Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Speaker brings 'holy' message

by JEREMY HARTLEY on April 05, 2013 11:00 AM

When making decisions in life, a person will often ask if a course of action is right or wrong. But how often does he or she ask, is it holy?

The Indiana Experiment will welcome speaker Justin Lookadoo to the Rustic Lodge in White Township on Saturday. Lookadoo will speak on “Is It Holy? How to Have a God Sized Life.”

According to Lookadoo, the question that must be asked is, “Is what I’m doing holy?”

“The reason people are running around living ‘OK’ lives that are mediocre and they never find any fulfillment is they keep asking ‘Is it OK?’” Lookadoo said. “You want to ask the right question, you’ll get the right answer.”

Lookadoo’s years as a juvenile probation officer and crime prevention specialist gave him experience dealing with troubled teens. He’s been touring, having open and frank discussions with teens regarding their issues, for more than 20 years. For Indiana County, he’s bringing his experiences to the adult arena as a way of helping parents, particularly fathers, become better parents and better men.

“Whenever people ask, ‘What’s the biggest problem with boys nowadays? Because boys are crazy,’” he said. “The biggest problem with boys nowadays is men. We’ve totally checked out of little boys’ lives because of work, separation, divorce, whatever the cause. We’ve checked out, and little boys want to know if they have what it takes to be a man.

“What’s wrong with little girls nowadays, because girls are worse than boys? Well, the problem with girls nowadays: men,” he continued. “Same thing, we’ve totally checked out of their lives. And every little girl wants to know that she’s beautiful, and a woman can’t convince her of that. It takes a male figure to convince her of that.”

Lookadoo said that he’ll be offering several tips, techniques and secrets of how to impact a child’s life from the child’s perspective. As a youth speaker who works with kids 200 days a year, Lookadoo said, he’s told things that kids would never tell their parents, giving him the unique position of being able to better relate to their issues.

Lookadoo explained that it’s important not to be your kid’s coach, because then we become their critics.

“Our job is never to coach them,” he said. “Our job is to be their biggest cheerleader.”

He’ll be explaining issues of discipline, how to set boundaries and how to give and limit freedoms.

He also explained that he’s often asked how a person can get his or her child to read the Bible, pray, or go to church more. He asks, “When is the last time your child saw you get excited about those same things?”

Lookadoo graduated from college with a degree in biology in hopes of becoming an eye doctor based solely around the marketability of his name. When he found he could only get into one medical school, he decided to pursue the juvenile probation officer path.

As a biology major, he had studied drug interactions and how they interfere with brain and body development. He began to create school programs based around how drugs and alcohol affected development at different stages. A majority of his time was spent speaking at public schools.

“It just kind of happened,” he said, “but it was the best thing that could have happened. Because it prepared me for what I was going to end up doing anyway.

“It just kind of kept growing, and now it’s grown to the point where I’m training other people who want to speak in schools and do what I do.”

Stephen Wolfe, CEO of Indiana Regional Medical Center, is part of the Indiana Experiment organization that is hosting the event.

“As one of the people who helped try to help put the thing together, my role in these events is to try to let people know what the Indiana Experiment is all about and encourage men to plug into the Indiana Experiment, a local church, a local study group,” said Wolfe.

The Indiana Experiment was formed in 2007 by a group of volunteer men and is “a Christian inter-denominational ministry, which provides spiritual resources to business, professional and working men (including senior-management levels) and to area churches,” according to their website. The group has hosted several speakers in the past.

“We’re very excited about Justin,” Wolfe said. “He’s very dynamic and I think it’s going to be a great morning on Saturday.

“This event is a little bit of a different focus for us because we’re trying to focus on reaching the teen population, the youth of the county, to appeal to fathers as well.”

Gino Cosentino, pastor at Calvary Evangelical Free Church on Ben Franklin Road in White Township, helped organize the event and bring Lookadoo on board.

“Justin is a really interesting guy, his background in the juvenile prevention and the different stuff he talks about in the schools,” he said. “And he’s pretty well known with the Christian youth circles. … He was a name we were aware of.

“He was an interesting perspective to us because he talks about youth, and you can’t get a better angle than a guy who knows the youth really well. He can help us as parents and grandparents to better relate to our kids and better reach them.”

Once Lookadoo was able to speak at the breakfast, Cosentino and his workers began looking at area schools for Lookadoo to speak at as well. Lookadoo will be speaking today at Ben Franklin Elementary school, doing two separate sessions with kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade. He will then speak at United High School to the junior and senior high students. Lookadoo also will be speaking at a free event at 7 p.m. today at Indiana Junior High.

“We’re keeping him pretty busy,” Cosentino said.

Tickets for the “Is It Holy?” breakfast at the Rustic Lodge are $10. Doors open at 8:45 a.m., and the breakfast begins at 9 a.m. Tickets can be purchased by emailing or calling (724) 397-8725.

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