Famed evangelist Josh McDowell is worried about the impact COVID19 is having on an already beleaguered population, warning that the pandemic wiIl likely worsen a variety of social issues, including pornography addiction, loneliness and depression.
TRANSCRIPT OF PURE FLIX'S INTERVIEW WITH JOSH MCDOWELL:
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Billy Hallowell: Hey, what's going on? It's Billy Hallowell and welcome to the Pure Flix podcast. This week we have two excitiAnchorments of the show for you. We are bringing Josh McDowell on now, if you don't know Josh McDowell. He is the head of Josh McDowell Ministries. He has been an evangelist for, I think, 40 years, if not longer. This is a guy who's Anchor in the trenches talking about Jesus sharing all over the world, and he's just fiAnchorith joy. I havAnchorrviewed Josh many times over the years, and I've always been blown away with just how much energy he has, how excited he is just about life and about sharing the gospel. And so he's actually gonna come on today to talk about COVID, the pandemic, the lockups, the lock ins, rather the fact that a lot of us haven't been going out. Maybe some of us have. I know some people have different views on that. But the point is, we've got a lot of people in culture right now who have really been in the house a lot more, who aren't going out to play sports as much, who aren't as connected as we were before. And so Josh is gonna dive into some of what he thinks is happening in culture and maybe some of the problems we can see come out of that. So with no further ado, I want to welcome Josh McDowell to the show right now. Hey, Josh, how's it going today?
Josh McDowell: It is going better than yesterday. And yesterday was a 100 strike.
Billy Hallowell: You know, what I love about you is your energy. Your energy level is through the roof, which is what we all need right now. I feel like I have like a slow drip of coffee in me all the time to make it through the homeschooling and the chaos and all of that. But I talk to you and it's like instant energy. How do you do it?
Josh McDowell: Well, there's a world out there that needs to hear about Christ and God has allow people like you and me to share with them. My gosh, that is exciting.
Billy Hallowell: It is exciting. It is. And you've spent all you spent a lifetime doing this. And one of the things that you're that you always look at, I think you look at the things that sometimes we forget about, and it's not that we forget about them, but they fall to the wayside. And right now, with this whole whole COVID, you know, crisis, everything that's going on, there's some issues that people are facing. And I think we're just starting to see some news articles cover this. But it's really on under the surface, the loneliness, the anxiety, the stress, the the questions of why why did God allow this? And so I guess I would throw to you, what are you seeing in your ministry? What are you experiencing and what are some of your concerns in light of what's happening with the quarantine and where we are right now?
Josh McDowell: Well, the first chronicles, God said, speaking the sons of Issachar They understood the times, in order to know what to do. So in understanding the times we look at loneliness suppressional, let's go back further. Three months ago, before anything to do with COVID19, the three top epidemics in every culture the world was porn, loneliness, and depression. You say what? Yes. There was a huge loneliness epidemic. Three months ago, ever before we thought about COVID and same thing with with depression, anxiety and mental health issues. The GenZ generation scores the highest any generation has ever scored on a mental health problem scale. That's hard to believe. And what what the COVID19 virus does. The lockdown, it feeds in to pornography, loneliness, depression and mental health. Why? These are the things that feed into all three of those. Loneliness, stress, fear, isolation, unknown, etc.. And so these things are not under the radar. It's just that, church is not looking at the radar. It's all on the radar. But we're not looking at it. And when we come out of this COVID and we will, you're going to see a greater in depth problem with loneliness, depression, anxiety and pornography.
Billy Hallowell: So I wanna talk about the thing. Go ahead. Well, I wanna talk about that? I wanted to stop you really quick, cause I've asked you this in the past, and I think you always have an incredible answer. And I wanna clarify now for those who are listening, when before this all started, these were already issues, as you mentioned, these were things I know you did a study a few years back of a widespread scientific study on porn addiction. What is driving, what was driving those things before COVID? The increase in loneliness, anxiety and pornography use and all that?
Josh McDowell: Well, as good as the Internet is and all these things, the Internet is positive, but there's a problem with the Internet and this is this is the way I express it. This generation has learned. To communicate with their thumbs, not their tongues. And as a result, they might be connecting with people on the Internet. But they're not relating to people on the Internet. And humans were created to relate to one another in a personal way. Second. Other thing spurred this along is the just the further breakdown of the family. When there is a breakdown, especially between the father and the children, not so much the mother. The mother is usually doing things right. Early she's trying, the Father's out in wooly wooley land. Not all the time, but most of the time. And when there is a breakdown in that relationship, then porn, lonely, anxiety. It's like having an open door. And so we have communicated with thumbs and not their tongues. The breakdown of relationships. And then the other is this. With the Internet. Young, average young person takes in over two million, eight napp by 11 pages of data every 24 hours into their brain. And when they say that the average young person has a attention span of eight seconds and a lot of docs say, wow, they're dumber than that. No, they are in overload. Yeah, literally nobody thought our brain could ever go into overload. It has. We are in overload with those about 25, 30 and younger. And so those three things really feed in. And then you go through all that into the pandemic and you have a natural climate for challenge. And we got it.
Billy Hallowell: Yeah. Now, that makes sense. And then and then you throw obviously, COVID into the mix, as you're saying, and you have this increased anxiety, this increase and more time, you know, which can be a problem for people sometimes. Sometimes people use time like you do and you use it for to do more. Right. But other times, time gives us, I think, open wounds and holes and gaping areas through which we find some of these issues again and they become bigger issues in our in our lives. So what what should we be doing right now as Christians in this moment in time, knowing what is happening, knowing there's an increase in these problems? How do we meet that need?
Josh McDowell: We need to figure out how do we minister to people like that? And it's not it doesn't come easy. And this is why anyone, especially pastors, parents, you go to Josh.org/loneliness or Josh.org/depression or Josh.org/mentalill etc. And I have listed on your various documents step by step by step how to deal with these things. I've tried to help pastors have talking points, sermon points and all, because I'll tell you this, if the church had better address these things or the church will be marginalized. Period. If we don't address loneliness, depression, anxiety, mental health, we and relationships, we will be obsolete. And my fear is that pastors and others have so much on their plate. They're not even aware of some of these things. And I've tried my best. That's why I might just go to Josh.org/loneliness, Josh.org/depression, Josh.org/mental illness, etc. Relations, seven days of relationships. I can help you, but you just can't do it in a ten minute interview. You need to get the background. And so we've got to become aware.
Billy Hallowell: Why do you think? Why do you think churches have dropped the ball on some of these things especially. I mean, porn addiction, it's it's become culture has mainstreamed so many of these things. Right. And you once said to me, I interviewed you for a book that I wrote a years ago, a few years back, and you said something that I actually say a lot and I always attribute attributed to you. Don't worry, I don't steal it. But you say, "We're experiencing a profound lostness of truth". That was the quote. And it really stuck with me. Yeah. Why have we not, as a church met that? Why have we not confronted that? And why have we allowed things like pornography? OK. What they are.
Josh McDowell: First of all, I don't know how pastors do it. Pastors are one of my top heroes in life. I don't know how they do it. They have so much demand on them, which often the church board puts on them or they put it on themselves. They've got a Mirriam Barium Council and comfort them everything. I don't know how they do it. Second, when I launched the set free summit on pornography, the first ever global summit ended up to be the largest ever. Chcuk Swindoll called me and said, Who do you wanna get there? And I said, Influencers in the business world, education, but especially pastors. He said, Josh, pastors won't come. I said, Why? Three things. He said, shame their experience in it. Second, fear they'll be exposed. And third, ignorance. And then Dobson and I were talking, Dobson said, Who do you wanna get there now? I said, influences, especially pastors. He said, Josh, pastors won't come. He repeated the same thing. He said they won't come because of shame, fear and lack of knowledge. And so what I'm trying to do is correct that lack of knowledge. If they go to Josh.org, they can have that corrected. They can go. Anyone can go Josh.org/pornography or the porn epidemic. There's a thousand eight hundred pages all documented broken down into 16 documents. I think it is of what is porn? How big is porn? Why is porn is so devastating? How do you deal with porn. Porn in the brain. Everything all broken down for pastors and authors and others that can use it all. It's all free, but those are why. The church is not at the forefront of this. We should be at the forefront instead of coming in once the wave hits. It's pretty hard to surf.
Billy Hallowell: Yeah, and it's easy to. And by no means do I wanna 'cause I agree with you a hundred percent on pastors. It's so easy to say, why didn't the pastor do? But I do think there's a convicting sort of nature here of will. We're all part of the church. Why aren't we all stepping up in these areas to address not only people who need help, but also admitting when we need help? I think there's a lot of Christians and I remember seeing this in your data, especially on on pornography, where there were this was something that had seeped into the church, obviously, and even into some leadership. Right. So addressing these issues, being out there as members of the church body as well, not just putting it all on the pastors, I think that that would be important to addressing all these things.
Josh McDowell: But who has got appointed to be the head of the church? Pastors.
Billy Hallowell: Yes, they have to take the lead, right.
Josh McDowell: And and very soul with a body of Christ picked up a challenge if it's not addressed in the church. And I can understand why. But there is a lot of good groups out there. Focus on the Family, Harvest USA, Purita, Zyra. What a great ministry. And oh, didn't a one. Oh come. I can't think of it right now. But if they go to my website Josh.org/anything like websites to deal with porn, I give an evaluation about 20 different incredible websites out there that can help people, can help pastors and others to understand this. The reason I'm not writing a book on it everything; there's such good material out there, but nobody knows about it. Right. And so I'm trying, I'd rather promote someone else's material than promote my own. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm trying to surface it. So just go to Josh.org websites to deal with porn. And I have it all evaluated. The plus. The minus. I rate them on a scale of one to 10 everything.
Billy Hallowell: Well. And people that we're gonna actually link out so people can go there. And the last thing I'll ask you, 'cause I know we're we're rounding out in the next few minutes here to the end of our interview. But, what would you say to somebody right now who's listening? And they are experiencing intense loneliness, anxiety at a level they haven't before because we've been isolated for you know two months now. For some people, what would you say to those people?
Josh McDowell: I would say, one come up with a daily schedule from the moment you wake up in the morning, what do you do for the rest of the day? Second, build in accomplishments. What can you do around your house, your apartment, your work, what you can do that when you go to bed, you see accomplishment. Third, get your mind off yourself onto others. Think of how you can bless others. For an example, every day when I wake up in the morning. The third thing I do is I write ten. Thank you. 10 notes of encouragement to ten people. Then during the day I either send 10 emails or call 10 people, half and half at some times to encourage them, especially internationally. And then before, I go to bed, I write ten notes of encouragement. And this way I'm getting my mind on to others. How can I administer to them? And when you do that, when you know you are hurt helping others. I don't know how you could be lonely and then build up, start connected by the Internet with friends because they're probably lonely too. And each person should have two or three people they could email or text message or call and say, I'm hurting, I'm lonely and let them minister to you. And then go into the scriptures, that see a lot of times I don't mention the scripture because of my world view. Everything is compassed under the umbrella of scripture. I it's a given, it's taken for granted. And God said I will never leave, you nor forsake you. He is there. He is bringing us through these things for a purpose. Find out what that purposes is. And those are some of the ways to deal with loneliness. Again I would say to that person listening right now go to Josh.org/loneliness. And in there I give about twelve creative, practical steps to deal with loneliness. I do the same thing with depression and all. So you've got to put forth the effort or you just wander around in the wilderness of loneliness.
Billy Hallowell: Josh, thanks so much as always. I love having you on, catching up with you and for your insight and for what you're offering people. I mean, this is much, much needed. We'll make sure we link out and hope to have you back soon.
Josh McDowell: Hey, whenever you're ready, you start to slip. Just call me Billy. Thank you so much. Love you guy. Have a good one.
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Billy Hallowell: OK, so here's a question for you guys. Are you looking to start a podcast? If you wanna get a podcast off the ground, the best tool to use is Anchor. Now, if you haven't heard about Anchor, let me give you a little bit of a rundown. It is a free podcasting platform. It has tools that you can use that allow you to record and edit. And you can do it right from your phone or your computer. Anchor will also distribute your podcasts so it can be heard on Spotify, Apple podcast and many other platforms. And the best part, you can even sell ads and make some money from your podcasts if you're looking to launch a podcast. Anchor is the place to go. You get everything in one place. You can download the free Anchor app or go to Anchor.fm to get started.
Billy Hallowell: And we're back with more of the Pure Flix podcast. That was Josh McDowell. And I am Billy Hallowell. And if you're just popping into the show right now, we were talking with Josh McDowell about COVID, loneliness, depression, some of the other issues we have going on in culture right now. If you missed that interview, go back and listen to it. Rewind a bit there. Haven't heard that word in awhile. Right. Rewind. But head back. Go back and listen to it. Totally worth listening to. Lots of powerful words there from Josh McDowell. Now, as we round out to the end of the show. We wanna make sure we take you through our Insider Inspiration series. This is a series where we bring you a powerful devotional truths in the various TV shows and movies that are streaming on Pure Flix. And today we're gonna be focusing on Home Sweet Home. You can also watch the video versions of this series over on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/Pure Flix. But with no further ado, let's run our Insider Inspiration series on Home Sweet Home.
Billy Hallowell: Hey, I'm Billy Hallowell, and welcome to our Pure Flix Insider Inspiration video series, where you find powerful devotional truths in the films and TV shows that are now streaming on Pureflix.com. This week we're diving into a new movie called Home Sweet Home. It stars Natasha Baret and Ben Elliot. Now the film centers around a character named Victoria, played by Baret, who's on this quest to find the perfect guy. Now she stumbles upon this guy named Ben, who's a Christian, and she suddenly finds herself trying to impress him by pretending to be a Christian. But she learns many lessons along the way. Lessons about life and faith in love. And so we're gonna dive into some of those powerful lessons and some of the powerful inspiration that we can actually take away from the film and integrate into our own lives. So let's start with a Bible verse, Matthew 19:26 it reads, "Jesus looked at them and said with man, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible". This is a powerful reminder that there are absolutely no limits to God's power, when we face the impossible, whether it's a broken relationship, an impossible task, something that just seems insurmountable, when you can't see a way forward. We can always have hope in God. Now, that brings us into our second lesson that we can give everything up to God, even when it feels impossible to give it up to God. We see this with the character of Elaina. She's a woman whose husband has left her alone with two small kids. And you see her journey and you see others in the film and they're seen as persisting even in the wake of the hardest of times. The Bible tells us in Psalm 55:22, "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken". The third lesson we can take away from Home Sweet Home is that authenticity matters. And this is an important one. You know, we see Victoria constantly trying to be someone else. She's trying to impress guys. And in the end, she really ends up learning that truth and authenticity are what really matters. So we can be asking God ourselves, hey, God, who do you want me to be? Who am I? The fourth and final take away helping others can transform us. You know, the Bible talks all about helping those in need. And many times we assume that charity is really just about the end result of helping other people. And to a degree, it is. But at the same time as Victoria learned, doing good can actually transform us. It can transform the way we see ourselves and what we can learn about God. This wraps up our Pure Flix Inspiration Devotional on Home Sweet Home. You can see these themes and many others play out right now by streaming Home Sweet Home on Pureflix.com. You can also be sure to head over to Insider.pureflix.com for more daily inspiring content.
Billy Hallowell: And that brings us to the end of today's Pure Flix podcast. I hope you enjoyed that insider inspiration episode. You can head over to Facebook.com /PureFlix for more of those. And just as a little preview, we've got a variety of videos coming out. These are, again, devotionals, and they give you sort of the powerful truce you can find in these TV shows and movies. We'll be doing God's compass. We'll also be doing one on Vindication, which is another great series airing right now on Pure Flix. Head on over to Pureflix.com, grab your free trial. Also, be sure to head to our blog. Go to insider.pureflix.com for more daily inspiring content. We will see you next week on another episode of the Pure Flix podcast.
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