Day 26

Yesterday was reflection... today is celebration

Today, write down all the positive experiences and outcomes of your fast up to this point. As you reflect back, notice how often God showed up. Maybe it was a time when you were tempted, and you realized it and walked away. Maybe you told a friend what you were doing and they decided to listen to something else or do something else (that's being authentic AND influential). Whatever it was, realize that it was because the Holy Spirit was alive and working through you or the circumstance.

Of course writing this stuff down and remembering is the easy part... the hard part is sharing what you realized... but today, share it with your parent or significant adult. Tell them what you've learned from this fast... you can also post it on ourthirty but make sure you actually talk to your parent about what you've noticed... you will blow them away.

And remember, God gets all the glory... He's the One who's been holding you together in the first place (remember laminin?).

Finally, spend some time praying and thanking God for how He's used this fast in your life...

Day 25

By now, you can see the end. The end of the fast. It's only 1 week away and you are wondering where all that time went. Today is a day of reflection.

Answer the following questions:
  • Honestly, how hard has the fast been?
  • When you started to fast, you had some goals in mind... how did you do?
  • What could have made this fast better and more effective in your spiritual growth?
  • If there were some things that you wanted to do, but didn't... what kept you from doing them?
  • Are those reasons going to still be the same excuses after the fast?
  • What are some things you are willing to give up in order to spend time with God?
It will be easy to answer these... the trick will be what you do with the answers. Take some time and get together with a couple friends who have been doing the fast and discuss the questions together... then pray for each other.

Day 22

So... part 2 of Day 2o...

How has the cross changed you? If you have a relationship with Jesus, then the significance of the cross in your life must have made changes... so in the past year, how have you grown, matured, or developed spiritually?

I know, that's a tough question... let's try this: What has changed in your life, spiritually, since the beginning of the Media Fast? Hopefully, there has been a change in the time you spend with God, the things you try to focus your attention on, your school work, your family life... something has to of changed.

How do I know?

READ: Galatians 5:16-25

THINK: The music, movies, TV shows, & books that I put into my mind, eyes, ears, and heart... are they desires of my flesh or the Holy Spirit? (see vs. 19-23 for a list of both sides)

When Paul talks about "those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God", he uses words in Greek that basically mean "to make practice of as a pattern of life." Outward conduct indicates the inward spiritual status... Now this might be tough to hear or think about. But Paul basically says that our choices in life will change if the Holy Spirit is in us... that doesn't mean that we are perfect... it means that there will be repentence ("turning away from") of sin and selfish desires.

So what should I do with the music, movies, TV shows, & books that I usually put into my soul (mind, ears, eyes, heart)? Is it OK for me to go back to it or not? Why?

DISCUSS: It's time to sit down with someone, talk about this... it can be a close friend, a parent (the best person to discuss this with), a youth pastor (or wife of one), small group leader... whoever. Just make sure it's someone who can keep you accountable to follow through and pray for you.

LIVE: Do what needs to be done. Delete the music, get rid of the movies, stop watching the TV show, get rid of the internet, take drastic measures to rid yourself of those things that are keeping you from growing.

Imagine you have a strawberry plant. And you water it with sewage straight from your toilet right after you've used it (I know, gross analogy). Are you willing to still eat the fruit that comes from it (if it lives which it won't)? So why keep feeding yourself garbage and expecting significant spiritual growth? It's not going to happen... all you'll get is rotten, disgusting, stinky fruit... so stop feeding yourself sewage fruit... try feeding yourself some fruit of the Spirit (see vs. 22-23) and crucify those passions and desires, today!

Day 20

Today's devotional is hard! Do not read it if you want to take the easy road!

READ: Matthew 7:13-14

THINK: Today, I saw a video from a missionary talking to about 5000 High School students. And I'm wondering, what do you think about this verse?

Maybe you feel like these last 20 days have been tough... maybe not. Maybe you can't wait to get back to your music or TV shows that you've missed... maybe not. But have you really thought about this verse?

Jesus basically says that the gate and path are wide and easy (wide in other versions) that lead to destruction. Do you realize that most of the music that "everyone listens to" and most of the media that "everyone is watching" is actually destroying you? It's destroying your relationship with God. John 10:10 says the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The thing about the thief is that you don't realize he's a thief and you don't know when he's coming. If you did, he would be a pretty stupid thief and it would be impossible for him to steal, kill, or destroy.

You need to hear this: the world, and anything not centered on God, is trying to destroy you! The wide path... the easy path... the path that everyone else is on (including your "Christian friends") may be the "easy path".

But not only is the gate narrow that leads to life... but the path is narrow (and hard). So would going back to the same media choices be hard or easy? What media, that you listen to or watch, point you to Jesus? If it doesn't, then what is it pointing you to?

DISCUSS: The key to understanding principles like this, is discussing them with other people... your age. So I dare you, talk to some of your friends about this. Or is it "too hard"?

LIVE: What do you think God wants you to do? Post your response on the OurThirty blog...

Day 19

Today... take the day to get away from the noise and be quiet. Write down a prayer to God. Journal some thoughts. Read one of the Psalms...

Take today and really make it a Sabbath... rest!

Day 18

Did you have meat today?

I'm sure you can guess where today's devotional is going?

READ: Hebrews 5:12-14

THINK: What do I consider to be spiritual "milk"? What is spiritual "meat"? Do I need "milk" or "meat"?

DISCUSS: Ask someone these questions. See what they think? Maybe have a little survey.

LIVE: So look at those verses again. Start this time in verse 11... have you ever felt like what was being talked about in church or in youth group was a bit over your head? In verse 11, the writer of Hebrews says that some things are hard to explain because people have become dull of hearing. Now that may not be you... but doesn't it seem harder to keep focused and excited about something when you've heard it over and over? You grow tired of hearing it... it becomes dull. So what does the writer of Hebrews say you should do? BECOME TEACHERS.

If you had the opportunity to teach your peers something about God... maybe share your testimony, what would you teach them? Talk to me about leading a thought or sharing a testimony...

What's funny is that many people use this verse to bring up "preaching styles".. but what this is actually talking about is what YOU do with what you learn. If you're tired of "milk"... maybe it's time you stepped up to the "big leagues" and began to teach others what you know... maybe it's time for your "meat"...

If it will help, I'll help you "cut it up" (meaning that I'll help you put it together, too!) Just let me know and I'll give you the chance to teach something... I promise, it will impact you spiritually!

Day 17

Whatever. Such an easy word to use, very common today.

I have found myself referencing Philippians 4:8 a lot lately. You know, the "whatever"verse!

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.

This played a key role in helping me with a family conflict a few months ago. There were some awful things said, and I found myself thinking about it ALL the time. I started praying about it, and God gave me this verse (I have had it memorized since elementary school).

Whenever I started thinking about the conflict, I would ask myself: "Is it true?" NO "Is it noble?" NO, etc. This gave me a new perspective about the situation.

In my Bible study, our speaker said she uses this verse as a filter for everything. Is cussing ok? Well, is it lovely or admirable? NO! What about the convo's I have with my friends? Am I gossipping about someone or bashing my spouse (or parents!)? Are those things pure or right? NO!

I hope as you've spent time away from secular media you can see it in a whole new light and evaluate it once you do get back to it! I have found myself doing just that. Does God want me watching "The Real Housewives..."? NO, it is none of the "whatevers". How about the shows you watch? If you put them through the filter of Philippians 4:8, would they get through? What about your music? Websites? Books/magazines? This is such an easy way to see if what you are putting into your mind is what God wants in there!

What goes down in the well, comes up in the bucket!

-Beth Whitney

ps. Matt calls this the PERT PLAN (Pure, Excellent, Right, True, Praiseworthy, Lovely, Admirable, Noble... keeps the junk out of your hair... if you have any)

Day 16

CONGRATULATIONS! on making it this far in your Media Fast. It feels good, doesn't it!? There is something not only spiritually liberating about being pure (that is what happens when you turn away from the influences of the world) but there is an inner spiritual power that can now be realized, as well. You probably understood little about the overwhelming influences and defilements that the world's media had over you. That was before you started this fast. But now you know. Now you can sense the difference - more purity now - more spiritual sensitivity now - more in tune with your Savior, Jesus Christ NOW! WOW! And that is POWERFUL!

So, today consider Matt. 15:17-20

"Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this
defiles a person.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.
But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Jesus is telling us that what we allow to go into our hearts will be the determining factor for what comes out of our mouths. Okay now reread that passage and meditate on how it is true with you. Note the difference you can sense now because of the Media Fast. After you have spent a little time on how God has been rescuing you from the world's influences and defilements, spend twice that amount of time PRAISING THE LORD FOR HIS VICTORY!

... and again CONGRATULATIONS!

- Russ Matzke (Matt's dad)

Day 15

Need a Do-over?

So you are exactly half-way through your media fast. Thinking back on the last 2 weeks, if you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? Would you have asked your family to turn off the TV? Would you have asked your friends to change the radio station? Would you have spent your time differently at any point? I know I would. So let’s say you’re at the end of your fast and you could wave a special wand that would let you do it all over again, what would you do differently?...really, stop and think for a second or write down a few things you would do different…now, here’s your chance. You can do the last 2 weeks exactly the way you wanted to do the first 2, the first time. It is possible, and if you don’t believe me, believe God (see Matt. 19:26 and Phil. 4:13).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my walk with God is that he does not expect us to be perfect, but he does require it (1 Peter 1:16). Not fair? If it were any other way, a relationship with God would not be possible. But the amazing news is God made a way, through Jesus. When God looks at you, he sees his perfect, spotless, sinless Son, who took your place on a splintery cross and he does not see every time you ever have or ever will mess up. Through Jesus, we have the biggest do-over in history.

God isn’t concerned about your past (Psalm 103:2) and he’s got your future under control (Jeremiah 29:11 and Matthew 6:34) so he wants you to let go and give him control. He wants you to live now. Jesus said “I have come that they have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Living is all about the present. You can’t live in the past or future. God in his amazing grace and desire to have a real relationship with you has given you the power to decide whether you will accept his offer. Do you accept? How will you live life to the full with God for the next 15 days?

-Jessalynn Greenblatt

Day 14

Still feel like it's taking forever? Feel like giving in? Well take a look at this verse. Write it BIG. Post it somewhere where you will read it when it gets tough.

Isaiah 40:29 - "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Just when you think you can't go another step, God promises to give you strength. Just when you feel like giving in, God promises to give you power!

When the Israelites were in the desert, they learned what it meant to trust in God for what they needed. This may be a difficult concept for you and I... we have everything we need and then a lot of stuff we just want. They had to trust God for real needs like food and water... and maybe sunscreen! Honestly... do you really need music you have, the TV shows you watch, the movies you like, the books you read? OK... maybe you need some of those books for school... but come'on! Be honest. What do you really need?

If you are never in a situation where you are in need, you will never need God. That doesn't mean that you put yourself in a bad situation that you "need" Him to bail you out. That's dumb. He might see this as a "life lesson" and leave you do deal with your consequences...

So today, think about this, what is it that you really need from God? A fast puts you in a position to distinguish between your needs and wants... and also a place where God can show up with strength and power.

Make a commitment this week to memorize Isaiah 40:29... you'd be surprised at how much "strength and power" you recieve when, you feel most desperate, God shows up with what He promises... remember, GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS AND WILL DO WHAT HE'S PROMISED TO DO!

Day 13

Modern day pirates... I know most of you haven't been following the news but a big story right now is how some modern-day pirates took over an American Food Relief ship around the southern part of Africa. They hold up these boats for ransom until they get what they want. Usually money and depending on the cargo, it could be millions of dollars. Yesterday, a couple snipers took out 3 of the pirates and took back a hostage.

Today, you get to be a modern pirate "sniper". I know that sounds weird, but follow me on this: over the next 11 months, you will watch, listen, and read whatever you want. Most of the time you won't think about how it's affecting your relationship with God. You'll just listen to Lady Gaga or watch Scrubs or read some book without noticing how your mind and heart are being taken captive. I don't know what music you are missing. I don't know what TV show or movie you are craving to see. I don't know what book or magazine or website (MySpace, Facebook, etc.) you are trying to avoid. But it's time to take a hard look at it. Put it in your "scope" and nail it for what it is.

Pick out your favorite band or music that you've been avoiding. Go onto Google and look up the lyrics or the artist profile. What are the lyrics saying? What does the band stand for? How does that compare to what God expects from you?

Pick out your favorite TV show or movie (new or old). What does the movie or TV show talk about or focus on? What are they making fun of? What are they desensitizing you to? What is the main theme or idea behind it? What does the Bible say about it?

Today is about you and God taking a hard look at what you are avoiding. The media are "soul pirates". They try to convince you that some things are "not that big of a deal"... yet God thinks some of it is. The media is after you... trying to attract you... trying to get you to "follow"... trying to take you hostage.

You may want to take some time to pray about the different things you feel like you are missing out on... ask God to reveal to you what things you need to give up and not turn back to.

Day 13... you're almost halfway there. The next 2 weeks are crucial. Stay on track. Seek God. Share your story.

Day 12

So you thought this might be tough. Maybe you feel like you are dying. Maybe you feel like just giving in. The end may seem so far away. You might be running out of things to do. You may be losing sight of the real goal... so let's take a deep breath and review:
  • You are on a fast from media that is designed to take your focus off of media not centered on God.
  • This fast is supposed to last 30 days
  • During this time, you are challenged to spend time with God through reading His Word, praying, meditating, journaling, and discussion of your experience with your friends.
It's easy to lose focus. It's easy to get distracted. So today, which just happens to be Easter, think about death...

READ: Philippians 1:21
THINK: What does it mean "to live is Christ"? How is this fast like "dying"? How has Jesus death and resurrection impacted my life and choices?
DISCUSS: Today, journal on and share your responses to these questions.
LIVE: What would your life, friendships, and media-influences look like if you took this verse seriously? Write it out in a note, fold it up, and place it in your Bible at Philippians 1:21... next time you turn there, you will be reminded of what you committed to.

Enjoy the day with your family. And stay strong! You're doing great!

Day 11

"If you hear something long enough, you believe it. Truth become irrelevant." - Justin Lookadoo

I remember reading this and thinking - "Yeah right... not everything." I mean, if you tell me day after day that my finger is made of chocolate, I'm not going to believe you. But then I realized that the media really doesn't do that. They tell you that a Snickers is chocolate. Then they come out with something that looks just like chocolate... but you aren't sure. Then, it convinces you that it's not only chocolate... but it's good for you! Have you ever eaten one of those chocolate Power Bars? Bascially, it's dirt and dog poop with a chocolate smell covering the fact that you're eating doo and dirt... One minute, it's chocolate but before you know it, you're eating poo... and you can't stop.

This isn't just a modern day example...

Judges 16:1-22

THINK: How often did Samson have to hear the same message in order to give in? How many times did he actually evaluate the messages he was recieving?

Get together with someone and tell each other about a time when what you heard, read, or saw caused you to buy-in to something that was actually pretty bad for you. It may take some thought, but hey, you got time!

Write down what you listen to the most; what you watch the most; and what you read the most. What messages are they telling you? What does the Bible say about those messages?

Listen, this fast is not about "getting closer to God". It's about listening to God. Maybe it's time to change the "messages" we are spending most of our time listening to...

Day 10

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." - Matthew 6:16

"But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face," - Matthew 6:17

There are a number of passages of Scripture that speak concerning "fasting". Typically they all speak about going without food. None of them refer to going without any media. Hmmmmm Interesting. In the Scriptures "fasting" was always means of self-sacrifice for THE GLORY OF GOD! Now I know that there are probably a lot of us out there that it would be very healthy for us to skip a meal or two and to go without snacks for a week or so. But "good health" was not the reason God created "fasting". Jesus did not "fast" for 40 days just to prove He could do it or to lose some unflattering pounds. So doing a 30-day Media Fast, although probably a good thing spiritually - no "R" rated movies, no gratuitous sexually explicit TV shows, no authority-questioning tunes, etc. - it should not primarily be for our own spiritual well-being. No question we will be much better off, spiritually, by always avoiding the subtle impact of the world's seductions in the media. But I encourage you "Don't make your OWN spiritual benefit your PRIMARY PURPOSE to do this Media Fast. Give some prayerful thought to 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Therefore, whether, you eat or drink. or whatever you do, do ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD." My prayer for each of you that continue faithful in this Media Fast is that God will receive ALL the Honor and Glory. God Bless!

-Russ Matzke

Day 9

"Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain." - John Piper (Don't Waste Your Life)

I read this quote and I began to think about this week. The week that Jesus died on the cross. Do I really value the cross? Do I see the value in it that Paul saw in it?

READ: Galatians 6:14 (You can read the verses around in, but unless you know what it meant in Paul's time to be circumcised, you might get confused).

THINK: What does Paul mean by "boast except in the cross"? What does he mean when he says that the world has been crucified to him"? And "he to the world"?
  • As you are thinking about that, realize that the key is figuring out what it means to "boast" in something. Is boasting just limited to bragging? What are some things that you "boast" in without really thinking about it?
DISCUSS: Find some time to talk to your parents about this. Actually read this devotional to them and ask them what they think the word "boast" means.

LIVE: Then, as a family, sit and watch "The Passion", or go to the Good Friday Service together. And talk together about the significance of the cross... in what ways has Christ's death changed each of you?

Day 8

I was listening to this song today by Thousand Foot Crutch. I love the lyrics to this. Read them and think about it...

"Breathe You In"

Taking hold, breaking in
The pressures all need to circulate
Mesmerized and taken in
Moving slow, so it resonates
It's time to rest, not to sleep away
My thoughts alone, try to complicate
I'll do my best, to seek you out
And be myself, and not impersonate

I tried so hard to not walk away
And when things don't go my way
I'll still carry on and on just the same
I've always been strong
But can't make this happen
'Cause I need to breathe, I want to breathe you in
The fear of becoming
I'm so tired of running
'Cause I need to breathe, I want to breath you in
I want to breathe you in

I'm going in, so cover me
Your compass will, help me turn the page
The laughing stock, I'll never be
Because I won't let them take me


Took awhile to see all the love that's around me
Through the highs and lows there's a truth that I've known
And it's you

I've always been strong
But can't make this happen
'Cause I need to breathe, I want to breathe you in
The fear of becoming
I'm so tired of running
‘Cause I need to breathe, I want to breathe you in
I want to breathe you in
I wanna breathe

Today, take some time just to "breathe". The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as a "breath". The Greek word is "nooma".
Take out your Bible and read through one of the Psalms. Or look up the word "breath" or "breathe" in an online Bible concordance and read through some of the verses that use that word.

Then, notice your breath. You don't even have to think about it most of the time... but you breath in all the time. And then you exhale. How can you "breathe in" the Holy Spirit and then "breathe out"?

Day 7

Cheap grace. Think about those words. What do they mean? The best way to work through words like this is to break them down:
  • CHEAP: costing very little, inexpensive, of small value, embarrased. When you "cheapen" something, you make it have very little value. Think of the things that at first, you thought they were priceless. But, after time, they just became "things". That is "cheapening" something.
  • GRACE: Favor, good will, unmerited favor. It's not just a prayer before you eat. It's deeper than that. It's something you get even though you don't deserve it. It's something meaningful you receive when you deserve punishment.
Think about God's grace. Why does God show grace on us? Is it because we deserve it? No, it's because He wants us to change. He wants us to become like Him. We cheapen God's grace when our relationship with Him doesn't change us... or ceases changing us.

Today, get someplace quiet. Limit the noise. Limit the distractions. Turn off your cell phone. get a notebook out. Get your Bible or go onto (it's an online Bible program) and look up one or more of the verses on "grace" (you can type it in on the website on the top right and it will show you several verses with the word "grace" in it) Or read through Romans 6. It talks about how we "cheapen" grace by continuing to sin.

As you think and read... "chew" on this thought: Has God's grace changed you? Or have you stopped changing?

You see, when we keep our relationship with God to ourselves, we cheapen His grace. When we continue to do the same thing over and over, and we know God wants us to change, we cheapen His grace. And while this may be unintentional, it's true. And we need to think about the ways we "cheapen" His grace so that we can change.

The challenge... stop "cheaping" God's grace. Today, call someone you know that doesn't have a relationship with Jesus, and invite them to a youth group event or church this Easter. They need to know about God's grace. And you can make His grace a little more of a "big deal" simply by taking it out and showing it to those around you... your friends need to know about Jesus... introduce them to Him today. And if you don't know anyone who doesn't have a relationship with Him... then meet someone. Pray that God would connect you with someone who needs to know about His grace.

Day 6

By Tim Skillman

Imagine a world of no radio, no television, no movies, no iTunes. You fill your days with school, physical activity, fun with family, hanging out with friends, and attending church. Do you realize for the last 4,900 of 5,000 years of the world’s existence (estimate), this has been the reality of life for all people?

This is the reality of the way people have lived up to this point. Our current culture is brand new. Often when we make what seems to be “advances” in culture, we allow ourselves to become more separated from God. We become more self-sufficient, strong, healthier. We lengthen our life expectancy. We can create movies from our own laptop computer. We can run faster, solve more complicated problems, manage more work. We can think and exist without God . . . or so we think.

It is clear in 1 Corinthians 2:14
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

But God says in 1 Corinthians 3:19
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"

As we direct our attention toward the new advances in our culture, we focus less on Jesus, the creator of all things. Check this reminder out from Colossians 1:15-19.
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Be encouraged today that what you are experiencing this month may be closer to the way God wanted people to live during the last 5,000 years and into the future. A life lived for him without “advances” to turn us away from His rightful place as the one we worship and place all credit, praise and honor.

Today, take a moment to write down all the "advances" you use on a consistent basis. Which ones could you use to grow closer to God? Which ones turn you away from God?

Day 5

Today is Sunday. This Sunday happens to be "Palm Sunday". The day that Jesus made that entry into Jerusalem... just before His death. On this day, everyone celebrated His arrival but in just a few short days, they would be calling for His death.

Interesting how quickly things can change. Just read through Solomon's journal... Ecclesiastes. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived kept a journal. You could also read through a book of his quotes in Proverbs. And in both writings, and based on his experience, success, fame, riches, and pleasure are senseless pursuits. And yet the world convinces us otherwise.

But Jesus had a bigger plan... and it included a horrible death on the cross. He said that if we want to follow Him, we have to take up our cross... and follow Him. What does it mean to take up your cross? Simply, it means that you have to make some tough decisions in life that don't seem to make sense, but because of your faith in Him, you do it.

Today, you will wake up, and go to church, listen, sing, maybe even help out in a ministry. And when you get home, you will walk away, moving on to the next event or thing. But what if Jesus had something more in mind? What if He came through the doors of the church (maybe not on a donkey)? And He walked right up to you, and said, "Hi. My name is Jesus. I created you. I know everything about you. I want you to live for me. I know life won't be easy. But that's your cross. I want you to give up what the world says is success... die to yourself and the world. And follow me."

Today, at some point, have a "craft project" and make a cross. Make it out of whatever you want. Make it cool, make it creative. Whatever. Make a cross and place it in your room. On your dresser. By your bed. Wherever.

Then, take out a piece of paper and your Bible. READ: 1 Peter 4. THINK: In what ways has the media influenced me to focus on the wrong things? What verse (or verses) stick out to me? DISCUSS: Take some time to talk to God about what you thought. Maybe call up a friend and talk about it with them... or your small group leader. LIVE: On the piece of paper, write down that media influence that keeps taking your focus off you Jesus and place it on or next to the cross. And then find some way to get rid of that influence (crushing a CD with a sledgehammer is actually quite fun... especially when you realize how it's been influencing you away from God).

Finally, write a post about what you did... it will inspire others too!

Day 4

She knew it... she knew something had happened. She waited and waited and he never showed up. She was thinking back to earlier in the week when he called her to ask her out. They didn't go to the same school, but she knew who he was. He was amazing! He was the guy that all the girls talked about... and he was asking her out! They talked a couple times during the week but homework was crazy. Plus, she didn't want to seem too anxious. But she couldn't help it. Then, before she knew it, it was Friday! THE DAY! She hurried home and got ready. Took a shower. Got out her clothes (5 different outfits just in case she didn't like the first one she had picked). And now, 3 hours later, she was ready......... and he never showed up. He didn't even call. Now her mind swirled with questions, hurt, anger, confusion, and so much more. "Why didn't he come?"

Now maybe that story doesn't speak to us. But it seems like nearly all of us have had those moments that we waited anxiously for... and then there was a big let-down. And the truth is, that being a Christian can be like that. We set ourselves up with big expectations like "Now that I'm a Christian, everything will be perfect" or "If I do this for God, He will bless me"... but what happens when He doesn't show up the way we expected? Or maybe a tougher question... what if what's best for us is what we don't want?

But there's something about being on that "bad side" of circumstances. There's something about taking a stand for something that our friends just don't understand or that people make fun of. There is something about realizing the pain or difficulty we are going through is actually bringing us to a closer relationship with Jesus.

You may be feeling really tempted right now. You may be feeling like giving up. You may be worried what people would think. You may be waiting for Jesus to show up... and you feel like He never does...

But today, read Matthew 5:3-12. Notice how many of those people that God blesses are not things the media challenges us to pursue. Why would they keep us from these things? If God is who He says He is, and will do what He's promised to do... then why do we believe lies about life instead of Jesus, Himself? READ, THINK, DISCUSS, LIVE

It's Day 4... time to get away from the noise. Find a way to sit in silence for 30 minutes today and journal what you noticed and thought.

Day 3

From Sarah Cassidy:

This is a passage that I was struck by this week and it seems to really fit with what those of you who are doing the media fast. It comes from Deuteronomy 30:
11) Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12) It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 13) Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 14) No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. 15) See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16) For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17) But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18) I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19) This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20) and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life

I was just struck by the choice that God gives us daily to seek His will and follow through with it. Although the promise of the land across the Jordan doesn't really apply to us, God does promise life eternal with Him basking in the glory of His light. The "word" is close to us, in fact, if we are believers the Word lives within us and speaks to us constantly. All we have to do is listen to that voice, hold fast to Him and no other, and the Lord becomes our LIFE, now and forever.