More 10-Minute Talks

Posted on: 12/28/12 2:36 PM | by Jonathan McKee

My MORE 10-Minute Talks books just arrived from the publisher… a perk being an author… we get copies earlier than the release date.

So let me extend the perks to you. If you order the book from me, you’ll get it before anyone else, I’ll pass on a 25% discount to you, and I’ll personally autograph your book!

Doug Fields said about the book:

“Powerful! Effective! I’ll be using this practical resource in my own ministry.”

More about the book and this exclusive deal here.

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Cribs: Part 3

Posted on: 12/22/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The following guest post is a special Christmas series from George Lockhart of the Youth Culture Report:

MTV produced CRIBS, a show that takes us into the homes of famous people. In the span of 5 to 15 minutes, we can catch a glimpse of all that is important, meaningful and celebrated by this “star.” Taking virtual tours like this through a celebrity’s home reveals much about the person and gives insight to who they really are.

There’s nothing like seeing the “crib” of someone you admire or idolize! We look at houses as a reflection of who we are. Our home is an extension and revelation of what we value.

The case is no different for Jesus! Not only was the fact that Jesus was born in a manger something to take notice of but the city in which Jesus was born! Jesus made His grand appearance in a small town called Bethlehem. It is in this small village where He established His “crib.” In doing so, He fulfilled a prophecy:

Micah 5:2
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

In Hebrew the word “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread.” Could this be why Jesus chose to refer to Himself as the Bread of Life? If your house/crib represents you, then wouldn’t you take up the name for your house? I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Jesus is born in this “crib.” It is nothing short of the supernatural sovereignty of God that has the Bread of Life being born in the “House of Bread,” Bethlehem.

Going a step further, in Aramaic the word “Bethlehem” means “House of Flesh.” Is this more irony? Another coincidence? I believe this is HUGE! Here we have the God of all, who is Spirit, taking on FLESH! He has come. God with us is truly WITH US.  It was in the House of Flesh that Jesus became flesh with us and for us. He would never be the same, nor would we because of this one single act. God was now tangible, huggable, and even kissable, because He was in the flesh. He was able to also feel hurt, pain and even suffer death because of this incarnation. Jesus had become the physical representation of His crib, the House of Flesh.

So here we are at Christmas celebrating a babe born in a little town called Bethlehem. How would this Christmas be different if Jesus was born into you?

What if the House of Bread and the House of Flesh became the House of You?

What if Bethlehem was more about Calvary?

What if the manager was more about the resurrection and God saying to us through His Spirit: “Be Him In Them”?

If our lives are an extension of God and we are the temples in which He dwells, then we are His CRIB for life.

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Cribs: Part 2

Posted on: 12/21/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The following guest post is a special Christmas series from George Lockhart of the Youth Culture Report:

There’s nothing like the anticipation of getting a gift you really want at Christmas! From looking at a catalog to sending letters to Santa, Christmas morning holds great expectation and hopes of getting what we dreamed of and desired in previous weeks!

Imagine the anticipation that came with such an expectation of the Messiah.

People had been waiting for hundreds, even thousands of years for the Messiah and now He was here…but where’s all the partying? Where are all the decorations? Where’s the pomp and circumstance? The King of Kings had arrived but there was very little fanfare. As Jesus makes His crib a lowly manger in a stable with only humble shepherds attending His birth, He demonstrates a very important truth: You don’t always get what you expect the way you expected it.

Some of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten have been most unexpected! They were surprises. They were unplanned. This is no doubt the case for Mary, Joseph and Jesus! Jesus was quite a surprise for them! For people who had longed for the Messiah, Jesus coming as a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths laying in a manger in Bethlehem was not what they expected. People would have surely expected a coronation with festive music and a royal celebration not a virgin named Mary whose husband was a carpenter!

Even as Jesus grew up, people couldn’t believe anything good would come out of Bethlehem, so how could He be the Messiah? Because Jesus had come from such a humble crib, people doubted His teaching, His lifestyle and His deity. He didn’t make it easy for people who had such high expectations of who and what God should be. By choosing a crib in a stable, Jesus was making clear that God doesn’t value the same kind of things we do. From riches to rags this King would come and completely undo all sin had done.

Not only did Jesus come in an unexpected way He welcomed unexpected people. Shepherds were the only ones who attended His birth. Of all the people invited to come and visit Jesus in the manger, angels were sent to summon shepherds! These were not fancy, high-society people! They were not gonna get dressed to the hilt donning the most ritzy clothes. No. They would simply come as they were: smelly, dirty, shepherds. In other words: common people. Jesus surrounded His crib with common people, people like you and me! That was certainly unexpected!

From the beginning of his earthly journey, Jesus welcomed the common man. His angels announced good news of great joy along with peace on earth and good will toward men. This announcement was made to the blue-collar workers of His day: shepherds. They journeyed to see what these strange tidings of joy meant and got more than they could have expected. Jesus’ crib had become a place of worship. No one would have ever guessed that this manger would hold the expected Messiah.

In the same way, no one may expect that your heart would hold the Messiah or that you would be invited into His presence…but it’s true! Jesus longs to dwell in the lives of men, He wants to make our hearts His crib! Anyone may come to His crib. Not what you expected? But it’s true. He will live in anyone who will receive Him. Not what you expected? But it’s true. His crib proves Jesus does the unexpected!


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Cribs: Part 1

Posted on: 12/20/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The following guest post is a special Christmas series from George Lockhart of the Youth Culture Report:

A Crib.

Babies spend much of their early days in a crib. It is their home, their resting place, their safe haven in the days when they are most vulnerable.

Who would have thought that we would come to love the term so much in the 21st century that we would call our homes our “crib.” In fact, MTV has even developed a show called “Cribs” which celebrates the luxurious lifestyles of the rich and famous. In this series of blogs, I’d like to look at how Jesus’ crib was not only different than ours but how it set the stage for everything else that would happen in the course of his life. Not only did his crib define his purpose, it would define his journey into the hearts of the people He came to save.

Jesus went from riches to rags!

When we think of the MTV version of Cribs, it’s easy to see how over-the-top some people live. Not that there’s anything wrong with big houses, bowling alleys, Olympic size swimming pools, etc. but isn’t it a little excessive? Isn’t it a little more than what is necessary? Sure in America we celebrate bigger being better. The American Dream is all about more of whatever it is you want. However, Jesus coming as a baby in a manger completely blows the mindset for those who would believe that your crib needs to be equipped with the biggest and best of everything.

The whole foundation of Christmas is founded upon the fact that Jesus was willing to go from riches to rags. This is not a feat of any other god! Instead of opting for the red carpet, paparazzi package, Jesus settles for a humble feeding trough in an obscure village called Bethlehem. He chose a crib that wasn’t fancy but rather messy! He came without much glitz or glamour. Instead His arrival, though announced by angels (How cool is that?!), went unnoticed by most of the rest of the world.

Yet, here we are today, some 2000 years later still talking about this babe in a manger, not because it was fancy or bigger or better than any other king of his day or time. No! We are celebrating Christmas because our savior was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger! That was His crib! He came this way, born in a stable because our world was unstable…our lives a wreck! He came and chose a manger amidst all the putrid smells and filth of a stable to reveal His heart for all mankind.

All of our lives are messy, filthy, out-of-whack, and full of crap and yet Jesus is willing to come and live in us! He’s willing to make our hearts His crib! This is the essence of Christmas: that Jesus was born and had a humble crib to be born again in our humble hearts. Jesus went from riches to rags so that one day I could go from rags to riches! In Christ I am promised a “crib” in heaven unlike anyone on earth could build and it’s all because Jesus made a manger His crib!


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The Story Behind My Nose

Posted on: 12/19/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Thanks to all of you who participated in yesterday’s contest. Great fun trying to guess what happened to my nose! Quite a variety of responses… some good imaginations.

The short answer: new kitten

The long answer: We bought a kitten a few weeks ago and have really been enjoying her. Zazzy is a little crazy, and loves this one toy in particular that looks like a fishing pole with a feather on the end of the string (some of you can already see where this is going).

Well, my son Alec thought it would be fun to land the feather on his dad’s lap so the cat would attack… uh… my…. uh…. well you get the idea.

So after threatening Alec’s life and notifying him that I would drive him to Yosemite, duct tape him to a pole, and pour honey on him, he avoided landing it on my crotch, and instead… landed the feather on my face!!!

The rest of the story is evidenced by the picture in yesterday and today’s blog.

So, for those of you who guessed cat scratch, you are correct. And as promised, the first three get a copy of my brand new book, MORE 10-Minute Talks, which is discounted 25% and available for pre-order right now on my site, the only place where you’ll get an autographed copy.

So… erring on the side of being overgenerous, I’m going to go ahead and count Roger’s answer, “Clawed by a Hobbit cat.” Then I’ll count the three cat scratch answers to follow.

So the FOUR winners who will receive my new book are:


Susan Daggett



To the rest of you who answered correctly… more contests are coming. So you’ll just have to buy the book this time. Besides… all the proceeds of these book sales go to feed starving children. Mine!

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Getting People to Open Up

Posted on: 12/17/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Sometimes it’s hard to get people to open up in a group setting. In these situations, nothing proves more effective than a creative question.

“If you had to have the exact same meal for the next twelve months… what would you choose?”

It’s amazing how fun questions provoke people to open up.

These questions might simply begin with: “Lets go around the circle and each of us share…”

I’ve done it with teenagers in small group settings:

“Let’s go around the circle and each share our high and low of the week.”

“If you could repeat any day of your life, what would that be?”

“If you could go back in time to before you went to high school/junior high and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?”

I’ve done it with my own kids:  (15, 17 and 19)

“If you could go on vacation anywhere and bring just one person, where would you choose and who would you bring?”

“If you could have one superpower, what would you choose and what would you use it for?”

“What was the last thing you cried about?”

I’ve done it with adults at a board meeting or Bible study:

“Let’s go around the circle and each share your name and something about the shoes you’re wearing.”

“If you were stuck in an elevator for 24 hours with one person, who would you like that person to be?”

“Describe your most embarrassing moment.”

These little discussion questions seem to always bring a laugh and give everyone a little peak into each other’s lives.

What about you? What are some of your favorite questions to ask in these scenarios?

The Hobbit Premiere

Posted on: 12/14/12 10:35 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last night my family attended The Hobbit midnight premiere, with my three kids in full Hobbit apparel. Loved the movie and the time with my family… hated the time of day! (I think I’m officially old)

A few months ago my girls asked me if they could go to The Hobbit midnight premiere. As a parent these questions are always difficult. I don’t want my kids out at midnight, and I’m not too happy about it being on a school night (Thursday night). But as a parent, I’ve learned to pick my battles, as well as seizing any moment where we have an opportunity to hang out together. So when they asked, I simply replied, “Sure, I’ll go with you… and you can’t miss school the next day.”

They readily agreed.

My kids’ first midnight movie premiere was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Such a fun experience! Earlier this year, the kids and I talked Lori into going with us to The Avengers midnight premiere. Another amazing movie watching experience—many of you remember my blog post about the late night adventure. So, a chance at hanging with the whole family, watching the newest film from a series I love? No question.

We knew that the nerd community would really come out of the woodworks for this one, so we decided to grab a fast food dinner and get into line at 8PM. When we arrived at the theatre, the line had only 38 people in it, lined up outside on the sidewalk. We spread out some blankets and got as comfy as possible on the sidewalk. Alec provoked a few cheers with his bare hobbit feet and pointy ears, but soon we were all covered with blankets trying to deal with temperature in the low 30’s. (Remember, this is California, that’s like below 0 for the rest of the country!!!)

We quickly received word that we’d get let into the theatre about 9PM so we could endure the 3-hour wait indoors. At 9PM sharp they opened the doors, and we grabbed 5 seats together in about the 5th row of the stadium seats. Great seats.

Ashley and I did a Wal Mart run and bought some magazines and a couple books (our plans to play games hadn’t worked out sitting in a row of theater chairs).

Time passed rather quickly, and soon the film started.

We opted to see the regular version of the film, not 3D (because I hate 3D). Alec had already screened the 3D version and after seeing the premiere, he attested that the regular version is WAAAAAY better.

Our theatre never got to see an extended Star Trek preview, like my friend Mark Matlock and others tweeted about. I wasn’t too disappointed, I was just eager to get to The Hobbit.

All five of us really enjoyed the movie. I don’t have much to add to Alec’s official review of the film, already posted on our Movie Reviews & Quick Q’s page, other than the fact that all five of us felt like it was an amazing continuation of the LOTR trilogy and we will definitely be adding this film to our blu-ray collection.

After the film, we drove home, groaning like a herd of zombies and finally crawling into bed at about 5 minutes to 4AM.

My poor girls had to get up at 6AM to get ready for school (so glad Alyssa drives!!!!). That was part of the deal. No missing school the next day (no mercy from this dad).

Well… they are the ones that asked to go to this thing!!!

An Unexpected Review of “The Hobbit”

Posted on: 12/13/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

This Monday, while I was flying back from teaching a parenting workshop in Kentucky, my son Alec was attending a movie screening for The Hobbit. (Lucky dog!)

His reaction was surprising.

I arrived home at about 10PM and plopped on the couch next to Lori. A few minutes later, Alec got back from the screening.

“How was it?” Lori and I both asked, curious about the film we have been waiting in anticipation for since we first heard rumor of its release shortly after Return of the King.

Alec paced back and forth, rubbing his forehead. “I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?”

Alec stopped and searched for words. “It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I can’t even put it to words.”

I laughed. “Well was it good ‘something you’ve never seen,’ or bad ‘something you’ve never seen?’” I asked, looking for some hint of clarification.

Alec shared his entire screening experience with us, and after mulling it over for a couple days, he’s put his feelings into words for all of you. Here’s just a snippet of his review, now posted on our Movie Reviews & Quick Q’s page:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
by Alec McKee

This film was truly… unexpected.

I walked into this film expecting something like Lord of the Rings. Mistake #1. This movie is not really like Lord of the Rings much at all, and I can’t tell if its our responsibility as an audience to hold it to a different standard or to be justified in feeling like the change of tone is too drastic. The film was way more lighthearted than the previous LOTR, bringing a sometimes goofy feeling for the film that gave me the impression Peter Jackson was trying to reach out to younger audiences. This would make sense, since the book The Hobbit was intended by Tolkien as a children’s story. The characters are also a little bit more exaggerated and imaginative than we have previously seen in LOTR; the dwarves showcasing exotic styles in their hair and beards and the wizard Radagast literally having half of his face encased in what appears to be bird feces.

I was also caught off guard when, as I was walking into the theater, I was handed a pair of 3-D glasses. I wouldn’t have chosen to see this movie in 3-D had I been given the option, because I would’ve expected that 3-D would’ve been blurry and distracting to the quality of the film (you’ve probably heard my dad whine about 3D. He hates 3D. Maybe I inherited some of that). Mistake #2. The 3-D was dumbfounding in clarity and seamlessly integrated to the point that I forgot I was watching it in 3-D. There was no motion blur, no decrease in image clarity, and the glasses weren’t all scratchy on my nose like they usually are.

However, clear as the movie was, I couldn’t help feeling…odd as I looked on the screen. The movie was so smooth and high in definition, that the motion almost felt unnatural. This is probably because this film entered uncharted territory by shooting the entire picture at 48 frames per second, where 24 fps is the norm (30 for home video). This gave the film a much smoother, lifelike quality. I couldn’t decide if this was a bad thing that the film procured such feelings, or if it was just unfamiliar territory because of how foreign the motion was to what I typically have seen in film. As the movie continued on I soon forgot my apprehension of the screen’s clarity, but never disregarded it entirely.

And finally…


More Hobbit News:

1. Thanks to all of you for your contest entries from Monday’s blog post. So much fun hearing over 100 of you comment and share your favorite films… all except for that one guy who listed Xanadu.  🙂   I just posted the three winners to that contest on that post HERE.

2. Tonight (Thursday night at midnight) I’ll be Tweeting from the Hobbit midnight premier. Yes, now I finally get to see it, and in true geek fashion, with my family at midnight (a whole family of film nerds). Feel free to listen in to my Tweets starting at midnight Pacific time (or for those of you getting up at 6AM on the East Coast, you can probably see my last Tweet as I’m going to bed!!!)

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