Finding Relevance

When I was in my twenties and seeking to own my faith, I found an incredibly helpful resource. Relevant Magazine was a Christian publication claiming to navigate the tension between faith and culture, but to do that they talked about things I hadn’t seen anyone else try to tackle. They acknowledged the difficulty of reconciling faith and science. They dialogued with people who were struggling in their faith. They brought together people on different sides of doctrinal issues to find common ground. It was so refreshing because it echoed my inner questions as a young person finding my path towards living out my faith in Christ. These are still the issues young adults are facing and Relevant Magazine is still addressing them.

In that pursuit, it is no surprise that Relevant has a whole section dedicated to “Justice”. As we shared in Episode 60 – With Just Cause, young people are looking for their place and purpose in life. Finding an injustice in the world and looking for a solution is a common practice for them as they too try to figure out how to be the people God calls us to be. Relevant does a great job of talking deeply and honestly about not only the injustices but the tensions present in our engagement with those causes. I’d encourage you to check out some of their articles. Here’s a few recent ones that deal directly with evaluating causes:

And after you’ve read them, share them with the young people in your life. Discuss them. Wrestle with them. Apply them. Let them stretch your faith. And as we do that, I think it will help us…Be Abnormal!

Parenting Trend #4: Gender Issues will continue to rise

This excerpt from Episode 59 – Top Eight Trends Parents Need to Know for 2021 talks about one of the most prominent and challenging topics facing parents of teens and young adults – those of gender and sexuality.

Here are a couple of short articles with great ideas from the Gospel Coalition on having those difficult conversations:

How to Talk to Your Kids About Gender

John wants to be Jane: 3 Ways to Counsel a Gender-Confused Child

Until next week – have those hard conversations and Be Abnormal!

Finding Help

As we have developed this podcast and supplemental content, we have found several really helpful resources. These are individuals and organizations that are on the frontlines of reaching young people for Christ in this modern culture. Over the next weeks and months, we hope to highlight some of them so you can connect to these resources as well.

One that we keep coming back to is the Fuller Youth Institute.

For parents and concerned adults, they have a lot of great content to help equip you to engage with the young people in your life. We have previously highlighted their book Growing With. We have also tapped in to their research for numerous episodes. We would encourage you to take a look at their website and check out some of their posts for parents.

As we encouraged you in last week’s episode to engage in the difficult discussions and be super-sleuths at asking questions – this post on What Teenagers Need from Us More Than (Almost) Anything Else is a great place to start!

Until next week…Be Abnormal!

Have We Got a Resource For You!

This week we are taking a break from our podcast but we will be back next week with a great interview episode. We have some other great episodes coming up in the future as well about communicating with your child and what they need to communicate to you!

Over the course of the last forty weeks, we have covered a lot of content. We encourage you to look back over our archive and check out some of the episodes you have missed. One of our greatest goals is to give practical resources for parents to lead their children and their families closer to Christ. To do that we have reviewed several books. Here’s some of those books and their corresponding episodes:

So this week, check out a book, listen to a podcast you missed, lead your family… and until next week, Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 26 NOTES

Do you struggle with knowing how to answer your kids’ questions about faith? Or maybe you just struggle getting them to talk about it at all. And yet it is one of the most vital, close-to-the-heart issues we have as parents – will our kids choose to believe the truth. Or maybe more specifically, will they know and trust Jesus with their life?

In this EPISODE, we talk about some of the responses and approaches to help walk your adolescents and young adults through the process of knowing what they believe.

Here’s some things to remember when responding to their questions:

  1. It’s about a person and a relationship. More than a set of ideas, philosophies or tenets, we are talking about getting to know Jesus. It has to start with Him. He’ll walk them through the rest. How are you introducing your children to Jesus?
  2. It’s about trust and faith. We aren’t necessarily looking for all the answers, but learning to trust the one who has all the answers. If we really believe God is who He says He is, we’ll trust Him for the unknowns.
  3. It’s about personal evaluation and commitment. We’ve got to move from ideas to actions. We have to remind our children that they ultimately are responsible for owning what they believe.

At the end we talked about a whole bunch of resources to guide them:

  1. A Study Bible. This is foundational. A few that we really recommend are The CSB Everyday Study Bible, The ESV Study Bible, and net.bible.org.
  2. Entry Level Reading. A couple of really accessible reads on belief are Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
  3. For some deeper, longer reading on these topics, we recommend The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul, and Knowing God by J.I. Packer.

If you haven’t already, make a plan today to guide your children’s faith development. Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 25 NOTES

Thanks for joining us for our 25th EPISODE!! As we enter our seventh month of this podcast, we thought we’d have some fun and offer a bunch of great family game ideas.

We love playing games with our families. Here are some of our very favorites:

  1. PANDEMIC – a board game about stopping global viral infections. Currently, a very relevant game.
  2. PUERTO RICO – a resource management board game where you have to settle the island of Puerto Rico and export goods.
  3. BALDERDASH – A creative game of bluffing that always ends up with some great laughs.
  4. THE INDEX CARD GAME (Also known at TELESTRATIONS) – this drawing and writing game always ends with surprises.
  5. APPLES TO APPLES – The classic category game.
  6. CATCHPHRASE APP – This mobile version of the popular game can be found on Google Play or Apple App Store.

We also talked about games that anyone can play. Here’s some we like:

  1. UNO/UNO ATTACK – Getting rid of those cards together!
  2. EXPLODING KITTENS – A hilarious unique card game.
  3. THE RESISTANCE – Find the spies among you in this dystopian future game.
  4. BANANAGRAMS – Like Scrabble but better…and faster.

And lastly we talked about more active games, like…

  1. KAN JAM – Throwing frisbees into cans. It’s the best.
  2. SARDINES – A more uncomfortable version of hide and seek.
  3. WASHERS – What else would you do with washers, but throw them into boxes.

And lastly, we mentioned one of Mark’s family’s favorites – CRANIUM HULLABALOO – which we found out is a popular, out-of-print game. We’re not sure it’s worth the online price tag, but it is fun!

So pick a game and plan a party with your family. And, as always, Be Abnormal!!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 24 NOTES

In this EPISODE, we talk about the biggest, deepest, most foundational question of all humanity – who do you think you are? In answering that question, we take a look at Mark Driscoll’s book and study guide of the same name.

This book is a study of the biblical book of Ephesians and pulls out fifteen powerful statements that define who we are when we are “in Christ”. Among them are the concepts that we are Saints, Adopted, Heard and Accepted. It further helps us see that we often look to wrong things to find our identity when we should be looking to our Creator.

Here’s a great acronym to help us evaluate if we are looking in the wrong places (IDOL):

  1. Items – the trap of materialism
  2. Duties – the trap of leaning on our own strength and ability
  3. Others – the trap of putting others in a place that only God can fill
  4. Longings – the trap of wanting things our way rather than God’s way

Some ideas to help parents have this conversation with their children is:

  1. Read the book of Ephesians and pull out the identity statements found there.
  2. Consider getting Mark Driscoll’s book WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? and its companion Study Guide.
  3. Find ways to affirm our God given identity in ours and our children’s lives. Some of the ways we do that is change our language and check our goals.

Until next week – Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 23 NOTES

In this EPISODE we unpack the phenomenon that many of our children look more to YouTube and Instagramers as celebrity heroes than they do movie actors and rock stars. This becomes a particularly challenging topic as we realize these social media channels are helping shape our children’s worldviews.

We take some recent podcasts from popular YouTubers Rhett and Link as a case study. Rhett and Link – who grew up in church, were involved in ministry leadership, and were even missionaries for a time – recently came out with stories on their podcast Ear Biscuits explaining how they have moved away from their Christian faith. If you would like to hear the podcasts, you can find Rhett’s story here and Link’s story here. However, I would caution you to use great discretion in sharing these with your child.

As we move to helping our young people process these kinds of stories and voices – those that challenge our Christian faith and worldview – here are a few ideas on approach:

  1. Acknowledge that this is real. These people are real and in many cases our young people feel very relationally connected to them.
  2. Create space for doubt and discussion. We will be doing an entire episode on this topic in a few weeks but we encourage you to delve into the deep concepts of faith development and ask some scary questions to help your kids process and own their faith.
  3. Teach them to evaluate the voices and channels in their lives. Help them to not just take every statement at face value. Advise them of some counterpoints to consider. Introduce them to some deep Christian thinkers to help them. A few we mentioned were Josh and Sean McDowell and Lee Strobel, for starts.
  4. Make it personal! As our kids wrestle and struggle through what they believe, we must guide them to truth but do it through biblical grace and with a great sense of belonging. Help them know you are in this with them. Remember this is a process; not a product.

Closing challenges were to ask your child about what YouTube or Social Media voices they are listening to and ask some questions. Also we encourage you to SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss any of our exciting upcoming content! Until then Be Abnormal!!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 22 NOTES

In this EPISODE, we talk about some of the great reasons and ways to inspire adventure for your family. If you aren’t sick of streaming Netflix, we encourage you to check out last week’s episode – What Are You Binging on Netflix? for some suggestions. We also encourage you to check out Episode 8 – Drinking Coffee and Rites of Passage for more ideas on inspiring your children to meaningful experiences.

A couple of resources for further ideas and research that we highlighted in this episode were

  1. John Sower’s The Heroic Path. This is particularly a great read for parents of boys.
  2. Bob Goff’s Everybody Always. An inspiring book with lots of adventure and stories to help us see how to become who God wants us to be.

As we talked about inspiring adventure that helps our children find purpose, ownership and confidence, here were a few suggestions:

  1. Raise a baby animal.
  2. Build a fort.
  3. Get a tent and literally camp in your own backyard.
  4. Plant something. If you are looking for seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a great mail order option with lots of unique choices.
  5. Have some friendly family competitions. Check out Dude Perfect if you need some inspiration.
  6. Do something new with your kids you’ve never done before. If you are really feeling adventurous, offer to make a tiktok video with them.
  7. Remodel a room. Do a significant task together, letting your child make some of the decisions and learn something new.

There are obviously lots of other ways you can inspire adventure while still staying at home. We’d love to hear some of your ideas in the comments. Until next time…Be Abnormal.