During the month of January we did a series in our student ministry called “Dating, Marriage, and Sex” (you can go here to listen to that entire series online). In preparation for that series I read a few books on the topics of relationships and sex. Below are those books.
Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas. This was by far the most interesting book on this topic I have ever read. The authors did a fantastic job of being Biblical accurate and Gospel centered while explaining the practical side of relationships and sex in ways that I have never heard. The authors goal in this book is to move past the “just don’t have sex before marriage” argument by helping the reader see the Biblical foundation for sex and relationships and what God actually calls us to. There is great chapter on sex and how it is a picture of the Gospel. There is also two great chapters that focus on dating and helping the reader understand why the Bible doesn’t address dating (and it’s more than just “dating didn’t exist back in Bible times). In light of this, there is an interesting chapter that calls for dating to be done differently in the form of what the authors call “dating friendships.” They define this concept as “two friends getting to know each other with a view toward marriage” (page 92). They go on to explain that concept in more detail in the book. Overall this was a great book that challenged many of my own thoughts on sex and relationships. I’d highly recommend this book to singles who want a clear understanding of sexual purity, dating, and marriage.
The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating by Andy Stanley. This book deals less with sex and more with love, relationships, and preparing for marriage. Even though the principles and concepts Stanley talks about in this book are Biblical, there isn’t a ton of references to the Bible and an attempt to helping the reader understand God’s Word. However, I wouldn’t say that makes this a “bad book.” In fact, I think it’s a great book that will challenge both the Christian and non-Christian single to understand love, relationships, and marriage better. In this book, Stanley calls singles to drop the “right person myth,” prepare well for marriage, strive to become the right person (“be the kind of person you want to marry”), and a commitment to sex the way God designed it. There are a host of other things Stanley discusses in this book but the overall message is to slow down, prepare, be the right kind of person, and enjoy marriage and sex the way God intended it to be enjoyed. I would highly recommend this book to young adults who desire to marry. I’d love to get this in the hands of upper high school students as well as college students. I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone under that age group.
Sex Matters by Jonathan McKee. This is the best book written to teenagers about sex. There has been plenty that have been written but many simply argue “just wait” rather than explaining God’s beautiful design for sex. McKee doesn’t hold back in this book. He doesn’t tip toe around this topic but answers head on the questions teenagers are asking about sex. He does an excellent job at helping teenagers see why waiting on sex for marriage is actually a very good thing. The next obvious question teenagers ask after they hear about waiting is “how far is too far?” Instead of going the legalistic route and giving a list of things teenagers “can do” and “cannot due” until marriage, McKee explains that sex is a process and that “entire process is only for marriage” (page 49). In light of that, McKee urges teenagers then to do the obvious – don’t start the process. McKee then spends a whole chapter on helping teenagers understand why the Bible says “flee” and how teenagers can do this. The last two chapters of the book deals with porn and masturbation as well as answering some common questions teenagers ask about sex. This is a book I wish every teenager would read. It will help them understand God’s design for sex and answer many of the questions they have. It’s extremely practical as well. If you’re a parent, get this book and encourage your teen to read it. If you’re a youth worker, consider giving this book to your students or at least reading it and having it on your shelve to help you understand how to address teenagers about sex.
Recently I wrote about an app called Snapchat that I wanted parents to be informed and aware of. It’s an app that can be found on most teenagers smart phones and allows them to send pictures back and forth. Snapchat makes it easy for teens to be involved in sexting and sending sexual images to each other. If that isn’t enough, there is another app parents need to know about called Bang With Friends. The name says it all.
Bang With Friends is an app that works through Facebook that lets you identify which of yours friends from the opposite sex you would “bang” (for parents that have no clue what that means, it means have sex with them). It’s completely anonymous until a person who you clicked “bang” for clicks “bang” for you. Then it connects you two together so you can do what the app intends for you to do-meet up and bang.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is an app teenagers, or anyone for that matter, should not be messing with. There is no value in it what so ever! It doesn’t seem like this app has blown up to the point of an app like Snapchat, but I’m sure it will eventually. But it’s out there and teenagers, have access to it. Research show that 100,000 hookups have already taken place with the help of this app.
If you are a parent and you have a teenagers that has this app installed, please be the parent and do something about it! If they have no clue what it is and are not using it, inform yourself and be ready to address it if it ever comes up. Lastly, student pastors and youth workers, let’s expose this crap for what it is. It’s sexual immorality and promoting sex in a way God did not design it.
Jonathan McKee, a student ministry blogger, wrote an excellent post on this app that I would recommend you take a look at.
Note: I am not trying to promote inappropriate content and images in this post by posting links to the app’s website. My goal is to inform parents and youth workers about this app.
Last month I wrote a post explaining and sharing a few thoughts on a popular app teen’s are using called Snapchat. Snapchat is basically an app that allows you to send pictures to someone much like you would a text message. The “catch” is you can set a time limit for how long the person receiving your picture can see it. However, this is not true. There is still this think called screen shot where you simply snap a picture of whatever is on your screen. So that picture you sent via snapchat is no longer a 10 second picture.
Snapchat is an app you will find on most teens smart phones and is becoming extremely popular. Unfortunately, many parents miss this. They don’t realize what things become easy for their teens to do with an app like this. I believe parents need to be informed about stuff like this. I believe they should spend time researching teen culture and having talks with their children about things like Snapchat. But as a student pastor I believe I’m called to equip and resource parents to do just that. So here are a few blog posts I have ran across that share a ton of helpful information on Snapchat and the teen culture surrounding it.
Just Don’t Leave Any Evidence by Jonathan McKee. In this helpful post, Jonathan shares about sexting. A popular trend among teens as a way to share nude or partially nude photos as well as to engage in sexual conversation. Snapchat is opening the door wide for teens to do more of that! In this post Jonathan shares some more great insights about sexting, Snapchat, and what parents should do.
Teenagers and Snapchat by Jonathan McKee. Here is another great post on Snapchat from Jonathan. As you can see, Jonathan has an awesome blog that I would recommend to student pastors and parents. In this post you will find a video about parents concerns over Snapchat as well as some thoughts regarding what parents should do.
Snapchat: Good for Teenagers by Adam Mclane. I like what Adam does in this post. Instead of just sharing his likes and dislikes of Snapchat, he reminds teens and parents of some important principles to remember when online. These principles are excellent for parents to talk through with their teens.
I recommend that if your a parent that you take a few minutes and read over these excellent posts. Allow them to be a conversation starter with your teen about Snapchat and other things they do online. Don’t wait until you catch your son or daughter doing something stupid on Snapchat to talk to them, be intentional and have the conversations now.