The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, March 5, 2002

In This Issue

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REWARDING YOU FOR BEING A POOR YOUTH WORKER! Youth Specialties Kicks in a Great Resource

I don't know about you . . . but I have an ugly youth worker's car.? It's an 83 nasty-yellow Volvo.? Well . . . Youth Specialties and I want to reward a youth worker out there who drives an ugly car.? I came up with THE HIDEOUS HEAP CONTEST, and Youth Specialties is sponsoring the prize. Check it out:

I am putting on a contest for all youth workers, volunteer or paid, to reward them for driving a "hideous heap!"? If you drive one of these pathetic vehicles, keep reading or just pop onto my web page and click on the picture of the "Hideous Heap!"?

Youth Specialties is sponsoring this contest and is giving their new IDEAS LIBRARY on CD ROM for the prize (a $180 value)?


1.? Take a picture of your HIDEOUS HEAP!? Scan it, digitize it, do whatever you have to do to email it to us!? No snail mail in this contest.? If you can handle this_ go on to point number 2!

2.? Email us at with the following:
The picture of your heap
Your name
Your phone number
Your role as a youth worker (are you a volunteer, are you paid, do you clean up after the slobs in the junior high room?)
And a description of your heap, 30 words or less (eg:? my yellow Volvo might be ugly, but she RUNS!? No stereo, no air, just gets me and the kids from A to B) _ Jonathan

3.? Jonathan McKee of The Source and Mike Atkinson of Youth Specialties will judge all entries the last day of March and post the winner on April Fools Day!

Just click on the picture of the "Hideous Heap"
on the front of our web page:

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND DISCUSSION STARTER: Developing Discernment through Popular Music

by Jonathan McKee
March 5, 2002

Developing Discernment through Popular Music

As you know MUSIC is huge for students today and you can bet that a ton of our students watched the 44 th Annual Grammy Awards last week.?? Dave Matthews was one of the many artists who played last week - and is well recognized by many of our students.? What does Dave Matthews preach?? Do you know?? Do our students?

Chuck Edwards, an author of discipleship material, and an EZINE subscriber, provided this free discussion starter for us as a way to talk about discernment in our music choices.? This discussion doesn't slam on Dave Matthews- but it encourages students to NOT check their brains at the door, and pay attention to the lyrics and philosophies being shoved down their throats.? Check it out:

Need a way to develop a little discernment in your group when it comes to popular music?? Try the "Worldview Tree" illustration to show them how the music they listen to conveys a message that is the fruit of the songwriter's philosophy of life, or worldview.

For example, play Dave Matthews' Tripping Billies as you show the lyrics on the board, overhead cell, or PowerPoint slide.
Tripping Billies, Dave Matthews
We were above
You standing underneath us
We were not yet lovers
Dragons were smoked
Bumblebees were stinging us
I was soon to be crazy
Eat, drink and be merry
For tomorrow we die
Eat, drink and be merry
For tomorrow we die
'Cause we're tripping Billies

We're wearing nothing
Nothing but our shadows
Shadows falling down on the beach sand
Remembering once,
Out on the beaches we wore
Pineapple grass bracelets
So why would you care?
To get out of this place
You and me and all our friends
Such a happy human race
'Cause we're tripping Billies

ASK: Describe in your own words what Dave is singing about. What is the setting of this song? (ANSWER:? The setting is a party on the beach at night with two specific activities#1Getting high on drugs-"dragons smoked," 'bumble bees stinging us, I was soon to be crazy." and #2Getting nude on the beach, and, by implication, having sex.)?

ASK: Point to the phrase "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die" as you ask:? Do you recognize that phrase? (Yes, from the Bible.)? Where in the Bible? (In Ecclesiastes.)? Is he quoting the Bible correctly? (Most will say no, so I ask the same question again, and then a third time until they realize that, yes, Dave is quoting correctly the theme of Ecclesiastes, which is, IF THERE IS NO GOD, then enjoy life while you can because that is all you have-this life.?

ANALYZE: What philosophy expresses the idea of "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die"?? (Nihilism.)? You might discuss briefly Nihilism, which says that there is no God and therefore life has no meaning.? If there is no life after death, then this life is all we have, so we might as well enjoy it!?

COMPARE: Compare Dave's worldview as expressed in this song with a Biblical Christian view. Do this by using the "Worldview Tree" illustration.? Draw a "worldview" tree on the board with fruit on the branches and a root system underground. Explain that Jesus taught that we can understand someone's worldview by examining the "fruit" of their life, i.e., one's behavior reveals his beliefs (see Matthew 7:16-20).? Therefore, we can look at the lyrics of a song (or plot of a movie or novel) and discern the underlying belief system that feeds and nourishes that kind of behavior (fruit).? In other words, the fruit always relates down to the root.? And the root system of any worldview is always religious (dealing with the ultimate questions of lifewhat about God and what about reality?)

Relate the above to Dave's song by referring back to Ecclesiastes, and mention that the "teacher" doesn't leave us with the "eat, drink, and be merry" message.? He goes on to conclude that there is a God who judges our actions, therefore we should "fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man..." Eccl. 12:13-14).? Move up the "worldview tree" from the roots to the branches and discuss how our fruit should be different because a different root nourishes us.

NOTE: By the way, I'm not "down" on Dave Matthews.? In fact, I believe that he and his band are incredible musicians, and I tell my students so.? This exercise is not suggesting that Christians should stop listening to his music.? I'm simply making the point that Christians should be discerning about the worldview messages being expressed by the lyrics so that they can "take every thought captive" to Jesus Christ and not be "taken captive" by deceitful philosophies (see Colossians 2:6-8).

You might have students discuss if this song is representative of Dave's overall corpus of music?? What other themes does Dave sing about??

CHALLENGE: Suggest to your young friends that the next time they "tune in" the radio; they also "turn on" their minds to discern the messages being presented. Then they will be moving toward Christ-like maturity. As Hebrews 5:12-14 puts it, "solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

Go through this same process with several other songs, and watch the lights start coming on!

NOTE: Often students want to know if they should listen to certain groups or not.? They tend to approach music from the standpoint of "black or white," "good or bad."? Instead of telling them "This group is bad," I prefer to train them to be discerning. In that way, God the Holy Spirit can do the necessary work, prompting them to make the right choices.? I've had students come up to me and tell me they have changed their listening habits on their own, because they began to understand for the first time the worldview messages they were listening to.

CHURCH SUED OVER GROSS GAME! An interesting article to consider

By Jonathan McKee
March 5, 2002

An Ezine subscriber sent me this article.? I thought it was worth looking at.? As fun as gross games are- we need to always consider their ramifications.

Associated Press
February 18, 2002

CROWN POINT, Ind. -- Four families are suing a church whose leaders they say forced their children to drink a mix of dog food, salsa, sauerkraut, sardines, potted meat, eggnog and cottage cheese.

A youth pastor who organized the New Year's Eve event for teen-agers said the "gross-out" contest was for laughs and no one was forced to ingest the mixture that had been chewed and spit out.

The lawsuit against Living Stones Fellowship Church accuses the adults who ran the lock-in of pressuring 13- and 14-year-olds into activities that caused physical and mental harm, Merrillville attorney John Bushemi said.

"It was voluntary, but these kids don't know any better. There were four adults on the stage cheering them on," Sandra Gomez, one of the parents suing the church, told The Times of Munster for a story published Saturday.

Gomez, whose 13-year-old son won $50 for drinking the mixture, said the boy developed diarrhea and stomach cramps and was sick for about a week.

Ronald Johnson Jr., Living Stones youth pastor, said he does not believe the boys who competed in the "human Vegematic" game were harmed, though he does plan to cancel the gross-out game at future gatherings.

"We didn't even know if anyone would do it," Johnson said. "If I knew someone was going to be that bent out of shape about it, I never would have done it. It was basically a goofy game -- we did it in college."

Some of the teen-agers who played the game developed strep infections and were tested for other communicable diseases including hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV, said Bushemi, the families' attorney.

Johnson said he understands the health concern, but that the game's organizers were very cautious and the man who chewed up the food and spit it back out did not have any diseases.

"Nobody was forced to do anything," he said. "I thought all this was done in good humor, and I am truly sorry."
For some great games that
click on Jonathan's GAMES PAGE:


If you have any other youth ministry ideas you want to share, please email me

God Bless!

Jonathan R. McKee


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