Tag Archive | "Media & Arts"

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The Gates Are Over Run! (A Bible perspective on American freedom)


By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of the Levesque Institute

 

The American citizenry is being battered from multiple attacks and from multiple directions. It is overwhelming. The rapid fire onslaught of domestic and foreign crises seems to be pressing our national capacities and resolve. Our country’s lungs are burning from exertions and it’s muscles are aching from last efforts. Our existence is in the balance. Citizens are frozen with inability and fear. Some are blind with apathy and indulgence. The gates are being overrun by the barbarians of globalism and self interest. The national gatekeepers of every branch of government have and continue to fail us. Is there a hope of renewal and national survival?

The answer is an astounding “YES!”. Bible advocates, though much maligned are and will continue to be the reason for such optimism. While most Americans ‘twitter’ away their thoughts on who is ‘dancing with the stars’, or ‘facebook’ their picks for Sunday’s ‘NFL’ match ups, a real chasm of destruction widens. This week alone, congress will vote to control Americans, cradle to grave, with “healthcare reform.” Afghanistan “flare ups” threaten to critically “break” our military. The dollar is dying, the deficit is raging, and the banks continue to go unaccountable for any of it. The Supreme Court takes on the gun rights issue yet again. The Federal government is consolidating power, loosening immigration policy, and supporting homosexual rights.  These domestic issues pale in comparison to the increasing threat of nuclear proliferation and foreign conflicts.

World War Three is having it’s opening salvos as we pen these words as North and South Korea, China and Taiwan, India and Pakistan all “test” fire missiles on a daily basis. Of course, the rhetoric and scope of calamity between Israel and Iran is truly apocalyptic. Certain media figures cast blame and expose error, but where is the fix? What are the answers? Can anything be done? Does Obama hold our salvation is his hands?

The Scriptures reveal the source of our hope. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of   the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” -Isaiah 59:19. It is now His battle and in His hands. Our rest is in the calm assurance that God is right, fights for the right and therefore that the right prevails . . . always! It then behooves us to be right and do right. The analogy is this, we put up our resistance, we stand up for the right. When the gates are overrun, and the enemies are on top of us . . . listen for the trumpet of the cavalry.  Yes, God uses human instruments, but sometimes He Himself does a divine coup d’ tat for His own people, His own will, and in accordance with His own Word. Let us stand, let us fight, but above all, let us be right!  Claim Isaiah 59:19, and be willing to be His standard.

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Lovers of Pleasures

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Lovers of Pleasures


By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

A man named Demas once left his chosen path of Christian service because he “loved this present world.”  The minefield of choices lying astride of God’s prescribed path was a danger two millennia ago and prompted Paul of Tarsus to warn young Timotheus that, in the last days, men would be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (II Timothy 3:4).  These last days are certainly more perilous than ever and the proliferation of pleasures have compounded the difficulty to pursue right paths an hundred fold.

Roots and Fruits

We Americans have received the fruits of a Biblical culture including prosperity and consumer freedoms.  However, we have exported these cultural blessings without exporting with equal vigor their foundational premises.  The world, in turn, and in a great degree sees us as a devouring demon of all that men can produce.  They imagine a greedy never-satisfied dragon whose insatiable appetite will destroy all that is decent and good.  Can we blame them?  Are we proud of such a self-centered and incongruous reputation?  Is this ill repute also being passed off by other competing ideologies as the fruits of Christianity?  We must do more to defend and promote the roots of our Biblical ideology.

Love Not the World

Bible advocates must heed what we read and practice the principles that we preach.  It does us no service to play into Madison Avenue’s marketing schemes and become consumed with houses, cars, techno-gadgets, and passing fashions.  Do we need hair plugs, teeth whiteners, and imported shoes in order to set ourselves apart as lovers of God or are we copying worldly errors?  As adamantly as we proclaim a right to life and the institution of marriage we must herald the principles of self-restraint, holy living, and decrying evil. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

The Bible’s Focus

A final and ultimate objective of a culture whose core is from Biblical thought and conscience should be to champion truth, speak only faith filled-reason, and unashamedly herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ (John 14:6,Acts 3:26,Romans 1:16).  It is no crime to love God or to carry that love into every aspect of life and society.  It is both possible and practical to be a courier of the love of God into the courtroom and the classroom; the boardroom and the battlefield; the legislative forum and the lights of Broadway (II Corinthians 2:14-17).  Jesus gave the greatest commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37).

Comparative Statistics:

In 2004, Americans gave 65.5 billion to churches and other charitable organizations.1

 

In comparison, in 2005 the average American spent 589 billion on entertainment and food away from home. It is estimated that Americans will spend over $40 billion on their pets in 2007, and by 2010 over $60 billion will be spent on weight-loss programs.2

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics the average American in 2006 spent 12 minutes a week involved in religious and spiritual activities.

In comparison during the same year Americans spent 8.5 hours each week involved in leisure and sport activities. 3

 

 

 

 

 

1Data from www.generousgiving.org, Statistics & Trends: Spending Priorities.

2Consumer Expenditures in 2005, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics Report 998.

3Data from www.bls.gov

 

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American Idolatry

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American Idolatry


By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

Idolatry, in the sense of setting up a golden calf and dancing around it, is not a predominant ideal in American culture; however, the fact that an overwhelming majority of American households own and regularly watch a television (sometimes multiple), even dedicating an entire room of their home to, it seems to parallel the notion.

Most homes have their furniture directed around the TV the way a church’s pews surround and face the pulpit.  An earlier citizen of the 20th century might wonder what everyone was worshipping or rather who was being worshipped.  Is it any wonder that one of this nation’s most watched programs today is called “American Idol”?  Moses recorded God’s spoken words thusly, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3).  Idolatry may look a little different today but its dangerous effects and end results are still the same.

Idols as Saviors

Empires past have used their idols as platforms of national unity and identity.  In victory, gods of stone or gold have received gratitude and glory from both people and state.  In difficulties, those same lifeless items were looked to for healing and salvation.  The fall of Egypt, Babylon, Persia,

Greece, Rome, and other majesties past was, at least in part, the result of unsuccessfully relying upon these false messiahs.  Unfortunately, their fascination with Pharaoh and Caesar worship is not unlike our own preoccupation with ‘the stars’.  Today the most popular songwriters, performers, athletes, and actors make broad political condemnations, back their candidates of choice, donate or raise money for pet causes, and yet hardly make a dent in solving real problems of the American landscape.  They do not save victims of crime, soldiers from IED’s, debtors from collectors, or spouses from divorce.  Few quote the Bible or give it a nod, but are rather ignorant of its solutions to societal ills.  Many of these icons of culture are the very corrupting force within it.  On the other hand, the Bible was a chief formulating force of the important concepts of liberty of conscience, speech, press, and assembly.  President Ronald Reagan once said, “Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”  Even Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners have not managed to stave off hunger, war, or disease.  The statues of antiquity along with our idols just do no make worthy saviors. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (I Timothy 2:5).

A Modern day “Casting Down”

The high places and groves of historic idol worship have been replaced by satellites and internet chat rooms.  The conflict remains a spiritual one.  The Apostle Paul writes:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (II Corinthians 10:3-6)

While Bible believers may not be able to stave off certain popularities among an increasingly diverse and debauched moral climate, we do have a Biblical model of countering idols in any form:

Prayer.  Like the examples in Scripture, personal and even corporate expressions of repentance are needed.  We must acknowledge what it is we need – a reversal of idolatrous tendencies in our lives.

Personal Reform.  An honest evaluation of how idolatrous practices have entered our own sphere will be a painful exercise, but profitable in the end.

Public Denouncement.  Teaching, writing, and speaking out against blatant corrupting influences is not to be relegated to just a few. 

Appealing to Leadership.  Pertinent and timely instruction to our elected officials regarding the Bibles cultural benefits is worth the time and effort that a pastor might put into a sermon.  These lessons can be conveyed via impassioned pleas, stern warnings, didactic reports, and even letters of gratitude to hearing authorities.

Organized Boycott.

The bottom line to much of the entertainment industry is money.  There are certain noticeable sponsors of the more heinous forms of idolatry that knowingly and willingly endorse and identify with the gods of this world.  These entities may be conscientiously boycotted.

Ancient Landmarks Remembered

The Bible should be the centerpiece of our homes and of our national conscience, not the questionable antics of sensual women and vulgar men.  The Mayflower men and women would weep over the vileness of today.  The framers of American government did not have today’s sexual free-for-all in mind.  The soldiers of our own civil war would roll over in their graves if they could.  Even the early pioneers of broadcasting would be shamed at our current hedonism.  The wisdom of Solomon cries out to modernity, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28).

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It’s no secret

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It’s no secret


By Tim Schmig, Executive Director of The Michigan Association of Christian Schools

I recently spent an enjoyable afternoon with a former colleague that I taught with for 3 years. As we were catching up on our lives and some of the lives of our students, he informed me that one of my former students was on a search for truth by testing all of the World’s major religions to embrace their truth. Without dismissing him entirely, let me say anyone on that quest is to be admired on an elementary level. Most people live a lifetime and never ponder the great questions of life.

Who am I?

Where did I come from?

Where am I going?

Actually, I felt we covered these questions as we addressed the purpose of life in our Bible class. However for some, that may not be enough. Truth is a personal discovery, like happiness, it is an inside job. Some people dream of finding truth, others put their dreams in motion.

In the bestselling book, The Secret Rhonda Byrne says her personal journey for truth led her to the ancient texts and world religions. Her conclusion essentially is that the secret to life is the Law of Attraction.  We are attracted to the things we think about and to the people we resemble in life. Is this so unusual? Is this the secret to life? We join clubs and leagues that associate with people just like us. We do business with people we like who resemble our values and make us comfortable with them.

In all of my years in business I never known of someone to say “my supplier has nothing in common with me, as a matter of fact, we argue over every little detail, we are polar opposites, but you know what, I just keep buying from him because he has the best product”. I seriously doubt that conversation would take place for long. No, the customer would find a supplier he could tolerate being around, or insist the company send another representative to service his account.

If anyone truly wanted to find the secret to life, their journey would have to begin with scripture. Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments,”  again the psalmist says “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant”. Psalm 25:14

The secret and it’s really no secret, fear God and keep his commandments. Life surely is a one act play. There is no do-over and take it from the top again. We get one opportunity to get it right. We all have the great enterprise of exploring the scriptures and applying them to our lives. In this respect, some people fail miserably and some people succeed beyond their richest expectations. Why is that? I believe it is found in the little word desire: internal drive and initiative. “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”  Proverbs 18:1 Our mission to find truth is motivated  by our own desire to find it.

For us, Life is a blank check waiting for us to fill in the amount and endorse it with the signature of our heart’s desire. This is our commitment to the secret of life.

Visit the Michigan Association of Christian Schools website.

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Rated ‘R’ Sports Coverage

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Rated ‘R’ Sports Coverage


By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of the Levesque Institute

Scantily clad “cheerleaders”, foul mouthed coaches, and gesticulating players, along with commercials filled with drunkenness, and innuendo make watching a sports competition on television with the family a dangerous proposition. What can be done to make sports coverage more family friendly?

Self-regulate Content

The networks can and should self impose a family friendly set of policies and procedures for producers and their crews. No coed close-ups please. Even kids can read lips so pull back the camera already. Especially refrain to replay, in slow motion, the explicit victory dances in the end zone. It would not take much too clean things up, and make TV sports a ‘safe zone’ again. Adult style commercials should be reserved for after hours programming or removed altogether – not shown during the World Series or on a mid Saturday afternoon. Sports can be a health thing for families. It should promote a work ethic, character, healthy living and even sacrifice for the greater good. However, the exploitation of sports into commercialization and entertainment has stolen some of its virtues. In fact, along with the way this it is broadcast, sports have almost become a corrupting force.

Impose Fines

Leagues and teams could also add to their regulations, fines for lewd behavior while broadcasting. If a player or coach wants to think in expletives or rant in the locker room, we cannot stop them, but make them pay for it when being viewed by a million or more kids. Cheerleaders can cheer without impurity, but must feel the financial penalties should they choose to ‘bump and grind’ in front of children. Please, nobody wants to steal from these talented professionals pocket books, but please, don not rob our youth of noble heroes and good manners. Even those behind the camera should help edit what seems to be seedy, non-family fare, or face a reduced paycheck.

Appeal to Individuals

I suppose one could remove the TV altogether, and perhaps this is the only real option; however, there is nothing like watching a game seven of the NBA finals with my family, so with kindness and humility to all the media powers that be, families everywhere appeal to you, please bring sports on TV back to the world of a general audience. Let’s put a clamp on ourselves to be self controlled while playing, performing, coaching, filming, and producing at athletic media worthy events. If we do not then parents will begin to execute their only alternative which is to pull the plug. The Bible’s greatest athlete, King David, who slew lion and giants, did so while saying “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalm 101:3).

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The Bible Goes High Tech

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The Bible Goes High Tech


ibible350By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

New technologies are making everyday activities easier. Pay at the pump gasoline, online banking, and news by cell phone are examples of modern science made friendly. Now, the intricacies of Bible study and even interpretation have also become ‘palm accessible’. Moses must be glad the antiquities and timeless principles of the Bible have now gone high tech.

 Software Applications

Imagine reading Ancient scripture on your computer screen and coming across the King James English, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” What does “tittle“ mean? With the click of a mouse button, the unfamiliar word appears alongside its equivalent in the original tongue. The Greek word is ‘keraiah’. The definition follows, “a little horn or extremity. Used by Greek grammarians of the (languages’) accent points.“ Also, other places that word is used in the old book are highlighted, “Luke 16:17”. Links to other resources of significance instantly improve the knowledge of even the casual student. A score of such programs from various publishers are available in multiple price ranges and features. It is truly easier than ever to, “study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15). This author is impressed with the EBible by Thomas Nelson Publishers. It’s ‘Libronex’ operating system allows the user to download new materials as they become available and interface lots of material at once.

 Internet Resources

For those with online capability there are also extensive Bible study web sites. The Blue Letter Bible (www.blueletterbible.org) has quick search engines that locate verses, words or phrases, definitions and more. There are extensive archives of encyclopedias, atlases, and language helps. Pastors, scholars, and students used to spend thousands of dollars for hard to find resources in order to fully ‘study’ Scripture. Now an hour online can produce a treasure trove of information to help even the first time reader to learn more efficiently. A simple web search will deliver dozens of online Bible resources that offer varying degrees of sophistication and usability. These High Tech solutions continue to prove the Bible accurate, “My words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

 Bible Smuggling

The Iron and Bamboo Curtains have not been able to stop the influence and spread of printed Bibles getting into the hands of common people, but smuggling Bibles into closed countries is more dangerous than extreme sports these days. The Islamic curtain is using terror to stop the ways of the west from entering their domain, but these new high tech Bible study tools are pretty difficult to keep away from a people who long for liberty. There will always be the need for printed Bibles, and downloading to a desktop printer is now just an icon click away. No more risky smuggling.

 If ‘google bombing’ has become a WMT or Weapon of Mass Technology, then the high tech Bible can prove to be liberty’s greatest sword! “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).

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