Thursday, November 02, 2006

 

I Have Seen the End of the Movie

Digital Video Recorders (a.k.a. TiVo) are, in my opinion, the greatest invention since the Thermos Bottle. For those who are unfamiliar with these devices, just understand that they seek out and record your favorite television shows and allow you to watch them anytime… and skip the commercials.

I’ve found that I can literally watch three hours of regular television in two hours time! Plus, I can begin watching my favorite shows whenever I want to watch them instead of whatever time is dictated by network executives. The ads that run for TiVo say things like “this little box changed my life!” They’re not kidding.

They do even more than just record the shows. They actually keep a record of what you watch and then find suggestions of shows that you might like, records them for you, and then lets you know what it found. It can also further modify your viewing patterns.

So I was pleasantly surprised this weekend when my DVR box picked up the movie The Village by M. Night Shymalan. If you have not seen this movie, stop reading right now and don’t read on until you rent it and watch the movie.

My wife and I saw this movie in the theatre and loved it, but it had been several years. We both looked forward to watching this movie again.

We figured that, since we knew the end of the movie, that it would be a completely different viewing experience. We were right, but we tremendously underestimated just how different it would be.

It was a very enjoyable and happy movie to watch—the horror, the fear, the anticipation that came through the movie the first time we watched it was completely washed away. We were left with truly appreciating the fear of the characters but knowing that there were no monsters in red robes. If you haven’t seen this movie a second time, I strongly encourage you to do so.

The Village was not the first movie where I experienced such phenomena, but it certainly was the one with the most impact. I have been to many other movies and then watched them again for a different experience. Try this sometime: sneak in to a theatre and watch the last 10 minutes of a movie, then watch the whole show from start to finish! You might not know all the details of what is going to happen, but with certainty of the end results the experience is totally different.

So here’s the point, and I plan to make it several times through this essay: Because I had seen the end of the movie, there was no fear in the middle.

That’s not to say that bad things don’t happen in the middle of the movie—sure they do, but I know that they will be resolved. Somehow, that makes the “bad” in the middle of the movie a lot more bearable.

Someone once told me that I always seem so calm. Well, the secret is that I'm not alsways calm... but I am calmer than most people are--especially in more recent years. I'm calmer because I have seen the end of the movie. I have read the book of Revelation.

Guess what--we win!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

 

About work...

"Of the gold, the silver, and the bronze and the iron, there is no limit. Arise and work, and may the Lord be with you." -- 1 Chronicles 22:16

"He who gathers in the summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully." -- Proverbs 10:5

"He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues vain things lacks sense." -- Proverbs 12:11

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." -- Collossians 3:22.

What do these scriptures mean to me? Well, to me it is quite clear: when it's time to work, you work! Because that work is for God and not for man. If you are a teacher, then give it 100%! A preacher, give it 100%!

But what if you are in sales? Give it 100%! Business owners? Give it 100%! When it is time to work, you work!

Take this appropriately: when it is not time to work, then guess what: don't work! Pretty simple, right?

With all this, what do you thing God thinks of working a 40 hour week?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

 

Don't cut of anyone's ear!

So in the garden when Jesus was about to be taken, Peter picked up a sword and all he could do was cut off someone's ear.

Imagine that!

There's a message here, I think... and that message is that if we Christians take up arms as a first resort, we run the risk of deafening others to our cause.

It's just a thought.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

Be Skilled In Your Work

"Do you see the man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings, he will not stand before obscure men." --Proverbs 22:29

The Bible encourages us to know our "craft" and work our "business" well. Many are called to serve in the clergy, many are called to teach, to be healers, and YES to even work in the marketplace.

God exists in the marketplace and He loves to meet us there! For most everyone, our everyday lives take place in the marketplace--at work, at home, out shopping--and not in a cathedral. God does not want us to only serve Him when we are at church, but in ever thing that we do. So we must therefore honor God through our work... and what better way to honor Him that to give our work our best, to do it "heartily as though unto the Lord" (Paraphrased 1 Chor 10:31).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

 

One Nation Under God and the Separation of Church and State

I understand that there are people in this country that do not believe in God. I understand also that there are those who do believe in God but do not want to serve Him, worship Him, or acknowlege Him.

There have been people that want to take the phrase "Under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Those that support the argument take the stance that they don't believe in God and should not therefore have to put themselves under something they do not believe in.

I, however, do believe in God and will not pledge Allegiance to any country that places itself above God.

So we have now argued ourselves into a pickle barrell.

Let's look at the primary argument for removing "Under God" from the Pledge: Separation of Church and State.

1) The phrase "Separation of Church and State" is not in the Constitution.
This fact is an often mistaken one. The only time the word "religion" is found in the Constitution is in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. "

2) Why should Congress make now law represecting an establishment of religion?
Well, that's a darn good point. I contend that it is because no one should have religion forced upon them. And this (at least as I understand it) is the one argument that I understand and grant at least some credence to for removing the phrase "under God" from the pledge. I do not want someone to pledge to God who does not want to, and I beleive that God doesn't want that either.

3) What brought about "Separation of Church and State" anyway?
Back before the reformation and during the times of Martin Luther, it was not uncommon for heads of state to also be heads of the church in that area. This led to the corruption of power in both political and religious circles. So a separation of church from the state was meant not to prevent corruption of state by the church, but to prevent corruption of the church by the state.

I doubt little that I have resolved any of the arguments here. For those who fight to remove "under God" from the pledge, to you I say that I wish you well and if you want, you can hold your breath during those two words. I, however, will gladly pledge my allegience to one nation under God.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

 

Attention Marrieds: Single People are Real People

It frightened me when I got married how much "more of a person" I was treated by society.

Those who are single often state their fears of being outcast by the "normal" married people. And married people nod their heads and say "That's right, we should be more considerate." But then nothing happens.

Here's some things that happened to me when I was single:
  1. Whenever someone needed to stay late at work I was always the one told to stay late because "I was single and don't have anything else to do." Yes, that's a direct quote from a former boss.
  2. At church and in business, I was seldom taken seriously in meetings and was often ignored when I had questions or comments.
  3. Several real estate agents would pass me on to other agents and refuse to work with me.
  4. I learned that one human resources manager refused to interview me for a position that I desired and was well qualified for specifically because I was single.
  5. One church I attended required those in the singles ministry to park in a different parking lot about a quarter mile away from services.

These kinds of events never happen now that I am married!

In the Church, we need to be sure to never, ever treat single people as "second-class citizens" and to instead remember that Christ died for everyone and we should follow His lead of loving others no matter what their present state.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

 

Restoring Christian Relationships

"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector." -- Matthew 18:15-17

These are good rules. Hey, there will always be conflict. The question is, how do you resolve it?

Here's what I was taught:
  1. Go to the person yourself.
  2. If that doesn't fix it, bring a friend and go to the person.
  3. If that doesn't fix it, bring it to the church
  4. If that doesn't fix it, run away.

What that means is that if you have a problem or issue with someone, you don't need to go tell the world--first approach that person directly and discretely. They may not even know that they have offended you and would want to seek reconciliation. If that does not work, then bring a friend who can help explain the situation and the grievances to the other person. Do this behind closed doors so that the world does not know.

If the first two steps do not work, it is our obligation as Christains to bring it to the church elders and seek advice. How severe is the incident? Have we gone overboard? An impartial judge can do wonders.

If that does not work, then and only then do you have the right to "cast them out" and go on with your life.


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