Just Speak Up

Just Speak Up

So you may have seen this Burger King bullying ad. If you haven’t take the time to watch it.

What facinates me are the comments below the video. Sprinkled in with your typical responses there are 3 basic types of negative responses:

  1. People who are mad that Burger King messed up the food (can you really miss a point this bad?)
  2. People who think the kid should have spoken up for himself
  3. People who think that doing something wouldn’t make a difference.

The first one is just…I don’t even know. The second two are interesting. I am pretty sure I would say something, but as a youth pastor I am wired to tell teenagers what to do. It is actually hard for me to stop doing it in public. But that is just me and my job. There are lots of other things that I tend to look the other way about. I think it is because there is this deep social contract that says “leave everyone else alone.” When you speak up to a stranger like that it breaks that contract. So people tend to think that those things shouldn’t happen.

The thing is often it is just a word that is needed to remind people what they are supposed to be doing or to defuse a situation. Simply speaking up and calling out bad behavior goes a long way (especially in the minds of a teenager) to helping them see their actions are inappropriate.

One thing I have noticed in this board game club thing that I am doing is that there are some people who a bullies without processing they are being bullied. For instance there was this guy who had a little leather bag he was carrying. It wasn’t a purse, but it looked like one. One of the girls we were playing games with looked up and said, “Hey! Nice purse!” in this very mocking tone. The boy defended himself said it wasn’t a purse, but you could tell that he had been dealing with that comment all day.

So I looked at the girl and said, “Why would you say that? Were you just trying to be mean?” She looked back at me genuinely perplexed. She had no clue that she had said something wrong. She had a thought and without pausing to think about how that thought made someone else feel she spoke it.

When someone is able to stand up to those type of bullies it makes them pause and think about their words at least for a moment and it gives the person being picked on an adversary and a feeling like maybe everything isn’t against me. So watch the commercial and practice speaking up for those who can’t speak up for themselves.

Cell Phone Scavenger Hunt

You know that classic youth group game where you give students a list and a driver and send them off in the city to take pictures of themselves doing silly things. Well, Life’s Journey has a modern variation on it. Instead of given the students a list you text them with the next picture instruction. There are lots of ways to use this method that make it neat. You could use camera phones to send the pictures back to you and reward whoever sends it to you first. You could use it over the course of a weekend or while at an amusement park so to keep the game fresh and lasting all day.

Check out the full list of picture ideas and other tips here.

Alfred, the slide building monkey

Do you need a quick way to make custom announcement slides that have a consistent look? Then check out Alfred, the slide building monkey. It is apparently for Seacoast Church, but the site has no contact information and no terms of use information, so it could be intended just for in-house use. The idea is a simple and brilliant one. You select a background. Choose a title and 3 lines of information and then generate the slide. All the slides have the same font and all of the information is in the same place. Only the pictures are different. It is fast and easy.

Online Study Bible


Sure it is the Hardcore Southern Baptist version, but Holman actually has some neat stuff going with their new Bible online. It is still in “beta” phase so there are some kinks to work out, but I am in love with the quick links to the Hebrew and Greek definitions. Look through the text and almost every word has a small highlight. Hover over that word and a pop-up window appears with the entry from the Bible dictionary. There are also a few commentaries and study notes. It looks almost as slick as youversion.com  but with the added bonus of the deeper study tools. What it doesn’t offer is other versions (just HCSB and KJV) or a mobile component (my ipod couldn’t even load it). 

You can tweak it to your own preferences. I went to the options and turned off the “show cross references pop up” because when you click a verse you can see all that information in the sidebar. But if you prefer to read it in the full mode (accessible by clicking the little arrow on the right) you can use the pop-ups instead. 

Right now my biggest complaint is how poorly the text looks if you try to cut and paste a verse or two into a different program. There are lots of extra line breaks and missing spaces. It sort of hampers this as a lesson prep aid, but I am hoping that is something they will work out between the beta and the launch phase.

I am not getting paid for this endorsement or anything, they just sent me there because it is the newest revision of the HCSB text and I have to use it for my writing assignment. I thought I would pass it along. 

Project 61


If you are a regular reader you know that my sister and brother-in-law sold their house in the suburbs of Nashville to go live in a major city in Africa The community that they are working in is beyond poor. It is situated right beside the city landfill so most of the people survive by scavenging food and other things from the dump.

They along with people in their church, have started Project 61 ministries (the name comes from Isaiah 61). One of the ways that they are making a difference is by getting sponsors to send children to boarding school. Our Vacation Bible School offering this year was enough to send a kid to school and also help with the summer food program. So we we given a boy named Takley as our sponsored child.

Yesterday my sister posted something on her facebook account that just broke my heart. Takley says that he likes summer camp (a sort of pre-school program they are doing), but he is hungry. At the camp he only gets 1 meal a day, but, he says, “In the dump I can eat all day.”

Here is a guy who has no concept of clean and healthy food. He just knows that he is hungry and so he is willing to root through a trash dump to eat. I see so much of myself in this boy. Sure I have never missed a meal, but I have more times than I want to admit gone after the easy rather than the good. I have looked at the need in my heart for love, acceptance, purpose, etc and instead of going to God and getting something good I have turned back to the same old ways that always made the need feel like it was gone for a while. Like Takley I have turned down one good moment, one true thing, one thing to place my trust and faith in, for what I was used to, for a smörgåsbord of stuff that I know is wrong, stuff that will make me sick, but at least for the moment the deep need was gone.

If you would like to learn more stories like this check out Project 61 on Facebook. If you would like to donate to help children like Takley go to http://p61.org and follow the donate link.