Adam in the Bottom Two?

Posted on: 04/30/09 5:30 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… I admit it. I watch American Idol (me and half the nation).

I guess I could admit to worse. I really enjoy the singing, I enjoy getting to know most of the top 10, I enjoy hearing Simon’s criticism (which is usually right on)… but I hate the “reality TV” drama! (i.e. Ryan playing mind-games with the contestants as he’s announcing the bottom three).

This year my prediction has been Adam or Danny as the winner, with Chris as number three.

I’ve correctly predicted who would leave the last 5 weeks, including last night, predicting that Allison will go next week (sad, she’s really good). But last night I was a little scared when Adam made the bottom three. I actually started having a Daughtry flashback when Adam was in the bottom two. (Interesting… some think that Adam was NOT actually the second lowest and that the whole thing is a PR scam)

This year the top 10 have probably impressed me more than any year past. Last night I literally thought, “None of these 5 deserve to be voted off.”

We’ll see what happens!

Miley’s Reaction to Miss California

Posted on: 04/28/09 12:14 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Most of us are aware of Miss California’s statement about Gay Marriage. But how many of us have heard what Miley said just days after? Read below… because I want your feedback!

It all started when Miss California, Carrie Prejean, answered a question about same sex marriages. I quote:

“We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what in my country, in my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be, between a man and a woman.”

You can read all about it here.

As a guy who is very sensitive about this issue (because we as Christians have really messed up and said hateful and judgmental things), I was actually really pleased with Miss California’s response. I think she was not condemning, and at the same time, she shared her honest opinion based on her Biblical values. She has come across really strong through this whole ordeal.

I’m not going to debate the issue in this blog. I’ve shared my two cents on the homosexuality issue before in blogs and articles. But I was very interested in Miley’s response to this whole thing.

I keep an eye on Miley because… well… most of the young girls of this nation are doing the same. Miley has had some ups and downs in the press. She is a proclaimed believer, and I think she’s been a pretty good role model overall.

A couple days after Miss California’s comments, Miley twittered about the subject. Her words:

“Jesus loves you and your partner and wants you to know how much he cares! That’s like a daddy not loving his lil boy cuz he’s gay and that is wrong and very sad! Like I said everyone deserves to be happy. I am a Christian and I love you — gay or not. Because you are no different that anyone else! We are all God’s children!”  (MTV News)


We, as Christians need to follow Christ’s example on this issue. That means

1. Showing love and compassion.

2. Pointing to the truth in love (not changing our morals to be politically correct)

Unfortunately, we (Christians) have failed on both extremes in recent years (you’ve heard me rant about this recently).

Where do you think Miley’s comments fall?

Training Students to Reach Students

Posted on: 04/24/09 2:12 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This weekend I’m doing an adapted version of my CONNECT training workshop here in Northern California (yay, only two hours from my house!) … I’m training both student and adult leaders to reach the other students they encounter in their everyday lives.

This has been a really fun training to put together. In the last six months I’ve trained several groups of student leaders with a similar training. I review the six types of kids they’ll encounter and how to reach each one. I bring six kids up front and put a sign on them (No Way Kid, Stagnant Kid, etc.). After describing each kid, I point to a kid and ask the group, “How do we reach him?” “How do we reach her?”

This is where it always gets fun. It seems that 90% of kids simply reply, “Invite them to youth group.”

Two of the six types of kids I describe -by definition- don’t want to come to our stuff. So I say that. “They aren’t interested in coming to our stuff! So now how do you reach them?”


Hence the need for this training.

I’m looking forward to the workshop tomorrow. It’s a 9AM to 2PM workshop. I’ve got a ton of video, media, and interaction. Fun stuff. If you’d like, it would be great if you prayed for the training.

My CONNECT book comes out at the end of this year.

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Volunteering Stinks!

Posted on: 04/23/09 1:10 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Yeah… I said it. There are times that it stinks to be a volunteer! (You probably didn’t foresee that coming from a guy who wrote a book about volunteering!)

I volunteer for my daughter’s jr. high track team. Since it’s only jr. high, it’s actually through our local ‘park and rec’ (don’t ask me to explain why. This is California. It probably doesn’t make sense).

Here’s where it gets weird. Since it’s a school track team, I went and got fingerprinted, filled out paperwork at the district, got a background check, etc. No big deal… I expect that as part of volunteering (I just talked about the importance of this in my blog last week about the killer “Sunday School Teacher”). But two weeks into the volunteering… the head coach emails me this email:

I just was notified that park and rec needs you to fill out their paperwork and get fingerprinted for them too. Please take care of this.


Do you wonder why we have trouble getting volunteers? (Maybe that’s why I’m the only parent out there!)

The volunteer recruiting principal violated here is what I called the “Oh, by the way” jab, in chapter 2 of my book, THE NEW BREED. We shouldn’t bring on volunteers, only to spring all kinds of, “Oh, by the way, I need you to…” obligations on them later.

“2 separate fingerprintings!” Hilarious!

So today I filled out my 8th form, got fingerprinted a second time… and I’m off to track practice!

An American in Canada

Posted on: 04/22/09 9:55 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The Looney, the Tooney, the Canucks, Much More Music, and “Let’s go get a coffee and Timmys!” These are the just some of the everyday things that we American’s don’t know about Canada.

In all actuality, there is A LOT we don’t know about Canada. Funny… it’s our largest neighbor, yet so many of us know so little about the country. (No, you can’t buy beachfront property in Saskatchewan, and no, Tim Horton is NOT their Prime Minister!)

My first surprise was when I passed the first gas station and saw this!

Check out that price!

Yeah… I thought, “Holy Crud! I’m moving here if gas is only 97 cents a gallon!” Then someone explained to me that that was 97 cents per LITER.

Oh… that’s not so good then.

Their TV takes a little getting used to also. It seems to be a little bit less censored than American TV (if you can believe that). They don’t have MTV on cable, just a show called Much More Music. Satalite subscribers can get MTV, but the Canadian MTV can’t play music videos because Much More Music has the rights (so it was explained to me).

Tim Hortons is the Starbucks of Canada. Yes, they have Starbucks also. But when someone says, “let’s go get a Timmys,” they’re referring to Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is probably a closer match to a Dunkin Donuts. They have good coffee and a bunch of mediocre donuts.

The money up North isn’t that different, but it requires a little thinking. I went to buy a burger and it was 7 bucks. That required math on my part… because 7 bucks is about 5 bucks American… very rough math. At least they take American money- that was cool. I never exchanged money on the whole trip.

The news said the temperature was going to be 20 degrees. Again… it took me a second to realize, “Oh, Celsius.” Someone there told me to simply add 15 and double it and that would be close to the Fahrenheit. (that’s a lot easier than the official way: subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit number, divide the answer by 9, then multiply by 5.)

Cross a bridge? It only costs a Tooney, or two Looneys.

Yeah…that’s what I thought!  🙂

A Looney is a 1 Dollar coin with a picture of a loon on it. So guess what they called the two dollar coin? Yep. There you have it.

I always have a good time in Canada. This was only my third time across our great Northern border (I’ll actually be traveling there this summer also to the East Coast in New Brunswick where I’ll speak at a conference). Matt and John at South Abbotsford Church (an hour East of Vancouver) were great guys and it was fun to spend the weekend with them.

Saturday I taught my CONNECT workshop to a small network of youth workers from surrounding churches. Saturday night and Sunday morning I preached at their church. Sunday afternoon I did my parenting workshop– really neat group of parents. That was probably my favorite time of the whole weekend (I really love doing parenting workshops. Parents seem to be starving for information and ideas helping them understand and connect with their kids). Sunday night I spoke to their high school kids, about 90 something kids. (because the Canucks game ended… if not, there would have been less than half of that!)

The whole weekend was fun. Thanks to my Canadian brotha’s for bringing me out. I look forward to working with you again.

Monday in my blog I offered a free book to the first person who could give me a little history on the Canucks riot. Dan Kish- contact me (use the CONTACT US button on the top of my blog) to get your free book. Good job. (So did you look it up on the web? or did you know it already? Comment below. We’re all curious.)

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I’m home, eh?

Posted on: 04/20/09 2:33 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I just walked in the door from my trip to Canada, a great time ministering with a church about an hour east of Vancouver in a small town called Abbotsford.

Yes… I was actually in Vancouver last night… not a great time to be in Vancouver. Why, you ask? Because their hockey team won! (I know… I know… it doesn’t make sense). But everytime the team wins, the surrounding towns go crazy! In Abbotsford, it’s a giant “cruise” up and down the streets. I was speaking Sunday night and the pastor asked, “Honestly, if the game was still in overtime, who WOULDN’T be here?” A huge amount of hands went up.

Wow. I’m no match for hockey! These guys accepted the Canucks into their heart at age 5!

I was in a pizza place for dinner when the game started. Everytime the Canucks scored the place errupted. It was like being in Oakland during a Raiders game. It was like being anywhere in WI during… during the entire football season!!!! (let’s be honest… Cheeseheads are a little obsessive about the Packers!)

If you think that’s bad… feel free to research what happened when Vancouver’s Canucks lost the playoffs years ago in game 7. (Okay… quick contest for us Yanks. First American to comment on my blog with the answer gets one of my books free. Your choice.)

I’ll blog more about my Canada trip later. I’ve got a pile of work in my inbox and barely any time to do it.

Gotta go! Off to help with my daughter’s track team!

WINNER NOTE: I approve all comments before adding them. I’m just approving them now, 10 AM Tues morning. So you’ll see them added now. Looks like Dan won- I’ll be emailing him. Funny… most people just did an internet search!  🙂

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Reacting to the Day of Silence?

Posted on: 04/17/09 5:13 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last year I blogged about the Christian response to “The Day of Silence.” It’s called “The Day of Truth,” and I’ll tell you up front… I’m not a big fan. This year I’ve been getting emails about both days… so in response to the inquiries, I’m reposting last year’s blog. Here goes…

The Day of What? (modified from it’s original 4/21/2008 version)

Why is it that Christians always feel that they need to “stand up for their rights” and speak out against organizations, or governments that are caught up in sin?

Where is this in the Bible?

It’s probably no secret to some of you that today was the pro-homosexual tolerance Day of Silence. This day brings attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. I’m not going to address the issue of homo-sexuality in this blog. I’ve addressed it before in blogs and articles. In this blog I’m simply addressing our RESPONSE to the world when we don’t like what we see. (and I’m going to highlight an example of how NOT to respond)

Why do Christians think that picket signs or protesting is the answer?

Let me ask you: name one person you know that accepted Christ because someone “protested” them into the Kingdom.

So why do Christians feel the need to do this?

Oh… I know why. It’s because when Jesus looked at the corrupt government of his day (Are you aware of what was going on in Herod’s house at the time?) he must have responded by gathering a mob and picketing the immoral lifestyle… wait… just a second… you mean… he didn’t? Well maybe he started a website, organizing people to protest in another way? No?


Well, Christians have created their own day in response to the Day of Silence called The Day of Truth. On Monday, April 20, 2009, some Christians have decided to establish this day to “counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective… The Day of Truth provides an opportunity to publicly exercise our free speech rights.”

When I saw this I immediately thought of a few conversations I’ve had with Dan Kimball on the subject. Dan is a Christian speaker and author who believes engaging in homosexual acts is a sin, but shows incredible compassion and love to the homosexual community (He touches on this in our podcast with him, Podcast Episode #12 and in his powerful book, They Like Jesus, But Not the Church). I asked Dan his opinion about this Christian response- The Day of Truth. Dan gave me some quick thoughts:

i think those types of things end up doing more harm than good. i would encourage parents to be talking with their teenagers and youth leaders addressing it wisely in their ministries, but doing a public event at a high school i am not sure is beneficial to the direction of hope.  i would encourage the Christian teenagers to simply be friends with gay students and pro-gay students, and in the context of friendships the message of jesus will come through. I don’t know if formalizing a date to do it only reinforces things and we lose our voice. 

I can’t agree more.

Earlier this year many of us saw statistics of just how bad we look to the rest of the world. Only 16% of unchurched people had positive things to say about Christians. The majority of them used words like “hypocrite” and “judgemental” to describe us. The other term they use is “anti-homosexual.”

It all comes down to this. The Day of Truth web site is not without good intentions. They seem to be seeking conversation with homosexuals. Their cards bear this as part of their message:

It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality.
There’s freedom to change if you want to.
Let’s talk.

I think talking is good. But here’s what I’ll leave you with: If our goal is conversations, do you really think a formal day of “speaking out” will create conversations with homo-sexuals? Or will it build walls?

Some great comments to this blog last year here.

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Pose Nude… Wait… Don’t! Post Pics… Wait… Don’t!

Posted on: 04/16/09 11:06 AM | by Jonathan McKee

And we wonder why our kids are making bad decisions.

Let me start by highlighting a story from my son’s high school that made national news. I’m referring to the cheerleading coach, Carlie Beck, that was just fired after it was discovered that she posed nude for Playboy.

The website of one of my local Sacramento news stations reports the story with feedback from  parents. One parent, Sue Feather, said…

…she felt sorry for Beck, but added it was a lesson for students, including her own freshman daughter at Casa Roble.

“Be careful what you get out there because it will follow you all the way through your life. And this is a great example for this gal and it’s a great teaching moment as a mom for my child,” Feather said.

I guess life is just full of these examples right now… ask your local Dominos Pizza employee (that article here).


So it seems that today’s message from the media is simply, “Be careful what you take pictures of!”

Is this the correct message? Is this even the message our kids always here? I’m not sure. Because just a little while ago Jennifer Aniston got naked on the front of GQ magazine and CNN said, “Good for her!” (I blogged about that here.)

Everyone has a different opinion on what’s okay. Cheerleading coach Beck added her two cents to the issue. Take it from her, I quote from the Sacramento Bee this morning:

“As far as Playboy pictures, people categorize them as being pornographic,” she said. “I kind of disagree. I think it’s artistic … We all shower naked. We all do a lot of things naked.”

Wow… it’s hard to ever respond to that. (So many cheerleader jokes are coming to mind right now…)

Joking aside… our kids are probably a little confused. Which is it? “Shame on you!” or “Good for you!” Our kids certainly don’t know…

…which leads to this article, Vermont Lawmakers Look to Legalize Teen ‘Sexting.’  I’ve heard both sides of the issue, and maybe child pornography charges might sound severe… but come on folks. What are our kids to think when we’re actually going as far as passing laws saying, “It’s now legal for kids to send graphic sexual images of ourselves to each other.”


So what can we take away from all of this?

Parents… let’s talk with our kids. Engage in healthy conversations about these issues. Use life lessons like these to dialogue about integrity, character and the consequences of our behavior. Don’t be afraid to use discussion starters that point to the Biblical truth about these issues.

Or… you could leave it up to the media to teach these lessons.

You choose.

Does Street Evangelism Work? Part II

Posted on: 04/15/09 11:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week I blogged about an intriguing article from written by a non Christian college student who went undercover as a believer on a missions trip with Liberty University, reaching out to the “lost” people partying during spring break at Daytona Beach, FL . This guy actually enrolled at Liberty (as in “Jerry Falwell’s” Liberty) to learn the inside scoop about evangelicals first hand. (apparently, this is an excerpt of Kevin’s book, The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University)

The article was really amazing… and as I already shared in my previous blog… I was compelled to ask my friend Greg Stier to write a response to it. Greg is the “evangelism guru”… a true authority on the subject.

Greg obliged, and I promised you that I’d post Greg’s response. Well… yesterday we sent out his response to all our web site’s EZINE subscribers, encouraging them to take the time to read that original article from the “unlikely disciple,” then Greg’s response.

I encourage you to do the same.

Here’s the original article from the non believer.

Here’s Greg’s response as per our EZINE newsletter.

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Are these numbers inflated?

Posted on: 04/14/09 12:07 PM | by Jonathan McKee

We’ve been hearing a whole lot of hype about “sexting” and stats in the news lately. Today I found a fascinating article giving us a little bit of “behind the scenes” on some of these polls.

First we heard about the huge numbers of kids involved in this sexting trend; then we heard from “experts” saying we shouldn’t worry. That prompted my Youth Culture Window article on the subject this week, Fact or Fiction. After all… who can we believe?

In my article I provided three suggestions for you when navigating the world of statistics and percentages, one of those being “looking how the study was done.” 

Today I stumbled across an article from last week’s Wall Street Journal that gave further insight about how these studies were done, specifically the validity of “online polls” and the type of audience that might draw.

Just a snippet:

“These kinds of samples select Internet cowboys and cowgirls,” says David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, who has used the telephone for his studies of teens and online behavior. “These are more likely to be the kind of people who engage in this kind of activity.” He guesses that online poll-takers might be two to four times more likely to send nude photos of themselves than the average teen.

Funny… most of the “experts” who were already “doubting” that sexting was a real problem (such as in this article) … most of them failed to make this observation, one that I think would have been a valid argument for their side.

The Wall Street Journal article goes on to suggest that alternate methods such as phone or snail mail might be more representative of the whole of teenagers. But the researchers who did the online poll plead their case, saying, “Who the hell answers a telephone survey these days, especially if you’re a teen on Mom and Dad’s landline phones?”  🙂

Fascinating stuff. I encourage you to check out the whole article here.