Why You Should Watch ’13 Reasons Why’

13-reasons-why_0While I was walking towards the edge of Stagg High School, my blond friend, Wanda, breathlessly ran up to me. “We heard you were getting jumped today so I brought Janice and Terry with me.” Janice was a beautiful Hispanic girl who I knew since I was 10-years-old and Terry was a stunning strawberry blond 25-year-old woman who I babysat for.

I was stunned. “Who told you that?” I asked. “It was going around school,” she said. “You’re not going back.”

That was my last day at Stagg High School. I transferred to Lincoln High School until we moved to Hawaii. I was a Freshman in high school. I started my Sophomore year at Waiakea High School hoping for a fresh start from the girls who wanted to fight me. Within a few months I left that school after getting into 3 fights in one day.

I was bullied and this is why I could so relate to Hannah Baker’s ordeal in “13 Reasons Why,” the latest Netflix original and controversial series. My son, Alex, and his best friend, Dominic watched it. The series centers around Hannah who committed suicide after being bullied.

Social media, smartphones and texting didn’t exist when I got bullied. I believe that social media, smartphones and texting have actually amplified bullying to another level that I fortunately never experienced. I remember being grabbed and groped at 12-years-old by boys who thought I would like it. I also remember cussing them out but the objectification, leering, cat calls continued to bombard me.

Although 13 Reasons Why has profanity and some sexually graphic scenes, I highly recommend that parents or anyone who works with youth watch this series. After watching a few episodes, I instantly felt a burden to pray for ministries that I know work with youth such as Reach a Generation, International House of Prayer Kansas City, Every Nation and Victory Tulsa Youth.

This is why you should watch ’13 Reasons Why’ despite the f-bombs and explicit scenes:

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for teenagers.

Fifty-percent of teenagers have reported being cyber-bullied. If you don’t know what cyber-bullying is, you need to click here.

If you’re over the age of 35, you are really clueless as to the extent of social media usage by teenagers. This series will open your eyes to the wild wild west of social media usage via SnapChat, Instagram as well as group texting.

Bullying is way more prevalent than schools will disclose. The schools job is to cover their behinds by protecting the school instead of the student. Forty-nine percent of students in 4th through 12th grades have reported being bullied. The main character, Hannah, disclosed in a tape that she never felt safe and felt constantly alone. Schools are not safe and everyone needs to take responsibility for this situation.

You really really really don’t know what it feels like to be a teenager in our culture right now. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that things haven’t changed that much. Life is much harder for our teenagers today.

If you don’t have a burden to pray for teenagers, you will have one after you watch this.

Maybe churches would make youth ministry a priority following the footsteps of Reach a Generation, International House of Prayer Kansas City, Every Nation and Victory Tulsa Youth.

I believe “13 Reasons Why” should stir a heart cry in you to intercede and reach out to teenagers like you’ve never had before.

 

A Young Man’s Passion

Sixteen-year-old Alex Haywood is on the keyboard singing his heart out.

Is it possible for a teenager in our culture to bawl  through worship? Not a girl, but a young man to cry as they are overwhelmed by the majesty and glory of God’s presence.  Yes, your son who loves video games and Marvel Comic  superhero movies can feel the presence of God.

Last Saturday night my son, Alex, came home after a REVO  service at World Revival Church and said he bawled through  a whole song. “I felt like God stepped down and that He was  with me mom,” he said “It was amazing!” He bawled as he  was leading worship.

Alex isn’t perfect but the bottomline is that he loves God. His older brother, 19-year-old Chris also came home and  shared about how he loved worshipping God during Young  Adults. He also helped lead worship.

I believe that teenagers and young adults want God. They  want to encounter something that’s bigger and not of this  world. I also believe my job is to make it easy for them to  find Him.

I’ve tried to make it easy for the 2 young men in my house  to find Him by living out my faith in front of them. They  know my struggles, my challenges and my craziness. But they  have seen me run to God over and over again.

I want to encourage you to make it easy for the kids,  teenagers and young adults in your life to find God. They  want Him. You don’t have to be super-spiritual or perfect.  You don’t have to be in the ministry. You don’t have to be  a leader.

You can be a mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandpa, grandma, big brother, big sister or a friend and clear the way for them.  To make way for His invasion into their life, let Him  invade your life. Let Him be who He wants to be in your  life.

Let Him be king. Let Him be Lord. Let Him move upon your  life. He wants to move in your life.

One super-easy thing you can do is to invest in a young person’s life by sending them or telling them about the  Encounter Conference at World Revival Church. The  conference is on June 22-24 at World Revival Church. Tell  everyone teenager and young adult that you know about this conference.

A young man can be passionate for God. Don’t buy the lies  of the world that all they want to do is watch sports,  party and chase girls. Let’s be an example for them and  clear the way so they can have an encounter with God.

World-Class Ministry Starts in Your Home

DÁndra is preaching to us.

A very wise woman once told me that my ministry were my children. I didn’t want to hear that because I liked being in the middle of ministry adventures. I love traveling, staying in nice hotels and meeting important people.

While I was working in my dream ministry position where I occasionally traveled, my daughter DÁndra was born. She has Down syndrome and needed extra attention although physically she was perfect. My unplanned surprise birth of a child with special needs turned my world upside down.

I was thrust into turmoil where I thought God forgot me and wanted to leave the church. The wise woman, Pastor Diana, took me out to lunch to find out what was going on. I shared with her about my struggle that now I wasn’t doing anything worthwhile for the kingdom of God. I think I even cried through the lunch.

I’ll never forget what she told me that day that literally saved me and my family. With her bright blue eyes glistening with compassion, she reached out to me and said, “Your ministry now is your family.” I think I wiped away tears and said that I didn’t think of my family as a ministry. I thought they were in the way of the ministry.

I was super performance-oriented and Pastor Diana opened a door to a brand new world of compassion, love, kindness and the goodness of God. I dreaded the thought of stepping down from a high profile ministry position to take care of my daughter with special needs and my sons. But that feeling of being forgotten, unworthy, and washed up as a I sat in the foyer with my daughter began to fade with the years.

I took her advice and poured my love, my faith and everything I had into my children. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t have Bible studies and Bible memorization campaigns. Instead, I tried to find ways to naturally include the things of God in our everyday life.

We have lots of fun playing together and enjoying each others company. We also had moments where we talked about life, dreams and how God fits in. Through the years, God added Erin when she was 13 into our lives. My beautiful niece moved in with us from L.A. to go to school in Kansas City.

I’ll never forget the summer nights where we had Haywood church. Each child was assigned a scripture and a task to either preach, pray, or sing the scripture. Those gatherings began awkwardly but soon grew into dynamic moments where God stepped into our midst.

I’m still in that season of ministering to my kids although I own a business and adjust my activities according to their needs. DÁndra is in the 6th grade, Alex is in the 10th grade, Chris is in college and Erin is married and living in Florida. Ministering to my children was a ministry that I didn’t want.

But I realized that this ministry that no one prays for or claims is what attracted God to Abraham. In Genesis 18:19, there is a pattern of what caught God’s attention when He picked Abraham. “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Having the ability to teach your children how to keep the way of the Lord and do what is right and just is apparently so important to God that the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham depends on him teaching his kids. What a radical departure from what we look for in leaders today. We want the sharp, good-looking affluent guys or gals. God is looking for someone who had the ability to pass loving and honoring Him to their children.

The ministry that no one wants in our culture is a primary ministry to God. God sees how we are able to pass on our faith to our kids and our household. He responds to that and acts to fulfill His promises when we make a priority of reaching the people in front of us with the goodness of God.

Thank you Pastor Diana for those wise words spoken years ago to a mom struggling with her place in life. Moms and dads, your first ministry are your kids. Treat this like a world-class ministry and you’ll be amazed at what God does in your home.