Sunday, May 30, 2010

Advice to Parents from Facebook Readers

We posted the following question on the Al Menconi Ministries facebook fan page and received the following comments:  

“If you could do it again what would you change about your parenting? This is your chance to let other parents "go to school" on your mistakes.”

You may notice the general theme of, "Lighten up and and learn to enjoy your children." 
Al Menconi,
editor

1. I would chill out more. I put too much stress on my kids to be their best.

2. Not let fear rule... wait more before responding... pray more (even though I prayed tons) but speak less... let gentleness lead me... be careful when talking about a behaviour not to attack the person... don't jump to conclusions... don't assume because a child does not say anything that they have the same convictions as you... draw them out more and ask more what they think about different issues... maybe say "this is what I believe but what do you believe..."

3. The big one I learned is, if your daughter is dating a fellow and if you have concerns and if you express those concerns too much or not an appropriate way you can lose that daughter because it will drive her closer to the fellow. You need to go real slow and wait on the Lord to know what to say and not to say.

4. Don't be dogmatic... we need to stand firm on certain convictions but need to allow differences in others...

5. Allow them be who they are instead of expecting them to be who I want them to be. Also, give loads more grace!

6. Don't react mad. Sometimes it won't be possible, but if you can, walk away or throw up a prayer to help you calm down. There is rarely anything said or done in anger that you don't regret later.

7. Remember young people embarrass easily and if you are on facebook really pray before you comment on your young person's profile, especially on the teens.
Entertainment can be a real stumbling block but not sure how to prevent the compromise that can come in that area of their lives.  Don't be the one that brings something in because you thought it was ok...

8. I would seek God's guidance for the discipline I needed to administer. Try to not react with fear and jump to conclusions.

9. Definitely would have spent more time just being with them and doing things with them. So much of what I thought at the time was important (like house cleaning) could have kept. The entire basis for discipline and guidance of teens is based on the bonds and relationship you have formed with them. Don't waste your opportunities!

10. Limit choices. The biggest downfall we experienced was allowing too many choices for our children. Children at a very young age need to be trained and not given so much freedom in what to do, when to do it, and what to wear. Be a parent not a friend.

11. I wouldn't have let them play organized sports until they knew how to play and demanded to play. Organized sports for kids rob family time and most of the time our children didn't even know if they kicked the ball in the right goal or not.  

12. We took our girls to Disneyland when they were too young. We wanted them to experience OUR childhood fun. We should have waited and let them anticipate going. We robbed them of the joy of anticipation.


13. Let's us know if you have something to add.  Which of the above was the most valuable to you?

Al Menconi Ministries
http://www.almenconi.com/
Parenting help for the Internet age
Christian Parenting advice
Entertainment advice for parents
Keeping Kids Safe In the digital age
Keeping Kids Safe in the Internet age

Friday, May 28, 2010

Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior

Do you know someone who is struggling with online porn? PornHarms.com has a free Workbook to help people who are struggling with Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior. I highly recommend this booklet

Al Menconi Ministries
http://www.almenconi.com/

Parenting help for the Internet age

Christian Parenting advice

Entertainment advice for parents

Keeping Kids Safe In the digital age
Keeping Kids Safe in the Internet age

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are You Winning the Battles But Losing the War for Your Children?


I once believed one advantage of having daughters was that my clothes would be safe. After all, girls wear dresses and ribbons and bows, right? Wrong. As my little girls grew older, all my assumptions blew up. My daughters rummaged through my sock drawer, my shirt drawer, and every other clothing drawer. They figured if it fit or came close to fitting, it was fair game.

At first I thought it was cute, but then I noticed some of my sweaters were missing. Occasionally, I couldn’t find a T-shirt when I needed one. And worst of all, my daughters were wearing holes in all my socks.

I stopped complaining about the missing shirts, but I sure didn’t want the girls wearing my socks outside, getting grass stains on them or holes in the toes. This behavior was a mortal sin when I was a kid. My mother simply would not have allowed it—and I wasn’t about to either. I was going to win this battle!

Every time I saw my daughters wearing my socks without shoes, I made sure they knew I was upset. “Get back in here, and put on your shoes!” became my mantra. Before long, nearly everything I said to my girls was about putting on their shoes or taking off my socks. I started to see them as the enemy whose “sole” purpose was to drive me crazy by running around in stocking feet—my stockings on their feet.

Eventually, our home became a battleground. The first thing I did when I came home was to see if my girls were wearing my socks. My daughters began to obey me only out of fear. I was winning the battle for the socks, but I was losing the war for my children.

I evaluated my conversations with Annie and Allison and realized I was angry or disappointed with them the majority of the time. No wonder they didn’t want to talk with me. I didn’t want to be a spineless parent, but I did want to have a loving relationship with my children.

I noticed my daughters’ behavior didn’t seem to bother their mother. Why should it? They weren’t her socks. But it was more than that. The girls were obedient to their mother without the negative attitude they gave me.

I also noticed she was able to talk with them without becoming upset. They even liked to be around her, while they barely tolerated me. Their mother was choosing her battles with our children, and socks just weren’t worth a fight.

After much prayer and thought, I came to the conclusion that a 79-cent pair of sweat socks from Costco wasn’t worth a fight. So I bought a dozen pair of sweat socks with padded gray feet for myself. Then I took the grass-stained and holey ones and dropped them on the floor between Annie and Allison’s bedrooms.

“Girls, these are now your socks. If you want to play outside without shoes that’s up to you. You now own more than ten pair each. When you ruin them, we will consider buying new ones. But these are mine and don’t wear them,” I said, as I held aloft my new socks with the gray soles.
From that day forward, the subject of socks was never mentioned. I decided I wasn’t going to sweat the socks and small stuff. It wasn’t long before I realized I had been focusing on the small stuff.

When I changed my attitude toward my daughters, they were less uptight around me. When I quit fighting with them over socks, we began to talk more and have fun again. I learned to enjoy my girls, and they seemed to enjoy my company.

I wish I had learned earlier that my children were more than projects to control. They were young girls who needed a dad who wouldn’t fight with them over every issue. I learned to pick my fights. How about you?

You just read the first section of this chapter. The complete chapter including the Reflection, Response, Scripture, and Application is one of 30 chapters from Al's new book RECONNECT: When your kids are connected to everything but you. Find out how to order your own copy.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Sneaky Ways Advertisers Target Kids

By Caroline Knorr for CommonSenseMedia.org
April 28, 2010 

You might think you're hip to the tricks that advertisers use to reach kids online. You've seen the ads that play before online games. You know about the flashing banner ads, the contests, the sweepstakes, and even the sponsored Google links that match your search terms. But as technology advances -- and kids gravitate toward new programs and digital devices -- advertisers have found sneakier ways to capture kids' attention.
So how are your kids being targeted? 
1. Kim Kardashian. Tweets from reality TV stars, musicians, and other celebs can earn them $10,000. That's right, the rich and famous are cashing in on their Twitter fans by tweeting about how much they love a certain product. And unlike sponsored Twitter ads, these celeb tweets are not labeled "Ad."
2. XOXO Gossip Girl Calling. For teens who can't live without news of Gossip Girl, no problem. Sign up for the show's mobile alerts and get the latest news from the show -- as well as ads from all the companies who've bought your kids’ information when they signed up.
3. It's Magically Delicious! Did you see that cool video on YouTube? The one starring a leprechaun named Lucky? Lucky Charms has a series of webisodes starring its famous animated spokesperson. These animated videos are also featured on the Lucky Charms website, as is a massive interactive world that plugs Lucky Charms cereal at every opportunity.
4. Playing With Food. Like Lucky Charms, ads disguised as games are rampant on the web. Millsberry -- a popular kids' website -- plants General Mills products throughout its virtual world. And if you think watching commercials is persuasive, play an hour of Honey Nut Honey Defender and you might get a little hungry.
5. Be Careful What You LikeFacebook's viral nature plays right into teens' desire for social acceptance. Take Flixster, a social networking and film buff site that matches your movie preferences with flicks you might like (that's advertising). Another feature tracks things you've marked "Like" either on Facebook or on its partner sites, and will recommend more things you might “Like” -- including products to buy.
What You Can Do
Advertisers know that the earlier a child learns about a brand, the more likely they will be to buy it later (or beg their parents to buy it). And children under 7 can’t tell the difference between advertising and entertainment. Helping kids understand how advertising works can help protect them from being exploited. (Visit Admongo, the FTC's ad-education site, for more ways to help kids get ad-savvy.)
Also, talk to your kid about protecting his or her online privacy. Kids give advertisers lots of information just by downloading an app or clicking on a sweepstakes. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are conjuring up ways to make money off the behavioral data they can collect on kids. While you can't protect your kid from preying advertisers entirely, you can help them limit their privacy vulnerabilities -- and cultivate a healthy sense of skepticism toward advertising.

Homosexual Activist Comes Out God's Way!


I received a lot of mail last week when I published my response to Christian artist, Jennifer Knapp, "coming out" about her lesbian lifestyle.  The following is an article from a former homosexual who "came out" as a Christian.  It is important for Christians to read his perspective.  
In His,
Al Menconi 

Christians, it's about love
Michael Glatze - Guest Columnist for OneNewsNow.com - 5/15/2010 5:20:00 PM

We often feel helpless, in situations. We want guidance. We know we should turn to the Bible; but sometimes we forget. We know we should trust our Savior; but sometimes we get ahead of ourselves – or we get a little too "into" ourselves. This is a common experience for all Christians, myself included.

We are commanded by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, to love Him – and, to love others. Simple commandments; but, we forget these too. Then, lest we should begin beating ourselves up for perceived failures, we can recognize that we are under grace, thus no longer condemned by Jesus. We let go, we slip back under His yoke...and, we love some more.

This is the Christian life.

In today's perilous times, people find themselves riled up by the forces of darkness and evil around us. We hear something that makes us sad, which leads to a bit of anger, which leads us into a foolish argument – which we are advised, by the apostle Paul, to avoid. Thus, we "engender strife," when we could – simply – love.

Does love mean we agree with everything? God forbid. Does love mean we don't feel when people are hurting themselves? God forbid. God's love is as great as His justice, His recognition of right and wrong.

And so, I write this article as a letter of encouragement to the Christian Church to continue trusting in the love of the Saviour, rather than in your own understanding, to continue swallowing your pride and letting Him fight our battles for us. Often, we have a tendency to want to play the hero, or the heroine; this temptation comes from a desire to prove ourselves. In Christ, our souls are already proven.

I was once a gay activist, and the editor of a national gay magazine. I lived a life with a same-sex partner, with a dog, a house, and many friends. Then, I got saved, and realized that I couldn't be gay and Christian – because, that would be living a lie. Soon, I found help to heal from homosexuality, and found myself living a new life, as a heterosexual man – complete with memories and a certain perspective of what it's like to be under the grips of a life lived in the excuse of a sin.

Jesus provides a way out of all temptations that are common to man. Homosexuality is one of those temptations that some people face. There will always be the temptation to dive in, completely, becoming identified with a sinful behavior; in fact, this temptation has become a political movement – supported by many politicians and courts in our land, as well as other countries in this world. But Christians aren't to be afraid of the pressure of an increasingly prevalent world system; we are not to be yoked together and conformed to the ways of this world.

I don't believe that we should fear our brothers and sisters who do make the decision to bind, in small or large ways, with the ways of the world. For our commandment from Jesus is not a commandment of fear, but of love. When a fellow Christian gets misguided, we are to love him or her the same way we are to love the lost; the way God, and only God, can love.

And, so, it is frustrating when Christians lose their principles and compromise on the brilliant truth and the power of the gospel to save people from all sins. It is frustrating when Christians take the side of the enemy, against fellow believers. And it is frustrating when Christians re-crucify Christ, through their obsession with never-ending transgression. But, all these things – and, so much more – needn't make us afraid; they should make us more ready to love.

They should make us feel the sadness of the transgression, the tragedy of the turning away. When I was 19 years old, I was a confident "queer youth" activist, planning a protest of the Christian Coalition's Faith & Freedom Day event in San Diego's Balboa Park in 1996. I was dressed in what we called "Republican Drag," and shouting obscenities at the crowd of what we called "hateful" Christians. I was standing there, fighting for a cause I firmly believed in. Then, a small group of brave Christian women formed a circle, and began – calmly, lovingly – praying for me and my fellow "queer youth" protesters. They circled us, loving us, praying for us, walking slowly around us. I remember being less than a foot away from a nice lady, who was telling me she loved me. I remember being so angry at her, raising my voice, shouting right into her face some awful, profane words.

But as the years went by, I never forgot that woman's love. And I never forgot the truth embedded within that love. And when Christ finally came to pluck me out of my bondage, it was memories like this one that combined as a powerful testimony to the truth of the gospel, and the saving power of Jesus Christ. I could feel God's love – even, when I was deep within the traps of the enemy. And it was that love – and that love alone – that set me free.

For Christians, today, this is a period of testing. As the devil increases in strength, forcing apostasy within the Church, taking over our Christian country – unless we stand strong – the only way to success in Christ is to let Him love others through us. This means we do not re-write the Word of God. We do not re-write the Holy Scriptures. We do not say, as some so-called Christians have said in recent times, that somehow the apostle Paul just "didn't understand" modern times. We trust Jesus, not our own understanding. We give up any notion we have of our own understanding, humble ourselves to the power of the gospel to save, and love through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the Holy Spirit within us; we do not want to grieve Him.

For me, it is remarkably frustrating to see some people within the so-called "Christian" sphere compromising the Word of God on the issue of homosexuality. It terrifies me to think of what might happen to these people's souls. I know that homosexuality is a powerful force in today's world – but don't forget that it was a powerful force in ancient times as well. Remember in the book of Judges, how homosexuality pops up at the end of a long, progressive apostasy? Remember how homosexuality is described as one of the lusts that enflames people, after they have turned away from God, causing in them the results of their transgression? Have we gotten so far from God that we are willing to attempt a revision of reality, simply because we're too afraid to see how bad things have gotten?

The truth of homosexuality is that it is, like so many other things, a sin. And the truth about healing from homosexuality is that, like so many other sins, it can be done.

For Christians to say that homosexuality is okay is for Christians to keep fellow brothers and sisters in bondage, suggesting (a) it's okay, and (b) other people trying to help them out of bondage are "hateful." For Christians to accept some kind of validity with respect to homosexuality is for those same "Christians" to turn on the Lord Jesus – whose arms are open to welcome homosexuals out of their identity, out of their habits, out of their former life, and into His liberating grace.

When I first came out of homosexuality, publicly, in 2007, I received 900 e-mails from loving Christians, praying, asking for guidance, sending their love. But in the last three years, I have seen strong, good Christian leaders fall into a pit of apologetic confusion around this issue of homosexuality. And I have seen good Christians turn on their brothers and sisters with an accusatory look, and the curses of the devil, because of their support for homosexuality. Make no mistake: Satan wants this issue to divide the church.

But we needn't fear that either. Know the truth. I am just one of countless individuals who have left homosexuality, and now live heterosexual lives. Christians have the blessed opportunity to help people out of bondage – that is the essence of our faith! Christians have the blessed opportunity to share in the power of our Savior, and watch His power at work, as He delivers people from their cages. I see people, constantly, who correspond with me via e-mail, Facebook, or whatever, who are getting through the valley, looking toward the clear blue sky. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:13: "
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." This does not just apply to homosexual temptations, or any other physical sensation; this also applies to the temptation to turn away from the gospel, because the gospel seems too difficult.

Christians, we don't walk the easy, wide road; we walk the more difficult, narrow road. But, when we have the grace to do so, we know that we are doing the right thing, because Jesus is leading the way. And what a blessing it is to stop resisting Him, to stop making excuses for Him, to stop justifying ourselves in the light of His more superior truth, and give in to Him – and let Him lead and let His love flow through us.

It is in this love that we must continue to shine as lights in this world, helping people heal from their infirmities and helping people heal from homosexuality.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Principal Says NO to Social Networks for Kids


I agree with Dr Laura 100% on this issue.  I couldn't have said it better. Let me know what you think.
Al Menconi

Principal Says NO to Social Networks for Kids
Dr Laura's Blog
May 6, 2010

I am very happy to tell you about my hero, Anthony Orsini, the principal at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  He recently sent the following email to all parents of children attending his school:
Dear BF Community:
When I arrived in Ridgewood, Facebook did not exist, YouTube did not exist, and MySpace was barely in existence.  Formspring (one of the newest Internet scourges, a site meant simply to post cruel things about people anonymously) wasn’t even in someone’s mind.
In 2010, social networking sites have now become commonplace, and technology use by students is beyond prevalent.
It is time for every single member of the BF community to take a stand!
There is absolutely no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!
Let me repeat that - there is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!  None.
5 of the last 8 parents who we have informed that their child was posting inappropriate things on Facebook said their child did not have an account.  Every single one of the students had an account.
3 students yesterday told a guidance counselor that their parents told them to close their accounts when the parents learned they had an account.  All three students told their parents it was closed.  All three students still had an account after telling their parents it was closed.
Most students are part of more than one social networking site.
Please do the following:  sit down with your child (and they are just children still) and tell them that they are not allowed to be a member of any social networking site.  Today!
Let them know that you will at some point every week be checking their text messages online!   You have the ability to do this through your cell phone provider.
Let them know that you will be installing Parental Control software so you can tell every place they have visited online, and everything they have instant messaged or written to a friend.  Don’t install it behind their back, but install it!
Over 90% of homework does not require the Internet, or even a computer.  Do not allow them to have a computer in their room.  There is no need.
Know that they can text others even if their phone doesn’t have texting capability, either through the computer or through their iPod Touch.
Have a central “docking system,” preferably in your bedroom, where all electronics in the home get charged each night, especially anything with a cell or with wi-fi capability (remember when you were in high school and you would sneak the phone into your bedroom at Midnight to talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend all night - now imagine what they can do with the technology in their rooms).
If your son or daughter is attacked through one of these sites or through texting, immediately go to the police!  Insist that they investigate every situation.  Also, contact the site and report the attack to the site - they have an obligation to suspend accounts, or they are liable for what is written.
We as a school can offer guidance and try to build up any student who has been injured by the social networking scourge, but please insist the authorities get involved.
For online gaming, do not allow them to have the interactive communication devices.  If they want to play Call of Duty online with someone from Seattle, fine.  They don’t need to talk to the person.
The threat to your son or daughter from online adult predators is insignificant compared to the damage that children at this age constantly and repeatedly do to one another through social networking sites or through text and picture messaging.
It is not hyperbole for me to write that the pain caused by social networking sites is beyond significant.  It is psychologically detrimental and we will find out it will have significant long-term effects, as well as all the horrible social effects it already creates.
I will be more than happy to take the blame off you as a parent if it is too difficult to have the students close their accounts, but it is time they all get closed and the texts always get checked.
I want to be clear - this email is not anti-technology, and we will continue to teach responsible technology practices to students.  They are simply not psychologically ready for the damage that one mean person online can cause, and I don’t want any of our students to go through the unnecessary pain that too many of them have already experienced.
Some people advocate that the parents and the school should teach responsible social networking to students because these sites are part of the world in which we live.
I disagree.  It is not worth the risk to your child to allow them the independence at this age to manage these sites on their own, not because they are not good kids or responsible, but because you cannot control the poor actions of anonymous others.
Learn as a family about cyber safety together at www.wiredsafety.org for your own knowledge.  It is a great site.  But then do everything I asked in this email - because there really is no reason a child needs to have one of these accounts.
Please take action in your own home today.
Sincerely,
Anthony Orsini
Principal, BFMS
Now Principal Orsini is MY kind of principal, and my kind of leader in the community.  This should go nationwide. 
The sites have become a tool for children to do psychological harm to each other; it has become a menace to children.  Much of what guidance counselors have to deal with these days regards social networking issues.  It is time for you parents to ACT.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Answer to mother of 15 year old homosexual boy

The following is my response to the mother of a 15 young man who "came out" as a homosexual.  He had been teased his whole life and this is the first time he has ever felt accepted.  This mother is still against homosexuality as a sin, but she loves her son unconditionally and is so confused.  She wanted her response to be private.   


My heart breaks for you and your son. This is one of the reasons I wrote the blog. I am tired of Christians not having a "reasonable answer." Yes, we know it is a sin, but that isn't enough for today's generation. They are told by the media (entertainment and news) from day one that homosexuality is normal and natural. And God made them that way.  NO HE DIDN'T. 


God may have made you with feminine mannerisms but He didn't make you lust after another man. That is your choice. Christians need to understand the pressures the "world" puts on us to accept this destructive behavior as normal.


If a child has "feelings" for the same sex or if insensitive people tease him because of his mannerisms, he needs to know where the feelings come from. They don't come from God. This is part of Satan's plan to destroy God's creation.


We are commanded to resist the devil and he will flee. The Greek implies the spoken word of God is our sword that defeats the enemy (Gal 6:17). My suggestion to people struggling in this area is to treat it as a battle for your soul. As a Christian we have the right to verbally tell Satan to not tempt us in this area and he must flee.  Scripture goes on to say "make no provision for the flesh" (James 4).That means don't tempt yourself because that is like a "welcome mat" for Satan. 


Like my mother used to tell me, "You can't stop a bird from landing on your head, but it is your right and responsibility to keep him from building a nest."

A fifteen year old boy is still trying to figure out where he fits in society and when the "Christian world" mocks him, he will naturally gravitate toward the segment of society that accepts and encourages him. Continue to love and accept him. Remind him those who teased him were ignorant and insensitive. They surely didn't represent God. They were speaking for Satan.


My suggestion to you is to continue praying and as you do, pray AGAINST Satan. That is how we resist the devil. Tell him that he has no right over your son because you and he belong to the King of Kings. 



Talk with your son about making this choice at such a young age. Remind him that God and you will always love him no matter what he does, but his lifestyle is ultimately destructive which will hurt God. 


Ask your son to pray against Satan's foothold in his life before it becomes a pattern and encourage him to not "tempt himself." God loves him. God cares about him. And He has a plan for him and it isn't to live a destructive life.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Superchick Reinvention


Superchick is my favorite active Christian rock band. Is Toby Mac a band?  If so, Superchick is one of my two favorite bands. 
  
I know I am an old man, but I still occasionally like to rock.  And nobody does it better than Superchick.  Their infectious pop/rock sound will get you out of your seat and stomping your feet.  Is that bad?  No, I think it is fun.  And fun with a purpose.  If you are too old to rock to Superchick, you are too old.  

Their concerts are exciting and loud.  Their passion and energy will grab you and force you to sing their positive lyrics.  You may have to read their lyrics while listening to their music to really appreciate them.

Speaking of which, I appreciate their empowering lyrics aimed at today's teen - especially girls and young women.  God made us Superstars, don't go through the motions of living.  Live loud and for His Glory.  

When my daughters were teens, living at home, this is the type of group and type of songs I wanted them to listen to.  The new Superchick album, Reinvention, features some remixes of their best songs and lot of new pop/rock songs -- all with the challenge to be the person God called you to be.  

They are on tour with John Ruben and others.  Check out their tour blog.  Get their album and get a group together and go to the best concert of the year.  

  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Homosexuality: What's the Big Deal?

You may have heard about contemporary Christian music artist, Jennifer Knapp, “coming out” about her lesbian lifestyle. Many in the Christian community believe homosexuality is a sin, but don’t understand why that lifestyle is so offensive to God. It’s a sin because God says so! (Lev 18:22 and 20:13.) So please let me reflect on this issue.

Jennifer Knapp has been one of my family’s favorite artists for many years. She has won Dove Awards and was nominated for a Grammy. She has sold over a million albums. She has a wonderful talent to be able to formulate wonderful songs about the love and grace of God. She is an excellent artist.

When she made her life choices public, I watched as she explained to Larry King that God didn’t judge her because she “fell in love with another woman.” I read various articles where she said her Christian fans supported her decision and many Christian women were coming to her concerts and winking at her to show their approval.

Does that mean God doesn’t care about Jennifer’s lifestyle? What’s the big deal about being gay? Many say, as Jennifer claims, “If God didn’t want me gay, He wouldn’t have made me gay.” Which begs the question, how do you know God made you gay?

Many in the homosexual community respond, “I’ve had these urges since I was a child.” Really? I’ve had urges to overeat and cut myself since I was a child, but I have found it is wise to fight destructive urges because ultimately they will destroy me.  

How can anyone say homosexuality is destructive?

God didn’t make Jennifer gay. It is her choice, a wrong choice, but it is still her choice to have a sexual relationship with another woman. How do I know?

Let’s examine the basics.

God loves us and wants His best for us and Satan hates us and wants to destroy us. Can we agree on this basic principle?

Next, consider the following example. If everyone in the world lived a homosexual lifestyle how long would society last? Obviously, the answer is only until the last person presently alive dies.

I don’t have to point out the obvious, but for the sake of argument allow me to do it anyway.  Ultimately living a homosexual lifestyle will lead to the destruction of society. 

We know Satan hates God and hates mankind. His goal is to destroy the things God loves. God loves us more than anything else He created. If Satan can get God’s creation to live in a way that is destructive, imagine how that would hurt God and bring happiness to Satan.

There are many destructive things mankind does to destroy life. Most of the lifestyles such us drug usage, smoking, violence, suicide, etc. are recognized as destructive and are discouraged. But living a homosexual lifestyle is encouraged as “normal.” Can anything be normal that is ultimately destructive?

If we live our life in such a way that is destructive to the survival of mankind, it doesn’t make God mad but it hurts Him because it is destroying the things He loves most – mankind.

God isn’t looking around to see who is “having fun” and, as a cosmic killjoy, condemning us because we are “doing what comes natural.” No, He sees mankind behaving in a manner that will ultimately destroy civilization if carried out completely, and He wants society to survive so we can enjoy Him.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Teen may need push to get outdoors

This article has great suggestions for parents to encourage their kids to play outdoors.  Hope you like it!           
Al Menconi, 
Al Menconi Ministries, 
AlMenconi.com .  
Teens May Need Extra Push to Get Outdoors
Parents may need to get creative _ and active _ to get teens outside
By JENNIFER FORKER For The Associated Press
April 14, 2010 (AP)
It's a familiar refrain in homes with teenagers: "Shut off that television, get outside and get some exercise!"
But parents, here's the bad news: If you want your teens to exercise, you need to get out there with them and show how it's done.
"Parents have an incredible, powerful ability to model behavior," says Daniel Kirschenbaum, a professor at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and clinical director of Wellspring, which provides treatment services for overweight youths and adults at several U.S. locations.
"You are your own best ally," he says.
Besides being active, parents may need to get creative. And tough. Experts offer a variety of strategies for getting teenagers out for some fresh air.
"Sometimes you have to be a little subtle," says Robyn Spizman, co-author with Evelyn Sacks of "Eat, Nap, Play" (Health Communications, 2010). Even the word "exercise" can induce adolescent eye-rolling, so substitute that word with "adventure," Sacks says.
Or less subtle: Kirschenbaum advises making outdoor family time mandatory, and tying it to allowances.
"It's another thing they have to do, like make their beds," he says. "I'd encourage families to do that — make movement a part of what's required."
The problem is often one of wresting teens away from screens and phones. Teenagers up to age 18 are exposed to nearly 11 hours of media in a typical day, according to a January report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which several years ago noted high rates of media exposure as a contributing factor to childhood obesity.
Todd Christopher, author of "The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids" (Trumpeter Books, 2010), notes that teenagers often use more than one form of media at a time: They may text while watching TV or talk on the phone while using the computer.
Making media part of an interaction with nature can help get teens' attention, he says, citing treasure hunts as an example — either devised by neighborhood parents, or by geo-caching and letterboxing. In letterboxing, teens download clues off Internet sites. Geo-caching is a higher-tech form of hide and seek, requiring a Global Positioning System (GPS) into which teens can punch the coordinates of hidden treasure.
Both activities are "a pretense to get outside and have these adventures," says Christopher.
Teenagers may be fearful about changing their sedentary habits. "Emphasize 'getting moving,'" says Spizman.
And don't hesitate to call for backup: Allow the child to bring a friend along on the outdoor adventure.
"They're looking for ways to spend time with their friends," says Spizman, who recommends inviting the friend's family, too.
Other kids may prefer a more private foray into nature. "An introspective and bookish child" may prefer journal writing in a secluded spot, says Christopher. "OK, great. How do we get to this place? Let's get on a bike and take a bike trail."
Kirschenbaum suggests buying an inexpensive pedometer for each member of the family.
"Get one for everybody and have steps become a part of the language of the family," he says. He recommends that families work toward 10,000 steps a day, about 5 miles, which he says is double what most adults walk in a day.
"You start to look forward to ways to get steps. You park farther away" when shopping, for instance, says Kirschenbaum. "Studies show just getting a pedometer and wearing it regularly increases activity."
Besides exercise, many parents want to encourage teenagers to learn about and appreciate nature.
Kelly Dignan of Littleton, Colo., asks each of her two teens to plan a summertime outdoor activity for the family. In years past, they've visited parks, gone fishing and camped with their dad.
"They plan it with my help," Dignan says. "That way they have control over it; it's their idea."
She also asks each child to go on a walk with her at least twice a year. It doesn't sound like much, Dignan says, but it gives her the chance to connect one-on-one with each of them.
"We live near the Platte River," Dignan says. "So we walk and talk and notice the nature. We investigate things up close — like the flowers and all the intricacies each one has."
In their book, Spizman and Sacks call this "the sharing walk."
"They get to talk about whatever they want," says Spizman. "They may want to talk about the latest technological gizmo item that they want. The goal is to, while you're walking, to keep it going, encouraging them to talk about their day — the good and the bad."
Sasha Huffman, 15, of Arvada, Colo., enjoys being with friends outdoors, either biking, walking or sledding.
"When the weather is nice, I (walk) all the time with my friends," she says. "I'd rather talk to them face to face than text them."
Going outdoors with her family isn't so bad, either. In the summer, they spend a lot of time hiking in the nearby mountains.
"I think you gotta kinda try it at first, even if it doesn't sound fun," she says. "At least for me, you enjoy it as time goes by. Then you think, 'Wait, I don't want it to be over.'"
When her adult children were teenagers, Sacks says she often took them hiking, but once at the trailhead she'd hand over the map. "You can put kids pretty darn young in charge," she says. "They have a great sense of direction.
"I just told them 'I'm bringing lunch. You guys take this hiking map and let's go.' At a young age, you empower them."
Use family time outdoors toward building a teenager's talents or hobby interests, advises Spizman.
If you live near the ocean, collect beach glass. If your teen is keen on photography, take a camera and build an album together, or get a photo printed in the high school or community newspaper, she suggests.
Doing anything outdoors has benefits beyond health and wellness. "Families doing this together, really, what you're truly doing is creating these bonds," says Christopher.'