We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

During one of the recording sessions at the Soundhouse, a studio in London, England, filmmaker David Hamby captured some great footage of http://www.lamplighterpublishing.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AADABOF The Basket of Flowers being filmed and infused it with an interview with Lamplighter Ministries president Mark Hamby as he discusses the scope and mission of Lamplighter Theatre.

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Obscenity–New Hope

Our culture has sunk into an immoral abyss without even realizing that they are close the point of self destruction. It will not be from Muslim militants that destroy our culture, it will happen from our living rooms through the media propaganda and immoral content of programs that have so easily enticed us. The next two blogs I would like to devote some teaching on the concepts of Obscenity and Profanity. I was reminded of how serious this is in our culture when I attended a play this weekend at the Bucks County Theatre in New Hope, PA. It is ironic that the town is called New Hope. I was able to enjoy about five minutes of the play before my wife and I had to walk out. Everyone else was in hysterics and applauding after hearing the ultimate in profanity and the acting out of sexual intercourse on stage. Here is my first installment of how we can restore the years that the locusts have eaten. Obscenity The Greeks restricted violence and intimacy on stage, not because of their high moral standards, but because of their understanding of aesthetics and obscenity. The word obscene means “off stage.” Violence and intimacy were considered “off stage” behaviors. Intimacy is ordained of God for marriage, not for public eyes. Public intimacy is obscene, not because it is evil but because it is sacred. Moreover, when an audience is captivated by the dramatic involvement of the characters, violence and sexual content break the aesthetic mood. The memorable vicarious experience is now overshadowed and disrupted by shocking violence or sensual provocation. Capturing the interest of an audience aesthetically requires the pen of a skilled word-crafter; shocking the audience with a violent scene or stimulating them sexually requires no talent. We are losing our taste for aesthetic beauty, becoming immune to inhumane and violent treatment of others, and dulling our sense of compassion, imagination, and conscience. The warning here is not that these things are hurting our children, they are ruining the lives of adults and our ability to enjoy things that are pure and holy; the things that bring true enjoyment. So, may the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart be acceptable in His sight.

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wanted to share this morning, but work got in the way

Every night before falling asleep, I write down my goals for the following. Upon waking, I read through the list in order to focus my energy on what is most important. If this were not part of my routine, the limited hours available would not be utilized effectively. The Bible clearly teaches us to use our days wisely. Time is a gift. Almighty God has given each person a span of days to live on earth. But our life is fleeting and uncertain. James compares it to a vapor that “for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Time is also irrevocable; we cannot hit rewind and undo anything. Considering this, it is foolish to waste such a precious resource. But so often, we do. Be alert to avoid these hindrances to living each moment fully and purposefully: Misplaced priorities result in wasted opportunities. Our values will determine the emphasis we place on each activity and the amount of time we allot to it. Procrastination and perfectionism soak up valuable time that could have been used to benefit the kingdom. Lack of concentration drains time of its potential. For example, we have to train ourselves to focus on reading God’s Word and not to get sidetracked. What values drive the way you utilize your time? Is there something that keeps you from living each moment in a way that pleases the Lord? You will never have a chance to live today again. Therefore, ask God for guidance and direction so that you can live each day with intention. By Dr. Charles Stanley

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Profanity: Part 2

Recently I had the opportunity to review a play at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope PA. The play started with a creative stage set and excellent opening singing. But it wasn’t long before the aesthetic moment was broken with a loud use of profanity and a follow up of an obscene sexual moment between two characters. That was the end of the review for me… I had seen and heard enough to know that even though this was an award winning play, it did not become award winning based on true aesthetic values of art and decency. Our culture has been so lulled into accepting the obscene and profane that when it occurs on the screen or stage, there is no longer any reaction of disgust for what is clearly objectively objectionable. It is like the father who baked chocolate chip cookies for his kids and told them just before they bit into the still warm tantalizing cookies, that he had added just a tablespoon of their dog’s poop into the recipe. Not a one was eaten and the lesson of what happens when we watch something though really good, but mixed with a few profane and obscene moments, is not only distasteful but harmful to our soul. Peter informs us of this trap as he writes that Lot’s righteous soul was vexed from day to day by the things that he saw and heard. He didn’t partake in evil activity, but by hearing and seeing his soul was grievously vexed. Maybe hearing and seeing is in fact…doing. Let’s restore the values that made this country great and bring dignity back into our homes. All it takes is some backbone to stand up and walk out or to get up out of the chair and turn it off. Below is the second installment of what our culture needs to know if we are going to return to the principles that can once again restore God’s grace upon us. The word profane is Latin for “outside the temple.” All that was unclean or impure was considered profane, or “outside the temple.” Today we have brought the profane into our homes and our hearts which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. According to G.E. Veith, “profanity uses religious language in a way that desecrates or trivializes its sacred meaning.” Though this will be surprising to many, profane language includes some of the most widely used phrases in our Christian cultures: Oh my God, oh my goodness, for goodness’ sake, good heavens, oh heavens, oh my word, etc. Some of our early dictionaries give a list of profane language. The most powerful statement against profane language is found in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” In Shakespeare’s day the word “God” was not used in the scripts of drama plays for fear that it might be used in vain. Today you cannot watch a G-rated movie or read a book without hearing or reading expression of “My God,” “O My God,” “My gosh…” etc! Words are what brought the universe into existence. God places a high value upon words. So, “may the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart be acceptable in His sight.” I love what David wrote in Psalm 141 “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment