Monday, May 24, 2010

Motherhood statistics

According to results from a new report released last week, the face of motherhood has shifted significantly during the past two decades. Today's mothers of newborns are older and better educated, they are less likely to be white, and less likely to be married. Among the key findings of this report:

• Age: Mothers of newborns are older now than their counterparts were two decades ago. In 1990, teens had a higher share of all births (13%) than did women ages 35 and older (9%). In 2008, the reverse was true — 10 percent of births were to teens, compared with 14 percent to women ages 35 and older.

• Marital Status: A record four-in-ten births (41%) were to unmarried women in 2008, including most births to women in their early 20s. In 1990, 28 percent of births were to unmarried women. The unmarried-mother share of births has increased most sharply for whites and Hispanics, although the highest share is for black women.

• Race and Ethnicity: White women made up 53 percent of mothers of newborns in 2008, down from 65 percent in 1990. The share of births to Hispanic women has grown dramatically to one-in-four.

• Education: Most mothers of newborns (54%) had at least some college education in 2006, an increase from 41 percent in 1990. Among mothers of newborns who were ages 35 and older, 71 percent had at least some college education.

• Attitudes About Parenthood: When asked why they decided to have their first (or only) child, the overwhelming majority of parents (87%) answer, "The joy of having children." But, nearly half (47%) also say, "There wasn't a reason; it just happened."

All the trends above reflect a complex mix of demographic and behavioral factors. For example, the higher share of college-educated mothers stems both from their rising birth rates and from women's increasing educational attainment. The rise in births to unmarried women reflects both their rising birth rates and the shrinking share of adults who are married.

This report examined the changing demographic characteristics of U.S. mothers by comparing women who gave birth in 2008 with those who gave birth in 1990 and is based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as results of a nationwide Pew Research Center survey. []

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Amazing Indian food at Chapati in Northfield, MN

I have only eaten one meal today, and that was lunch at Chapati in Northfield, MN.  Chapati is an Indian restaurant, and is honestly the best Indian food I've ever had.  Best by a long way.  If you are looking for some great eats, it is right downtown on the North end of Division Street on the West side of the street.  Big red building, you can't miss it!  I will definitely eat there again!  They had a curry beef that was melt in your mouth tender and perfect seasoned.

Owning books increases the odds of your child graduating from college

ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010) — Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics.

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.

More Americans Are Pro-Life

A year ago, Gallup® discovered that Americans' views on abortion are turning more conservative. According to a May 3-6 Gallup poll, this view has carried over to 2010 with slightly more Americans calling themselves "pro-life" than "pro-choice" (47% vs. 45%). Last July, the percentage was 47 percent pro-life and 46 percent pro-choice, following a more strongly pro-life advantage of 51% to 42% last May. []

Friday, May 21, 2010

High Court Says "Yes" to Library Filters

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 in favor of the North Central Regional Library, which had been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union because it had installed filters on public library computers so pornography could not be accessed. The majority wrote in its opinion: "A public library has never been required to include all constitutionally protected speech in its collection and has traditionally had the authority, for example, to legitimately decline to include adult-oriented material such as pornography in its collections. This same discretion continues to exist with respect to Internet materials." [,]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happiness Increases and Stress Decreases After 50

According to results from newly published research, after age 50, daily stress and worry take a dive and daily happiness increases. The results were based on a Gallup phone survey of 340,847 adults, and published online in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research shows that young adults experience more negative emotions more frequently than those who are older. Negative emotions, such as stress and anger, are similar in that they consistently decline with age, but worry holds steady until around 50, when it sharply drops.

This Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index was compiled in 2008 as the first year of a 25-year effort to measure well-being in the U.S.A. It asked adult respondents about various emotions, such as enjoyment, happiness, stress, worry, anger and sadness, and asked them to describe how they felt "yesterday."

"After 50 is when things start dropping off dramatically in terms of worry and stress. That's the turning point in some ways, but it's not a magic number in terms of everything that's better," says study co-author Arthur Stone, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. He is also a senior scientist with Gallup. Stress is "constantly dropping, but the curve gets much steeper after age 50," he says.

The study also found that women reported greater stress, worry and sadness than men, at all ages. []

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mondays can be rough in ministry

On many Mondays, myself as well as many of the other preachers around the world are pretty wiped out.  And I honestly don't know how some survive preaching 4+ times.  Monday usually means being tired, groggy, and irritable.  Some call it the holy hangover.  That's about right in my estimation.  Things just move more slowly for me on Monday.

But today was different.  Today was excellent!  The weather is perfect to start with.  So to take full advantage of that I rode my motorcycle to lunch.  Drinking in the sun, the sounds, and the smells while on the cycle is truly one of the great joys of life.  A solid power-to-weight ratio of a motorcycle never hurt either!

Add to that this week is the conclusion of our school year programming and I really feel like I will have some time now to catch my breath.  I feel like I have been running non-stop since Christmas. 

In a couple of weeks I will be heading up to the BWCA for a few days and am praying that brings some much needed de-stressing.  And the when we get to July and my wife's schedule slows down we might actually find some time to do nothing, and to do it well!

Life is good!

Guests at church next week

Invite your friend and family to come hear Pastor Tony Rambo share his vision for the church plant he has started in Stillwater, MN called The River Community Church.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I believe in God, but I don't trust Him with my money

Great morning of worship today!

It was a great morning of worship at First Congregational Church of Waseca, MN. You can download the sermon audio and video at  Today was week 3 of our Practical Atheists series titled:  I believe in God, but I don't trust Him with my money with Matthew 19:16-22 as one of the core verses we looked at.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Social media in our world today

Originally posted HERE - and if you click through there is more detail as well as info on the sources for the statistics.

Stats from Video (sources listed below by corresponding #)
  1. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old
  2. 96% of them have joined a social network
  3. Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.
  4. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
  5. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
  6. Years to Reach 50 millions Users:  Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…
  7. Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year
  8. iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
  9. We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.”
  10. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest ahead of the United States and only behind China and India
  11. Yet, QQ and Renren dominate China
  12. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
  13. 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; % of these using LinkedIn 95%
  14. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
  15. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than the  populations of Ireland, Norway, or Panama.  Note I have adjusted the language here after someone pointed out the way it is phrased in the video was difficult to determine if it was combined.
  16. 50% of the mobile Internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
  17. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail pass̩ Рsome universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts
  18. Instead they are distributing: eReaders + iPads + Tablets
  19. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
  20. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  21. While you watch this 100+ hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube
  22. Wikipedia has over 15 million articles…studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English
  23. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
  24. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
  25. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour
  26. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  27. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
  28. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better.
  29. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services  than how Google ranks them
  30. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations
  31. Only 14% trust advertisements
  32. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
  33. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
  34. Kindle eBooks Outsold Paper Books on Christmas
  35. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation
  36. 60 millions status updates happen on Facebook daily
  37. We no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
  38. We will non longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media
  39. Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate
  40. Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like Mad Men Listening first, selling second
  41. The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years
  42. Bonus: comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – is the #1 social network

Monday, May 03, 2010

Fewer Young Adults Attending Church

According to a new survey by a Christian research firm, a majority of young adults, age 18 to 29, don't pray, don't worship and don't read the Bible.
The research, conducted by LifeWay Christian Resources, revealed that:
  • Sixty-five percent identify themselves as Christian, while 14 percent say they are atheist or agnostic, 14 percent list no religious preference, and 8 percent claim other religions.
  • Sixty-five percent rarely or never pray with others, and 38 percent almost never pray by themselves either.
  • Sixty-five percent rarely or never attend worship services.
  • Sixty-seven percent don't read the Bible or sacred texts.
  • Seventy-two percent say they're "really more spiritual than religious."
  • Many are unsure Jesus is the only path to heaven: Half say, yes — half say, no.
"We have dumbed down what it means to be part of the church so much that it means almost nothing, even to people who already say they are part of the church," says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

The survey was based on telephone interviews in August 2009 with 1,200 18-to-29-year-olds. The study forms the basis for the upcoming book, "The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest Generation," by Dr. Thom Rainer and Jess Rainer. For further details about the results of the survey go to LifeWay Research.
Focus on the Family Action has a new outreach to 20-somethings which encourages Millennials to live out their faith by getting involved in issues they care about. It can be found at

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Jesus speaking to you?

Jesus Speaks Back

A majority of Americans believe that Jesus speaks back to them in two-way communication, according to results from a new Barna Group® survey. The study was conducted among a random sample of 2,002 U.S. adults.

While an overwhelming majority of Americans claim to pray during a typical week (more than 80%), the results point out that a majority also believes that Jesus speaks back to them. Overall, 38 percent said they are "completely certain" that Jesus speaks to them in ways that are personal and relevant to their circumstances. An additional 21 percent said they are "somewhat certain" that He does so, while 10 percent contend that Jesus speaks to them, but they were not as sure about that communication. Eight percent did not know if Jesus Christ speaks to them. In total, less than one-quarter of all adults (23%) stated that Jesus does not speak to them.

According to Americans, Jesus speaks to them in multi-faceted ways. At least one out of every six adults contends that He communicates with them in the following manner:
  • By influencing or connecting directly with their mind, emotions or feelings (52%).
  • Through the content of a Bible passage they read or which was read to them (41%).
  • By providing a sign (36%).
  • Through sermon or teaching content concerning their immediate situation or need (34%).
  • Through miraculous or inexplicable circumstances or outcomes (31%).
  • Through words spoken to them by someone else who was speaking for God (31%).
  • Through a passage they read in a book other than the Bible (18%).
  • Through an audible voice or whisper that they could hear (16%).
Click here to view the full report from Barna.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Pray for awakening in your church

From Justin Taylor's blog:

You can pray that God would move in way that results in:
  • hundreds of people coming to Christ,
  • old animosities being removed,
  • marriages being reconciled and renewed,
  • wayward children coming home,
  • long-standing slavery to sin being conquered,
  • spiritual dullness being replaced by vibrant joy,
  • weak faith being replaced by bold witness,
  • disinterest in prayer being replaced by fervent intercession,
  • boring Bible reading being replaced by passion for the Word,
  • disinterest in global missions being replaced by energy for Christ’s name among the nations, and
  • lukewarm worship being replaced by zeal for the greatness of God’s glory.