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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Change the Fear

Greetings in Christ.

So, I have noticed a reluctance on a couple of fan groups on Facebook about discussing religion.  One of them is a Godzilla group and the other one is a Star Wars group.

The Godzilla group has a post pinned by the administrator saying that religion and politics are both off limits.  All they want to talk about is big monsters destroying each other.  I wonder if they would consider a discussion about the viewpoints of religion shown in the movies?  They seem to forget that faith and religion do play a part in many Godzilla films, whether it be the Islanders from the original film who saw Godzilla as a deity or the culture on Infant Island that worships Mothra. 

The Star Wars group actually did have a discussion going based on a meme that takes a picture of a church sign with Matthew 12:13 which starts "Whoever is not for me is against me".  This is the only part of the verse on the sign.  The creator of the meme than put a pic of Obi-Wan Kenobi below that with the quote "Only Siths deal in absolutes."  (Both sign and the meme forgot the rest of that verse "for whoever does not gather with me scatters.") This started a discussion about Jesus, judgement, etc.  I went to put my two cents in and lo and behold the post had been revoked.  I am guessing they were upset about the argument going on.

Religion can be polarizing.  Part of that is do to judgmental attitudes from people of varying view points. Have you ever felt judged by another?  Maybe you were investigating Christ and you felt like Christians were mean and critical.  Or, maybe you were trying to explain the truth of Christ and someone refused to listen to you unfairly.  This criticism and judgement can come from holders of all world views; there is no such thing as a world view where no one who teaches it is critical or rude.

However, there is another thing: the assumption that one is being judged.  We tend to see people as judges rather than as fellow students telling us what they think will be on the test.  This is especially popular right now.  People don't like to be told how to live their lives.  

As we go out to share Christ, we need to remember what Peter told us in 1 Peter 3:15 "Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."  We should not be judgmental.  It is God's place to judge, not ours, but we must not be afraid to say something.  We should remember we are students of Christ and that He is the test-grader.  We are the test-takers.  It is our responsibility to let other know what is on the test, but not to grade their tests for them.


I don't think these groups should be so scared of discussing religion, but we can only pray and speak in gentleness and respect to change it.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Endless Wonder

Last night I watched the final episode of Warehouse 13.  Don't worry, no spoilers here today.  I want us to think about the idea from the series of "endless wonder".  The Warehouse stored artifacts from throughout history that have been imbued with differing powers because of various events or from emotions of individuals that really changed history.

Some artifacts were good, others were not so good.  They always had trade off (such as a rope that would heal a person but bring darkness to their soul).  But it was always fascinating to see what they find and the Warehouse never stopped having new items for them. 

This is the interesting thing.  That something new was always around the corner and you could never stop finding something cool or amazing.  The show could have gone on for a couple more seasons without getting old.

Such is life with Christ.  We know from Revelation that there are angels and creatures in Heaven that are always shouting "Holy! Holy! Holy! Is the Lord God Almighty!"  It has been theorized that every time they shout it, they are seeing something new and different in God.  He is eternal and infinite!  There is no end to Him!  The idea of sitting around for eternity and telling God how awesome His might seem boring to some, but yet there is always something new to find.  A new grace to some one or a new miracle or color or creation.  Eternity will be filled with endless wonder and I am looking forward to it.  I hope you trust in Christ and join us for this ENDLESS WONDER!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hope and Spiderman

I saw The Amazing Spiderman 2 today and boy did I get my money's worth.  The movie spoke to me on so many levels!

 There were several poignant moments/thoughts [spoilers]:

  • The moment when the bullies are chasing the one science kid (Jorge) and pushing him around.  Spiderman, the guy who fights crime and stops terrorist events, comes to fight for the little guy!
  • The way that Spidey handled Electro's confrontation withe police in Time Square was excellent.  He tried to bring calmness and understanding and reconciliation to the situation.  But when that didn't work he fought alongside NY's finest to bring an end to the danger.
  •  I felt for Peter as he tried to understand his role in the lives of those around him.  His role with Gwen which was complicated by his concern for her safety and his promise to her father.  His role as Harry's friend and taking the hard road to say "This isn't good for you so I must say no."  
  • Aunt May's epiphany about moving on from the past and not letting it control you.
  • Most of all: the moment when Jorge stands out in danger in his Spiderman costume, facing the giant of the Rhino and Spiderman comes in and takes over the fight.  
Spiderman is a character that is all about hope.  This movie is also about hope.  Hope in danger.  Hope in fractured relationships.  Hope in the loss of a loved one.

Proverbs tells us that "hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" (13:12).

We have hope in Christ and in his redemption.  Romans 5:1-7 tells us:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 

While I was watching the movie God said "You are like the little boy and I am like Spiderman.  When you step out to fight a battle I'll show up to fight it for you." I came to tears after seeing this movie.  Not a lot, but tears nonetheless. 

THERE IS HOPE!!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Continutiy

So what do you think of the difference between Marvel's approach to cinema/tv and DC's approach?  I enjoy having all the connectivity that we have between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the One-Shots, the movies, and the approaching Netflix series. DC is decidedly different. Arrow seems to be a different universe than Man of Steel, although I have wondered if one of these was "Earth 1" and the other (probably Arrow) was "Earth 2" or another universe in a "multiverse".

In life we tend to separate groups and teams the way DC is.  I can think of two examples of this.  The first is denominational-ism.  Now, there are some good things about denominations.  They can share resources, cooperate to better send out missionaries, and grow together.  But there is the downside that comes with it.  We tend to see our group as fully separate entity from others. Yet we are one.  Ephesians 4:5 says there is "one faith, one lord, one baptism."  We are all on the same team.

The other area is that of the Angels vs. the Believers.  We humans don't exactly see ourselves as the same as the angels.  They have powers, admission to the Throne Room, and view points of history we do not have. In Revelation 22 when John was toward the end of his vision of heaven, he saw an angel and started to bow to it.  The angel said "Do not do it!  I am just a fellow servant with you and your fellow prophets."  Did you know that you and the angels are on one team together?

We are all in one universe. God loves us all equally and offers grace and hope equally.  So what can we do to cooperate together?  We can pray for each other. We can help each other. Sometimes we do this without even knowing it!  The Holy Spirit will coordinate all our efforts. We just have to be obedient and open to what He wants.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Free Comics and Free Salvation

Happy Free Comic Book Day!  Today is the day.  Thousands of people all across the US and maybe Canada and who knows where else will walk into comic shops to get free comics today.  This only happens once a year.  It is exciting and fun and a celebration of the art and the stories found in the comics, and particular comics are free this one day a year.

During the days of the Temple, the Jews celebrated something else once a year.  The Day of Atonement.  This one day a year the High Priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel by splashing blood of a sacrifice onto the mercy seat, or the cover, of the Ark of the Covenant. But this was not enough for God.  He wanted more access to us and he wanted us to have more access to Him.

So, Jesus came.  Along with setting an example for us of how to properly live and respond to the law, and along with experiencing the normal troubles and struggles of man, he became the sacrifice.  Isaiah had said that the Messiah would need to be pierced for our transgressions and He went exactly through that.

He bled and died a shameful, painful death so we could draw close to God.  So we could be redeemed.  Have you asked Jesus about this?  Have you asked Him for redemption?  Have you asked Him to bring the same power that resurrected Him to help you live a life to the fullest as you were created for?  All you have to do is ask and repent.  You don't have to earn anything or pay for anything...you just have to ask and change the things that need changing.  But then, He will be there to help you change those things.

I hope you get to go get some free comics today.  When you do, remember the price Christ payed so your salvation could be free.