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Lessons on Media

We just finished our series on Media. I used Walt Mueller’s 3D’s – Discover, Discern, and Decide.  I didn’t use anything outside of his 3 main words. I really liked them although none of my students had ever heard of the word discern.

The first lesson I spent the whole time on discovering what was in our media. I used the example of discovering ingredients. I handed out various foods and had our students try to figure out what various things were. I then gave them a 2 minute discussion about diabetes and how they have to watch their sugar levels and they had to look at more than just the word sugar. They had the discover what was really in products and learn all the words for sugar and how breads and pasta even impact their sugar. We had several students who have parents or grand parents with diabetes so most understood this. This lesson was all about the need to discover the true ingredients in our media.

The second lesson we talked about discerning and deciding what we will do with our media. I used Romans 8 and Ephesians 5 to talk about how our mind and thoughts impact our life and that when we became a Christian we choose to live a new life and not make excuses or participate in sin. I went back to the sugar example and talked about how no one could avoid sugar but the goal is to monitor and not take in more than you can handle. The same way we can’t avoid media but we can control how much of various ingredients we can take in before it hurts us spiritually.

The third and fourth lesson was reviewing and taking shows, movies, and artist that they liked and walking through the process of discovering, discerning, and deciding. We didn’t cast judgment on any media but talked about how much of these ingredients can you allow into your life before they are harmful. We also talked about what is your sugar? If you struggle with a desire to drink, curse, sex, etc.. how much of that can you take in? For some listening to a country artist may be nothing but to someone who struggles with desires to drink alcohol then listening to music with tons of drinking songs may not be wise.

Here is my PowerPoint for this series. All the media pictures in the movie reel and magnify glass are things students told me in advance that they like.


Facebook Announces New Features

The people at YPulse give you a breakdown of the new features and what they mean to every user especially your students.


VMA’s on MTV

Every year I watch the MTV award shows (movie and music). A few years ago I felt that from an entertainment side the music awards took some chances and they bomb. Last year and this year the VMA’s were once again entertaining to watch. I was a little apprehensive after watching the movie awards in June. It was so bad that I couldn’t make it past 3o minutes. The content was beyond vulgar and there is only so much beeping, muting, and profanity one can handle.

Why do we as student ministers need to watch shows like this? These shows help us see pop culture in a way we normally don’t. We see what is selling from language, shows, products, music, fashion, image, lifestyle, and the artist thoughts. We see what our students are being sold and what they are buying. We see what they are listening to and being taught.

The host was Chelsea Handler from E Networks “Chelsea Lately”. She was the first woman to host since 1994 when Rosanne Barr hosted. It was predictable. She told a few jokes about people up for awards. She made the usual jokes about doing drugs, alcohol, and sexual themes. No one will remember her as a host. MTV hasn’t had a good host since 2006 with Jack Black and if MTV was smart they would try to get Chris Rock to return. I digress. But basically MTV knows what sells – partying and sex.

The show started with Eminem and Rhianna. Eminem is a major player and he sells records and dominates everything when he is touring and has a CD out. If you like rap (confession I do) you have to give him props he has skills on the mic. I think he will go down as one of the top ten hip hop artist.  He won best hip hop video and best male video with “Not Afraid”. His new CD packs well close to 200 profanities F-words. His two big songs out now have about 1-4 and are muted in the radio edit version.

Other performers included Usher who had an amazing stage show, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Florence and the Machine, Drake, BOB, Robin, Lincoln Park, and Kanye. In all the performances were good and no controversy will surround them.

The big shock for me was that Taylor Swift didn’t win anything. Lady GaGa beat her out each time. Lady GaGa ruled the night with 6 awards. She did various outfit changes. It was comical when some were not walking around friendly. She announced her new CD title – “Born this Way”. Lady GaGa is popular and she is a major spokesperson for gays and anyone who may not fit into mainline culture. She gave a glimpse of her new song and its message will basically say that God made me this way so do not look down on me or judged me for my sexual orientation.

To see a complete list and videos of the awards and performances go here.

Health Care and Ministers

Health Care has passed and there is still a lot of political questions about how this will play out. Will the senate pass reconciliation, will people sue and force this to the Supreme court, how long will we be forced to hear about this?

As I read blogs and facebook status’ it seems everyone is sharing an opinion on this. I can’t help but to wonder as a minister what should be our role in sharing our politics with people?

I have begun to question this more and more. I know that no matter what my opinion is I will alienate some. I will be honest I dislike most republicans right now. I avoid some at church because I don’t believe Obama is the anti-Christ and to some this makes me the anti-Christ. And we all know you can’t openly profess to be a democrat and a Christian so I have no gripe with them at the moment because I don’t know who they are.

I just wonder if I am avoiding some Christians right now because I don’t want to hear another speech about politics if there aren’t some non-Christians who are avoiding us for the same reason.

So as a minister what should be our role in sharing our politics with people and what could be the dangers of either way?

Doing What Comes Easy

Tim Tebow is a great leader and role model. I think if you are a Christian you probably like the guy unless you just can’t stand the Gators. Everyone talks about how this guy is the real deal and his head coach says your life will change if you get to spend 5 minutes with the guy.

If I could meet Tebow and could work up the nerve I would like to ask him one question. “You have been told for 4 years that your throwing motion  would keep you from being a top draft pick and cost you millions so why haven’t you changed it?” Todd McShay gave Tebow a D for his performance for the senior bowl week and said that he may have even dropped another round because when matched up with the best his flaws become even more evident. But the guy had 4 years to correct what everyone said was an elongated throwing motion. I can’t help but to think that if I was told you could make $500k a year and not change or $5 million a year if you do I would change.

But then again would I? Most of us know our weaknesses but we don’t work to change them. Why? It takes hard work. It is often trying to undo years of doing? It isn’t easy. Doing what we do is what we know and we are afraid of the unknown. There are probably more reasons.

As ministers we all know areas we need to improve. It may not be worth a couple of million bucks but it could be worth a few more people understanding the bible, being saved, giving their life to God, etc.. Even though most of us know this we don’t work to change areas that we know need work. We may try for a while but inevitable we just do what we do, what works, what makes up good but not great, what it comfortable.

I think it is a tragedy that Tim Tebow had thrown away millions up front because he didn’t do whatever it took to fix a problem that everyone told him he had and that could have been fixed. I think it is a tragedy that I have thrown away hours, sermons, opportunities to change my and others lives because I didn’t do whatever it took to fix problems I could have fixed.

Tebow now has a chance to redeem himself and become a legitimate NFL quarterback. He will have to work hard to retrain himself but he can do it. I also have a chance to redeem myself. I will have to work hard to retrain myself, be patient and persistent, but if I do it could make a tremendous difference in God’s kingdom.

The Pope Text Messages

Pope Benedict will text message thousands of young Catholics on their mobile phones during World Youth Day in Sydney in July, hoping going digital will help him connect better with a younger audience.

The Pope will text daily messages of inspiration and hope during the six-day Sydney event while digital prayer walls will be erected at event sites and the church will set up a Catholic social networking Web site akin to a Catholic Facebook.

The Catholic Church said it decided to use technology to connect to the estimated 225,000 young Catholics expected to attend the World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations that start on July 15. (Reuters Press)

Religion Influences Self Esteem

And who is the most important influence when it comes to how teens feel about themselves? Not mom or dad, not even their friends….it’s their boyfriend or girlfriend (if they have one). Interestingly, religion comes second:

– Your girlfriend/boyfriend (84%)

– Your religion (82%)

– Your friends (79%)

– Your parents (74%)

– Your teacher(s) (72%)

– TV shows you watch (51%)

– Celebrities (e.g. actors, athletes, musicians) (49%)

– Magazines you read (38%)

– Advertising you see (on TV or elsewhere) (33%)

– Other kids in school (31%)

You can go to YPulse to read all the results from the survey.

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