Friday, December 17, 2010

What They See Is What They Become...

by Walt Mueller - Walt Mueller is the founder and President of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and has been involved in Youth Ministry and its research in favor of families for 31 years. This article is a repost of his latest blog, found at the link above, about Hollywood's early sexualization of girls. Since Jessica and I have three little girls ourselves - this caught my attention and I felt it was worthy of passing on. For the Full Article & Statistics, you can click on the link below or paste the one below:  

"What they see is who they become. That little seven-word sentence just might capture the realities of adolescent identity formation in today's world. Think about it. . . kids are looking for guidance and direction as they experience the powerful push and pull of the wrestling match that's all part of forming their definition of themselves and how they choose to present themselves to the world. And because we all know that example is one of the most powerful educators, it makes sense - sadly - that in today's media-saturated world kids are most likely to be most influenced by what they see and hear in the media. It's not rocket science. Which is why many of us who are older often find ourselves uttering things like "I can't believe that girl's dressed like that!!"

This week, the Parents Television Council (PTC) released a report entitled "Sexualized Teen Girls: Tinseltown's New Target." The study looks at the sexualization of female teenagers in prime-time television. The report's Executive Summary recalls a highly publicized 2007 report from the American Psychological Association that I referenced when it first came out. That report said that the sexualization of girls in the media both reflects and shapes current attitudes. It's both cause and effect.

The PTC has conducted an analysis of all scripted programs within the Neilsen ranking of the top 25 prime-time shows among viewers ages 12 to 17 during the 2009-2010 season. According to the PTC, here are the main findings:

• Underage female characters are shown participating in a higher percentage of sexual depictions compared to adults (47% and 29% respectively). [This is a shocking disparity]
• Out of all the sexualized female characters depicted in the underage and young adult category for the entire database, 86% were presented as only being of high school age.
• Seventy-five percent of shows that included sexualized underage female characters were shows that did not have an “S” descriptor to warn parents about the sexual content.
• The data revealed that 98% of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred outside of any form of a committed relationship.
• The data show that 73% of the underage sexualized incidents were presented in a humorous manner or as a punch line to a joke. [Hollywood followed this same format of using humor to ease our culture into acceptance of homosexuality - laugh at sin and it is easier to feel okay with it]

And so our kids watch. . . learn. . . and become. Now is the time for parents, youth workers, educators, and the church to join together to save our kids from this kind of stuff. . . and even themselves. It's time to talk about finding our identity as one made in the image of God, about finding our identity in Christ, and about living a Biblical sexual ethic that leads to deep and lasting freedom, [within and looking forward to marriage]."

Friday, December 10, 2010


This is a repost of an email subscription that i get each week.

By Dr. Michael A. Halleen

"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2)

There's a story that has become legend in a small Minnesota town. I can't vouch for its truth, only that people tell it as though it really happened. It seems that the retiring mayor was to be honored at a party as he left office. He had been responsible for a number of significant improvements to the town, so it seemed good to have the community pay tribute.

The party was held at the VFW hall, and all agreed it was a great celebration. The music was loud, the room crowded and noisy. The finger food was unusual in its quality and liquid refreshment flowed without restraint until late into the evening. Over coffee the next morning in the Main Street diner, someone wondered aloud if the mayor had enjoyed it, but no one knew. No one in the diner had talked to him or had even seen him there. Only later did they learn that the mayor had checked into a hospital the previous day and had missed the party in his honor. Apparently no one had noticed.

It sounds a lot like Christmas. People get together, the food is great, the music warms the heart — but has anyone seen the guest of honor? The season has become about us — our menus, our travel plans, our expenses. We've lost perspective. Our celebration will be more authentic if our hopes are not only for good sales figures but also for good will among mankind. Christ will be seen among us if our prayers are not only for peace in travel but also for peace on earth.

Our church set out its nativity scene the other day. Life-sized figures of all the familiar characters are in place, kneeling around the manger — all but one. Seems the baby Jesus is missing. We couldn't find him this year. Mary and Joseph and the Wise Men are gazing reverently at some wisps of straw.

Sign of the times. Hopefully the Christ child will be found by Christmas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Are You NOT Ashamed Of?

I want to start with this thought, "What are you NOT Ashamed Of?" and these questions: "What comes up in your conversations without being drug out." "What is in your thoughts all the time?" "What don't you mind sharing with the world?"

Two Sundays ago I substituted for a regular teacher in Bible Study and instead of the obscure passage that is fun to pass on to the Sub, I was pleased with parts of Romans Chapters 1, 9 & 10. Specifically, Romans 1:14-16, "
 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
I noticed that verse 16 is often spoken alone, but it is actually finishing Paul's thought of his obligation to preach to everyone. He was not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the Power of God. Because of the Power of God that met him on the road to Damascus, he was changed. It is the same Power that works in you and me. So, i come back to the original question. Are you ashamed, or unashamed? Do you talk of the Life Changing Power in your life? If not, pray about this; find a way to share more often.

We get caught up in what people are going to think of us and it's not even us we are sharing - it is the Gospel & it's the Power of God who will change them, not me! Verse 14 states the fact that we are all under obligation to Jesus Saving Grace, it was given without a charge, but we are still obligated to Him who died. It is the Atoning Grace of His Death & Resurrection that gains us admission into the presence of God. Without that death - the Holy Righteous, Perfect, Sinless Death - it wouldn't matter what we did on earth, we would still suffer the penalty of hell, which by the way, is a real place, (if you'd like more information on that subject, i recently read a book called 23 Minutes in Hell. The author believes he was taken there by God to experience part of the terror so that he could warn others of hell's reality, something all believers should be doing out of love.) My fear in being unashamed is that we many times promote things other than the Savior and His Life Giving Grace - like Sports, Hobbies, Personal Accomplishments or even Time Wasters - and we pass over opportunities to Share The Gospel.

The other day i pulled up at a stoplight and noticed a largemouth bass wiggling on the trailer hitch of the truck in front of me. When the brake was applied, the fish wiggled its tail like it was hooked or swimming. When the truck was moving - the fish stopped "swimming." There was no doubt that this man loved to fish. I noticed the hitch fish first, but then i saw the numerous stickers, slogans and other logos about fishing.

Anyone who knows me, knows I like to fish - but I don't promote my fishing to that level. But that man's unashamed attitude about his hobby got me thinking. That guy wasn't ashamed of his fishing in the least, he made sure that everyone he was near knew about his love for fishing. In the same way are we unashamed of the Gospel Good News & Christ Jesus to the point that we don't mind what others think in light of Christ Jesus thinks of us?

A few final questions will keep us comfortably uncomfortable in the presence of Holy God.

Will we piously change the places that we shop because they don't use Christmas in their advertising or will we Engage with culture, and go into those shops with the intent of  USING THE TERM CHRISTMAS & being an Aroma of Christ among those that are being saved and those that are perishing? 2 CORINTHIANS 2:15 says, "15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." Smell good to Him this week.

Will we complain about the ways that our Church is not pleasing us or will we be used by the God that seeks the lost and sick, which will benefit the whole Body of Christ. LUKE 5:30-31 shows us that the Pharisees complained to Jesus' disciples of similar displeasures, " 30Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Comfort is not always a good thing.

Will we refuse to change upon meeting the Savior on the Road of Life or will we continue on the path we have chosen for ourselves - many times to our own zealous destruction?  ACTS 26: 14-16, "as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads. [a goad is a sharp pointed guide to keep a labor animal in check, or pointed in a direction, brackets mine]
 15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
   “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me."

** All of us that know Christ are now His servants and witnesses of what He has done. We have a mission and to testify of what we have seen and will see of Christ. Merry Christmas, Engage someone with the SOMEONE you are not ashamed of and then Trust the Power of God to accomplish the task.