You’ll never believe what MTV said!

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Actually I’ll bet most of you would believe anything they said. Let me rephrase that . . . you would not be surprised at anything they said, but hopefully you do not believe everything they say or promote.

The headline after the MTV awards show on 8/25/13 actually said, “You’ll never believe what Lady Gaga wore at the MTV awards.” (MTV website) Are you kidding me?!?! She wore meat once . . . so how in the world can you ever be surprised at what she decides to wear!

As I watched parts of this year’s MTV awards, something really got my attention. No, I’m not talking about any outlandish tweeting or tweeking or tongue twerking by the young gal from Montana.

MTV had a social message category this year. I can hardly believe I am actually going to say this in the Perihelion for everyone in the world to read, but Snoop Lion (he is no longer Snoop Dogg because evidently someone must have let the dogs out!) had one of the best lyrical songs in this category!

Sometime after the horrible shooting at Sandy Hook in CT, Snoop Lion recorded a song called No Guns Allowed encouraging an end to violence.

Don't want to see no more innocent blood shed

Don't want to see no more youth dead”

Beyoncé sang I Was Here . . .

I want to say I lived each day, until I died
And know that I meant something in, somebody's life
The hearts I have touched, will be the proof . . .

That I made a difference, . . . Brought someone some happiness, Left this world a little better . . .”

Now I bet most of you are thinking Beyoncé must have won because she seems to win anything that Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are not nominated for. Neither of these songs won but it got me thinking about what is considered social justice and what our highest priorities are.

As I observed how musicians and the audience dressed, hair colors, body piercings, tattoos, etc. it made me think of how easy it is to go along with the crowd or to be trendy or support some cause because it is the ”in” thing to do. I think part of it is that we get so inundated with the world’s views on TV shows, movies, lyrics of songs, websites, social media, etc. that we subtly start to believe these worldly, often Godless views. Kristen and I were watching a show the other night and there was a really bad, evil guy and I rhetorically asked, “Why don’t they just kill that guy?” Then I quickly added, “That, of course, is not my Christian perspective.” Jesus said to love our enemies, which is very hard to do if we kill them (or cuss them out or punch them in the face, etc.). Romans 12:2 urges us not to get squeezed into the world’s mold. I find it scary how easy it is for me to get sucked into the revenge mode or any number of other worldly lifestyle preferences simply by experiencing the emotions and subtle arguments continually being presented to us by the media and subsequently our friends.

Lady Gaga sings “Baby, I was born this way.” I heard another song on the MTV awards show which said, “I can’t change, even if I wanted to.” This subtle worldly philosophy alleviates us of responsibility for our moral actions. If I am genetically born a certain way or if my parents messed me up when I was growing up, it is not my fault no matter what I do or how I choose to live. The truth of the matter is we all have a genetic predisposition, if you will, to something the Bible calls sin. The Greek word simply means missing the mark (of the best that God has in mind for us.) We all fall short of our God given potential but we cannot use that as an excuse to continue in a way that is harmful to others or ourselves.

We may feel like we “can’t change” but here is some great news: “The things which are impossible with man are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). When I have not been able to love someone, I have often prayed that God would love them through me, and thankfully God is still in the miracle business! He can love others through us and take away prejudice and change us to be better human beings . . . unselfish people.

Rick Coghill had a #1 hit on the radio and a $200 a day heroin addiction! My friend Ron Climer’s was a mere $100 a day. Rick had tried to quit in his own strength and actually went at his best friend with a knife once because he was trying to help Rick kick this addiction. He said beyond the physical withdrawals was a horrible emotional addiction such that anyone who kept him from getting his next fix became his enemy. When Rick finally decided to become a follower of Jesus Christ, God miraculously took the addiction away from him without any withdrawals whatsoever! Ron’s as well as he is now a dynamic Christian counselor working with gang members, among others.

I have 2 friends who were once homosexual but have been in wonderful heterosexual relationships now for many years. In fact, one has been happily married now for over 30 years!

We all have a tendency or a predisposition, if you will, to be selfish and do things that primarily benefit ourselves. Is it genetic? Even if it is, it does not excuse our harmful actions or mistreating others. It should become a God-led challenge to die to our selfishness and let God’s unselfish sacrificial example shine through us.

My fear is that some will jump on the bandwagon passionately supporting a cause merely because everyone else is or because the media’s worldly trends seem so appealing or persuasive. Some are very passionate about a preferential style of music … even within the church. It is so easy to become self-absorbed in fighting for causes that personally benefit us, whether it is a style of music, a sexual preference, a governmental position . . . that we can forget weightier life and death issues like world hunger and violence resulting in the death of innocent children.

Jesus had nothing to say about some of our favorite issues. He did have lots to say about materialism and how we can so easily get sucked into a selfish lifestyle that not only ultimately destroys us, but prevents much needed resources and energy from being focused on (for instance) the 21,000 people, mostly children, that will die a hunger related death . . . TODAY and TOMORROW and every other day we so selfishly hoard all we have been blessed with . . . or maybe cursed with.

I just checked to see what the most recent number was and found a website that sucked the O2 out of my lungs while simultaneously forcing H2O into my eyes. I was deeply moved as every 4 seconds the name and face of someone who has just passed away appeared on my computer screen. There is currently a running total of the names of 428 people who have died a hunger related death this very hour. The list increases as the name, country, and picture of a human being flashes onto the screen. I challenge you to go to and think about the LifeWay Research stat that only 9% of churchgoers strongly agreed with the statement “I intentionally give up certain purchases so I can use the money for others.”

(This just in . . . I have an example to interject as I am moments away from sending this to the printer. Earlier today I was battling a minor injustice done to us while traveling recently. I was somewhat passionate about trying to get the money back that was owed to us. As I had reached the end of my resources and hope, God graciously pulled some strings that were out of my control. As I was thanking Him, I was also convicted by Him that I was expending this amount of energy on a selfish money related cause and neglecting the weightier more important causes Jesus describes. I decided that whatever money we get back will be sent to help starving children or the Christian relief efforts in the Philippines. By the way, I am not mentioning this for a pat on the back but rather in hopes it will encourage you to do something similar to make a difference in this hurting world.)

I was impressed when Pope Francis recently said the Catholic Church shouldn’t be “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage, and contraception and should instead try to reach out to a broader congregation. He was not making a statement on whether any of these is right or wrong, but I believe trying to get the focus of Christianity back to Jesus Christ! Why is it that Christians at times are more known for what they are against rather than what they are for? Martin Luther King, Jr, said “He whom you would change, you must first love.”

Is it more important to try to convert someone to your favorite social position or to encourage them to

become a follower of Jesus Christ? Our priority is to make disciples … to love God and to love others. Jesus did not come to make “bad” people good, but rather to make dead people live!

It is so easy to let this world squeeze us into its mold (Rom. 12:2). This is one reason I think it is important to listen to convicting, encouraging Christian songs. Excerpts of 2 songs immediately come to mind, well, because God convicted me to write them. One is the song I wrote for Jean Michel, the first of the many Compassion International children my wife and I have supported. Another is called The Game.

So many people in this world are dying every day

While we sit back and watch, living our own way

Our heart begins to break

When we see them on the screen

We solve the problem, turn the channel

Forget what we have seen …

I don't want to play the game,

I don't want to stay the same

As the selfish world that surrounds me . . .”

How to not let the world squeeze you into its mold in 125 easy steps!

1) “Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2a) How do we renew our minds?

2) “Let this mind be in you which was in Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 2:5) How do we get the mind of Christ within us?

3) Regularly read and meditate on His thoughts and actions found in that obscure book called . . . The Holy Bible. (It’s the #1 best-selling book of all time!)

(Thanks to Dave Hart, Dave Bubb, Dave Manzi, Dave Cole {sorry Don Cole, I got carried away!}, Jon Self & Kristen for their input on this article.)


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