The next FHC meeting will be the first Sunday of May, that is May 1, 1988. The meeting will begin at 1 pm at: YWAM 1 Kent Road Surrey Hills, Vic
For those who have not come before, our format is (1) Bring a simple picnic lunch along (sandwiches, fruit etc.) and avoid the rush of eating at home and getting to the meeting. (2) Spend our lunch time sharing with each other. The meetings are very free in format so if you cannot make it until later than 1PM, you are still welcome to join in fellowship with other hometraining families.
A hometraining family presentation day is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 1988 at YWAM at 2PM. Families may bring any projects or displays of work done at home or about how your family training takes place. Also, there will be a time to present items to the others attending. Even though the starting time is 2PM, the YWAM hall will be available from noon so you can come early to setup any projects or displays and bring your lunch with you.
In this newsletter we will look at the place of entertainment in our lives and the lives of our children. The Bible says very little about entertainment as we know it. It does say a lot about joy (e.g. "The joy of the Lord is my strength", and "A joyful heart is good medicine"), rejoicing, and cheerfulness (e.g. "Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises").
Some parents have difficulty in exercising authority over how much and what kind of entertainment is a part of their children's lives. However, hometraining parents have an advantage in exercising such authority because they have taken total responsibility for the training process. Therefore, it is vital for Christain hometraining families to develop a Godly attitude towards entertainment.
Our modern culture contains massive amounts of entertainment including TV, radio, recorded music, videos, spectator sports and movies. Many children (and adults) have difficulty carrying on a conversation about anything beyond entertainment and the entertainment industry. There are many magazines and TV programs which themselves are devoted to nothing but the entertainment industry. People are entertained by reading about and hearing about entertainment! And yet, a person can live with no knowledge of entertainment and lose nothing of value. Last year's soap opera story is not only of no eternal value, but very quickly becomes totally irrelevant and forgotten. It is an interesting exercise to listen to the conversation of children and adults in the work place, at church or anywhere and listen to the degree to which fictional events (or the play of others such as sports) occupy their thoughts and words.
Because it is important for hometraining families to establish a Godly attitude towards entertainment, this newsletter offers the following short study of the 101st Psalm. Our objective is to develop a Godly attitude, not to develop a list of laws. If we live by a law which is relevant only in our day, then our children (and us) will not be able to retain our Godly behavior in new circumstances. The Psalm is a confession of a Godly way of life. It begins:
- I will sing of lovingkindness and justice.
To Thee, O Lord, I will sing praises.
- I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
- I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
The Psalm begins with a positive confession of how the psalmist will use his God given ability to sing, to sing of lovingkindness and justice (compare to Phillipians 4 :8). In verse two, the psalmist says he will walk within his own house in the integrity of his heart. So we need to consider how we walk in our own house. The Psalms often use the phrase "sing a new song" and Ephesians mentions speaking to one another in "psalms, hymns and spirtitual songs". So we see that the Bible encourages us to be creative in using songs and music in our homes. Even without our encouragement, children will create new songs and hymns. Our responsibility as parents is to provide our children with a living Christian experience so that the songs which spring from their own lives will be spiritual songs. Of course, we must be ready to recognize a psalm, hymn or spiritual song from our children expressed from their heart. Their songs will be at their level of maturity and level of experience in the Lord.
Verse two starts out with a determined statement that he will give heed (attention) to the blameless way or way of integrity. We must not be deceived into thinking that those days provided a man with no opportunity to give his attention to immorality and impurity. However, in our day, because entertainment is so available, the opportunity abounds for us to give our attention to what is false (the news?), whatever is dishonorable (scandal), whatever is wrong (perversion), whatever is impure (an average movie), whatever is unlovely, or whatever is of poor repute (an average TV show). The list of items given above is the opposite of the list given in Phillipians 4 :8 of things we are to dwell upon.
The psalmist then makes a strong statement about what he will look at (could he speaking directly of entertainment here?) when he says "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes." We believe that this is an excellent Biblical criterion for viewing TV, movies and videos.
Furthermore the next statement indicates the importance of looking beyond the appearance of entertainment into its root and author. The Psalmist says, "I hate the work of those who fall away." Do we know the lifestyles and philosophy of those who produce our entertainment? Have we trained ourselves to hate the work of those who fall away?
The psalmist then declares what in the New Testament is called "the liberty of the Spirit" when he says "It (i.e. what is worthless or the work of those who fall away) shall not fasten its grip on me ." Because of the penetration of entertainment (and we include a lot of "news" as entertainment), we must daily confess and keep the confession that "it shall not fasten its grip on me!"
The Psalm continues:
4. A perverse heart heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil. 5. Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;
No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.
Here the psalmist declares that he will keep a perverse heart away from him and he will not know evil. This confession will keep us from nearly all contemporary entertainment. Look at the strength of his statement, "I will know no evil." NO means none!
Remember that the context of this statement is still verse 3 which speaks of what he will set before his eyes. Setting something before our eyes is an intentional act. It is one thing to encounter evil because we must live in the world (remember, Jesus was a friend to sinners), but here we are speaking of the intentional act of placing something before our eyes.
He then declares his intent to destroy the one who secretly slanders his neighbor. Yet how much of our news and entertainment consists of slander and degradation of other people? Do we watch it passively? Compare a passive watching of such degradation with the psalmist's intention to "destroy".
Finally, the psalmist declares that he will not endure one with a haughty look. Think of the arrogance of news commentators when they discuss spiritual matters. And think of the pride of "entertainers" displaying their gross sin to a worshipping public. Do we endure these?
Finally, we should read the remainder of the Psalm.
6. My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me;
7. He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. 8. Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity.
The Psalmist says that he will choose who will minister to him and it will be the one who walks in a blameless way, not the popular journalist or script writer who lives in sin.
He says that the one who practices deceit shall not dwell in his house. I believe we can make two simple applications of this principle. One is that entertainment produced by deceitful men shall not be seen in our house. The other is that deceiptful practice, such as news which gives only part of the story, will not dwell in our house. God wants us to train ourselves to discern lies, and we should not allow ourselves to be dulled by constant lies. Thus we should state with the psalmist, "He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me." That means that the liar will lose his power over us.
God, in His mercy, has delivered us from sin and its power. Christian hometraining families have the opportunity to experience the excitement and joy of living in His ways while rejecting the work of those who fall away, not enduring one with a haughty look, and keeping our eyes away from worthless things and onto the faithful of the land! This short study is intended to encourage each family in the exciting task of applying these principles in their family.