January used to be my least favorite month of the year.  Actually, it still is.  I grew up in Southern California and I don’t enjoy temperatures when they dip below sixty degrees.  I consider the term “chill factor” to be an ominous threat.  When I watch winter news clips from places like North Dakota or Minnesota I am horrified that human beings are subjected to that icy, snowy, windy torment.  I am confounded by my friends who spend vast amounts of money just to strap two pieces of wood to their feet, wait in a long, cold line, to ride a metal seat suspended in frigid air, just so they can skid down a wet, snowy mountain and repeat the process over and over again.  Haven’t they heard of the Hawaiian islands?  The Caribbean?  Even a Motel 6 in South Florida?  I have to admit, Texas isn’t that bad.  We usually have a winter season, but only for about five weeks.  Nevertheless, it isn’t warm weather, so it isn’t good weather.

I used to say there wasn’t anything good about January, until American Idol.  I confess – I’m a fan.  My DVR is programmed so that I don’t ever have to miss a moment, a contestant or a Steven Tyler outfit.  (I’m not sure where he shops, but I don’t think I’ve been to that store!)  I usually end up getting attached to, and yes, voting for, one or two contestants.  Last year Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina were the final two contestants and I loved them both.  There are some weird moments, but I usually enjoy those too.  It’s January…I need a smile or two!  I am hoping this year will produce a great kid, with a great voice and a strong, Christian witness that I will want to vote for again.  That leads me to the real point of this blog post.  Why does a Baptist preacher’s wife, like a television show, that has the word idol in the title? 
Here are my reasons:

1.  American Idol is one of the few shows that parents watch with their kids.  It is a great program to watch together and a great time to discuss values, priorities, character, clothing, and music with your family.  Listen to what your kids say, don’t say, laugh at and appreciate during this show and, you will know them better by the end of the season.

2.  Music is one of the most representative and powerful influences in the world.  Think about the music your grandparents listened to, your parents, yourself and now this generation of young people.  You can learn a great deal about your culture if you pay attention to its music.

3.  Listen to the comments, the jokes, the encouragement given – and listen to the hope people have or don’t have for their futures.  Notice the difference between those who have placed all of their hope in winning – vs – those that handle disappointment knowing there is still life after “Idol.”  God almost always provides a chance to speak on that subject with people you wouldn’t have the opportunity to speak to otherwise.

4.  American Idol is loved by a huge cross section of our culture.  You will hear it discussed at work, school, church, luncheons and parties.  God uses “common ground” to begin a lot of conversations that can then be steered his direction.

5.  Finally…watch for the contestants who bring Jesus to the stage.  Jesus and his disciples spent a great deal of their time teaching and preaching to people who were outside the walls of the synagogue.  I love it when He is able to use a stage like the one on American Idol.

It is time to insert Jesus back into this world He created. Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8).  If you are a Christian you have the same “power” to witness to this world the apostles were given.  And when Jesus said you will “be” my witnesses, he was saying that a witness is what we are, not something we do.  If you are a Christian, you are his witness.  You will take Jesus into every room you enter today.  He will be present for every conversation you have.  You are his witness…be filled with the Spirit and you will be a good one. 

I hope there will be a Scotty or Lauren again this year on American Idol.  I hope Jesus is honored and glimpsed from that stage because millions and millions of people will see Him.  And for the rest of us…I hope we will use whatever platform God has given us, to be his witness there.

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