Antifa/Alt Right…You are both the problem

E pluribus unum- our country’s moto. Latin for “Out of many, One”. The idea that in America we are coming together as one people. We have not always been perfect at this but I believe we need to align ourselves with people and organizations that bring unity rather than divisiveness.

I am white, but that alone does not mean I came from privilege. I was raised by a single mom who worked two jobs just to keep us from losing our home always teetering on the edge of financial disaster. I was pushed through school left completely illiterate (unable to read) until I was in middle school. I had teachers saying I would never graduate and tell me I wasn’t worth their time. Other adults insult me to my face. And classmates literally beat up on me for being “retarded”.

I resent when people think I grew up privileged. My mom worked hard, I worked hard and I overcame the disadvantage I started with.  I am first generation college graduate. I am one of the only men in my family line to not struggle with addition which leads to generational poverty.

Let’s stop overgeneralizing the issues we face. Groups like Antifa and the alt-right (Neo-Nazi/KKK) are tearing apart the foundation America was built on. Both groups are doing nothing more polarizing our country.

We need the church to reach in poverty stricken areas and share with the people there that hope can be found in Jesus. But the church can’t stop at that. We need men to rise up and be an example to the next generation of what it looks like to climb out of poverty, not by trampling on others, but by hard work, integrity, and long term wise choice.

We also need to stop giving one sided views of history that show every founding father as evil slave owners. As I said earlier we didn’t get it perfect but we have moved in the right direction and need to continue to. I love the story of George Washington getting ready to cross the Delaware knowing the battle of Trenton was the next day one of the generals (and Signer of the Declaration), William Wipple, turns to his slave and says “Prince, I hope you’re going to behave like a man of courage and fight bravely for your country.”

And Prince replied, “Sir, I have no inducement to fight. But if I had my liberty I would endeavor to defend it to the last drop of my blood.” William is recorded as being surprised by this reply, recognized that if they are fighting for liberty he should give it to Prince, and freed him on the spot.

Similarly Founding Father Benjamin Rush had a dream one night where he recognized slavery as wrong and freed his slave the next morning.

Let’s return to the standard of order MLK had where anyone demonstrating with him had to sign a commitment card that read:

I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:

  1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  2. Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
  3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
  5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
  6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10.Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.




TCYM “Blessed” Series and some announcments

We are starting a new series called “Blessed” this upcoming Wednesday Wednesday October 10th. You can find more information about it below but before you move their wanted to let you know that this Wednesday is also a Theme Night for the youth. We are having sibling rivalry games.  This event will be fun ways for them to compete against each other and hopefully still be willing to talk to each other as they head home. If you son or daughter does not have siblings in the youth group age they will still have the opportunity to compete and have fun.

1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

Think about the last time you heard the word “blessed.” What came to mind? For many of us—and many of our students—the word blessed conjures up images of the coolest clothes, the newest gadgets and a worry-free life. But when we look at what God has to say about being blessed, we realize that we probably have things pretty mixed up. Because if being blessed is more about our relationships—and what we do with them—than the stuff we have, we may have some reevaluating to do in order to redefine what it means to be blessed and realize that we might already be more blessed than we originally thought.

2. Be a Student of Your Student

Entitlement seems to be creeping into our culture through every mode possible—television, magazines, music. The feeling that we have the right to something—or to many “somethings”—seems to be the new cultural norm. And while it’s easy to blame the media, culture and maybe even other families who seem to give their teenagers everything under the sun, it’s important to remember the hard truth that in reality, entitlement begins at home. What we model to our children is the true determining factor in how they view the world; what the world has to offer and what they are entitled to get from it. But the problem is, for many of us, entitlement isn’t something that our kids alone struggle with. Entitlement is our struggle too.

Has this thought ever crossed your mind: “If only there was more money in our family budget, we could do so much more for our children? They could be on the traveling baseball team, go on all the church trips and have all the latest gadgets.” Come on. Admit it! There has probably been at least one time in your parenting journey that you have wished for more—more money, more time … more something. And this is totally normal. It’s a struggle that we all face. So, just for fun let’s pretend: You are still you, with your spouse, your children and your extended family, but now you have everything you could ever want—every dollar, every resource, every “thing” and every need met (and most every want met too). How does it feel? Do you feel happier, healthier and more fulfilled? Do you feel more “blessed”?

There is an article that came out in “The Atlantic” in April 2011 entitled “The Secret Fears of the Super Rich.” And while you might expect the focus of this article to be the Dow Jones Index, the real estate market or tax reform, what emerged was something much more relatable to the rest of us. What the article uncovered was the reality that even the super rich fear for the well being of their children. As the article’s summary states: “Does great wealth bring fulfillment? An ambitious study by Boston College suggests not. For the first time, researchers prompted the very rich—people with fortunes in excess of $25 million—to speak candidly about their lives. The result is a surprising litany of anxieties: their sense of isolation, their worries about work and love, and most of all, their fears for their children.” (To read the full article, go to

As one respondent of the survey confided, “Other people glorify wealth and think that it means that the wealthy are smarter, wiser, more ‘blessed’ or some other such crock … it’s hard to get other, non-wealthy people to believe it’s not more significant than that … The novelty of money has worn off.”

Can you imagine being able to say that? To say the novelty of money has worn off? Most of us will never be there, but it sure feels good to know that just because someone has enough money to buy anything their heart desires—for themselves or their children—it doesn’t mean that it alleviates their fears. It doesn’t mean that they are more blessed. As a matter of fact, in most cases, it actually ups the ante on the fear and anxiety level.

So, with that in mind, let’s turn back to the idea of entitlement and take a look at an article written by Carey Nieuwhof on the Orange Parents blog—“Five Ways to Fight Entitlement in Your Kids.”

3. Action Point

Take some time to read through the following article by Carey Nieuwhof—Lead Pastor at Connexus Community Church north of Toronto Canada—and discuss with your student how you can put at least 1 of the following 5 suggestions into practice.

Five Ways to Fight Entitlement in Your Kids

By Carey Nieuwhof


Like most parents, you feel this terrible tug.

On the one hand, you want to provide your child with every advantage. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like when you do that, you’re feeding an incredibly unhealthy characteristic in our culture.

For whatever reason, we’re living in the midst of an entitlement epidemic. Probably more than any other generation before us, our generation feels as though we have a right to things that used to be defined as wants, or even privileges.

Here’s how the cycle starts:

On the day your child is born, it’s easy to decide as a parent that you need to give your child every advantage.

So you compete. You made sure he had bright colors in his nursery and exactly the right kind of mobile to stimulate his brain, but now it’s an all out frenzy to ensure your preschooler can swim, skate, hit a ball, paint frameable art, read, write and speak classical Greek before his fourth birthday.

And don’t worry, because by the time you’re done with the race to kindergarten, the culture has taken over feeding the frenzy. Your child has now seen enough advertisements and made enough friends to believe that her every desire not only can be met, but should be met. The boots that every other stylish kid is wearing are not a privilege, they are a right. Or so you’ve been told.

And then other inalienable rights emerge: the right to a phone for texting, iPod touches, Facebook and so much more.

Somewhere in the mix, you found yourself realizing that you are tempted to pay your kids for every “act of service” rendered in the house, from emptying the trash to picking up each sock.

And you realize something is desperately wrong. And you would be correct in that.

So, what do you do to fight entitlement in yourself and in your kids? Here are five suggestions:

1.  Be clear on wants and needs. I joke with my kids that we owe them shelter, food and clothes, and I would be happy to slip a pizza under the door to their cardboard house any time they wish (they are 16 and 20, don’t try this with your 5-year-old, but you get the point.) Take time to explain what is actually a need and what a want is. Culture will never explain it to them. You need to.

2.  Reclaim special occasions. There is nothing wrong with not buying wants for your kids in every day life. Save the special things for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and the like. You don’t need to indulge for no reason. In fact, you probably shouldn’t.

3.   Set a budget and let them choose. With back to school shopping and seasonal purchases, we started setting a budget with our kids early and then let them choose how they would spend it. They become much more frugal shoppers when all of a sudden they realize that money is limited and they can get more if they shop around.

4.  Establish an allowance and expectations. An allowance is a great way for a child to learn responsibility. We’ve encouraged our kids to give 10 percent of every thing they earn, save 10 percent, and live off the rest (the formula gets more restrictive the closer they get to college). Explain what gets covered and not covered out of that allowance.

5.  Be clear about what you will never pay them for. There are some things that you do because you are a part of the family. You can decide where that lands in your home. Make a list of responsibilities that no one gets paid for that you do because you are part of a family. To help with this, why not ask your kids what a reasonable list looks like? Involving them will help them own the decision. Second, make sure you follow up. And hold them responsible for what you all agreed to do. Otherwise you will be tempted to pay for everything or just roll your eyes daily and do it yourself.

Approaches like these can help raise kids who see life as a series of privileges, who live gratefully, and realize their responsibility to others.

Next youth series (Doubt) and Fall Retreat Praise

Last weekend was our Fall Retreat and it was amazing! I have to really thank every student that went for this being one of our more drama free, encouragement focused, God honoring trips i have ever been on! You guys rock!

This Wednesday we are starting a new series during youth group and i wanted to put some information in everyone’s hands about it. Keep reading to find out more.


Here is an overview of what we’re talking about. Listed below the summary is a “parent cue” to help you dialog with your child about the session. The question is intended not just to be asked by you, but to be responded to by BOTH of you. Use this opportunity to find out what God is teaching your child, and allow your child to see what God is teaching you as well.


Series Overview

Everyone has moments of doubt. We doubt if we are heading in the right direction when going some place new. We doubt if that low-fat snack is really as healthy as it claims to be. We doubt if the people in our lives really care about us—even in spite of the evidence that they do. And sometimes our doubts are about God. Can we trust God? Does God really have our best in mind? What does a particular Bible verse actually mean?

When questions arise, they can be a little unsettling, especially questions about faith. But what if God was big enough to handle the questions? He is. What if God was secure enough to handle our uncertainty? He is. And what if doubt actually paved the way to a deeper belief, a stronger relationship with Christ? It can.


Session One (9/26/2012)

You know those nagging questions that seem to linger in the back of your mind? The ones you hesitate to ever speak out loud, admit you have or let anyone else know you think? Questions like: “Does God hear me when I pray?” “Does He have a plan for my life?” “Does God really have everything under control?” Questions and doubts can be unsettling if they are left unsaid. We begin to think we are alone in our doubt, and often our doubts only grow until they paralyze our faith. But when we learn to admit our doubts openly, we learn that we are not the only ones—that everyone deals with questions. And when we learn to live with doubt, doubt can be a tool that strengthens our faith.

Session One Parent Cue: Do you ever have doubts about God? If so, what are they? What do you do with them—vocalize them or keep them to yourself?

Session Two (10/3/2012)

It’s one thing to recognize that doubt can strengthen faith—but HOW do you get there? How do you handle a doubt that you just can’t seem to move past? One way is to look back. When you look back, you draw on the things you do know to help you live through the things you don’t know or can’t understand. When you remember the things that God has shown you, you remind yourself of a bigger picture that can help you deal with the close-up situation at hand. The ways you have learned about or experienced God in your past are still true in the present, and can be used to pave the way to belief now—in spite of and in the midst of doubt.

Session Two Parent Cue:  What are some things that God has taught you in the past about Himself? How can those things specifically help you with the doubts you now have?

Info for parents about our next youth series “Forward Motion”

Forward Motion

Tomorrow night we are starting a new series called “Forward Motion” at TCYM. Here are some thoughts to consider as your students work their way though this series with us.

1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

We’ve all made resolutions and set goals, but too often we fall short of what we expected to accomplish. Unfortunately it’s often the same when we try to become the Christian we really believe God has called us to be. We fall short of the goal and become increasingly discouraged. In this series, your student will learn that following Christ is more about the small steps we take every day, not about the huge leaps of faith that we think we need to make. They will set a goal, determine the first step and then make it. The series will end with a celebration!


2. Be a Student of Your Student

Many of you crave forward motion in your family. You know what you want your children to be. You want them to be kind, respectful, responsible, intelligent, creative individuals. You want them to be able to succeed when they grow up and leave your home. But sometimes you look at them and you think that it may never happen. Sometimes, between the myriad of parenting books and child-rearing philosophies, you can get lost in the “how to” of raising wonderful kids who become successful adults.


In Reggie Joiner’s Orange Parents post entitled “How to Raise a Jerk,” Joiner encourages parents in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way about raising kids who become the adults parents want to see them grow into. Here is an excerpt from this post. To read the post in its entirety, go to


Some leaders say too many who work hard at building children’s self-esteem are raising kids who will exhibit a lifestyle of entitlement and egotism. Other specialists say those who talk about children being innately bad are raising a generation that feels inferior and insignificant. Every expert has an opinion and it’s hard to know where the line actually is. Many promote their agenda by pushing the opposing opinion to the extreme.

One of the keys to parenting with balance is helping your children develop an attitude of humility. Every child has the potential to grow up and understand why it’s important to “put others first.” There is just a fine line between raising kids who have a healthy self-esteem and kids who are too egotistical. A life of arrogance that goes unchecked can result in a sad and lonely existence for someone, and frankly there are enough self-centered people around. How does someone develop an overinflated sense of self-worth and entitlement?

Here are a few ideas to help you effectively raise a jerk:

  • Protect them from the consequences of their own mistakes.
  • Make sure you do whatever they can do for themselves.
  • Keep them away from anyone who thinks differently than they do.
  • Try to give them everything they want.
  • Tell them over and over again you just want them to be happy.
  • Convince them that they are more special than other kids.
  • Always take their side when they get in trouble with their teacher at school.
  • Always take their side whenever they are in a conflict with a friend.
  • Keep insisting that they are the best player on the team.
  • Don’t give them consistent opportunities to help or serve other people.
  • Never require them to do chores.
  • Reinforce their prejudices about people from different cultures or backgrounds.
  • Make your relationship with them more important than your relationship with your spouse.
  • Rarely express genuine gratitude to those who help you.
  • Teach them to talk more than they listen.
  • Never let them hear you say, “I was wrong. I am sorry.”

Maybe you can add a few ideas of your own… on how to raise a jerk.


Whatever parenting philosophy we ascribe to, we all want to see our kids succeed. Whether it’s at school, sports, music or in the character traits they possess, we all want our kids to thrive. And the truth is, a huge part of their success is us. We set the tone for so much of their self-worth, self-understanding and self-image. So, let’s focus on being a part of the steps we want to see them take. Let’s get in the game with them and encourage their steps towards realizing the potential that God has placed inside of them.


3. Action Point

Obviously, no parent takes the advice on how to raise a jerk seriously. But what most of us do want to take seriously is the opportunity we have as parents to help our students become the best person—and eventually, the healthiest adult—they can be. We want to help them set goals and achieve them. And we want to praise them for their successes.


This month, think about helping your student make one step. Think of one new thing that you would love for your son or daughter to do. Maybe it’s to improve his or her science grade, learn how to do laundry, cook a meal or change the oil in the car. Once you have decided on one goal for your student, communicate your desire to teach this skill and let your student know why it is important to learn it. Then spend time during the month helping teach your student how to accomplish the goal.


If you want your student to improve his or her science grade, sit with him or her and study flash cards. If you want them to know how to do laundry, do a load or two together until he or she gets the hang of it. By communicating to your child why you want him or her to know or do a certain thing, you communicate respect. By spending time helping them learn, you are letting him or her know of their importance to you. You will also alleviate your child’s fear of disappointing you if they get it wrong.


The most important thing that fuels forward motion is celebration. Make sure that you celebrate your child’s step! Tell him or her that you are proud of them for working so hard or for learning something new. When your child knows that they can make you proud, they will be much more motivated to continue working on their new goal.