Revive Our Hearts Podcast

From Skeptical to Sold

Leslie Basham: Pam McGuire is a mom whose family watched a lot of TV. She said it started to bother her.

Pam McGuire: My son used to be able to quote lines from a movie. He used to be able to act out scenes from a movie, and I was thinking, “He could be quoting Scripture.” That was another conviction by the Holy Spirit.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, July 27th.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Our guest this week on Revive Our Hearts has been my cousin, Bob DeMoss. Bob has written a fabulous book called TV: The Great Escape. Thanks so much, Bob, for being with us all this week.

Bob DeMoss: Thanks, Nancy. It’s great to be with you.

Nancy: The essence of this book is a challenge that you’ve given to many people over the years, and you’re giving it to our listeners this week. For those who may not have heard it or those who are still hesitating to take the plunge, explain this 30-day challenge.

Bob: Well, the idea is really simple. You take your hand and apply it to the “off” button. Leave your TV off for about a month, or unplug it and ideally cart it off to the garage—if you want to be really industrious. The idea is remove the influence of television from your home. It works hard for you all the rest of the year, so send it on a vacation for 30 days!

Then watch the life-changing things that happen in your house when you go without a TV. That means you’re not renting videos. That means you’re not going out to movies.

Nancy: You’re not going to Circuit City to catch what you’re missing.

Bob: To stare at the wall of TVs? Right! You’re not going over to a friend’s house. You’re trying to see what life would be like without the television for just a month.

Nancy: And you’ve encouraged whole families to do this.

Bob: Absolutely. One of the things that we’ve done with the television in TV: The Great Escape is that we’ve encouraged entire families to do it.

The other day my wife, Leticia was entertaining her best friend, Pam McGuire. Pam had stopped by and Leticia had left a copy of TV: The Great Escape out on the table. I don’t know if that was a little hint or something, but they’ve gotten to know each other over the last year and have become close friends.

Pam took the book home. The fun part is what she did next—and how that blossomed into a living testimony to what happens when a family takes the “TV-free challenge.”

Nancy: Pam is sitting here with us; she stopped by to join us. Pam, thanks so much for being a part of this discussion.

Pam McGuire: Thanks for having me.

Nancy: Now, you saw this book at Bob’s house and you picked it up. What happened next?

Pam: Well, I read it up to the point where it said to actually turn the TV off. I decided at that point that it was going to be too difficult, and I wasn’t going to take the challenge.

Nancy: Now, you’re married. You’ve got three children ages. . .

Pam: I have a son, Shawn, who is four. Patrick is two, and Ian is six weeks.

Nancy: So when you said this was going to be impossible, was it because you’re addicted to TV? What made you think it was going to be so hard?

Pam: Yes, I am addicted to TV, or I was addicted to TV.

Nancy: Did you know you were addicted?

Pam: Not at the time.

Nancy: Until somebody said, “Turn it off for 30 days.”

Pam: Yes, exactly. Even then, I didn’t think I was addicted. It was just something I didn’t want to do.

Nancy: What made you so enamored with keeping your TV on?

Pam: Well, I found it enjoyable. It was probably my favorite leisure activity. I liked the fact that it would help me baby-sit my children. In my home at the time we took this challenge, there was a TV in our family room, in my son’s room—my four year old son’s room, and in my bedroom.

Nancy: They were on a lot of the time?

Pam: Yes.

Bob: Then one day I said to Leticia, “Why don’t we go out on a double date with Pam and Mickey?” We went out to Outback, and while we were sitting there I said, “By the way, did you ever read that book that Leticia had out for you, TV: The Great Escape?”

She said, “Yes, up to the place where it said to turn off your TV.” I asked her, “Well, why didn’t you do it?” She was explaining some of the reasons. Then, I asked her the three questions we told listeners about a couple of days ago.

“Well then, Pam,” I said, “tell me how television has had a positive influence on your life?”

Nancy: What’d you say?

Pam: Well, it really hasn’t had a positive influence on my life. I would tell myself that I have a TV because I like to watch the Christian network channels. But I would begin channel surfing and end up watching shows that didn’t edify me. They took time away from doing the kind of chores I needed to be doing and having relationships or interacting with my children.

Nancy: Did Bob ask you the second question, “What kind of negative effect has it had on your life?”

Pam: Yes, he did. I could list several different negative effects that TV has had on my life. Actually, as a young child, it destroyed my self-esteem. I was comparing myself to people that I saw on TV. It influenced my thoughts, my beliefs, my moral values, and therefore, it influenced my behavior and the choices I made in my life as an adult.

Nancy: So, you were being trained—discipled—by Dr. Phil and Oprah.

Pam: Exactly. I was not reading the Bible. I was not involved in any type of ministry or Bible study. I would spend all my available time watching TV, for the most part.

Nancy: What got you to take the plunge?

Pam: When I told Bob that I had a television set in my son’s room, along with a DVD player and a VCR so he could watch his shows; I could watch mine in the family room, and we wouldn’t interfere with one another.

Nancy: This is your four-year-old son?

Pam: Yes, my four-year-old son. He had such a look of sorrow on his face. I was convicted by what he said and by the urgings of the Holy Spirit—I needed to change.

Bob: That’s one thing that I remember. Pam shared that she felt convicted by the Holy Spirit long before this book was presented to her. Of course, it’s our prayer, Nancy, that this might be the kind of thing that leads people to say, “Okay, I yield.”

That’s why I’m so proud of Pam and Mickey because that’s what they did. They made the change.

Nancy: Did you and Mickey both decide to do the 30-day challenge?

Pam: Yes. After talking with Bob, I decided that we were going to take the television out of my son’s room and to start limiting the amount of TV he watched.

My husband said, “We’re not going to do that to him if you’re not willing to change yourself, because you are the root of the problem. You’re the one that spends most of the time watching TV. You allow him to watch TV, so that you can watch TV in another room. So unless you’re convicted to make a change in your life, we won’t do anything to Shawn, our son.”

At that point, we decided that we would do it as a family instead of just changing the television viewing habits of our children. After we had dinner with Bob and Leticia, we came home and unplugged the TV.

Nancy: Did you go through some withdrawal yourself?

Pam: We had one day of withdrawal; one day where it was very difficult because we didn’t know what to do with our time.

Nancy: Was it the first day?

Pam: The very first day.

Nancy: It was hard?

Pam: It was very hard. We tried to play with our children, to read to them, and to take them outdoors for walks. It was difficult at first because they were crying. They wanted to watch the TV, and we wanted our time where we were doing what we wanted to do—not necessarily always interacting.

By the second day, we were actually enjoying the interaction we were having; the play time we were having. By the end of the four weeks, I did allow my children to watch a couple of hours of television a week, but I still hadn’t watched TV myself. I went an additional two weeks.

By the end of six weeks, my four-year-old son and my two-year-old son, who couldn’t go to sleep without crying and having a fit, were now going to sleep without protesting and sleeping through the night. I think because they are not watching TV prior to going to bed, they don’t have fearful thoughts in their minds. Instead, they’re going to bed with us reading to them and praying with them. They’re going to bed with peace in their hearts.

Nancy: What kinds of changes have you seen in your own heart?

Pam: I have more time to pray. I’ve seen prayers being answered in my life and in my friends' lives. I’m teaching my son to read. I now envision myself being able to home school. Before, I didn’t even have the time to finish my daily chores.

Bob: I can remember the other night at dinner, Pam said, “When Mickey would come home from work, I still wasn’t done with my chores because television had dominated so much of the day. I would be asking, ‘Could you help me with all of this stuff?’”

Now that the TV is out of the way, she’s done and has plenty of time left over—as other people who have done this—for sleep, for recreation, for a long walk, or for other healthy kinds of things. We all talk about a healthy lifestyle. Watching TV is about as unhealthy on a physical level, not just on the mental and spiritual, as it is on the physical level. It does nothing to enhance the cardiovascular system.

Nancy: Pam, I’m so proud of you and Mickey for taking that step. And as great as the results are that you are seeing in your children right now—just after a short of period of time reaping these kinds of changes—your “children will rise up and call you blessed,” some day because of these tough choices that you’re making (Proverbs 31:28, paraphrased).

It was a tough choice not only to limit their TV viewing, but to change your own habits. I think in the years ahead you’re going to look back and say, “My spiritual life, my walk with the Lord is on a whole different plane than I ever dreamed it possibly could be.

I think many of our listeners have been touched by your story and are going to be challenged to follow your example. I want to challenge those of you who are listening who have heard Pam’s story.

Maybe television isn’t quite as dominating in your life as it was in Pam’s or her children’s, but you’re headed that direction. You’re getting your theology from Dr. Phil and Oprah and are raising your children to be experts at the world’s way of thinking; quoting movie lines; etc.

If you want to develop a heart for God and you want to see the same thing in your children, then I would encourage you to do what Pam and Mickey did—pull the plug on the TV for 30 days. We’ll talk tomorrow about some other practical questions: How you do it, and what you can put in the place of all those hours that you spent watching TV.

But you won’t hear any more compelling reason than the testimony that you’ve heard today from Pam. Thanks, Pam, for sharing your story. And thanks Bob, and your wife Leticia, for the influence that you’ve had on this family; and Lord willing, as a result, on perhaps hundreds and thousands of other families in the days ahead.

Leslie Basham: All this week we’re listening to a conversation between the host of Revive Our Hearts, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and her cousin, Bob DeMoss, who is also the author of a book called TV: The Great Escape.

Today they were joined by Pam McGuire who went from skeptical to sold on the concept of sending her TV on a six-week vacation.

You heard Nancy issue the challenge. Do you think you could go for a month with no TV? How about we give you a few days to think about it, and then you can join us to make August our TV-free month.

Sign up for the challenge and share your experience with others who are going TV free for 30 days. Go to www.ReviveOurHearts.com/tvfree for more details about this life- changing challenge.

While you’re there, would you consider supporting the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a financial gift? For a gift of $20 or more, we’d like to say thank you, by sending you the TV-Free Challenge Pack.

This includes Bob DeMoss’ book and cheerful custom-made clings to place on your TV screens. They work like large post-it notes. They say, “There’s life outside the box,” and they quote Psalm 119, verse 37: “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things and give me life in your ways.”

You can see what it looks like at www.ReviveOurHearts.com/tvfree. If you prefer calling, you may. Our phone number is toll free, 1-800-569-5959.

Thanks for listening today. Will you join us tomorrow? Bob DeMoss shares what the story of Samson and Delilah has to do with your television set. We’ll see you back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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