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Winter draws to a close, and spring is beginning to show itself.   This causes children to celebrate and rejoice that once again it will be warm, and they will begin to play outside again.  It is truly a great work of God that can be seen in the changing of the seasons.  Many stand in awe of this wonder, while others see it only briefly, and then look to the madness, the time of the year when college basketball is at its peak.  The brackets and tournament now take the time of many people. March should cause us to look to God and his greatness for his great works but instead we look to basketball and the earthly madness that it brings.  March truly does bring the madness, and as Christians we can enjoy it, but we must stay focused on our work and church and not let the madness take over our lives.

Ever since I can remember I would love to sit around and watch the March Madness tournament that creates a big ruckus in our day and age.  I remember waiting eagerly for my siblings bring home brackets so that I could fill them out.  I would sit by the computer and TV and try to watch every game; I wanted to know what teams we winning at all time so that I could tell the next person.  I would change my brackets in middle of games and hope that the underdog could pull off the upset.  I dedicated a lot of my time to this and now I realize that there are many other things that we as Christians could be occupying our time with.

As a Christian, I think that too much time and energy is put into this tournament.  Some of us will take off of work and change our whole schedule so that we are able to watch games that we think are important.  Is the tournament the important thing here, or should we be at work and in school?  The tournament definitely should not be more important, and if it is, we need to get our priorities straight.

What about selection Sunday, the day when teams are selected to be in the tournament and are given their rankings and opponents? Where are our minds? I hope that they are in the sermon and in the word.  I hope that they are concentrating and being edified by the preaching.  When the evening service is over, then what do we do?  Do you run home to see if your teams made the tournament, and if they did, whom they play? Do we print out a bracket right away to fill it out? I know I have done this before.  That is not something that we should do.  It is still the Sabbath day, and we are to use it for the worship of God and not for pleasures of this earth such as March Madness.  These are all things that I am sure are happening in some of our lives.  We love the things of this world and seek to enjoy them.

The madness seems to begin even before the tournament.  After the brackets are filled out you can hardly talk to anyone without the tournament being addressed.  It is not wrong to talk about the games; actually it is fine.  The problem comes when we start to lose all communication with God and His word.  It comes when we forsake our devotions and family time to maximum our time in front of a TV or computer to see the latest the tournament has to offer.   God should still be the center of all our attention and we must give him the attention and praise of which he is worthy.

When the tournament starts, many people take half a day off work or school so that they can sit around and watch games all afternoon.  I am not saying this is wrong, but why do we have to skip work?   Why not just wait till the day is over and watch the rest of the games?  This problem also exists in high school.  Kids will skip school or leave early so that they can be at home to watch more games.  This almost seems ridiculous but it happens.  A lot of emphasis is put on this tournament.

March madness brackets can also bring some people to lay down money on their bracket.  They fill out a bracket and submit it to a pool, hoping to win the prize money for having the best bracket.  This is gambling, and as Christians we are supposed to shy away from gambling and its wickedness.

When a game comes on, it seems to become the top priority, and everything else will take a back seat.  If there is homework to be done and there is a game on, I fear that many kids, myself included, will choose to watch the game.  This is a struggle with priorities, but we have to remember that God should be first in all things, not ourselves and the pleasures of the world that we choose to enjoy.

As Christians we have to remember that although it is not wrong to watch basketball, we cannot elevate it above the things that God has called to do, such as work and school.  We have to remember not to idolize players with good skills, teams that we root for, or coaches who are well respected, because they are human.  God calls us to worship him and him alone.  Scripture tells us we cannot serve God and mammon.  So just remember that we can enjoy the March Madness tournament, but it must be limited and not take over our lives and our minds.  We must remember it is through God that we even exist, and we must give him our utmost attention, praise, and glory.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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Judah: A Story of Redemption

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021.   The story of Judah is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. We often overlook this history because it is nestled in the middle of the story of Joseph. All the […]

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Author Interview: “Through Many Dangers”

M. Kuiper, Through Many Dangers (Jenison: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2021)   Through Many Dangers is a work of Christian, historical fiction that has just been released this summer by the RFPA. The book is written especially for young people and details the story of a group of Dutch Reformed boys who serve in the […]

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