According to 2015 statistics, the average American spends just over 4 hours a day watching television, and while that number is steadily dropping, it is more than being replaced by the increase of daily viewing of digital video on tablets, smart phones or computers. Combined, we average 5.5 hours a day watching some kind of TV or video. If you sleep 8 hours a night, work 8 hours a day and watch 5.5 hours of video every day, that doesn’t leave you much time to commute to work, prepare and eat meals, do household chores or talk to your spouse or children!
Certainly there are more reasons than I can list in the space I have to write this article why all this video is not particularly healthy for us. However, I am not naïve enough to think that this trend is going to stop any time soon. After all, we’re living in the age where people are walking head first into street signs because they are so engrossed in looking at their smart phones that they literally block out all reality surrounding them. It is my opinion, and you are certainly free to disagree, that all of this time spent watching TV or video is not exactly making us more productive or intelligent. Entertained, yes; smarter, not so much.
Yet, this ‘video time’ can be productive and educational! Enter in the Gospel Broadcasting Network, or GBN. You can find them on the internet at http://www.gbntv.org/. The GBN is essentially a 24 hour, 7 day a week internet TV network that offers a variety of programming that will actually feed your mind and soul with the truth of God’s Word. I say “TV network” because that is about as close as I can come to describing it. You can go to their webpage and actually see a schedule of their shows just like you were looking at on old TV guide. They even have Saturday morning cartoons for kids! The GBN is overseen by the elders at the Southaven church of Christ in Southaven, MS and is managed by Executive Director Don Blackwell, who is also an excellent gospel preacher.
Among the many programs that the GBN offers, my favorite is “GBN Live”, which is a talk show that airs every Thursday night at 7:00 pm. This 1 hour program features a panel of 3 gospel preachers who discuss and debate a variety of topics and answer viewer emails and live phone calls. As you can imagine, some of these topics can produce some lively questions from viewers who may disagree with the opinions of the hosts. In addition to the live show, older episodes are repeated at other times or you can go to the “Archive” tab at the top of the screen and watch older shows on demand. Some recent shows focused on subjects like “Political Topics that Matter to God”, “Improving your Bible Study”, “Protecting Our Marriages” and “Unanswered Questions”.
This week’s GBN Live topic is “The Religion of Islam” and I can think of few subjects that we need more education on than Islam. Many might be surprised to learn that the history of Islam can be traced back to the Old Testament and these might also be shocked to learn that what we see in our news headlines today was so accurately portrayed in God’s Word. One thing I can guarantee you is that the discussion on GBN Live this Thursday isn’t going to be full of the politically correct jargon that dominates our culture view of Islam. These men will ‘tell it like it is’ on this and all other subjects, basing their opinions strictly on Scripture.
Which reminds me, when you watch the GBN, it is a good thing to have a Bible nearby. One thing I can I promise you is that these programs will challenge you and you will learn! Certainly a few hours a week watching the GBN will be time well spent and spiritually beneficial to.
There is, of course, no substitute for reading God’s Word, which is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). But if we’re going to watch 5 hours a day of video, let’s take advantage of opportunities like the GBN to help us grow in knowledge of God!