Super Bowl Party Confusion

Posted on: 01/31/11 2:43 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The Super Bowl is this Sunday. (My son and I will be at the Chicago Ohare airport waiting for our flight home- we’ll only catch the first half of the big game. DOH!!)

For years churches in the U.S. have loved to use the “Big Game” as a tool for connecting with people. Whether youth ministries, men’s ministries or church-wide events… we’ve seen them… Super Bowl parties.

A few things you should know about these parties.

Years ago some churches got into some trouble with the NFL. The short of it was this– the NFL wasn’t allowing live showings of the game on anything over a 55 inch screen. People threw a tizzy fit. So in 2009, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell changed that.

Some people are still confused about the rules and restrictions. No worries! Here’s a law abiding Texan with a mullet who will make things crystal clear for you:


For those of you looking for some fun resources for the “Big Game” (see… I listened!), we provide a quiz with some fun “Big Game” party ideas every year (Here’s last year’s BIG GAME QUIZ and ideas).

This year we’ll be sending out the BIG GAME QUIZ to our EZINE LIST Tuesday morning (if you aren’t a subscriber to our free youth ministry EZINE, you can jump on and easily subscribe at the top of any page). We’ll probably also post a link for the quiz on the WHAT’S NEW section on the front page of our site as well.

Enjoy the “Big Game!”

Wow… it doesn’t get easier than this

Posted on: 01/30/11 4:58 PM | by Jonathan McKee

So last Thursday I announced a contest where I’m going to give away some of my books to 10 different people. I’m running this contest thru the end of this week… it doesn’t get any easier than this to win a book of your choice.

It’s like this. Jump on our totally revamped MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS page and/or our MUSIC DISCUSSIONS page, comment and vote… and you’re entered to win. How’s that for simple?

The more of these dicussions that you rate/comment, the more times your name gets thrown in the hopper.

This is pretty easy folks. Most of you have already used many of these  MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS and/or MUSIC DISCUSSIONS … so it will be even easier. Just pop on the page, click on the discussions you used… then rate and comment.

Good chances for winning here– plus, you help us keep our pages more accurate with your feedback!

I’ll draw the names at the end of the week.


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Gaga Releases “Born This Way” Lyrics

Posted on: 01/28/11 11:33 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Lady Gaga’s Twitter fans received a tweet from her yesterday saying, “Maybe I should leak the lyrics to Born This Way today…” A few hours later, she released the lyrics to her song that will release February 13th.

MTV just covered the tweeting event, with the headline, “Gaga sings about love and equality…”

For those of you who haven’t heard, Gaga has become a huge advocate for LGBT (an acronym referring collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people), specifically speaking against the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell,” and speaking loudly for LGBT rights, after all, she claims, they are “born this way.”

A glimpse at these newly posted lyrics:





David R. Smith– my good friend, co-author of my new book, and author of many of our Youth Culture WIndow articles (including the brand new expose’ about Lil Wayne launching this weekend) — and I talked this morning for about an hour about Gaga’s release of these lyrics and upcoming song. We discussed the ramifications of speaking out about this issue. It’s an emotional issue for some, a political issue for many.

We’ve decided that we’re going to address the issue of homosexuality, despite the criticism that might come. Pray for us as we write a Youth Culture Window article this week. Pray that it would clearly communicate God’s compassion for everyone, but not stray from his unchanging call to holiness, even when it’s not politically correct.

You’ll see that article in one week.

A Little Movie/Music “Contest” for ya

Posted on: 01/27/11 11:02 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… I’m feeling like giving some books away.

I’m going to give away 10 of my books. 10 people will win a book of their choice… and winning is very simple. Here’s how to play.

We just totally revamped our new MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS page and our MUSIC DISCUSSIONS page on our site (I have to specify which site now that we have our parents site also). These pages are awesome! Now they are each organized by the song/movie (and the songs can also be organized by artist), topic of discussion, and rating. This is a great tool… because once people start going thru and rating these discussion resources, people will be able to organize them and select them by the “highest rated.” Pretty cool, huh?

So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to check out some of these resources- just give a few of them a solid read-thru. Each of them provides small group questions, transition statements, wrap ups, etc. (all you need, really). Read em, then post a comment and rate em! (choose 1 thru 5 stars).

For some of you, this will be easy. You can start by just rating/commenting on the MUSIC or MOVIE discussions you have already used with your group. Let us know how the discussion went. Rate them suitably. I just did this myself on the Movie Clip Discussions page. I organized the list by Title, selected the “Batman Begins” discussion (my absolute favorite), made a comment and rated it.

Each time you post a comment and rate one of these resources… I’ll put your name in the hopper for a free book. Yep. If you rate 15 of our resources… your name goes in there 15 times!

I’ll draw 10 winners.

I’ll run this contest for a week or so then post the winners in my blog. Winners can select any of my books. So rate/comment as many of those discussions as possible!

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MTV Goes Too Far?

Posted on: 01/26/11 6:10 PM | by Jonathan McKee

When I was in Korea, I quickly blogged with you about MTV’s new show Skins, a racy look at teen partying, sex and drug abuse.

I promised you more.

This week, we’ve featured an entire Youth Culture Window article about the show. I encourage you to take a peek at this article, and chime in with your own comments. Some great discussion already about whether MTV is just portraying reality (don’t students always lay around in a pile like this?)… or is MTV simply being irresponsible once again.

One thing for sure, MTV is definitely taking some heat with this one. Who knows. Maybe the execs are secretly giggling, welcoming the controversial publicity. But I wouldn’t be so sure. Being accused of “violating child porn laws” is a serious onslaught.

Take a peek at our article HERE.

UPDATE: Another article about MTV “standing by” Skins, despite the number of advertisers pulling out and despite the U.S. government investigation into possible violations of laws on the sexual exploitation of minors. Read about that here:

Tough Parenting

Posted on: 01/25/11 4:31 PM | by Jonathan McKee

A lot of buzz about the parenting style of Amy Chua, Yale law professor and self-described “tiger mother.”

Amy claims to be raising her kids “the Chinese way.” She forced her daughter to practice the piano for hours on end until she got it right. She called her other daughter “garbage” after she behaved bad. She gives new meaning to the world “strict.”

But let’s be honest. Discipline isn’t easy. Maybe that’s why so many parents are curious about Amy Chua’s methods. Time Magazine goes into great detail about Amy’s parenting style in their cover story, Tiger Moms: Is Tough Parenting Really the Answer?

Other columnists are reacting to Amy’s style. New York Times columnist David Brooks even calls her a “wimp,” claiming that she is taking the easy road.

I believe she’s coddling her children. She’s protecting them from the most intellectually demanding activities because she doesn’t understand what’s cognitively difficult and what isn’t.

Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls. Managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group — these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale.

So what’s the answer parents are looking for?

Most parents seem to float to one of two extremes: the ultra tough disciplinarian, or the “anything goes” parent. The tough parent wants to raise healthy, disciplined kids (plenty of research to back up setting the bar high). Sadly, a number of these parents get so focused on their child’s “performance” that they forget to reveal consistent love and nurture. So swings the pendulum to… the “anything goes” parent– a severe over-reaction. This parent feels that any discipline is lacking in love and nurture, so… anything goes.

I’ve seen kids from both extremes.

I’ll be honest. I’m biased. I’m a recovering “ultra tough disciplinarian. I was always very strict with my kids, all under the umbrella of love. That’s easy to “just say,” by the way. Many strict parents claim, “Oh, my kids know that the reason I am so strict is because I love them.” Oh, really? When is the last time you told them that. Better yet… when is the last time they perceived that?

I know this well, because at times, I was waaaaaay to hard on my son Alec. Yes, he was in need of discipline. And yes, I meant well. But the bottom line was, he wasn’t feeling very loved when Dad was always talking in harsh tones.

Sorry. Tough love expressed as just “tough” is not good enough. Love also needs to be expressed by noticing, listening, and investing. These activities might be as simple as hanging out with our kids and having conversations with them (not one-way conversations).

I’m still strict. But I’m also very relational with my kids now. Parents can’t expect to enforce rules without a relationship. It’s only out of the hours of time I spend with my kids laughing, talking, and just “hanging out” that I’ve earned the respect from them when I say, “No.” It’s a tough balancing act. And I’ve learned a few tricks to avoid always saying, “No.” Sometimes I ask them questions and lead them to discover the answer by themselves (I go into more detail about this in my discipline chapter in my new parenting book coming out this Spring).

Right now on our site we are featuring a helpful article about discipline from my friend Jim Burns.

Which way do you lean? Are you a tough parent, or anything goes?

20 Years

Posted on: 01/21/11 11:56 AM | by Jonathan McKee

21 years ago, when I was 19-years-old and home from college on break, I saw this 19-year-old brunette walk into my home church’s college group and quietly sit in the corner. I thought, “Wow!”

5 months later, when I got back from school, I asked her out.

3 months later we were engaged.

6 months later we were married.

That was 20 years ago.

Lori is amazing. We got married as two kids (I was 20, she was 21). Now, we have three teenagers of our own, and one of them is about ready to go to college. I am so in love with this girl!

I’m not going to be tending to emails/blog for next week. We’re out celebrating 20-years in an undisclosed tropical location (plenty of sand, waves and palm trees).

I can’t wait for the next 20 years with this girl!

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And Your Mom’s Gonna Hate It

Posted on: 01/19/11 6:42 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s no secret that controversy can be a good marketing tool.

Maybe that’s why the makers of Dead Space 2 are trying an interesting viral video approach to market their new violent video game. (So is my blogging about it helping them? Hmmmmm.)

The game creators sat down hundreds of moms and filmed their reactions to the most violent and horrific scenes from the game, showing us their facial expressions in a commercial. Then they provide comments from some of the moms, comments like, “It’s horrible!” “It’s demonic!” Then the commercial finishes with the slogan, “It’s everything you love in a game, and your mom’s gonna hate it!”

Here’s the video.

Creative marketing, I’ll give it that. It just worked for MTV’s Skins earlier this week. When the Parents Television Council deems your show “the most dangerous show for teens,” it helps create a hype.

Remember when churches tried to ban Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. The film didn’t even need previews. Every news station was chatting about the controversy.

Video games have been the center of controversy for decades. This week on our web page David provides an amazing insight into the recent gaming world in his brand new Youth Culture Window article, The Dominance of Video Games: And What it Means for Today’s Teenagers.

(ht to Jon Forrest)


Posted on: 01/16/11 11:58 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The show is called “Skins” and it premiered on MTV Monday. describes the show like this: “Take a peek at the wild ride of sex, drugs and friendship that is ‘Skins’…” The Parents Television Council (PTC) has deemed the show the most irresponsible program MTV has done yet.

Wow! Think about that. More irresponsible than Jersey Shore? The Hard Times of RJ Berger? Tila Tequila? If you take a peek at any of the videos of “Skins” that provides, you probably will agree with PTC’s accusation.

To add to the one-two-punch of irresponsibility, encourages young people to “Answer some questions about the wild side of your life to get your SKINS SCORE, then post your score to Facebook to see who is the wildest out of your friends.”

The show’s premier was huge. It was one of the most “Twittered” subjects, and it’s links dominate the front page of, with banners like this where kids can click to see the episode:  (Hmmmmm…. what are they selling here?)

Nielsen Media Research reported that MTV was the most recognized network among young adults age 12 to 34.  This year alone MTV delivered the #1 series across all of television- Jersey Shore, the top two original cable series, and eight of the top 10 cable telecasts (age 12-34). Bottom line: many of our kids are watching this channel, and will be tuning in to this show this week.a

I’m in an airport in Korea right now waiting for my flight home. I just spent the weekend doing ministry here at a US Military base. In my parent workshop last night I chatted with parents about this show, letting them know that this is yet another reason to just block MTV at their house.

After I recover from jet lag… I’ll probably be chiming in a little more about this show and the conversations we can have with our kids who do watch it (because let’s face it… a lot of parents aren’t monitoring this content).

In Korea

Posted on: 01/14/11 1:07 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Yesterday I flew to Korea. I’m hear to speak for the weekend. So far we’ve had a great time.

I think the highlight was when my buddy Lorin, who traveled with me, asked our host (a U.S. civilian who runs a youth ministry on the Yongsan military base over here), “So is it true that they eat dog over here?”

More on that hilarious conversation in a minute.

We flew over here yesterday on a direct flight from San Francisco (2 hours from my house) to South Korea (near Seoul). The flight left at 11:30 am and was about 12 hours. So we landed about midnight California time, but it was 4PM the next day in Korea.

I didn’t sleep on the plane for two reasons:
1. It’s uncomfortable anyway in coach!  🙂
2. I figured that I wanted to sleep a good night’s sleep when I arrived… so I didn’t want to mess with my sleep.

Mission successful. I stayed awake for the whole flight, reading, watching the in flight movies, etc. then met the people I’m going to minister with for the weekend, went to my hotel and slept a good 8 hours right away!

So it was on our ride from the airport that my friend Lorin asked, “So do they eat dog over here?”

Randy, our host, says, “Yes, but it’s not like they just kill dogs on the street. They raise then like cattle.”

Lorin says, “What!!!”

I’m laughing. So I ask, “What kind of dog?”

Randy says, “I don’t know what kind of dog it is. They kind of look like Old Yeller.”

Lorin and I both say in perfect unison, “They raise Labradors for food?!!!”

“Yes, it’s not bad.”

To which Lorin says, “You’ve had it!!!”

I can’t even talk at this point because I’m laughing at Lorin. Plus, I’m trying to figure out how to tell my daughter that they raise and eat yellow labs. I’m sure they aren’t really yellow labs. I think I’m going to have to research that one. But it sure was a humorous conversation.

We eventually got on the military base and met some of the workers for the ministry here reaching out to the teenagers that have parents in the military. Great group of people. I look forward to ministering with them for the weekend (I speak to the kids Saturday, then preach Sunday and doing a parenting workshop)

Today I speak three times to the kids here at the ministry here on the US Military base. Pray for this time. There are going to be about 200 that I’m speaking to. Most of what I’ll be doing today is outreach. So pray as I share the Gospel and invite the kids to respond.

Also pray that I don’t eat Old Yeller!