Sabtu, 30 Januari 2016

6 Dangers of Extended Adolescence

6 Dangers of Extended Adolescence

by Eric Mason on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 02:59 PM
Author and speaker, Eric Mason talks about the phenomenon of extended adolescence and biblical ways to boost spiritual maturity.
Man, video games, eric mason
What is adolescence?
Most would say that this is the transitional period and process of growing into a mature adult.
But in college, while I was studying psychology, this question regularly caused a heated discussion among my classmates. We agreed on the obvious signs of adolescence—boys experience facial hair growth, a change of the voice, muscular development and identity curiosity. However, the disagreement came when we discussed what marked the transition out of this stage.
We came to the conclusion that this stage in human development was a Western invention that postponed the responsibility of adulthood. Everyone agreed that there is only childhood and adulthood—irresponsibility and responsibility, immaturity and maturity.
What I have seen through research and observation is that today, “childhood” is prolonged. Boys are not only failing to become responsible and godly men; they aren’t becoming men at all.
Here are a few dangers of this phenomenon:

1. Compromised Maturity

Men may have adult bodies, but they remain spiritual infants.

2. Fathers Who Are Only Friends

Men in extended childhood seek to identify with their children as opposed to raise their children. Their efforts at parenting are like their efforts in high school — to be liked and accepted rather than to influence and guide.

3. Subsidized Pictorial of Manhood

When a younger male sees a man living like this, extended childhood becomes the picture of what a man should be.

4. Unmarried Women

As the pool of men is already quite slim for women, it will get even more challenging as they are faced with men who are unfit for marriage.

5. Un-hirable Men

Men in this stage can work at a job that requires physical maturity, but will be incapable of functioning in a professional environment that demands maturity and responsibility.

6. Life Lived in Fantasy

This might be most frightening of all. Men in extended childhood treat their lives like one, big fantasy world. They engage others through artificial means like pornography, social media and video games instead of real life.
In their fantasy world, everything revolves around them. They are incapable of contributing to a family, a church or a community—because all of those require sacrifice.

Embracing Spiritual Maturity

Although extended adolescence is prevalent in our culture, it is no match for the transformational power of Jesus Christ.
So what are the cures for this phenomenon?


God’s Word has the power to cut through all of our iniquities—especially extended adolescence: “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Engaging with Truth every day—reading devotionals, studying Scripture and memorizing verses—is a way to grow into maturity.  Here are some practical tips: 7 Ways to Stick with Your Daily Bible Reading


The act of discipling someone and being discipled are both crucial to spiritual growth. This can happen through a discipleship class at your church or by developing an intentional relationship with a trusted friend who is more spiritually mature than you. Check out these links for tips on developing this relationship:

Spiritual Disciplines

The practice of spiritual disciplines not only equips men to become strong and obedient in their faith, but stronger in their day-to-day life. Here are some core spiritual disciplines.
Article courtesy of Parenting Teens magazine.

Rabu, 20 Januari 2016

Free Youth Series: "Touch"

Free Youth Series: "Touch"

"Look at how Jesus leads us to touch others’ lives."

Free Youth Series

Download and share this four-week series with your youth group.
This series package includes:
  • Title slide
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  • Blank sermon slide
  • Sermon audio in MP3 format

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The One Thing Every Volunteer Wishes You Knew

The One Thing Every Volunteer Wishes You Knew

The question that every unpaid team member needs answered.
Hi. I’m Chuck. Or I could be Austin or Kathy or Robert or Rachel. I’m a youth ministry volunteer. I’m not your youth ministry volunteer, but I could move or you could move, and one day, I could be your youth ministry volunteer. If I was, this is what I would want you to know.
I want you to know that I believe in what you’re doing. If I didn’t believe in your ministry, I wouldn’t choose to be a part of it. I’m also pretty sure that you know what you’re doing, so I’m willing to follow you and try the things that you suggest. I can be a pretty excellent follower.
But I also want you to know that I can’t follow you if you don’t lead me. Maybe you’re not as prepared as you’d like, or maybe you just don’t want to seem bossy, but if you don’t tell me what to do, I’m going to have a real difficult time doing it. I guess what I’m saying basically is this:
I need to know very clearly what’s expected of me.

I’m busy. I have a full-time job and a family. I love Jesus and I love teenagers, but I don’t know the ins and outs of youth ministry like you do. If I show up with vague expectations, then I’ll take guesses at what I’m supposed to be doing. Even if I get it right, I won’t know it. That will make me frustrated.
Do you know what will happen when I get frustrated? You might think I’ll be mad at you for not providing clear instructions, but that’s not actually what’s going to happen. I’ll blame myself. Maybe I should place my failures and struggles on you, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll internalize everything, believing that my frustration is a result of my own inadequacies and a total lack of fitness for youth ministry.
If I feel that way, I won’t last long in youth ministry.
I want you to know that you need to be a leader, not for your sake, but for my sake. I want you to know that I can’t read your mind and that I don’t know half of what you know.
Most of all, I want you to know that I need to know what you want me to do. So go ahead, give me a role that matters and tell me how to do it. You’ll be amazed at how much ministry I can do when I know what I’m doing.
Thanks for reading.

Students Speak Out: Demand a Plan to End Abortion

Senin, 18 Januari 2016

Educate Yourself and Care for the Homeless and Homeless Mentally Ill - Don't Cuss Them Out!

Educate Yourself and Care for the Homeless and Homeless Mentally Ill - Don't Cuss Them Out! (Please Use This Version)

By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service ( )  
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS. JAN 16, 2016) -- An Albuquerque man who told a panhandler to go get an f’ing job got more than he expected.
The victim who said he didn’t want to use his name for safety concerns, told KOB TV’s Kai Porter, “I turn this way and he's coming at me and he struck me, broke my glasses - these are my spare glasses - and then we started tumbling and I put him in a head lock.”
KOB said the man added, “I managed to get my phone out with my other hand and called 911. So I had an active 911 call going on, and then about that time he tried to grab a knife, I dropped the phone, held his hand down and was screaming for help.”
Police finally showed up and arrested the panhandler, KOB reported. The victim took a picture of a syringe he said fell out of the man’s pocket.
smaller panhandlingIs it possibly safe to say that the panhandler quite likely had some mental health issues? Do we perhaps need to look beyond the panhandling to the laws regulating certain behaviors occurring as a result of mental illness?  
It is unlikely that such a person would follow the advice on all the numerous blue signs ( have sprouted up around Alb to call 311. And if he did, what could the operators do? This seems to be a case way beyond the ability of 311 or shelters.

Facebook friends of Joy Junction quickly weighed in after I asked them what they thought.
Kelly said had the man responded to the panhandler in a more respectful fashion, chances are he would have had no reason to become physically violent. 
She added, “I am in no way condoning the alleged attack but in the words of little kids everywhere, ‘he started it.’”
Jerry commented, “Maybe this man has tried to get a job or is not employable. And Albuquerque's little blue signs are not much help, especially for the mentally ill. Positive solutions need to be found.”
Terry said when people are cold and hungry, the best  thing to do is to be kind.
She continued, “I have a job and a home, but am getting older and when it is very cold out and I have to be out in it, my bones hurt etc. Think about people who are trying to figure things out, and having to be there all day until they can get it together. The victim could have just said, ‘I’m sorry but no.’ The ‘F’ words brings about ugliness, no matter who it is directed to.”
Mary seemed to understand, saying that many panhandlers have issues that prevent them from getting a job. 
She added, “This guy is a jerk. If you don't want to give them any money, a simple ‘No’ or ‘Not today’ is sufficient.
Liz echoed that sentiment, saying a simple “I'm sorry I don't have any money would've done.”
“ Instead,” she added, “ he thought it was appropriate to demean and be disrespectful to the panhandler. Respect is a two way street ...  Looks like he got what he deserved, and the panhandler got a free night’s stay in a warm place and a meal.”
Commenting on the KOB website, Thebes said “The junkie panhandler he insulted was probably too mentally ill to ‘get a f#^%ing job.’”
He added, “I'm not saying the junkie should have beaten him up, just that if we dealt with mental illnesses as a disease rather than the mentally ill as criminals- this probably never would have happened.”
Also writing on the KOB website,  John reminded readers that the law is unable to deal with mental health issues. It is basically against the law to hold anyone without their consent, and getting an order of involuntary commitment is not an easy matter.
He continued, “This ‘violation of their civil rights’ has been going on since the 1970's, which is why most mental hospitals in this country were shut down.”
Our insistence on giving the homeless mentally ill their civil rights will end up pushing some of them right into an early grave, and ruining the lives of innocent citizens along the way.
We have a responsibility to educate ourselves about issues besetting our community. The  homeless in general and the homeless mentally ill in particular  are those about whom we should be concerned, not cuss at.
I am not condoning the attack, but as Gary said on Facebook,  the “victim” shouldn’t have provoked the panhandler.
He added, “ People ought to know that a loose mouth might get popped. Solomon said as much too, didn't he? ‘A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.’” (Proverbs 18:6).
It’s time we stopped whitewashing the real issue with blue signs and talked about a real solution before someone gets really hurt – again. 
Photo captions. 1) What should this panhandler do? 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
Jeremy and Elma Reynalds useAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles.  His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on "From Destitute to Ph.D." are available at Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at . 
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Why Mission is Basically Hospitality

We fell in love with the idea of being missional before we actually started practicing it. It was just easier to articulate a missional theology than it was to start practicing everyday mission.
Eventually, though, we realized we needed to start somewhere. We needed to get outside our normal rhythms of “church” if we were going to learn missional living.

From Talking to Doing

We started where many people start: service projects, and we found that they were really helpful! Getting outside our normal rhythms to spend some of our time explicitly on mission was a great place to start.
Regularly “doing mission” in this way allowed our community to begin to name and address fears often associated with missional living. It got us outside our comfort zones and into places where we were not in control.
We got to experience weakness, not knowing what to do, not having answers, and feeling foolish and inadequate. That was important training for us.

From Service Projects to Missional Community

Slowly but surely, new habits began to form in our community. Mission began to seep into our everyday consciousness rather than being located only in a monthly event.
We formed missional communities that focused on ongoing missions to specific neighborhoods or relational networks.
Mission became less sporadic and event oriented and became more integrated and practice oriented. Mission was becoming the very thing we were doing with our whole lives, not just what we did when we planned a project or party for the neighborhood.

From Missional Community to Way of Life

There was one more shift that took place. In the process of leading and participating in missional communities, mission eventually became a way of life.
Now mission is a posture, a way of being that is always happening. It is a reality that constantly affects every decision and conversation.
Some people call this oikos (the Greek word for “household”) or being a “family on mission.”
Of course, we don’t practice this perfectly, but it has become habitual enough that I can say it really does reflect our way of being much of the time.

A Habit of Making Room for Others

But it can be easy to use this kind of language to get us off the hook. “I don’t ‘do’ mission anymore, I am mission,” we might say, masking the fact that our lives don’t look any different from anyone else’s. (I’m being ridiculous, I know.)
So what does it actually look like to adopt mission as a way of life? What do you actually do? What are the new habits that we can observe in a community that’s actually becoming missional in its way of being?
I’d boil it down to one word: hospitality. When you boil it down, mission is basically hospitality.

Hospitality is Not Entertainment

When I say hospitality, please do not hear entertaining. I’m not talking about hosting parties with the best china and hors d’oeuvres, putting on a show to impress people, then collapsing and hibernating for two weeks. That’s exhausting and useless. “Truly I tell you,” I can hear Jesus saying, “they have their reward.”
No, Christian hospitality is something entirely different, and it actually has a long tradition in Christian history. (You can read about it in Christine Pohl’s excellent book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition.)
To put it simply, Christian hospitality is making room for others at Jesus’ table. Essentially, you can boil hospitality down to two steps:
  1. Have a life
  2. Invite others into it

Have a Life

Having a life means you don’t really have anything to say to anyone until you have a life that someone might ask questions about.
The Apostle Peter urges us to “[a]lways be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV), but our main problem today is that nobody asks us to give the reason for the hope we have!
Too much mission and evangelism are done based on the assumption that people come into the kingdom when we use the right techniques on them; if we say the right words at the right time, then people will say yes.
But that’s not how it works. People come into the kingdom when they see someone living it and want the life they’re seeing. When they see a compelling, beautiful life, they ask us for the reason for our hope–then evangelism and mission flow easily.
But it starts with a life of discipleship and mission. You can’t skip over the often humbling task of leading yourself and your family on mission every day.
One way we do this in our home is by praying each morning at breakfast that we would all be able to see what Jesus is doing around us during that day so we can join him in his work. Then we try to check in at dinner time to see what happened.
To have a life just means that mission must be an extension of the life you’re actually living, not a separate activity that takes place in addition to your life.

Invite Others Into It

Step two is simply inviting others into the life you’re living. Hospitality means we intentionally look for ways to make room for others to join us in our lives as disciples.
Mission becomes very simple, then: Just be a Christian and make room for others who want to join you.
One example of how this worked out for us involved making sure our kids’ friends from the neighborhood knew they were welcome in our home. This actually took quite a bit of “making room”!
They would track mud onto the carpet. The junior high kids always seemed to smell bad. They’d eat our snacks and dirty our dishes. We’d have to brief them on the ground rules (no food upstairs, no name-calling, we work to reconcile when we have a disagreement).
But we tried to make room for them. We asked them how their day at school had gone. We involved them in our little ritual of sharing highs and lows around the table when they’d join us for dinner.
They knew it was a place where adults who cared about them were present, were interested in them, and would look them in the eyes and tell them the truth.

Making Room for Others Around the Table

Here’s another rhythm you could try: Designate one night per week as community meal night. The goal is to have at least one other family join you that evening for dinner.
Have them bring some food to contribute to the meal, then just do what you normally do at dinnertime. Here’s what we do:
  1. We thank God for the food.
  2. We eat the food together.
  3. While we eat, we all share our highs and lows from the day, one at a time, and let that spark a conversation that becomes personal (feelings and thoughts, not just events and details).
  4. We all clean up together.
This isn’t a special rhythm we do only when people come over. We do this every evening at dinner. Because this rhythm involves people listening to one another and expressing interest in and love for one another, it’s a life-giving, Christian rhythm.
Mission becomes as easy as inviting people to join us in a life-giving rhythm that points us toward Jesus together. Our guests get to share their highs and lows, join us in conversation, etc. They are heard and seen, and their highs and lows are valued at our table. It’s a simple, easy way of making room for others to taste and see what life is like in a home that is seeking to follow Jesus together.
Mission is basically hospitality because all we’re doing is making room for others to join us in the same rhythms that sustain our own life of discipleship.
Strangely enough, this is how God saves the world. Gerhard Lohfink wrote this in his book Does God Need the Church?
It can only be that God begins in a small way, at one single place in the world. There must be a place, visible, tangible, where the salvation of the world can begin: that is, where the world becomes what it is supposed to be according to God’s plan.
Beginning at that place, the new thing can spread abroad, but not through persuasion, not through indoctrination, not through violence. Everyone must have the opportunity to come and see. All must have the chance to behold and test this new thing. Then, if they want to, they can allow themselves to be drawn into the history of salvation that God is creating.
Only in that way can their freedom be preserved. What drives them to the new thing cannot be force, not even moral pressure, but only the fascination of a world that is changed.
The good news is that your home can become that changed world that fascinates because that’s how God works. The kingdom is a seed that gets planted in the ground.

Reflect and Integrate

  1. How can you bring more discipleship intentionality into your regular, home rhythms? (In writing this, I realized I want our mornings to be a better time of connection.)
  2. How can you bring missional intentionality to your home rhythms? Don’t create a new event, necessarily, but think about how you can more intentionally make room for others to rub shoulders with you in your everyday rhythms.
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British Christian Actor Launches His Own Charity for Young People

British Christian Actor Launches His Own Charity for Young People

By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
Christopher PowerSpotight2PORT SUNLIGHT, UK (ANS – Jan. 18, 2016) – British Christian actor, Christopher Power, who lives in Port-Sunlight located in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England, has now set up his own charity, with his wife Pauline, called The Power Foundation for Young People.
As a small child, Christopher, who was born in Birkenhead, across the River Mersey from Liverpool, says he found it difficult at school after being diagnosed with hyperactivity, speech problems and lack of co-ordination.
“I remember how frustrated I would get, when I was asked to write down answers to the teacher’s questions”, he said.
Christopher grew up on a council estate in the 1980′s and left school without any qualifications. His mum and dad were involved with entertainment and would travel around with a drummer and pianist.
“My mum would sing country and western songs, and I have fond memories of her singing Blanket on the Ground by Billy Jo Spears. My dad would be dressed in a compere suit, which consisted of black trousers and jacket with a white shirt and bow tie, he would also sing”
Christopher became a Christian in 1986 and decided to return to education and attended a performing arts college. It was here that he had a chance introduction to acting that would once again turn his life on its head, this time for the better.
“I met a gentleman called Ron who was in the second year and doing some Shakespeare. He asked me to help him out with his lines. Ron had a great voice and within me was a desire to be like him”.
Ron took Christopher under his wings and together, they work on developing Christopher’s skills, including his voice and reading.
"When I was 19 years old, I was offered a job at Butlins [a chain of large holiday camps in the United Kingdom. which was founded by Billy Butlin to provide affordable holidays for ordinary British families) as a famous Red Coat. I remember working long hours at The Grand Hotel in Scarborough, but only lasted for three days. I was home sick and so I returned home".
In 1996, Christopher won a place a Richmond Drama School, and was awarded for his shear hard work, an Oxford Diploma for acting. He also took a short course at RADA. Since leaving, drama school, Christopher has had the opportunity to appear in TV soaps such as Coronation Street, Brookside, and Hollyoak’s, Shakespeare plays, as well as roles for BBC, ITV and channel 4. Over the last few years, he has been in an award winning film, For Loves Sake, playing Colin Jarvis, Mark Anthony in Caesar, and a lead role in an up and coming film called Free To Be.
Last year Christopher and his wife Pauline launched their charity called The Power Foundation for Young People
“I had unfortunate beginning in life, with being diagnosed with speech problems, lack of coordination and hyperactivity, which affected my education. However, I had the support of various people when I was a teenager and it was this support that enabled me to pursue my ambition which was to be an actor. I now want other young people from disadvantage backgrounds to benefit from financial support as well as access to opportunities in the arts, through The Power Foundation for Young People’s workshops and plays.”
MrBosantiCraycoandJosephCheetham WilkinsonasJovisinJOVISChristopher can be seen on UCB TV ( in Jovis, season three, as Mr. Bosanti Crayco until Easter. Jovis is played by Joseph Cheetham-Wilkinson.
The foundations says that its aim is: “To advance in life and relieve the needs of young people who are socially and economically disadvantaged by supporting them to access the performing arts through the provision of grants, workshops and plays so as to develop their capabilities so that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society”
If you would like to support The Power Foundation for Young People, please visit the website or contact Christopher Power at .
For more information on Christopher’s career, go to:
Photo captions: 1) Christopher Power. 2) Christopher Power (left) as Mr. Bosanti Crayco with Joseph Cheetham-Wilkinson as Jovis in the UBC TV show, Jovis. 3) Dan Wooding.
Dan Wooding at HSBN useAbout the writer: Dan Wooding is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the author of some 45 books and has two TV programs and one radio show in Southern California, and has reported widely for ANS from all over the world.
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Minggu, 03 Januari 2016

Just Let it Go

Just Let it Go (Writer's Opinion)

By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – January 3, 2016) -- “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new”— 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEV). Although I’ve not seen it, I’ve heard the lyrics to the song associated with Disney’s popular animated movie, “Frozen.” Sung by little girls who have seen the film, the song’s title is “Let it Go.”
Scene from FrozenAs I was thinking about the New Year, I looked up the lyrics to the catchy tune. When I read them, I thought, “How appropriate for anyone who wants to let go of the past and embrace the new?”
Recently, I was having lunch with a couple of friends. As usual, we shared several belly laughs when we revealed some of our deepest desires and thoughts—just girl talk. While I can’t recall how the subject led to our past, I found myself confessing some of the more “ornery” things I’d done before moving to Claremore 10 years ago.
Since my friends have only known the person I am now, they were surprised by my confessions. While those escapades weren’t necessarily earth-shattering, they were definitely a part of the person I was before Jesus got ahold of me.
When we belong to Him, we become a new creation. He forgets our past. Everything becomes new. Even the Old Testament reminds us in Isaiah 43:18 to “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past (NIV).
The beginning of a new year is a good time to examine our lives and let go of those things holding us back from spiritual growth. Growing spiritually requires us to be intentional.
I came across the following suggestions in an article titled “Seven Steps to Letting Go of the Past” by Susan Gregory and thought it appropriate.
First, let go of the baggage from your past. Clinging to anything from your former life keeps you from God’s best (See Jeremiah 29:11). Gregory suggests making a list of past pains and then burning the paper in a “ceremonial” fire.
Second, close that chapter on your life. Like a book we’ve just finished, it’s time to turn the page on a new one (See Isaiah 43:18 above). Remember, that was then, this is now.
Third, quit talking about your past. That’s difficult when you’re still clinging to heavy baggage (See Proverbs 18:21).
Fourth, let go of the shame, another difficult step for some of us. However, we all make mistakes. Consciously or unconsciously, we hurt others as well as ourselves in the process. “Thankfully,” says Gregory, “we have Jesus!” (See 1 John 1:9).
Fifth, enjoy today. We can’t change the past. No one can. However, we can be grateful for each new day we are given (See Psalm 118:24).
Sixth, walk by faith and not by sight. How can you do that? Focus on God’s Word instead of your circumstances. If you don’t already read and study the Bible every day, begin now (See Joshua 1:8).
Seventh, believe and understand the power of forgiveness. Refusing to forgive someone doesn’t hurt the other person. It only hurts you (See Matthew 6:14-15).
It’s a new year. Just let it go.
Photo captions: 1) A scene from Frozen. 2) Carol Round.
Carol Round useNote: I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to email me with your thoughts at . You can also visit my blog at
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