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Sunday, February 14, 2016

The God Film Resolution


On January 29th, it was my daughter’s birthday and I decided to surprise her and her siblings by treating them to see Kung Fu Panda 3 which opened that same day. I disguised my plan by first taking the children to a store which was located next to the theater. We shopped for a little while and then exited the store. I then had our group turn left toward the theater rather than walking toward our parked vehicle on the right. It was at this time that my children knew something was going on and that Daddy was probably up to one of his usual schemes. And so I walked all of the children up to the preview poster of Kung Fu Panda 3 which was mounted on the theater’s outside wall. I revealed to them that our entire trip was really just a birthday gift in disguise and I could see most all of them getting excited.

In regards to the movie start time, I had performed this feat with children of various ages and with such precision that I was a bit proud of myself. And then it happened! My daughter tells me that she doesn’t really care to see Kung Fu Panda 3 and she’d actually like to go home and watch a movie we already owned. It was at this time that I had to decide between honoring the desire of my birthday girl...or the wishes of the majority. A bit of guilt crept in because I felt that the rest of the children would harbor ill feelings against their sister if we didn’t go in to see the new movie and it would be my fault for putting my daughter on the spot in the first place. On the other hand, if I went ahead and made my daughter spend hours of her birthday watching a film she didn’t really care to see so that everyone else would be happy, what kind of birthday would that be?

In the end, I made the call to have us all just return home. Per my daughter’s request, I put on the movie we already owned and everyone seemed to enjoy that movie just fine. Afterward, trying to make sense of the event, I went and researched Kung Fu Panda 3 [again] to see if there were any elements of the film which I might not want my children seeing anyway. In this process, I came across a Christian movie review where the writer complained about eastern religion elements which Christian parents might not appreciate. It was at this time that I began meditating a lot on the concept that I’m now writing about:

Colossians 3:17 reads,

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him

I try to live by this principle anyway but learning from the Kung Fu Panda 3 event, I’ve decided to be a bit more intentional. And I want to encourage all Christian brothers and sisters to do the same. What I mean is: I have decided that from now on, I am only going to give God my firsts when it comes to movies on opening weekends. Therefore, unless a movie has been written and produced to bring glory and honor to the One True God, I will NOT go view that film the first weekend it releases. I can wait until the second weekend or later. In doing this, I hope to send moviemakers the message “If God doesn’t come first in your film, then your film doesn’t come first in my priorities.” Even worse are films that outright dishonor God. These movies I will refrain from viewing altogether. I feel it is important that all saints cultivate a sense of discernment and live by conviction.

Now, on the flip side of this comes all the films that ARE written and produced to bring glory to God or spread the message of Christ. When it comes to these films, I plan to go out of my way to mark their release dates and opening weekends on my calendar and make a deliberate effort to view them that first week. In doing this, I aim to send filmmakers the message “When you seek to honor God, God’s people will honor your film.”

Again, in order to really drive the message home, I feel that Christians need to be intentional on BOTH sides of the campaign. There has been a nice increase in the number of Christian films being produced but this is only half of the battle.

If it’s just one family, one church, or even one city participating in this endeavor to shape our media, I’m not sure if Hollywood and moviemakers will get the point. But if saints across the globe join in on what I’m calling the “God Film Resolution” (pun intended), then maybe we can put a dent in the amount of godless, wayward, or dark content producers have been told is perfectly fine to put out. If we’re buying it at all or swarming to theatres for their junk food on opening nights, then they’ll just keep producing it and peddling it. — Think about it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Despair Not!


Years ago, I heard a message on the radio and at the beginning of his sermon, a pastor warmed up his audience with a few jokes from a company called Despair, Inc. Though a bit crude at times, I’ll have to admit that the jokes were pretty funny and I could hear the audience in the background laughing in agreement to the truth within the jokes.

At institutions and workplaces, one will often see hanging on walls posters which are supposed to be positive and encouraging. Sometimes, however, their messages are a bit “cheesy” and so, Despair, Inc. decided to exploit this cheesiness. In a twisted but profitable fashion, this company actually made a business out of humorously discouraging people with the use of sarcasm, satire, and irony.

Now, I’m normally not a fan of negativity at all, but Despair, Inc. seems to have a unique way of pulling out the hardcore truths within various negative situations and then turning those concepts into devices to which everyone can relate. Because we can relate, we find certain truths to be funny; even if they're a bit dark. And because laughter is good for the soul, I can see exactly why the minister in mention opened his sermon with quotes from the company's products which are fittingly called "demotivators."

After hearing this sermon, I decided to jump on the bandwagon of turning negatives into positives as well. I actually purchased a number of items from to use as teaching aids during open-air preaching, etc. Here are a couple of posters I still own today and why:

After viewing funny poster after funny poster, I just couldn’t stop laughing at the Failure one above. Being able to relate to it, I decided to roll with it. I bought this poster in the name of sharing with others the importance of abiding in Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing of any real and everlasting worth (John 15:5). Though Despair, Inc. wasn't trying to say this, the truth is...our own best effort is NEVER "good enough"! And the sooner we learn this, the better. It took me years as an atheist and then a new believer to finally realize that God is God and I’m not.

Besides finding this Procrastination poster to be funny, I purchased it to preach on the topic of salvation. Scripture says "now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). God’s Word teaches that wrong-living comes with its pleasure for a season, but ultimately we will reap what we’ve sown (Galatians 6:7-9; Hebrews 11:25). Also, whenever we are exposed to a truth, we should act in obedience to that truth rather than allow our hearts to become hardened or our consciences be seared (Hebrews 3:12-19; 1 Timothy 4:2). This simple concept applies to believers and unbelievers alike.

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

Kathryn Stockett, The Help

It’s actually these last two posters (Individuality & Potential) which I don’t own but originally wanted to write about. Though they are intended to be funny, they’re also in agreement with a common [and negative] sentiment I've observed in the world as well as the church today:

For the record, I laughed pretty hard at both of these posters when I first saw them. Nonetheless, I want to address just a couple of notions within the intended sarcasm and/or satire:

1) Individuality - The truth is…whether in the world or in the church, we are ALL special and that's perfectly fine. As humans, we were all formed and made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9). Just because someone else has God-given unsurpassable worth, that doesn’t mean that we too can’t have God-given unsurpassable worth. No one else's uniqueness can take away from what we inherently are as creations of God. Our good Father Who is in Heaven is exactly that — a Father. And good fathers love all of their children; differences and all. What is special about one child doesn't take away from what is special about another.

2) Potential - Just because someone else has a unique gifting and has climbed the ladder which the world’s majority has deemed more important, this doesn’t mean that our seemingly “lesser” role isn’t equally important. I don’t know about you, but I very much so value all the people who bag groceries, return shopping carts (especially in the Texas heat), work fast food, change diapers, pick up my trash once a week, deliver my mail, and this list could go on. I also value engineers and innovators. If all of these people who are made in the image of Yehovah weren’t doing what they do, where would our world be and what would it look like? - The Apostle Paul wrote "there is one body and many parts" (1 Corinthians 12:12). Though he wrote this to believers in the church, I feel it still applies to humanity as a whole.

In closing: From movies to magazines, the spiritual enemies of God seem to spread the message that unless we are the best, brightest, or most beautiful, we don’t have real worth. This just isn’t true and it’s important that all believers in God stand on the truths revealed in His Word. In turn, we are to spread His message of impartial love to all of those in the world who do not yet believe!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February IP2RR Challenge Question - Answered!

Once again, there was no contestant this month with the correct response to the IP2RR Challenge Question for Chapter 6.

ANSWER (Decoded)

1) John 3:16

2) John 14:1-31

LORD allowing, the final question for this year's IP2RR season will be posted next month on Monday, March 7th, no later than 6:50 p.m. CST (7:50 p.m. Eastern). Be sure to FOLLOW me on this blog, Facebook or Twitter and BE READY FOR THE IP2RR CHALLENGE.

Reminder/Hint: March's Challenge Question will be based on Chapter 7 of Rescuca: Savior of the Realm. Chapter 7 is entitled The Revelation.

February IP2RR Challenge Question - Ch. 6

Chapter 6 - Another Story to Tell

Challenge Question - COMPLETED

1) “However, our IT is ruled by a King, rather than an emperor. Like no other, this King was born out the Four Pillars themselves. In fact, the word born doesn’t really describe the event. There was simply a point when He came forth. His coming forth was in response to a particular event, which I’ll tell you about in a moment.”

2) “‘As most of you know, I was conceived from the Four Pillars themselves. The Four Pillars are all within me, and I AM within them…”


~ Which two Principle and Protocol references pertain to the excerpts above? Hint: Both references can be found in 10K-2T-8K-1T. Answers may be in coded or decoded format.

To submit your answer: Use this post's comment option, the Contact Form, or the contact form at the bottom of this blog.