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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This article came in my email today. I thought I'd pass it on to you.

"the need for integrity
walt mueller

Last summer I painted several rooms in our house. The job took much longer than I had hoped or expected (doesn’t it always?!?). Even though I’m a perfectionist when it comes to painting, my desire to just get done and get back to life led to a temptation to compromise my usual standards of neatness. My last painting project was our walk-in closet. Because nobody other than my family would be entering the closet and because it would be filled with all kinds of stuff once I was done, I caught myself thinking about painting faster, cutting corners, settling for only one coat, and being generally sloppy because, after all, it was only the closet and nobody would ever know. I wanted to get outside and enjoy the summer.

But my conscience got the better of me. I realized that if I had compromised my standards, each time I walked into that closet I would know that even though the rest of the job looked good, the walls hidden in that dark little space didn’t meet my standard. My painting job would have lacked integrity.

Integrity is an issue for all followers of Christ regardless of our age. The dictionary defines integrity as “firm adherence to a code of moral values” and “the quality of being complete or undivided.” For Christians in my generation, our compromise oftentimes takes the form of putting on a good show for others, while living with lower standards and cutting corners in “the closests” of our lives frequented only by our selves. . . those places that we think are never seen by others. However, as youthworkers, we can be sure that our kids’ watchful eyes see more than we know or imagine. I believe that the emerging generation of children and teens have learned well from our example. So much so, in fact, that they are now a generation where professing Christian kids are less prone to even try to hide their duplicity. They are marked by an increasing willingness to wear their lack of integrity on their sleeves with no cares about what anybody else thinks. For example, I can talk about being a follower of Christ, eagerly engage in corporate worship, sleep with my girlfriend, embrace a lifestyle of materialism that leaves me feeling entitled to everything, cheat in school, etc. . . . and do it all without even thinking there’s anything wrong or contradictory with any of it. It’s the same lack of integrity my generation has struggled with, but it’s now wearing a completely different face.

Charles Colson says, “The church’s singular failure in recent decades has been the failure to see Christianity as a life system, or worldview, that governs every area of existence.” In other words, we lack the integrity that Jesus calls for when he tells his followers to love the Lord your God with all you are, have, do, and ever will be (Mark 12:30) . . . consistently. Integrity describes a life that is united in a complete and consistent whole. An integrated life is one where words, thoughts and actions consistently reflect the will of God in our lives.

What can we do to counter the loss of integrity in today’s youth culture and the lives of our kids?

First, we need to take a long, hard look in the mirror to see what kind of example we are offering, both outside and inside our “closets.” Prayerfully take corrective action where necessary.

Second, we must map out a lifestyle of joyful integrity through our daily lives. The way we minister, play, work, worship, relate, and live all of life should model integrity to our kids.

Third, we must map out a life of integrity through our words. Never forget that your students are on the road to adulthood. Full of confusion and questions, they want and need your guidance. Speak up loudly and often, challenging commonly held cultural standards that steer them in the wrong direction. In addition, don’t be afraid to speak openly about the specific duplicity you see them adopting in their own lives. Spoken in the context of a loving relationship, your words have tremendous power.

May God grant us all the grace to live lives marked by an infectious integrity that fills every room and closet, both now and for generations to come!"

Walt Mueller is the founder and president of CPYU. Their monthly Parent Page is a part of my monthly communication to parents of students at Eastview Christian Church.

What are you like when no one is watching?


Monday, January 28, 2008

WAKE UP!

Take a look at the following blog post (language warning):

"I want to cut so bad.
I'm shaking at the moment, from wanting to cut and being so cold. I hate this.
When I was in the tub, my mind wandered from making up that story to my thighs. Fat ass thighs. I saw myself taking the blade and running it from my knee to my hip. Ugh. I haven't cut there in forever and I want it. So easy to hide, it's easy to sit there and tear myself to pieces.
I honestly don't really want this whole recovery crap. I don't think I'm made for it. I'd rather just cut and cut, that makes things better."

If this were your student, how would you minister to them? What would you do? Would you even know if your student had a weblog? How would you know? How do you know that they do not?

Many, if not most, of our students have a blog of some sort. Did you know that there are entire weblog groups created and run by students that encourage one another to hide their self-injury, that tell one another where the cuts can be concealed the easiest? That there are groups dedicated to
Ana (anorexia) and Mia (bulimia) lifestyles?

I don't put these things without purpose, and my purpose is not to make you mad or cause you to be paranoid. My purpose is to issue you, all of us, a wake-up call. If you are a believer, scratch that, if you are a PARENT, you have a responsibility to be involved and engaged in the raising of your children.

We're not talking about someone else's kids, or even the "non-churched" kids. We have had kids in our ministry here at Eastview who self-injure. We have kids who struggle with self-image, which leads to eating disorders.

On March 15th, here at Eastview, we are having a discussion on youth culture. On YOUR youth's culture. I hope you'll join us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PBS Frontline-"Growing Up Online"

For a blog review of the show, click here. There are a number of user comments at the end of the original post. If you have comments, please post them. If you missed it last night, you can watch the entire thing here. Just click on the "Watch the Full Program Online" link on the right-hand side of the page.

This will be a part of our youth culture event on March 15th here at Eastview.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Upcoming PBS Frontline episode

From PBS's website...


"This Tuesday's FRONTLINE comes with a warning for everyone who's never made a "friend" on MySpace, chatted with someone online, or sent a text message from a cell phone: You live in a very different world than the one in which a new generation is growing up, and this widening digital divide is becoming much more profound than anyone might have once imagined.

In "Growing Up Online," producers Rachel Dretzin and John Maggio take us inside the private worlds that kids are making on the Web, often outside the view, and comprehension, of the adults in their lives.

A teenage girl creates a new name and persona for herself and becomes an Internet celebrity from the privacy of her own bedroom. A lunch room fight gets broadcast nationally on YouTube. A ninth grader is relentlessly teased online and, tragically, is pushed to suicide by a friend's instant messages, setting his father on a journey through his son's hard drive to figure out what went wrong.

These are some of the film's more extreme and dramatic stories, but perhaps more provocative are some of the smaller moments: A high schooler matter-of-factly reports that he never reads books ("If there were 27 hours in a day, I'd read Hamlet," he says), and he's pretty sure that most of his fellow students don't read either. A young woman privately confesses that she's slipped into an online world of anorexics that she doesn't know how to escape. A boy logs onto a new Web site that aspires to be MySpace for the kindergarten crowd.

Throughout the film, parents hover nervously around their children's computers, teachers try hard not to wag their fingers at students who'd rather watch a podcast than write an essay, and academics try to understand what may be the greatest cultural shift in American history. But if you think the answers predictable, be prepared for the surprise of a teacher who thinks cheating might not be such a bad thing and a father who comes around to supporting the risque photographs that his teenage daughter had been secretly posting on the Web.

We hope you'll tune in to see how it all plays out on Tuesday night, and then join us online to watch it again, explore interviews with teachers and experts on teens and new media, and join our discussion at: http://pbs.org/frontline/kidsonline/ .

Senior Editor
Ken Dornstein"

I urge you to watch this program.

Friday, January 18, 2008

This is a promotional video for the upcoming Frontline episode "Growing Up Online" on PBS.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weekly Info

Starting now, I'll begin to post weekly communication here, since I do not have an email address for all parents.


Fundraising
No word yet from Younkers on when we’ll be getting the coupon books to pre-sell. I’ll contact them this week to get more information and wil let you know as soon as we have them.

Upcoming Senior High Trip to St Louis
Permission slips for our senior high trip for CIY’s Discipleship in St Louis are due back to me by January 27. Registration goes up $10/person after this date, so get them in early! The slips are available on the parents website.

D-Group
Last night, we began our “Pursuit” study and had lot’s of good conversation and questions asked. We’ll be starting a new study at the end of February, so please be on the lookout for more information!

Youth Group
We started our year-long study of Jesus last week. For the year, we have committed to the “Student Life” Bible study. The LORD blessed us with 28 students! We also had the students participate in a survey asking them why they attend as well as some other things. The results will be compiled and discussed at our culture event on March 15th. I hope you’ll all attend.

Sunday School
We continue to combine the middle school/high school and adult classes. We do have a coffee/donut time beginning at 8:15. If you come at that time, you get to hang out with our youth, get a seat on one of our couches or chairs, and you’ll be on time for class to start at 8:45. Remember, your example as parents is larger than anything we do or anyone else in their lives!

Yesterday, we discussed the purpose of the baptism of Jesus, from Matthew 3:13-17. Also discussed was “Who do I say Jesus is?”

Your follow-up:
Read John14:6-7 with your family and discuss the following:
Do some people in your acquaintance believe that there are other ways to God besides Jesus? If so, what are those ways?
Why do you think God established only one way to himself through Jesus Christ? Why not through all religions or through other great men?
What is your reaction to the truth that there is one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ?
Close in prayer, thanking God for providing a way for people to have a personal relationship with him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

We are in need of an adult female leader for our upcoming Senior High trip to St Louis for CIY's Discipleship Conference.

No teaching required! We just need an adult who is willing to spend time with high school girls and be a positive example to them. You must be be willing to have fun and grow in the Lord.

If this is you, please let John know ASAP. All expenses (conference, food, trip to the top of the Gateway Arch in St Louis) paid for!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

We have the seven people for the January Wendy's night. The next one is scheduled for February 12th.

Also, be on the lookout for our Younker's Community Days Fundraiser!!
There is ONE spot left for the Wendy's GeTogether.
A few things that didn't make the email:


The permission slip/information slip for CIY Discipleship is posted. Click on the "Eastview Resources" link on the left, you'll find it in the "CIY Discipleship-2008" folder there. If you have questions, please let me know.

The Annual Release Form for 2008 will be available for you to download, print, sign, and return to me. Without it, your students will not be able to participate in overnighters, trips, etc. It will be up by Friday. Please get it to me ASAP!

Josh Davis has scheduled a ski trip for January 26th at Sundown Mountain in Dubuque. Here are the details as listed on the Facebook Event that he posted:

"I plan to go skiing on January 26th and am inviting anyone who wants to go with me. Transportation is limited. If you are willing to drive, that is greatly appreciated. I plan on leaving around 2pm and skiing from 4-10ish and being home no later than midnight. The cost to go will be $46 for your rental plus spending money for food. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at jdav06@yahoo.com."

I have strongly encouraged and supported Josh in setting this up, but please understand that this trip is in no way, shape or form an "Eastview Event." Here's what our Ministry Policy Manual has to say (in part) about "Non-Official Events":

"Non-official events…
• will never be promoted via official church publications or email addresses without a disclaimer.
• may be promoted verbally or by flyers at youth group by our students.
• should not be accredited to Eastview on any written flyers.
• might be adequately supervised or not supervised at all, depending.
• have no established conduct standards, such as what movies they may be showing.
• require parents to investigate to ensure their supervision expectations are met.
• The church assumes NO responsibility,liability or insurance obligations for such events, even if a youth sponsor attends all or part of it."

I am not trying to dissuade participation, I'm communicating with you that this is not an "official" Eastview event.


there are 3 spots left on the Wendy's list....
Our January Wendy’s GeTogether night is NEXT Tuesday. I’m not sure how to say this “gracefully”so I’ll say it...we can have 20 kids show up to help, but I want our kids to make more than $5 a piece for this fundraiser. Financially, the dollars wouldn’t make sense. Please, only have your kids sign-up for this and other fundraisers if a) they need the money, and b) they’re planning to participate in events requiring money.
Because of the way this fundraiser works, and the amount money earned, I’m going to limit the number of students to SEVEN (7). The first 7 to sign-up on the sheet on the bulletin board will be the 7 we use. Thanks for understanding.


You may email me if you want your student on the list.