Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘movies’

G.I. Joe: Promoting Adultery And Violence To Children

Posted by Job on August 11, 2009

My motivation for mentioning this was hearing a couple of disc jockeys on Christian (CCM) radio go through great lengths to promote the idea that it is acceptable for Christian parents to take their children, given to them by the Lord for the purpose of instructing in righteousness and protecting them, to see this film. Those disc jockeys need to watch the movie the “The Time Changer” or view the Tim Conway video and link below, and so do all Christians that agree with them.

Now why do Christian parents want to take their children to see this movie? Simple: because despite being rated PG-13, the movie is obviously being marketed to children, just as was the Transformer movies (Incidentally G.I. Joe and Transformers are manufactured by the same toy company and the movies are made by the same studio with the same producer. Isn’t capitalism grand politically conservative Christians?) Do not pretend otherwise. Not only is the mere fact that the movie is based on a toy line going to pique the interests of children, but the movie is heavily promoted during children’s programming (ar reason to consider liberal socialist PBS as an alternative to Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network, network TV, etc. … no commercials!) and there are the usual “kids’ meal” fast food tie ins. So, many Christian parents have their children begging them to allow them to see it, plus the movie also appeals to the child in a great many adults … meaning the desire for visually stimulating escapist entertainment.

However, Christian parents – and their children – should not be in the business of seeking entertainment from things designed to appeal to our fallen nature. Perhaps the best description of our fallen sinful nature is contained within Romans 1:18-32. Here is an excerpt: “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Sound familiar about any society and culture that you know? Sound familiar about any household that you know?

That excerpt makes it clear that not only does our fallen sinful nature crave wanton violence and sexual immorality ourselves, but we take pleasure in watching others do the same. It is called voyeurism, without which no “reality show” (which consists of sitting around watching other people act immoral for our own entertainment) could survive. However, where true voyeurism is unavailable, fantasy voyeurism – which only depicts immorality – will do. Yet G.I. Joe is where fantasy immorality meets reality in the person of Sienna Miller.

This Sienna Miller may yet legitimately be an actress of some ability and reputation. But let us be honest: her resume and acting ability had nothing to do with her getting this role. Instead, it had everything to do with this Sienna Miller’s being famous – or should I say infamous – in the now rather large tabloid subculture for her very brazen and public relationships with married men. So, this Miller gets rewarded for her grotesque personal immorality with a movie role that she would have never gotten otherwise because the film’s makers knew that her lifestyle would attract people who – again according to Romans 1, have pleasure in her lifestyle!  And for the maximum effect (or exploitation), Miller was cast in the “bad girl temptress”, a role described by a tabloid as that of  “a leather-clad man-eater.” So, what is the (im)moral of the story? Become one of the world’s most notorious adulteresses and get a role in a movie that influential evangelical Christians (which by nature of their profession the CCM disc jockeys are) will defend taking your kids to go see!

Now granted, it is possible that many Christian parents may not know a thing about this Miller person or this film’s attempt to profit from her reputation. (However, no Christian parent can claim to not be aware of Hollywood’s reputation and therefore be surprised in any way that Hollywood is using fascination with adultery to increase the profit margins on movies marketed to children during “Dora The Explorer” and with Burger King kid’s meals.) However, no Christian parent should delude himself about the extreme violence that G.I. Joe (and for that matter all of these comic/book and toy movies) depict. We see the gunfire, the missiles and bombs, the lasers, car crashes, explosions etc. and think “wow that is so cool!”

The truth is that these things are false images, lies, and all lies are the product of the adversary, the enemy, the serpent of old which is Satan that has deceived the whole world. The reason why I say this is because being exposed to false depictions of extreme violence produces a person – and a population and culture – that goes beyond merely being desensitized to violence but having a mindset that is altered and strongly deluded to the point where violence, death, mayhem and destruction are worshiped. How receptive will a mind raised in such a culture be to the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ and the offense of His work on the cross? As a matter of fact, how many professing Christians have real trouble with believing that they have to personally obey the Sermon on the Mount and the other instructions of Jesus Christ to love your enemy, turn the other cheek, make peace with your adversary etc. because they grew up cheering police officers and other “good guys” brutally kill the bad guys vengeance style? Rarely does this “entertainment” depict the bad guy being merely apprehended and placed into custody to stand trial, which is actually the desired outcome in a civilized society based on law, order and justice. Why? Because the viewing wants to see the police officer (or as it happens an average citizen) play judge, jury and executioner and satisfy their lust for blood. We also want this escapist fantasy violence to be our outlet to vent our fears, hatreds and frustrations (preferring to watch the objects of our evil thoughts and emotions being blasted away in movies and on TV) rather than confessing our faults before the body of believers in Jesus Christ and going before the throne of grace for forgiveness of our sins. So, we reject the true High Priest that is seated on the right hand of God the Father, Jesus Christ, in favor of the idol of the TV screen!

And make no mistake, this does impact people’s thinking. The best example of this was the criticisms of the actions of the police department during the Columbine High School massacre. The police were denounced for not barrelling through the front door and confronting armed gunmen! Why? Because a society that has for decades been molded by action movies and TV shows thinks that is what you are supposed to do. In such shows, it is possible for the police, the military (so long as it is ours) and other “good guys” to wade right into a blizzard of bullets and missiles with no casualties. They have no idea that it is the opposite is true: it only takes one guy with one gun firing one bullet to kill the “good guy.” It really is a type of brainwashing, where these false media images conform you to the lies that the god of this world, the prince of the powers of the air, want you to believe so that accepting and living by the truth of Jesus Christ and His resurrection will be all the more difficult.

After all, the reason why we watch entertainment like this is because “it looks so cool and realistic.” Excuse me, but what is “so cool” about a lie? And how can it be “realistic” if it isn’t true? If these movies were so “realistic” and “true” they would show severe burn victims with their skin melted off, and how such people will be disfigured for the rest of their lives even after several iterations of plastic surgery. They will show people lying in hospital beds screaming in pain despite having received the most powerful anesthetics available because their nerve endings are messed up. They will show a paraplegic struggling to learn how to bathe and clothe himself. They will show mothers and wives at the end of their wits struggling under the stress of having to take care of their paraplegic husbands and sons. They will show mortally wounded people slowly degenerate and die over the course of several days and weeks while their family members grieve and watch.  They would show the three year old children waking up in the middle of the night asking their mothers “Where is daddy, when is he coming home?” over and over again and having to be told “Daddy is dead, sweetie, he is never coming home” and the mother and child having to hold each other, cry and console each other.

Why? Because that is the actual result of the real violence and destruction falsely portrayed by G.I. Joe and similar films: people getting maimed for life or killed and their loved ones having to deal with it. Pretending as if these avalances of bullets and bombs can fly all over the place with absolutely no real consequences (i.e. no one that we care about gets injured and no one is personally affected by or has to deal with it in any serious way) is just as wrong as depicting promiscuity while omitting sexually transmitted disease, abortion, divorce, rape and child molestation, and “crimes of passion” that results from this behavior. It is the “sin has no consequences” lie, which by the way was the same lie that Satan used to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden with “you will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). It is called “fantasy” and “escapism” because the ultimate fantasy of every sinner is that he can sin without there being any consequence. The sinner wants to delude himself that the consequence of his behavior is not offense to God’s holiness or righteousness, or that God will not take action against the injustice committed against His holiness. But whether the lie is “no harm done” or “God doesn’t know” or “God doesn’t care” or “God won’t do anything about it”, trust me, it is still a lie no different from the first one told in the Garden of Eden. And just as in that instance, we should not focus too much on the lie or even on the liar, but on the wicked human heart that was all too willing to believe it and act on it. Honestly, what makes you think that your internalizing a lie through your action of being entertained by it is any different from Eve’s? If you can tell me the difference, I would like to hear it. For in both cases, the issue is not the lie so much as it is the heart that wants to believe it for its own purposes, which is to serve its own pleasure rather than to serve the will of God.

If movies like G.I. Joe were realistic, they would show the broken bodies, broken minds, broken spirits, broken families and broken lives that are the result of this violence. They would show you what REALLY happens when a laser hits someone, when there is a serious car crash, when a bomb or missile explodes, when someone starts shooting machine guns, or when buildings collapse. In real life, explosions burn people and blow off body parts. Car crashes and falling buildings crush people. Bullets tear flesh. And when these things happen, no distinction is made between “good guys”, “bad guys”, or “innocent civilians.” You can see things like this happen in an action movie dozens of times and NO ONE GETS HURT. Or if they do, it is all clean and sanitized, with the “bad guys” getting the worst of it, and often very little blood, let alone actual carnage and mayhem. Why? Because no one wants to see that. No one wants the truth, so we would rather have our minds shaped, twisted and conformed by corrupt lies.

We would rather be entertained by lies than live for the truth, and this is the result. So the question is: how can we love a lie and call ourselves Christians? Go read what Revelation 22:15 says about the fate of those who love lies and answer that question. Make no mistake, this is a serious issue. I am not going the usual route of “watching Megan Fox (who openly brags about her lesbianism) in Transformers may cause you to want to go out and fornicate” or “watching the gunfire in G.I. Joe may cause you to go out and shoot somebody.” I realize that this only occurs with a small amount of people who already had these tendencies to begin with. But we have to start directly confronting the issue of how polluting our minds – and that of our children – with things that we know to be lies and with the fascination and worship of sin, evil and destruction causes. I did not say what it leads to, the famous “slippery slope” argument. Instead, we have to deal with what entertaining lies in our mind and worshiping violence and destruction are, which is sin.

Why are we so quick to resort to escapist entertainment anyway? Because dealing with the real world is so hard, so painful, so difficult. We would rather take the easy way – escape from it – than the hard way, which is deal with it. Well, if that is how we as adults feel, imagine how our children, who have to deal with so many strong emotions and frightening situations at such young ages, feel? Instead of plunging our children ever deeper into escapist fantasy cocoons, we need to show our children the reality that they are going to have to deal with if they are going to effectively serve Jesus Christ and glorify God the Father by obeying the Holy Spirit in the actual world that does exist. Yes, the primary way that we teach our children how to deal with reality is by showing them to with our own example! Of course, Satan does not want your kids to be able to effectively deal with the real world (a precondition for serving Jesus Christ), and allowing your kids to be trapped by his worldly system that plunges them mentally and emotionally into some confused fantasy land state where they cannot tell their right hand from their left (which means they don’t know right from wrong, tell what is real and what is fake, don’t know the truth from a lie, and wouldn’t even know how to deal with what is right, what is real, and what is true if they did) is nothing less than a dereliction of your duty as a Christian parent.

Christian parents need to build their children up in the Lord, not destroy them with the things of Satan. The enemy has already been defeated on the cross by Jesus Christ and the battle is already won, so why even give a place to this defeated foe in the mind of your children? So, instead of filling your children with hate, violence, wrath, wantonness, sensuality and craven glorification of sin, please use this test to evaluate whatever your children (and for that matter you yourself) are exposed to and reject whatever fails.

Philippians 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.

And no, do not go pulling the “legalist” card. Biblically, a “legalist” is someone who claims that a Christian needs to convert to Judaism and follow the law of Moses in order to go to heaven. The modern definition of “legalist” is adding rules and creating sins that do not appear in the Bible and claiming that they have the force of scripture. Advising Christian parents against giving money to Hollywood producers seeking to profit off Sienna Miller’s adulteries and warning against things that conform your mind to a lie (read Romans 12:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 10:5) is not legalism. Instead, the burden is on the Christian to explain why he absolutely HAS to view this “entertainment” in the first place, let alone let his children see it. If Christians were able to get by for almost 2000 years without the advantages of movies glorifying fantasy (meaning unrealistic and therefore inherently immoral) depictions of violence because such things hadn’t been invented yet, today’s church has no need of these things either.

Tim Conway – Do You Watch Things That God Hates?

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Wanted: Christian Movies That Actually Present The Person And Work Of Jesus Christ

Posted by Job on April 15, 2009

Jesus Christ movies – that is, adaptations of the gospels and such – exempted. Christian movie fans, please recommend. Exceptions: not really looking for “Left Behind”, “The Omega Code” or any of the other Cloud Ten Productions or Generation (the Paul Crouch TBN studio) products right now. I will be liberal and state that the three movies from Sherwood Baptist Church (“Flywheel”, “Facing The Giants”, and “Fireproof”) qualify, but I have those already.  Other than those (and “The Robe” and “The Perfect Stranger” series, both which I have decided not to acquire at this time) I am at a loss to think of any more. Oh yes, and Roman Catholic propaganda need not apply. Thank you.

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Batman Is No Superhero. Batman Needs Jesus Christ!

Posted by Job on July 11, 2008

Read below:

www.newsweek.com/id/145509

and you will know that people like this need

The Three Step Salvation Plan

The question is: do you also? By the way, Tony Stark of Iron Man needs Jesus Christ too, and David Banner (the Incredible Hulk) needs salvation and spiritual deliverance, and so do all the X – Men (including the Roman Catholic Nightcrawler). Oh yes, and as for the people who conceive and draw this stuff to begin with. Might I point out that Marvel Comics gave us the first mainstream homosexual superhero (Rawhide) as well as Stripperella.

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THE TV AND MOVIE INDUSTRY AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON PEOPLE’S LIVES PART 2

Posted by Job on April 28, 2008

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Some of the great movies of all time would never even be made today! A year
ago on Easter Sunday, I was able to enjoy some down time watching the back
nine of the Masters. Congratulations to Zack Johnson for holding off Tiger
Woods and winning one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments. Johnson took
several opportunities to let a worldwide TV audience know that his faith in
Jesus Christ sustained him in those final holes. After chatting with several
good friends who are on the PGA Tour, it turns out that Zack is not only a
great golfer, but a very committed Christian. How fitting his great victory
came on Easter Sunday!

After my wife and I ate some dinner, I sat down to catch up on some of the
day’s news before going to bed. In scrolling thru the stations, I stopped on
AMC (American Movie Classics). Just starting was the 1937 classic movie
“Heidi” starring Shirley Temple. Instead of going to bed, I got my wife and
we watched this great movie classic together. Immediately following, we
watched another Temple classic “Little Miss Broadway.” As I sat there and
enjoyed these two great movies, I couldn’t help to think that if someone was
trying to make those exact movies today in the year 2008, they would be
laughed out of the offices of every major motion picture studio.

Let me tell you what are some of the hottest movies the major motion picture
studios have put out recently. The Hills Have Eyes 2, Grindhouse, 300, Dead
Silence, Hannibal Rising, Hostel 2, and Saw 3. What do these movies all have
in common? They make the studios tons of cash and they are some of the
sickest, most disgusting movies ever created depicting human torture,
mutilation, and killing. I already know the standard answer from those who
support these types of movies is that it is not real, it is just a movie, it
is entertainment, and that nobody was really tortured and killed. I counter
that weak justification with the simple question, “What possible good can a
person gain by watching such a movie?”

The answer is simple, NOTHING! I would also add that anyone who is
“entertained” by watching a person being tortured, mutilated, and killed,
has some very serious psychological issues. It is simply not normal to find
anything entertaining in seeing a person being tortured, mutilated and
killed. This is partially a byproduct of the world we live in that places
little to no value on human life. We slaughter 4,000 innocent babies every
day in this nation. Children grow up playing video games where the goal is
to kill your opponent. The media is feeding young adults a steady diet of
death on TV, in the movies, on the Internet, and through music. It is no
wonder kids today grow up desensitized to death and place little value of
human life.

I think it is wonderful that the movie studios are producing more family
friendly movies. It is nice to have those options. While people of faith,
people who support more traditional family values will go to see those types
of movies, the very same studios also produce the sexual, violent,
mutilation films that glorify death because there is an insatiable demand
for those types of movies. The lost and hurting masses who choose to reject
Christ’s love, live in rebellion to God and His Word, have so hardened their
hearts that they demand more blood, more gore, more sensational ways to view
death. Never forget, satan is about death and God is about life. Those who
follow satan embrace death and those who follow Jesus embrace life, even in
the movies they watch!

Long gone are the innocent days of Shirley Temple. In just a few generations
we have gone from the wholesomeness of Temple to the utter depravity of
movies graphically depicting every kind of deviant sexual act and ways to
kill another human being. As I watched those two Shirley Temple movies that
Sunday, I smiled as little Shirley knelt by her bed and said her prayers, as
her grandfather read passages from the Bible, and the scenes of a church
service complete with a few minutes of sound preaching and the great old
hymns of the faith. The sad reality of the year 2008 is that you won’t even
find that in most so-called churches today!!!

You don’t have to have any history degrees to simply look at where this
nation was spiritually 70 years ago and where it is today. While things
weren’t perfect, we still lived in a nation that honored God and revered His
Truth. Even though we had many different denominations, all Christian
churches still preached the Bible and called sinners to repent and turn
their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ by faith. Sin was not glorified and
accepted but condemned. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography all existed,
but they were deemed as deviant behavior not socially acceptable. False
religions and cults were not given a place of prominence but kept
underground.

Marriage was without question one man and one woman for one lifetime, with
there being a huge stigma to divorce. Most children grew up in a home with a
mother and father, unlike most children today who grow up in broken and
blended homes. TV, radio, and the movies produced wholesome family
entertainment with strict standards of decency. Many say we have progressed
over the past 70 years. I agree that we have progressed in every way but the
most critical, SPIRITUALLY! You don’t have to be saved, read the Bible, or
even believe in God to know that as a nation, as a people, we are in
spiritual free fall!

I love you and care about you so much. As I layed in bed Sunday night, I
couldn’t go to sleep right away. I wanted to cry but couldn’t. We have
become a wicked people. Millions of people are spending eternity in hell
because we have allowed our society to lose sight of God, forget the Truth
of His Word, and reject the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. As someone
who has committed my life to serving the Lord I weep daily for this nation
and the lost masses who will perish and spend eternity in hell. I am
resigned to the fact that this nation is so lost, its heart so hardened,
that it will never turn back to God. But that only motivates me to do more
each day to reach those who are hurting, are searching for answers, and do
want to find true hope that only exists in a personal relationship with
Jesus Christ..

You see, it is still about souls my friend. One at a time. Yes it would be
wonderful to see this nation fall on its knees and repent and turn back to
God. If that happens praise God. However, those who know the Lord can still
make a huge impact on millions of lives who without Jesus will spend
eternity in hell. We have great hurdles to overcome, great obstacles to
clear, but with God’s strength we can overcome those hurdles and obstacles
and be victorious in bringing in that last great harvest of souls before our
Lord returns.

The contrast between the Shirley Temple movies of a generation gone by and
the graphic mutilation and death movies of today demonstrate how far we have
fallen as a people. But it is still about each individual soul, and knowing
how many souls will be lost forever should be all the motivation the child
of God needs to give all they have to reach as many as they can with the
Truth of God’s Word and the hope and love of Jesus Christ. The time is
short, Jesus is coming, and the lost masses are out there waiting for
someone to reach them. It is time to get serious and busy about bringing
these lost souls the hope they yearn for and helping them find the peace,
joy, and everlasting life that only comes from knowing Jesus!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller bkeller@liveprayer.com

***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY?  The fact is you will die one day.  At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator. To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to:
http://www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.cfm

***I am excited to let you know that the Liveprayer Daily Devotional is now available via AUDIO each day.  Simply go to http://www.liveprayer.com/Audio.cfm Also, you can now listen to the Daily Devotional by phone by calling, 1-727-342-5673 or 1-845-510-2722.

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THE TV AND MOVIE INDUSTRY AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON PEOPLE’S LIVES PART 1 OF 2

Posted by Job on April 28, 2008

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The TV and movie industries which have a huge influence over tens of millions of people’s lives, including
many Christians. The Bible talks about the “renewing of our mind,” something
we all need to do on a daily basis through His Word. What we watch and hear,
DOES make a difference in how we think and act. What you allow yourself to
watch and listen to IS a big deal. As you read the Daily Devotional today
and tomorrow, be in prayer about what YOU watch and listen to on a daily
basis. For many of you, God is speaking to your heart about this issue.

People love the HBO series the “Sopranos” for the same reason they love “The
Godfather” trilogy. Even 35 years after it was released, “The Godfather”
starring Marlon Brando is one of the most popular movies ever made. So what
makes “The Godfather” movies, other organized crime movies like
“Goodfellas,” “Donnie Brasco,” “Carlito’s Way,” and “Scarface” such a hit
with people? After all, these are movies where the lead characters are part
of organized crime, men who spend their life killing, stealing, cheating,
and destroying other people’s lives. They are involved in illegal businesses
such as bookmaking, prostitution, extortion, selling drugs, and any other
illegal activity you can name.

THESE ARE MEN WHO LIVE THEIR LIVES IN COMPLETE REBELLION TO GOD AND HIS
WORD, SO WHY ARE THEY SO POPULAR? PEOPLE LOVE SIN MORE THAN THEY LOVE GOD!!!

The popularity of these fictional crime bosses like Tony Soprano can be
directly linked to the popularity of the real-life crime bosses like Charles
“Lucky” Luciano, Myer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel who ran New York in the ’30s,
to Al Capone who ran Chicago in the ’30s, to all the men who ran the various
families across the nation throughout the decades. Men like Giancana,
Marcello, Trafficante, Genovese, Gambino, Bonanno, Lucchese, Colombo,
Accardo, and Gotti to name just a few. People have always had a fascination
with these men who loved to portray themselves as “businessmen” and “family
men,” yet in reality lived brutal and evil lives.

Hollywood and television are largely responsible for how we look at these
criminals. They have glorified and glamorized the lives of these men, often
turning them into sympathetic figures. The movies and television have showed
the human side of these men while almost justifying and excusing what their
life is really about. Make no mistake my friend, these are cold,
calculating, evil, and brutal men who without conscience or mercy spend
their lives killing and destroying others. There is absolutely nothing
glamorous or redeeming about how they live. There is nothing special about
them. They are simply men who have chosen to live a life of crime and live
in violation of society’s laws as well as God’s!

I am going to share some things from my personal life that I have never
shared publicly in all of these years. After the initial success of my
marketing business in 1979, I moved to Chicago in 1980 and that became the
headquarters of my fast growing network of companies throughout the nation
and Canada. A close business associate had introduced me to a law firm in
Chicago that I would use to help me set up my various companies over the
years. The lawyer I met with was a man named Jack Cerone, Jr. who actually
specialized in labor law, so he referred me to one of his partners, Joe
DiNatale, to handle my legal needs. Little did I know that Jack Cerone’s
father was the infamous John “Jackie the Lackey” Cerone, who was actually
the Don of the Chicago outfit (what the Mafia is called in Chicago).

In 1985, my attorney Joe DiNatale would represent Jackie Cerone, Sr. when he
and several other leading mobsters would go on trial in Kansas City for
skimming millions out of Las Vegas casinos. Jackie Cerone, Sr. was convicted
in that trial and would spend the rest of his life in a Federal Prison. I
was very close to DiNatale in the ’80s, and often when we were alone at
dinner he would share some of the stories of what really went on in the
world of organized crime. He often referred to it as “unorganized crime,”
and in reality it was nothing at all like the world portrayed in the movies
or on television.

These were mostly uneducated street criminals who killed, stole, and cheated
people as their life’s work. Those who rose to positions of power usually
did so by attrition, since in the world they lived in you either ended up in
prison or dead. Those who were able to escape those two fates the longest
become the “boss.” Over the years organized crime diversified from their
traditional illegal businesses into legitimate businesses that would become
fronts for many of their criminal activities.

However, in the ’80s new laws that turned what used to be 2-3 year prison
sentences into 20-30 year sentences, encouraged people inside organized
crime who once would “honor the code” and do their time, to now cooperate
and testify against those they worked for. Also, the new technology that
made wiretaps and tracking people possible, gave the Federal Government
tools to gather information they never could in the past. Today, the Mafia
as we know it still exists and always will to some extent, but doesn’t have
anywhere near the influence it used to and thankfully never will again.

When I was indicted in December of 1989 for insider trading, I was denied
bond for fear I would leave the country and was held at the Metropolitan
Correctional Center in downtown Chicago to await trial sometime in late
1990. I was at the MCC from the first week in January in 1990 until October
of 1990. It was there on August 20, 1990 that I rededicated my life to the
Lord and finally gave God the one and only thing He had ever wanted from me,
and that was my life completely and unconditionally surrendered to Him. My
friend, today that is the only thing God wants from you, your life,
completely and unconditionally surrendered to Him.

God began to work in my life. Within a week of rededicating my life to the
Lord, my attorney was able to work out a plea agreement with the government
that called for me to plead guilty and spend the next 22 months at a minimum
security Federal Prison in Pensacola, Florida. If you have never heard my
testimony, you can go to the link below and read all about it. It is a story
I have told to millions worldwide over the years as a tribute to God’s grace
and mercy in my life, giving Him all glory and honor for what He has done
for me. Let me encourage you today that what God has done for me, He will do
for you!!! http://www.weeklyplanet.com/2003-12-04/cover.html

While I was being housed at the MCC in downtown Chicago, in February of
1990, the Federal government indicted Ernest Rocco Infelise, who at the time
was the head of the Chicago Outfit, and several of his top lieutenants,
including reputed mob hit man Harry Aleman. They were obviously denied bond
and also housed at the MCC awaiting their trial, and were assigned to live
on the same floor I was on. I spent the next 8 months living with these
guys. There are no secrets in a prison environment, and they found out that
Joe DiNatale was my attorney, so I was one of the few people on the floor
they interacted with. Many nights we would be in the dining area, and they
would talk about their lives and experiences. They would never get specific,
but it was enough to know that these were men who lived lives of crime from
their youth and really only knew and understood that world.

Obviously, I was fortunate enough to never make the choices to become
involved in that type of life or be part of the world of organized crime.
However, I have had enough contact with those who were in that world to know
there is nothing glamorous about it. It is a very dark, cold, evil world
that operates in complete and total rebellion to God. No matter how much
Hollywood cleans it up, no matter how appealing they make it appear, it is
nothing but a world of destruction. Those who choose to be part of that
world have their lives destroyed. Those who get caught up in their world
have their lives destroyed. At the end of the day, NOBODY WINS BUT SATAN!

I love you and care about you so much. This message today is really a
warning to you. A warning to keep your guard up at all times and not allow
Hollywood and the television industry to cause you to fall into the trap of
glorifying evil no matter how attractive they make it appear. The media
already does a masterful job at glamorizing sin. Sexual sins of every kind
are promoted as fun and exciting with no consequences. Drinking and drug use
are also glorified by the media. So it is no surprise that the media will
try to sanitize sins like murder, robbing, and whatever kind of evil one man
can perpetrate on another you can think of.

I will be praying for you today to take a stand in your life from letting
the world lie to you and lead you into the trap of sitting back and giving
approval to evil by viewing it. Yes, I know the “Sopranos” is a fictional
story, but what they portray is the real life evil and horrors of those who
are part of the world of organized crime. No, you are not going to hell or a
horrible Christian if you watch the “Sopranos” and shows like it. However,
our goal as we mature in Christ is to be more like Him. The Bible talks
about the “renewing of our mind.” A great computer term is “garbage in,
garbage out.” Why would you want to pollute your mind with murder, adultery,
physical violence, and a myriad of other sinful activities?

The problem with a program like the “Sopranos,” the problem with so much of
what is on television today and in the movies, is that they glorify and
glamorize sin. Can you tell me anything glamorous about the sins you have
committed in your life? Can you tell me how glamorous the consequences of
your sins are? That is the point my friend. Sin is NOT glamorous. It is
destructive! The consequences of our sins are very real and very painful.
Watching sin, even in a fictional format, is not something a follower of
Christ should be doing. Why do people love the “Sopranos?” Simple, they love
sin more than they love God!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller bkeller@liveprayer.com

***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY?  The fact is you will die one day.  At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator. To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to:
http://www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.cfm

***I am excited to let you know that the Liveprayer Daily Devotional is now available via AUDIO each day.  Simply go to http://www.liveprayer.com/Audio.cfm Also, you can now listen to the Daily Devotional by phone by calling, 1-727-342-5673 or 1-845-510-2722.

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VeggieTales The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything Is A Very Good Movie

Posted by Job on January 16, 2008

Yes, I know that there are plenty that have issues with the VeggieTales series and with the Christian merchandising industry that it represents. But look, it was watching one of their videos represent Nebuchadnezzar, king of BABYLON, as a corporate CEO and Nebuchadnezzar’s statue (you know, what we are not supposed to bow to!) as a corporate symbol (think the Nike swoosh or the Coca – Cola logo) that rescued me from being a hyperpartisan Republican neoconservative big business fanatic. Another VeggieTales video caused me to rethink the zeal that I had for the Iraq War. So while I duly note the reservations that many have about VeggieTales, many of whom have been legitimate, I still say that the videos and movies represent a positive for Christianity.

Now my biggest complaint with the VeggieTales series has been that the series is far too tame in almost every way, and that they are “Christian values” – centered. (I made peace with that fact when I discovered that the primary intent of the creators of VeggieTales was to create an alternative to secular children’s entertainment.) Well, that is not the case with the movie! As a matter of fact, this movie has the strongest Christian message of any VeggieTales venture save their Easter episode. The movie’s Christian message is hidden in a very good allegory (which explains some critics’ being befuddled by motivation for making the movie in the first place; since the Universal publicity people for some reason chose NOT to market it as an allegory the reviewers made more references to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies than to any religious message) that might be more meaningful to adults than children, however. Still, the allegory is better (and this is coming from someone who generally disdains them, though I have heard that Pilgrim’s Progress and Paradise Lost are quite good and I will investigate both one day) than anything offered by “The Lord of the Rings” (which J.R.R. Tollkein vehemently denied was ever intended as a Christian allegory) and “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” (which the estimable C.S. Lewis intended as such; I prefer the, er, other works of Lewis).

Now for the bad news: the movie is a total commercial disappointment, making only $4.4 million in its opening weekend. Now Universal’s advertising campaign for the movie was problematic (they actually invested more in marketing “Underdog” last year), but still this represented a clear Christian failure to support something that had the potential to be useful to their children. I would venture that a great many more evangelical Christians took their children to see Hollywood fare that is overtly against Jesus Christ. The best example was a comment on the weblog (regrettably rarely updated) of VeggieTales’ creator Phil Vischer (who even more regrettably is no longer directly involved with the series) stating that he received several emails from the usual Christian watchdog concerns warning him NOT to see “The Golden Compass” but NONE urging him and the others on his list to see “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.” Now of course, I am not going to tell anyone to go out and see any particular movie (or any movie at all), and I certainly am not going to fall for this “we Christians should support Christian movies so they will make more Christian movies and result in  a positive tranforming impact on the culture” line. After fervently believing and promoting the same notion regarding black movies in the 1990s (Spike Lee, John Singleton, the Hughes Brothers, Matty Rich, Junge Fever, Malcolm X, Boyz N Tha Hood, Higher Learning, The Inkwell, Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, aaaaah!) I am not going to fall for that again, plus it has a lot more to do with “promoting Christian values” (when no such thing exists) that do not save rather than doing the difficult job of presenting the gospel that actually does.

Phil Vischer stated that the hardest thing for him to accept as a Christian in his medium that were he to put a strong Christian message (i.e. the need for the salvation that only Jesus Christ makes available) he would lose 95% of his audience. “The more you preach the fewer you will reach” is the line. Now by modifying my expectations (considering these not so much “Christian artists making Christian movies” but “movies made by people that happen to be Christians”) I find it acceptable. It is not as if these things do not have a real capacity to benefit those who are willing to take Jesus Christ seriously, so it is impossible to call them negative (unless they are outright abominations based on false doctrines) so there is no problem with their existence. But the problem is that people who are already going to the movies, already watching cable TV, already buying the books and magazines and buying the CDs and DVDs, etc. making a marketplace choice for “I Am Legend” or “Transformers” or “National Treasure II” over something that might have the potential to benefit their faith even more so than does any Tyler Perry movie (or its knockoff “First Sunday” whose characters angrily mock “white Jesus” while attempting to rob a church, and yes I did buy Ice Cube’s CDs containing anti -Christian pro – Nation of Islam poseur rants the day they hit the record store once upon a time).

So, if you have kids, the spare time, and the spare change, check it movie out. But you better do it quickly, because the movie will be out of theatres by February.

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