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Chapter 5: Babies Like to Have Fun

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Music

Christian Radio

Christian Television

Wholesome Reading

Christian Magazines

Activities For Young People

Since most modern forms of entertainment were not dreamed of in Bible times, the scripture does not contain any specific instructions on such things as movies, television, or rock music. Therefore, the baby Christian must seek guidance from a variety of sources, including the context of Bible passages, church doctrine, and personal convictions.

First, check what the Bible has to say about a certain practice or activity by making a special effort to "read between the lines". Second, find out what the church teaches. Each evangelical denomination has a written code of behavior which is sometimes called the "manual". If you have joined a church, you should feel bound by what your manual teaches regarding leisure time activities. If you have not joined the church, you may do well to be guided by the manual anyway. You need something to stand on and the doctrines in a manual can provide just such a base. When neither the church manual nor the Bible takes a specific stand on the issue in question, check your own conscience. It may be relatively undeveloped at this stage in your maturation but check it anyway. If something feels wrong for you, it is wrong for you, even when other members of your congregation are doing the same things with no problems.

In all your leisure time choices remember that much of what passes for entertainment has the distinct effect of normalizing sin. The lyrics of secular songs, the plots of TV soaps and sitcoms, and the content of best-selling novels consistently emphasize human behavior which is clearly sinful. As you listen, watch, and read, you may find you are being captivated by the very circumstances from which the blood of Jesus Christ has saved you. In this way, entertainment can have the effect of normalizing sin in your mind.

So be careful. Not all secular music, television programs, and novels are sinful. However, many of them do normalize sin by amusing, exciting, and stimulating you with sinful practices. They can be very dangerous for a baby Christian. They can be very dangerous for mature Christians as well.

There is a bright side to all of this. For every form of entertainment which normalizes sin, there is an alternate form of that entertainment which glorifies Christ. Here are several examples.

MUSIC
Many of the styles of secular music are found in Christian music. As you get into Christian music, you will be amazed by the quality of the performers and recording techniques. Gospel music as we are discussing it here may not be available at your mall record shops, you may not hear it very often on your local radio stations, and it may be absent from the juke boxes. But, it does exist.

Your best source of Gospel music is your own library of recordings. Even though the secular record shops may carry very few Gospel artists, you can usually find a wide selection at your Bible book store. (This is the same place where you shopped for your Bible.) Here are a few nationally known Christian artists you might like to try, categorized by styles of music.

Christian Contemporary:
Anointed, Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker, Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman, DC Talk, Brian Duncan, Amy Grant, Phil Keaggy, Wes King, Mylon LeFevre, Cindy Morgan, Out of the Grey, Petra, Michael W. Smith, BeBe and CeCe Winans

Southern Gospel:
Jeff and Sherri Easter, Gaither Vocal Band, Signature Sound, Gold City Quartet, Hemphills, Lewis Family, Squire Parsons, Janet Paschal, Perry Sisters, Singing Americans, McKameys, Nelons, Florida Boys, Bob and Jeanne Johnson, Buck and Dottie Rambo, Chosen, Henry and Hazel Slaughter, Heavenbound, Roy Knight Singers, Paynes, Kingsmen, Talleys, Kelly Nelon, Rupps, Speers, Palmetto State Quartet, Perrys.

MOR (Middle of the Road):
Anthory Burger, Piano; Rudy Atwood, Piano; Ralph Carmichael Orchestra, Continental Strings and Brass, Dino: Piano, Kurt Kaiser Orchestra, Maranatha Orchestra, Rick Powell Orchestra, Bill Pearce: Trombone, Sonlight Orchestra, Dave Boyer, Evie, Doug Oldham, Lanny Wolfe Trio.

This is just a partial list of categories and artists. After you have sampled a few of these, you'll want to branch out and try many others. As you browse through the record racks of your Bible book store or hear Gospel songs on the radio, you'll get lots of other ideas.

GOSPEL CONCERTS
Many of the nationally-known Gospel artists spend a lot of time on tour, presenting concerts in churches and auditoriums. The church concerts tend to be free with an offering taken during an intermission. An admission charge is to be expected for concerts in public auditoriums.

If you enjoy Gospel music on recordings and on the radio, make a special point of attending a concert when one of your favorite artists is in your area. You will grow spiritually from the experience and have a good time as well.

Christian Music Magazines:
Both southern gospel and Christian contemporary have magazines devoted to their respective types of music. The Singing News covers southern gospel. CCM (for Christian contemporary music) does the same for contemporary side.

CHRISTIAN RADIO
Most communities of any size have at least one Christian radio station. These stations tend to broadcast much more teaching and preaching than music. However, many of these nationally syndicated inspirational programs can be a source of spiritual food for the baby Christian. Most of them solicit contributions from their listeners.

CHRISTIAN TELEVISION
Few TV network carries regularly scheduled evangelical programming in prime time. However, a number of syndicated programs are available on local stations. These programs are supported by viewer contributions, also.

One exception is the Independent [I] Cable Channel. This network, as of this writing carries, a Gaither Homecoming Concert every Saturday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern. This program is hosted by Bill Gaither and features a Homecoming Choir made up of most of the major southern Gospel artists of our time. Bill, with his wife, Gloria, have written a massive number of Gospel songs, including: He Touched Me, The King Is Coming, Something Beautiful, Gentle Shepherd, Family of God, Get All Excited, Then Came the Morning. Put any one of these titles into the Google Advanced Search Engine and see what pops up.

WHOLESOME READING
Most of the best selling novels normalize sin with violence, profanity, and illicit sex. If you want to read a novel by a best-selling author, wait until it comes out as a Reader's Digest condensed book. The Reader's Digest versions retain the story line but screen out most of the more objectionable content.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:
I have written two Christian novels which are available free on line: Gone, a story about people who were left behind when Jesus came back in the rapture, and Parsonage, a description of life in an evangelical pastor's family. Gone is available in hard copy as well as on line and on disk. The link above also includes downloads for a number of other inspirational and educational on-line publications. Please free to download these free products of DiskBooks Electronic Publishing.

Christian Magazines:
Secular magazines can be poor nourishment for a baby Christian as well. However, there are some alternatives in the form of Christian periodicals which reinforce the evangelical lifestyle. Included in this category are: Christianity Today, Christian Herald, Decision Magazine, Guideposts Magazine, and The Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide.

Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report can present a world-view which is slanted against conservative evangelical Christians. However, World is a news magazine written especially for evangelicals. Since it is not as well known as the major magazines, I'll print an address for your convenience:

World Magazine
Box 2330
Asheville NC 28802-2330

In addition to the national magazines, most denominations offer several publications for promoting spiritual growth and sharing information of national interest within their church.

Quite a few Christian publishing houses produce novels for all age groups which reinforce evangelical values. Some of these are well written and they do not contain content which normalizes sin. Novels of this type are available at your Christian book store.

ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
If you have teenagers in the home, your new personal relationship with Jesus Christ may have given them quite a jolt. However, as Christian parents you will want your children to participate in activities which are in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Fortunately, there are a few organizations which provide a wholesome program for kids which is in step with the evangelical lifestyle.

Youth for Christ is dedicated to providing high school students with burger bashes, pizza parties, scavenger hunts, Christian movies, and rallies. These activities are designed to promote healthy spiritual and social growth. Ask your pastor about the closest YFC center.

College students are served by Campus Crusade for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Navigators. If your son or daughter is attending college away from home, encourage him/her to make contact with one of these groups.

The Apostle Paul had some good advice for all Christians regarding how leisure time should be spent:

"... whatsoever things are true ... honest ... just ... pure ... lovely ... of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8.

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