Saturday, January 25, 2014

When I think about the Lord...and the Super Bowl

I have thoughts and concerns regarding the Super Bowl.. Can you imagine.  You might think, "what doesn't he have thoughts or concerns about"?  That's ok.  But here's the thing.  You have heard me rail on about movies, TV, and music regarding the nature of it being predominantly unglorifying to God and unbeneficial to our spiritual growth.  Now I want us to consider the following question regarding these topics as they apply to the Superbowl culture.  It is coming up in about a week and we should truly consider these things before we indulge in what many consider harmless.  But is it?

Is the Super Bowl harmless?
The answer is no.  I will make the case that it is deceitfully harmful.  If so, How do they fit?  Can we as believers have Super Bowl parties at home or at church, and glorify God in the process?

I would say the answer is yes.  Is it happening?  I would say the answer is, more often than not, no.  Now many would make the following argument.  We are just a bunch of Christians getting together to watch a football game.  No beer, no cursing, maybe not even coarse joking or filthy language.  Though that is more prevalent in "Christian" fellowship than anyone wants to admit.  Just good, holy fellowship.  This may be true if done at a home or in a church setting.  Yet, there is more to consider than physical intake and verbal output.  There is also spiritual intake and God-glorifying output.

Do you think about the everything?
We sing a song at my church called, "When I think about the Lord"?  It is a great song about remembering everything that Jesus has done for us.  Everyone gets extra excited when we sing it and in the moment, I have no doubt that they are genuinely grateful and happy.  The problem in this country and in our culture is that we don't generally carry that exuberance and gratitude into our everyday lives.  We don't examine every decision in light of what Jesus did for us and what God commands of us in His word.

So what does scripture say about this?  For me, Philippians 4:8  is a key scripture for this topic. It tells us what it is best to meditate on.  Psalm 101:3-4 says this, "I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.  I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.  A perverse heart shall be far from me;  I will know nothing of evil."

Those are just two.  There are plenty of scriptures that speak to our eyes being the gateway to our hearts and being careful about what we look on or think on, etc.  If we believe that Jesus said, "if you love me, you will keep my commands"(John 14:15-31); and if we believe that the bible is the whole council of God, infallible, inerrant, and inspired by the Holy Spirit; then we know that if a commandment is in the bible, especially the NT, then it should be heeded.

Get to the point dude!
So what are you getting at Josh.  I will tell you.  The Super Bowl has become a vehicle by which Satan can deliver all kinds of crudities visually and audibly into our minds via the commercials and the halftime show.   I was at a past, church sponsored, Super Bowl party that, in and of itself, was harmless.  Good, holy, fellowship.  However, my children were there and I found myself having to audit every commercial for its appropriateness.  For most of them, I had to turn heads and cover ears.  To say nothing of the halftime show which encompassed a very talented artist who was singing unholy lyrics and performing dance moves that were extremely provocative.  The evil and perverseness of the above mentioned Psalm 101 was prevalent.  Certainly not the God-glorifying items that Philippians 4:8 would have us keep our minds on.

So don't bring your children you might say.  Be careful.  No where in scripture does it differentiate between what is holy for children and what is holy for adults.  Every age is called to pursue holiness and to evaluate what is spiritually healthy to read, watch or listen to.  I sat at the same party and watched teenagers and grown folks alike staring at the screen during the raunchy half-time show and laughing at the crudeness of the commercials.  There is something wrong with that.  Now don't get me wrong.  I understand this is secular entertainment.  However, this does not excuse our responsibility to examine everything that we engage in, in light of scripture.  Especially considering that the venue I am discussing is intentionally striving to glorify God in its efforts.  I in no way want to make it seem as though I am trying to tear down this church or any other.  Unfortunately, Satan has done a good job of blinding even many strong Christians to the dangers of media in relationship to God's holiness and His call for us to pursue that same holiness.  This is a battle cry.  No one is perfect but, let's not continue making the same mistakes once we are made aware of them.

A gentle warning.
I would gently and respectfully challenge any pastor or head of a household who is hosting a Super Bowl party to consider their influence over those attending.  On some level, especially that of pastor, you have the authority and responsibility to create alternatives, to the sin-filled commercials and the half-time show, that are entertaining, and yet glorifying to God.  Activities that will guide the people in your care past the sinful influences and redirect their faces to God in the midst of this worldly entertainment.  Then you literally get the best of both worlds.  Everyone can watch the football game, which there is nothing inherently wrong with, and yet avoid the spiritual pollution of the commercials and the half-time show.

I know some will roll their eyes and see this as a wet blanket of religiosity.  However, I beg you to ask the question, "If Jesus were sitting in your midst, would you still allow that stuff to be showing and taken in by those you love".  I hope the answer would be a resounding NO!  If not then there is something lacking in the way of intimacy between you and Christ because through the presence of the Holy Spirit, whom is equally as easily grieved, Jesus is present.  Scripture makes no bones about how the Holy Trinity feels about sin glorifying material of any kind.

Please at least consider what I have said, for the spiritual well-being of you and those in your realm of influence during this time of football celebration.  Explain the issues and the desire to see God glorified in all aspects of the party and then introduce some games or activities that, even if they are not directly related to God or the bible, will turn their hearts away from the worldly garbage that is on the screen in those moments discussed here.

If I have offended you or you feel like you have totally wasted your time reading this.  I will not apologize.  If you are offended, you probably needed to be.  Your hearts and spiritual well being are more important to me than your happiness or whether you like this post or not.  Recognize the power and influence of Satan in even the smallest things.  If it does not bring glory to God, then it should not exist in our lives.



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