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Protecting Your Hope / To Live is Christ

Sermon of the Day:

Protecting Your Hope


Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Good Morning Men. God’s mercies are new every morning and what a gift of grace that truly is.

How do we live as a Christian in this day?

I know that if your reading this, you truly desire to live a more fruitful life in Christ Jesus. I know that you long for more intimacy with the Almighty God. If your like me, the hard part is how do I get there?

I believe this verse give some powerful insight to the way our minds should operate in this world.

The man who wrote this book is Paul. We are not here to glorify Paul, but if there is a man of flesh to emulate. This is a great choice. Paul had been whipped on at least five occasions 39 times. This whipping was considered the death penalty when forty lashes were given. Paul was beaten with rods three times, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked three times, he constantly faced perils and danger beyond anything you or I have probably experienced (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Paul literally faced death around every corner.

Why is this important for us today?

I won’t speak for you but as for me, I know sometimes my problems and difficulties feel like my world ending. Some days I can feel so defeated and empty that I really question God, why. I am not sure if any of you can relate to that.

Then I read a verse like Philippians 1:21. I am reminded what I am here for. I am reminded who is in control. I am reminded what really matters in life.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s commentary on this verse said it best for me: “You can’t hurt a man who is in fellowship with Jesus Christ. What could anyone do to such a man?”

That really fires me up. To live is Christ!

No matter what I am facing, no matter how big, how trivial, how much in need I think I am. For me to live on this earth is all about Christ. The worst thing that can happen to me is death, then I am with Christ.

Paul lived in a way asking himself constantly, how can I magnify Christ in my body?

Men, when we face difficult situations in our marriages, in our finances, in our families, in our workplaces. How are we going to live? How are we going to act, or speak to others?

Choose to speak life instead of death. Choose to have a positive attitude towards a situation rather than a negative cynical way. Choose to spend time in God’s Word storing up His treasures of promises instead of TV and Facebook. Choose to serve someone rather than be served.

Men, can I encourage you? Can I encourage you to live a life that seeks to magnify Christ in all you do!? Can I encourage to choose to look at every situation that comes your way through the lens of Paul?

When Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. When you have been forgiven by the blood of Jesus. When you have made a decision to follow Christ. You are victorious! You have won! You now fight your struggles from victory. God is doing a refining work through each and every circumstance so that your life magnifies the name and blood of Jesus Christ.

Remember that to live is Christ, and to die is more of Christ, the Savior of the World!

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you in all you do and say this week.

 

 

 

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Take a Stand for Christ / Value of a Soul / One Man’s Dream Destroyed Millions

Sermon of the Day:

Take a Stand for Christ


Audio of the Day:

Value of a Soul (See attached – email version)


One Man’s Dream Destroyed Millions

The Pitiful Legacy of Hugh Hefner

Article by

Staff writer, desiringGod.org

One Man’s Dream Destroyed Millions

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy Enterprises and its chief ideological incarnation, died on Thursday at age 91 at the Playboy Mansion, immersed in the fantasy he created. He will be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, Playboy’s inaugural centerfold.

In 1953, Hefner pulled pornography out of the seedy back cultural alleys, dressed it up in sophisticated costume and speech, gave it a stylish, debonair set, made it look liberating and libertine, and pushed it into the mainstream as Playboy Magazine. He was not so much a revolutionary as a man who understood his times. He knew the “right side of history” when he saw it. He saw the weakness in the flank, struck shrewdly (and lewdly), and won the cultural battle: the old sexual mores have been decisively thrown down and pornography is pervasive. But at what cost?

Seeing People as Roles, Not Souls

Playboy (and the flood of increasingly explicit material that has followed it through the break it made in the cultural dam) is not an enterprise that exists to celebrate the beauty of the human body or the wonder of human sexuality. It is an enterprise aimed at financially capitalizing on the fallen human bent toward objectifying others for our own selfish ends. It encourages both men and women in codependent ways to view embodied souls as embodied roles in the private virtual reality show we call fantasy.

Hefner and many others have become very rich by objectifying women and turning them into virtual prostitutes — mere bodily images to be used by millions of men who care nothing about them, who ravage them in their imaginations for selfish pleasure and then toss them in the trash. Hefner gave these women the fun name of “playmates,” a wicked mockery of both a person and play, adding a terrible insult to horrible injury.

We call this wicked, for it is. But in calling it wicked, we must confront our own wicked proneness to objectify others and resolve all the more to war against it. We humans have a horrible, sinful tendency to view others as roles — too often expendable “extras” — in the epic moving picture of our story, not souls in the real epic of God’s story.

The fallen human nature, unhinged from God’s reality, seeks to construct its own preferred reality. And it uses other people to do it. Let me use as an example what at first might appear as a harmless, fun song, but is anything but harmless.

The Fantasy Girl from Ipanema

In the mid-60s, as Playboy was building steam on its way to becoming a media powerhouse, the Brazilian jazz/bossa nova song “The Girl from Ipanema” was building steam as an international hit, on its way to being the second-most recorded pop song in history.

The song is about a man who daily watches a beautiful girl walk by him on the way to Ipanema Beach in south Rio de Janeiro. She is “tall and tan and young and lovely” and “swings so cool and sways so gently,” passing by like a song on legs. He is intoxicated with her and “would give his heart gladly” to her, but “she doesn’t see” him.

The song is light and breezy and almost sounds innocent. But it’s not. The song is actually a man’s fantasy. The girl he thinks he loves, he knows nothing about. If she turns out to have a lower IQ than he imagines or a serious medical condition, would he still love her? If she heads to the beach daily to escape the sexual molestation of a relative, or suffers from a subtle mental illness, would he still give his heart gladly to her? This girl is not a soul to him; she is a symbol of something he desires and he projects on her a role in a fantasy of his own creation.

This is precisely what we humans are so prone to do: to view others, and the world, as a projection of our own fantasies. Even we Christians can lose sight of the world as a battlefield of horrific cosmic warfare, with people caught in its crossfire needing to be rescued, and see it as the place where we want our dreams — self-centered, self-serving, self-exalting, self-indulgent dreams — to come true. The more we indulge such fantasies, the more inoculated and numb we become to reality and the less urgent we feel about the real needs of other real souls.

The Real Girl from Ipanema

The girl from Ipanema has a Hugh Hefner connection, for she was a real girl. The song’s (married) composers used to sit in a café near the beach, watch her walk by, and talk about the desires she inspired. She was a 17-year-old school girl, sometimes wearing her school uniform and sometimes wearing her bikini.

After the song exploded in popularity, the composers informed her that she was “the girl.” She became a minor Brazilian celebrity, a national symbol of sexual appeal. Eventually she became a Brazilian Playboy Playmate, posing for the magazine as a younger woman and later posing again with her adult daughter — two generations caught and exploited by Hefner’s fantasy. Now she’s 72, trying hard to stay looking as young and lovely as possible, for she is, after all, the girl from Ipanema.

And she’s an example that objectification of other people is not harmless. Her identity has been forged by two men’s lust for her adolescent body. The indulgence and propagation and proliferation of fantasies are not harmless. Real lives get caught in the gears; real souls are shaped and hardened and become resistant to what’s really real, to what’s really true. And they can be destroyed.

People Are Souls, Not Roles

It is tragically appropriate that Hugh Hefner will be buried next to Marilyn Monroe. Monroe was not merely the inaugural centerfold of Playboy Magazine; she became and remains the poster girl of 20th century American sexual objectification. Nearly sixty years after her suicidal death, she remains a sexual icon in most people’s minds, not a broken soul who knew the despairing loneliness of being a sensual image desired by millions, yet a person truly loved by very few. Hefner encouraged millions and millions of men and women to view people in the very way that destroyed Marilyn Monroe.

That’s why, men (and of course not just men), on the occasion of Hugh Hefner’s death, let us resolve all the more to abstain from fantasy passions of the flesh, which wage war against our souls — and not just ours but others’ souls as well (1 Peter 2:11). When we look at a woman, whether she’s Marilyn Monroe, the girl from Ipanema, a co-worker, classmate, fellow church member, another man’s wife, or our own wife, let us say to ourselves and, when needed, each other: “she is not your playmate!” She is not an object who at seventeen you might in selfishness wish to use for your own lusts and throw away, or at 72 you might in selfishness not notice at all.

She is not an embodied role player in your virtual reality show. She is an embodied soul whose worth in God’s eyes exceeds all the wealth in the world. She is God’s creation, not an object for your sinful recreation.

Hugh Hefner called himself “the boy who dreamed the dream.” Yes, he dreamed his dream, he lived his dream, and his dream made him rich. He died still dreaming. Only God knows how many souls have been damaged and destroyed by his dream. May God have mercy.


 

Authentic People / Build Character / Are You?

Sermon of the Day:

Authentic People


Audio of the week:

Build Character (see attached – email version)


Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Good Morning Men.

This weeks topic has been stirring in me.

Recently I was challenged, and to be fair to all of you I would like to challenge you as well.

Are you following Jesus? Is He the Lord of your life?

I believe these are black and white questions. When it comes to following Jesus there is no on the fence. It is either yes or no, on or off. There is no gray area.

If your not sure, your not and if you know you said you were  a few years ago but haven’t thought about it since. Your not. My pastor the other week just preached on how following Jesus is 100% all in. This is a daily decision that we must make.

If you are not following Jesus, the good news is you do not have to stay that way. We can make choices to change that. These choices are not easy, however these choices will either bring you death or life. Peace or strife.

As men we need to learn to be authentic. We need to be concerned more with building our inner man then our outer man. I hope and pray you can honestly answer the above questions. Make the choices you need to make to live a life that brings glory to the God that created you.

I have attached an audio clip on character that I hope will bring you some direction and guidance. Also the above sermon is a part of a series that is so powerful about 10 choices we need to make. Check it out when you click the above link, Season 3 with James Macdonald.

May the God of all things bless you and keep you this week.

I Choose Jesus… / God Will Not Waste Your… / Be Patient With…

Sermon of the Day: 

MacDonald: I Choose Jesus Christ as Lord


Weekly Audio: 

God Will Not Waste Your Pain (see attached – email version)


Daily Devotion: Be Patient With Your Slow Growth

Article by

Staff writer, desiringGod.org

We value speed today far more than we realize, and that makes the painfully slow process of our sanctification and personal transformation confusing and frustrating.

We live in an era of such rapid technological advancement and in a society that so values efficiency, productivity, and immediate results that we can hardly help but assume that the faster things happen, the better. Therefore, we often don’t value the precious benefits of slow growth.

Speed Shapes Us

For most of human history, most people’s lives were mapped on to the relatively slow cyclical rhythms of the seasons. Life was demanding and difficult because it had a primary, and at times ruthless, focus on subsistence, and so was largely dictated by the annual migration patterns of fish and herd animals, plant and fruit cultivation and harvesting, rainy seasons, and available sunlight.

One of the things this did was produce and reinforce in the minds of people, because of sheer necessity, an understanding and valuing of slow, incremental progress toward an aimed-for reward. Food, clothing, and housing were obtained through arduous, sustained effort and care.

In America, this has all but disappeared from living memory. For generations now, a superabundance and wide variety of food has been available and largely affordable a relatively short distance from nearly every home — prepared, packaged, and FDA-approved. We do not have to work nearly as hard, nor do we spend nearly the percentage of our annual income on food, water, and shelter as our ancestors did.

On the whole, these have been immense blessings. But our abundance and increasing conveniences on every level have shaped — and in some ways warped — the way we view time. We now expect that nearly everything should happen fast and with little or no inconvenience.

Slow Grown

But factors that are most beneficial in fueling productivity and economic growth and improved bodily health of individuals and cities are not necessarily factors that are most beneficial in fueling the spiritual growth and health of individual souls or churches.

God created us as organisms, not machines. There are millions of reasons why the fullness of time when God sent forth his Son occurred in the first century (Galatians 4:4). But one reason was so that the Son would frequently use agricultural metaphors to illustrate spiritual truths. Think of the parables of the sower (Matthew 13:1–9), the wheat and weeds (Matthew 13:24–30), and the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31–32). Think of metaphors of the fruit-bearing trees (Matthew 7:16–18), the vine and branches (John 15:1–8), and the reaping of souls as a harvest (Matthew 9:37–38John 4:35–38). And Jesus’s apostles also used such metaphors, for instance spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22–23) and fields (1 Corinthians 3:6–9).

Something that the original hearers of these parables and metaphors would have intuitively understood, because of their familiarity with agricultural processes, is their gradual, progressive nature. Many of us probably miss the meaning because the processes are so foreign to us. Christians are slow-grown, and fruit-bearing typically comes after an arduous time of maturation.

The same goes for churches. There’s a reason we call the process of starting of new churches “church planting” and not “church manufacturing.” We admire stories of explosive church growth, just like we admire stories of explosive business growth. That’s not wrong, but it is not typical. And even what looks like a sudden harvest is usually due to an unseen, prolonged season of arduous sowing and watering and cultivation (John 4:35–38).

Benefits of Slow Growth

God designed us to develop habits of obedience and holiness slowly and incrementally because the process teaches and trains us to live by faith rather than by our often inaccurate perceptions and emotions. The waiting teaches us to trust more in the truth of what God says than the impulses of what we see or how we feel.

The long-term beneficial effect of slow, incremental transformation through the exercise of habit rather than impulse develops, over time, deeper, richer, more complex and nuanced affections for God, and integrates our beliefs into our whole being. There are things I am just beginning to really grasp now, well into middle age, that I didn’t appreciate when I was younger.

God’s ways with us may not seem efficient to us. We might even think they are needlessly slow and inefficient. But none of God’s ways are needless, and God is not slow; he’s patient (2 Peter 3:9).

And he wants us to learn patience, too — it’s one of his slow-growing spiritual fruits (Galatians 5:22). Don’t be discouraged with your slow growth or with your church’s. Determine to “dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3 NASB). And bear in mind the broader principle captured in Jesus’s words to Peter: “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand” (John 13:7).

Examine the forces that shape your expectations. Do not let wrong assumptions fuel your discouragement or disillusionment. Your Christian life and your Christian church is much more like patient, faithful, slow farming than modern, efficient manufacturing. Trust your divine Farmer, your Vinedresser. He has very good reasons for maturing Christians and churches slowly, and not mass-producing them more quickly.

The Prognosis / Why Tragedy?

Sermon of the Day: The Prognosis


 

Psalm 91:5-6

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Good Morning Men. I hope you are doing well, just remember that no matter what your going through. When you sow in tears, you will reap in joy (Psalm 126:5).

Halfway through typing up a devotion I was re-routed to a talk a little bit about tragedy. Our nation has a several very large and devastating natural disasters actively happening right now. From the Northwest to the Southeast. Millions of people are being effected, and hundreds of thousands will be impacted for months and potential years to come.

A common question that an unbeliever, and even a believer is bound to ask. God if you are such a good God why would you allow this horrible thing to happen?

First of all we need to be clear that God does not cause tragedy. Scripture will clearly define this for us. Their is a prince of this world running wild (John 14:30) and wreaking havoc. However God will allow tragedy to be for His ultimate good.

It would be tough to fully answer this question in one devotion. My goal is to maybe a lead a few of you that have wrestled with this question , down a path of thought that may increase a desire to know more of who God really is. Secondly I want to provide a prayer by John Piper that has some great insight and hope if any of you are interested.

John Piper’s Prayer in the Path of Hurricanes

I would like to select a couple reasons why tragedy happens, again this is just to touch on very large and for many very emotional and passionate topics.

Sin

Since the fall of man through Adam we have all been born into a world run by sin. The Bible says no one is righteous, all fall short of God’s glorious standard. The heart is deceptively wicked and many other verses could be referenced of our condition. The point is we are all broken and fallen, and we live in a broken and fallen world that will never be free of death and tragedy until the return of Christ.

Sin is a rampant, contagious disease that will destroy anything and everything it can. It also only has one cure. The blood that was shed on the cross by Jesus. So while sin remains on this earth, tragedy, death and heartbreak will remain.

However Jesus said that we can find peace in Him even though there will be tribulation in this world. But He says do not fear because I have overcome the world. Jesus is our hope and cure for sin. (Check this song out: The Cure)

Hope

One of the consequences of sin is that the things of this world can become so desired. Unfortunately everything of this world is temporary. So when we place our hope in things that are temporary, we are bound to be let down. There is a God shaped vacuum in each and every heart, nothing will fill that void but the love of God. Until you know God you will try to fill that void with everything this world has to offer.

When God is your hope and ultimate satisfaction, the trials of life will not derail you. We will cry, we will fear, we will want answers but your hope is anchored in the promises of God. Promises that have stood the test of time through God’s Word. A science book changes it’s information all the time because scientist continue to rediscover facts and information and try to interpret it to the best of their human knowledge.

God’s word says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Bible has not needed any revisions since the first section was written thousands of years ago. For me those are the kind of promises I want to hang on to, infallible, perfect, truthful and radiant.

So how do we move forward in the face of tragedy?

First of all know that tragedy is going to happen. It’s not if but when. You then have a choice, ignore it and think it will never happen again.Second, disagree with God, tell Him that He has no right to do that and reject Him. Which most actually choose to do. Or lastly, realize that God is Sovereign and His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, in fact higher than the heavens are above the earth are His ways over ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). The only way this happens is humility. A humility that says; God you know more than me please give me your peace that passes all understanding.

Second, what is your hope in?

Is your hope anchored in temporal things, or are you anchored in the timeless truths and promises of God?

Let me close with this verse:

Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

 

Stop the Blame Game / Seven Times a Day

Sermon of the Day: Stop the Blame Game


Psalm 119:164

Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous laws.

The number seven in the Bible has significant intentions. In fact there are 735 times this number is used throughout God’s Word. The number seven in the Bible always stands for completeness or perfection. Our greatest example is that God created the world in seven days.

The Bible originally had seven major divisions: the Law, the Prophets, the Writings or Psalms, the Gospels and Acts, General Epistles, Epistles of Paul and Revelation.

Those are just a few of the endless amount of numerical statistics and conclusions you can draw from this one number. However I wanted to look at this verse on a practical level as well.

Is there something you think about multiple times a day? How about something you bring up in conversation multiple times a day?

These things obviously reveal the priorities and treasures of our hearts. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is (Proverbs 23:7).

Years ago I made a commitment to pray six short prayers daily. I had a checklist and worked to establish this as a routine. In the beginning I realized that whole days would go by without a single prayer. Which meant I had not thought about God either the entire day. This of course began to change as I remained focused on my goal. Honestly it felt scripted in the beginning, sometimes it barely had genuine heartfelt emotion behind it.  However it was the habit to be mindful of God that I needed to learn. Long story short I truly believe this was a big part to growing my relationship with Jesus.

After reading the above verse I was inspired to commit to praising God at least 7 times a day. I want Him to be the greatest treasure of my heart each and everyday. I want to acknowledge the amazing things God has done and continues to do in my life over the big and the small.

So my encouragement to all of you that truly want to grow in your relationship with Christ is to start a checklist. Everyday find at least seven opportunities to Praise the Lord for something in your life. They don’t always have to be great victories either. They could be a certain struggle or challenge that you are learning from. They could be a certain pain that will sprout a deeper desire for more of God in your life. Keep track of it and watch your thoughts be more centered on Christ, in turn leading to your heart being more centered on Him as well.

Whatever it is lets learn to Praise the Lord for all that He is, all that He has said and all that he has done each and everyday…seven times a day!

Family Values / Fear of the Lord / …Binge on Netflix

Sermon of the Day:

Macdonald: Family Values


Weekly Audio:

Fear of the Lord (see attached – email version)


Daily Devotion: Six Questions to Ask Before You Binge on Netflix

Ask Pastor John
Interview with John Piper
Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Listen to 12 min Audio here.

Audio Transcript

We have talked about Game of Thrones, and nudity in TV and film in this podcast. Today we talk about drama and comedy and PG shows that seem more harmless and less obviously corrupting. It’s a question that comes to us from a listener named Blake. “Hello, Pastor John! My question is, when does humor in media become sinful? I’m a little confused about it, even from some things I have read by you. Is watching secular comedies like Friends andSeinfeld, etc., sinful? I’m rather confused over what is acceptable humor for Christians. If it is wrong to watch these shows, please let me know why.”

The first thing to say here is that I’ve never seen either of those programs — Friends or Seinfeld. I’ve heard of them but never seen one. Which means that my comments, I hope, have the advantage of not being a response to any particular TV show. Rather, they can be seen as an effort to bring biblical reality into view when deciding what we will be entertained by.

What’s Wrong with It?

 Another thing I should probably say here is that my whole approach toward what Christians view or listen to or are entertained by is not governed mainly by the question “What’s wrong with it?” That seems, to me, to be a very different approach than the way the New Testament (the way Paul, especially) approaches questions of right and wrong.

I always get the impression that the question “What’s wrong with it?” is rising from a heart that is basically governed by a desire to minimize wrong rather than maximize holiness or faith or spiritual power or worship or zeal for the lost or missions or justice. Basically, what I’m going to do, in answer to this question, is try to simply reorient our minds about what we should think and feel when it comes to entertainment.

I could, I suppose, go to particular verses (they’re there for a reason) and point out things that are wrong that you might find in TV programs and therefore avoid — like obscene talk in Colossians 3:8 or filthiness, foolishness, and crude joking from Ephesians 5:4. The problem with that approach, right now on this podcast, is that it’s going to leave thousands of Christians right where they are in the immaturity and worldliness of their passions, which is the main issue.

I think most Christians are so in the grip of the spirit of the age and in the grip of popular culture and popular entertainments that the kind of radical reorientation I’m talking about is almost unthinkable for them. For me to pitch into that mindset, a few little warnings from Bible verses that disapprove of certain things seems to me almost useless.

Radical Reorientation

 Here’s my effort at reorienting our thinking. For this to happen, it would be a great work of God, not me. It would be a miracle if it happened to a few listeners. I certainly need it to happen more deeply in my own life as I try to navigate these cultural waters.

What I want to ask is, What are you longing for most earnestly and with the greatest passion in your life? What are you longing for? Let’s just say in your relation to Christ — in your personal walk and relation to Christ — what are you longing for?

Are you longing for greater intimacy? Are you longing for greater depth? Are you longing for greater power? Are you longing for greater clarity as you see his glory in the Scriptures? Are you longing to hear his voice with greater confidence as you read his word? Are you longing to discern his will more confidently? Are you longing to walk more closely with him in a real living relationship, as a real person? Are you longing for his smile of favor rather than his frowns of discipline?

Do you even think in these terms? Do you go to bed with these longings? Do you wake up with these longings governing your life? Do you devote time, perhaps on the Lord’s Day, to seek his face in intensifying these longings? If not, that’s the issue.

This is ten thousand times more important than what particular shows you click on. This will govern that. But if this is missing — if the growing intensification of these longings in your relationship with Jesus is missing — no answers will make any difference about your entertainment habits.

Questions for the Heart

Let’s just pose the question a little differently.

What are you longing for in your relationship with other people? Do you long to represent Jesus with greater compelling forcefulness? Do you long for a greater love for people and a greater zeal for their salvation? Do you long to have greater boldness and encouragement from God in your own representation of Christ? Do you long to be a means of other people’s holiness and purity and power?

Do you long to bring the word of God from your encounter with the risen Christ into the lives of other people with effectiveness? Do you long for readiness to speak hope-filled words into the face of those who are dying or suffering or coming out of divorces?

Do you have the aroma of Christ about you and do you long for it in your conversation with others so that they say, “There’s an aroma about you that’s different”? Do you long to be able to inspire others by your own example in a life of more consistent and deep and satisfying prayer?

If not, what’s the point of talking about shows being right or wrong? If we don’t have that, we don’t even have in place the mindset that can make those kinds of judgments possible. Now, once those kinds of longings are pursued and you have a new passion and you’ve been moved from being a nominal, minimalist, “get by,” cultural Christian to an authentic, passionate, earnest, God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated lover of Jesus, then you will begin to ask questions like, Does this show build up my faith? Does it weaken my faith?

Treasuring God

 Or you might ask questions like this: Does this show make Christ more clear and precious to me, or does it make things more cloudy and make biblical realities more unreal? Does the show make the Bible and immersion in Scripture and meditation more desirable to my heart or awkward to find time for? Does this show leave me with a disinclination to pray and seek God’s face and long for his power? Does this show dampen my zeal for missions and my desire to see salvation come to the lives of the people around me — not to mention the people in Hollywood?

Does it leave me with any desire for a great revival in my city — to see people brokenhearted for the sin represented in a lot of these shows? Does this show sweeten my experience of corporate worship with God’s people and make it more authentic?

Does this show heighten my sense of desire to be a risk taker for the cause of justice and the advancement of God’s righteous rule? Does it help me want to get in a boat or a plane and go to some hard place and die for Jesus? Does this show make a better, more natural conversationalist about spiritual realities like heaven and hell and the Holy Spirit and the gospel and faith?

That’s my response to the question of whether a person should watch any particular show or movie or video. My calling in the world is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all people through Jesus Christ. “Spread a passion for the supremacy of God” — that’s what I’m after. I’m after the kind of passion for his supremacy in everything that functions as a radical litmus test on what we find amusing and entertaining in media.


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Real Christianity

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)