- What in the world are you doing to your heart?
- How can we as a family help each other have pure hearts?
- What can you do today to change what's coming in here, through here and here to give yourself a pure heart?
"I see so many great families. I can't count them, but I see so many families where two sisters or two brothers have hard hearts towards each other. Where a husband and wife have developed a hard heart toward each other, or where between a parent and a child where the child's heart is hard towards his dad or his mom. "
"I'll never forget the football game where my coach grabbed me at down at SMU and he put me on the field. I'd been sitting on the bench and he put me on the field. He said, can you pursue the football and I said absolutely."
00:13 If you've ever been challenged and loved the challenge as I do, this is the challenging of all challenges in scripture. We're in First Peter Chapter One verses 13 through 16 and it says this, "therefore, prepare your minds for action. Keep sober in spirit. Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the holy one who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written. You shall be holy for I am holy."
00:55 Of all the unforgettable nights I'll never forget this. When we were at Texas Tech University, 2,500 students showed up for one of our college events where we build the cross. And by the grace of God over the last 10 years, I think we've been to 170 university campuses, the middle of football fields and gymnasiums and theaters.
01:12 And this night was, was like none other. 1800 students came down to the cross and they began to kneel. I mean, the Greeks and the geeks and the freaks and the football guys and the women's basketball team and you name it, the campus was there and the students begin to kneel on the floor of this coliseum. It was awesome. And as I was out there, you know, hugging students and drying tears, there was this one female student, about that tall, big, beautiful brown eyes and beautiful brown hair. And she came up to me weeping and she said, can you help me? And I said, please, yes.
01:54 And then I took this precious little love letter in my back pocket. And I said, you know what princess? I said, it says right here in 2 Corinthians 5:21 "He became that sin and he gives you his righteousness. He gives you his purity. He took everything that happened to you. And then after that night, so many terrible things she got involved in. But He took all that and he gave you his purity and I said, you're the bride of Christ. That means you're the bride of Christ. And she received the grace of God. I mean, you could just see her visibly receiving the purity of Christ and when she received Christ as her Lord and Savior gave her heart to him and y'all, it was like this beautiful white veil just fell out of heaven on her face. I mean, nobody could see it, but she could see it and I sure could see it. Out of the reverence of our imagination, she became holy.
02:47 She became pure because that's what scripture says and you know what in your holiness scripture implores you to pursue that holiness. I'll never forget the football game where my coach grabbed me at down at SMU and he put me on the field. I'd been sitting on the bench and he put me on the field. He said, can you pursue the football and I said absolutely. I wasn't fast enough or big enough to pursue anything, but I told him I could pursue it and I got to start the next two years just because I love to pursue, and that's exactly what Peter's saying here, holiness is what you are. In Christ you're pure. In Christ, you're forgiven. And now you get to pursue that which you already are. So you've got sin in your life. Hey, everybody does. But their pursuit is holiness. Our pursuit is purity. Our pursuit is to be what that girl became that night when Christ took over her heart. Isn't that awesome? Talk About for a second with whoever you're with. What does it mean to be pure in Christ, and then what does it mean to pursue the purity that in the blood of Christ on the cross you've already obtained? What does that mean to you?
00:06 I was talking to an eighth grade friend the other day that I admire a lot. He's a great Christian kid. And he said, you know what I like about football? And I said, what? He said, you can go out there and you can run over people and not feel bad about it. Well I know you ladies probably don't understand that, but for guys, this crazy little sport (In fact I've seen is a pretty good girl powder puff players, so maybe you do get excited about it), but this sport teaches you to fight the good fight. First Timothy Chapter One verses 18 and 19 says a lot about fighting the good fight. And Paul says this to Timothy in this great book: "This, I command you and I trust you, Timothy my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you. That by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in their faith, fighting the good fight."
01:11 Way back when, years ago, when I was playing this crazy game in college and I was playing nose-tackle, our undersized team and believe me, we were undersized, but every year we played the number one team in the nation and then the number two or three team in the nation. Texans were the national champions. They'd went 38 straight games and then the University of Arkansas. In fact, we didn't beat them for the four years I played. And the coach that I played under, he didn't beat them for 13 years, but those two Saturday afternoons every single year with Texas and Arkansas were 60 minutes of all out war. Man, we fought for our lives, for every yard of astroturf and Bermuda grass. My body still aches literally from the punishing hits I took from these guys that were on their way to the national football league. But we never won the championship. But you know what? We did win a much bigger prize. We learned to train hard and we learned to fight as a team. Even in the face of insurmountable odds, we learned to fight for our lives. That is precisely what following Christ is all about. It is world war three. Don't tell me it's easy to establish a standard that you won't have sex with your eyes or with your hands, with your body outside of marriage. When a great movie is out that is promiscuous, or you're in love with a promiscuous partner, or you get caught up in the moment. It's a fight to stay pure. So Paul says, and I say men fight the good fight. It's a war to identify your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and to keep all substances out of that temple that would deface the temple or cause it harm.
03:04 Fight the good fight, Paul says. There are a few challenges on earth that are more difficult than establishing and keeping goals in a lifestyle of godly character in the wake of our nation's current amoral trip into the jaws of hell. Fight the good fight. It's a cause well worth the sacrificial effort. I've read the last chapter, I've read about the victory party. It will be abundantly more, way more than the price you've paid to get there. Fight the good fight. Can you describe the spiritual battle that you're in right now? How are you winning that battle? And this question: What does the phrase fight the good fight mean to you today? And then lastly: Do you feel it's worth it to fight for such a cause? And why do you feel it's worth it to fight the good fight of faith? And here's the lifeline. Today, the goal of our life is to love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
00:14 The other day in my house, we were talking about these little animals that the advertisers will spend millions of dollars to get into your mind so that you never forget the product. Remember the pink bunny, the energizer? What about the big bull, the big elk? What's that? The Hartford, the big whale, the big, you know, whale that dives in and out of the ocean. Insurance company, Pacific life and the little lizard, who's the little lizard, the little cute green lizard that sits on the desk? That's right, Geico. And then probably the most famous of all is the little white duck. Who's that? Aflac, that's right. How do they get that stuff in your mind and why do they spend so much money on that? Well, this verse today has a great counter for that and some strong advice about what gets into your mind.
01:11 In Colossians 2:5 Paul says: "for even though I'm absent in body, nevertheless, I'm with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ, the stability of your faith in Christ." The apostle Paul realized that people, even Christians, could be easily swayed to believe all manner of strange ideas if they failed to aggressively keep their minds from being polluted. That's why he said in verse five that he didn't want anyone to deceive you with fine sounding arguments. The entertainment industry is notorious for offering a number of fine-sounding arguments that are deceptive, dishonest, and destructive. I mean, here's just a few a that we've reviewed recently. They'll tell you that sex outside of marriage is no big deal. It's acceptable. The television will tell you over and over again, and in the movies, that Christians are wimps, they're hypocrites. They're dangerous. The movies nowadays will tell you that Jesus is weak and uncaring. On-screen violence and nudity have no negative effect, I'll tell you, on anyone, even the youngest children, they'll try to say, and they'll say that that sex outside of marriage, whether it's with the same sex or with opposite sex, is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle.
03:07 But you know what, when society's role models laugh and practice evil, when they literally scoff God's word, they don't just reflect society, they affect the values and morals of its people. Isn't it bizarre that the same television executives who will charge $1.3 million, I mean they'll pay it, in fact, sometimes even close to $2 million for a super bowl spot to influence purchasing can adamantly state their programming can't sway another behavior, doesn't make sense. Logic demands, they can't have it both ways. The psalmist says this in Psalms 101:3 and this is a favorite in our teenage sports camp. He says: "I will set nothing unclean before my eyes." David didn't have MTV and the slew of offensive programs on cable and network television. But he knew how important it was to guard his heart and to guard his eyes. He had fallen once, he wasn't going to fall again. Deceptive messages packaged in fine-sounding arguments are the best rejected when when you or I refuses to allow our mind to be bombarded in the first place. The best approach when considering a certain entertainment thing is to ask the question, "hey, what would Jesus do? If he had that remote control in his hand what would he do? If he was in the line at the theater and there were eight different movies to watch, what would he do?
04:47 So here's the question: Using the "what would Jesus do" slogan, name two or three shows that you believe he and his disciples might watch if they were walking this planet today instead of 2000 years ago. And then what are some of the shows they certainly wouldn't watch? And besides those, what other examples of destructive and fine-sounding arguments are being promoted on television? And what about those that are being promoted in other forms of media? And then lastly: What are the best ways to guard your heart and to guard your mind, and as Paul says, to have a stable faith in Christ? And here's the thought for the day. At K-2, at the teenage camp, we put a red rubber band around our wrist and we write with a pen Psalms 101:3, so that it's always there sitting on our wrist as reminder. Do that. If not, put it on a little sticky piece of paper and put it on the television set, or put it on your computer and see what begins to change in your mind and in your home.
00:06 I'll never forget as a little kid growing up the family chores; we'd clean the bathroom and make our beds and clean the room and with much coercion we'd empty the trash can out. I tell you trash cans are good if they're empty, but if they're full they can sure stink up the house. That I think the great thing about this book we're studying in Colossians; sometimes it's tough to hear, but boy, it is good, and it helps us clean out the trash in our mind. Well, chapter three starts off with a couple of verses that I think about a lot when my trash can gets full. And sometimes its just bad thoughts and sometimes it's just worry and despair. But Colossians 3:1-2, here's what it says: "Therefore, if you've been raised up with Christ, keeps seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on the earth, setting your heart on things above."
01:11 Have you ever found yourself thinking about something that's just kind of twisted or off-color and you wished you could turn your brain off? It feels almost impossible sometimes, doesn't it? Even when we're sleeping, the wheels of our mind are turning. And although there's no "off" button inside our head, we can redirect our thought life. Paul was so convicted of this. Then in the first two verses of Colossians 3, he tells us what things should take center stage in the theater of our mind. And note how Paul words it. He said, "since then you've been raised up with Christ. Set your heart on things above. Set your mind on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things."
01:57 Unfortunately, it is so easy to, to get our mind off track and to get the trash can of our mind full with worldly junk and sinful stuff. This is especially true when it comes to our ears and our eyes; and then stuff that's contrary to scripture. Probably, something that's way too common is just the media trash. Garbage in does equal garbage out. Some coaches call it "gigo"- garbage in, garbage out. Not always in behavior, but often in our thinking. And the key to setting our minds on things above is two-fold. First, we've got to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Romans 12:2, if you've never memorized it, here's what it says: "be transformed in the renewing of your mind." This occurs when we diligently meditate on God's word. Get those verses, memorize them, meditate on them, it'll change your mind. And then equally important, you got to avoid those things that war against your faith. Reading the Bible and watching trashy movies like Desperate Housewives and South Park and about half the sitcoms, they just don't mix. It's like oil and water. They can't mix. Christians often fail miserably at avoiding harmful entertainment. For example, the statistician George Barna found in his research regarding television viewing that believe it or not, more Christian kids on a percentage basis, that's 42% versus 33% more Christians watch MTV than Non-Christians. No wonder why so many of my teenage friends struggle like crazy with thoughts of lust and rebellion and anger and self-destruction.
03:51 But Philippians 4:6 goes even further in offering guidelines for our thought life. In fact, I believe it's Philippians 4:8 actually, Paul explains that our mind should focus on things that are pure and right and true and lovely, things of good repute, things that are excellent and things that are worthy of praise. Today's media sometimes qualifies, but more often than not it doesn't and when it falls short, we should get what our minds don't have. And that's a click to the "off" position. Turn it off.
04:24 Here's the questions for today. What all have you been thinking about lately? What's your mind been dwelling on and are any of these thoughts that you're having disturbing, if so, are any related or reinforced by your media diet? And then secondly: What practical steps can you take to renew your mind and to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things? What arguments are you likely to hear from your peers in school, in the locker room, in business, or even in your home as they watch and listen to what they watch and they see you watching and not watching what you watch. What are you going to do to turn the off switch on the media stuff that you're involved in? It's a tough question isn't it? Here's the lifeline, here's the thought for the day. Discuss with a trusted Christian mentor or friend or somebody in your family the struggles that you faced regarding your thought life, and identify a plan that will succeed against this battle and help you more consistently think of things above. It's time to empty the trashcan. Don't you think?
00:05 Have you ever imagined what it must have felt like to be crucified? Jesus will give you a chance in the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years of your life to do that. It's in Galatians 2:20. If there's one verse you want to memorize, it's this one. Here's what it says. "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me."
00:43 The Bible talks about two kinds of people. It talks about natural man and spiritual man, and natural man lives for me. All of life's decisions revolve around me, and without the strong work of Christ, this life ends up in a great big, confusing mess, a s many of us know. Spiritual man on the other hand has given his will, has given his heart to Christ. In the spiritual man, Jesus is in control. He's not just savior, he's Lord. He's not just in the front seat, he's in the driver's seat. You're not just in church, you're in love with the one who's head of the church, Jesus himself. You don't just have a bible, you have a love letter. He's not just a compartment in your life, He's in the middle of your life. He's not just a file in your filing cabinet marked 'Jesus' that you take out every Sunday morning, He owns the whole filing cabinet. In the spiritual man's life where there was confusion, there's harmony. Where there was bitterness, there's compassion. Where there was immorality, there's purity. Where there was guilt, there's forgiveness. A true Christian is not just a better man, not just a better woman. A true Christian is a new man, a new woman. A true Christian is not just saved, he's transformed. He's not just going to heaven, he's living like he's already there.
02:12 So here's the questions. What does it mean to crucify the old self with Christ in a practical way? And then this question: Why is Christ not just a compartment filed away in the life of a radically saved Christian? What does it mean to have Christ living in you? And then this question: Is He on the throne in your heart today? And how can you tell if he is and if Hes' not? How could you have Him live there right now? And here's the lifeline for the day, and go ahead and memorize it: I've been crucified with Christ. It's no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.
00:04 Did you ever wonder why sin looks so attractive? Why some of the worst things that can happen on this earth looked like the greatest things of all? Well, Second Corinthians chapter 11, verse 14 has the answer. And it says this, "for no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." As I've said before, my email box is full everyday of letters that I get from guys in our men's conferences and from high school students and college students. But some of them say the most amazing things over and over again. Like the one recently that I read that says, "I know the Bible says sex before marriage is wrong, but my boyfriend and I love each other so much and it seems so right. Something so beautiful can't be wrong, can it?"
01:06 The Budweiser commercials on television, man, they really do look like fun. You know, those parties on those sandy tropical beaches, those hot cars, those hot girls and all the laughter and fun make drinking look really cool. And man, the way those gorgeous young beauties fall in love on TV every night and then they head off to those steamy bedrooms with the cute new guy on the set. It really makes you want to go find one of those and try it yourself. You know that business deal that looks so attractive and yet, you know, there's dishonesty behind that business deal. It just seems every reason to rationalize and to go make that deal and take that deal. Somebody says, "hey, smoke this joint." "Take this cool pill," "drink the shiny bottle, man, if it feels good, go for it." You know, no one ever in his right mind ever said that sin doesn't look like fun in its early stages, but no one has ever set out to become an alcoholic on his first drink, no one ever thought they would become a heroin addict when they smoke their first marijuana joint.
02:19 No one in their right mind ever wanted their high school girlfriend to become pregnant and then face the guilt of walking out of an abortion clinic together on their first heavy kiss. No one ever wanted to build his entire business on dishonesty, but Satan is a master at enhancing your first glimpse of sin and disguising the results of that sin. That's why he's called the angel of light. That's why he's called the master of deception. That's why he is your number one enemy. He's your number one enemy. And here's the questions for today. You know, why does the term the "angel of light" fit so perfectly as Satan's style of temptation? And then secondly, can you think of a sin you faced lately that looked really fun at first? But the more you evaluated it, the more you saw Satan in it? And then this last question. How can you tell for sure if it's a sin? And then, here's the lifeline for today. How can a young man keep his way pure? Psalms 119:9 says, by keeping it according to the word of God.
00:06 You know what? It's amazing what just a few dollars can buy; for good or for bad. It's awesome what a ticket can entitle you to for good or for bad. Today, hopefully, you and I'll be a whole lot wiser in how we spin this stuff and what we ticket ourselves to. Second Corinthians chapter 10, verse 3-5 - great power verses today. It says this, "for though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." This scripture is powerful as all get out.
01:13 A thorough review which, which I did of the year's top 10 movies, and CDs, downloads and TV shows revealed a consistent parade of literally hundreds of pornographic scenes, lyrics and profanities laced in addictive soundtracks and alluring, you know, inconsequential stage productions. You know, according to Preview magazine, kind of a TV and movie review magazine, in fact, all of the top 10 of that year a contained crude, obscene and profane language. You know, there were like 435 references in just 10 of these top 10 recordings and movies, and in the process the media moguls walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars and left an entire generation of kids and adults spiritually and morally confused. So I mean, when it boils down to it, y'all, is it right or wrong to, to listen to an iPod or an iPhone or CD that promotes or describes premarital extramarital sex? Is it right or wrong? Is it right or wrong to go to a movie when God's name was per-veined and taken in vain over and over again? Is it right or wrong to choose a TV show when sexual innuendos, crude humor and sexual jesting are practiced?
02:41 And then on the other hand, should I continue to tell myself how bad I am for the mistake I made last year? Should I continue to harbor that bitter thought against my dad or against my spouse or against a failed business partner? You know, today's scriptures probably the clearest answer to those and a thousand other questions, when it points out that all such thoughts are weapons of warfare from Satan, set out to destroy our mind and literally to build concrete walls of the enemy, to build up fortresses to encompass the unholy thoughts that have been allowed into our minds.
03:24 But the scripture today provides guidance when it says that we should literally take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, every thought that we think should be his thoughts. And that's why memorizing and meditating this word and carefully thinking about what we spend and what we've taken ourselves to is so incredibly important. And you want freedom, man you've got freedom. Your mind is the biggest enemy that you've got and you get to control what goes in here and what goes in here most of the time. So here's the questions. How does Satan build fortresses in our minds to defeat us? And then how do we practically take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? And then what divine weapons do you have in your arsenal? How are you going to use them? And then just for a little thought for the day, for your family, man, the home is the place where only Christ's thoughts should be allowed.
00:06 You know, I'll never forget when my hero, Dr. Howard Hendricks, said when you read the Bible, read it like a love letter. It changed everything for me. And so we opened the love letter from God again this morning. And we look at Second Corinthians chapter 6, verse 16 and 18 and it says this, "what agreement is there between the Temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, 'I will live with them and walk among them and I will be their God, and they will be my people. I will be a father to you and you will be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord almighty. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit."
00:56 I'll never forget it. I'll never forget as long as I live. It was the most beautiful wedding I've ever been a part of in my life. I've gotten to, you know, officiate countless weddings over the years. But the most beautiful one of all was a girl named Candi. And you know what? That precious girl had $100 to spend on her wedding. That was her totaled wedding budget. That's a true story. Candi worked at our camps. And although she was poor, she was rich. One of the richest girls I've ever met. A guy fell in love with her, wonderful man, but Candi said, you know what? I can't marry you until my grandmother dies. I've been called to sit by my grandmother's bedside until she dies. Three years later, her grandmother passed away and went to Heaven and Candi turned to that man and she said, now I'm ready to marry you. She took her hundred dollars and went to a rummage sale and she bought an old wedding dress. And all summer long, she sewed and sewed little costume plastic beads on that wedding dress, which she walked into our outdoor chapel at our camp.
02:05 It was autumn and all these sugar maples that my daddy and I had planted in this chapel, were turning all these beautiful colors of red and yellow and gold, and as Candi walked down that little outdoor aisle to meet this man who'd been waiting for her for three years, all these leaves began to fall all around her feet and she literally walked on a bed of the most beautiful star shaped flowers you've ever seen in your life. It was so breathtaking. The guy was just speechless. I was speechless. In fact, I was so overcome with awe and wonder and beauty. I forgot to pronounce them man and wife. It was a true story and I forgot to say the groom can kiss the bride and then somehow in the closing prayer, I recovered and in the prayer turned it into a "the groom can kiss the bride" prayer, and they kissed and they were married and they walked away and they are living happily ever after.
03:01 And you know, what man? As breathtaking as Candi's wedding scene was it pales in comparison to the wedding that has taken place in the temple of your heart because it is there in your heart that your soul is married to the Holy Spirit of God. You know, Michelangelo could paint a more beautiful interior in $1 billion sepulchre, than the wedding chapel of your heart that God had crafted for the dwelling place of his Holy Spirit. You know, man, that's why someone who loves God doesn't watch pornography on the computer screen or movies and television stuff that's gotten nudity and profanity in it. You know, that's why we're selective with our music and with our conversations. You know? That's why we don't pour alcohol and drugs and tobacco in our bodies. You know, that's why scripture calls you to a high standard of living because it's God that lives in your heart; your body's a temple of God's spirit. And so here's the questions for today. What does it mean to you that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? How do your eyes and ears allow filth into the temple? And then lastly, how do you give your temple to the housecleaning that God's spirit deserves today? And then this one for the family, here's the lifeline. The home, the family should be a reflection of a wedding ceremony with Jesus Christ.