Will Your Kids Watch “Easy” on Netflix?

Easy NetflixToday’s young people love Netflix. It’s mobile, it’s commercial free, and as a bonus… most parents have no idea what their kids are watching.

That’s why parents should probably be aware of the new sexually-charged Netflix original series, Easy, streaming on their devices starting today, September 22nd. The show follows (and I quote) “diverse Chicagoans fumbling through the modern maze of love, sex, technology and culture.”

I’m not telling you to write your congressman and get the show banned. I’m just suggesting, in a world where 49% of 15-20-year-olds stream on demand content like Netflix daily, and 78% of “on their own Millennials” have subscriptions to these entertainment venues… it might be good to know what exactly it is they’re watching, how we can use Netflix binging for bonding, and how to respond if we discover them watching mature or adult content (which is why I’m going to provide you with 3 ways to overreact react when this happens).

In the trailer we observe…

  • Several popular actors kids know (Dave Franco, lkajdfja from New Girl, Orlando Bloom)
  • Very explicit talk about specific sexual acts with words that automatically knocks this show well into an MA rating
  • Sexual images, women in underwear, people having various forms of sex…
  • References to a threesome, one night stands, sex in and out of marriage…

…and it looks really relevant and funny to a world where “two thirds of adults (65%) either strongly or somewhat agree that it’s a good idea to live with one’s significant other before getting married.” (Barna, June 2016)

Here’s a peek at the trailer on YouTube (deemed clean enough for YouTube, but I’ll let you judge for yourself).

So how should Mom or Dad respond if they catch 13-year-old Chris streaming this on his iPhone tonight?

Here’s my…

3 Ways to Overreact React if/when You Catch Your Kids Watching Sexually-Charged Entertainment:

1. Don’t freak out
Most parents would love to know the secret to opening up the channels of communication in the home. Sadly, the exact opposite is easy to find. Because when Mom or Dad flips out, kids tend to clam up. The biggest reason our kids don’t share with us is because they’re scared we’ll “freak out.” So learn to count to 10… or in my case 1,000! Press pause. Tell them to put their phone on the kitchen table and go up and finish their homework so everyone has some time to think. Then…

2. Calmly ask them what they thought
Start by listening instead of lecturing. Ask them, “So what did you think of what you saw?” “What did you learn?” Many teenagers will try to just shrug their shoulders or say, “I dunno.” Don’t get upset or angry, just do your best to get them to share their thoughts. If they share something about a character in the show, ask them, “Do you think that was a good way to handle that situation?” “Is there something he/she could have done better?” End by asking, “What kind of attitudes or beliefs do you think young people might adopt from this?” “Do you think it’s wise for you to watch it?”

3. Keep the door open
If they broke some house rules viewing this content, instead of laying out a harsh punishment, maybe ask them, “How do you think I should respond?” “How can I help you make wise decisions in this area of decision making?” Be less concerned about punishment and more concerned about them learning from the situation. Ask them if they’d like to dialogue more about it, or look at a book that provides some truthful answers on the subject. You can close by suggesting, “If you have the desire to watch something like this again, talk with me about it and let’s dialogue about the wise thing to do.”

Young people will always be curious about sex, and eventually they’re going to look for answers. The question today’s parents need to ask themselves is, “Where do I want my kids to find those answers?”

In a world full of explicit lies, today’s parents have the opportunity to be a source of explicit truth.

Where does this conversation start for you today?

Posted in Entertainment Media, Internet, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, TV | Leave a comment

The Christian music kids like… or do they?

LecraeLast week I hosted a contest in this blog asking you which Christian songs today’s kids actually like and wouldn’t hesitate playing to their friends. Here are the results.

The response was overwhelming. You’ll probably find that post’s comment section is a great resource for you to peek at the variety of some of the top Christian songs kids like today!

Key word: variety.

In fact, if you pour through those comments you’ll discover two things:

1. You’ll find some obvious common denominators among the artists: Lecrae, Hillsong, 21 Pilots, For King and Country, KB, Andy Mineo, Skillet…

2. You’ll also find that musical tastes vary… and awkwardly… sometimes people don’t see beyond the tribes they have contact with.

For example: someone made a derogatory comment about Skillet. If I’m being honest, I’d be the first to agree that Skillet doesn’t have a mainstream sound. There is nothing in the top 50 songs on Billboard Hot 100 right now that sounds anything like Skillet. Nothing. The charts are full of 21 Pilots, Rihanna, Drake, The Chainsmokers, Selena and Bieber.

But does that mean “kids these days don’t like Skillet?” Interestingly enough I’ve encountered kids all over the US who like Skillet’s sound (and by the look of the comments in that blog post last week- so have many of you). Even my own Denver Broncos began their season marching out to the Skillet Song, “Feel Invincible.”

Sometimes people don’t realize that tastes vary beyond their own circles of influence.

A few months ago a youth worker had a similar complaint… but from a completely different perspective. She questioned me for using a Justin Bieber song to provoke a Biblical discussion. She said it wasn’t relevant because…and I quote… “Kids today just don’t listen to Bieber!”


What she should have said was, “I don’t hear my kids listening to anything like Bieber.” Maybe in her church, or even in her town, kids don’t like Bieber. She might personally think “kids today just don’t listen to Bieber,” but his music sales, YouTube views, and chart ranking would show otherwise. I’m sorry if you don’t like his sound or his offstage antics… teen girls still love him! Those are the kinds of artist we often refer to on our free music discussion page (which we plan on writing much more of in the recent future!)

My point is this: don’t assume “all kids are like this” just because “your kids are like this.”

Yes, on one hand I really strive to keep my thumb on the pulse of the mainstream influences kids are listening to and watching. At the same time, I don’t discount that individual “tribes” can have varied tastes.

So which of these Christian songs have a mainstream sound? In other words, which of these Christian songs have a similar sound to what most kids are listening to today?

21-PilotsThe easiest answer is, anything by 21 Pilots. That’s simply because they are actually on the charts. They actually have two songs in the top 10 right now. And they are uniquely accepted by kids with all kinds of musical taste.

lecrae-turntLecrae also has a mainstream sound, gaining secular airplay, being recognized by secular personalities and played in secular venues. Songs like “I’m Turnt” would be accepted in most teen venues today.

HollynHollyn also boasts a mainstream sound, with songs like “Alone.” She provides a sound not unlike many in the Hot 100 today. (Count how many “raspy voiced” females sing like Sia, accompanied by powerful base on the downbeat and a finger snap on the up.)

AftersI also have to give props to The Afters with their song “Live on Forever.” Their sound is probably most similar to secular bands like One Republic or Coldplay who both are no strangers to the top of the charts.

crowderThen there are anomalies in the Christian music world like Crowder. I can’t tell you for the life of me why his songs make it other than they are simply amazing! He can write an unashamedly Christian worship song (Like “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner”)… and it’s remarkable every time, resonating with a broad audience. Good stuff.

I could list others, but they probably will start to vary in popularity by taste: hip hop, grunge, screamo (which is a genre I will never understand). So I’ll let you do a little navigating yourselves through the comments of that post—knowing the ears of the kids you work with.

I’m just happy to see some really strong music options that speak truth in a world where lies are so abundant.

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CONTEST: What Christian Music Do Today’s Kids Actually Like?


Okay… it’s time for me to give something away. A Christian CD of your choice to the winner. Here’s what I want– answer this simple question:

What Christian songs (I want song and artist) can you play that today’s young people actually enjoy?

I could expand the question like this: What Christian music would they not be afraid to play around their friends?

I want song and artist.

Chime in my comments below. I’ll randomly choose 2 winners in 1 week’s time.

  • First prize– the Christian CD of your choice.
  • Second Prize– your choice of any of my books.

The serendipitous result of this will be a nice list you guys can use- from this comment section- of songs/artists to add to your playlists!


CD WINNER- Jacob Newton from Meridian Friends Church in Meridian, ID (choose any Christian CD)

BOOK WINNER- Zach from Christ’s Church in Hastings, MN (choose any one of my books)


Posted in Contests, Music | 70 Comments

Kanye West, MTV and Small Screens

Kanye-fade-MTVKanye West debuted his bizarre new music video on the MTV Music Video Awards (VMAs) a week ago… and nobody cared.

Until the next day. Then it went viral.

The reason is simple: young people are changing the way they view entertainment media.

Young people are no longer limited to a time and place to watch what they want to watch. With almost 88% of American teens owning smartphones this year, this allows young people Continue reading “Kanye West, MTV and Small Screens” »

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An Interview with Doug Fields & Josh Griffin

Doug-and-Josh-GEffectively Resourcing Today’s Youth Workers
An Interview with Doug Fields & Josh Griffin

Both Doug and Josh have served on the front lines of youth ministry for literally decades. They are two of the leading thought-leaders in our profession and know incredibly well what it takes to equip teams of volunteers with the tools they need to effectively reach today’s young people with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. I was excited to sit down with them recently to talk a little bit about serving youth workers and running my favorite youth ministry resource organization: DownloadYouthMinistry.com (DYM).

* Be sure to peek at the freebie they are giving away to my readers at the bottom of this post… no strings attached!

JONATHAN: What are some of the resources each of you found yourselves on the hunt for in your own ministries decades ago?

JOSH: When Doug started, way back during the middle of the Civil War, there weren’t Continue reading “An Interview with Doug Fields & Josh Griffin” »

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Top 5 Impactful Christian Music Artists in the 80’s

StryperDid you grow up in the 80’s?

Did you listen to Christian music in the 80’s?

My wife Lori was playing Amy Grant’s Straight Ahead album in the car the other day and my girls began complaining. Lori and I both defended the album because it was nostalgic for each of us. In a time where there wasn’t a lot of good Christian music options, Amy delivered something that resonated with young believers.

Amy wasn’t the only one. In fact, I recall 5 Christian artists that really made an impact on Continue reading “Top 5 Impactful Christian Music Artists in the 80’s” »

Posted in Music, Personal | 12 Comments

Contemplating “Suicide Squad”

Suicide-squad“Outside you’re amazing, but inside you’re ugly.”

“We all are.” (Harley Quinn, Suicide Squad)

Imperfection isn’t anything to celebrate. But awareness of your own flaws is a step in the right direction.

That’s probably why I enjoyed DC Film’s Suicide Squad so much. It’s the story of a band of notorious criminals given a second chance to use their strengths to do good, and in the process, they discover a sense of comradery and purpose. It’s a story of redemption.

Don’t get me wrong. This movie is far from an afterschool special you’d show your kids (although today’s parents seemed to miss that memo—the theatre was packed with kids). Like most Hollywood heroes today, the characters are gritty and flawed. At times the Continue reading “Contemplating “Suicide Squad”” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Movies, Youth Culture | 2 Comments

The Volunteer from Hell: Part III

background checkYou’ve discovered an amazing potential volunteer… but you don’t want to mess anything up!

You’ve taken the advice of experts and dedicated actual time out of your schedule each week for recruiting and keeping volunteers. Then you took the next step and actually asked them to serve in a small way, a one-time opportunity that was easy for them to say “yes” to, and that gave them a taste of your ministry. After that, you’ve met with them several times and they seem like a perfect fit…

But how can you make sure they don’t turn into the Volunteer from Hell?

Continue reading “The Volunteer from Hell: Part III” »

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The Volunteer from Hell: Part II

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-donkey-profile-farmland-some-sheep-around-him-image35076227This week I began a 3 post series in my blog about those ministry volunteers who make our lives miserable. How can we avoid getting ourselves in this mess in the first place?

Great question.

Let’s continue with our 3 effective ways to screen volunteers so you avoid ‘The Volunteer from Hell.’

In the first post, I addressed the importance of actually calling references. Not just asking for references… but using them. (How many of you have skipped this step?)

Today, let’s talk about the second way to avoid ‘The Volunteer from Hell’… Continue reading “The Volunteer from Hell: Part II” »

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The Volunteer from Hell

Serial KillerWhenever my dad and I teach a workshop about recruiting, retaining, training… and even firing today’s New Breed of volunteers (based on our book on the subject), we can guarantee we’ll get questions about ‘The Volunteer from Hell.’

You know the one I’m talking about. That one volunteer that you either inherited or recruited without thinking. We’ve all had them. I had one. She was terrifying.

The question most people ask is, “How do I get rid of this volunteer?” (Garlic and a cross?)

Allow me to ask a much better question: “How do I make sure I never recruit this volunteer?”

Continue reading “The Volunteer from Hell” »

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