I Doubt It   by Brad Griffin and Kara Powell


Why, God?

Those two words have punctuated the beginning of a faith crisis for more than a few believers through the ages. Especially when marked with big questions about the world or about personal circumstances for which easy answers simply don’t come.

Unfortunately, many of us have experienced periods of questioning that were met with silence, trite fix-it Bible quotations, or a well-meaning “Just have faith” from those around us. In short, our questions and doubts were pushed underground and either blocked out or left to grow like cancer until they overtook our faith.

Whether students in your ministry or kids in your home are disturbed by today’s wars and famines, or wondering about God’s goodness in the midst of fifth-period algebra, their questions and doubts are begging to be known.

The question before us is: Will we let them be known? Continue reading


10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned For Children Under The Age Of 12   by Chris Rowan


The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’m calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban. Please visit zonein.ca to view the Zone’in Fact Sheet for referenced research.

1. Rapid brain growth
Between 0 and 2 years, infant’s brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age (Christakis 2011). Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).

2. Delayed Development
Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement (HELP EDI Maps 2013). Movement enhances attention and learning ability (Ratey 2008). Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning (Rowan 2010). Continue reading


4 Obstacles To Your Students’ Spiritual Growth   by Andy Blanks

As we all try to lead students to have more mature, more meaningful faith lives, there are obstacles we encounter. Potentially many of them!

Here are some of the main obstacles to faith development I have observed over the years . . . and some thoughts on what you can do about lessening their impact.

Faulty Foundation

In my opinion, trying to lead students in spiritual growth without a strong foundation of teaching the Bible is virtually impossible. We know that Scripture, God’s Word, sets the standard for what a Christ-follower should look like. It’s the fullest picture of God and His ways we have. And yet, it seems like so many youth ministries don’t have a plan for how to start with and build off God’s Word. Bible Study for the sake of Bible Study doesn’t accomplish anything. But the key to spiritual growth is seeing Scripture as the foundational information that propels and compels application.

What You Can Do About It

Have a plan to teach the Bible. Do your best to equip parents to do the same in their home. Structure your ministry in a way that creates meaningful times of Bible Study, with an emphasis on application. Then, make sure you are creating environments for students to apply what they know.

A Relationship Vacuum Continue reading


Connecting with Millennials: Faith to Believe In and Live Out   by Eric Metaxas


Demographers tell us that Millennials are young adults aged 18 to 33. They’re often the ones you see sipping a latte at Starbucks, checking their Twitter feeds, or texting their friends.

According to a Pew Research report entitled “Millennials in Adulthood,” they are incredibly well connected to friends, family, and colleagues via all the latest digital platforms. But as University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox says, when it comes to “the core human institutions that have sustained the American experiment — work, marriage, and civil society,” the Millennials’ ties “are worryingly weak.”

Let’s take them in order. Concerning work, less than half of young people aged 18 to 29 are employed full time, and the numbers continue to fall. Wilcox says, “Work affords most Americans an important sense of dignity and meaning—the psychological boost provided by what American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks calls a sense of ‘earned success.’ ” Continue reading


8 Things God Teaches You in High School  by Grace Valentine
High School is NOT the best days of your life. However it is the time in your life where you change the most and truly find out who you are. High School is tough but if you look at what God is teaching you through your experiences you just might make it through alive.
So here are 8 simple things I can say God has taught me through my high school experience. Through the laughter, the back-stabbing, the sneaking out at two am, and even the heartbreak, I’m thankful for all those experiences because it help formed me into who I am meant to be.
1. You friends will constantly change, and even your best friends will talk bad about you. However, even when you can’t trust them you can lean on your father in your moments of weakness. You are not alone. Matthew 28:20-”I am with you always, even unto to the end of the world.”
2. Being pure and innocent isn’t a bad thing. Embrace your pureness and stop trying to “grow up” so fast. Psalm 51:9-11-“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” Continue reading


10 Questions to Ask Yourself Each Week by Chuck Lawless

Listed here are ten questions to help you evaluate your life and leadership at the end of each week. Plan now to consider these questions on Friday or Saturday of this week.

1. Have I decreased, and Jesus increased during this past week? 
By looking at your schedule, activities, conversations, thoughts, and priorities, whose kingdom have you sought to build this week– God’s or yours? Are you more conformed to the image of Jesus this week?
2. What do I know about God and His Word I didn’t know last week? 
If you’ve learned nothing new, it’s possible that: you haven’t sought God through study this week; you’ve studied, but it’s been routine and non-transforming; you’ve been a Christian so long you don’t think much about any needed growth; and/or, you’ve stopped growing. None of these possibilities should mark a godly leader.
3. Would someone want to pray like I’ve prayed this week? Continue reading


Why not bring others into the project?  by Rick Renner

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among
you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to
think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the
measure of faith. — Romans 12:3
When a person is a brand-new leader, he often mistakenly assumes that being a leader means he has to know it all. As a result, he puts himself under unnecessary stress, trying to project himself as one who knows everything. His need to appear as an “expert” at everything reveals an immature understanding of what true leadership is all about.
When a leader keeps everything in his own hands and doesn’t allow anyone else to do anything, this leads to frustration for the team members working with him. It is especially frustrating when there are people surrounding the leader who know the answers, who are experts in their fields, and who really could help. But they have to silently sit by and just watch the leader struggle as he tries to be “Mr. Super Leader,” never asking his team for help.
No one has all the answers! The smartest leaders in the world are those who realize both their gifts and their limitations. A leader is being wise when he recognizes his need for gifted, talented, willing-minded people to chip in and help him effectively do what he is called to do. No one can do it all alone. Continue reading


Yik Yak and Secret: 2 more anonymous social apps parents need to watch out for on their kids’ phones.   by www.coolmomtech.com

We keep a close eye on the social apps gaining popularity,  not just because we publish a tech site for parents, but because we want to know what apps our own kids might hear about, especially before they start using them and possibly get into trouble. That’s why we’ve been alerting you to apps parents need to know about.

Two of the apps we’ve been watching lately that parents should know about are Secret andYikYak. So you can add them to your list along with Snapchat,  selfie.imask.fm and the others. Secret and YikYak are both anonymous social networking apps that use location services to share posts within a certain geographic radius. Ironically enough, that makes it easier to identify who’s posting and what they’re talking about. So much for anonymity.


The YikYak app started on the campus of Furman University in South Carolina last fall, but it’s been spreading up the east coast and toward the midwest. While the founders insist that it’s intended for college students and that anonymity means “the only thing you are judged on is the content that you have created,” YikYak has already caused enough trouble that high schools from Alabama to Illinois have banned it. In fact, a high school north of Boston was evacuated twice due to bomb threats made via the app. Continue reading


10 Common Mistakes Parents Make Today ( Me Included)                                       by Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis

When I became a mom, I got lots of advice on how to love my child. But not until a few years ago did someone actually point out that loving a child means wanting what’s best for them long-term.

Now that my kids are maturing I’m no longer a pledge of parenting, but rather an indoctrinated member. The perk of this stage is that my kids want to spend time with me. We have real conversations that reveal their beautiful personalities. With everyone sleeping through the night, I’m sleeping better, too. I can think coherently and be more intentional in how I raise them.

These days, I put more thought into long-term. I think about the kind of adults I hope my children will be and work backward to ask, “What can I do today to foster that?” Being mindful of their future has changed my parenting paradigm, because what makes my children happy at age 10 or 15 is somewhat different from what will make them happy at age 25, 30, 40 and beyond.

A while back I came across some interesting articles and books that dig into what psychologists today are seeing: a rising number of 20-somethings who are depressed and don’t know why. These young adults claim they had magical childhoods. Their parents are their best friends. They never experienced tragedy or anything more than normal disappointments. Yet for some reason, they’re unhappy. Continue reading


Sequels, Selfies an Space: 2013 at the Movies   by Barna Group

The Oscars are Hollywood’s big night. Among pizza deliveries, selfies and the crashing of Twitter, the Academy handed out its coveted awards. This year’s were purportedly some of the closest races in Academy Awards history, which perhaps accounts for why there was no “big winner,” with the space thriller Gravity collecting a mere seven awards to lead the pack and Best Picture winner, 12 Years a Slave, capturing just three awards.

While the Oscars do not bring in the mythical “billion viewers” they often tout, more than 40.3 million viewers tuned in to the Awards show last year, making it the seventh highest-rated telecast of the year—the other top ten are all NFL-related—and proving audiences still love the movies.

So, what movies did Americans watch in 2013? Are Oscar winners also box office winners? How do factors like gender, age and faith affect American’s viewing patterns? And what power do movies have to influence our thoughts and actions?

Americans Watch Movies Continue reading