Saturday, August 27, 2011

Marketing to kids gets more savvy with new technologies


By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY 8/15/2011

Isabella Sweet doesn't wear a target on her chest. But kid marketers covet this 9-year-old as if she does
Perhaps it's because she's a techie.
The fourth-grader from Davis, Calif., spends almost an hour a day on the Webkinz website. The site charms kids by linking Webkinz plush animals — of which she owns 18 — with online games that encourage kids to earn and spend virtual money so they can create elaborate rooms for virtual versions of their Webkinz pets.
The site does one more thing: It posts ads that reward kids with virtual currency when they click. Every time a kid clicks on an ad, there's a virtual ka-ching at the other end for Ganz, which owns Webkinz.
At issue: With the use of new, kid-enchanting technologies, are savvy marketers gaining the upper hand on parents? Are toy marketers such as Ganz, food marketers such as McDonald's and kid-coddling apparel retailers such as 77kids by American Eagle too eager to target kids?
At stake: $1.12 trillion. That's the amount that kids influenced last year in overall family spending, says James McNeal, a kid marketing consultant and author of Kids as Consumers: A Handbook of Marketing to Children. "Up to age 16, kids are determining most expenditures in the household," he says. "This is very attractive to marketers."
It used to be so simple. A well-placed TV spot on a Saturday-morning cartoon show or a kid-friendly image on a cereal box was all it took. No longer. The world of marketing to kids has grown extremely complex and tech-heavy. Marketers that seek new ways to target kids are aware of new calls for federal action — including voluntary marketing guidelines that would affect food marketers. Kids, who are spending less time watching TV and more time on computers or smartphones, are becoming targets online.
"Marketers are getting more and more devious," says Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a watchdog group. With the growing use of smartphones and social media, she says, "They have new avenues for targeting children" that parents might miss.
Even ad-savvy parents are sometimes unaware how marketers are reaching out to their children.
Getting around ad blockers
While on the Webkinz site, Sweet recently clicked once a day for seven days on an ad for a film trailer that was posted for Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. She says that she wasn't really interested in the movie. But each day that she clicked it and answered three questions, she earned a virtual lime-green dresser and bulletin board for the rooms she created online for her Webkinz.
"I've got five dressers and seven bulletin boards," says the girl. "I don't have enough rooms to fit them all in."
This kind of marketing to kids drives Isabella's mother crazy. "They're doing this right under the noses of parents," says Elizabeth Sweet, a doctoral student at University of California-Davis doing her dissertation on the marketing of kids' toys. Even so, she says, she had no idea about the video ads on Webkinz until her daughter told her.
"This whole planting of movie videos in the online game experience is new to me," Sweet says. "What bothers me most is that when she first signed up for the site, I thought it was OK."
Sweet has an ad-blocker app on her browser. These movie ads are woven into the site content in such a way that her daughter sees — and responds to them — anyway, she says.
"We occasionally introduce limited-time promotions so that our Webkinz World members can enjoy fun, unique activities and events," says Susan McVeigh, a Ganz spokeswoman, in an e-mail.
But Elizabeth Sweet isn't the only parent who's unhappy with how and what Webkinz markets to kids.
Last month, Christina Cunningham, a full-time mother from Port St. Lucie, Fla., happened to look over as two of her daughters — ages 9 and 7 — were signing onto the Webkinz website. On the log-in screen, an ad flashed for BabyPictureMaker.com, which nudges consumers to download pictures of two people — promising to send back a picture of what a baby they might have together would look like.
"This is not acceptable," says Cunningham, who shooed her kids away from the site and fired off an e-mail to Webkinz. When she didn't hear back, she sent another. Again, she says, she received no response. But McVeigh says Webkinz e-mailed Cunningham responses, twice. A frustrated Cunningham contacted Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The group contacted Webkinz, which removed the ad. "We will make sure to open an investigation into the matter and take the appropriate steps," spokeswoman McVeigh assured the group in a letter.
The fast-food connection
Webkinz declined to share the outcome of this investigation with USA TODAY — nor would it explain how the ad got on the site. "We're fully committed to a responsible approach regarding advertising and the advertisers we allow on the site," says McVeigh, in an e-mail.
But in the eyes of some parents, no one goes more over the top in marketing to kids than the big food sellers — particularly sellers of high-sugar cereals and high-fat, high-calorie fast food.
That's one reason the Obama administration is proposing that foodmakers adopt voluntary limits on the way they market to kids.
These proposed voluntary guidelines, to be written by a team from four federal agencies, have set the food and ad industries howling — even before they've been completed.
"I can't imagine any mom in America who thinks stripping tigers and toucans off cereal boxes will do anything to address obesity," said Scott Faber, a spokesman for theGrocery Manufacturers Association, at a May hearing.
But Wayne Altman thinks the voluntary guidelines are critical.
He's a family physician in the Boston area who has three sons ages 13, 5 and 4. He's particularly concerned about Ronald McDonald. "We know that children under 8 have no ability to establish between truth and advertising," he says. "So, to have this clown get a new generation hooked on a bad product just isn't right."
Because of the obesity, heart disease and food-related illnesses fed partly by savvy food marketers such as McDonald's, Altman says, "We have a generation of children that is first to have a life expectancy less than its parents."
Plenty of others think as Altman does, even though Ronald is regularly used to promoteRonald McDonald House Charities. Ronald also shows up in schools. He's got his own website, Ronald.com, where the clown promises that kids can "learn, play and create while having fun." And he's the focal point of a new social-media campaign that nudges kids to download their own photos with images of Ronald and share them with friends.
More than 1,000 doctors, including Altman, recently signed a petition that asked McDonald's to stop using Ronald to market to kids. "People have a right to sell and advertise," he says. "But where do we draw the line?"
McDonald's — which recently announced it will modify its Happy Meals in September by reducing the number of fries and adding apple slices — has no plans to dump Ronald. "Ronald McDonald is an ambassador for McDonald's and an ambassador for good," CEO Jim Skinner told shareholders in May at the company's annual meeting. "Ronald McDonald is going nowhere."
77kids entertains shoppers
But American Eagle is going somewhere. And if any retailer exemplifies the techie new world of marketing to kids, it may be 77kids by American Eagle.
The outside-the-box store that it just opened at New York's Times Square sells midpriced clothing targeting boys and girls from toddler to 12. But the heart of the target is the 10-year-old.
Getting a 10-year-old's attention is all about whiz-bang technology — like the chain's virtual ticket to rock stardom.
In the center of the Times Square store sits a "Be a Rock Star" photo booth. It's all about music and tech. The booth has a big-screen TV that shows a video of a rock band composed of 10- to 12-year-old kids singing I Wanna Rock by Twisted Sister. Any tween, with parental permission, can download his or her photo and substitute it on the screen for one of the rock stars.
"Our brand ideology is: Think like a mom, see like a kid," explains Betsy Schumacher, chief merchandising officer at 77kids. "It made sense to us to have technology in the store that speaks to a kid's experience — and how they play."
Each 77kids store also has two iPad-like touch-screens that allow kids to virtually try on most of the clothing in the store. Who needs a dressing room when you can download your own photo and have it instantly matched online with that cool motorcycle vest or hip pair of distressed jeans? The same touch-screen also allows kids to play instant DJ, where they can mess online with the very same music that's being played in the store — slowing it down, speeding it up or even voting it off the playlist.
Nearly nine in 10 kids who shop at 77kids try one of these technologies while visiting the store, Schumacher estimates.
The company makes no bones about laser-targeting 10-year-olds. "The point is to keep a kid engaged so that shopping is enjoyable," Schumacher says. "Kids are looking for entertainment when they come to the mall."
Ex-adman wants change
Marketers, in turn, are looking for kids. And profits.
It isn't just advertising watchdogs who think it's time for a change. So does the guy who two years ago was arguably the ad world's top creative executive, Alex Bogusky. The agency that he has since left, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, has created campaigns for such kid-craving companies as Burger King and Domino's. Now, with the ad biz in his rearview mirror, Bogusky suggests it may be time for marketers to rethink.
"So what if we stopped it?" he recently posed on his personal blog. "What if we decided that advertising to children was something none of us would engage in anymore? What would happen? A lot of things would happen, and almost all seem to be for the good of society."
Babies as young as 6 months old can form mental images of logos and mascots — and brand loyalties can be established as early as 2, says the watchdog group Center for a New American Dream. McNeal, the kids marketing guru, says he consults with companies that are constantly trying to figure out how to get inside day care centers and bore their images inside the minds of preschoolers.
Back at Isabella Sweet's Webkinz-filled home, she's still saving her weekly $1 allowance to buy yet more. She can't help it, she says, even though each one costs $5 to $13. Even the family cats drag out her Webkinz to play.
"I wish I had a favorite Webkinz, but I don't," says Isabella. "I love them all."

TO AL MENCONI WITH LOVE

The wife of a young couple wrote this poem after a seminar.  I have this framed hanging in my office to remind me why I continue to teach the Christian Music Diet.  - Al Menconi, editor


TO AL MENCONI – WITH LOVE
I grew up with my radio beside me day and night. I’d listen to each song until I knew the words just right. (2Tim. 4:3-4) 

When Mom would drink and scream, my music made me feel so good. No matter what the problem was, my music understood. (Deut. 32:37-38) 

The rock stars were my idols. Their advice was my instruction. They persuaded me to live a life of sinful, vile corruption. (2Tim. 3:6-7) 

At twenty-one, I married Phil, to help my emptiness. It didn’t magnify my joy. It magnified my mess! (Eccles. 1:2) 

I finally screamed, “God take my life! I’ll do no good down here!” (Jonah 2:2) What followed was a blessed peace that calmed my deepest fear. (Phil. 4:6-7) 

Then Phil and I accepted Christ. Our sins just dropped away! (2Cor. 5:17) We made a pact with God. We said, “You speak and we’ll obey. We’ll give you everything we own, except our rock-n-roll. You understand, we love it Lord, with heart and mind and soul.” (Psalms 16:4)

But then, God whispered in our hearts a change that there must be. (Rom. 6:21) 

“YOU BOTH MUST GIVE ME EVERTHING BEFORE YOU CAN BE FREE.” (Exodus 20:3) 

Ironically, at New Song Church, was where we really changed. (Psalms 40:3) 

It took place at a seminar that God had pre-arranged. (Proverbs 16:9) 

When we heard Al Menconi speak, all barriers fell away. (Acts 9:18) 

We found ourselves absorbing all the things he had to say. Before my eyes, he stripped my idols down to what they were. (1Cor. 8:5-6) 

He didn’t judge----just stated facts. His voice was clear and sure. He backed his words with scriptures that will always stay with me. (Is. 55:10-11) 

Colossians, chapter two, verse eight----Second Timothy, chapter three. (Heb. 4:12) 

And also in the book of Psalms, in 101, verse three....This verse was so convicting, we got rid of our T.V.! (Heb. 10:26) 

It’s amazing how our lives have changed, by what we listen to. Al Menconi, we want you to know, we owe a lot to you! (2Cor. 3:5)

Through Christ, who truly strengthens you, You’ve used your talents well! (Matthew 25:21) 

How many peoples’ lives you’ve touched, only God can tell. (Heb. 6:10) 

I love you deeply in the Lord, and thank you from my heart, For allowing God to work through you to give me a new start. (Phil. 1:3)


For books and resources to help you connect and communicate values to your kids check out our website at: http://www.almenconi.com/

Al Menconi, Al Menconi Ministries, Parenting, Parenting help, Christian parenting, Christian parenting help, Parenting advice, Christian Parenting advice, Parenting tips, Christian parenting tips, Entertainment advice for parents, Entertainment advice, Christian conference speaker, Christian counselor, Keeping Kids Safe In the digital age, Keeping Kids Safe in the Internet age, The Christian Music Diet, It Doesn’t Affect Me.

Al Menconi Ministries Mission Statement:
Helping parents and leaders overcome the influence the entertainment media has on their families, motivate parents and leaders to connect with their children and teach parents and leaders how to communicate and model values to their children.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011 VMAs: A Glimpse Into Today’s Youth Culture


I often tell my audiences that parents may live in the United States of America, but their children live in the United States of Entertainment and MTV is writing the constitution for this youth culture.

What does this mean to parents?  Our children live in a different culture than we do.  If we are going to reach this generation for Jesus Christ, we must reach them as we would reach a Third World Nation.  We must become acquainted with their language.  We don’t have to speak it fluently but we should be able to understand a few words and phrases.  We must understand the customs and culture so we are able to respond properly and not commit a social faux pas when we attempt to present our message of hope. 

This Sunday evening at 9:00 PM, MTV will showcase the values and culture your children live in everyday.  MTV will present their Video Music Awards – The VMAs this Sunday night at 9/8 central,  This is NOT a program you want your children to watch.  I suggest you set your DVR and watch The VMAs when your children are NOT HOME.

CAUTION: If you struggle with pornography, stay away completely.  Use this time to ask God to help you overcome your problem before you will be able to help your children deal with today’s culture.  We will give our perspective of this evening in next week’s email newsletter.  It is not the same as seeing it for yourself, but this is not the program to watch if you are struggling with pornography. 

Most parents tell me they don’t allow their children to watch MTV or listen to “that type of music.” These parents are missing the point!  Their children are growing up in a culture where MTV values reign.  The VMAs is your “opportunity” to see this “foreign culture” up close and personal. I believe Christian parents should watch this two-hour award show to get a taste of what our society considers “normal.”

Every year, when I recommend watching the VMAs, I receive criticism because MTV always seems to “push the envelope” with their sights, sounds, and values.  I apologize in advance, but I believe there is no better education for parents of today’s children – even parents of preteens and younger. 

MTV has a way of pushing the envelope beyond our expectations, even though the bar is set so low.  I’m hoping I’ll be wrong this year – especially because a decent artist like Adele will be one of the performers.  I’m not holding my breath. 

Why watch:
1. It will break your heart.  A broken heart is softened to the needs of those they want to reach.
2. It will give you a new understanding of the youth culture that daily influences your children and their friends. 
3. Hopefully, it will cause you to pray specifically for your children that God will guard theirs hearts and minds and help them develop the character to withstand these values. 
4. It will open conversations with your children.  They will be surprised you know a little of the language, customs, and culture.  This is NOT A TIME TO PREACH, but a time to listen to your children.  Ask about their favorite entertainment; songs, TV programs, videos and video games.  Listen to their responses without criticizing. 
5.  You may want to read RECONNECT, our book to help parents understand, connect with, and communicate values to their children.    

The VMAs are not just music, videos, and performances.  It’s the whole experience that is invading your children’s culture like a virus. I’m asking you to watch with an open heart and open mind.

If you absolutely need to stay away from this whole program, I strongly urge you to check out the nominees at this link: http://www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/2011/categories.jhtml.   If you have a difficult time understanding all the lyrics, I suggest you go to www.AZLyrics.com for help.  Enter the name of the artist, and then scroll down until you find the song you are looking for. 

Print the lyrics and go back and watch the video while reading the words.   It is worth the effort as this will provide you with a little insight into the language, customs, and culture of the people influencing your children. 

I don’t take this suggestion lightly.  Before I watch this type of “entertainment,” I ask God for wisdom and protection. 

For books and resources to help you connect and communicate values to your kids check out our website at: http://www.almenconi.com/

Al Menconi, Al Menconi Ministries, Parenting, Parenting help, Christian parenting, Christian parenting help, Parenting advice, Christian Parenting advice, Parenting tips, Christian parenting tips, Entertainment advice for parents, Entertainment advice, Christian conference speaker, Christian counselor, Keeping Kids Safe In the digital age, Keeping Kids Safe in the Internet age, The Christian Music Diet, It Doesn’t Affect Me.

Al Menconi Ministries Mission Statement:
Helping parents and leaders overcome the influence the entertainment media has on their families, motivate parents and leaders to connect with their children and teach parents and leaders how to communicate and model values to their children.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Al Menconi Ministries Celebrating 30 Years


You are Cordially Invited to Attend
Al Menconi Ministries
30-year Celebration Banquet
and
The Christian Music Diet 
National Kick Off

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa
5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad

6:30-7:00 PM Silent Auction
7:00-9:00 PM Dinner & Program

"The Christian Music Diet - 
Changing Our Nation for Christ"

Please Invite your Friends and Relatives to attend with you
R.S.V.P. TODAY
Register here or phone 760.591.4696

Banquet is Complimentary
Free-Will Offering will be received

Business Casual
Adults Only

Friday, August 19, 2011

Managing Your Preschooler's Fascination with Apps


Managing Your Preschooler's Fascination with Apps
www.commonsensemedia.org Mobile and communicating by Caroline Knorr, on 08.16.2011
Little kids love apps -- and so do most parents. The ability to tap, touch, and swipe can lead to hours of fun, especially for tiny fingers. And sometimes, handing over your smartphone makes a tantrum magically disappear.
Apps can teach great things –- at low or no cost. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you should always hand over your device when your little one is bored. Each swipe on a tablet or smartphone means less time spent doing all of the other activities that are good for preschool-aged development and more time spent in front of a screen. And if your kid is already watching TV or playing on your computer, it all starts to add up.
Too much screen time can impact everything from kids' health to their school readiness. Here's how to manage your kid's app habit.
Tips to manage your preschooler's app habit
There are better teething devices than electronics. If your kids start to put your phone in their mouth, they're too young to use it. Find something else for them to chew, shake, or throw.
Pay attention to what they're doing. Make sure you download age-appropriate apps -- there are lots of them. And check out the apps before your kids do to make sure that the subject matter is right for their age. Can they understand the words? Can they manipulate the game? Really young kids are still developing their fine motor skills, so unless you want a frustrated child on your hands, make sure that a game doesn't require lots of coordination to play.
Don't make phones a habit. Remember that kids quickly develop routines. If they associate going to restaurants or driving in a car with playing games on your phone, it will be difficult to transition out of the behavior.
Balance coping skills. Ultimately, we want kids who can amuse themselves without batteries. Make sure that your kids are equally comfortable with board books, music, and that old faithful -- the crayon.
Keep an eye on the phone. They can get dropped -- on the floor, in a toilet -- wedged in a seat, left in a seat pocket, etc. These things are expensive!
Remember that you're their role model. Kids learn their behavior from you. If you're always on your phone, they'll want to be, too.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Responsible Text Messaging Tips


Responsible Text Messaging Tips

In Mobile and communicating by Common Sense Media, on 11.19.2010

Kids communicate through texts
       Texting is the #2 use of cell phones -- after checking the time.
       Teens send an average of 3,146 texts per month, and kids ages 9 to 12 send 1,146 (Nielsen, 2010).
       75% of 12 to 17 year olds own cell phones and 88% of them use text messaging (Pew, 2010).
       64% of parents look at the contents of their child’s cell phone and 62% of parents have taken away their child’s phone as punishment. (Pew, 2010).
       43% of teens who take their phones to school say they text in class at least once a day (Pew, 2010).

Texting is becoming the #1 form of communication

If you’ve ever stared in awe at your child’s thumbs moving furiously over her phone’s keyboard, you’ve probably wondered how she does it so quickly, and why it’s her favorite form of communication. Kids text because it lets them feel connected and feel as if they can have a private moment with a friend, no matter where they are or what else they’re doing.
Billions of text messages are sent every year from our kids’ mobile phones. While most kids use messaging responsibly, it’s still a powerful and extremely private communication tool that can be used irresponsibly. With texting, kids can’t see the reaction of the person receiving the message, so their actions can be separated from the consequences. Young people can be cruel, and their judgment and impulse control are not yet fully developed. If a text exchange becomes unpleasant, it can be very hurtful or even dangerous to their well being.

Why understanding texting matters

Texting is totally portable, private, and immediate. Kids can send messages to anyone from anywhere at anytime. In other words, they have no boundaries unless we help them to establish some. Almost no research has been done on the impact of immediate communication on kids’ social development.
But the instant gratification factor of getting immediate responses from friends has to have some affect. Any parent who has been at the dinner table or on a hike with a child only to hear a pocket buzz with an incoming message knows that texts take your kids out of the moment they are in and connect them to distant friends.
Texts can be used to keep friends close, help parents figure out family logistics, and offer a wonderful way to share experiences. But, as with any powerful tool, texting can also be used to bully or humiliate people. An embarrassing or upsetting image or video can quickly be transmitted or uploaded to an online video sharing site like YouTube. Sexting is a form of texting where kids send or receive graphic images or messages. According to a study from CosmoGirl, 22% of teen girls have sent or posted these kinds of images. And, sadly, the use of texting in school cheating is on the rise as answers can be swiftly passed from student to student.
Kids need to know that abusing the privilege of texting has consequences.

Advice for parents

       Carefully evaluate whether or not your kids need texting on their cell phones. Just because other kids in their class have it doesn’t mean your child needs it.
       If your kids do text, get an unlimited texting plan. Otherwise the charges mount up swiftly.
       Make rules around when and where. No texting during meals, during class, on family outings. Oh, and turn the phone OFF at night!
       No texting while they should be concentrating on something else. This includes driving –nearly half of teens admit to texting while driving – walking, and having a conversation with someone else. Firm rules about this will ensure their safety as well as their social skills.
       Establish consequences for misuse. Cheating, inappropriate messages, sexual communication. These are all no-go’s. Want to make your point? Take your kid’s phone away for a week.
       Watch your own behavior. Parents are still models for their kids. If you text your child during class and then turn around and tell that child that he or she can’t do that, you’re sending mixed signals.
If you suspect your kids aren’t texting appropriately, you can always look at their messages. Yes, it feels like snooping, but our first job as parents is to ensure that our kids use powerful technologies safely and responsibly.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Facebook tied to poor mental health in teens: What parents must know

From a speech by Larry D. Rosen, PhD, California State University, Dominguez Hills, at The American Psychological Association convention August 6, 2011

Rosen has concluded from his research that social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and others may be turning your teen into a narcissistic, antisocial outcast.  Does it influence your family? 

How many hours a day to you and your family spend on social network sites? 

A few of the key points from his research:

·      Teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies.  

·      Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as by making them more susceptible to future health problems.

·      Teens who checked Facebook frequently got lower test grades. 

·      It’s nearly impossible to use some sort of computer program to surreptitiously monitor your child's social networking because the typical child will be able to find a workaround in a matter of minutes.

·      Rosen said. “You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem, whether it is being bullied or seeing a disturbing image, your child will talk to you about it.”
        
        
Advice he offered to parents include:

·      Parents should assess their child’s activities on social networking sites, and discuss removing inappropriate content or connections to people who appear problematic.

·      Parents also need to pay attention to the online trends and the latest technologies, websites and applications children are using.  

·      “Communication is the crux of parenting. You need to talk to your kids, or rather, listen to them,” Rosen said. “The ratio of parent listen to parent talk should be at least five-to-one. Talk one minute and listen for five.”

Note from Al Menconi Ministries: 

Our focus is on helping parents and leaders understand the influence the media can have on their families, connect with, and communicate values to their children.  We must do more than simply tell our kids what to think.  We must teach them HOW TO THINK from a biblical worldview. 

For books and resources to help you connect and communicate values to your kids check out our website at: http://www.AlMenconi.com/

Al Menconi, Al Menconi Ministries, Parenting, Parenting help, Christian parenting, Christian parenting help, Parenting advice, Christian Parenting advice, Parenting tips, Christian parenting tips, Entertainment advice for parents, Entertainment advice, Christian conference speaker, Christian counselor, Keeping Kids Safe In the digital age, Keeping Kids Safe in the Internet age, The Christian Music Diet, It Doesn’t Affect Me.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

God's Investment Advice


God's Investment Advice
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth." - Matthew 6:19
-- Excerpted from The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn


Imagine you're alive at the end of the Civil War. You're living in the South, but you are a Northerner. You plan to move home as soon as the war is over. While in the South you've accumulated lots of Confederate currency. Now, suppose you know for a fact that the North is going to win the war and the end is imminent. What will you do with your Confederate money?


If you're smart, there's only one answer. You should immediately cash in your Confederate currency for U.S. currency--the only money that will have value once the war is over. Keep only enough Confederate currency to meet your short-term needs.

As a Christian, you have inside knowledge of an eventual worldwide upheaval caused by Christ's return. This is the ultimate insider trading tip: Earth's currency will become worthless when Christ returns--or when you die, whichever comes first. (And either event could happen at any time.)

Investment experts known as market timers read signs that the stock market is about to take a downward turn, then recommend switching funds immediately into more dependable vehicles such as money markets, treasury bills, or certificates of deposit.

Jesus functions here as the foremost market timer. He tells us to once and for all switch investment vehicles. He instructs us to transfer our funds from earth (which is volatile and ready to take a permanent dive) to heaven (which is totally dependable, insured by God Himself, and is coming soon to forever replace earth's economy). Christ's financial forecast for earth is bleak--but He's unreservedly bullish about investing in heaven, where every market indicator is eternally positive!

There's nothing wrong with Confederate money, as long as you understand its limits. Realizing its value is temporary should radically affect your investment strategy. To accumulate vast earthly treasures that you can't possibly hold on to for long is equivalent to stockpiling Confederate money even though you know it's about to become worthless.

According to Jesus, storing up earthly treasures isn't simply wrong. It's just plain stupid.
-- Excerpted from The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

Monday, August 8, 2011

How to Ruin a False Worldview


How to Ruin a False Worldview By Charles Colson

BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview Breakpoint.org
January 27, 2010
 

A while back on BreakPoint, I talked about a teenager who attended a worldview training camp run by Summit Ministries. The young man complained, tongue in cheek, that worldview training had "ruined" movie watching for him. He could no longer watch films without automatically searching for the worldview messages.

That's great news: The whole point of worldview training is to "ruin" attempts to convince teenagers that any worldview conforms to reality better than Christianity does. But we can't wait until the teen years to start talking to kids about worldview-and parents know it. Many times I've had moms and dads come up to me and say, "What do you have for younger kids?"

Well, it's a critical need. Because the studies show us that a person's basic views about life are formed during the morally formative years between five and eleven. I've seen this first hand in the prisons over the years as the prison populations have exploded because have no parents that can teach them write and wrong at the ages when they can be really, morally shaped.

My colleague John Stonestreet is a speaker and writer for Summit Ministries. He's also now joined me here at BreakPoint, where in March, he will launch a new one-minute radio program called The Point.

John told me he and his colleagues were frustrated over the quality of Christian books for kids. Most of them contained Bible lessons with a moral at the end. But that not teaching worldview. So Summit joined with Apologia educational ministries to write a worldview series for kids.

I've seen these books, and I can tell you this: They will ruin the efforts of secular teachers, journalists, and sex educators to brainwash our kids-because they instruct even young children how to think.

The first volume in the planned four-part series is titled, Who Is God and Can I Really Know Him?The second volume is Who Am I And What Am I Doing Here? The curriculum is intended for children as young as six, and contains "big ideas," vocabulary, discussion questions, exercises, stories, and activities.

The books, written by John Hay and David Webb, introduce kids to the concept of differing worldviews and how they shape our perceptions of the world around us. They also teach kids that conflicting worldviews cannot all be true. When they face contradictory worldview claims, the authors invite kids to ask themselves two critical questions: How do I know what is true? And how must we live our lives in relation to the truth we come to know? Just the right questions!

Given how much our culture now influences even the youngest children through school, television, films, advertising, and video games, it's never too early to begin worldview lessons.
You can order copies of these two excellent textbooks by going to our website bookstore,www.breakpoint.org. These books are great not only for Sunday School, but for parents to use with their children at home.

In addition, our book But It Doesn't Affect Me! is written for today's teen and preteen. It's entertaining, easy-to-read, and challenges the reader to develop a strong Biblical Worldview. Order But It Doesn't Affect Me at www.AlMenconi.com.