Archive for March, 2012

The raunchy “Are You There, Chelsea?” aired its season finale (and hopefully series finale) Wednesday evening.  Numerous reviewers from the Boston Herald to the Hollywood Reporter have described the show as “smarmy,” “grim,” “explicit,” “obsessed with sex,” “incessant innuendo” … .

The season lasted only 12 episodes, each episode as repulsive as the one before.  The three repetitive themes involved sex, drunkenness/drug use, and mocking ChristianityAs USA Today stated:  “Almost every joke that’s not about Chelsea’s desire to drink is about her desire to have sex” and the Boston Herald reported that the show “creates euphemisms for sex and lady parts … completely unprintable in this newspaper.”

Click here to send a message to the advertisers which empowered “Are You There, Chelsea?”.

In regards to the first reoccurring theme, this latest episode, as with all the others, used such crude and explicit sexual references that, if they’re unprintable in the Boston Herald, are certainly unprintable here as well.  Suffice it to say, most would be shocked at the lewd, sexual verbiage and innuendo that aired during this 8:30 pm NBC program.

Of course this episode couldn’t get away from the weekly promotion of irresponsible drinking and drug use (marijuana) – telling viewers getting drunk is “fun” and consequence-free.  As Chelsea gets her “Christian” sister drunk on her birthday, her sister states:  “This is fun!” Chelsea exclaims:  “It’s because you’re drunk. This is how Olivia and I live our lives every day.”

Then, of course, are the jabs at Christ and Christianity. When Chelsea is looking at male strippers online to book one for her sister’s birthday, her father looks over her shoulder at the images of the male strippers and tells her:  “Your sister’s a very religious girl.  I say you go with the one that looks like … Jesus.” (The omitted word is a lewd reference that we won’t repeat.)

These three offensive themes have been repeated ad nauseam for each of the 12 episodes.  And while Chelsea started in the gutter and stayed there, the ratings quickly sank to the same level – consistently drawing a pathetically small number of viewers and indicating that we as a nation aren’t completely desensitized – yet.  Some people at least don’t find a constant stream of sex jokes as entertaining.

Yet while abysmal ratings and reviews have indicated that this show is headed for the chopping block of cancellation – advertisers have blindly continued to empower the raunchy themes of Chelsea.  Sponsors of this episode include Pepsi, Dove soap, Ace Hardware, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Verizon Wireless, and, one of the main culprits is JC Penney.   JC Penney has sponsored a vast majority of the 12 episodes of “Are You There, Chelsea?”.

JC Penney, in attempting to re-image themselves, is choosing to sponsor shows that might be considered “edgy” – seemingly thumbing its nose not only at the family values the company was originally founded upon, but also at the families who have supported JC Penney over the years.

Take a look at our report here regarding JC Penney.

Click here to contact the advertisers of “Are You There, Chelsea?”.

Also, please click here to send a message to J.C. Penney regarding their increasing stance empowering shows which undermine our families and attack our faith.

Or write:

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Myron Ullman, Chairman and CEO 6501 Legacy Drive Plano, TX 75024 Ph: 972-431-1000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            972-431-1000     end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fx: 972-431-9140

Media Relations Darcie Brossart (972-431-3400 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            972-431-3400     end_of_the_skype_highlighting)


“Created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Eph 2:10 NIV

God had a plan for your life before you were born. Indeed, it’s why He brought you into the world. Simply keeping you “busy” was not His goal. He wants to see you doing the work He “prepared in advance for you to do.” Joining a worthy cause and working hard is commendable, but you can end up as a square peg in a round hole, expending time and energy without achieving the you-shaped purpose God had in mind. He wants you to be purpose-driven, not work-driven! So: (1) Ask Him to reveal His will to you. “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Php 2:13 NIV). God will actually create desires within you that guide you toward accomplishing His purpose. It’s not serendipity or super-spirituality, but God at the helm steering your ship. (2) Expect to do more than you are capable of. Self-directed activity is self-limited activity. God-directed activity is unlimited activity. God never calls us to do what we can; He calls us to do what He can! “[He] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph 3:20 NIV). Listen, act on His promptings, and all things become possible to you. (3) When the work is demanding, draw on His indwelling power. Paul says, “I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” How much divine energy is needed for your assignment? “All His energy.” Awesome! And it is available to you today.

“In me . . . peace” (John 16:33).

There is a vast difference between happiness and blessedness. Paul had imprisonments and pains, sacrifice and suffering up to the very limit; but in the midst of it all, he was blessed. All the beatitudes came into his heart and life in the midst of those very conditions.

Paganini, the great violinist, came out before his audience one day and made the discovery just as they ended their applause that there was something wrong with his violin. He looked at it a second and then saw that it was not his famous and valuable one.

He felt paralyzed for a moment, then turned to his audience and told them there had been some mistake and he did not have his own violin. He stepped back behind the curtain thinking that it was still where he had left it, but discovered that some one had stolen his and left that old second-hand one in its place. He remained back of the curtain a moment, then came out before his audience and said:

“Ladies and Gentlemen: I will show you that the music is not in the instrument, but in the soul.” And he played as he had never played before; and out of that second-hand instrument, the music poured forth until the audience was enraptured with enthusiasm and the applause almost lifted the ceiling of the building, because the man had revealed to them that music was not in the machine but in his own soul.

It is your mission, tested and tried one, to walk out on the stage of this world and reveal to all earth and Heaven that the music is not in conditions, not in the things, not in externals, but the music of life is in your own soul.

If peace be in the heart,

The wildest winter storm is full of solemn beauty,

The midnight flash but shows the path of duty,

Each living creature tells some new and joyous story,

The very trees and stones all catch a ray of glory,

If peace be in the heart.

–Charles Francis Richardson

Running In The Right Direction

Posted: March 31, 2012 in Joe Stowell

Running In The Right Direction.

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

Jesus had said this would happen. For quite some time, he had predicted his suffering and death. The first time came right after Peter confessed him to be the Messiah. Jesus responded: “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22). So, even though the Roman soldiers led Jesus out to crucify him, they were only doing what he had said they would do.

Indeed, they were doing what he chose to happen and in many ways caused to happen. After all, Jesus had been preaching that God alone was the true King and that his kingdom was at hand…not exactly the kind of message Rome liked to hear. Moreover, Jesus had been in regular conflict with Jewish leaders, who saw him as a nuisance and a threat. Then, he stirred up the crowds by riding into Jerusalem as a messianic king. He disturbed the Jewish officials by ransacking the temple and halting its sacrifices, accusing the temple leaders of being no better than a bunch of thieves. Jesus seemed even to know that Judas was planning to betray him and Jesus appeared to consent to the betrayal. Jesus did not defend himself before the Sanhedrin, perhaps because he knew this was a lost cause. But he didn’t try to set Pilate straight either. And, of course, Jesus did not call down legions of angels to deliver him.

So, though “they led him out to crucify him,” Jesus was no passive victim. He picked up his cross and walked to Golgotha because he had chosen the way of suffering. He believed this to be the will of God, the way by which he would realize his messianic destiny. Jesus chose to suffer and die so that he might fulfill Isaiah’s vision of the Suffering Servant of God, the one who was “despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity.” As this Servant, Jesus “has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases.” Moreover, “he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed” (Isa. 53:3-5).

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever sensed that God wanted you to “take up your cross” and follow Jesus? In what way? Are you struggling to be faithful in some area of your life or work right now, knowing that you should “take up your cross,” but not being sure if you can do it?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, you chose the cross. Yes, the Jewish leaders accused you. And, yes, Pilate sentenced you. And, indeed, Roman soldiers led you to Golgotha. But in a very real sense, they were simply working out what God had willed and you had freely and painfully chosen.

How I thank you for this costly choice! Because you took up the cross, I can take up life in all of its fullness. Because you were led to die, I can be led into the eternal life. Because you bore my sin, I can enjoy your forgiveness. How good you are to me, dear Lord, my Savior! Amen.

P.S. from Mark: You can see Linda’s painting for the Seventh Station here. You may also be interested in a blog series I have written called Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Roman, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives.

Just as her friends were doing, my daughter Melissa was busily preparing for adulthood. At school, she was getting ready for college by taking the right courses and had signed up for the ACT college entrance test.

Outside of class, Melissa was learning the socialization skills it takes to get along with people by spending time with friends, classmates, and teammates. At her job, she was learning the relational skills needed for a future career of work. At home, Mell was preparing for future family life by experiencing the way a Christian family would interact.

Getting ready for life as an adult takes work, and Melissa was making good progress.

But none of that preparation was what she would need. In 2002, when she died in a car accident at age 17, the only preparation that mattered was her readiness for heaven.

When the truest test of preparedness came so suddenly on that beautiful June evening—when eternity’s door opened for Melissa—she was prepared. She had put her faith in Jesus and trusted His sacrifice on the cross for her sins (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8-9).

When she faced the ultimate test of being prepared, Melissa was ready. Are you?

God’s time is now, for the days fly fast, And swiftly the seasons roll; Today is yours, it may be your last; Choose life for your priceless soul! —Fithian
If death comes today, will you be prepared to meet God?

We Take, He Undertakes

A. B. Simpson knew by experience the unavailing struggle to be holy, and he knew also the Bible way to holiness. In a little hymn composed to be spoken at the conclusion of one of his sermons he states it this way: I take Him as my holiness, My spirit’s spotless, heavenly dress, I take the Lord my righteousness- I take, He undertakes. We have but to abandon the effort to be holy and trust God to do the work within us. He will surely undertake. There are many other happy exchanges we Christians may make if we will, among them being our ignorance for His knowledge, our folly for His wisdom, our demerit for His merit, our sad mortality for His blessed immortality and faith for sight at last.