Monday, October 31, 2011

A nice note about the impact of the Christian Music Diet

…our 27 year old daughter is married and now lives in Texas. When she was in elementary school I heard you speak at an ACSI convention when you challenged parents to “invest” in Christian music for their kids. I accepted the challenge. I usually played Maranatha Praise at home, but my daughter didn't identify with that as her music. I told her we would buy her all the Christian music she wanted, but she would have to buy her own secular music as you suggested.
Two months ago a friend of my daughter died after a long illness.  The next morning my daughter emailed me to say she had been listening to Rich Mullins'"Hold Me Jesus" as she mourned the loss of her friend. She thanked me for introducing her to his music and for encouraging her to listen to Christian music AND for buying it for her. 
I had to tell you that I believe your challenge changed our family. It is doubtful that I would have taken the positive approach of seeing Christian music as an investment, but I have received the dividends of that investment in a daughter who loves Jesus and Christian music. 

"Facebook depression" seen as new risk for teens

"Facebook depression" seen as new risk for teens

CBS news (AP) October 31, 2011
CHICAGO -- Add "Facebook depression" to potential harms linked with social media, an influential doctors' group warns, referring to a condition it says may affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site.

Researchers disagree on whether it's simply an extension of depression some kids feel in other circumstances, or a distinct condition linked with using the online site.

But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr. Gwenn O'Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines.

With in-your-face friends' tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don't measure up.

It can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, O'Keeffe said, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what's really going on. Online, there's no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.

The guidelines urge pediatricians to encourage parents to talk with their kids about online use and to be aware of Facebook depression, cyberbullying, sexting and other online risks. They were published online Monday in Pediatrics.

Abby Abolt, 16, a Chicago high school sophomore and frequent Facebook user, says the site has never made her feel depressed, but that she can understand how it might affect some kids.

"If you really didn't have that many friends and weren't really doing much with your life, and saw other peoples' status updates and pictures and what they were doing with friends, I could see how that would make them upset," she said.

"It's like a big popularity contest - who can get the most friend requests or get the most pictures tagged," she said.

Also, it's common among some teens to post snotty or judgmental messages on the Facebook walls of people they don't like, said Gaby Navarro, 18, a senior from Grayslake, Illinois. It's happened to her friends, and she said she could imagine how that could make some teens feel depressed.

"Parents should definitely know" about these practices," Navarro said. "It's good to raise awareness about it."

The academy guidelines note that online harassment "can cause profound psychosocial outcomes," including suicide. The widely publicized suicide of a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl last year occurred after she'd been bullied and harassed, in person and on Facebook.

"Facebook is where all the teens are hanging out now. It's their corner store," O'Keeffe said.

She said the benefits of kids using social media sites like Facebook shouldn't be overlooked, however, such as connecting with friends and family, sharing pictures and exchanging ideas.

"A lot of what's happening is actually very healthy, but it can go too far," she said.

Dr. Megan Moreno, a University of Wisconsin adolescent medicine specialist who has studied online social networking among college students, said using Facebook can enhance feelings of social connectedness among well-adjusted kids, and have the opposite effect on those prone to depression.

Parents shouldn't get the idea that using Facebook "is going to somehow infect their kids with depression," she said.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fighting for Family Dinners


Fighting for Family Dinners
It's Good for Your Kids!

BreakPoint with Charles Colson, October 19, 2011
The dangers facing young people today are many: premarital sex, drug abuse, suicide, and dropping out among them. And if you listen to the “experts,” there are no easy answers for protecting our kids. And of course they are right. But saying there are no easy answers is entirely different from saying there are noanswers.

I believe there is something moms and dads, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers can do and start doing it tonight — that’s right — tonight — to make a real difference in the lives of our young people. It’s time to reclaim the family dinner.

I’m not saying this out of some kind of nostalgia for Ozzie and Harriet and the supposedly golden age of the 1950s. Families had problems back then, too. But I think a lot of families back then knew something many of us have forgotten: That it’s good to sit down together for a meal.

The dinner table is not only where we share good food and drink. It is also where we share our values, what happened to us during the day — the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s where we ask questions and learn from each other. In a relaxed atmosphere we can talk about our faith. The dinner table can be a great refuge from life’s hard knocks and stresses.

That’s not just my opinion. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University finds that teens who have dinner with their parents three or fewer times per week are four times more likely to smoke, twice as likely to drink, two-and-a-half times more likely to smoke marijuana, and four times as likely to say they will use drugs in the future as those who eat dinner five to seven times a week with their parents.

These findings mirror the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, which is the largest longitudinal study ever done on adolescents. This study has some amazing statistics. Of twelve to fourteen year olds who don’t experience family dinners at least five days a week, 14 percent report drinking more than once a month. That’s kids twelve to fourteen. But for those who have family dinners, it’s cut to 7 percent!

Also, 27 percent of twelve to fourteen year olds who don’t have regular family dinners say they think about suicide, compared with only 8 percent of those who do eat with their families. Among seventeen to nineteen year olds, 68 percent without the influence of family dinners have had sex, versus 49 percent of those who have had family dinners.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Family dinners are vital — not just for food but for bonding and learning.

Now you’ll say: “Okay, having dinner with my kids is a good idea, but we’re just too busy.” Friend, believe me, I understand. In many homes, both parents work and have little time to cook food, let alone go to the supermarket and shop for it, and then clean up. And let’s face it: Our kids are just as busy as we are.

And look, I understand, instituting a welcoming and relaxing culture in the kitchen or dining room can seem daunting. Family dinners take planning, cooperation, and work. Your kids might protest at the new routine — at least at first. That’s okay. They will likely come to love it.

Get started, and see what works for you. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Twice a week is better than none.
And I bet you’ll find being together as satisfying as a steak dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy. Bon appetit!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Teens Consumed by Video Games

Parenting Today's Teens Blog By Mark Gregston On October 20, 2011 
Teens Consumed by Video Games
Video game sales now surpass sales of both music and movies. For millions of kids and young adults, playing video games has become an obsession.

To give you some history, I grew up in New Orleans – not exactly the most conservative city. But when I was a kid, people weren’t allowed to play pinball games at the arcade until they were 21. That seems like a silly law today, especially since nowadays nearly every family has their own version of a pinball arcade right in their own home, and most kids play games on their cell phones. I find nothing wrong with most of these games. In fact, playing a video game together with your teen is a great way to connect. But some kids and young adults are being consumed by them, and that’s where the problems lies.

I think what happens in many homes is that the parents buy video game consoles, intending to play games together as a family. The kids initially enjoy them, and the parents play along from time to time. But the excitement eventually wanes and the kids come home from their friends’ houses asking for the more advanced video games their friends have. Partly out of guilt for not playing with them more often, mom and dad agree to buy the more advanced video games that the kids can play on their own, not paying much attention to what’s on them or how much time is spent playing them. After all, it keeps them at home, out of trouble.

The Draw of Video Games
Teenagers love playing video games because they provide a challenge and an escape. It’s also something they can be very good at and be proud of their skill.  But they also offer mental and visual stimuli that can cause the “gamer” to forget where they are. In fact, hours can pass as if minutes. It’s sad that we live in a culture that is so stressed that kids feel the need to escape in this way. It shows the intensity of that world out there and the need for parents to make their home and their relationship a place of rest for their teen.

What’s more, kids find a sense of value and esteem in playing these games. Even the dorkiest kids can become virtual sports stars, rock stars, cool secret agents or Rambo-like warriors in these games. It’s one thing they can do better than their parents and maybe even their friends, so they relish it. And it’s one place — maybe the only place — where they feel totally in control.

When It Becomes All-Consuming
I find it interesting that the word “Atari,” the brand name of one of the original video game platforms, means in Japanese “you’re about to become engulfed.” And that’s exactly what happens to kids and an increasing number of young adults who play video games. They become engulfed in these games and lose all sense of time or care for anything else. Many kids stay up all night secretly playing video games, night after night. The loss of sleep causes them to become emotional wrecks and their grades begin to slip. Like any other addiction, they can’t get enough of it.

There is also an opportunity cost to playing video games. Every hour spent on them is an hour the teen isn’t doing something more productive, like learning a new hobby, getting exercise, doing homework, or spending time with the family. Anything that takes over a child’s time and attention for many hours every day should be moderated. Parents need to moderate the amount of time that their kids play and the type of games their kids play, and not just follow the rating on the package. Make sure the game is appropriate for your child and your family values.

Some argue that playing video games is a good way to spend time with friends, and I agree. But kids who are consumed by these games will tell you that they started playing games with their friends, but then moved on to playing against people online that they don’t even know. S o that’s a red flag — don’t let your kids become so consumed by these games that they no longer invite their friends over to play.

The Effect of Violent Video Games
While most moms don’t want their kids playing “shooter” games, research is split on the effect of violent video games. I find just as many experts saying they have a negative effect as not. I truly think that it is more of a reflection on the individual child, their maturity, and the situation in the home than anything else. If you have a kid who is already prone to violent outbursts, hangs around with violent kids, or seems to lack a moral compass, violent games should be avoided. It’s akin to giving stimulants to a hyperactive kid.

Some experts offer the horrific shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 as an example of the negative impact of violent video games. The two teenage shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, were known to be immersed in violent video games. They reported in their online diaries that their lives were most gratifying while playing in a virtual world. Some think that the two killers may have been desensitized to killing due to their constant exposure to violent imagery and actions in such video games, as well as the violent movies they both enjoyed, which gloried killing.

Trouble began to brew after the games were grounded when Klebold and Harris were arrested for breaking into a vehicle. That’s when they had time on their hands to begin planning the school massacre. Some experts believe that the anger and tactics that were previously being projected into the video games was unleashed into the real world when they could no longer play. Maybe so, but psychiatrists diagnosed Harris, the leader of the two, a psychopath who was already bent on killing those in the school who had wronged him. A psychopath has no ability to tell what is real from what is not real, and is characterized by selfishness, ruthlessness and the inability to feel guilt.

So it becomes a “chicken or the egg” question. Did the games cause Harris to become a psychopath, or was he already a psychopath and the games fueled his murderous intentions? Obviously, the latter is true. If violent video games did create psychopaths, we’d see Columbine-like massacres happening around the world every minute of the day, because millions of kids and young adults are playing them. Of course, that’s not happening.

I believe that for most kids violent video games won’t do anything at all – especially if the game is played only periodically as a pastime. The normal child won’t become desensitized to killing people by simply playing “shooter” video games. They know that the opposing characters in the game aren’t real — no different than the skeet I shoot or the plastic ducks lined up at the shooting range at the fair. For boys, who are visually-oriented and naturally have a warrior instinct, these games of skill and conquering are very appealing. It’s when they’re played incessantly that the fantasy world can sometimes get mixed up with the real world. And that’s a problem only if the child is already emotionally unstable.

Getting It Under Control
What you as a parent can do is to keep an eye on the games your teen is playing. When a new game is purchased or is given to your teen as a gift, play the game with them to learn how it works and what images and values it portrays. If you find it objectionable, then get rid of it, even if your child pitches a fit. Most cities have video game exchanges, so take your teen there so they can find a better game to trade for. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water by banning video games altogether. There are literally thousands of good games, including skills-based sports games, skateboarding games, motocross and racing games, city-building games, and multi-tiered adventures with no immoral or violent overtones.

If your teen is spending way too much time playing video games, or if the games are affecting their motivation or personality, then it’s time to act. Cut back the number of hours they play daily. Shut down the unit and take away the power cord after a certain hour in the evening. Require that they match the time they play video games with equal amounts of other more productive non-digital activities. And remember this … kids play video games on their computers and on smart phones as well, not just using the game box hooked to the TV, so be sure to keep an eye on that as well.

Playing video games can be a fun activity that you and your teenager can enjoy together. In fact, it can help your relationship if you make it a point to play with them on a regular basis. But it can be an unhealthy activity if it consumes your child’s time and attention, takes them away from you, their friends or the rest of the family, or if it promotes immoral thoughts or behavior. Some video games can feed violent or antisocial behavior in teens who are already prone to such problems.

If your teen is already caught up in video games to an extent that it is consuming their life, and you can’t get them away from it, then treat it like any other addiction. Intervene with the help of a good counselor who deals with such addictions. They’ll give you the tools you both need and uncover the root causes for why the teen tends to be consumed by this kind of activity.

The bottom line for parents is this … tell your kids that you’ll stand beside them through thick and thin, but you’ll stand in front of them when it comes to blocking anything unhealthy, immoral or antisocial that is influencing their life. And that includes controlling their use of video games.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and director of Heartlight, a therapeutic boarding school located in East Texas. Call 903-668-2173. Visit http://www.heartlightministries.org, or to read other articles by Mark, visit http://www.markgregston.com.



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.

Charitable Giving


Charitable Giving
More, not Less
BreakPoint with Chuck Colson, October 20, 2011
With a federal deficit of nearly $1.6 trillion a year and a national debt of about $15 trillion, the government is scrounging for every dollar it can find. So, no surprise, President Obama’s jobs plan seeks to eliminate so-called “tax loopholes.” And it should.
I’ve said many times that we’ve got to end corporate welfare and loopholes (like the ethanol deduction). These cost the Treasury billions and they help only the privileged interests who can hire lobbyists.
But tucked inside the President’s jobs plan, which failed to pass Congress, but the President will be re-submitting it bit by bit, is a provision capping charitable deductions for wealthy tax payers.
That’s a loophole? Now, we Christians believe that everyone needs to pay their fair share of taxes, and, in these hard economic times, all of us need to bite the bullet and make sacrifices. Are we therefore being hypocritical to fight limiting charitable deductions? I don’t believe we are.
For one thing, allowing charitable deductions to religious organizations in particular recognizes the separation of church and state and freedom of religion. But secondly, limiting the charitablededuction, even for so-called “millionaires and billionaires,” makes no economic sense.
Charities, especially religious charities, provide services that the government won’t or can’t do efficiently. The Internal Revenue Service says that individuals claimed nearly $34.9 billion in charitable deductions on their federal tax returns in 2009. But what does the government get in return? Look just at what Catholic Charities does for AIDS victims, or for the savings religious schools provide municipalities. Or the services provided by homeless shelters, prison ministries (like Prison Fellowship), medical research, and on and on.
Proponents say that reducing the tax deductibility of charitable giving among the wealthy won’t really hurt nonprofits. But the top 2 percent of earners gave a third of all charitable contributions in 2008.  And while no one can predict with certainty what mighthappen, an organization called the Independent Sector says that the limiting deductions might cost $7 billion in donations every year.
Having said all that, there may be legitimate ways of rooting out abuses, which occur sometimes with private foundations, and limiting deduction to charities that claim no religious purpose and provide no public benefit. But this one-size fits all approach that we’re trying now won’t work.
Now, don’t expect the idea of limiting charitable tax deductions to go way. The Administrationfirst attempted to do this back in 2009, and again in its 2012 budget.
But as Christianity Today has written, “Governments should expand incentives for Americans to give ever more generously to charitable groups.” CT adds, “[W]hen charities deliver services, they get more bang for the buck than government programs . . . Nonprofits are not only more efficient in themselves, but charitable donations leverage no small amount of volunteer time.” I can attest to that, because that’s the case with thousands of Prison Fellowship volunteers.
Folks, given our struggling economy, this would be an especially bad time to deprive nonprofits of the resources needed to help our communities. Keep your eyes peeled: Whenever the idea pops up again—and believe me, it will — don’t be afraid to tell your congress person that in times like these, we need more charitable giving, not less.

Friday, October 7, 2011

LMFAO’s New Song Reveals What’s in Their Pants

Do You REALLY Know Your Kids Entertainment Choices?

teen listening to ipodThis article about LMFAO, the most popular group in America, will give you a needed glimpse into your children's culture. To be honest you are not going to like this article but it is a must read for all parents and grandparents. And as you read this article, make certain to watch the videos connected to the article.    
LMFAO’s New Song Reveals What’s in Their Pants
You may not know their name, but trust me, you’ve heard their music. Now the increasingly popular group LMFAO's new song and video features them doing "the wiggle." Any guess as to what these guys and their porn star guests are actually wiggling? 

You're gonna be shocked. We've come a long way from Elvis' pelvis. To find out just how far our culture has gone read the complete article by my friends Jonathan McKee and David Smith 



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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuning Out by Turning it On


Tuning Out by Turning it On
TV in a Culture of Sloth                                        Chuck Colson, BreakPoint.org October 05, 2011
May I ask you a question? Why do you watch that junk they put on television?
I don’t mean to imply that all television shows are junk. And I think that a certain amount of entertainment is good for us. But the deluge of TV trash is astounding. To increase audience share, TV happily produces increasingly provocative content and well-intentioned people — including well-intentioned Christians — tune in.
“Dancing with the Stars” for example, has been a success in part because of the dancers. Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay danced. Professional athletes, journalists, actors, and singers have also danced gathering enthusiastic audiences for thirteen seasons.
But by nature, entertainment is governed by the law of diminishing returns. If the stunt rider jumps his motorcycle over one school bus today and we all cheer, tomorrow he’ll have to jump over two school buses to even get our attention.
And “Dancing with the Stars” is no different. Its producers need to take the audience to the next level. So, as I mention today on my “Two-Minute Warning,” which I urge you to watch at ColsonCenter.org, this season the show features Chaz Bono, the transgendered child of Sonny and Cher. Why? Merely to draw the curious — like the old-fashioned side-shows at carnivals.
But many of us will watch “Dancing with the Stars” and other such drivel. After all, we’ll tell ourselves, we just need a little distraction.
Media critic and Columbia University professor Todd Gitlin in his book Media Unlimited looks at our need for distraction. “Distraction is one of those terms,” he wrote, “…that requires an object to make sense. The question is, distraction from what? Morality? God? Pain? Subjugation? Changing the world? More than one of the above? …Your answer to the question Distraction from what? reveals what you value.”
It’s true that life today is complicated, exhausting, and often heartbreaking. But ducking life through distractions like hours of mind-numbing and morally questionable TV is not the solution.
We need to deal with the root problem, which is the insidious sin of sloth. We shrug our shoulders and mindlessly say “whatever.” Caring about nothing, we slide through life. Our culture of distractions is the market’s response to a culture of couch potatoes.
Sloth causes us to ignore the opportunities God gives us for growth, service, and sacrifice — and even true rest. Rather than interact with spouse or kids, we watch “The Biggest Loser” or “Monday Night Football.”
Rather making time for reading and prayer, we see what’s happening on Facebook. Instead of helping with the dishes, we check our email. After all, what could be more important than email? Instead of interactions we choose distractions.
Which brings me back to my opening question: Why do you watch that junk they put on television? Is it really just an innocent distraction or is it a convenient way to duck out of the demands of life, including God's call upon you for growth, service, and sacrifice, for loving Him and caring about others?
Enough honest answers to that question could change the way we approach our family, our faith, and our culture. And who knows, it could change the culture itself.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The REAL Justin Bieber

It is rare that I would ever feature a "secular" singer, but I believe parents should know the truth about Justin Bieber.  The following feature article by David Buckna are questions and answers in Bieber's own words.   


“Basically, I don't even consider religion. Like, I’m a Christian, I believe in God, I believe that Jesus died on a cross for my sins. I believe that I have a relationship and I’m able to talk to him and really, he’s the reason I’m here, so I definitely have to remember that. As soon as I start forgetting, I’ve got to click back and be like, you know, this is why I’m here.”--Justin Bieber (November 1, 2010, Associated Press)


The Justin Bieber Bible Quiz
Q 1. Justin was asked in an interview: “What are the first songs you loved?” The first song he mentioned was…
1. “God Is Bigger Than the Boogie Man from VeggieTales. And when I was, like, 7 or 6, Boyz II Men's On Bended Knee. My mom used to play the album over and over. I would go to my bedroom and try to do the vocal acrobatics.” (www.details.com)

“God Is Bigger Than the Boogie Man” is heard in the very first VeggieTales episode, Where’s God When I’m S-Scared? It was released on video in December 1993 by Big Idea (www.bigidea.com) and later on DVD in February 2004. The episode features Junior Asparagus, who lies awake at night after watching a scary Frankencelery movie. Later, Junior's dad comes into his room and the two discuss how Junior needs to be more careful about what he watches.

The chorus: “God is bigger than the boogie man/He’s bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV/Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man/And He’s watching out for you and me.”
When movie reviewer Phil Boatwright asked Justin’s mother, “When did Justin make his decision of faith?”, she said: “He was really young, around five or six.... I told him it was his decision. He couldn’t make it because of Mommy. It has to be because of your own heart. And he kept telling me that he understood. And when he was eight or nine, he wanted to be baptized. So, I let him.”
(http://www.bpnews.net/printerfriendly.asp?ID=34625)

Q 2. Where was Justin when he describes “harmonies hanging in the air like humidity”?
2. In church. “When I listened to music in church, I could feel those harmonies hanging in the air like humidity. It wasn’t an issue of learning it exactly: it was more as if the music soaked in through my skin. I don’t know how else to explain it.” (Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story, p. 56


Q 3. Justin told Seventeen magazine that his father (Jeremy Bieber) taught him to play some Bob Dylan songs on the guitar. Name one that Justin mentioned.
A 3. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”. Jesus: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
“It says in the Bible that you go to heaven as long as you have God in your heart and ask for forgiveness of your sins.” –Justin Bieber (Rolling Stone, issue 1125, March 3/11)

Q 4. What song on Justin’s first album (My World, 2009) is based on his parents’ break-up? 
4. “Down to Earth”. The song garnered critical acclaim as one of the best tracks on the album.
Justin: “It’s a huge fan favorite. So many people feel where I’m coming from. It doesn’t need any spectacular stage effects in the touring show; the best thing I can do is just sing it straight from my heart….Usher says some songs work best when there’s a sob in the singer’s voice. You gotta let that deep feeling come through. And that’s how I felt about this song. Sometimes the emotion of it is enough to bring tears to my eyes.” (Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story, p. 39)

“So we fight through the hurt/And we cry and cry and cry and cry/And we live and we learn/And we try and try and try and try/So it’s up to you and it’s up to me/That we meet in the middle/On our way back down to earth/Down to earth, down to earth/On our way back down to earth/Mommy you were always somewhere/And Daddy I live outta town/So tell me how could I ever be normal somehow/You tell me this is for the best/So tell me why am I in tears/So far away and now I just need you here”

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven…” (Colossians 1:19-20)

Q 5. What song did Justin perform for U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House for “Christmas in Washington”, broadcast December 20, 2009 on TNT?

Cover of Justin's book
5. “Someday at Christmas” (written by Stevie Wonder). “Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars/When we have learned what Christmas is for/When we have found what life’s really worth/There’ll be peace on earth”



Q 6. In his 2010 autobiography, “Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story”, what Bible verse does Justin quote?
6. Romans 8:28. Justin writes: “On stage, we don’t want any surprises. We want everything to play out perfect, just the way we planned. In life, you get the full reveal. It’s all a surprise. And that makes it a lot more interesting, even though some of the surprises suck. 


In the Bible it says ‘everything works together for good’ if you love God, but there are times when it does not feel that way at all. Times when you’re like, ‘Yo, God! This is messed up. Could you pay some attention down here?’ Maybe faith is the ability to chill and trust that somebody up there got the set list right. Maybe when you’re cool with whatever comes your way, the reveal eventually happens, and even the bad moments can turn around to bless you.” (Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story, p. 93)


And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Q
7. What Hebrew prayer did Scott Samuel “Scooter” Braun (Justin’s manager) teach Justin and his team?
7. the Shema (the Jewish morning and evening prayer). See:



Justin: “My team gather in a tight huddle. Mom thanks God for all the blessings that have poured out on us. Mama Jan prays that my voice will be empowered with love. I pray for the safety of me and my dance crew and everyone above and below the stage. Dan leads us in ancient Hebrew prayer Scooter taught us. ‘Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.’ (Hear, oh Israel, that the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.)” (Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story, pp. 236-237). After reciting the Shema syllable-perfect in an interview, Justin paused, then said: “Christianity was based off of Jesus being a Jew. I respect it.” (The Guardian, November 13, 2010).


Q 8. In June 2010, Justin hit out at a rumor that his music videos were sending out Illuminati messages. In what book does Jesus say: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”--Matthew, Mark, or John?
8. Matthew (5:11). On June 29/10, Justin answered several rumors on Twitter: “Im not dead. I had to check on this one…but it turns out Im alive…I have not joined the Illuminati or any other cult. Im a Christian and I pray before every show and am thankful for every blessing” In an interview, Justin said: “Hearing adults spread lies and rumors is part of the job.”
Justin: “When I wake up I thank him for my blessings. I thank him for putting me in this position. And at the end of the day I get out my Bible. At home-school my tutor is Christian, so we go over Bible verses. It's something that keeps me grounded.” (The Guardian, November 13, 2010)

Q 9. On November 21, 2010, what song did Justin perform with a gospel choir at the American Music Awards?
Q 9. “Pray”, from the album, “My Worlds Acoustic” (2011)
(www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik6teOtAVrw)  and (www.godtube.com/watch/?v=76LGD7NX)
Justin said on Twitter: “Wrote this song thinking of Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and we are donating a portion of the proceeds from every album sold to CHILDREN’s MIRACLE NETWORK HOSPITALS….I wrote ‘Pray’ thinking I wanted to help others and I feel like I have a responsibility to do so. What is the point of doing all this if you can’t make a difference in others’ lives?”

“Pray” begins: “Ohh, ohh, ohh…And I pray/I just can’t sleep tonight/Knowing that things ain’t right/It’s in the papers, it’s on the TV/It’s everywhere that I go/Children are crying. Soldiers are dying/Some people don’t have a home/But I know there’s sunshine behind that rain/I know there’s good times behind that pain/Hey, can you tell me how I can make a change/I close my eyes, I can see a brighter day/I close my eyes and pray”

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray…” (James 4:13)
Q 10. Who is Justin’s mother?
Justin with mother Pattie Mallette
A 10. Pattie Mallette. From: Vanity Fair (February 2011): “Several hours before Justin’s Atlantic City concert, Pattie Mallette talks at length about her own rough youth. She suffered sexual abuse as a child, was ‘wild’ as a teenager, had experiences with drugs and alcohol, and, at age 17, tried to commit suicide. It was while she was recovering in the hospital that, she says, she literally had a personal encounter with God and after that became a Christian. 

She is now convinced that she and Justin were put on earth to bring light and inspiration to the world. While she admits that it sounds ‘cheesy,’ she clearly believes it, and although she’s a petite woman who looks more like a Justin fan than like his mother, she’s fiercely protective of her son. She’s savvy about the world of show business and says, ‘We don’t have yes-men around him. I don’t want him being a diva.’ ” (p. 100)

From (http://en.wikipedia.org): “While searching for videos of a different singer, Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive of So So Def, clicked on one of Bieber's 2007 videos by accident. Impressed, Braun tracked down the theater Bieber was performing in, located Bieber's school, and finally contacted Mallette. Mallette was reluctant because of Braun’s Jewish heritage; she remembered praying, ‘God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label! … you don’t want this Jewish kid to be Justin’s man, do you?’ However, after praying with her church elders and receiving their encouragement, she permitted Braun to fly Bieber, then 13, to Atlanta, Georgia, to record demo tapes. A week after arriving, Bieber sang for R&B singer/songwriter Usher. Bieber was soon signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG), a joint venture between Braun and Usher.”

Pattie and Allied Faith & Family have collaborated to create a 12-page discussion guide for youth groups titled, “Never Say Never: For Nothing Is Impossible With God”. In the guide, Pattie writes: “I’m sure you can imagine the extraordinary ride we’ve been on the last couple of years. One minute I’m a single mother working two jobs and living on ‘geared to income housing’ and the next I’m traveling the globe parenting a mega pop star. I believe God has a plan for each of our lives and that it is a good plan (Jeremiah 29:11). As a woman of faith and a praying mom, I would pray often about God’s plan for Justin’s life and mine, having no idea at the time just how BIG His plans were. Truly, nothing is impossible with God. He called us to be a light in this world and has provided more than what we needed. Justin has all the normal challenges of any other 16 year-old Christian youth, with the same struggles and temptations. When you add fame and influence and all the unseen pressures of his industry, the challenges increase significantly. He needs a strong faith-based community now more than ever to encourage him on as a light and to hold him up in prayer!”

“The power of prayer is effective (James 5:16) and we depend on it. Prayer has been an important part of Justin’s life since childhood. I have a large and growing intercession group that is praying for Justin as he proceeds on his world tour and gets ready for his movie debut. The film’s title is fitting because Justin never gives up on his dreams. He keeps on dreaming despite the many obstacles and challenges he’s faced in his young life. With all that’s happened in these last couple of whirlwind years, the phrase will always have special meaning for us. Never say never, for nothing is impossible with God!”

It is obvious that Justin is a special young man and I agree with his mother.  I believe God gave him the talent and platform for a time such as this.  Please pray that his faith would continue to be strong.  And pray that he would overcome temptation that comes from the pressures in entertainment industry.  

Trivia
Justin holds the NHL’s Stanley Cup
Justin was born in London, Ontario and raised in Stratford, Ontario. “I am a proud Canadian and I hope that comes through in everything I do. I love hockey, maple syrup and Caramilk bars.” (Canada’s national anthem, O Canada, contains the prayer: “God keep our land glorious and free.”)
Justin’s first album, My World (2009) was certified platinum within three months of its release; the first debut album ever to have seven songs chart on the Billboard Top 100.
Justin’s first single (“One Time”) made it to the Top 30 in over 10 countries.
Justin’s 2010 album (My World 2.0) debuted at #1 on the charts; this debut made Justin the youngest male solo artist to top the Billboard chart since Stevie Wonder in 1963.
The lead single (“Baby”) became a Top 10 hit worldwide after its release in January 2010.
A “Belieber” is a very dedicated fan of Justin Bieber. It’s also a play-on-words: belieber sounds like believer and rhymes with lieber (“dear” in German).
Sold more than 4 million albums worldwide.
Plays drums, guitar, piano, and trumpet.
Has almost 8 million followers on Twitter.
Can solve a Rubik’s Cube in one minute and 23 seconds.
Tickets for Justin’s 2010 concert at Madison Square Garden sold out in 22 minutes.
Nominated for two 2011 Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, and Best Pop Vocal Album (My World 2.0)
Won the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Breakthrough Artist (February 15/11)
Nominated for 4 Juno Awards: Juno Fan Choice award, Artist of the Year, Album of the Year/Pop Album of the Year (My World 2.0)(http://junoawards.ca/2011-juno-award-nominees)
In Rolling Stone (issue 1125, March 3/11) Vanessa Grigoriadis reports: “He’s definitely against abortion, too. ‘I really don’t believe in abortion,’ he says. ‘I think [an embryo] is a human. It’s like killing a baby.’ Even in the case of rape? ‘Um,’ he says. ‘Well, I think that’s just really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason.’ He looks confused. ‘I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.’ ” To view Justin’s comments in the Rolling Stone article, go to: (www.rollingstone.com/assets/images/embedded/6f126693b550ccc3979341eb7f634bd33347a9fa.jpg)
Justin plays troubled teen on 2 episodes of CSI
Francis Crick and James Watson are the co-discoverers of the thread-like DNA molecule. Yet thousands of years ago the psalmist wrote: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13;16). The phrase “you knit me together” anticipates that we are literally “knitted” or “woven” together at the molecular level.
Acted in two episodes of the CBS television series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, playing troubled teen Jason McCann (Sept. 23/10; Feb.17/11).
Celebrates his 17th birthday on March 1, 2011.


Freelancer David Buckna produces -- THE POP GOSPEL -- a column that communicates Judeo-Christian truth to the postmodern culture using a Q & A format. Questions are gleaned from movies, television, music, literature, current events and other aspects of pop culture. Buckna's previous quizzes for ANS can be found at the ANS Search Archive page, searching for Buckna. Copyright 2011 by David Buckna. THE POP GOSPEL. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Buckna reads email atdabuckna@direct.ca

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend. 



  Share