BE A MAN! (it’s not what you’d think)


To all the guys out there: someone needs to tell you to man up.


But, I want to tell you that being a man has nothing to do with how you look or whether you cook or play football. It doesn’t matter whether you wear pink all the time or camouflage; if your favourite movie stars Bruce Willis or shows on Hallmark; if you do yoga or MMA or ballet.

I can’t believe that adults have to be told this: but the standard for who you are as a man and a human has little or nothing to do with your appearance or interests contrasted with the traditions of the culture in which you were raised. Don’t listen to the voices tugging on your identity in different directions if they limit your effectiveness in loving God and your neighbor. Brothers, true manliness is power under control. Exhibit self-control. Be a man.ChapterMemes_iii

To read more on this kind of self-control, check this out:


None Are Free



Gerardo works all day with his family in a brick kiln. Children around the world are missing out on a childhood free from oppression.

Hello Friends!

It is nearly common knowledge that President Obama has declared January to be “Human Trafficking Month”; a month dedicated to awareness-raising and consciously fighting against modern-day slavery. There are legions of abolitionists now employed in the fight, and slavery is known to exist by most in the world. This is why it seems especially incredible to me that there are still some who ask, ignorantly, “Why Care?!”

Six years ago when I was 12 and launched Loose Change to Loosen Chains, people were shocked to learn slavery still existed.  But now, after countless documentaries, TV specials, newspaper articles, t-shirts with clever slogans, fund raising efforts and a Presidential declaration, how can it be that people are still surprised?  And, even more importantly, how can those who know ask “what does it matter to me?”

I have seen and heard these kinds of comments everywhere from Facebook to everyday conversation, some even making it seem a race issue, wondering why I would want to help someone who looks differently from me, when there are “white people in my own city who are homeless and starving.” This blows my mind. If we cannot acknowledge that the most basic human right, the right to freedom, is of utmost importance—then all the other issues become permissible. If it is okay to look the other way when there are people forced, against their will, to become prostitutes, then anything else goes. If we can ignore the fact that children are bought and sold and used as livestock how can we claim to love others?

Does this seem right? How can we be so ignorant and prejudiced to say that the only people who deserve to be helped are those who live close to us and look like us? This is important as well—any violation of human rights must be remedied. But, to limit our compassion to someone who has a struggle that is familiar – or someone who looks or sounds familiar – is an affront to our Creator.

Let’s take a stand against modern day slavery, in our own backyards and in around the world – for, “…if one of us are chained, none of us are free.” 

This month I’ll be posting practical actions you can take to follow in the footsteps of abolitionists of the past.

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”  
Frederick Douglass  

Photo courtesy of Compassion International

Influence– Throwing Your Weight Around for Others


One of my favorite places in the world is Nashville, Tennessee. If you ever get a chance to go there, you’ll have a blast. What I love about it is the artistic culture, the coffee shops, the quirkiness, and the great friends I have made there. I’m also a bit of a music freak and Nashville is nick-named “Music City USA”  — need I say more?   It’s also where the

Some guys I know who are making a difference

Some guys I know who are making a difference

Dove Awards (like the Grammys for Christian music) are held each year – pretty awesome. I was a presenter at the 2007 awards show where I introduced Chris Tomlin and I had a great time.  Oh, yea, and they have lots of great food backstage (mmmm… Chocolate…)!
 I was just in Nashville again a little while ago.  I had the opportunity to meet with the former editor of CCM (  just to pick his brain a little and see what he had to say about music and faith and how the two intersect. I also got to meet with an awesome photographer named David Bean ( who uses his gift of photography to glorify God. Both of these men are Christians and both are outstanding in their field of work. Both use their influence to impact the world and the culture for the better.  You see, God has given each of us a circle of influence we can use for Him and for others who have less than we do.  We all see the bad in the world. Our parents and our newscasters talk about it, gripe about, rant about how it should be changed. We also hear about how entertainment and culture are full of negative influences.  Daniel, one of my friends, says we shouldn’t just take the bad stuff out, but we should fill the space with the good, the true and the beautiful.  This is what using our influence to change things for the better looks like when lived out.  
During my Nashville trip, I also spoke at a retreat for students.  There I met some high school guys who are using their influence in their church to help build a house for a girl and her mom who are really struggling to make ends meet.  The young woman’s house was falling down around her and the guys decided Jesus would want to provide her shelter.  So, they approached their church and also approached the students at the retreat and together they’re raising the money to build her a home.  They could have called Extreme Home Makeover and asked them to do it, but then they’d miss out on the fun of meeting a need themselves.  I’m really impressed by these guys and how they are investing their time. 
That’s it for now.  This next week I’ll be talking about our buying power and then my exciting trip to Australia!
Peace. Love. Justice!

Slaves Don’t Get a Summer Vacation


A Former Child Slave (courtesy of Free the Slaves)Summer holiday is just finishing up for those of us who live in North America.  And while that means longer days, sleeping in and enjoying more time with our friends, there are millions and millions of people for whom it’s just another season of slavery.  Slaves don’t get a break during the summer, and their oppressors don’t take one. Children have been oppressed this summer.  Boys, girls, men and women will slave away long hours under someone else’s control.  Sex traffickers will buy and sell people to be abused day and night.

So, what can you do about it?  Start making plans now to launch Loose Change to Loosen Chains at your school or church this summer or in the fall.  Also, check back in next week at this time when I write about an idea for students and adults to use their purchasing power to help make a difference. 

Seek justice!

[photo by Kay Chernish – TIP Office]