Mt. Rushmore Here we Come… RoadTrip Revival #2

Too much fun to share with just words…. so here is what it all looked and sounded like this summer!

Stay tuned for more ūüôā

Toxic Emotion… Shame

Hanging out with a legit MDiv – MA in Counseling, Family¬†therapist is always enlightening. It’s not always comfortable to be tinkering¬†under my skullcap…but it’s¬†always insightful. The subject of parenting¬†tweens came up…. so naturally my work with iShine, pastoring and parenthood.

I explained how iShine focuses on reaching pre-teens with a message of Value -Identity and Purpose (VIP) before their 13th b-day. I noted multiple studies with stats on establishing that what a kid believes by 13 is what they believe for life.

He soberly nodded and then shared this wasn’t only true in the spiritual¬†and social aspects of person, but in their psychological and emotional make up as well. ¬†Noting that his marriage counseling sessions seemed to primarily focus on¬†parents¬†who were struggling with their own repeated turbulent life cycles with a common thread of “complex trauma” and emotional baggage that re-defined their understanding of not only God but of their “self”.

He connected the dot for me… that most if not all of those marriage and relational adult issues came from events in their tween years and¬†formed the basis for the addictive¬†and destructive¬†psychological conditions¬†in his counseling practice. I asked him… what’s THE most common issue adults within the world of Christianity struggle with… His response… a very toxic emotion called SHAME.

ZINGA ! Light Bulb moment

It finally occurred to me that¬†reaching tweens by the age of 13 was not only about helping them find the truth within our Christian heritage of faith, but also understanding the truth about themselves and the truth about the nature of their heavenly father. After all… if what¬†a 13 year old¬†believed about global warming and Islam was an issue, how critical is it¬†for¬†that same kid¬†to¬†grasp the truth¬†about the nature of sin – guilt and SHAME¬†and the power of the cross to deliver them¬†from all that !

So… parents, pastors and friends, teachers – educators and homeschooling momma’s, can¬†we¬†be sure to add the topic of SHAME to what we teach and tell about God and the truly¬†good news of our¬†Gospel. That our personal forgiveness is not a one time option, to experience or extend, but a lifetime habit to develop!

SHAME is at the top of the list for TOXIC beliefs that rob us of life. Talking with the professional therapist, I realized how poorly the church traditionally¬†responds to a Christian’s humanity in the context of life “after” conversion.

It’s more dangerous¬†than awkward to discuss your personal struggles in most churches, knowing that if you do…the mutterings will begin and¬†your personal relationships will end.¬†So we eventually get wise, move on and rarely if ever dare to¬†do so again. Leaves a vacuum in the psyche of our souls as to the nature of shame and pain and God’s acceptance of us as we actually are…and that empty space can get full of every kind of lie and half truth the pit of hell can fill it with. Starting at 13 and going right up to the point where we run away from faith and never – ever turn back to try again.



Parents, it’s essential¬†to be¬†intentional with our pre-teens about their faith and beliefs …but I believe it’s even more¬†valuable to be intentional with our kids to explain and show them about true forgiveness. To talk openly about the humanity of an authentic Christian who¬†“struggles” with their faith, learning and growing¬†through their mistakes and mis-steps, always trusting, always hoping, always believing that God is able when we’re not.

This is¬†a critical insight for our¬†kids, it’s¬†essential for¬†them to¬†see us move past our SHAME and focus on God’s grace and not just our sin. After all…if our faith can’t save us as we are…. what¬†good is it?

Peace out, Pastor B.

PS – Thanks to for the insights ūüôā

Cyber Bullies

You hear the horrific stories of 12-13-14 year olds who take their own lives as a last resort from being bullied. Overwhelmed and devastated by the shame, hate & ridicule of their classmates. Seems¬†extreme¬†until you factor in the 24/7/365 nature of technology and a¬†new tween culture of instant communication and social development.¬†Strange days indeed….

Spencer Kane -

Spencer Kane –

A friend of mine at iShine is Spencer Kane (Ft. Wayne IN) who struggled with his own abuse as a tween and used it to turn his life into a positive direction with music and sports, helping other kids who feel… displaced, isolated and alone.

His first EP was just released and titled¬†“Be one of the Kind” in a direct attempt to throw troubled and bullied kids a life line and to challenge other kids to be more aware of their own actions impact on others. Spencer is one of the good guys, as a sophomore in High School he gets it and if your tween is struggling, make sure you check out his encouraging music, testimony and support for families struggling with Cyber-bullies.

Bottom line, if you have a tween – ask them about cyber-bullies. Don’t assume because they¬†haven’t¬†talked openly about it, they are not struggling with it. Remember as¬†our kids¬†make the unavoidable¬†hormonal – identity challenging transition from child to adult, they are more at risk than ever. Cyber Bullying is not a new¬†fad, it’s a new tech-generation¬†danger that parents need to¬†add to the list of “real¬†threats” to¬†protect their kids from.

I have copy/pasted the recent blog from below on the subject of bullying and ask that you take the time to read it or share it with someone you know who might need it.

Blessings, Pastor B.

October: National Bullying Prevention Month¬†—————

 Join the movement to end bullying by sparking kindness and compassion at an early age.
¬†October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an effort led by The PACER Center to raise awareness of bullying prevention through events, activities, outreach, and education. That — and the recent death of teenagers like Rebecca Sedwick — force us to take a hard look at what’s happening with our kids, not only on the playground but at home, on the computer, on mobile devices, and everywhere else they’re turning to connect with their peers.


Check out the resources below for guidance, tools, and even entertainment to help teach kids to be kind, prepared, and proactive in changing the landscape. It’s up to all of us.

Tips for Parents

Resources for Educators

Tools for Kids

Whether your kid is 2 or 12, your being informed and taking a proactive role in her complex online life is key. It’s not just about turning off devices or encouraging responsible use. It’s about creating a culture of empathy, starting at home. It’s about knowing what to say and do when your kid is at risk, monitoring (without spying), and knowing the difference between bullying and just “kids being kids.”

We hope you’ll share these resources with others who care about kids.

Author-¬†Taryn Degnan¬†– Common Sense Media’s Interactive Marketing Manager

Walking…not talking

Popular culture has a nasty way of changing us and our kids without even asking our parental consent.

Today, we have hit TV shows which not only are extremely well produced, but intelligently written and superbly cast…unfortunately those shows also have strong themes for validating a¬†gay and lesbian lifestyle in families¬†and only represent a small fraction of the¬†changing¬†family values message that mainstream media is passing on to our kids every day…

So how does a family with traditional values maintain some kind of conservative view on sexuality, life and faith? It’s clear¬†we have¬†to risk rejection from both sides if we dare¬†to¬†suggest a middle way¬†in our Politically correct society…after all we could get caught¬†in between¬†, criticized by¬†everyone.¬†What parent or family¬†would dare to stand against either extreme…¬†how can we seek to refute a¬†gospel of moral relativity and not hate those who live differently than we do? Won’t¬†we risk the ire of our super conservative Christian cousins…AND the Politically correct if we don’t pick one of the clearly defined sides?

Christians don’t have to retreat¬†and stoop to become¬†the hate filled, angry and coldly critical conservative¬†stereotypes of¬†previous generations. We don’t have to¬†condemn¬†every man-woman or child who comes anywhere near a left wing political position. Attacking their actions and ignoring their hearts¬†& lives as if their individual beliefs have no value and deserve no respect because they might choose to vote Democratic in the next election.

As a parent, I’m VERY careful to make sure my kids are aware of the need for respect and love in every confrontation. To¬†model for them, how¬†to disagree with others in a way that does not require intellectual revenge or the forming an offense for life. So many men and women of faith have gnarly knee-jerk reactions towards alternative lifestyles, “re-acting” with anger and condemnation towards anyone who challenges the traditional Judeo-Christian world view. Let’s stop doing that! Our faith and values have survived for over five thousand years…¬†I think they¬†can¬†handle a little scrutiny.¬†

Let’s consider the bible itself as a point of reference for¬†those of us who are navigating the rapidly changing tides of popular opinion¬†AND seeking to raise families with a healthy¬†balance of rejecting sin and learning to love and embrace an ancient faith.

In particular, the book of Isaiah. Believed to have been written in the 8th Century BC, Isaiah is a major Old Testament prophet who spoke to the nation of Israel in a similar cultural time and condition as our own. His suggestions in chapters 46-52¬†were straight forward and easily understood, but still ignored. I’m afraid this may be the case today…but here goes;

1- Listen (stop running around with your head cut off) – pause, reflect and consider what God is saying to us as parents on the topics of the day. Ask Him to provide wisdom and insight into the BEST way to train up and lead your kids in the ways of faith.

2- Remember¬†(don’t allow today to overshadow your yesterdays) – God (Yahweh, Jehovah – Jesus) ¬†is faithful. He can’t help but remain faithful to us and to man. His Character demands it, and God is not an option for us to consider. God is God. His ways are not our ways and His purposes are sure, steadfast… never going to fail kind of things. Important to keep in mind when popular culture suggests otherwise.

3- Watch and Wait ( God never responds exactly as we would like…but He does respond) Waiting on God to give direction, clarity and conviction as to how you should instruct and teach your kids is a critical part of growing our faith as parents. Remember that God will deliver, God will keep His promises. God NEVER fails. His salvation is continually changing lives, Jesus as the ultimate illustration of the point. Invite Jesus into whatever life circumstance, tribulation or injustice you have and watch as God redeems it.

Today, my kids are in college and high-school and are very aware of the moral contrasts between our home and the one outside our door… what I hope to have provided them is a biblical context to interpret those values and filter them through scripture¬†for a more accurate and compassionate view of the lives and people they will encounter.

Trusting our actions will speak much louder than our words, today’s Christian families MUST show the world what they believe…in their actions and attitudes,¬†with much less emphasis on what we say. After all…the world and our kids are watching!



Tween’s online… Parents, more than just Facebook to keep up with!

By KATHERINE ROSMAN (WSJ article- repost)

Celina McPhail’s mom wouldn’t let her have a Facebook account. The 12-year-old is on Instagram instead.

Her mother, Maria McPhail, agreed to let her download the app onto her iPod Touch, because she thought she was fostering an interest in photography. But Ms. McPhail, of Austin, Texas, has learned that Celina and her friends mostly use the service to post and “like” Photoshopped photo-jokes and text messages they create on another free app called Versagram. When kids can’t get on Facebook, “they’re good at finding ways around that,” she says.


Parents checking Facebook are seeing only the tip of the iceberg. Katherine Rosman on Lunch Break looks at all the other places where kids go online and how new groups are teaching them to better navigate this world. Photo:

It’s harder than ever to keep an eye on the children. Many parents limit their preteens’ access to well-known sites like Facebook and monitor what their children do online. But with kids constantly seeking new places to connect‚ÄĒpreferably, unsupervised by their families‚ÄĒmost parents are learning how difficult it is to prevent their kids from interacting with social media.

Children are using technology at ever-younger ages. About 15% of kids under the age of 11 have their own mobile phone, according to eMarketer. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reported last summer that 16% of kids 12 to 17 who are online used Twitter, double the number from two years earlier.

Parents worry about the risks of online predators and bullying, and there are other concerns. Kids are creating permanent public records, and they may encounter excessive or inappropriate advertising. Yet many parents also believe it is in their kids’ interest to be nimble with technology.

Playground is a site where school kids can learn Internet literacy.

As families grapple with how to use social media safely, many marketers are working to create social networks and other interactive applications for kids that parents will approve. Some go even further, seeing themselves as providing a crucial education in online literacy‚ÄĒ”training wheels for social media,” as Rebecca Levey of social-media site KidzVuz puts it.

Last week, 20 companies pitched online and mobile products for kids in Pasadena, Calif., at the 6th annual Digital Kids Conference. This summer, Microsoft and Scholastic¬† will help sponsor the first Digital Family Summit in Philadelphia. Scholastic will preview a new version of Storia, an interactive e-reading application aimed at kids ages 3 to 14. “As kids migrate more to devices, we don’t want to be left out,” says Deborah Forte, president of Scholastic Media.

Digital media is a great thing for kids; even a 12-year-old can have a personal brand,” says Stephanie Schwab, the founder of the Digital Family convention. Her 3-year-old uses an iPad every day. When Ms. Schwab recently wondered out loud what the weather was like, her son responded, “Ask Siri.”


FahsionPlaytes.comKids flock to sites such as, for girls interested in designing clothes.

KidzVuz is a social media start-up aimed at teaching kids how to create content at an early age. Kids create a profile with a handle (say, “GossipGirl”) but no name, and parents have to approve the account. Kids then create video reviews of books, films, food and clothes. There is no private messaging, and comments are actively monitored for nastiness.

The site was launched by two technologically active mothers in New York City. One co-founder, Ms. Levey, says the idea is create a safe place for children to learn how to communicate effectively and politely on a medium that will be key to their social, academic and economic li

Skidz03jpgAutumn Miller, a 10-year-old, has nearly 6,000 people following her Facebook fanpage postings.

Faith King, a 9-year-old third grader in Red Bank, N.J., says since she starting posting video reviews to KidzVuz, she has learned important lessons of film production. “You need to make sure the lights are on so people can see you,” she says. She also has learned to focus on interesting content. “Don’t review a dictionary,” she advises.

Her mother, Cristie Ritz-King, says her daughter’s love of the site has prompted many conversations about the importance of being skeptical about strangers online and questioning the accuracy of information. She wants her daughter to learn early on to be agile with social media. “It’s never going away,” she says.

Skidz04jpgAlexa Ashley, 14, is on Instagram.

The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab has created “Playground,” a social platform for school-age students. The idea is for kids to learn how to create Internet content‚ÄĒand to consider the implications of privacy, the permanence of a Web footprint, the basics of brand building and a little about online manners. Educators need to teach Internet literacy at an early age, says Erin Reilly, Playground’s creator. “Kids are always going to find a back door for communication and collaboration,” she says.

Along with established social sites for kids, such as Walt Disney Club Penguin, kids are flocking to newer sites such as, a meeting place aimed at girls ages 5 to 12 who are interested in designing clothes, and Everloop, a social network for kids under the age of 13. Viddy, a video-sharing site which functions similarly to Instagram, is becoming more popular with kids and teenagers as well.

Skidz01jpgOn KidzVuz, a new social media site, there is no private messaging and comments are actively monitored.

Some kids do join YouTube, Google, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, despite policies meant to bar kids under 13. These sites require that users enter their date of birth upon signing up, and they must be at least 13 years old. Apple‚ÄĒwhich requires an account to download apps like Instagram to an iPhone‚ÄĒhas the same requirement. But there is little to bar kids from entering a false date of birth or getting an adult to set up an account. Instagram declined to comment.

“If we learn that someone is not old enough to have a Google account, or we receive a report, we will investigate and take the appropriate action,” says Google spokesman Jay Nancarrow. He adds that “users first have a chance to demonstrate that they meet our age requirements. If they don’t, we will close the account.” Facebook and most other sites have similar policies.

Still, some children establish public identities on social-media networks like YouTube and Facebook with their parents’ permission. Autumn Miller, a 10-year-old from Southern California, has nearly 6,000 people following her Facebook fan-page postings, which include links to videos of her in makeup and costumes, dancing Laker-Girl style.

Autie’s Freestyle Friday Dance Channel” on YouTube has nearly 13,000 subscribers and hosts 39 videos that have logged in excess of 3.5 million views. (article continues at WSJ )

Where the Kids Are

‚ÄĘ KidzVuz. Social-media site where kids create video reviews of books, Ô¨Ālms, food and clothes.

‚ÄĘ Instagram. Photo-sharing app being acquired by Facebook. Some kids worry it will lose its cool.

‚ÄĘ Viddy. What Instagram is to photos, Viddy is to video. Tweens say their friends are Ô¨āocking to it.

‚ÄĘ Playground. A site intended to teach kids how to create and be responsible with social media.

‚ÄĘ Club Penguin. Disney-owned site with safety controls embedded in its technology. Kids can connect and chat but only type certain words and phrases.

‚ÄĘ Girls ages 5 to 12 meet here to talk fashion. Site lets them design and order custom-made garments.

Write to Katherine Rosman at

A version of this article appeared May 2, 2012, on page D1 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Tweens’ Secret Lives Online.

——————— (RTP)————————————————– (blog notes below) ———-

So…wow, it’s clear that the digital revolution is creeping into younger and younger territory in our homes. Parents, we need to stay “Up” on the digital and social media trends, sites and patterns that our kids are plugging into…. if we don’t someone else most certainly will. One of the reasons we’re working so hard at iShine to provide a Faith Based alternative to families for online content and social media. To see what we’re up to… (Shameless but rare plug, goto

Faith Based Online Media for Tweens

Peace Out and be encouraged fellow RTP’s….¬†¬†remember the words of truth¬†in scripture, as you seek to lead your families forward in faith,

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)¬†¬†for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control…

PS – A huge “Thank You”¬†to my mentor, friend and boss…. Tom Johnson for the great “heads up” on this article…

Looking for Hope in all the wrong places…?

Feeling down lately ? Just weary of all the recent despair and disaster news, looking…longing for some good, uplifting and encouraging news to re-energize your day? Are you looking for Hope in all the wrong places ?

This morning on my way to work I heard on Fox News and MSN about a mother in the New York area who drove her mini-van with three of her four kids intentionally into the Hudson River and drowned them all.

The sadness, the madness, the absolute¬†desperation of life to bring her to take such an act over any other option…¬†brought me to tears. I considered numbly… how much despair and hopelessness must have been relentlessly building up in her until she having found no other solution, chose death over life.

Millions¬†struggle from a¬†lack of hope, and desperately try to¬†find it where-ever¬†they can. Some believe¬†in the vision of our¬†government, or in the value of the¬†stock market or in¬†personal¬†relationships, careers or even their¬†body size.¬†They anxiously¬†look forward to a better day, a brighter future the elusive end of the rainbow is the grand vision of their lives… but if¬†that hope¬†ever really, seriously fades.., it gets dark and fast.

When we truly lose our¬†belief in a happier tomorrow, what then? Who or where can we turn to for Hope? Its clear this tragic¬†young mother “Felt” she had no one or nothing to live for and she¬†assumed her kids future would be as bleak as her own. As an extreme act, her behavior is¬†likely linked to her¬†mental and chemical health and a hundred other things, but¬†it serves to illustrates the point.

The need for Hope is greater than ever… and for those of us who still cling to it, we need to share it. Freely and regularly with those in need, its only in the sharing that¬†HOPE grows…

The irony¬†is… in the midst of taking the time to look and help and love those who are¬†fading¬†in our own¬†back yards… we actually¬†regain our own¬†personal¬†hope and¬†purpose and spark for¬†life. So in serving others¬†we are refreshed, in giving of ourselves… we are blessed and¬†in the outward gaze of our eye we forget¬†the pain and worry and sadness that looms over us and we replace its darkness¬†with¬†the light of¬†genuine¬†life and love and HOPE.

Jesus knew that well.. He taught his disciples (the twelve with him in Galilee and now all who take His name as their own) to live this way. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28 ESV) – courtesy of

So, my encouragement to myself and to you¬†is this… look around you( brad)…What about the¬†single parent waitress with two jobs and no sleep ?¬†Or maybe the dad who can’t seem to find enough time to¬†work and eat and pay the mortgage, let alone¬†love his family ? or the Pastor or fellow parent who always volunteers and never gets a break for themselves, or the lonely in your world¬†who just never seem to find a friend ?

CAUTION: Don’t do this as a project, or a plan for personal¬†growth, PLEASE NO ! Don’t do this as an “outreach” for someone to join your church, or to donate to a¬†club or¬†be¬†in on¬†your¬†multi-level marketing business. Do it¬†because you choose to. No strings attached, no hidden agenda’s and no angle.

In doing so, you will find incredible changes not only in their hearts, but your¬†own. It’s been¬†perfectly planned by the one who knew of these truths the best. Jesus the Christ. He spent a lifetime stopping to help the blind, the broken, the¬†sick and the sad. He embraced the unlovely and touched the un-touchable, He shared freely what he had with others and he modeled for all of us the secret to finding Hope.

It’s not as far as you think it is, and it’s not as complicated as we make it.

To find out more on this… check out the Gospel of John in the Bible. Or download a daily free reading from today. It’s time we stop looking for hope from those who have none, and start sharing the hope we have so we can increase our own. In doing so, we model for our kids the path of life and we restore hope, and purpose and life in our own families. What could be more amazing than that ? For those of you with pre-teens, the bible is a huge struggle for their attention, check out for ideas and resources to help you bring Hope back into your home.

Keeping it between the lines and on the road of life… Peace out ¬†ūüôā


Snow Days, Sledding and Scattegories !

Snow Day today! My tweens went crazy AGAIN..its like the ninth snow day in two months and for south Nashville that’s an epic winter. My son immediately grabbed his coat and went straight¬†to the garage for our neon orange plastic sleds.¬†¬†We hit the back yard for some rare Central Tennessee sledding time. As is often the case with my kids, sledding¬†can become a very competitive sport, complete¬†with intense racing, longest distance travelled contests and best rider titles¬†being won and lost over and over. When it was finally done,…¬†we all had won. ¬†

That’s the stuff that life is made of. If we’re not careful we miss them. Been kinda stuck¬†on this theme lately as I have a¬†growing¬†awareness that our lives are made up of beautiful moments that we¬†either take the time to enjoy or brush by them in a hurry to get somewhere else. As¬†the parent of three,¬†I’m learning these events are often the most critical for our families to embrace. I sometimes think that church, or devotions or correction are more necessary than sledding, but in the end if my kids don’t understand that I genuinely¬†value them more than the¬†work I do, then I’m in real danger as¬†a dad. ¬†

After sledding, we dumped our still damp jeans, boots and hats¬†at the back door and cozyed up in the living room… it was immediately suggested that we have some¬†“board game” time. Not a movie, not “american idol season whatever”,¬†but “Scattegories”¬†was chosen. So to my surprise we quickly dusted off ours from the hall closet and had¬†tons of¬†fun eating butter popcorn, cookies and whatever junk food we could get our hands on.¬†For the¬†next two hours we talked, played, burped, joked¬†and generally goofed off until we had all had enough. The snow continued to¬†fall outside and as¬†the day-light faded to night,¬†we never turned on the television again (except to check if school was out for tomorrow :). It was awesome and it was real, and I almost missed it.

This morning we hit the road to do our traditional “Cracker Barrell” breakfast on snow day mornings. We ate way too much, laughed too hard and I¬†missed getting all but two of the pegs on the triangle game once again… but man oh man, we connected as a family.

Parents; we must push “PAUSE” sometimes. For somewhere in our¬†crazy over scheduled¬†lives…its vital we¬†slow down¬†the pace a bit¬†and remember our ¬†kids will¬†only be with¬†us for a very short period. It’s already flying by so fast…¬†

I needed to remember the big picture of¬†parenthood.¬†My greatest privilege, responsibility¬†and joy¬†in life should be¬†to share the precious time¬†I have been given¬†with¬†my three¬†unbelievably beautiful¬†kids…¬†wisely.

I was/am so grateful for being able to take¬†a time “out” for a snow day and to¬†share the happiness of life with them one more time. Our¬†days on earth here¬†are so short, “as only a vapor”¬† King David says in the Psalms. I forget that far to often.

So,¬†I’m hopeful my “Snow Day” story can serve as¬†a simple reminder for all of us for anytime of the year…, before we rush out to make¬†our next planned business meeting, community event or obligatory school function. Let’s be sure to¬†reconsider our¬†commitments from this parenting perspective of time, and make sure that when the next opportunity comes… we are able to¬†jump into the world of our kids¬†and leave our grown-up¬†distractions behind¬†for just a moment.¬†My chance came as¬†a snow day, what will yours be?

¬†It doesn’t matter what it is, only that it is.¬†Lets all agree,¬†its important enough¬†to our homes that we intentionally make the sacrifices of our¬†time to invest in the lives of those who matter the most. Our families.

For those who can’t sled or find a board game, no worries… just¬†discover your¬†tradition for your family and be ready to guard it¬†and keep it alive with your kids. It helps us all on the journey of life as we seek to¬†keep our kids¬†in between the lines and on the road of life.

Peace out,