Monthly Archives: November 2008

Tools: Block certain advertisements online

I was noticing that everytime I logged in I’d see these same advertisements that I really didn’t want to see. Amazingly they were on a big name news website! How could I read the news and save myself the headache of seeing these ads?

I use Firefox as my web browser, which is not only faster than Internet Explorer but offers a lot of “extensions” which are programs you tack on to customize your internet browsing. My new favorite extension is Ad Block Plus. The extension works off of a database that blocks a lot of objectionable images before you ever see them. If you do happen to run up on something that wasn’t in the database, this extension will allow you to right click and select to block the image from now on.

A lot of adblocking software adds other programs to your computer that you don’t want. As an extension, this program doesn’t do that.

Click below to visit the installation page

http://adblockplus.org/en/installation

If you don’t already have Firefox installed, you will need that to get this working.

http://www.getfirefox.com

By the way, if you have children using MySpace this is a MUST as MySpace typically has sleezy ads for matchmaking services and these get taken right out!

Students: Get Microsoft Office at 91% off!

If you are enrolled in any courses and have an .edu email address through your school, you can get Microsoft Office for 91% off at this link:

http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimatesteal-us/default.aspx

Word is, that you can get it even if you’re not currently enrolled but alumni, though I haven’t tested this out and the site itself says otherwise.

If any of you benefit from this, why not let us know in the comments.

Marcos’ blog

Check out the blog for Marcos a missionary with Mercy Ships who spoke at the Minister’s Conference Nov 3, 2008.

Marcosandcarla.blogspot.com

Youth Lesson: Burn us Up

Below is an old lesson I taught in August of 2008. If you are looking for a lesson on faith and need some ideas to jump start your train of thought, hope this can be of help.

We’re talking today about faith to do what God says.

Lots of great examples
David vs Goliath
Jesus in garden

But TODAY Abraham and son Isaac

Gen 12
Isaac is foretold as the one whom blessing comes through

VOLUNTEER: ACT THIS OUT

What would be your dream car/truck?
God says:  I gave you this dream for a reason and you are going to use this for my glory.
Great things will happen because you have this car, I WANT you to have this.
I want you to get in this car, will you do that?
I want for you to drive it along the coast will you do that?
Now roll down the windows and crank up some tunes.
Now drive your car up a rocky mountain.
When you get to the top get out of the car and set it on fire.

Gen 22

God is asking Abraham to give up his most prized thing, his son, the one whom the promise was to come through. It didn’t seem to make any sense. Kinda makes God sound like He’s going back on the promise. Abraham figures God will raise his son from the dead and he complies. Whatever was going to happen, Abraham had faith.

God holds the future
Abraham didn’t forget the promise, He just knew the one whose word was good
Not uncharacteristic for Abraham
God told him to move out – he did
God tells him to kill son – he was about to!

Play song: Holy is the Lord by by Andrew Peterson

Parallel to Jesus
Was nervous in garden but had faith this was His father’s will and was right

God may be asking you to do something simply to test your faith. You may get back whatever it is you would be giving up, and if so great! But if you don’t you should trust God that He has greater things in store. We should act as though we trust God whether we get something out of it or not, whether or not it makes sense to us.

Daniel 3:8-27

Burn us up!

You know there are a lot of people out there singing songs, making movies, trying to act like their big and bad. They lie about crimes they never committed, talk about all their women and the people they say they shot up. They try to look tough by putting their faith in themselves and really their “selves” are just fake! Cardboard cutouts that you can knock over if you put them to the test.

It takes a real man, takes a real woman, to stand before a king and say “Burn me up. God can save me, but if He chooses not to I will STILL burn for him!” To sacrifice our lives, even give up relationships with those closest to us, children, siblings, parents, friends. That’s the kind of sacrifice we should be willing to make for God, and even if it doesn’t make sense when God asks it, I promise you it’s worth it!

R. Travis Crocker

Student Family Minister – Beaufort FBC

Associational Youth Director – ABANC

traviscrocker@beaufortbaptist.org     252-269-0578

Monitoring your kids internet activity

Over the years, parents have come to me with the question of how they can protect their kids from things on the internet. Meanwhile, the kids themselves are less keen on mom getting advice of that sort from the youth minister. I tell them that if they don’t have anything to worry about it shouldn’t matter. And ultimately, the most important action a parent and child can take is to have the kind of covenant relationship where Biblical values are passed on and lived by. Any checking up after that is ensuring the covenant is not broken, and is not replacing the coversation that must take place before any monitoring is done.

Here are the notes from my most recent “MySpace Class”

The question: How can parents check into what is going on with their youth on MySpace?

This raises another question that must be attended to first; where does a parent draw the boundary between privacy and responsibility? That depends on the parent and the youth. I personally believe that whatever policy you pursue with your youth, a covenant should be clearly communicated with reasons as to why you are doing this, out of care and protection, rather than your youth finding out inadvertently. Better to communicate love than to let them attribute your actions to snooping.

Whenever a youth adds a friend to their page, their page is visible to all of that persons’ friends. In other words, whatever you share with Sally you’ve now shared with all of Sally’s friends. The argument for privacy becomes mute when you’ve already shared your information with the rest of the world. Some parents have used this fact to their advantage by creating their own page and being added to their youth’s page. Provided the youth is not secretly operating another page under another name or social networking site this can be a good policy. It also means you are connected with all of their friends. That can be a good thing. I have also seen it be a bad thing. A stepfather who didn’t like a boy in the youth group made threats against him online and statements against other people.

There are methods of monitoring the online activity of your youth. Then there are numerous ways of subverting those methods. Below I have outlined some of the methods for monitoring, methods youth may take to cover their tracks, and how you can come back with the upper hand. Ultimately however, we cannot play games forever. The only for sure thing is that youth adapt for themselves the biblical values that you have passed down to them, not merely because it is their parent’s faith but because it is their own.

Software Monitoring
•    You can use software to monitor the keystrokes, screen images, and every piece of data that goes on at your computer
Circumvented by: Separate user accounts created by the youth
Parent prevention: Set yourself up as the administrator on your computer and select that other users cannot change system settings

Circumvented by: Use of a proxy server that masks the activity of the user
Parent prevention: disable proxy sites as a keyword through your software. Set up an account through OpenDNS.com so that anything that gets past your software will not make it past the computers that connect you to the internet. Think of it as another wall of defense.
Hardware Monitoring
•    Plug a device into the USB port on your computer that automatically monitors and blocks content on your computer
Circumvented by: unplugging the device
Parent prevention: if you notice that the logs you are reading have large gaps in them, you at least know that your youth is hiding something
Parental Control through Operating System
•    Set up your internet browser and your operating system (XP, Vista, Mac) to block questionable content
Circumvented by: youth installs a separate browser and/or operating system and browses from that
Parent prevention: browse for “cache” and “history” files and you’ll find a plethora of content from whatever has been viewed. Look for programs that speak about dual booting, boot sectors.
Peer to Peer file sharing
•    Used to pass files and information directly between persons with a minimum of servers and somewhat under the radar since a web browser is not used
Parent prevention: disable program installs or monitor through software monitoring. Programs typical utilize the Gnutella network and include BearShare, Limewire, and others. Look for variants on the BitTorrent protocol and Instant Messaging programs such as AIM, ICQ, and Adium.

Again, these are techniques to help you protect your youth from dangerous activity. They should never be used without a Christ centered covenant with your youth. Snooping is not the answer, laying out an agreement that is Biblical is. These are to ensure that the covenant is not broken, as temptation is often close to overpowering in the hormonally saturated an media ravaged mind of a teen. As the theory of the panapticon illustrates, sometimes just knowing someone is watching is enough to stave off temptation. And in a generation already known for it’s social awareness and connectedness, there will always be