The Top 10 Apps of 2017

The year-end is almost here, and that always triggers our look back at the most popular songs, apps, books, posts… of the entire year.

We’ll start by looking at the top 10 free apps downloaded from the iTunes store in 2017… with Snap up at the top once again.

No, Snapchat wasn’t actually No. 1 like last year, but Bitmoji was, which is owned by Snap (nice purchase!), slipping Snapchat into No. 2 (I guess consumers missed the memo that Snapchat was having a rough year). And no… Pokemon Go didn’t make the list this year. (Pokemon who?)

Here’s the top 10!

  1. Bitmoji (not even in the top 10 last year)
  1. Snapchat (No. 1 last year)
  1. YouTube (up from No. 6 last year)
  1. Facebook Messenger (dropping from No. 2 last year)
  1. Instagram (same place as last year)
  1. Facebook (also same place)
  1. Google Maps (also same place)
  1. Netflix (up from No. 9 last year)
  1. Spotify (up from No. 10 last year)
  1. Uber (not even in the top 10 last year)

* USA TODAY

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Fires a little too close to home

The fires are raging once again here in California, and it’s hitting where both my daughter’s live. Luckily, they both came home (up here in NorCal).

Here’s a quick satellite shot of the fire raging from Ventura toward Santa Barbara.

My oldest daughter is on mandatory evacuation from the house she rents in Summerland (see map). She was up here with us so she had some friends grab her valuables and is waiting to see if the fire reaches her house. My youngest daughter attends Westmont College in Santa Barbara (in the hills of Montecito) and the school is on mandatory evacuation right now as well. Everyone in the city is wearing masks because of the smoke and ash– air quality is at an all time low.

If you haven’t seen footage of the fires… here’s an INSANE video of it when it was raging near the Getty Museum in Los Angelos (Looks like something out of a Roland Emmerich film).

The fires are bringing about many opportunities for ministry. My daughters’ church is a little outside the fire zone and is currently providing housing for evacuees.

California’s a nice place to live, but when it doesn’t rain even once from May to October… things tend to get pretty dry.

Please pray for the lives being impacted all over the state.

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Imposing our ideas of Jesus

A Northeastern village in Spain was the home of a magnificent fresco painting of Jesus on the church’s wall.

Time took its toll on the painting…

moisture on the wall caused it to fade.

In 2012 an elderly parishioner named Cecilia Gimenez acted on her own to restore the project… tragically failing in her attempt.

The results?


Sadly, the painting has become a mockery. Once called “ecco homo” (behold the man), the work is now deemed “ecco mono” (behold the monkey).

The Internet is now full of memes and parodies.

Interesting enough, this tragic attempt at restoration is emblematic of what our world has been doing to Jesus for years—imposing our own convenient ideas and altered perception of Jesus, only to fall exceedingly short of his true identity.

As we approach this Christmas season, what if we sought who Jesus really was, not some altered perception of who we have shaped Jesus to be?

Jesus wasn’t just a healer.

He wasn’t just a great teacher.

He’s God, in the flesh, come to save us.

C.S. Lewis probably said it best:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Have you sought the true Christ behind Christmas this season, God incarnate who came down to earth and dwelt among us?

“You really are the son of God.” –Matthew 14:33

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Do you have mean girls or mean boys?

Every school has them, every church wishes they didn’t… mean girls, mean boys, using mean words to make themselves feel better. Sadly, there are a handful of young people who become perfect targets for these words… and I want to hear from them! I want to hear the voice of the bullied.

Can you introduce me to them?

I’m writing a book to parents about bullying… and how to help your kids who are bullied, bullies and even bystanders. I want to hear from as many young people as possible on this issue, asking them questions like:

  • When you watch a teen movie with jocks, nerds, bullies, outcasts… who do you tend to identify with the most?
  • Where is a safe place for you?
  • Do your parents understand what life is like for you at school?
  • Have you tried to tell them? How did they respond?
  • How could they have responded differently?
  • How aware are your teachers about how you treat others and how others treat you?
  • What are some healthy ways you respond when others mistreat you?
  • What are some unhealthy behaviors you might engage in when others mistreat you?

If you know some kids who might have some insight into this… would you be willing to have them anonymously fill out one small page of questions like these?

Or if you are a counselor, youth pastor, parent or teacher who has had any experience dealing with these issues… I’d love to hear your stories and insight!

Email me at jon@thesource4ym.com and I’ll personally contact you. Thanks so much!

More from me about Cyberbullying

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10 Flight Tips If You Actually Want to Get There

This year I flew over 100,000 miles, mostly domestic. That means a lot of security lines, boarding groups, layovers… and bad airport food. It also means learning a few tricks of the trade actually getting from A to B (while many others were stuck in A for days at a time).

I’ve been doing this for two decades now, and in those years I’ve learned a lot of travel lessons the hard way. I’ve also observed a lot of people missing flights and having their vacations completely ruined for one simple reason…

Ignorance.

That’s not an insult… I mean it in the true sense of the word. They just didn’t know better because no one had ever told them vital information… like if you are

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Answering top questions from today’s parents PART III

In PART I and PART II of this series we already tackled some of the big questions today’s parents are asking…

How do I regulate screen time with a high functioning autistic kid?

When your kids push you away and go silent, how do you reconnect?

Is there a way to receive your kids’ texts directly on your device?

These are just a few of the countless questions I just received from parents… and for three days I’ve been answering them in this blog. Each day I’m narrowing it down to the top 10.

Here are the final 10 answers to the last 10 questions…

Continue Reading More…..

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Answering top questions from today’s parents PART II

Yesterday we already tackled some of the big ones…

What age do you recommend allowing children on social media?

Is there a way to filter the stories on SnapChat?

How do you prevent sexting?

These are just a few of the countless questions I just received from parents… and for three days I’m going to answer all of them in this blog. Each day I’m going to narrow it down to the top 10. (See yesterday’s 10 answers HERE.)

Here are today’s 10 answers to 10 questions…

Continue Reading More…..

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Answering top questions from today’s parents PART I

The questions began rolling in…

What age do you recommend giving our kids phones?

What is the easiest way to monitor a child’s online safety?

What are the dangers of the app Musical.ly?

These are just a few of the countless questions I just received from parents… and in the next three days I’m going to answer all of them in this blog. Each day I’m going to narrow it down to the top 10

Continue Reading More…..

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Guns, Drama, and Poor Conflict Resolution Skills

It’s always interesting when people search for the “why” behind shootings and acts of violence (much like the why behind spikes in anxiety and depression). People are always looking for someone to blame.

It’s those violent video games.

It’s Quentin Tarantino movies!

It’s the second amendment.

If only it were that simple. I think most experts would agree it’s often an amalgamation of these elements. With shootings, the typical profile is a white male, 25 to 45, military background, tumultuous relationship with his mother… but not always

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Mean girls, mean boys, mean words…

Yesterday I was in Canada recording an interview on Canadian TV show 100 Huntley Street dialoguing about how we can help teens learn to think before they post (to be aired early next year). As I was there, host Maggie John and I talked off camera about bullying… and that word can be a little misleading… I’m not talking about a kid punching another kid and stealing his lunch money. I’m talking about the much more common bullying that takes place… mean words.

Two months ago Maggie Skyped me in on their show for a discussion about “cyberbullying” and the mean words kids are using on their devices. These words are often posted everywhere, for everyone to see… and they have devastating effects

Continue Reading More…..

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