This is a reblog from Axis.org “The Culture Translator”. Go online to sign up for their free weekly newsletter that aims to help you better understand the world your student inhabits, provide weekly insight into how pop culture, technology and media are influencing your students AND provide a platform to start biblically-based conversations with your teens
Vol. 2 Issue 40 | October 7, 2016
Three Things This Week
1. 4 Great Questions
What they are: Whether it’s politics, gender confusion, video games, racial problems, or dating, ask your students these four questions to help frame every difficult conversation: 1. What is Right? (Celebrate it.) 2. What is Wrong? (Correct it.) 3. What is Missing? (Create it.) 4. What is Confused? (Clarify it.) Use these four questions to help your students develop conviction about their own beliefs, while cultivating compassion and respect for those who may disagree with them.
What it is: An epidemic of creepy clowns have been spotted all across the United States causing school closures and even a riot on Penn State’s campus earlier this week.
Why it’s weird: Clowns are kinda freaky anyway, much less reports of a machete wielding clown in Georgia, or clowns in South Carolina attempting to lure children into the woods. This story is a perfect example of a few real life events fueling a social media fire-storm leading to the outbreak of copycat occurrences across the US. In truth, clown threats are more of a social media phenomenon among students than a real world reality, reminding us of how easily it is to blur the lines between the virtual world and the real world.
What it is: Thursday, October 6 was National Poetry Day.
Why it’s important: In our technological age of texts and tweets, when schools often just teach to the test while de-emphasizing creativity, offer your students living ideas instead of dry facts. How?Read poetry. Read poetry to remind yourself that you are human. Read poetry to engage the heart and the mind. Read poetry to encourage your students that there is no education like self-education, and no stimulus to unleash the imagination like the power and form of beautiful words. Here are three contemporary poets to read with your students: Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, and Malcolm Guite. And, here are the top 20 “poems” your students are listening to this week.
(This post is a re-blog from REV. DR. ROB TOORNSTRA on familyfire.reframemedia.com)
“Dad, do you like Taylor Swift?” Our oldest daughter has officially reached an age where she listens to pop music, watches “America’s Got Talent,” plays online video games, and follows her favorite celebrities. She frequently asks my opinion on this or that singer, song, or celebrity. As parents, we sometimes feel torn between encouraging our children to appreciate the best of our culture as a part of God’s good world and wanting to protect her from the messages in the media that can shape her worldview in ways that run counter to a Christian worldview. As I’ve reflected on how to encourage our children to engage media in a healthy way, Paul’s words to the Philippians church are instructive: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8). Three questions come to mind that are helpful in teaching our children – young or old – to think on such things.
“Is the language appropriate?”
Beginning at a young age, I want my kids to recognize and discern between actions and words that are appropriate and inappropriate. What constitutes appropriate changes as children grow older. A young child shouldn’t be exposed to any swearing, for example, while a pre-teen can usually hear a swear word without being tempted to repeat it. As soon as they are able to listen to music or watch TV, kids should be able to recognize words that are vulgar or crass, slang words that are used to insult others, or words that use God’s name as an expression or exclamation. Music, movies, or Internet content featuring excessive vulgarity or profanity is off-limits, especially if kids begin repeating them. Age-appropriateness is a good place to start because it instills a habit of discernment early on, and because discerning appropriate and inappropriate content is fairly easy at this stage, since the focus is on easily identifiable criteria.
“What is this about?”
Sometimes we make the mistake of going no further than the first question; we teach our children that as long as there is no excessive swearing, the content is acceptable for Christians. However, this would be simplistic – books or music can lack profanity, and yet be full of content that is inappropriate for Christians. Conversely, a movie may have language that isn’t appropriate, but still be worthy of our attention because it wrestles with themes that help us understand ourselves and our relationship with God better. The same is true for other adult concepts, situations, and struggles, including sexuality and nudity. The mere presence of adult material is not the issue as much as its age-appropriateness and consistency with Christian understandings.
The point of asking this question is to develop the skill of careful discernment of music, movies, TV shows, or video games. Rather than consuming the massive volumes of media content, kids need to learn to identify themes and messages behind this content. Is the song about relationships? Does the movie explore the place of work? Are the video games about conquest and warfare? This helps us recognize content containing themes that are worthy of our attention and content that is more like junk food – perhaps okay as an occasional treat, but not something that should comprise our daily diet.
“What does this say about what it’s about?”
Asking the second question leads into the third question. If a song is about relationships, what is the song saying about relationships? Is the message that relationships are disposable? Does the movie about racial differences explore our fallen human nature, or does it reinforce prejudices about race? Media can be powerful because it can shine a light on our human condition, highlighting our need for salvation, and offering solutions to our human problem. It’s at this point that I ask questions that encourage young men and women to compare the message of the media to the Christian message. How do the solutions offered compare and contrast with the biblical message? What is lacking? Media that runs counter to a Christian worldview should be challenged, and media that blatantly promotes actions that are contrary to a Christian ethic should be discarded.
As parents, it can be tempting to simply dismiss the place of media because we want to shield our children from negative influences. However, we are doing them a disservice if we do so; we cannot escape media. And, the various forms of media can be valuable elements of our culture, that God calls us to participate in. A better approach is to teach our children from a young age, how to discern the message and the content of the media from a Christian point of view.
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This is an excerpt from Axis.org’s The Culture Translator (Vol. 2, Issue 39 | September 30, 2016 )
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What it is: Yesteryear’s parents taught their kids not to pass mean notes in class, how “words could never hurt them,” and not to look in Uncle John’s closet for fear they’d find his magazines. Today’s parents face the same underlying issues, just in very different ways and with higher frequency and accessibility, thanks to the Internet, which is why parental awareness and guidance is needed now more than ever.
Why it’s needed: As Real Simple points out, “Young adults, adolescents, and little kids are all ‘digital natives,’ born into a world where connections are formed and life is lived online. They will be exposed to the negative realities of the Internet.” Though this new terrain seems wild and scary, we must stay ahead of the curve for the sake of our children. A gadget called Circle helps set Internet limits. An app called OurPact also helps with that. This article will help you understand the Internet’s addictive nature. Fight The New Drug helps guard against porn. Above all, having continual conversations about what we do or do not allow into our minds and hearts is key!
Head to https://axis.org/ to sign up for the weekly “Culture Translator” and start having authentic conversations with your teens about a variety of topics they face day to day.
Thursday October 6th will be our first big Junior High Youth night OFF CAMPUS. Unless we get 10 inches of snow before next week we are going to THE KRAAY FAMILY FARMS CORN MAZE in Lacombe, AB.
Meet at the church next Thursday at 545pm. We will be taking a bus from CrossRoads Church that will leave at 6pm sharp. YOU MUST REGISTER ONLINE to take advantage of the Group Rate we’ve been given. It is $20 to take the bus from church and join for this awesome event. Make sure we have a signed parent waiver as well!
Register online at www.CrossRoadsChurch.ca/ComingEvents!
For those parents who wish to drive their student(s), please meet at the Corn Maze at 630pm. You still must register online to take advantage of the Group Rate we have been offered. For those students who are getting a ride to the Corn Maze, the cost is only $10.
We ask that students dress warm (for whatever the weather) and to bring a flashlight to explore the maze. If you would like to purchase snacks at the Corn Maze, please bring extra money to do so.
We look forward to all Grade 7 & 8 students joining for this fun night off campus. If you choose not to come to the Corn Maze with us, there will be no other Youth Group that night.
What a great night to eat ice cream, pickles and cookies!! 16 lovely ladies, all expecting new arrivals, came to meet each other and enjoy some adult convo! We found out who was expecting when, who knew what they were expecting, and who did not know and would be surprised! Fun was had by all… God Really does think these moms are BIG DILLS!
This is a reblog from Axis.org’s
Vol. 2, Issue 36 | September 9, 2016
Three Things This Week
- Discipling through Doubt
What it is: The Fuller Youth Institute says it isn’t doubts that drive students away from faith, but rather the silence and fear from parents and teachers who refuse to talk honestly about their own doubts and questions about God.
Why it’s important: Fuller’s research revealed that over 70% of students have serious doubts about their faith, but those who felt they had a safe place to openly discuss those doubts with adults tended to have a stronger, more lasting faith. Our students need us to be real about our own struggles with faith, as well as unafraid to listen to and work through their questions with them. It’s not certainty that makes good leaders; it’s vulnerability. Because quite often, “doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”
- The Final Frontier
What it is: Apple’s Keynote on Wednesday revealed the specs for iPhone 7, including that it’s splash and water resistant, following in the footsteps of its competitor, Samsung Galaxy.
Why it’s important: Form matters, and phones are being created more and more to be unignorable and ever-present. The more dependent on them we become, the more likely we are to keep purchasing the next model. Making them water proof/resistant only increases our dependence because we can use them in more places, including the shower. With every waking hour being bombarded by notifications from our phones, modeling wise technology boundaries to teens is becoming that much more important.
- Chance the Rapper
What it is: Last week, we mentioned Kanye’s reference to Chance the Rapper as the future and a thought leader, so this week, our Senior Team Director and an intern took some time to analyze his influence.
Why it’s good: 20 minutes of listening to this podcast will help you better understand the artist, his work, his influences, his faith, and ultimately how his ideas are influencing the next generation. Many of the questions they ask are also great conversation starters for teens who are fans, getting them to think deeper than the sound or beat.
Finding One’s Calling
The wildly popular blog Wait But Why created a fictional character named Lucy as a caricature of today’s emerging adult. Lucy is what the blog called a “GYPSY” (Generation Y Protagonist and Special Yuppy). Poor Lucy is destined to be unhappy because, from her earliest years, she’s been told she’s special, that she can be whatever she wants to be. Not surprisingly, GYPSYs like Lucy struggle with a sense of entitlement. Where Baby Boomers wanted to live “the American Dream,” GYPSYs want to live their own personal dream.
Ultimately, for Lucy and our students, this is a recipe for unhappiness. Reality will never match the dreams GYPSYs have been told to expect.
Christians are also guilty of inculcating false expectations. For at least a couple generations, Christian colleges, with the noble intent of communicating the biblical concept of “calling” as more than just full-time ministry jobs, have taught students to look at their own giftedness as the key to discovering “God’s will.” Of course, it’s true the Lord has gifted us in unique ways to serve Him and that we can discover these gifts through our passions and use them for His glory. But while the biblical picture of calling and vocation includes our talents, it also includes things like sacrifice, persecution, and dying to self. Jesus said those who follow Him carry crosses, not crowns.
It’s really only Christians in the West, especially the US, who’ve had the luxury of dwelling on the question, “What has God made me to do and what is my calling?” The Protestant Reformers understood calling to be not so much about passion, but about faithful commitment to God in whatever station we find ourselves. It may be that your calling right now is to be a student or a parent or a minimum-wage employee barely eking out a living. Whether directly connected with our passions or not, God calls us first and foremost to do each thing well, with all of our might, even if it is as mundane as digging a ditch or doing the dishes.
Short of this awareness, we risk “Christianizing” entitlement. Instead of asking students “What is God’s will for your life some day?” we should be asking them, “What does God want you to do well today?” Our calling is to live fully engaged in this world, regardless of the particular circumstances. As William James reminds us, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
“Finding One’s Calling” is Adapted from an article originally published on Breakpoint.org.
With a specific transitional part of Senior High Ministry for Grade Twelves only starting up this year, we figured it would be best to start with a BANG! Pastor Jordan will be taking the Twelves to the Hillsong Young & Free concert in Edmonton to begin a weekend getaway retreat at Sylvan Lake.
There are a very limited number of tickets, so if you’re heading into Grade Twelve this year and are interested in joining for a weekend retreat Sept. 23-24 at a cabin on Sylvan Lake, contact Dallas or Jordan immediately. This event is only $60 for the whole weekend.
Get in your money and signed waiver to secure a spot!! Then meet at the church Sept. 23 at 5:00pm.
We had several bright and not so bright Wednesdays for Story time in the park! We were only rained out once!! Several families were a part of these events… with as many as 51 children in attendance at one time!
Pete the Cat was a huge hit with the children as well as several books I hand picked for reading! The children also enjoyed puppets, bubbles, rhymes and finger plays!
Here are a few pics from the last day……
In a few months I will be putting my daughter on a plane to China. For. One. Whole. Year.
One whole year of missed holidays. One whole year of two-women-in-a-kitchen arguments averted. One whole year of lost hugs and quick pecks on the cheek. A whole year.
And worse yet, she expects to make a habit of this travel thing. So how do I let go in the wake of her tidal wave of giddy expectation? After all, this is the girl who it seems that just yesterday couldn’t cross the street without holding my hand. How do I prepare her for being as far away as she possibly can be?
1. Remember My Past Prayers
I have been praying for years that I would be the kind of parent who would let go when the time was right. The kind of parent who could rejoice at God-given opportunities rather than one who selfishly clings and clutches, begs and whines for her children to stay close.
I have been praying for God to open and shut doors. Now it’s time to trust that he has heard those prayers. After all, like Hannah with Samuel, I gave my children for his service many years ago. I do not possess my children. They do belong to him for his purpose.
2. Don’t Assume I Know It All
As your children begin to make decisions on their own, before you give unsolicited advice, ask them what they know about a situation. You might be pleasantly surprised! Many times your adult children have done ample research and know a lot more about the subject that you may have expected.
Even if you do have lingering concerns, be careful how you express them. Use phrases like, “Have you considered…?” Try to stick to discussing facts rather than your emotions. If you’re overly emotional, your observations will be passed off as hysterics rather than sound wisdom.
3. Leave the Rest to God
After stating my thoughts about the matter, it is now my job to trust God. We are commanded to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). This means that we stop worrying about all of the details and we leave God in charge of sorting out all of the details.
4. Pray Without Ceasing
I am confident that this passage of Scripture is about to come alive to me in new ways! God can do in a moment what I cannot in a lifetime. Therefore, prayers will be offered both for my daughter and for myself as I allow God to show me how to rely upon him in a new and deeper way.
Usually I wish I lived in a different and simpler era. I love history and can romanticize any time period as better than this one. However, in this case, I am very grateful to be living now in this time. I am grateful for Skype, Facetime, and other ways to communicate instantly and at great distance. It doesn’t replace a hug, but it sure does beat a letter full of antiquated news!
As you prepare your children for God’s plans for their lives, he will be faithful to guide you into a peace that passes understanding as well. The word “training” suggests an upcoming event. We are to train up a child, preparing them for going out and practicing all that they have learned. This is an exciting time for both you and your child! Embrace the new season and enjoy it for what it is.
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