social media

Parent Thought: When should I allow my children to get a social media account?

Photo Credit: Unknown Something my parents didn't have to wrestle with was figuring out when to let me or my sister get a social media account.

When is it a good time to allow your kids on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, and other social media apps? Hopefully, if your a parent or want to be one day, you are wrestling with this question!

It is more than just a philosophical or family values question—it's a matter of the law.

Adam McLane, who is an expert and leader when it comes to parental awareness, involvement, and social media, wrote a very informative article on this question: When should I allow my children to get a social media account? Speaking to dozens of parent groups in his social media workshops, he answers that question very plainly,

"Without fail, a parent will ask me… “What is the right age to allow my child to get [insert social media app name]?”"

The answer is simple: Thirteen.

Hold On...

Before you start having a hissy fit and get defensive because you already let your twelve year old on Facebook, and before you form any opinions in regards to his answer—I strongly recommend you read his article.

You can find it here: When should I allow my children to get a social media account?

If you are wondering what my answer would be to this questions... My answer would be the same as Adam's.

I was a youth pastor for seventeen years and I'm a parent of a 21year old, 18 year old and a 16 year old, and have seen the positive and negative of social media and young people. I would even go further and tell you that there are some social media apps you shouldn't let your kids have access to... And there are some social media apps I don't have and I'm an adult... But that is a post for another day.


What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with Adam McLane?

What's the big deal about the movie Noah?




First a little disclaimer: I have not seen the movie, so this is not a review of the the movie itself, but more of an observation of how some Christians react when the things we think we own seem to be under attack.

I am sure the movie is great and I am sure the movie isn't biblically accurate. It's a Hollywood produced movie after all.

The reason for this blog post about the movie Noah...

I sat in a local business the other day and overheard a conversation between three people, all of whom were not Christians and one of them who didn't believe in God at all.

Two of the three people were buying goodies to eat before they went to the movie theater to see the movie Noah (Don't tell Pine Theaters that they brought in their own snacks.).

When they told the salesperson why they were getting snacks, the salesperson said they heard the movie was good, but heard that Christians were condemning the movie because it wasn't accurate to the Bible story—the two young adults who were buying the snacks acknowledge they had heard this as well. The sales person said that she didn't really know the story of Noah or the Bible for that matter and the two other people said so as well.

What one of them said next caused me to pause and think... She said, and I quote...

"It seems everywhere I look, Christians are bickering—bickering about society and culture, bickering about their rights, bickering with other religions, bickering about politics, bickering about homosexuality and gay marriage, bickering with people who don't give a shit about what they believe, bickering with each other, and now bickering about movies... When will they ever stop! If this is an example of who or what they believe in then I don't want to have any part of that—the world is already angry and they just add to the anger... I have yet to meet a Christian who is happy."


The two young people agreed with her and added that they thought Christians were suppose to love people and forgive, but the only Christians they knew liked to argue and bully people to believe what they believe in...


Can I bicker for a second...

I would've apologized on behalf of Christendom, but I'm sure I would have caused some bickering over the apology... I sat in my corner and kept my mouth shut. I'm not sure if I should have spoken up, but I was too embarrassed to say anything—Yeah, I am sure I have bickered in the past over things like this.

What I don't get is how we (Christians) react sometimes like we own the stories in the Bible. I don't get how we take to social media and berate and belittle people who aren't Christians (Or even with other Christians for that matter), who use stories or "things" that we claim as ours; especially when we think their depiction is inaccurate. It seems as if we somehow feel the need to protect and defend the integity of God and the Bible.

This whole incident made me think about what I want to be known for and what we as Christians should be know for.

We should not be known by how much of the Bible we know or how accurate we can tell a Bible story, but we should be known by our radical love for people because of Jesus.

Don't get me wrong, there is a time to stand up for truth, but we must check the motives of our heart. Are we defending biblical truth because we want to help move someone closer to Jesus or are we doing it so that we can prove we are right and the other person is wrong.

Somehow and in some way, we're forgeting about the command of Jesus to love God and love our neighbors. I think many of us have forgotten that we are ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

What is more important—to be right or to love?


Grace and Peace, Joe

Just Be You...

IMG_3970Take a look at the photo at top-center in this blog post... I'm the kid in the yellow tank top, blue shorts, and the tube socks. Yes, AND the shaggy hair cut. *Side-note: I find it funny that my cousin Mark has his name on his shirt to remind himself of his name. I guess it was just indicative of the times to come...

In many ways I am still that little kid with the tube socks and shaggy hair, albeit, much older and note quite as skinny as I was back then and a little less hair. Appearances aside, much of the things I liked to do then, I still like to do now.

I am avid reader, I love to write and journal, I love to talk and meet new people, but yet I'm really an introvert, and I love being around a small group of people I love and trust. I love to run, this photo was taken around the time that Mark, my sister and I went on a five mile run with my dad and I was the only one who finished the run along with my dad...

I still like to just sit outside and think about life, and I still like to play with toy soldiers and create historical mock battles... But for those closest to me, know that there are times I struggle with trying to fit in or be someone I am not.

All this to say I am just me...

The Struggle With Authenticity...

We live in a very complex world. With complex ideas and complex people. What comes with all this complexity is the desire to match up, keep up, live up, and one up the people that we do life with. Sometimes I think we do this with conscious intentionality, but I believe most of the time we are unaware that we are playing to the crowd so to speak.

We unconsciously fall into the bondage of trying to be what everyone wants us to be or at least what we think everyone wants us to be.

social-media-iconsIn this digital age or more precisely the influence of social media in our everyday lives, we have built mini-imposter empires that make it quick and easy to be inauthentic, which doesn't allow us to be who we really are and who we really want to become.

The problem is most people are more perceptive than we think they are or give them credit for. Most people can see through our facade or false persona. And the greatest temptation with social media is to be someone you're not - an inauthentic you, but in reality people just want you to be you, so be you.

I heard this quote the other day and it struck me:

Be yourself. Authenticity trumps cool every time. – Craig Groeschel

Being authentic doesn't mean your goal is to be likable. It's being comfortable in your un-photoshopped self, whether people like you or not. Being one's self provides a sense of freedom and contentment.

I am not saying that you or I have arrived to exactly where we need be or that we are in any way shape or form perfect. We are all or all should be striving to be the best "me" we can be.

Being who you are is acknowledging that you are an imperfect creature journeying, learning, and growing your way through life all the while being the authentic you.

Christine Caine sometime back on her facebook page posted this comment,

"There’s beauty in imperfection. When something becomes too polished, it loses its soul. Authenticity trumps professionalism! – Christine Caine

What God Desires For You...

Jesus came to make all things new (Revelation 21:5) and he came to provide us with a new life, where the old is passed away and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:14-17). The thing of it is that this is a now and not yet process.

In God we are immediately seen as a new creation, but through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are in the process of being transformed into what God has desired and destined us to be.

Being authentic is realizing that we are growing and learning as we journey to become all that God intends for us to be, but at the same time being content with who God has made us to be and called us to be.

Four Ways That Help Me Cultivate Authenticity In My Life:

  • Exercise self-awareness. Wrestle with who you are and with who you're becoming. Don't be afraid to question yourself. Ask yourself if your are the person you want to be and who God wants you too be? Are they one in the same? Ask what it is you don't like about yourself and what it is you do like about yourself? Then seek to work-on or build on those things.
  • Have mentors and accountability partners. Surround yourself with wise and honest people. People that can speak into your life and help you stay on course. You want people that can be real and speak truth to you even when you don't want to hear it. They can tell you when your being an idiot and straying off course.
  • Combat the urge to create an alter ego on social media. Be healthily and appropriately transparent, be honest, and be yourself. As I stated previously, being authentic doesn't mean your goal is to be likable. It's being comfortable in your un-photoshopped self, whether people like you or not. So be un-photoshopped and just be you.
  • Don't be preoccupied with yourself. This is a hard one for me... Seek to know others as much or more than you want to be known. When interacting with others, be present and listen to them. Be more concerned with listening instead of talking. I list three questions I use to be a better listener in a previous blog post, which you can read here: How To Listen Well...

In the end lighten up and learn to laugh at yourself.

Joe 10720_174082484800_515924800_2623349_7040308_n