out of your comfort zone.  Maybe you weren’t popular in high school, maybe the jocks intimidate you, maybe you have no connection with the intellectuals…it’s time to take a step towards these people, because you are a carrier of Jesus’ love, and they need to be infected by it.
  3. Pray & Go.  Pray for opportunities, pray for wisdom, and pray that the gospel will be shared.  Then after prayer, find ways to get into the schools and make those conversations happen.  That ampersand in the title is very important.  Don’t just pray, and don’t forget to pray before you go.  It is a both and situation!

Sources: Check this out, scroll down & see an actual student charts of the cafeteria at various schoolsDynamics of a high school cafeteria

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