[Calvary Chapel] 2004-03-04 - Gatekeeping

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

I'm careful about what I spend my time listening to or watching. Spare time is something that most of us do not have in abundance. And there is a great deal of junk on the radio and television that may amuse at best, but is definitely not something I want take up the minutes of my day, let alone the hours.

To muse means to think or consider. The prefix "a" negates, so a-muse basically means to not think or consider. Please don't misunderstand me. I think everyone needs some time off when they can relax. But even in those times it is important to guard your heart and your mind. If you enjoy a good spy novel by all means pick a good one. Are there books that are badly written or of questionable content? Yes. And I would ask you to use your mind and keep the things you do not want in your heart and mind away.

In the world of the media a gatekeeper is a person or group who control the content that is presented by the company through the media to the consumer. The air waves of both radio and television are full of a lot of stuff that is just not worth watching. There are a few good nuggets in the mix as well. I urge you to become the gatekeeper of your heart and mind in selecting what you watch, listen to or read. I also urge you to think for yourself in this process. If you watch a movie or listen to a radio program, discuss what you heard with a friend. By passing ideas back and forth we learn and grow from what the other person caught, and they learn from what we caught that they may have missed.

The nightly news would make one believe that the world is one clock tick from sliding into the abyss. And while some will argue that is true, I for one refuse to give in. I see two dozen kids on Saturday mornings where I teach martial arts. More correctly we teach character in the form of discipline and respect, all reinforced with feedback on their progress. Tonight I spoke with one of the students. She is a 12-year-old girl who used to walk around with her eyes and head down and whisper. A year ago, I took her aside and picked up her chin and made her look me in the eye and I told her she had done the drill we were performing very well, but she had to look up. I told her she had nothing to be ashamed of or to be sad about. She looked surprised, and smiled half stunned. Tonight, I caught her eye leaving the exercise floor and told her that her work in class had been very good. She looked right at me and smiled and said bright and clear, "Thank you." The difference was victory verses defeat; I can verses I can't. The difference was between a world with hope verses a world of despair and worthlessness.

I became a gatekeeper for this girl. I chose to broadcast a positive message to her, that she was a person of value capable of performing well. The message was of hope and success. Tonight was a victory for me as well. Seeing the change in this one life was so rewarding. It happens everyday too all over. The nightly news doesn't always cover these stories because they don't sell ads. What message are you broadcasting? We can chose to reinforce the message of hopelessness the world sends, or we can select a different message of life, grace and hope. When the world wants to know why you are so different you can share the hope you have inside based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If they scoff, remind them that they came to you wondering. Maybe the difference is worth their time.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com