Tomorrow’s Church, Today

1394034107The teens in our congregation are extremely worldly.” …

The kids in our homeschool group are so much more spiritual than those in our church.” …

It hurts when people make fun of you for doing the right thing, but it is so much more hurtful when it’s the kids in your youth group.”

I know. I hear these statements over and over again as I travel about and speak to moms and teen girls. I know there’s worldliness in our youth groups. I know there’s texting going on during worship services. I know there are sleepy kids on the Lord’s Day because the devil had the night before. I know that persecution is sometimes sitting on the same pew with perseverance. I know.

But the good news is that there are hundreds of our young people who’ve not “bowed the knee to Baal,” (Romans 11:4). I know.

I know Terrin, who recently read a tract about the works of the flesh in Galatians 5 and then went home and told her mom she was done with dancing–no more prom, no more homecoming dances– no more. And she meant it.

I know. I know Kaylee, who plays volleyball on a public high school team in knee-length shorts.

I know. I know Hannah, who gave up a part in the play because she was unwilling to be onstage during a single worship service of the Lord’s church.

I know. I know Jack, who walked across the auditiorium to meet a young man he’d never seen before–a visitor–and invite him to come up and sit with the youth group.

I know. I know Andrew, who went home alone on Sunday night after worship because his youth group was going to see a movie that contained language that was inappropriate for Christian consumption.

I know. I know Camron, who, finding out that the man who sat near him each Sunday was not a Christian, asked him to study the Bible and, later, baptized him into Christ. I know.

And I know Daniel Webster and Samuel Thrasher. Daniel’s just a regular thirteen year old, who likes to play ball and board games and sometimes just likes to veg-out on the couch and look at facebook. He’s also kind of a prankster. Samuel is eighteen. He likes theater, public speaking and hanging out in fun places with Christians. He plans to go to Freed Hardeman University in the fall. Together, they’ve made time to jump start an incredible website for all of the Terrins and Kaylees and Hannahs and Jacks and Andrews and Camrons–all the kids who really are trying to seek Him first, make good choices for His glory and lead others to Him. It’s called Tomorrow’s Church, Today. There you will find articles by Daniel about prayer, by Song Nicholas about evangelism, by Kayla Barker about gossip, by Samuel about God’s majesty, and so many more. You’ll find upcoming youth activities around our nation, complete with details and maps. You’ll find a question and answer section and a prayer area. Best of all, if you’re a teen with holiness in your heart, you will find a great youth group–a group of Christian teens who are just like you–determined to be a light in a dark world. Suddenly the light will seem brighter and your support group, while it still may not always be on the pew with you, will always be a click away.

So are you one of the hundreds who’ve refused to bow the knee? You’re going to love this site. You’re going to find people who think like you do and places to be with kids who will encourage you. You’re going to like this page–on facebook, and in your heart. You’re going to be stronger just knowing there are others–lots of others–who are praying to the same Father for the same help through their days, as you are. You’re going to find ways to help people around you to be more Christlike. Who knows? Those kids on your pew may be open to reading from this site, too. Share it! There’s potential on your pew for tomorrow’s church!

The Eclipse

BabyGloves1A couple of weeks ago, our children surprised my husband for his birthday with an evening in Nashville to watch the Harlem Globetrotters. This was a pretty big deal to Glenn because of nostalgic childhood memories of watching the Globetrotters. He was totally surprised when we stopped at an antiques mall on the way there, rounded a corner in the middle of the huge warehouse store and there stood Ben and Hannah, statue-like and garbed in hats and props from the booth where they were standing. Very fun.

We shopped for a while and I found amazing deals on a child’s Christmas quilt, the sweetest little Madame Alexander baby doll, and a beautiful crib sheet. I have, through the years, amazed myself with a strong and strange propensity to shop for baby things (shower gifts, children in the congregation and one-day grandchildren), even though there hasn’t been a single baby in our family for many years. I guess it’s nostalgia that makes me love Victorian children’s books, smocked and French hand-sewn baby dresses and wooden toys. I think Glenn and I are hopeless reminiscent sentimentalists.

It was a fun antique romp and we were basking in the pleasure of being with our kids, talking about their preaching works, Caleb’s graduate work (that’s almost done!) and the fun times we’d shared over the holidays. Little did I know that every fun thing about this birthday meeting was about to be totally eclipsed.

It was a quiet restaurant to which the kids directed us. Seated at a round table right in the middle of the restaurant, we ordered gourmet Bison burgers and then the kids had gifts for their Dad. Suddenly, when he unwrapped this, it was the moment of eclipse:

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In everything else that we were eating, doing, talking about, looking forward to, we suddenly lost interest. What birthday? What hamburger? Globetrotters? Who cares about them? We looked at each other and just exclaimed, “We are going to be grandparents!”

All three kids quickly corrected us: “You ALREADY ARE grandparents!”

And so we are. There is a baby right now in Louisville, Kentucky that is traveling around in the safest of all carriages. I know she/he belongs to Ben and Hannah, but can I just call that baby “my baby”? Just humor me here. The gender of my baby has been decided. Heart is beating. Eye-color, skin tone, hair texture and color, all genetic characteristics already determined. Praise God!

Some even more important things have already been determined as well. Genetic traits are fun to ponder, but they are not nearly as important as environmental influences. The environment in which my baby is going to grow up has already been determined as well. Her mother is a faithful Christian. His daddy is a gospel preacher who lives the truths he teaches. Her parents have family Bible time every night. They choose entertainment activities very carefully. They pray together before each meal and lots of times in between. They think of the needs of others. They offer hospitality. They revere the name of God. I’m glad and oh-so-thankful for this spiritual make-up of my baby’s future. So much was determined so long ago when both of my baby’s parents were baptized into Christ and took on the characteristics of Jesus, the strongest traits they will pass along to my baby.

I have often humored grandparents by oohing and ahh-ing over stacks of pictures they just “happen to have” in their wallets, by laughing hysterically when they tell me the latest antics or the cute things their babies have said, or by picking up the wee ones and bragging about how beautiful and smart they are. But I must confess that I never really thought I could be so silly as to think my grandchild was the prettiest or the smartest one on the planet…until now. Now I know it’s true. Only Brian and Beth Giselbach will have a grandchild as beautiful and intelligent as ours. And I bet I am the ONLY grandmother who just happened to have a baby gift right there on the spot at the very moment the baby’s upcoming birth was announced. Glenn said I was pretty efficient. He’s right. I snapped into grandmother mode with no trouble at all.

So we have hung the plaque and they have tucked away that pretty little crib sheet with the tiny bears and hearts. September! Hurry up, September!

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Sister to Sister: The Best Thing I Brought Home from the Seminar

PrayerThe FAQs of Life Seminar was a large charge, spiritually, for me. That was due to several things, not the least of which was the study motivation it provided for me. The Spirit is so good to have given us a written life manual that is perfect for every situation of every woman’s life, even when we are so far removed in time from its original transmission. But sometimes I just need study deadlines and FAQS provided that for me. Another blessing that I can’t take for granted is fellowship. There were nine of us at my house for the weekend and a big sister support group was there for each of our sessions. I’m convinced that even if we didn’t have an organized time of study, the fellowship would be worth the effort of our getting together. Family Bible time at my house was an event in itself! But the best thing I brought home from the weekend is a prayer list.

On Friday night we spent time talking to each other and to our Father about the evangelism challenges that are in our lives. In the context of Matthew 28:19, 20, we included both those that we are trying to reach for the first time with the gospel and those we are trying to restore to a state of faithfulness to our Lord; a state that they once enjoyed. Every time I do this it’s, ironically, both disturbing and comforting. Sisters are not hesitant to share.

We heard from a young woman whose boyfriend is now visiting the worship services with her. We heard from a young mom who has a new study set up with a married woman who is insistent that the studies not be conducted in the presence of her husband. We heard from a woman who has recently been reunited with a young niece, who was adopted out of the family in her infancy just after her birth mother’s death. Of course, this Christian woman would love to have the chance to reach her deceased sister’s daughter for the Lord. We heard from a woman who has led a co-worker to the Lord in recent weeks, but the co-worker is struggling in significant ways. A middle-aged woman told us about her brother, with whom she’d had little contact for most of her adult years. They’ve now been brought back together around the care of a sick parent and the door for dialogue about the Lord is slowly opening. All of these women were passionate in seeking advice and, most of all, in verbalizing strong desires for the prayers of their sisters. It was humbling to me, as I marveled at the blessing of family that we have in Jesus.

But there were others: a woman whose children are now involved in a false religion after having been rehabilitated from drug abuse by good people in this denomination…a woman whose children are entrenched in the ways of the devil to such extremes that she is fearful for her grandchildren to be in their company…a woman who is grasping for ideas to bring the gospel anew to her lost son, who is overseas on an island military post…a woman reaching out for prayers for her husband of thirty-one years who has never obeyed the gospel and for her adult daughter, who is spiritually destitute, and for herself as she struggles to raise a young grandson, a sweet little four-year-old man that I was blessed to meet…a woman who asked us to remember her son, who just slowly, but surely, left the Lord completely. All of these and more. The prayer list could have been a list written in the first century or in any century between then and now. It was just the litany of the tragic aftermath of the devil’s work in our lives; the same work he has been doing since the garden. And the message that motivates us to keep trying…to keep praying…is the same one, too:

“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. For I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Each story was very real. Every woman in the room could relate in varying degrees to the challenges of our sisters. And our prayer together made me so thankful for the perfect Father and the older Brother who facilitated our adoption into this wonderful eternal family.

The sentiment I kept hearing afterwards was expressed in words like “Why don’t we do this more often?” and “I am so glad I came. I really needed this.”

The best thing I brought home with me was a list–a list that included names of brothers and sons, daughters and husbands, coworkers and sisters, boyfriends and daughter-in-laws–a list I intend to talk to God about. As one woman said, “I had gone years without praying for my brother. I thought he was a lost cause. But when I began to pray, opportunities began to open up.” I intend to pray for the very things we discussed that may facilitate obedience and restoration: wisdom on our parts as we try to teach, opportunities through His providence to have conversations about Him, providential events in the lives of the lost–events that may make them see the need for Jesus in their lives, and boldness that we may say the things that we know we need to say to the lost ones we love.

We will not win them all, because the decisions that determine destinies are, ironically, in the hands of those whose destinies are now hanging in the balance. The price has been paid, loved ones are praying and a family’s open arms are waiting. But our prayers are powerful and we can do this for each other.

If any study is exhibitive that God is on His throne and that He hears the prayers of His weary people, it is our Exodus study in the Digging Deep group. I hope you can join us on Tuesday night, September 24th, for the podcast. We’ll talk to and about this great God who changed the life blood of Egypt to death blood, in one miraculous outstretching of the rod of Aaron. He can still accomplish anything He wills. Watch the Digging Deep in God’s Word facebook group for details.

p.s. I’m very thankful for Emily Anderson and Holly Smith, who lived sacrificially for several weeks in putting together this seminar, and for the large group of my great WH sisters who just always step up to the plate and start swinging. I am especially grateful and humbled that they invited me to speak this year. I look forward already to hearing Kathy Pollard at our 2015 West Huntsville ladies seminar. You really want to be in Huntsville for that weekend! 2014 is our year to host the teen girls’ Purity Day. I’ll post details about that soon and you will want to bring both groups of girls and groups of mentors to that!  I’m hearing exciting rumbles about it already. If you live near Huntsville and you need a winter retreat, we’ll be together again on January 31st and February 1st at the Hilton Garden Inn to be fed by Kristi Burleson, of Henderson, TN.

Sister to Sister: Look at the FAQs!

logoFAQsofLifeThe news of the day is that thanks to the Lord and His handmaiden, Jennifer Benavides, you can watch the FAQs of Life seminar as it happens. We will be streaming live from West Huntsville beginning at 7 p.m. CST this Friday night and beginning at 9 a.m. CST this Saturday morning. I am super excited about the 206 ladies who have registered. (At least a dozen of you have told me you are coming, but are not yet on the list…be sure you fix that at www.thecolleyhouse.org/seminar.) And, if you can’t come and enjoy the fellowship, here’s where you can watch: new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women.

Please remember our kids, the Giselbachs, as they are currently still en route to Iringa, Tanzania, Africa along with two men from the Cedar Springs church where they work. Due to some unforeseen circumstances earlier in the week, they had to reroute their trip to a new destination and point of mission at the last moment. Since communication with people in Africa happens when people in America should be sleeping, they are sleepy travelers. But we are praising God for the sweet Adam Evans family in Iringa. Brand new to the area themselves, they are welcoming the weary travelers and have gone the second, third and fourth miles to be sure this mission was not aborted. We’ve been blessed by the work of these soldiers before and this time they have stepped up to the plate in a way that is humbling to those of us who are still enjoying the comforts of home. We love them. You can read about their good work at https://www.facebook.com/MissionTanzania. They’re amazing. (And by the way, if you are still looking for a missions family to whom your children can write and to whom they can address little funds from small piggy banks during Family Bible Time, I bet this family would love to hear from them. I personally know that they have had some large and unexpected expenses this month trying to secure a vehicle for their teaching work.) Please pray for them as we are.

I’m excited that Brenda Johnson from Lads to Leaders (lads-to-leaders.org) will be with us this weekend at the seminar and she will have information about the brand new Keepers program for our girls. We’ve waited a long time for this program where older women teach our girls how to do some very practical things that fall in the category of keeping the home. I hope your congregation’s women can get involved. How can we be busy teaching our girls how to speak and sing and debate (all in the context of women- only groups) and memorize scripture–all wonderful skills for them to develop, by the way–but failing to teach this basic principle that is so expressly commanded in Titus 2:3-5? So glad the Keeper’s program’s day has come!

There will be AP tables, Publishing Designs tables and other book tables and, for those who asked, yes…the Book about the Holy Spirit (The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption, Franklin Camp) that we mentioned in conjunction with Digging Deep will be available. I can’t wait for the day, but I’m praying for a few more hours of sleep and study before it comes, all the same. My sweet husband took me to get a latte last night after Bible study and I forgot the word “decaf” when I ordered that thing. Was it that or was it that my kids were in the air that kept me up the entire live-long night? Well, they’re both little episodes that can keep you awake when you’re already too excited….That’s just the facts of life about the FAQs of life.

August…the Month of Reaching

CCHeaderNew Blog! You might want to check out Caleb Colley’s new internet journal. Called “Restore” its address is www.calebcolley.com. I’ve taken a look already and it’s not your everyday “things-to-think-about” or “what’s-going-on-in-my-world” blog. It’s a well organized multi-dimensional site that includes more than may pop into your mind when you think of a blog. Categories include the faith page, which features articles about the pillars of Christianity, and the family page, tackling issues about church and family. There’s also a page about the Restoration Movement, an ethics section and even pages that will teach lessons from sports and film. I’m personally excited to see what practical lessons pop up in those categories. I just wanted to invite you to take a look as this site launches today. When you do, you may think it’s your husband who will enjoy it more. That’s okay. Invite him, too!

August…the Month of Reaching

It’s a marvel to me that 24 months have elapsed since the beginning of the first Digging Deep study and the morphing of that small PTP session into an international women’s Bible study group. You’re invited to the brand new study that will begin on September 1st. Details will follow both here and in a session on Tuesday, August 27th at Polishing the Pulpit in Sevierville, Tn. That session will be streamed live for those of you who are unable to be in the room with us. (It will be available Tuesday, August 27th at 2:30 pm EST at http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women.) These are exciting times. Who would have thought we (ladies all over the world) would be able to virtually assemble for His glory, spend time in discussing His will for our lives, pray together and motivate each other to love and good works (Heb. 10:24) as we are now doing! This study most certainly exponentially builds faith. That’s what He has promised (Romans 10:17). And Faith IS the victory that overcomes the world.

Faith is only alive when it is working, though. That’s why our assignments in August each year are reaching assignments. August is the month in which we use our spiritual nerves. I mean we put what’s in our spiritual brains (the faith we have acquired from study) into our hands, arms. legs and feet. We write notes, cook meals, wash dishes, have heart-to-hearts and we WORK. This year we are working to restore, in the spirit of meekness, those around us who may be struggling to be the sanctified people of God (Gal. 6:1). In case you are not a part of the study, here’s what August looks like. (Of course, we all are working year round. If we weren’t, we would be pretty backward believers! But August is our month of study application. It’s the most hands-on part of our Digging Deep year.) Here’s this month’s assignment and one final note:

Read the book of I Peter this month, memorizing chapter 2, verses 9-11. Make a note of each time suffering or trials or pain is mentioned. See if you can also make a list of promised benefits of suffering. Does suffering sanctify us? Give scriptures to prove your answer. How does suffering allow us to be partakers with Christ? When we are partakers with Him, we are sanctified!

The challenge for August is to reach out to someone who may be struggling in their attempts to leave the world and be holy. Perhaps it is a teen girl in your congregation who is peer dependent. Perhaps it is a young mother who thinks an awful lot about the acquisition of this world’s goods. Perhaps it is a brother who is tempted by alcohol. Perhaps it is a business person who is constantly away from his family. Choose one or more of the following ways to encourage holiness in the body where you are. If this is hard for you, remember that it’s the hard things that help us to be partakers with the Christ!

1. Write a letter to a younger woman and tell her that you are praying for her daily as she faces the rough decisions of her school or workplace. Tell her you are “here for her” when she needs encouragement.

2. Ask a weaker member of the body to have a weekly study with you about sanctification. You should be ready for this.

3. Make a phone call to someone who is haphazard in attendance to let her know she is missed and ask if she’s okay.

4. Purchase a Christian parenting book written by one of our faithful brothers or sisters for parents who are struggling to bring their young children up in the ways of the Lord. Write a sweet note in the cover and tell them you are appreciative of the way they are trying to be godly parents in this tough world.

5. Purchase a book about teen purity for a struggling teen in your congregation. Ask her to read it and then get together with you at the coffee shop or at your house to talk about how she liked it.

6. Sit beside someone at services who is struggling with a sin problem. Let him or her know that you are keeping him/her in prayer.

7. Have a ladies prayer group meeting in your home and just pray, pray, for the sanctification of the body.

8. If your congregation is one which does not practice the withdrawal of I Corinthians 5, go to your elders, or humbly ask your husband if he would be willing to go to them and meekly ask them to help you win back those who are in sin by faithfully practicing this command. Godly elders will respond well to a kind spirit of obedience.

9. Purchase a book about future church leadership to give to one or more boys in your congregation to help insure faithful leadership for the sanctified body in the year 2035. This could be a gift that keeps on giving!

10. Read Galatians 6:1 and decide another approach you will take this month to try and restore the one who is overtaken. Remember to wear the spirit of meekness.

One final note. I began this month by having a serious discussion with Sister A in Congregation X, who just cannot bring herself to be friendly with Sister B. Due to some real or imagined injustices of the past, Sister A will actually move away from me if Sister B walks up to converse with me. As I think about our study of I Peter this month and the suffering of sanctification, I am saddened that anyone, having been cleansed by the sacrifice of the cross can be so brazen as to reject the relationship offered to us in Jesus without being willing to even sit down and discuss the breach of fellowship between sisters. I challenged Sister A to go home and read the bottom of Romans 12 and just see if she could fit her behavior into that chapter in any way. Even if Sister B is her enemy, there is certainly a prescription in Romans 12 for how to respond to ill-treatment and that prescription is NOT to stop speaking to an enemy. I told Sister A that I would be praying for her as she re-evaluates this conscious decision to avoid a sister.

“You just do not understand,” Sister A said. “I am not going to be mean to her, but I am just not going to put myself out there for her to start being friends with me again and then try to take advantage of me.”

I just had to think about Christ…the one who “put Himself out there”. He put Himself out there in the garden…I mean out there all alone sweating drops as blood. He put Himself out there in that mock trial as Peter was denying Him by that warm fire. He put Himself out there at Golgotha–out there where all the sin of all the ages of all the world was on His bleeding back. He put Himself out there for this body–for this family–in which Sister A can’t put herself out there for Sister B, because she is afraid her “feelings will get hurt again.” Really?

Let’s be about making a step in August to try to restore relationships. Decide you can don the spirit of meekness this month and reach out to restore. Restore your own will to be all about His glory every day. Encourage restoration in a weak sister. Bolster one in your local congregation who is struggling every day to be what God wants her to be. Go to the “Digging Deep for Encouragement” page on Facebook and pray for the sweet souls there who have asked for prayers for strength, for studies being conducted, for healing and for wisdom. If you are willing to share with us your strategies for restoration this month, send me an email or a Facebook message, so that we can encourage each other and share good ideas for helping each other be holy women for Him. Let’s pray that our reach this August will be a reach all the way into eternity. It’s possible though Him!

The Dark Night Rises

Digging Deep! Same Great Bible Discussions in a Brand New Format!

VIDEO podcast Tuesday, June 25th, at 7 p.m. CST! Be sure to join us for live streaming of the monthly Digging Deep podcast tomorrow night. We, at Digging Deep, are very excited to bring you new video streaming. Equipment has been purchased, we’ve set up our little studio and, most importantly, we’re set to discuss Acts 1-16. So you get ready, too, and be sure to join me, along with Kristin Benavides for the historic kick-off of the new and improved Digging Deep. I’m not sure if video is a real improvement, for my personal contribution, but, for Kristin, you will agree that it is! Many thanks to Matt Beard, Mike Deasy, Louis Benavides, Robert Hatfield, Caleb Colley, the elders at West Huntsville and especially and always Jennifer Benavides for making this possible. Lights, camera, action! Be there and be sure to join us in the chat room! Here’s the link: http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women

The Dark Night Rises
(and slowly overtakes the people of God).

Something just seems so wrong about attempting to teach kids truths about godly living using illustrations from ungodly motion pictures. Something’s not right about quoting from movies that have multiple profanities and a sex scene or two as one attempts to raise funds for mission work. Maybe it IS just me (lots of people have said that), but it just doesn’t seem right to put a spiritual mentor in front of an audience or feature her in a spiritual journal and then have her make a Biblical appeal using the carnal, even sometimes lascivious or profane, offerings of Hollywood. Through the years, at youth camps, in mission fundraising pleas, from pulpits, and in spiritual journals, I’ve seen it over and over, from way back in the days of “The Titanic” to “The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood” to, more recently, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Why, oh why, do we need something worldly to sell something sacred? Do we really think that teens cannot process the spiritual–maybe can’t pay attention to rich-themed Bible lessons without using extended illustrations from the exciting, but plastic and sometimes dark world of the silver screen? Is it not plausible that there are many who are actually discouraged from making contributions to mission works when those who are raising funds are quoting in print from a movie that contains expletives, the inappropriate use of the Lord’s name, a scatological term or two and the ever-popular “f -word”?

I think we underestimate our audiences. I have, for many years now, been working with ladies and teen girls and have never, that I can recall, referenced a questionable movie in any lesson (with the exception of discouraging the viewing of them), and yet, I have seen women and teens respond to Biblical teaching and make positive life changes over and over. It’s the teens, in fact–the group we often think we have to draw with sensationalism–that I see respond, most often, with tender hearts to the clear teachings of the Word of God. Teens are hungry for the milk and then the meat of the Word. They, if interested at all, are interested in knowing what the Bible teaches. They still hunger and thirst for righteousness. They can get the world at the theater, among their peers at school, on television, and, in fact, almost everywhere they turn. If they are in Bible classes they deserve to be fed the Bible, without the implied endorsements of worldly entertainment choices by Bible teachers. Further, as teachers and camp counselors and administrators, we owe something more to the parents who entrust their teens to us in those classes and camps.

Glenn and I are bombarded, as are most Christians, by financial pleas from causes to which we would love to contribute money. We receive multiple requests for funding weekly in our mailbox and in our inboxes. We have to be selective when we open those requests. It’s beyond me that a good spiritual cause would choose to raise funds by referencing the latest raunchy movie. I am not drawn to contribute to the cause that has, at its helm, someone who is spending his money at the theater watching, many times along with his children, material that is not appropriate for Christian consumption, and then having no qualms in relating this to the brotherhood. This is not the cause I would pick to support.

Can I now be quite frank? I think we have, as the people of God, just become so very anesthetized to evil through and because of our outrageously wicked American media, that we are no longer offended by profanity and lewd behavior in our entertainment venues. We have consumed the vulgar and the profane for so long and we have laughed at sin in bigger doses and to greater degrees each year since the 1970s, that we no longer have a viable conscience when it comes to entertainment. Not only do we have no problem following the world to the theater, but now we don’t even know it when we might be offending Christians who have taken a different stance–a more sanctified approach– to entertainment choices. If I sound like I am disgusted by the pop culture and its slow, but steady impact on our moral senses as the people of God, I am. I visit a sister congregation and I overhear kids on a pew in front of me discussing the inappropriate film they are going to see when this service is over. I pick up a journal and read from a father who references an expletive-laden movie he has watched with his children. I am in a large assembly and I hear a camp director jokingly reference repeatedly a movie that none of the campers should have seen. I allow my teens to go to a youth activity with some other teens and and an inappropriate movie is being shown on a mobile device as they are being transported. As you can tell, I could go on.

But I will not. I simply implore those mothers and teen girls who may be reading to become more vigilant about where we allow our minds to go in those times when we are seeking thrills, diversion or laughter. Entertainment is not wrong. But neither is it a requirement for heaven. I really could turn off my television and my computer and never enter another cinema and still go to heaven. Perhaps if you and I would just do that, say for a couple of months, we might realize when we resumed, how very vile our entertainment choices had become and how very numb we’d become to that vileness. We might also emerge from the experiment realizing the very optional nature of entertainment.

Jesus didn’t think it too radical to counsel a person to pluck out his right eye if that eye was going to keep him from heaven. That’s one way to stop the visual desensitization. But I can think of an easier one. I’d rather remove the television cable from its socket and keep my right eye (and my left eye) in the socket. But if you’re determined to watch movies and television that contains material unfit for Christian consumption, please be sensitive enough to those who are conscientious about being different from the world in entertainment choices to refrain from injecting immoral materials from raunchy Hollywood productions into spiritual venues to illustrate Biblical truths. The Bible just rises above the need for that.

He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Be ye holy even as your Father is holy. As a man thinks in His heart, so is he. Whatever is true, just, pure and lovely…if anything is virtuous, think on these things. We have a higher calling. It’s a call to sanctification.