Filling the Storehouse

We are being bombarded by media. Everywhere you turn, brightly colored amusement and entertainment compete for our attention. It’s on our televisions, our movie screens, our radios, our computers, our cell phones, in our cars and now displayed on billboards. In every place and situation there is something or someone “hawking their wares,” announcing the latest and greatest must-have item or dazzling us with storylines that go beyond acceptable limits of morality and decency; people and machines talking at us in decibels too loud for our own good.

In the midst of the din, most of us sit mesmerized and glassy-eyed while our mind drinks it all in; recording it all in a brain that will never forget what we see and hear. On our televisions, blood, guts, gore, war, crime and chaos swirl before our eyes for hours at a time. Inappropriate slang, swear words and useless conversation is being recorded in our mind, only to be recalled at any given moment in our future. We call it something cute like “couch potato” or “vegging out.” In reality our lifestyles have become lethargic and we are alarmingly lax in setting boundaries for what we allow in our homes, hearts and minds.

Probably the greatest casualty in all of this is the collective loss of social skill and the ability to meaningfully converse with others. Gone are the days when neighbors chatted across the back fence or piled the family in the car for Sunday afternoon drives to “drop-in” and visit grand-parents, aunts, uncles and friends. Seldom do we see children outside playing with friends and neighbors until the street lights come on or Dad gives the “time for dinner” whistle. Porch swings and chairs are now simply decorations rarely occupied by chatting men and women in the cool of the evening. What we are left with are the hurting, broken lives of those who are talked “at” but never talked “with.” We are left with people who are hungry for an encouraging word, a listening ear and to know that someone cares for them.

This social deficiency is most tragic among those of us who know the Lord and are commanded to spread His gospel. Now, more than ever, it is important that we guard our hearts and minds and that we judge the things we see and hear by Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things:” or Psalm 19:14, ” Let the…meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight O Lord…” or Psalm 101:3, “I will set no wicked (vile) thing before my eyes…” It is even more important that we spend time with our heavenly Father; to abide in His word and talk with Him each day. Then, when we are called upon to share the gospel, we can do so from the beauty of the excellent and praiseworthy things our mind has recorded, instead of the junk we’ve ingested from the media.

I heard the testimony recently of a young woman who had tried every religion known, looking for something to give her life meaning. When asked why she never tried God, her answer was that she didn’t know who He was or that He existed. I watched a talk show host interview people on the street and ask them if they recognized the name of a very well-known Bible character. Of all the people he asked, no one had ever heard the story of Jonah. No one had ever told them! You may be the only person to show Christ to your neighbor, co-worker, the cashier at the grocer or the waitress at your favorite restaurant. You may be the only person to ever share an encouraging and uplifting word with them. And, in providing that word, you have opened the door to a much greater conversation about their need for Jesus. A conversation they may have with you at that moment or with someone else at a later time. You may be the only person to ever share the Gospel with them.

I encourage you during this next week to be aware of what information you allow to be recorded in your mind and heart – your inner man. How much time do you spend viewing Satan’s realm of chaos, murder, violence and mayhem through news channels, television and the internet? How much time do you spend taking in the Word and things of Philippians 4:8? You will only give out (speak) what you’ve taken into your heart. Luke 6:45 states it like this in the Amplified version of the Bible, “The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.” If what we take in from the Word measures less than what we take in from anywhere else, we may think we are speaking and giving out good things but the truth is we have no idea what God could use and give out through us if we got rid of the trash and filled the storehouse of our inner man with His Word.

Push away from the desk and turn off the computer. Get up from the couch and turn off the television. Pick up your Bible. Fill your storehouse with the treasure of His Word. Be aware of the people you meet. Strike up a conversation, give them an encouraging word and share Jesus with them out of the overflow of your heart!

The world is full of hurting people and we have the answer they are looking for. Talk with them, socialize and share HIS wonderfully life-changing, love and grace! Because, “…how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone (telling) them? …faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14, 17).


3 Observations on Sexting and the Gospel: The Fruit of a Post-Christian Culture

A November 7, 2015, Associate Press story out of Canon City High School in Denver describes how a large number of athletes on the football team are apparently involved in a sexting (that is, sending pornographic text messages through mobile phones) scandal that has caused the school to forfeit at least one game while the investigation of illegal activity is underway. Law enforcement is involved, as sending of nude photos of minor children constitutes child pornography—a felony. When school district administrators discovered the illegal activity, apparently centered in the football team, they asked the coach to do a fast, preliminary investigation to determine how many players were involved. The Friday night game would proceed if reasonable assurances could be made that enough players were not involved that they could field a team. Stunningly, no such assurances could be made. It appears the vast majority of the team is involved in what the law will view as felonious actions. High school students may enter adulthood as felons and be required to register as sexual offenders.


Three immediate thoughts:


1. Teens are openly, without shame or sense of inappropriateness, engaging in self-made porn. This seems a logical step forward for those who have (A) been told that there are no moral absolutes and you are free to determine what is right in your own mind and heart, (B) have seen unrestrained sexual behavior from their parents, politicians, and purveyors of entertainment, and (C) believed porn use is normal, acceptable, and productive. Welcome to post-Christian America.


2. There is a moral crisis occurring on the side of those who promote sexual rights and freedom (that is, the idea that any sexual behavior is acceptable if any individual says it is). It is evident that certain sexual behaviors and ethics are destructive. I’m speaking beyond the obvious biology of disease and physical injury of violent actions—I’m talking about real damage to the human soul that has long-lasting consequences. It further impacts the ability to lead a productive life. I have no thought that this evidence will lead to corrective behavior or change in thinking. These deadly consequences will either be ignored, covered up, or accepted as the cost of doing business in the new market of sexual freedom–or simply denied by the morally blind, as a physically blind man might deny the sun’s light. But as the sun’s heat can be felt and experienced regardless of one’s capacity to see, so the consequences of sexual expression outside of the Creator’s framework will be experienced for a very long time.


3. The sexual ethic (or lack thereof) embraced by the post-Christian west in general, and the United States in particular, must run afoul of the law, which itself must be rooted in an objective standard fixed in time, however transient that standard may ultimately prove to be. Legislatures simply can’t meet, debate, and amend laws fast enough to keep up with the speed of our moral freefall. That means teens and younger children are going to find themselves in the juvenile justice system and will be confused about why they are there since they are simply practicing what their parents, politicians, and entertainers are doing with apparent impunity. Further, because of the moral insanity of our culture, there will be no coherent way to explain why they are being punished. This will soon leave the country ripe for open revolt against law enforcement, courts, and government that punishes people without being able to justify why it does so.


This deadly moral morass is exactly the target of the Gospel: Jesus came to save morally blind, depraved hearts, spiritually bankrupt dead souls from their sin and give them life in Christ in exchange for eternal death and condemnation. Grace restores and heals those who flee to Jesus in faith and repentance. There is a balm in Gilead that makes the wounded whole. The church is given the joyful, satisfying assignment of calling people from death to life in him.

The parents of these children desperately need Christ. These children desperately need Christ. Our nation desperately needs Christ. This is our watch, and it is no time to fail in fulfilling our assignment. If you are a follower of Christ and your life, heart, finances, schedule, affections, and intellect are not adjusting to proclaim the glories of Christ in our dying world–to broken children, broken parents, broken families, broken society—you’re not following very closely.