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Hunger Games, Discernment and Ear Wax Removal!

I’m guessing a blog on earwax removal was not what you were expecting. Take heart, we won’t discuss that here, except to say to my young friends in Alive that I have to laugh at some of the things that I hear some of you “hear” in a message. My favorites from last week are, “He said we shouldn’t see it”, and “He said it’s evil”, and most of all, “It doesn’t matter what he said; I’m going!” Now I actually didn’t say anything related to going to any movie, except that you should have that discussion with your parents, but I did invite us all to think. Paul wrote the following to the Philippians,

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

If you were at Alive then maybe you were one of the “stirred.” But how were you stirred? Were you stirred by what I did say, or more importantly, what Philippians 4:8 says, or were you “stirred” by what you thought I said? In case you weren’t there, or you were but may not have heard, I did not say don’t go to “Hunger Games” or any movie for that matter. The point wasn’t even about the movie; the point was thinking, and the premiere this week only serves as an illustration. But I do wonder if you have asked yourself, “Why did I get so hooked and emotive over what I thought he said?

The point of the message (which is relevant to all of us even if we weren’t at Alive), and as it relates to our theme this year of being alive in Christ, is well stated by John Piper, when he says, “What does it look like when the blood of Christ governs the television and the Internet and the iPod and the checkbook and the neckline {we can add movies and books to his list}? Most people have never asked this question, let alone answered it. The only way most folks know how to draw lines is with rulers. The idea that lines might come into being freely and lovingly (and firmly) as the fruit of the gospel is rare…movie ratings do not equal biblical discernment…In the end, the sum of all beauty is Christ, and the sin of all worldliness is to diminish our capacity to see him and be satisfied in him and show him compellingly to a perished world.”

Young friend and parents, Paul had a vision from God for the Philippians and for us. Legalism will never be the answer in helping us live alive to God. Philippians 4:8 is a plea to wisely evaluate our media, music, movie and reading intake. It helps us to discern why we react so passionately if we perceive that what we want to watch, listen too, or read is getting challenged. Young friends, could I encourage you, listen to the message again, praying first for discernment. You may still head to the movie, with Mom and Dad’s blessing. But go for bigger reasons than that your friends are going, or you pre-purchased the ticket. Go discerning, so that whatever you do, whether you eat or drink or go to a movie, you can do it to the glory of God! I hope that is worth discerning!