Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Who Leads You? Who Influences You?
What are you Reading? What are you Listening to?

I had the news on this morning as I was getting ready and typically I turn it off after the first 10 minutes of headlines, but today I left it on longer because of the teaser that perhaps there was trouble in paradise with the most recent bachelorette (turns out, there's not - and as an aside, I think it's important as we interact with our culture to always be cheerleaders for positive relationships and marriages instead of naysayers getting sucked into the tabloid drama). Anyway...I'm a bit embarrassed that I left the news on for that reason. It made me reflect on how much time I spend filling my life with positive influences and how much time I fill with the inconsequential.

Don't misread me here - I'm not saying that we should avoid the entertainment world. I'm as excited as most in SEC country that the college football season starts soon. I practically skipped into the theater (that's right, I said skipped) to see the new Harry Potter movie on Saturday because I couldn't wait to see how they would bring an incredible book to the big screen.

But, the question remains, how much time do we spend filling our lives with positive influences in terms of what we watch, read and hear? It does matter. It does make a difference in how we live our life. For example, if your understanding of relationships is informed primarily by shows like The Bachelorette or Dating in the Dark, you could be missing out on the relationship God intends for you (which, for the record, is much better than anything tv can portray). I'm reminded of the quote from Sleepless in Seattle - "You don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie." There is a difference. Real life may lack the helicopter rides and limo rides, but finding someone to love who loves you in return and is willing to put you ahead of all their own needs, wants and desires is much more fulfilling and ultimately gives us a glimpse of Christ's love for His church.

Let me make some suggestions...instead of following a bunch of celebrities on Twitter, try following people like Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Andy Stanley or Perry Noble. Instead of reading TMZ online, maybe set your homepage to Mark Batterson's blog or a site that will give you daily Bible readings set up so you can read the whole Bible in the course of the year. Try mixing up the playlists on your iPod by downloading some stuff like Hillsong's newest album (Faith+Hope+Love). Pick up a copy of Francis Chan's new book "Crazy Love" or Tony Dungy's book "Uncommon" and add it to your reading list.

Who influences you? Are you reading and watching and listening to things that point you to Jesus? It matters.

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