"Can you imagine living in a place where the heroes are a famous comedian from Russia, a famous fiddle player from Japan, a famous group of acrobats from China, and a great famous group of singers from Ireland or on billboards all over town? This is Branson, Missouri. This is where I live. And man, we got more billboards and brochures and pamphlets than any place in the world."

Family Discussions:

  1. What kind of love will attract your friends to Jesus?
  2. What kind of motivation does the reality of this devotional today give to you?
  3. Describe someone you know who displays a 'Jesus lives here' billboard that you will be attracted to.

Transcription:

00:13          Can you imagine living in a place where the heroes are a famous comedian from Russia, a famous fiddle player from Japan, a famous group of acrobats from China, and a great famous group of singers from Ireland or on billboards all over town? This is Branson, Missouri. This is where I live. And man, we got more billboards and brochures and pamphlets than any place in the world. Well, guess what? You're a brochure too. In fact, you're a billboard. Listen to this. 2 Corinthians chapter three verses two through four. As people watch you as they drive by down the highway of life, it says this, "You yourselves are our letter written on our hearts known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ. The result of our ministry written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God. Not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence is this is ours through Christ before God."
 
01:18          Isn't that great? You're a letter of Christ. You know, these huge lighted billboards that line both sides of the highways that lead into our highly traveled tourist town here in Branson, Missouri, number in the thousands. The billboards, literally thousands, the country music stars and they're elegant two to 4,000 seat theaters. Woo country music fans who travel here by the millions into their theaters with billboards, large enough to see from the moon. You know, marketing experts call it intercept marketing. As you drive down the road to try to make a last minute change in some travelers' schedule. They don't know which theater they're going to, but the billboards are going to get them to go to their theater on their country music, Branson vacation.
 
02:02          You know, the billboards are flashy. The billboards are glitzy. The billboards are attractive. The billboards are gaudy. They're catchy. They're nauseas. Believe it or not, you and I wear huge neon billboards around our necks on the front of our cars, on the backs of our cars, on the front doors of our houses and on the doorway to our own rooms in our house. Because as true believers, our billboards all displayed the same very simple but profound. Three word statement. Jesus lives here. Jesus lives here. Jesus lives here. You surprised? You know what? It's true. In the high school that you go to, in the university campus that your on, in the associates, in your place of business or ministry, in your family that surround you. Each and every day. Man, the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you act, and the way you treat other people makes you a billboard. Either a repulsive sign that will cause your associates to reject the message with disgust, or you'll be the most attractive piece of artwork your friends will ever see. So you're a billboard of Christ.
 
03:17          And let me ask you these questions. You know what? The song says "They'll know we're Christians by our love." What kind of love will attract your friends to Jesus? And second, what kind of motivation does the reality of this devotional today give to you? And then the last question is, describe someone you know who displays a 'Jesus lives here' billboard that you will be attracted to. Be sure and hug somebody today.
 

"This Labrador Retriever seldom leaves my side. His pure black shiny coat glistens in the sunlight as he gallantly retrieves the doves and ducks and pheasants and anything else that we're hunting together. But you know, try to take a chicken bone away from this dog and you might as well lose your hand. But if you lay a freshly cooked juicy sirloin steak on the sidewalk beside him, he'll drop that little nod chicken bone in a split second."

Family Discussions:

  1. How does Jesus' love actually replace your desire for sin?
  2. Describe the deceitfulness of sin.
  3. How can Jesus truly become your friend in your sense of fulfillment?

Transcription:

00:13          Well, today is going to be fun. We're gonna be with Chief. My best buddy here. And we're in Romans chapter 13, verses 12 through 14, and it says this, "The night is almost gone and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality not in strife and jealousy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust. Put on Jesus today. This Labrador Retriever seldom leaves my side. His pure black shiny coat glistens in the sunlight as he gallantly retrieves the doves and ducks and pheasants and anything else that we're hunting together. But you know, try to take a chicken bone away from this dog and you might as well lose your hand. But if you lay a freshly cooked juicy sirloin steak on the sidewalk beside him, he'll drop that little nod chicken bone in a split second.
 
01:22          You know, sin is a lot like a chewed up chicken bone. It may satisfy your craving for a season, but in the end it will choke you like a hangman's noose. Listen to these quotes from letters I've received from some high school friends of mine. One said, you know what? I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. Another one said, I never knew anything could hurt so bad as the one late night and the things we did there. Another letter said, I felt like I had 600 knives go through me. I was crushed. Another letter said, my friend told me his girlfriend had been raped and now she thinks she's pregnant. Another one says, I feel so used and ashamed.
 
02:07          Wow. It seems so meaningless, doesn't it? Why do we keep sinning like that? And you know what? The only difference between adults and students that write me so much is our sins are so much bigger and sometimes so much more disguised. But you know, drinking looks fun and sex looks fun. Satan looks cool. You know what? God knows that. So he doesn't only say he knows. He says, I'm going to give you something about a zillion times better than all of that. I'm going to give you my son, Jesus. If you'll take his companionship that I give you, if you'll take his friendship that I give you, if you'll take his unconditional love that I'll give you.
 
02:50          Now I want you to listen to some other quotes from some of my other friends. Check this out. I have fallen in love with Jesus this year. God has blessed me with the strength to stay free from drugs, alcohol, and sex. God has given me peace in my life. Another one said this, I have acquired the sense of peace that only he could bring. Do you get it today y'all? Another one says, while doing my Bible study this year, my relationship with the Lord has grown greatly. I've made new friends. My focus in life is not as much on me, but on the Lord and I become great friends with him. I used to lead a life that had no purpose. But now I've realized that my goal in life should be to love him and to spread his word. I used to rely on drugs and sex and fun, but now God has forgiven me and loves me like I've never been loved before. One man came up to me at a recent conference, he said, I've been addicted to alcohol for 20 years, but today at the cross, I've fallen in love with Jesus. And now I am free.
 
03:54          Here's the questions for today. How does Jesus' love actually replace your desire for sin? And then second question is this, describe the deceitfulness of sin. And then the big one is this. How can Jesus truly become your friend in your sense of fulfillment? And here's the lifeline for today. When something that you love is removed from your life and you feel a void, you can successfully replace it with something you love even more.
 

"A fine college student athlete came to my office to talk about God. The guy was lost. He was so incredibly lost. He had caused two abortions. He had drank alcohol, like a fish in a pond. In his search for meaning in life, he scuffed the idea of a personal loving God, and he had paid a dear price for his wrongdoings."

Family Discussions:

  1. How can you explain God's amazing tender grace?
  2. How should that grace motivate you?
  3. Why is that grace so hard to comprehend?

Transcription:

00:14          This super scripture today is from Romans 3:23-25. It says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but being justified is a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness because the forbearance of God has passed over the sins previously committed." This is awesome. Hey, you want a gift? You want a free car? You want a brand new car? You want to Porsche? Do you want a Lamborghini Diablo? Do you want a Lexus? Do you want a MasterCard with unlimited spending and no bills to pay ever? You know what? The very heart of scripture, and that's where we find ourselves today is this amazing, overwhelming, unparalleled, unmatchable gift from God to you.
 
01:18          Fall short? In the scripture that means you could never ever get there alone. Justified? In this verse that means your sin and debt is paid totally. Gift? That means without charge. That means it's free. Grace? That simply means undeserved completely. Redemption? That means bought with a price. That means bought with his blood. You know, last week a fine college student athlete came to my office to talk about God. The guy was lost. He was so incredibly lost. He had caused two abortions. He had drank alcohol, like a fish in a pond. In his search for meaning in life, he scuffed the idea of a personal loving God, and he had paid a dear price for his wrongdoings. He was a mess. His first wife was a stripper. She left him for another man. His daily agony was in comprehensible. But as we began to talk, he pitched many unanswerable, stereotypical questions about God. Like how could a good God allow suffering and evil? You know, how could a tribesmen who never had a chance to hear get to heaven?
 
02:31          It was all just a smokescreen from the heart. That was elusively longing for a real relationship with his creator. I've heard the conversation in many ways a thousand times, but as if I had planned it at that moment. Then I began to explain to him from scripture the indescribable love of a good father for his son. My daughter and my precious grandson came up in a tiny camo hat and tiny camo PJs. She placed that tender precious grandson in my arms and she spoke for baby. She said, granddad, I want to go hunting with you. Man, I held that baby in my arms and I was just overcome with a deep sense of a dad's love that I can't express on paper. The college athlete saw the picture of God's redemption unfold before his eyes. You know what? He had no more questions. That night he gave his life to Christ and he has decided to give his life to purity so that others might see the truth of this wonderful passage in scripture.
 
03:37          Here's the questions for today. How can you explain God's amazing tender grace? And how should that grace motivate you? And why is that grace so hard to comprehend? And here's the lifeline for the day. Grace is getting what you don't deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.
 

"Imagine a bizarre announcement over the school's PA system. Just as you packed up your backpack with all your books and notebooks after a hard day of classes, and prepared to make a mad dash home. Over the PA system, you immediately recognize the superintendent's voice. And here's what he says. "Students, I know this sounds unusual, but we have a very special guest visiting school today, and I want everyone to immediately proceed to the auditorium for a spontaneous assembly.""

Family Discussions:

  1. Righteousness on your own means making a hundred on the pop quiz. Why does everyone fail the test?
  2. How can a Holy God allow unholy people like me for most of all in heaven?
  3. What is God's remedy for this eternal dilemma? And aren't you glad that he has a remedy?

Transcription:

00:13          Today's scripture in Romans 3:10-12 is just amazing and super impacting. Check this out. "For it is written. There is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside. Together, they've become useless." Check this out y'all. Go with me back to the days. And for some of us, it's centuries. It seems like. When we dreaded those pop quizzes. I've taken biology at SMU in the pre-med days. I mean, I remember the pop quizzes, I hated them. But imagine a bizarre announcement over the school's PA system. Just as you packed up your backpack with all your books and notebooks after a hard day of classes, and prepared to make a mad dash home. Over the PA system, you immediately recognize the superintendent's voice. And here's what he says. "Students, I know this sounds unusual, but we have a very special guest visiting school today, and I want everyone to immediately proceed to the auditorium for a spontaneous assembly."
 
01:20          Man, you grumble. And as you, you know, a couple of friends, you'll head for the auditorium. What's this all about? You know, you're saying to your friend and inside man, you kindle the anxiety that begins to raise its head inside your mind. Who is this guy who thinks he's important enough to come to our school and extend an already long day? He'd better be good. It's better be a good assembly. The auditorium fields with whispers of complaints and speculation. Within moments the guest abruptly appears on the stage, long white robe, greatly wrinkled face, super long white beard. His voice resonates through the assembly as the crowd hushes in silence. Hello students. He says, I am God. You probably don't recognize me, but I've been concerned that many of you are going to flunk the final exam. So today I've come to give you a little pop quiz. Then he whips out a copy of the 10 commandments. He instructs you and all the other students to score yourself. His voice is deep and sober. Give yourself a 10 he says, if you keep this commandment perfectly and a zero, if you've ever broken it, even in one part. Any scored less than a hundred means complete failure. Man, nobody cracks a sound until the pop quiz is over.
 
02:43          Here's the questions for today. Righteousness on your own means making a hundred on the pop quiz. Why does everyone fail the test? And by the way, remember Jesus' words in Matthew 5 when he says, it's not just about killing somebody, but even anger is like killing somebody. And it's not so much just committing adultery, but even committing adultery in your heart is committing adultery. Like it's the real thing. So how can a Holy God allow unholy people like me for most of all in heaven? And here's the great question of the day. What is God's remedy for this eternal dilemma? And aren't you glad that he has a remedy? And here's the lifeline for the day, without the cross man, without the cross of Christ, heaven would be an empty jury.
 

"You know, I have been married for over three decades to my little wife, Debbie Jo and I'll tell you, she's more beautiful today to me than she's ever been before in our lives. She was like the top 10 beauties that SMU were I played ball and she cheered for my football team. But she's more beautiful today than ever because something is happening inside that woman's heart. And I know what it is. She loves the Word of God and He's making her more and more like Christ every day." 

Family Discussion:

  1. How much time have you spent trying to get beautiful on the outside?
  2. How much time have you spent becoming beautiful on the inside?
  3. What can you do beginning today and the rest of your life to become beautiful from inside here?

Transcription:

 
 00:13          When You look at magazines on the magazine rack or in your mailbox and you see a GQ magazine. You see People Magazine. You see a 17 magazine, Glamour Girl or whatever they are. Cosmopolitan. Do you ever wonder what it would take to make you really beautiful? What it would take to make you really handsome? Well, believe it or not, scripture has got a whole another idea about that and this should put your mind at ease. First Peter Chapter three, verses three and four, it says this, "you're adornment was not merely be external, braiding of the hair, wearing gold jewelry, putting on dresses, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." You know, I have been married for over three decades to my little wife, Debbie Jo and I'll tell you, she's more beautiful today to me than she's ever been before in our lives.
 
01:14          She was like the top 10 beauties that SMU were I played ball and she cheered for my football team. But she's more beautiful today than ever because something is happening inside that woman's heart. And I know what it is. She loves the Word of God and He's making her more and more like Christ every day. You know, I get to do weddings and they're the most awesome, you know, you get a 50 yard line seat to the greatest ceremony on earth and I get to see these grooms and brides and I've done them in, you know, gigantic churches. I've done them out in the country. I've done them where they've spent like a hundred thousand dollars and I've done them. In fact, the prettiest wedding I've ever done in my life, the bride had 100 bucks. It's all she had. Girl didn't have much money. Her boyfriend had waited for her for three years as she sit by our grandmama's side until her grand mom had died.
 
02:06          And then she turned to this patient guide, said, now I'm ready to marry you. I'll never forget her walking in to that wedding. She'd spend $100 on a dress that she bought from a garage sale. $100 for the dress. And then she had taken all summer and sown costume pearls and plastic beads all over that wedding dress. She walked in, there were maple trees in this outdoor setting that we chose for the wedding cause she had no money to rent anything. No photographers, no candles, no nothing. Her in the dress and the leaves were maple leaves. They were star-shaped and it was autumn and the leaves were golden and red and orange. And as she walked into that wedding, the wind was blowing the star shape maple leaves, and they were falling all around her. I'm telling you, y'all, it was just this awesome.
 
02:54          And she was walking in on a bed of these little star shape leaves and she walked up to that little place in the country where out at our Kamp on the mountain side, overlooking Table Rock Lake, where the wedding took place. Here's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. And she was so gorgeous because her purity came from inside of her heart. I mean, this girl just love God with all of her heart. She was just drop dead stunning gorgeous. It didn't have anything to do with any magazine in the world. It had everything to do with the word of God that had captured her heart. And we were all so taken by her beauty and the beauty of that wedding I even forgot to pronounce them man and wife. I did. I was so stunned. We get to the end and I'm sending him off. And I ain't even said the groom can kiss the bride. And then it dawned on me in the closing prayer that I'd forgotten to marry them.
 
03:44          They were going to go on their honeymoon without being married. But anyway, I caught myself and I said, now the groom can kiss the bride. And we all laughed in a way. They went for a honeymoon. Beauty comes from the heart. Men being handsome comes from the heart. A handsome dad. A handsome high school student. A handsome athlete is right Outta here where Christ leads, because he was the most intimately attractive person that ever lived on the face of the earth. Not as external beauty. But his heart. And the same can be true for you. So here's the question. How much time have you spent trying to get beautiful on the outside, and how much time have you spent becoming beautiful on the inside? And what can you do beginning today and the rest of your life to become beautiful from inside here? So when your spouse has been married to you for 40 years, almost he or she will say that you that's the most beautiful person I've ever met in my life.

"I will never forget the first time I felt the sting of rejection of my friends. I probably was in fourth grade. It seems like. We're over my next door neighbor's house watching television, probably a football game. That's what we did."

Family Questions:

  1. What kind of rejection are you going through?
  2. How do you see God using the trial that you're going through to make you a whole lot more like Jesus?

Transcription:

00:14 Have you ever been fired on the job or you ever been divorced. You didn't want it to happen or you ever been rejected by your friends at school. I believe today's going to be a big encouragement for you. We're in first Peter Chapter one verses six and seven, and it says this. This is going to encourage me today. I hope it encourages you, as well. It says "in this we, you greatly rejoice, even though now if necessary, you've been distressed by various trials so that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." I will never forget the first time I felt the sting of rejection of my friends. I probably was in fourth grade. It seems like. We're over my next door neighbor's house watching television, probably a football game. That's what we did.

01:12 And I remember going up to their house and knocking on the door and I saw them inside, but the door was locked. And I still remember that little bitty guy, me standing there and hearing them say, can't you see nobody's home. Crushed me. And then I remember going out for junior high football and I wasn't very good athlete. And I remember my best friend kind of making the varsity and me making the B team. Just absolutely crushed me. The coach had rejected me. And then I remember my first girlfriend, seventh grade. I started young and I remember going to school one day. I mean we were girlfriend and boyfriend. We hardly ever spoke to each other, you know, how it is in seventh grade. But anyway, and I remember hearing from her friend through my friend that she didn't like me anymore, that she liked my best friend.

02:20 But the sting of rejection is awful. And then probably even more catastrophic than that was when, you know, that the doctors told me I had leukemia and that I was supposed to die within the year. There was a 60% chance I was going to die within that year. Talk about rejection, talk about the sting of rejection. And then a few years after that, when the doctor told me I had prostate cancer and, uh, wow, uh, life's got a lot of bumps, doesn't it?

02:49 And there's trials, you know, it's bad or worse than rejection. And we go through those things. And when I think about this little gold ring that I wear, you know, my wedding ring, and I look at the gold that's on that ring. My wife got it. It's gotta be good. But that was a whole bunch of rock that was refined into that pure gold. That are 14 carat gold, uh, that makes this ring. Rejection makes gold. And of all the trials and rejection and persecution and everything that I've gone through, or maybe that you've gone through, I know that I've got a long ways to go. A long ways to go. So there's probably more ahead, but I can rejoice. And so can you as I look back at every one of those things that happened over the years, all of the refining and I see God's purpose in it.

03:41 Wouldn't trade for any of it. They were the most important things that ever happened in my life. Because you know what, through trials like that, we can honestly care for people going through trials just like ours. You know what? I had a lot of refining to do and I still have a lot more to do. And every one of those trials, God used to take away some of my flesh and I still have way too much around, but with every trial, some of the flesh is laid off on the side of the road. And here's my questions for you today. What kind of rejection are you going through? And maybe your trial is not rejection right now, but what kind of trials are you going through and get somebody to help you answer this question. How do you see God using the trial that you're going through to make you a whole lot more like Jesus?

"Every great leader has in his heart the characteristics of Christ."

Family Discussion:

  • What are the qualities of Christ that you want to develop in your heart that would qualify you for leadership in your life?
  • In your leadership position, whatever it is, how do you stay strong and how you develop those qualities of Christ?
  • What do you feel you most need to work on to make yourself a better example and a better leader for Christ?

Transcription:

00:06 Have you ever wanted to be a leader? You're wanting to be someone that God would use to lead others in a significant way? Well, this book of First Timothy is a great book to study where Paul is building in Timothy the heart of a leader. Today we're looking at first Timothy chapter three and we're going to start with verse one and it says this: "It is a trustworthy statement. If any man aspires to be the office of an overseer, it's a fine work that he desires to do." There's nothing wrong with wanting to be leader. Verse two says this: "An overseer then must be above reproach. The husband of one wife or a man with a one-woman heart, a temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. Because if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the Church of God?" The qualities of leadership.

01:23 I love to meet leaders and I love to look into the heart of the leaders that I get to meet. I'll never forget meeting with Jim Tressel at Ohio state. And I talked to him about his intimacy with Christ. And he told me about every morning before practice, even at 5:30 or 6 in the morning, he's in the Word for half an hour every day. I asked President Bush when he was president of the United States years ago, what's the most important thing in the world to you? And he said, it's prayer. I talked to Dick Cheney. And I said, who's the most, amazing person you've ever met? And he said, Maggie Thatcher. And I said, what is it about Maggie Thatcher? And he said, it's her courage and her convictions. Every time you look into a great leader, you'll look at a person whose heart has got the characteristics of the heart of Christ. It's not only these world-class leaders, these gigantic, coaches and political leaders that have so much of the characteristics of the heart of Christ. I've seen it in little kids. I've seen it in high school students and college students as well. I remember this one kid came to our camp. He was the biggest kid on his fifth grade basketball team. He could have scored every single point, but his goal when he went on the court as a leader was to make sure that every kid on the team scored. So instead of shooting every basket, he would pass off. They would empty the bench because he could get every rebound and he would pass off till every kid on the team had scored at least one basket and then he'd began to score his points. One thing, no matter what age you are, I believe with all my heart, that's common in every great leader. And I don't believe that some of the visible leaders are truly great leaders. But I mean, every great leader is that that leader has in his heart the heart of the characteristics of Christ.

03:24 And here's my questions for you today. What are the qualities of Christ that you want to develop in your heart that would qualify you for leadership in your life? And then secondly: In your leadership position, whatever it is, how do you stay strong and how you develop those qualities of Christ? And then the last question is this: What do you feel you most need to work on to make yourself a better example and a better leader for Christ? And here's the lifeline for today. The risk we take for him is so small compared to the price that he paid for us. Leadership takes risk. Go for it.

"Advice can be confusing, but examples are always clear."

Family Discussion:

  • Why is a lifestyle dedicated to Christ the most powerful witnessing tool that we have?
  • How consistently do your friends see you living out your faith in Jesus?
  • Does your lifestyle lead your unsaved friends to Christ? And then, how can you change it So it can be just like Brett's and what happened to him and Josh?

Transcription:

00:04 We're going to be in a great book. And not like they're all not great books, they are. But this is, this is one of my favorites. And it's first Thessalonians 1:5-6. And Paul writes this: "for our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit. And with full conviction, just as you know what kind of men we prove to be among you for your sake, you also became imitators of us and of the Lord. Have we received the word of the Lord in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit."

00:51 I call this one walking your talk. And let me just tell you this story. Josh had been in trouble since elementary school. He'd been kicked out of school for carrying a concealed weapon in fifth grade and using drugs extensively and fighting in high school. It left his heart cold and hard. Although Josh had a religious background, he had ceased to believe in God because he accepted his biology teachers' fraudulent Darwinian ideas that we had somehow evolve by chance over a long period of time from slime. That all started with nothing, that nothing exploded. The cosmos erupted. And out of some lifeless pool of prebiotic soup, life somehow emerged out of nothing and that he literally was an ancestor, and his ancestor was slime. But Josh had a friend named Brett who had been a drug user and a dealer alongside of him for the better part of three years. Brett stopped by my house one day a few years ago after one of his friends that almost died in a heroin overdose. And Brett gave his heart to Christ. And I mean sincerely, I challenged Brett to give up drugs for 21 days, knowing that after 21 days saying no would be a habit, he accepted the challenge and said no. In those 21 days, he told me more times than he could count. Josh saw a complete change in Brett's heart. Brett was a new man. He even broke up with this drop dead gorgeous girlfriend because their relationship had become sexual and he knew it was wrong. So Josh asked Brett to bring him to my house for a life challenging talk. After I cleared up his misconception about evolution and that he indeed was created intelligently, scientifically by an intelligent designer, a creator, he gave his heart to Christ. I asked him why he wanted to make such a life changing decision. He had one word for his answer and his answer was because of Brett.

02:56 Here's the questions today. Why is a lifestyle dedicated to Christ the most powerful witnessing tool that we have? And then secondly: How consistently do your friends see you living out your faith in Jesus? And then the third question is this: Does your lifestyle lead your unsaved friends to Christ? And then: how can you change it So it can be just like Brett's and what happened to him and Josh. And here's the lifeline today: You know your eye is a better pupil and we're willing than the ear is, the poem said. Advice can be confusing, but examples always clear. And that point says, I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day.

"It's time to empty the trashcan. Don't you think?"

Family Discussion:

  • 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?
  • 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?

Transcription:

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?

"Christ hides himself in these just common old peanut butter jars of our heart."

Family Discussion:

  • Without Jesus, how valuable are you? But with Christ in your heart how valuable is that peanut butter jar of your heart?
  • How does that give you today the gift of humility that God would think enough of your heart, the old peanut butter jar to put his spirit in you?

Transcription:

00:04 One of my greatest heroes is Dr. Howard Hendricks, and Dr. Hendricks taught me something one time, that man, I'll think about it every time I read this passage in Second Corinthians chapter 4 verses 7-10. It says this, "but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not despairing, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus might be manifested in our body."

00:54 You know, I've got to break the routine today and just lead a major cheer in your home. I like this book we're studying together. This second Corinthians letter is just packed with God's greatest treasures. And, and you know what, speaking of treasures man, there is not, nor will there ever be, a treasure as absolutely invaluable as the mega karat diamond jewel of the Holy Spirit of Christ that hides himself in the treasure chest of your heart as a true believer and a follower of Jesus Christ. Doctor Hendrick's calls it peanut butter jars. Christ hides himself in these just common old peanut butter jars of our heart. You know, when I was a kid, my dad worked awfully hard to come home with enough money to put beans and burgers and peanut butter & jelly on the table. You know, we didn't starve, but we didn't have a whole lot of leftovers to feed our little dog Pixie, either. My mom was a champion at stretching the dollar and she'd save everything of potential value. Peanut butter jars and jelly jars, man, we drank out of those things. Her mom had taught her to save buttons, rare coins, toy marbles, trading stamps, and she'd saved stuff like that in peanut butter jars.

02:18 You know what, I remember one Friday night, we even put a handful of fireflies of lightening bugs in a peanut butter jar to make a natural flashlight for a game we were playing in the darkness of our room. Treasures, treasures in peanut butter jars. It seems ironic, doesn't it? But you know what? When I think of God putting his greatest treasure in the heart of a man who's failed as many times as I have, I feel just like a peanut butter jar - used, washed, spotless, and somehow filled with a treasure, so I can share some of the rare and priceless jewels with folks who come my way. And so it is with you. You may feel like a peanut butter jar yourself, but God thinks enough of you to fill your heart with his greatest treasure. Isn't that great?

03:08 Here's the question for today. How valuable is a used peanut butter jar by itself? And without Jesus, how valuable are you? But with Christ in your heart, with the Holy Spirit of God, living in your heart, now, how valuable is that peanut butter jar of your heart? And how does that give you today the gift of humility that God would think enough of your heart, the old peanut butter jar to put his spirit in you? How humble does that make you feel today? The lifeline for today to this: When I'm empty, if I would fall, I would break. But, when I'm filled with God's treasures, if I break and fall, it's the strongest treasure chest on earth.

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