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  • Should we as Christians watch television (TV)?

    Question: "Should we as Christians watch television (TV)?"

    Answer: 
    Many Christians struggle with the issue of whether or not to watch television and, if we do watch, how much TV should we watch? Television, like many other diversions we have in today’s society, has the ability to do both great good and great harm.

    On the plus side for the Christian, television can be a wonderful educational tool. News and weather reports have saved countless lives, and we have access to entertainment, sports, and information that can be helpful and uplifting. From a Christian standpoint, TV has been used to share the gospel to virtually every nation on earth (Matthew 28:19), and countless lives have been changed through Christian television broadcasts.

    On the negative side for the Christian, many people become addicted to television viewing or mindlessly sucked in to whatever show may be on at the moment. This takes people away from family, friends, and time in God’s Word. Many of the most popular shows today focus on the worst that mankind has to offer, and evil is glorified as good (see 2 Timothy 3:1–5 and Isaiah 5:20). Even on so-called Christian television, there are some men and women claiming to be ministers of God who are more concerned about money and prestige than saving souls (see 2 Timothy 4:3–4).

    The impact of television in our lives comes in what we do with it. Christians should not let TV control them; rather, they should use TV as the communication tool it was meant to be.

    A discerning Christian television viewer will ask some questions and prayerfully answer them:

    – What is my motive for watching this TV show? (See 1 Corinthians 10:31.)
    – Does this television show contain material that, as a Christian, I cannot hear or view with a pure mind? (See Psalm 101:3.)
    – Will watching this TV show further my understanding of my culture and therefore help me communicate Christ more effectively? Or am I seeking a thrill and secretly relishing scenes of evil?
    – Am I committed to obtaining truth from the Word of God rather than from powerful media forms such as television?
    – Can I separate the wheat from the chaff? Can I rejoice in biblical themes a TV show might present while rejecting its ungodly elements? Or do the ungodly elements overwhelm any good contained in the show?
    – Is there a better use of my time?

    It’s difficult to give a hard-and-fast rule about how much television a Christians should watch—or whether he should watch any at all. Ultimately, that decision is between the believer and God—or, in the case of minors, between their parents and God. Christians considering the issue of television should examine the Word, pray about it, listen to their conscience, and follow the Spirit’s leading.

    Here are some verses that may help in discerning what is appropriate TV viewing for a Christian:

    Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

    Matthew 6:22–23: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

    Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

    Romans 13:13–14: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

    Philippians 4:8: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    1 Thessalonians 5:21–22: “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”

    Recommended Resource: Balancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie

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  • House Democrats push for No Ban Act, as White House threatens veto over coronavirus

     
    Demonstrators listen to speakers during a rally outside the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday Jan 28, 2020, in Richmond, Va. President Donald Trump's travel ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries is going back before a federal appeals court. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
    March 11, 2020
     

    (RNS) — House Democrats are pushing for the passage of a bill rescinding President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, even as Republican House leaders and the White House argue the bill could impede the government’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, known by its acronym as the No Ban Act, is scheduled to come to the floor of the Democrat-controlled House on Thursday (March 12), when lawmakers will vote on the ban for the first time since it was enacted over three years ago.

    “Muslim bans are not who we are as Americans,” Rep. Judy Chu, who introduced the bill last year, said on a call with reporters. “They hurt families and hurt our national security, and we must stop this president from overextending his authority and banning people from entire countries simply because of their religion. This cruel ban continues to needlessly tear families apart and cause misery and psychological trauma.”

    The No Ban Act would repeal all iterations of the ban, constrict a president’s ability to “suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States” and prevent “religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions, such as whether to issue an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, with certain exceptions.” The bill has 219 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats. An identical bill in the Senate has 40 co-sponsors.

    The bill does include an exception for responses to safety or public health issues such as COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Still, Republican officials have linked the bill to the novel coronavirus this week, arguing that it would impede the president’s ability to respond quickly to such threats.

    The White House warned that Trump’s advisers would recommend he veto the bill if it lands on the president’s desk.

    President Donald Trump listens during a meeting on the Coronavirus with health care company leaders, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    “This legislation would limit the President’s authority to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States when he determines such action to be in the national interest,” the president’s executive office said in a statement released Tuesday (March 10). “Notably, the President’s authority to restrict travel into the United States has been central to the Administration’s ongoing efforts to safeguard the American people against the spread of COVID-19.”

    House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have both called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pull the bill from consideration this week.

    “The president ought to be able to keep potential terrorists from coming into our country, but now with this outbreak of coronavirus, the president also needs to have all the tools available to limit people coming in from countries with a high propensity of coronavirus,” Scalise told reporters. “You wouldn’t want legislation that would make it more difficult.”

    Advocates of the bill argue it only targets discriminatory immigration orders and would not hinder a response to the coronavirus.

    “Racism is not a disinfectant,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “In fact, it is more important than ever to pass this bill. Today, likely millions of American families have been separated from their loved ones. Sick people have been denied lifesaving medical treatment. And scientists, academics, engineers and doctors have been kept out of the country at a time when we need them most.”

    If the bill passed this week, co-sponsor Rep. Ilhan Omar told reporters, Muslim and African communities affected by it would see a “sweet victory.”

    “I know firsthand how destructive this policy is to millions of people around the world who want to come to America to seek a better life,” Omar said. “Families who haven’t been able to see their loved ones and who have been separated from them will have the ability to see accountability happen in the United States.”

    After campaigning on a promise for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” Trump issued his first version of the ban in January 2017. The ban faced legal challenges and was eventually amended to halt all travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela.

    The ban, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018, saw an expansion late last year, growing to restrict travelers from six more countries: Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

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  • Amid coronavirus shutdowns, churches offer drive-thru prayer, drive-in service

    POLICE SHOW UP AT LOUISIANA CHURCH THAT WAS DEFYING CORONAVIRUS STATE ORDER

    "We want to love people, bless people, and we want to pray," Brewer said. "We want to be available to people and serve them."

    Troy Brewer, pastor of OpenDoor Church in Burleson, Texas, with his wife, Leanna, as they host drive-thru prayer at their church.

    Troy Brewer, pastor of OpenDoor Church in Burleson, Texas, with his wife, Leanna, as they host drive-thru prayer at their church. (Courtesy of Troy Brewer)

    Other churches are doing similar outreach with drive-thru prayer. In Dayton, Tenn., the congregation at Grace Bible Church will offer drive-in service on Sunday, complete with a jumbotron.

    At OpenDoor Church, the 53-year-old pastor, who started the church in 1995, said people can drive up to their church Wednesday night and three service times on Sunday and church leadership will pray for, encourage, and bless them while they stay in their cars.

    HOW CHURCHES ARE WORKING TO BRING GOOD NEWS, POSITIVITY AMID CORONAVIRUS FEARS

    People have the option of getting communion as well and the church has cards with scripture on them they are handing out to deal with anxiety and other issues.

    OpenDoor Church in Burleson, Texas, hosts drive-thru prayer at their church amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    OpenDoor Church in Burleson, Texas, hosts drive-thru prayer at their church amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Courtesy of Troy Brewer)

    "If the body of Christ doesn't bring peace, unity, and the power of the Lord, I don't think anyone else is coming," Brewer said. "This is a great opportunity for us to stand up and reach out to our own communities and make a tremendous difference."

    The church also started a national prayer hotline with a prayer center: 877-413-0888. In addition to prayer, if people need food, help, hospital visits, they are mobilizing volunteers to help the elderly and the vulnerable so they don't have to leave.

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  • Urbandale Teen Creates Christian Clothing Brand to Spread the Word of Christ

    URBANDALE, Iowa-- As a high school student at Des Moines Christian, Blake Stanley said they were always taught to use their gifts for the glory of God. This led him to use his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to serve his faith.

    Stanley saw the ways in which people promoted Christ to young people, and thought it wasn’t quite cool enough. 

    “There was all these Christian t-shirts out there that were really cheesy,” Stanley said. 

    This is when he decided to make his own Christian clothing line to spread the word of Christ. He named it, BLDR, otherwise known as the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. 

    “My whole desire is for people to get excited about wearing something and not just because the message but because of how it looks,” Stanley said. 

    Stanley mentioned that his friends and family were first apprehensive about BLDR, not wanting him to be judged off of sharing his faith. Though in the beginning, he didn’t get much support or money from this business venture, Stanley’s customers inspired him to keep going. 

    “The stories that people would share with me of how they're making an impact with their shirt and if they're able to share the story of salvation and the story of what they believe in, with others is what kept me motivated,” Stanley said. 

    Now two years later, Stanley has taken a year off of college to focus on his mission of spreading the word of Christ throughout Des Moines. He donates 25% of his proceeds to causes like The Salt Network, which plants churches on college campuses nationwide. 

    “Romans 1:16 says for I'm not ashamed of the gospel for it's power of God through salvation through who believe, and I want to live that out,” Stanley said. “I want to be unashamed of my faith and what I believe in.” 

    Stanley will have his first pop up shop of the year on March 7th at Freedom Blend Coffee, to learn more about BLDR, visit this link

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  • 5 Christian movies coming to theaters in 2020

    Five movies coming in 2020

    The success of faith-based films in recent years has led to a resurgence in Christian movies being released on a grand scale. 

    In 2018, the film "I Can Only Imagine" based on the life of Christian singer Bart Millard brought in $17.1 million domestically during its opening weekend and over $83 million overall, surpassing expectations. 

    Several films in 2019 also featured religious themes, such as “Overcomer,” while other Hollywood films highlighted the faith of the characters and real-life individuals the actors portrayed. “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Harriet,” and “Dark Waters” were among those blockbuster mainstream releases.

    2020 is looking to continue the trend. Here's a list of five faith-based movies coming this new year.

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