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Pastor Jack Langfeldt:

Good morning.

Response: Good morning.

Pastor Jack Langfeldt:
I’m Jack Langfeldt. I’m the pastor of Care and Counseling here at St. Mark, and it is wonderful to see you this morning. You all look pretty good. It’s okay. It’s a good thing. Today we’re beginning the Soul Detox series. It’s going to cover five weeks, five topics. You can see the little illustrations for each of them down on the bottom of the screen there. Now, each of them touches on a different aspect of contemporary life. We’re going to hopefully and prayerfully show you how they affect your life, but also how you can respond in a positive way. Just make note of that. You’ll notice on the back of your bulletin there’s a little thing that says, “What did I experience?” Or, “What do I know about…?” And today is the radio detox.

To understand what a detox is, we got to define two words, and the first one is detox. When I was in the army, the hospital I was assigned to had a twenty-four bed detox unit. All the beds were full, consistently. I hated to go onto that unit. I had to on occasion, but I just hated it because there were people going through withdrawal. There were people actually strapped to their beds so they didn’t harm themselves. And then there were people in delirium tremens for alcohol addiction. So, not a fun place to go. We’re not talking about that kind of detox, okay? We’re talking about something very different.

But I want you to hear the definition of detox because I think you will see how it applies to us in just a little bit. The Cambridge Dictionary defines detox as a period when you stop taking unhealthy or harmful foods, drinks or substances into your body for a period of time in order to improve your health. That’s the medical side of detox, but keep that in mind. And then, we have to define soul. Because soul detox, there’s got to be a soul involved. Well, the soul is the body, mind and spirit of each person. It’s the whole person. The whole. And there’s a wonderful verse in the book of Deuteronomy, the fourth book in the Old Testament or First Testament, and it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

It’s a very Hebraic way of putting body, soul, mind and spirit together. It is called the Shema. I’m not mispronouncing that word and I’m not creating that word. It is S-H-E-M-A. That verse is still part of the Shema prayer that religious Jews pray each day. And so it’s still a valuable thing to know. But you could say, “Well, that’s the Old Testament. What’s that got to do with us, because we’re New Testament people?” Well, it does, because Jesus ran into a situation that Matthew records, one of his chroniclers. And a man asks Jesus what he must do to be saved. And Jesus says, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Sounds almost exactly the same, doesn’t it? Jesus said, “This applies to us, to His followers.” It is a special thing to know and understand that the soul is the body, the mind and the spirit. Some people will even add the strength, the physicality to it. So, a soul detox is when we have to step away from something to truly see how much it affects you. In this series, you’ll learn some surprising ways that modern life affects you. And it affects us mentally and emotionally and spiritually, and sometimes that leads over into the physical. Then we’re going to talk about steps you can take to heal, to recover. The good news is, they’re pretty basic, pretty simple.

Each week we’re going to include a fun customizable challenge to help you detox. I’m going to give you a challenge this morning for you to try, and if you find you like it this week, keep doing it because it’s valuable then. If we’re going to give you that challenge to help you detox your soul in the week ahead, and really, the best, biggest advantage of a soul detox is, it begins to bring us wholeness, completion in the eye of the Lord. So the one we’re going to talk about today, you can see the first one, it’s in white there on the bottom, and what is it?


Pastor Jack Langfeldt:

It’s a radio. It actually looks like a radio. I did not draw it, so I’m just… It does look like a radio. I actually have one that looks like that, but we’re going to talk about it because of the audio, the sound, and how much sound is around us and may be overwhelming us. And so when we talk about the radio detox, it applies to more than just your radio, okay? Part of it is, the world is so noisy. Any of you live in a silent house? How about in a silent neighborhood? Anybody have a silent car? Any of you try to escape from the noise and bustle around you by heading up north or over to the lake? Yeah, there’s a few with that one. Noise is all around us.

The scientists who study this call it environmental noise, and it includes noises produced by cars and trucks and motorcycles, trains, planes and ships. Recreational vehicles such as motorcycles, quad cycles, snowmobiles, and boats. If you live in a semi-industrial area, you will have noise from that. When we lived in Lansing, there was a forge metal shaping that was a little over a mile and a quarter from our house, and we could hear it when the machines started dropping. And we were a mile and a quarter away and it would wake me up sometimes, just whatever direction the wind was blowing from, I think.

But that’s industrial noise. You get it when you’re around factories. You get it when you’re around an auto repair shop. At almost any place, there’s some industrial noise, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but when the snow plows come through, they’re not very quiet. And when they hit a mailbox, it’s even worse. So that’s public service. Fire trucks go zooming pass with sirens on, ambulances, police cars. We get a lot of noise from the public works and services. And then there’s what’s called cultural noise, and I love this because the scientists lumped some things into it. Sporting and leisure activities. You think about it, just about any sport or leisure activity we do has a certain amount of noise associated with it.

How many of you’re going to watch the football game tonight? Oh, quite a few of you. Good. Watch for how loud that stadium gets. It’s going to be amazingly loud this year in Detroit, the Lions at Ford Field. Normal conversation is sixty-five decibels and my mic is amplified. You’re hearing me just a little bit louder than that, so double what my sound is right now. In our apartment when the heating and air conditioning system kicks in, it’s loud. The water heater can be loud. It’s hard to be quiet, but that’s part of the noise that’s in the world around us. So, I’m going to try something with you that I did on occasion with my high school students. It’s non-threatening, no harm involved, and I promise I won’t make you feel stupid. Okay?

What I’d like you to do, think of the Bible verse that says, “God is love.” Three word verse, keep it in your mind. I’d like you to close your eyes and we’re going to see if you can stay silent for 30 seconds starting now. Okay? You can open your eyes. If somebody sitting near you still has their eyes closed, nudge them. It means they dozed off. When I used to do this with high school kids, it was always either a minute or a two-minute thing. I never had a group of students that could stay silent and focused longer than about twenty-seven seconds. Somebody lost at about that point and noises started occurring. That’s what we are hoping you will be able to do with this radio fast, is to focus on God. Because a fast is not just giving something up, but it is giving something up so you can move toward something else that is better.

There’s a tradition of fasting in the Christian Church. There was a tradition of fasting even in the Jewish nation. There are different types of fasts. There are extended fasts, no food or water or just no food, many times. There are fasts where you give up a specific food item. You can only eat fish or… A retired pastor friend of mine used to give up chocolate every year for Lent. He used it then to do his children’s sermon because it’s something new that’s really good. He also was not much of a chocolate eater, so it was a little bit easier.

The fasts are important and they can be time limited. They can be in a number of different forms. So when we talk about an audio or radio fast, I want you to keep that in mind. And part of the reason we want to do those fasts is because there’s actually some scripture that talks about noise. That reading Grant did from 1st Kings talks about noise. It begins, “The Lord said, go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” The Lord is telling Elijah He’s going to pass in a way that Elijah can actually see Him. So then it continues. “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.” That’s pretty powerful wind if it can pull mountains apart and shatter rocks.

We do not get that around here. We don’t see it even with hurricanes and cyclones, most of the time. It’s just a very rare wind. And then he continues, “After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.” Michigan does have earthquakes periodically. We average about once a year here in the Battle Creek area. There are parts of the state that get up to seven a year. The good news is, they’re not very strong. So if you feel the house shaking, it may not be a semi going by. It may really be an earthquake. And the seismologists do record it. Then he writes, “After, the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.” This is the kind of fire, it’s of a nature that it is very hot. My vision of it is think about the California wildfires or the fires on Maui this past year. That’s fire.

It’s not just a little fire in a charcoal grill. It is something that’s very disastrous. But notice this says again, “The Lord was not in the fire.” Well, if He’s not in the fire, the earthquake or the wind, what is He in? Well, says, “After the fire came a gentle whisper.” How many of you can still hear whispers? We’re getting there. Now the thing with whispers is, they can be very soft. I’ve got a granddaughter that will want to whisper something to me on occasion, and I have to make sure she’s in my right ear, actually, because my left ear doesn’t hear that well. Good. So how do you hear a gentle whisper? But notice Elijah’s response to this. When Elijah heard, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. He’d been in a cave for self-protection. But he pulls his cloak over his face. Why would he do that? Well, that gentle whisper is the Lord and the voice said to him, “What, are you doing here Elijah?”

Elijah went to see the Lord and he saw the back of the Lord. Elijah is like Moses as, God says, “You cannot see My face. It is too much for you.” The one hymn we sang talks about angels with their heads bowed because they cannot look at the face of the Lord. Pretty consistent. So what is Elijah doing there? Well, he thinks he’s hiding from his enemies. He’s really not. God’s going to refresh him and give him something to do. There’s another comment on noise in the Bible. Because this is Old Testament, how does this apply to us? Well, maybe it doesn’t. But in the Gospel of Mark, the Chronicle of Jesus’ life written by a man named Mark, there are two verses that are really important. They’re verses 31 and 32 of Mark 6.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat… This is referring to the disciples and Jesus, Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Jesus said, “You got to get away from the noise sometimes.” And so you go to a solitary place, a quiet place. Notice, it’s a bit about rest, but it’s also so they can have a conversation about what they did on a mission trip and what the Lord has done for them. Very important. So this is what we’re going to talk about, the radio detox, and the simple thing is I need to detox from my radio to hear God better.

All this noise interferes with us hearing God or getting to know God better. So how do you start? Well, you have to set some goals. So maybe your goal is to give up your radio while you’re in the car driving. For me, not a good idea. I get much crankier with the other drivers. Okay? Just my nature. Maybe you decide, “I want to go without the radio in the morning or in the afternoon.” Or maybe it’s some other form of audio noise. I happen to live with someone who every afternoon just about one o’clock turns the TV on and really doesn’t care much what show is on because it’s not for listening or watching. It’s to fill the emptiness in the room.

And then they go and do something else. That’s the thing you want to detox from if you can, so you’re not as reliant on it. Maybe you’re going to say, “Hey, I’m going to turn everything audio off at nine o’clock at night and from nine to eleven I’m going to focus on God.” Then that time commitment, that nine to eleven, that’s two hours. But maybe you are so reliant on sound around you on the radio, the television, your CD player, your Spotify. Maybe you say, “Alexa, play…” Or, “Siri, play…” You want to give it up because it does become an addiction. I do that type of addictive behavior when I’m working in my office at home because I almost immediately turn the radio on. It’s just because I want some music around me. But it really is an addiction. I don’t listen very closely to it or anything.

How much time are you going to commit to this fast? 30 minutes a day to start? Maybe tomorrow you say, “I am going to turn all of the audio things off in the house at nine o’clock for one-half hour.” That’s a good start. And you may find it goes so well that you say, “Tuesday I’m going to do a full hour, because I think I benefited from it Monday.” The issue becomes, which sound, which audio device or devices do you want off? You got to decide that too. And one of the things is, you should really start small. Do not say, “I am going to remove all audio from my life for the next five weeks.” It might drive you crazy. You may do something you really don’t.

And so this isn’t just a one-week thing. The goal is to start with one week, but it’s something, try to continue if you can. And the big slip up and turn it on after 10 minutes or you forget to turn it off, don’t feel guilty. This is a guilt-free thing. We’re not telling you that by law God says you have to do this, because He doesn’t. This is optional. This is something you choose to do and to work at. So what can you substitute for all of that noise, all of that sound? Well, I happen to know someone who when they’re doing the sound fast, sings. They sing children’s Bible school songs and hymns and praise songs.

That time for meditation and journaling, spending more time in God’s word. They all work. They’re all good. It’s okay. She’ll survive. I am not telling you, I’m telling somebody behind you. But we have these options, these things we cue. And there are probably some others that you could include there. If you’re going to fast from the radio, maybe when you’re at work, you turn off the sounds you can control. Maybe you find someplace to volunteer where there is no radio on. That’s the same thing. Then, we want to figure out how to start this. What do you think the first step in preparing for a radio fast should be? You know it. You’re going to go, “Oh, I do that.” We pray. We ask God to guide and lead us through the fast, to be with us. Simple prayer. Got to be a focus prayer. And then once we have the prayer done, or as we continue to pray it, we plan our fast.

That’s where you sit down and say, “Okay, I’m going to do an hour on Monday and an hour and a half on Tuesday and two hours on Wednesday.” Or you look at your calendar and you say, “I can do Monday. I can’t do Tuesday. I can do Wednesday and Thursday, but not Friday.” That’s fine. But come up with a plan and try, with God’s help, to stay with it. And then the final step is, you got to act on it. It’s not good to pray, plan and not follow through. You’re letting yourself down. God would love to have you spending more time with Him, but if we don’t act, don’t follow through, we’re neglecting Him. Nothing real complicated, and it’s one of those things that, I think if we focus on it, we’ll discover that it brings blessings beyond what we thought we would receive. I know it does for me.

So we’re going to close with prayer today. I invite you to stand. I kept you sitting long enough. We join our hearts and minds in prayer saying, “Lord God, Heavenly Father, You have given us so many gifts and those gifts include the radio and other audio devices, but we so often get caught up in them that we forget they may draw us from You. We ask Your forgiveness for that. We ask that You forgive us for checking our sound and making it louder or disruptive to us, to our lives. Please forgive us for that. And we ask, Lord, that You help us in our fast. That You give us the strength and the mental acuity to stick with the fast and serve You wisely through it. We pray this in Your son, Jesus Christ, most holy name, amen.”

And we continue by joining together, in the words of the Lord’s Prayer. We say, “Our Father who are in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, ever and ever. Amen.”