Friday, May 05, 2006

Entertainment

Today's western Christians are saturated with entertainment. At this point I can see no distinction between believer and non-believer. Entertainment pervades our Christian lives. When we are at home we seek to be entertained. When we are at church we seek to be entertained. And all the while Jesus Christ weeps for the thousands of lost souls who perish all the day long. "The Lord is... not willing that any should perish..." (2 Peter 3:9) Oh, how I wish that we that are living would also not be willing that any should perish! How our lives would be different!

"Woe to them that are at ease in Zion..." (Amos 6:1)

I believe one of the biggest crimes of humanity is to soak yourself in entertainment while men and women go to hell and you have the answer. Have we no shame? What will we say when we stand before Christ on Judgment Day and have lived a life of selfish indulgence? Did Jesus die for a people like this? Did Jesus want His Church to be drunk on the fun and games of this life? No! "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:18) I speak to all Christians who entertain themselves in excess: Cease this sin and be filled with the Spirit!

Leonard Ravenhill said once, "Entertainment is the devil's substitute for God's joy." I say, "Entertainment is for those who have nothing better to do." What is entertainment? It's when you are bored and need your flesh to be stimulated. It's when you have nothing better to do but sit around and watch sports and worldy TV shows. Why not read the Word? Pray? Sing songs to the Lord? Get out of your house and be a witness for Christ? Clothe the naked? Heal the sick? Encourage the brethren?

If you put the letter 'a' in front of a word it reverses the meaning. For example: a 'thiest' is one who believes in God. An 'athiest' is one who does not believe in God. The word 'muse' means to think. The word 'amuse' means to not think... Will we, the body of Christ, shut our eyes and ears to the cry of the lost simply to be amused by the passing pleasures of this fading life? The most intelligent thing a person can do is serve the Lord.

God needs radical men and women who will run the race faster than any other contender. God needs soldiers who don't get entangled in the affairs of this life. God needs Christians to throw off the world and the lust of the flesh, and serve Him in newness of the Spirit, with ALL the heart, ALL the soul, ALL the mind and ALL the strength.


*(Sorry, I must clarify for everyone what I was trying to say above because I see it was badly put, for this I apologize:

First of all, I am working now this summer, and so I only have a short 15 minute break to post, so this particular post I rushed very quickly and didn't get to say all I wanted to. I have only 15 minutes to pull out my Bible, type up my thought, and find a picture! I apologize for this hasty post.

Okay, now I know full well the word 'amuse' doesn't actually mean to not think! This is obvious! This was actually more of a joke, something humorous just to make a point. I hope this clarifies things. Sorry for the confusion.

Secondly, I really didn't get to expound on the thought I had. For one, I know all forms of liesure is not wrong. The main point I wanted to say here was against EXCESS LIESURE. The key is excess. I believe the western church is saturated in entertainment and liesure, so much so that we waste so much time. Time is wasted on things that are acceptable, but become wrong due to excess. However, a lot of time is consumed on things that are not good for us: bad TV shows, music, etc. This is worldly and I strongly speak out against it.

Again, I am terribly sorry for the lack of clarity in this post, and I hope everyone can read this comment and see what I was trying to say.

God bless,
-Eli)

14 comments:

Pat said...

Main Entry: wroth
Pronunciation: 'roth also 'rOth
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English wrAth; akin to Old High German reid twisted, Old English wrIthan to writhe
: intensely angry : highly incensed : WRATHFUL

Eli said...

Roger that, Pat. :)

Karen said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly. I have been feeling this for quite some time. Church today is not like church in the New Testament... and I don't mean technology wise (necessarily). We are altogether different it seems sometimes. It's so sad. And yet I know that God still has His faithful and true servants in every corner... even if we don't always see them. It's kind of like Elijah:
Rom 11:2 God did not thrust out His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture said in Elijah, how he pleaded with God against Israel, saying,
Rom 11:3 "Lord, they killed Your prophets and dug down Your altars, and I am left alone, and they seek my life."
Rom 11:4 But what does the Divine answer say to him? "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
We point out all the bad things in the church, and I agree it definitely has it's flaws, but I try to encourage myself with the fact that God is still in control.
God bless. :-)

Sam Kennedy said...

You also have the definition of amuse wrong brother. Amuse doesnt mean not to think. I see where you were led astray in your thinking, it can happen to all of us! Its simply: 1)occupy in an agreeable, entertaining or pleasant fashion; "The play amused the ladies" 2) make (somebody) laugh; "The clown amused the children". You can argue it means not to think but that would be stretching it I think. Good luck with your work.

- Sam

Matt Sears said...

The phenomenon you describe in your definition of "amuse" is called "alpha privative." This applies to words typically of Greek origin to which an "alpha" or "a" was added onto a word to nullify or reverse its meaning. Some examples: theist/atheist (which you indeed cite); moral/amoral; pathetic/apathetic; etc.

However, "amuse" has a Latin, rather than a Greek, origin, in which the initial "a" is actually a shortened form of the Latin preposition or prefix "ad" meaning "toward."

Instead of trying at this point to argue against your blanket attack against anything "fun" or "amusing" (which I may later do since Jesus certainly relaxed with his friends from time to time, and I'm sure there were "amusements" at the wedding at Cana, etc.) I thought I would just expose an example of your flawed and ignorant teachings. The ancients did this sort of thing all the time, which scholars call "false etymologies," in which they presented origins for words which were blatantly silly and incorrect to push their own agendas and make their own points.

Eli, go ahead and preach the Gospel. The Word indeed tells us to do so. Put testimonies and praise/prayer items related to your ministry on your blog for interested people to see. But please stop trying to expound upon theology and present definitive answers to spiritual and scriptural matters, because you are often wrong, uninformed and un-versed in the skills necessary to present such definitive answers. I hope and pray that others are able to see the cracks in some of your teachings rather than be led astray because of your own overwhealming confidence and certainty about your own opinions. As Jedd put it earlier, we all think we are right. The problem is we are actually often wrong. LEAVE ROOM FOR THAT POSSIBILITY!

matt sears said...

Eli,

I just read over my previous post and I realize that it comes across as very negative, condescending and possibly arrogant. For that, I am truly sorry. I do not wish to be this negative person nor to use my learning and education as a stick with which to hit people. I realize that this will seem like a strange post to all the readers of this blog, but I really feel I need to write it. I will not comment on your blog anymore, Eli. I will instead simply pray for you, your ministry, and all who read and comment on this blog, that Christ's glory may shine through. I had a few concerns and suggestions that I wanted to share with you, Eli, which I am sure have been clear by the previous posts I have made. However, I now realize that I probably could have been much gentler and more loving in the way I presented my opnions. Again, I want to see Christ lifted up and the body edified. I will pray for that. Sorry for the strangeness of this post.

I hope and pray that the Lord is able to use you, Eli. I pray also that the Lord uses all the brothers and sisters who post on this site. Finally I pray that all brothers and sisters, and non-believers as well, who come in contact with this blog will be edified.

with sincere love in Christ,

Matt

Adam Wright said...

Eli,
from what I can tell, you seem to limit amusement to TV related things? I agree with Matt and Sam: "Amuse" is not an alpha primitave meaning.

Question: Do you think God gave us the ability to create and enjoy certain things? What about sports? What about watching sports on tv? Again, I don't think the issue is as black and white as you paint it. Instead, I think one should examine the motives for what they are doing. And yet, as Matt has pointed out, sometimes people just need to sit back and relax and enjoy something. That doesn't necessarily mean that we aren't fulfilling our mandate.

However, I do understand where you are comming from. There are many mindless activities we can become engaged in or what we can call "time wasters". Technology has made us lazy! While it can have positive implications, it can always be used for negative as well.

Matt, I think you should keep posting. I find your words insightful. We all say dumb things from time to time but it's all good. Keep posting, brother.

peace

Eli said...

Hi brothers,

Don't worry Matt, I understand everything you said, and I don't take it negatively. I appreciate your comments, brother, and hope you continue to post.

Sorry, I must clarify for everyone what I was trying to say above because I see it was badly put, for this I apologize:

First of all, I am working now this summer, and so I only have a short 15 minute break to post, so this particular post I rushed very quickly and didn't get to say all I wanted to. I have only 15 minutes to pull out my Bible, type up my thought, and find a picture! I apologize for this hasty post.

Okay, now I know full well the word 'amuse' doesn't actually mean to not think! This is obvious! This was actually more of a joke, something humorous just to make a point. I hope this clarifies things. Sorry for the confusion.

Secondly, I really didn't get to expound on the thought I had. For one, I know all forms of liesure is not wrong. The main point I wanted to say here was against EXCESS LIESURE. The key is excess. I believe the western church is saturated in entertainment and liesure, so much so that we, as you said Adam, waste so much time. Time is wasted on things that are acceptable, but become wrong due to excess. However, a lot of time is consumed on things that are not good for us: bad TV shows, music, etc. This is worldly and I strongly speak out against it.

Again, I am terribly sorry for the lack of clarity in this post, and I hope everyone can read this comment and see what I was trying to say.

God bless,
-Eli

Adam Wright said...

Eli,
don't worry about it, man. We are all quite busy and I'm sure we don't write as clearly as we ought.

My issue is not so much with your use (joke) about amuse so much as with your mandate to us as believers. Acts 17:24-25 makes it clear that God does not need mankind to achieve anything. This is logical because he provides everything for us. Is there anything that God needs from us? Some would suggest at this point that God wants our hearts. This could be true. However, I don't believe that God's happiness or contentment is based on our decision or our status as believers. Instead, I believe that God is most glorified when we realize that he is everything we need, or as John Piper puts it, "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him". So, there is no "giving" on our part so much as "experiencing". I think that phrase speaks well to our theology and exposes that we often place more emphasis on ourselves as humans than we do on God. The only thing we can do in life is be satisfied in God. In fact, the only thing we can do as finite beings is be satisfied in something. We need other things to live since we are not self sufficient. This is why sin exists. We decided to become more satisfied in sin and it's fleeting pleasures than with God and his all satisfying pleasures.

And so, our efforts in daily living and in missions should not be based on our view of past grace; that is, our salvation and past successes over sin. Instead, we should look foreward to future graces (this is called faith). If we step forth to minister in faith that God will satisfy us (which really glorifies himself) then we really take away any "humanness" to ministry.

What I meant by not focusing on past grace is that we shouldn't base our ministries on them. Our ministries should be based on our faith of future graces. Instead of basing our ministies on past graces, we should remember them and enjoy them as a testimony to God's faithfullness in the past. I know this may sound distorted but hopefully we can clear it up.

I fear that though hyper-zealousness, we merely excite the flesh. We find ourselves annoyed and frustrated after a "spiritual high" because that's exactly what it was - a temporary excitation of the flesh. We base our ministries on past successes and miss what God is doing now.

I appreciate the discussion and I hope this helps! I ask that you read carefully over my words a few times. I realize this isn't, perhaps, a quick read. Feel free to make comments!

peace

Eli said...

You can be satisfied with God all you want but that doesn't change the fact that scores of souls are going to hell. I believe with all my heart God wants us to GO and be fishers of men, not STAY and be lazy in bed.

Christianity is not passive but active, and this activity has nothing to do with God's need, but with our obedience.

Anonymous said...

I want to make it clear from th e start that this is in no way an attack on you or what you are doing, but is only addressing a question that arose in reading some posts

in the above statement Eli said that
"You can be satisfied with God all you want but that doesn't change the fact that scores of souls are going to hell. I believe with all my heart God wants us to GO and be fishers of men, not STAY and be lazy in bed."
However in the Daily Gleaner post he refered how it was more important that his conscience was clear before God (that's how I interpreted it, correct me if I'm wrong)
My Question is this: where is the line that we must not cross (in either direction) concerning Going out ot rescue people from the fires of Hell and having a clear conscience before God, too far to one side and we end up changing the gosple to satisfy none beleivers, too far to the other and we risk being passive in our faith. just throwing that out there to see what people think.

Eli said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for posting.

Interesting question. It seems to me that both reaching the lost and keeping our consciences go hand in hand. If we want to maintain a clear conscience we need to be evangelising a lost world.

You are right when you say we can make distort the gospel to reach unbelievers, but I see the danger there so long as we hold fast to the sound doctrine of the Word of God in all our mission work. I really can't see a danger there except from individuals who do not know the Word or do not obey it.

So again, obedience to God is not passive at all. We can be obedient to Him in preaching the gospel and in doing it well.

God bless!
-Eli

Adam Wright said...

Eli,

Being satisfied in God should be first and foremost in our lives before we do anything. This is how we love God.

Let me pose this question to you: Do we go and visit the Grand Canyon to make much of ourselves? Of course we don't. We go to behold it's splendor. This is how we ought to see God. Does our love for God make much of ourselves or does it take complete satisfaction in God?

What I am saying is that our obedience shouldn't be rooted in obligation. That's what I meant by focusing on past grace. What our ministry should be rooted in is a satisfaction in God for who he is and not what he does. What he does and will do are important but our real love for God comes from being completely satisfied in him.

Here's another question: Would you be happy in Heaven if all it included was a room in which you sat with Jesus for eternity? I believe if we answer this honestly, we expose our real motives for salvation and ministry.

Are we as leaders preparing people for this reality of heaven? Are we teaching people to take their utmost pleasures in the character of God and not in anything else?

Food for thought.

Eli said...

Hey brother Adam,

This is Piper food, eh? :) I believe brother John Piper has a lot to say about satisfaction and hedonism etc. though I do not believe it to be as exactly as he says. However, I believe he makes excellent points about our finding our satisfaction in God. Everybody's got a piece of the puzzle.

I think the problem of sin is far more grave than just disatisfaction (though that is a part of it). I believe that people actually hate God. We know that to love God is to obey His commandments.

Good question about heaven: Yes, Jesus is all wonderful and enough for me! Let's remember that we have also to stand before the Judgment seat of Christ also, and that will be a very sad day I am sure for many of us: not just because of what we have done, but because of all the things we have left UNDONE.

Bless you brother!
-Eli