Friday Jul 26, 2019
Friday Jul 26, 2019
Friday Jul 26, 2019
"Besides guarding our heart in regards to falling TV messages, we need to impact the entire media culture."
- How often do you wrestle with prayer for individual media personalities?
- Why do you think many Christians never pray for these individuals?
- What scriptural promises assure us that God not only hears us when we pray, but that God will answer our prayers? What are the keys to seeing that our prayers affect change in our culture, and most importantly, affect change in our mind?
00:06 Sometimes the simplest things are the greatest things of all. This little verse today is super simple, but it is super helpful. It's in Colossians 2:4, and Paul says this: "devote yourself to prayer (isn't that simple?), keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving." Talk about trivia, did you know that falling TV sets kill about four children every year? This was actually cited in the September 1998 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics. As I read about that study, it sort of made me wonder how many other people are dead because of television, not because they fell on their head, but because they fell on their mind. Consider the statement that somebody said once, this very famous person who said, "I personally worry more about television than any other form of media because it's so pervasive and it's a primary babysitter and a value transmitter for many children."
01:16 The constant barrage this person said of violence and explicit sexuality reinforces the loosening of human bonds, undermining the evolution of a mature person. For many people, it's affecting not just what they think about, but also how they think. Well, that was expressed by Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was the wife of the president of the United States. It's not just evangelicals who worry about television, even television mogul, Ted Turner who began CNN and other Turner broadcasting networks, this is what he said, believe it or not: "as a parent with five children, I don't need experts to tell me that the amount of violence on television today can be harmful to children" and not just children. He didn't say that, but not just children, but adults. But he said "television violence is the single most significant factor contributing to violence in America." Ted Turner said that. In addition to these concerns, I'm concerned that television can have a devastating spiritual consequence. I wonder how many people today are no longer serving Christ because of something they saw on television or saw in a theater or heard at a concert. The Christian bashing is unbelievable. The sexually explicit material that leads to perversion and ultimately rebellion against God. No one knows for sure how many have literally washed out spiritually. But man, we know it happens all the time. Besides guarding our heart in regards to falling TV messages, we need to impact the entire media culture. How we do that? I think there's a number of ways, but none are more important than prayer. And that's why the apostle Paul says, "devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and being thankful." Later in the chapter, he compliments a fellow believer by saying he's always wrestling in prayer for you. Are you wrestling in prayer for our nation? Are you wrestling in prayer for Hollywood? Are you wrestling in prayer for individual actors and actresses and musicians and the insiders in the industry? We can make a difference. God has promised us that, but not until we hit our knees first. And most importantly, wrestle for prayer in your mind.
03:45 Here's the question today. How often do you wrestle with prayer for individual media personalities? And why do you think many Christians never pray for these individuals? And then the third question: What scriptural promises assure us that God not only hears us when we pray, but that God will answer our prayers? And I can think of five references right now. And then: What are the keys to seeing that our prayers affect change in our culture, and most importantly, affect change in our mind? And here's the lifeline for today. Make a list of six or 12 or a couple of dozen media personalities and begin to pray for one person every day. Be specific one time I was watching the Oscar awards and I begin to pray for this certain guy who was singing this song that had just won the Oscar. And I began to pray for him. And later on a few years later that man actually became a Christian. That's a true story. And I met him and I told him I'd be praying for him for years; ask the Lord to bring them to his son and give them a burden for purity and for wisdom and for wholesomeness. God can change anything through prayer.
Thursday Jul 25, 2019
Thursday Jul 25, 2019
Thursday Jul 25, 2019
"Do you find yourself singing spiritual songs in times of trouble?"
- Try to recall as many Bible verses as you can in the next 10 minutes that you learned because it was a scriptural song. And then write them down.
- Do you think you would know these scriptures today if it weren't for learning them through song?
- Do you find yourself singing spiritual songs in times of trouble? Do you sing spiritual songs at time of happiness? For you, when's the best time to sing them?
00:06 A few years ago you remember the "two all-beef patty special, sauce lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun," remember that? What was that from? Was that McDonald's, I think? Burger King? It's amazing how stuff gets on your mind. It was probably been 20 years ago. Good grief, 50 years ago there was a little slogan, LSMFT. Anybody old enough to remember that? Lucky strike means fine tobacco, I think it was the fifties or sixties when they had that. Well, here's how to get something else on your mind. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you. Teaching with all wisdom and admonishing one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God, spiritual songs in your heart." Boy, there's something about singing in music that helps us remember things. I remember when my son was maybe a second grader and he memorized all 50 states in the United States as a second grader because his teacher put it to music. I remember when my daughter was just tiny; she performed this rap song she had learned that contained all these phonics rules because her teacher again was doing her a favor by setting all these phonics rules to music, rather than just listening to them and putting them down on paper. Long before my children's teachers discovered how music helps us retain information, God (who invented memory and made it work in the first place) asked us to consider getting God's word in our hearts just like that. "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you," Paul says. Singing the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, isn't that great?
02:11 While the verse also mentions how teaching others can help you in the memory process, let's just consider the musical aspect for a minute. Although most of us would never consider singing publicly, some of you can but I can't, all of us can sing in the manner Paul suggests with gratitude in our hearts to God. It's a song we could sing in our hearts literally anywhere at any time. You know, walking down the hall of school, you know, just going from business office to business office, on a crowded bus or on an airplane. We can sing thankfulness in our hearts to God wherever we are. We can sing in our hearts. So what kind of songs qualify? Here Paul has advice as well. He's saying that we should Sing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. There's probably no doubt, you already know it, but probably a number of choruses that feature verses from the Psalms. If you're in church and you sing praise and worship, you've got a bunch of them. But have you tried writing some of your own? Think about that. No one has to hear them. You're singing them in your heart. When it comes to spiritual song, there's thousands to choose from, no matter what style of music you enjoy the most, in every kind of country style, R&B, rap, country, whatever, you can put the psalms to any kind of a beat you want to. And as I listened to this song, and if I re-sing it over and over again in my heart, you got to ask yourself, does it edify my spirit? Keep in mind, not every song released under Christian label qualifies. And by the same token, if they're not in a Christian label, there's some good music out there. But as you sing Christ-centered songs in your heart, the Bible says the word of God will dwell in you more deeply. What a benefit, especially from something that's as enjoyable as music is anyway.
04:07 Here's the questions for the day. Try to recall as many Bible verses as you can in the next 10 minutes that you learned because it was a scriptural song. And then write them down. And then: Do you think you would know these scriptures today if it weren't for learning them through song? Do you find yourself singing spiritual songs in times of trouble? Do you sing spiritual songs at time of happiness? For you, when's the best time to sing them? If you were sad right now, what would be a good spiritual song to sing? What if you were excited? What if you were lonely? What if you were hurt? What if you were confused? What a great mission - writing spiritual songs on your heart. Here's the lifeline today: identify a Bible verse that you've always wanted to commit to memory and then put it to a tune that you already know or maybe make up. And just replace the lyrics with the the scripture. And then if this goes well for you, do it every day for 30 days and watch what happens to your mind and your disposition.
Tuesday Jul 23, 2019
Tuesday Jul 23, 2019
Tuesday Jul 23, 2019
"It's time to empty the trashcan. Don't you think?"
- 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?
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?
Monday Jul 22, 2019
Monday Jul 22, 2019
Monday Jul 22, 2019
"Just because that stuff's out there, even a little bit, can literally be stored in your mind forever. So don't be captive."
- What are the types of hollow and deceptive philosophies that are being promoted through today's pop culture?
- While it's one thing to read the biblical admonition, to see to it that no one takes you captive, it's another thing to live it out. How do you, in a practical way, not allow these entertainment messages that are contrary to Christ teachings into your spirit and into your mind?
- What are the possible consequences of hiding entertainment and indulging entertainment, hiding thoughts, that applauds behavior, that applauds language and attitudes that you know are not Christ honoring?
00:06 Every day when we get into this Bible, I'm just reminded again about just how incomparable, just how awesome, how amazing it is, the words of this book, huge what we're doing together everyday. We're in Colossians today, chapter 2, verse 4-8. This is awesome. Paul says: "I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument 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. Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus our Lord, so walk in him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up and established in your faith and overflowing with gratitude." And then he comes back again in verse eight, he says, "see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy or empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ."
01:24 The deal today is, do you want to be captive or do you want to be free? Do you know that this little 2.5 pound mass of gray matter inside of your skull, your brain has about 10 billion cells, something like that. Scientists have taught us through study with the brain through the years that every cell in the brain is a little trap. Every cell that's connected by millions and billions and literally probably a trillion neurons, little highways connect the cells in your brain so that everything you see and everything you hear and everything you touch and everything you taste, every thing you smell is stored in your brain. I think that's why pornography is such an incredibly evil drug because there's a little hormone released in your brain called Epinephrin that every time you see a picture of a girl or a boy that's unclothing or unclothed in a pornographic way, that that picture is stored and it's printed like a print in a photography dark room. It's printed on that piece of paper, that thought, that pictures printed in your mind. And it can literally stay there forever. The magazines that are coming after us, the iPhones, the iPods, the iTunes, the movies the television, the magazines, etc. I'm telling you, because I know I've counseled the kids, and I've counseled the adults through the years that became captive, literally became slaves, of some of this stuff that was coming into their minds. You can put bitterness into your mind through music. You can put hatred in your mind. You can put rebellion and anger in your mind. You can put pornography in your mind. It'll ruin your marriage with your boy or a girl; or you can put God in your mind.
03:26 I remember I used to do a teen talk radio show for years with Focus on the Family. And we would be in hundreds of stations all over the country and kids would call in from all over America. And I remember one boy called me one time and he liked to smoke marijuana and he thought that a little marijuana wasn't bad. And he said, well, "God made marijuana. So it's got to be good." And I don't know why I said this, but I said, "God made poison ivy too. And God made rattlesnakes too. So you going go out and smoke them or you going to go play with them?" Just because that stuff's out there, even a little bit, can literally be stored in your mind forever. So don't be captive.
04:08 The greatest adoption story in the antithesis of that is my buddy Chris, he adopted three kids - three kids from the inner city, three kids that their lives were going south. They were going nowhere. Those three kids were literally becoming a product of the world's system, but he adopted those kids, and he filled those kids with love. He filled their minds with Christ. And I'm telling you, those kids graduated from high school. They were of the most outstanding kids in their high school and are now in college because they filled their minds with love and they filled their minds with God.
04:43 Here's the question today. What are the types of hollow and deceptive philosophies that are being promoted through today's pop culture? And then secondly: While it's one thing to read the biblical admonition, to see to it that no one takes you captive, it's another thing to live it out. How do you, in a practical way, not allow these entertainment messages that are contrary to Christ teachings into your spirit and into your mind? And then talk about this with your family. What are the possible consequences of hiding entertainment and indulging entertainment, hiding thoughts, that applauds behavior, that applauds language and attitudes that you know are not Christ honoring and know are going to abuse your temple, as God says of the Holy Spirit that lives in you? Here's the lifeline today: Write down two or three of your favorite music groups or television shows or movies. Go ahead and write them down and then ask yourself the question, Do you believe that any of these fall into the hollow and deceptive philosophy category that Paul warns you about? And if so, what do you need to do about those?
Monday Jun 24, 2019
Monday Jun 24, 2019
Monday Jun 24, 2019
"The home is the place where only Christ's thoughts should be allowed."
- How does Satan build fortresses in our minds to defeat us?
- How do we practically take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?
- What divine weapons do you have in your arsenal? How are you going to use them?
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.