Hi! Summer is going too fast!!! Haha!! I am praying for you right now!

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
Submit your use of technology to Jesus every day. #me
The security of Jesus’s love enables me to need less, and to love more. #keller
My prayer is that God would not only use me to preach the message but for me to become the message. #heard
God’s “no” is not a rejection, it’s a redirection.
1. The Facts About Online Predators… https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/the-facts-about-online-predators-every-parent-should-know?j=5192754&l=512_HTML&u=78632979&mid=7000332&jb=234&utm_source=072817+Default&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly#
2. The Cure for Diva Syndrome… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/07/cure-diva-syndrome/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=d569dc4cd2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-d569dc4cd2-126726953
4. Parent Guide to Suicide, Bullying, Self Harm by Focus on the Family (Below in PDF)
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
Adolescents in Crisis: Why We Need to Recover Religion by Paul Vitz and Bruce Buff (Blog piece but insightful.)
34 Ways for Youth Leaders to be Present by Brant Cole
Having Trust in Your Volunteers to Lead by Ben Lock 
8 Compliments You Seriously Need to Stop Giving to Your Kids by Tina Donvito (I know I told you I posted this last week… but I did not! I think this has some interesting thoughts that we should be aware of!)

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

Here are 2 just for you:
A Satisfied Life by Tripp Prince
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness. Psalm 17:15
Satisfaction and contentment are two of the hardest virtues for us to cultivate in our contemporary culture. For most of us, from the moment we open our eyes each morning, we enter into a battle for peace, struggling to hold fast to the goodness and love of God. We find ourselves spending hours each day allowing relationships, media, and social media feeds to define our sense of identity, our expectation of affluence, and vision of what is important and worthy of our attention and affection. This cycle of desire and discontent can become if we aren’t careful, the constant posture of our lives.
Into this chaos, the LORD speaks peace over us and over his creation. He extends an offer of freedom, inviting us to reframe our understanding of self and the world in light of the self-giving love shown in Jesus. And in his written Word, we are reminded that our satisfaction is directly linked to our ability to intimately abide with him.
How would you define the first emotions of your day? Family brokenness may quickly rush you into a place of anxiety. Perhaps it’s simple exhaustion from a struggle to sleep through the night. You may find yourself in an abusive and toxic work environment, and so most mornings bring with them a sense of fear or even anger towards coworkers or your boss. Is it possible to join our hearts and lives with the psalmist when they say, “when I awake I shall be satisfied?” 
Our ability to enjoy a satisfied life is directly linked to our willingness to behold the LORD in his beauty and faithfulness, allowing this likeness to be restored and remade within us.  We are constantly tempted to allow all sorts of sub-identities to become our primary identities. When we view ourselves primarily as an employee, our satisfaction or discontent is therefore dependent upon how well our job is going. The same is true of countless other identities that we take on: parent, child, athlete, collector, enthusiast. The list could go on and on. These identities contribute to who we are, yet they are all secondary to the primary identity that you and I bear: daughter or son of God.  
As beloved children, we are set free to find our satisfaction in the goodness of God and the work of his Spirit within us, growing us day by day into people who reflect that image in every area of life. As we do this, our joy, contentment, and satisfaction is no longer dependent upon our circumstances but instead transforms them, speaking peace and hope over even the darkest parts of our hearts and lives.  
Prayer: Father, teach us what it means to truly find our satisfaction in you alone, freeing us from lesser loves that only bring sorrow, anxiety, and pain. Amen.
The Metamorphosis by Kelly McFadden (Love the visual!)

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. –Romans 5:3-5
There is a story of a boy who found a caterpillar and brought it home. Shortly thereafter, the caterpillar began building her cocoon. The boy knew that one day, when the time was right, she would emerge and spread her beautiful wings. The boy couldn’t wait! So each day he checked on his caterpillar until one day he noticed a tiny hole. It was time. But as the boy watched, he could see that the butterfly was struggling. So, with a pair of scissors, he carefully opened the cocoon to free the butterfly. The butterfly emerged, but her wings were small and shriveled and her body, swollen. The butterfly never flew.

What the boy came to learn was that part of the metamorphosis for the butterfly, was the struggle. In order for the butterfly to fly, it needed to work its way through the small hole. That is how it builds its wing and body strength to fly. Even though the boy was trying to help, in the end, he hurt the butterfly.

A lot of times, if given the option between the difficult path versus the easy path, I readily choose the latter. It is not pleasant to suffer or struggle. But oftentimes, it is a part of the process of growth. It is true: We grow most through experiences that push us to our limits. Yet regularly, we avoid the struggle ourselves, or else as parents, we help our kids avoid the struggle. In the end, like the boy, instead of helping ourselves or others, we only cause long-term hurt.

It seems bizarre to rejoice in our sufferings, but the story of the butterfly illustrates why it is not necessarily a bad thing to go through trying times. This is where growth comes. God uses life’s difficulties to help us grow into stronger and better people. These problems develop perseverance, which in turn deepens our character. This then leads to hope, because it deepens our trust and relationship with God.



Adolescents in Crisis: Why We Need to Recover Religion by Paul Vitz and Bruce Buff
With no belief in higher meaning, too many young people turn to hook-up sex, drugs, and social media for fulfillment.
Our teenagers and often those still younger are taking their lives in increasing numbers, many seemingly without warning. Many more young people are suffering from depression, anxiety, or related mental-health problems. The reports often link to social media: bullying leading to suicide; serious self-harm in an attempt to deal with emotional pain; suicide pacts; a widely cited post giving reasons for suicide by a child who killed herself; drug abuse and other destructive behaviors; school shootings that often end in suicide.
Other evidence of youthful mental-health problems: Pre-adult suicides are up three to five times (depending on the source) since the 1950s and still increasing. One study reported that 10 percent of the young are taking anti-depressants. In “Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright,” Susanna Schrobsdorff  of Time magazine noted that “adolescents today have a reputation for being fragile, less resilient, and more overwhelmed than their parents growing up.” We are also seeing an increase in mental-health issues in college-age students. The average well-being of entering college students has been in decline since the 1970s, when the measuring began. During college years, mental-health problems are on the rise, according to recent studies.
Yet American society today is far better off economically than it was 50 years ago, and we have a better understanding of mental-health problems. Moreover, we now have a great many more psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, and mental-health practitioners than we did even a generation ago. So what’s wrong — what has happened?
Schrobsdorff proposed that the cause for the decline is the social climate that teenagers experience. She attributes this climate to social media, smart phones, and school pressures. These factors are recent, though, and did not emerge until well after the observed decline of adolescent mental health.

A far stronger case can be made for our society’s decline in religious faith as the cause of these mental pathologies in the young. The decline in religion that began in the ’60s has accelerated in the past 15 years and is especially great among young people. A recent Pew report noted that over a third of its young respondents described themselves as “believers in nothing in particular.” Schrobsdorff’s omission of religious decline is one indication of how great the decline in religion has been — and how much our secular culture is in denial on the issue. The media just doesn’t “get” religion.

In America, the transcendent dimension of life has historically been expressed primarily through the Judeo-Christian tradition, whose decline in recent years has created an enormous vacuum in meaning. This vacuum has been “filled” by postmodern nihilism combined with the “deconstruction” — aggressively taught in the academy — of belief in objective truth, goodness, and beauty. Moral relativism now eclipses transcendent meaning. The fragility of many young people — often termed “snowflakes” — shows their emotional vulnerability. They interpret ideas that challenge them as unbearable acts of aggression, and they use harsh and even violent measures to silence disagreeable opponents. In short, the prevalence of political correctness is a clear sign that belief in higher meaning and rational discussion has ceased to function in much of our higher-education system. Furthermore, political correctness is itself a symptom of the unstable mental condition of those who insist on it.
Countless young people now live in a world without any real meaning; they feel there is nothing for them to believe in. Emotional numbness is one of the consequences. They no longer value themselves for their inherent worth and dignity as created by God; they no longer find self-worth in their efforts to lead lives based on truth and love. Instead, many of our young people look outside themselves for validation — to material goods and social feedback. But many find these superficial, transitory, and empty. In addition, the decline of religion has resulted in sexual relations becoming trivialized and deprived of any greater meaning. The “hook-up” culture leaves many wounded young people in its wake.
While the secular class and those victimized by their policies have been shedding their religious beliefs, evidence for the positive effects of religious life has been repeatedly reported by many studies over the past decades. Many of them show that strongly religious people are happier, healthier, and live longer than those with no religious belief and practice. Having faith in God and attributing a religious meaning to life anchors people, directs their efforts to things beyond the material world, protects them against setbacks, and provides supportive community.
What might be done to imrpovee mental health via religious practice? To begin, this is not a problem for government policy. The government just needs to get out of the way — and be less hostile to religion. Recent Supreme Court decisions dealing with religious issues suggest that this will happen.
Individuals can respond in many ways. Fathers and mothers can encourage their children in religious practice centered in family life and encourage them to join serious religious peer groups. Relatives — grandparents, aunts, and uncles — can give valuable advice. For young people drawn to atheism, many recent books address the topic brilliantly (see Alister McGrath’s Twilight of Atheism,for instance). Darwinism, materialism, and atheism have received powerful recent critiques (as in Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos, Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt, and Robert Spitzer’s New Proofs for the Existence of God).
Religious and private schools can make a tremendous difference in their student communities by regularly emphasizing the importance of God and promoting faith.
Business leaders and others in the professions can speak out about their faith in public settings and implement new ideas about how to reach the young.
There have been times in America’s past when religion was in decline and seemed on the way out — especially according to its intellectual detractors. But at these moments, Biblical religion recovered with new movements and energies. We propose that we are now at the threshold of another such renewal. Let us pray so since our secular culture offers no credible reasons to believe in higher meaning. It offers only empty materialist distractions on a slow march to societal suicide. The plight of our young sounds a wake-up call we can no longer ignore.


34 Ways for Youth Leaders to be Present by Brant Cole


One of the high priorities in our youth ministry is that each student has a caring adult in their life who loves God and has a heart for them, even on their bad days.

As Josh Shipp has stated,

“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.”

We want to put caring adults – youth leaders – into the lives of each student in our ministry so that they will have someone who is not only caring but actively present in their lives. So, to ensure that each of our youth leaders knows how to do this, we have set before them a few simple ways that they can be present in the lives of our students.

There are a million ways students need us be present in their lives. Not all of them are easy. And we can’t be there for every student every day. But we can do for a few what we wish we could do for everyone. Because they need a leader who celebrates them on their best days, and who loves them their worst days. And they need a leader who does this on his or her best days and worst days, too.

Being present in a student’s life can look like a lot of different things. Each one means something different but is equally important to a student. It can look like…

  1. Praying for them. Lots of praying for them.
  2. Showing up to small group consistently. Even if you’re dead tired and no one seems to care that you’re there.
  3. Continuing to call and text them, even when they reply only with “yes,” “no” and “OK,” trusting that one day the dam will break and another vocabulary will come rushing through. (Especially when dealing with middle schoolers, people!)
  4. Keeping up with a 12-messages-per-second group text when it does happen.
  5. Having a hard conversation about what you’re seeing them post on Instagram.
  6. Sitting with them long after group time has ended, when words fail both of you and there are only tears.
  7. Answering your phone at midnight.
  8. Answering your phone at work.
  9. Sending a card just because.
  10. Calling their parents when you need to, even if they don’t want you to.
  11. Driving over an hour in traffic, to run full speed through a parking lot, to throw $10 at the ticket man, to wave your homemade sign during a 2-minute cheer routine.
  12. Sliding into a side hallway to pray with them during a morning service.
  13. Being willing to disagree with them and challenge them to look at things from a less comfortable angle, even if it means they get frustrated with you.
  14. Being willing to make a fool of yourself to entertain them or get a point across.
  15. Sticking up for them.
  16. Digging deeper with them into the Bible to find answers to questions you had to honestly answer with, “I don’t know.”
  17. Apologizing to them when you used a tone you shouldn’t have used or said something you shouldn’t have said.
  18. Loving on their parents and families.
  19. Being crazy outwardly excited about their decision to be baptized.
  20. Knowing what their “outside of church” world looks like and asking specific questions about it often.
  21. Staying up until 3 am on retreat weekends listening intently to heart after heart pour out. Then crawling into a sleeping bag on the floor for four hours of sleep. (Or two hours of silent prayer and processing, and two hours of sleep.)
  22. Modeling your own relationship with Jesus as a priority.
  23. Practicing what you preach.
  24. Letting go of the Monday morning blues until after small group ends at 7:30 pm on Sunday night.
  25. Making an Instagram account and liking their posts.
  26. Sitting in the cold rain, watching an entire game in which they only play for the last 30 seconds. (And cheering as loud as you can for all 30 seconds.)
  27. Hugging or high fiving them every Sunday morning.
  28. Following up on things they told you they’re struggling with.
  29. Sharing your personal stories of struggles.
  30. Putting your phone away.
  31. Encouraging them to serve others and doing it alongside them.
  32. Helping them find their unique gifts and encouraging them to use them.
  33. Believing they can change the world around them by doing so.
  34. Telling them you’ll never give up on them. And following through on that promise.


Having Trust in Your Volunteers to Lead by Ben Lock


As youth pastors, we have the responsibility of helping our students grow in a closer relationship with Christ. One of the best ways that I have come up with, is to trust my volunteers to take the lead on activities, such as games, lessons, planning, etc. Many times, I feel that it can be easy just to do all the normal things myself instead of recruiting more volunteers or trying to find someone to take the place of another person on a Sunday morning. In the end, I know having volunteers take the lead is critical and substantial to our ministry and here is why:


Sometimes, as youth pastors, we can think that we need volunteers to control numbers instead of being pushed. The times that our leaders feel that they get the most out of a lesson is when they are the ones teaching and leading. For me, I don’t want to ruin what is helping them continue to grow and develop in their personal ministry at our church.


To me, this is very critical. I don’t want to be the only voice to teens because some teens relate better to a personality that is different than mine. One example I have is that I love sports, video games, superheroes and the great outdoors. Not every time can I relate to all the students in a lesson. On the other hand, we have a leader that has a different personality than mine. She teaches and relates her lessons differently than mine through current events, history, and school (she retired as a principal). We have other leaders that teach in a rotation because I don’t want to be the only voice that students learn when some would learn more from someone else.


The people who volunteer to be a leader are there because they want to see students grow in their relationship with Christ. You can hand over responsibility to them that will free time up for and give them something extra for their leadership in the ministry to make their own. I am not the best, per say, with being creative. A successful VBS usually has some creative aspect to it. Since I know I am not that creative, I have two leaders who voluntarily came up to me and say they would love to be a part of the planning of the VBS. It is nice for me to sit back and let them do what they’re passionate about, while I can work on other aspects of VBS that I am passionate about. They love it, I love it and VBS is going to be much better because of it. Volunteer leaders want to be challenged and not feel that they are just another body.


Successful youth ministry cannot be done alone. In Exodus 18, Jethro visits Moses and tells him pretty much that he is going to burn out quickly if he tries to do everything himself. I think that is very relevant for us today, as youth pastors. We can attempt to try and take on every leadership aspect in the ministry and eventually get tired and burned out, or, for our sanity and lasting for the long haul, we can pass on some leadership to our volunteer leaders who may be more passionate or skillful in an area that we are in a given area. This not only helps you but helps the overall ministry in general. There is nothing wrong with giving away leadership and in my opinion, it must happen if we expect to grow.

Volunteers taking over some aspect of leadership is a good thing. It is scary and can be nerve wrecking, but the fruit that can grow is tremendous! I love getting to see volunteers in our church take on leadership and seeing them grow through it.


8 Compliments You Seriously Need to Stop Giving to Your Kids by Tina Donvito


You may think you’re building up kids’ self-esteem, but you may be unintentionally setting them up to struggle. Here’s what not to say to avoid the praise trap.

Previous generations may have been very strict and held back from praising their children, but parents today may be overcompensating. (Here are 52 of the worst parenting tips parents get.) According to child development experts, the point of praise is to encourage positive behavior. But simply being “smart” isn’t a behavior, and kids don’t perceive it as something they can control. So praising them for it “is not helpful because kids—and adults—usually think that being smart is innate and fixed,” says Christia Spears Brown, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Kentucky. “They think you are born with a certain amount of ‘smartness,’ and if schoolwork comes easily, then you are smart, and if schoolwork is difficult, then you are not smart.” So when they struggle or fail, they will find it that much more discouraging and insurmountable a problem. Instead, studies have shown that parental praise for kids’ hard work instead of their inherent abilities better develops their perseverance. “Saying things like ‘I am so proud of how hard you worked on your math,’ or ‘I am proud of how hard you studied for spelling’ tells a child that success is due to effort,” Dr. Brown says. “Then, when kids face a difficulty, they are more likely to work harder to be successful than to give up because they simply ‘aren’t smart enough.’”

“I’m so proud you got an A!”

Of course, parents are going to be proud if their child gets a good grade—but it’s the improvement that should be praised instead of simply the end result. (Here’s more on why you should never call your kid “smart.”) “Research shows that people are happier when they have a ‘growth’ mindset rather than a ‘fixed’ mindset,” says Laura Markham, PhD, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start ConnectingResearch from Stanford showed that kids with a growth mindset improved more in grades and study skills—because they believed they could get better if they worked at it. “We want to encourage children in ways that will help them develop a growth mindset, which will help them become more resilient and able to work hard to accomplish their goals in life,” Dr. Markham says. A better way to praise would be to show them how their effort led to their success. “Encouraging them with work-in-progress praise—’You really are getting the hang of that piece now after all that practice’—can give them a real sense that they are making strides towards becoming more proficient,” say Paul J. Donahue, PhD, the founder/director of Child Development Associates and the author of Parenting Without Fear. “Likewise the child who may not love reading but worked to master his first chapter book should hear solid words of encouragement: ‘You really worked hard to stay focused and sound out all the words, and to finish that long book.'” Getting such compliments will make the child more likely to repeat the action.

“Your artwork is so beautiful!”

Here’s another tricky one: Maybe you do think their artwork is beautiful, but by praising kids in this way you’re encouraging them to look outside themselves for approval. (Find out more parenting mistakes to avoid with toddlers.) “It teaches the child that his work can always be evaluated by others, which undermines his confidence,” Dr. Markham says. “It also teaches him to ‘produce’ more and more paintings with less and less work, since the parent just keeps saying, ‘That’s beautiful!'” In one study, kids with low self-esteem who were overpraised on their artwork more often opted to then sketch a simpler drawing instead of a more challenging one, because it was the safer choice. To avoid inadvertently discouraging children, compliment how dedicated they were to their project, offer up specifics about the painting (“I see you used texture to show the waves in the ocean”), and then ask what they think of their work. It’s not your approval that should matter—it’s their own. Instead, your job is to foster kids’ interest in what they’re doing. “Why not focus on the effort, and what the child actually did or felt, rather than evaluating the product?” Dr. Markham says.

“You’re a good girl/boy!”

Praising a child for being “good” places an inherent value on them, rather than on their actions, so they believe themselves to be either “good” or “bad.” (Don’t fall into these 11 ways you’re being a toxic parent without even knowing it.) So what’s wrong with being good? “Every child knows they aren’t always ‘good’ and that they have thoughts and feelings you wouldn’t like,” Dr. Markham says. “So if you tell them they’re good, they need to show you otherwise by acting bad—or they become heavily invested in keeping you fooled, and they feel like they have to hide their true selves and be perfect, which is even worse.” Always refer to the child’s actions, rather than evaluating the child herself, she says.

“You’re so pretty!”

We may notice girls’ appearance, clothes, and hair more than we notice boys’, so it seems natural to compliment it—but this is evidence of our own gender bias. (Here are 10 things about raising girls moms wish they knew sooner.) “The problem lies in the messages that girls receive from every front,” Dr. Brown says. “Girls are growing up in a culture where their value is constantly linked to their appearance, so the collective message that girls internalize is that they must be attractive to have worth.” Research shows that girls feel pressure to look pretty by their elementary school. Being pretty is also viewed as something that can’t be controlled—so if a girl feels she isn’t pretty, she may feel she isn’t lovable and there’s nothing she can do about it. Or, she may spend a lot of effort on trying to look pretty, instead of focusing on other, more valuable skills and interests. “In general, there is no reason to evaluate how a child looks—and every reason not to,” Dr. Markham says. (Find out things parents say that ruin their kids’ trust.)
Great job!
Most parents end up saying this about a hundred times a day—no judgment, but it’s not actually an effective way to motivate kids. (You also want to avoid the five biggest myths parents buy into.) “This creates a praise junkie who needs constant reassurance,” Dr. Markham says. “The child learns to do the task for the praise, and stops finding the inherent reward in the task, which steals the child’s motivation.” We love our kids and want them to feel good about themselves, but praise for every little thing they do makes the compliments lose their meaning. One Ohio State study showed that constant praise fostered narcissism, not self-esteem. Also, because it’s not specific, “great job” gives the child no actual information about what made the job great. Dr. Brown has an idea about how to turn it around. “Saying positive things to our children is always positive, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be praise,” she says. “For example, instead of saying, ‘Good job for setting the table,’ parents can change it to, ‘Thank you for helping.’”
You’re the best!
Even if they are literally the best at something (which isn’t too likely), telling kids they are could create an expectation of achievement that they will then do anything to try to uphold. (Read about ways to foster a better relationship with your children.) “Offering too much absolute praise can put a lot of pressure on kids to feel that they always have to be the best at what they do, a standard that can be unbearably high,” Dr. Donahue says. This can create feelings of inadequacy if a child thinks he can’t live up to it, according to research. “It can also backfire, and teach children to limit their focus to activities at which they know they can excel,” Dr. Donahue says. This can lead children to stop applying themselves, trying new things, or keeping at it when things get hard in order to keep you “fooled,” says Dr. Markham. Creating realistic, attainable standards and praising a personal best—rather than a comparison to others—is a more effective technique.
A compliment that’s not sincere.
Kids have a good BS detector and know when you aren’t really interested in or proud of what they’re up to. (Read about successful kids and 10 habits of the parents who raise them.) “Children can easily recognize when we are disappointed in them, or when our praise is faint, insincere, or worse, sarcastic,” Dr. Donahue says. “One of the most important things children desire is for their parents to be genuine with them in their affection, in their support, and in their constructive criticism.” For example, if your child sang horribly off-key in the talent show, you might say, “I am proud of how brave you were to get up in front of everyone—and you remembered all the words!” A recent study from South Korea showed that children’s perceptions of overpraising (as well as under-praising) predicted poorer school performance and higher depression than praise that reflected reality. “The goal is to make the praise meaningful, and show children what traits and attributes we value, such as hard work, being helpful, and being kind,” Dr. Brown says. “Parents should not think of praise as a way to build self-esteem because it doesn’t. Instead, praise can be a way to reinforce the specific attributes we want to foster in our children that will help them be more successful adults.”


Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
Don’t let fear get under your feet, for it will carry you where you don’t want to go. #dukes
The security of Jesus’s love enables me to need less, and to love more. #keller
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried. #chesterton
On the day we make the decision to choose God’s agenda for our lives rather than our own, we’ll find that God works. #fields
1. How Parents Social Media Addiction Affects Their Children… http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2017/07/how-parents-social-media-addiction.html
2. Walking Kids Through Grief… http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2017/07/walking-kids-through-grief.html
3. 5 Reasons our Culture is Obsessed with Sex… http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/5-reasons-our-culture-is-obsessed-with-sex
4. Infographic… How movies and TV impact kids’ development (Below) (Interesting!)
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
Five Ways to Respond to Teenagers’ Doubts by Tony Miles (Interesting questions to ask.)
Here’s What You Need to Know About Generation Z by Hayley Peterson (Every one of these adds to the whole picture!)
America Sees Alarming Spike in Middle School Suicide Rate by James M. O’Neill
How to Tailor Your Lessons to Kids’ Learning Styles by Joyce Platek

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

Here are 2 just for you:

God’s Work isn’t Finished

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. –Philippians 1:6

What a washout. He’s forty years old. Adopted at an early age into great wealth, he rebels and rejects his adoptive family, murders a man, escapes with just his life and is on the lam for years. The day before God came to him in a burning bush, you would’ve looked at Moses and considered his life all but over. Any dreams he’d had in his younger years were long buried in the sands of Egypt. Grandiose plans for a full and rich career had certainly died right alongside the murdered slave driver. But then God called his name: “Moses, Moses.”

Re-acquaint yourself with Moses’ beginnings in the first several chapters of Exodus. God wasn’t remotely finished with this man who “can’t talk so well.” Take a look at Hebrews 11:24-29 to get a sense of God’s evaluation of the man, when all was said and done.

How often do we forget that our God — the God whom we call all-knowing and all-present — is far above our concept of time? While you and I see each other (and ourselves) only as we currently are, the Lord God sees us as we will be. He knows the ending of our story and what we’ll look like in all our divine, heavenly perfection. In the middle of today’s failure…He knows what I will be. Still dealing with the consequences of past sin…He knows who I’m becoming.

This God who lovingly chose you before time began, who knew right where you’d be this day, has a purpose for you both today and tomorrow. God’s work isn’t finished! His intention is single-minded, His power unending, His commitment beyond measure. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Every Book of the Bible in One Word

God reveals himself through his Word. When he speaks, he teaches us what he is like, how he acts, and how he desires us to respond. As a whole, the Bible is about God. It’s about God the Father displaying his glory through God the Son by the power of God the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is one book made up of 66 books. Each book has a major theme that emphasizes an aspect of God’s character or a way he is working to carry out his perfect plan. What follows is an attempt to capture these themes. These themes are certainly reductionistic and required me to make a few tough choices, but I hope you’ll be helped by considering them.

Bible: God of Jesus

  • Old Testament: Anticipation
  • Gospels: Manifestation
  • Acts: Proclamation
  • Epistles: Explanation
  • Revelation: Consummation


  • Genesis: God of Promise
  • Exodus: God of Power
  • Leviticus: God of Purity
  • Numbers: God of Perseverance
  • Deuteronomy: God of Preparation


  • Joshua: God of the Land
  • Judges: God of the Rebels
  • Ruth: God of Redemption
  • 1 Samuel: God of the Heart
  • 2 Samuel: God of the Throne
  • 1 and 2 Kings: God of Israel
  • 1 and 2 Chronicles: God of Judah
  • Ezra: God of the Temple
  • Esther: God of the Gallows
  • Nehemiah: God of the Wall


  • Job: God of Pain
  • Psalms: God of Praise
  • Proverbs: God of Prudence
  • Ecclesiastes: God of Purpose
  • Song of Solomon: God of Passion

Major Prophets

  • Isaiah: God of Glory
  • Jeremiah: God of Weeping
  • Lamentations: God of Faithfulness
  • Ezekiel: God of Visions
  • Daniel: God of History

Minor Prophets

  • Hosea: God of the Unfaithful
  • Joel: God of the Locusts
  • Amos: God of the Oppressed
  • Obadiah: God of the Mountain
  • Jonah: God of Compassion
  • Micah: God of Justice
  • Nahum: God of Wrath
  • Habakkuk: God of Sovereignty
  • Zephaniah: God of Judgment
  • Haggai: God of Renewal
  • Zechariah: God of Restoration
  • Malachi: God of Worship


  • Matthew: God of the Jews
  • Mark: God of the Romans
  • Luke: God of the Outcast
  • John: God of the World
  • Acts: God of Power

Pauline Epistles

  • Romans: God of Righteousness
  • 1 Corinthians: God of Holiness
  • 2 Corinthians: God of Weakness
  • Galatians: God of Justification
  • Ephesians: God of Unity
  • Philippians: God of Joy
  • Colossians: God of Preeminence
  • 1 Thessalonians: God of Encouragement
  • 2 Thessalonians: God of Admonishment
  • 1 Timothy: God of Godliness
  • 2 Timothy: God of Endurance
  • Titus: God of Works
  • Philemon: God of Reconciliation

General Epistles

  • Hebrews: God of Fulfillment
  • James: God of Trials
  • 1 Peter: God of the Persecuted
  • 2 Peter: God of Patience
  • 1 John: God of Love
  • 2 John: God of Truth
  • 3 John: God of Discernment
  • Jude: God of Protection


  • Revelation: God of Eternity

Blessings, Kendall


Five Ways to Respond to Teenagers’ Doubts by Tony Miles

“I still tell people about how great and accepting our youth group was,” a 30-year-old recently shared with me. When I was his youth pastor years ago, “Mike” never took the big step of becoming a Christian. Back then he described himself as an atheist-meets-Wiccan. He tried to dismiss the Bible with all the classic push back, presenting our volunteer leaders with one doubt-whammy after another.

But Mike kept showing up to every Jesus-centered activity we offered. Friends had invited him to church, thinking we could convert him overnight. When it became obvious Mike wasn’t ready for that big step, we all determined to keep exposing him to Jesus. The challenge was to neither water down the truth nor drown him with debate.

I wish I could tell you that Mike is now a passionate Christ-follower. Honestly, I don’t know because we’ve only recently reconnected. But I do consider that good news. Because our youth ministry built a foundation back then, I still have an opportunity to invest in him now.

That’s not a luxury we can bank on. Eternity is a reality, so there’s an incredible sense of urgency to get teenagers “over the line” in trusting Jesus. When young people express doubts or won’t commit their lives to Christ, what are our options? Do we put them in their place with some theological auto-correcting? Hand them a book? Make them listen to a podcast? Or step back and become as hands-off as possible?

I’m still trying to figure that out. But I’ve learned we can prepare to respond when kids express doubts. Here’s how we responded to Mike back in the day, and to all the “Mikes” who’ve moved through my ministry since then:

  1. “That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer to that today.” Share that you’re on a spiritual journey, too. Explain that it took you time and questions like theirs to get where you are today. Likewise, point out that you have room to grow—and are willing to. Follow up by asking, “What do you say we figure out your question together?”
  2. “If you were to share your question or doubt with Jesus over a meal, what do you think he’d say?” This is less about the “right” answer and more about exploring what someone’s response reveals about their view of Jesus. Point out that not everyone who brought questions to Jesus left satisfied, but they always left changed. He never overtook their ability to believe or disbelieve but always gave them something deeper to ponder.
  3. “Is this a deal-breaker or something you’re just curious about?” We sometimes forget that faith is a relationship with someone. Just as you don’t know everything about everyone you know, you can build something great out of what you do know. I like to invite students to list all their questions and then mark a few as the most important. Explore what you can with them, always pointing to Jesus.
  4. “Who else do you think might wonder about this?” It’s great to find synergy in community, so ask if teenagers are willing to do a short study together on a topic. It doesn’t have to be a one-sided presentation of apologetics; instead, aim for interaction so kids can bring their best thoughts and wrestle with questions in the context of Scripture.
  5. “What have you wondered about in the past that you eventually found a good answer to?” We’re all on a journey of discovering new elements to our faith, just as we come to see many different parts of life differently.

As a teaching metaphor, discuss a piece of artwork that’s only partially exposed in a picture frame. Seeing just part of it is like how we see Jesus: There’s much more to him, and our perspective of that fuller picture grows as we intentionally work to unveil the rest. That means the part of Jesus we know today is true, but not all of him.Even in heaven, elements of God will be beyond us, but we’ll see him clearly, face-to-face (see 1 Corinthians 13:12).

Can you relate? Who’s your “Mike”? How are you coping with doubts and resistance?


Here’s What You Need to Know About Generation Z by Hayley Peterson
Just when you thought you had a handle on marketing to Millennials, along comes a vital new demographic.

Marketers are beginning to target a new crop of young people who are rapidly growing in number and influence: Generation Z.

Studies differ on the exact age range of Generation Z, but most agree they were born after 1990, which makes them the largest generational group in the U.S.

We set out to discover who they are and what they eat and buy. Here’s what we found:

Gen Z wants to change the world. 60% of them want to have an impact on the world, compared to 39% of millennials, according to a study by Sparks & Honey, a New York-based marketing agency. Roughly one in four Generation Z-ers are involved in volunteering.

Advanced college degrees are less important to them. 64% of Gen Z-ers are considering an advanced college degree, compared to 71% of millennials.

They are more entrepreneurial than millennials. 72% of high school students want to start a business someday and 61% would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee when they graduate college, according to a study by Millennial Branding, a consulting firm, and Internships.com.

They are digitally over-connected. Gen Z-ers multitask across at least five screens daily and spend 41% of their time outside of school with computers or mobile devices, compared to 22% 10 years ago, according to the Sparks & Honey report. “They suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) more than millennials, so being culturally connected is critical,” researchers wrote.

But they prefer to work independently. “This generation is very individualized,” Dan Schawbel, the founder of Millennial Branding, told Business Insider. “While Millennials seek mentors, Generation Z is more about helping themselves.”

They worry about the economy more than anything else, including crime, politics, their parents’ job security, politics, or the cost of goods.

This chart details some of their interests:

They prefer home-cooked foods over processed, ready-to-eat meals such as cold cereal, according to a study by The NPD Group. They aren’t big fans of microwaves and would rather use a stove top or oven to prepare meals. Salad consumption is expected to increase the most among Gen Z-ers over the next five years, followed by sandwiches and breakfast foods that require some cooking, such as eggs and pancakes.

Gen Z-ers spend more money on food and drinks than anything else, and their favorite eatery is Starbucks, according to Piper Jaffray’s most recent semiannual survey of teens. Nike is their top clothing brand, followed by Forever 21, Action Sports Brands, American Eagle, and Polo Ralph Lauren.

They are less active. 66% of kids ages six to 11 say online gaming is their main source of entertainment, according to the Sparks & Honey report. On a related note, teen obesity has tripled between 1971 and 2010.

They lack brand loyalty. “The products themselves are more important to Generation Z than the brands that produce them, and these consumers will change brands easily in search of higher quality,” according to Arkansas-based marketing agency Martin-Wilbourne Partners.

Gen Z-ers are close with their families. “Their parents have a lot of control over the decisions that they make,” Schawbel said. “Their influence is huge and plays into every aspect of their lives.” Many of them are also living in multigenerational homes, as Baby Boomers age and move in with their kids.

They communicate with speed and often use emoticons and emojis instead of words. “They are accustomed to rapid-fire banter and commentary,” Sparks & Honey analysts wrote. “As a result, Gen Z are not precise communicators and leave a lot of room for interpretation.”

Here’s what Sparks & Honey recommends to effectively communicate with a Gen Z-er:

  1. Depict them as diverse (ethically, sexually, fashionably)
  2. Talk in images: emojis, symbols, pictures, videos
  3. Communicate more frequently in shorter bursts of “stackable content”
  4. Don’t talk down… talk to them as adults, even about global topics
  5. Assume they have opinions and are vocal, influencing family decisions
  6. Make stuff – or help Gen Z make stuff (they’re industrious)
  7. Tap into their “want to be an entrepreneur” spirit
  8. Be humble
  9. Give them control and preference settings
  10. Collaborate with them – and help them collaborate with others


America Sees Alarming Spike in Middle School Suicide Rate by James M. O’Neill
The rate of middle school suicide doubled between 2007 and 2014 in the United States for a variety of reasons, including the use of social media for bullying. James M. O’Neill/NorthJersey.com

America is experiencing a striking rise in suicide among middle school students.

The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014, for the first time surpassing the death rate in that age group from car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 alone, 425 middle schoolers nationwide took their own lives.

“It’s alarming. We’re even getting cases involving 8- and 9-year olds,” said Clark Flatt, who started the Jason Foundation in Tennessee 20 years ago to help educate teachers about teen suicide after his 16-year-old son took his own life. “It’s scary. This isn’t an emerging problem – it’s here.”

Researchers, educators and psychologists say several factors — increased pressure on students to achieve academically, more economic uncertainty, increased fear of terrorism and social media — are behind the rise in suicides among the young.

The use of social media is a particular worry because it has amped up bullying among a vulnerable age group. Young students in prior generations left school each afternoon and avoided someone who bullied them until the next day or week. Now, social media allows for bullying 24/7 — and the bully doesn’t even have to be someone the child knows.

Social media has also been behind the spread of dangerous phenomenons like the Blue Whale Challenge, which is recently rumored to have encouraged a handful of suicides of young people around the world. The game asks players to attempt daily tasks that include everything from watching horror films to self-mutilation. The parents of a 15-year-old Texas boy said this week that their son was participating in the challenge when he was found hanging in his closet, his cell phone propped up so it could broadcast his death.

There is so much pressure on young people they can become overwhelmed because they haven’t yet developed the coping skills adults rely on. Something an adult easily dismisses because of a lifetime of experience can be hard for a middle schooler to shrug off.

“Middle school is a very difficult time,” said Maurice Elias, a psychologist at Rutgers University and director of its Social-Emotional Learning Lab. It’s a challenging age, as some start puberty before others, and some are discerning their sexual orientation.

“They are trying to figure out who they are,” Elias said. “They are very sensitive to criticism. So they are particularly prone to suicidal ideation and even action. A lot of times they exaggerate the situation. If it’s a little thing, they think it’s a huge thing. If someone doesn’t like them, they think that nobody will like them forever.”

The statistics are heartbreaking. Nationwide, the annual rate climbed from 0.9 to 2.1 suicides per 100,000 middle schoolers between 2007 and 2014, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The causes of suicide can be complicated, and each case is different. A suicide is never the result of a single factor, experts say.

“Increasing the risk of suicide can be a lot of interacting pieces, from family issues to other stressors,” said Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and former chair of the state’s Anti-Bullying Task Force.

Experts say that to reduce suicide among teens, parents and teachers need education about warning signs. These can include changes in feelings, displays of distress, a sense of hopelessness, a change in appetite, sleep loss, lost interest in hobbies or giving away favored possessions, Alongi said.

Parents need to speak to their child if they think something is wrong.

“Always err on the side of asking the question,” Flatt said. “And don’t accept their first answer that everything is fine, especially if they are acting differently.”

He said his son, Jason, was a regular 16-year-old who loved sports and got Bs in school. But the Bs became Ds, and Jason failed to finish homework. Then Jason, who loved football, came out on the front step of their home and told his dad that he no longer wanted to play.

“I thought he had been through a tough spring practice and was tired,” Flatt recalled. “I said, ‘You certainly don’t have to play on my account, but why don’t you wait to decide until August.’ I lost him three weeks later. I hadn’t asked him why he didn’t want to play anymore.

“It’s tough to sit across from your son and ask if he’s thinking about hurting himself,” Flatt said. “If he says ‘yes,’ he’s put his life in your hands, and you need to know how to deal with it – don’t learn what you should do after the fact.”

In the years since he said he has spoken with hundreds of kids who attempted suicide and they all said that no one ever asked them if they wanted to hurt themselves. “If you already think nobody loves you or cares, and then nobody asks if you’re okay, that just reinforces what they’re thinking,” Flatt said.

Research has shown that four of five teens who attempt suicide showed warning signs beforehand, Flatt said. “If we can train people to recognize those signs and respond, we can reduce the numbers,” he said.

Alongi agreed. “The top myth about suicide is that if I talk about suicide I am planting the idea in their heads,” she said.

Experts also say schools need to create a welcoming environment where all students feel accepted and to teach students the social and emotional skills that will help them navigate conflict.

Training educators is essential, experts say. “Training teachers is the single most impactful thing a state can do,” said Flatt, whose foundation has helped 19 states pass the Jason Flatt Act, which requires suicide prevention as part of teacher training.

Concerns about suicide were also part of the reason the state passed an anti-bullying act in 2006. “Most bullying cases occur in a school setting,” said Stuart Green, director of the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention. “It’s the responsibility of the adults who staff these schools.”

Green and others say addressing bullying not only helps those targeted but also helps the bullies.

“We’re not dealing with a bunch of little Hannibal Lecters,” he said. “That behavior can change. If not, they grow up with problems when dealing with the workplace where bullying isn’t tolerated.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.


How to Tailor Your Lessons to Kids’ Learning Styles by Joyce Platek


Want to know how to conquer kids’ learning obstacles? If after every lesson your kids can say, “We came, we saw, we heard, we touched,” they’ll also be able to say, “We conquered!”

Kids experience their world through their senses, and each child has a favored sense that sends more information to the brain than the other senses.

The three primary perceptual preferences or “learning styles” are visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

By understanding these three learning styles, you can create lessons that’ll give all your children a better chance of learning.


*Characteristics-Visual learners need to see or observe things closely. Visual learners recognize words by sight, remember faces but forget names, take notes, make lists, have vivid imaginations and think in pictures. Visual learners express emotion through facial expressions.

Jonna is a visual learner. She’s distracted by visual disorder or movement and prefers a neat, meticulous environment. She doesn’t talk at length and becomes impatient when she has to listen for a long time. While her teacher lectures, Jonna will stare, daydream or doodle.

*Lesson Design-In every lesson, provide pictorial or graphic representations and demonstrations. Allow visual learners to read and look at illustrations, charts, and other visual aids. Don’t just tell kids about a topic, but allow them to also read about it.


*Characteristics-Auditory learners learn best by reading aloud or listening. Auditory learners remember things they hear better than things they see. These students move their lips or subvocalize as they talk out situations and problems. They hum and are easily distracted by sounds. They remember names by auditory repetition but forget faces. Auditory learners express emotion verbally through changes in tone, volume, and pitch of voice.

Brad is an auditory learner. He often talks to others during class because, even though he enjoys listening, he can’t wait to talk. Brad enjoys the sound of his own voice.

*Lesson Design-Provide opportunities for kids to listen to oral reading or a taped presentation. Ask questions and form group discussions to get these kids talking. Encourage dramatic presentations or role-plays. Always read aloud any instructions.


*Characteristics-Kelly is a kinesthetic learner. She sits at the front of a group so she can touch the object of the lesson. In a line, Kelly is frequently told to “keep your hands to yourself!” Kinesthetic learners enjoy touching or doing things. These children aren’t attentive to visual or auditory presentations and so seem distracted.

Kinesthetic learners attack problems physically, impulsively trying things out-touching, feeling and manipulating. When bored, they fidget or find reasons to move. When happy, they jump for joy. When angry, they stomp off.

*Lesson Design-Structure “real-life” situations such as field trips and allow kids to make things. Give these kids objects to touch or feel what they’re learning. Make lessons active by having kids play educational games or run relays.