Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Rare Story of Love Worth Watching

Friends recently recommended the movie "Lars and the Real Girl," and I watched it tonight and was pretty impressed. It's basically the story of a guy with a delusion that a sex doll he orders over the internet (no, not for sex)...anyway, he believes the doll is real, and the town doctor advises his brother and sister-in-law to go along with the delusion as Lars isn't violent, actually, a very likeable, kind guy who is just "off." The great part is that the community loves this guy so much, that they go along, too, and Bianco (the doll) ends up touching everyone in way they hadn't expected. There are several themes, but two that came to my mind were: how far would you go to truly, unselfishly love someone even when it was difficult, and then, when do you give up what is not real, for something that is. Anyway, here's the trailer....

And here is one of my favorite scenes where the brother and sister-in-law have gathered some of the senior members of their church to warn them about Lars' delusion, and that he might want to bring Bianca to church. To me the theme is clear... we are all fallen, we all fall short of the glory of God, so be kind and compassionate and patient and loving because we need each other...it's how God designed us! So click on this scene and then ask yourself how far would you be willing to go to love someone unconditionally. You never know when YOU'RE the one that needs for someone else to be patient and kind and compassionate and understandind! Oh, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL, and don't forget to thank God for those who have loved (and are loving) you unconditionally!!!!! Oh, here's the scene...and thanks to Jeff and Miriam for the recommendation!

How Much Faith Do You "REALLY" Have?

I often define faith as "trust in someone or some thing that alters your behavior." Just saying you have in a surgeon isn't really faith until you let the surgeon actually slice into you. James in his little epistle is very, very clear when he writes: 14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (2:14-18)

I love that last phrase..."I will show you my faith by what I do." Want to see an unnerving illustration of this. Click this, but be forewarned, it may make you a bit nervous!"

Ouch! This guy was willing to put his finger where his faith was! Can people tell we REALLY have faith in Christ by what we DO with our time, energies, money, etc. Can people tell we're Christians by how we love and encourage each other and everyone else? This Thanksgiving (and every day) let your gratitude show, too, by ongoing acts of kindness, compassion, and love so that people will know that we are truly trusting Christ, not just for heaven, but for today, and then maybe, just maybe, they'll want to believe in Him, too. Oh, one more thing:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't Get Lost This Christmas

This commercial from Garmin reminds me that we need to make sure we don't lose our way through the Advent season! In all the rushing around, don't forget that God became a baby who grew up to be our Savior! A GPS is pretty cool, but there's not substitute for God's word as the ultimate guide through the upcoming holiday season. Another guide is still:
If you haven't seen the video there...go now! (AFTER you click on this video that is!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Are You Hot, Cold or Lukewarm?

Okay, I'm feeling a little guilty as I sit here in the cafeteria of the University Hospital in Augusta, having finished a "substantial" breakfast compared to what my mother is eating. She was to be given one egg (I wonder if they will bill Medicare for the egg?) which they will track to see how quickly her stomach empties. She's been having recurring nausea and has been scoped, prodded, scanned, and had a couple of gallstones removed over the past year or so, and they haven't found the cause, so we're not expecting big surprises. Still, I decided while they were testing how well her stomach emptied, I'd fill mine.

Breaskfast was good, but might not have been so as the food was on the cool to lukewarm side. Grits and scrambled eggs are not to be eaten in a cooled state. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to put a microwave in the dining room. What a difference 30 seconds of molecular agitation can make. That's how microwaves work, they agitate the molecules in food (esp. water) causing friction which causes heat. Sort of like life...God uses all kinds of circumstances to, as I once shared in a children's sermon, to "giggle our innards" to produce growth.

Peter was a great deal more articulate when he wrote (from experience mind you!) in 1 Peter 1:6,7: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

Life is full of challenging circumstances...they ARE going to happen, so why not trust God to do His work in the midst of all your agitation. Maybe He can generate some heat that can warm someone else's life as your faith in Him grows and becomes more visible to others!

Many people maybe facing a "cool" Christmas this year will our economic down turn. They may need someone to bring them some hope, some love, some peace and some warmth! I pray for all of you Christ followers out there that the Holy Spirit will renew your wonder and gratitude for the amazing gift of Christ's incarnation we are about to celebrate, so much so that others will notice!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday - My Unofficial Honda Day

Sorry gang, but I stumbled across a Honda website (see next post) and kept finding these video clips with great life lessons in them. So forgive me for going "Honda-Overboard!" Enjoy...

It's "Learn a Lesson From Honda" Day!

I know I border on being "Honda-obnoxious," but I applaud this company's approach to excellence and to creativity. On their "Hondamentalism" website (www.honda.co.uk/hondamentalism), they have several videos that remind us of several life lessons that can be applied to our walk with Christ. This one is about transforming something "ordinary" into something thrilling!

Jesus came not just to get us into Heaven, but to transform our lives FULLY so that others might be drawn to Him, in part, by how we live our lives before them! After all, He once said, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:9,10) If racing lawnmowers can draw a crowd, shouldn't a life lived for Christ make people take notice, too!?

Hondamentalism - Embrace Failure

If you check out anyone who is truly successful, you'll find that they embrace failure as one of life's best teachers. It's been said that Thomas Edison knew over 1,500 ways how NOT to invent an electric light bulb! Honda's philosophy seems to be the same...

Paul continued to learn (and teach) how to deal with difficulties in life. I his second letter to the Corinthians (12:7-10), he writes: "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Living in fear of why might happen results in paralysis. Faith in the God Who promises not to waste anything that ever happens to you (see Romans 8:28) is the way to be truly successful! And to be truly successful, you have to embrace and learn from your failures!

I Guess I'm a Hondamentalist

Anyone who knows me knows I only drive American made cars...Hondas to be exact! I like this company because I like their products and their commercials. The have a website that focuses on "Hondamentalism"...referencing the company's continuing pursuit of engineering excellence. I found some of the videos to be good illustrations of the Christian experience.

This one reminds me of how difficult it can be for pastors (or any Christian leader for that matter) to go up against the force of the status quo as God calls us to continue to learn and grow and experience more and more of the truly "abundant" life as opposed to settling for routines, ruts, and stagnation.

The writer of Hebrews would agree when he writes in 6:1-3: "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so."

We should keep on growing and maturing in our walk with Christ, and in our "growing" ability to love God and others! Don't give up just because you're facing a strong headwind! God who called you to live and grow and mature will provide everything you need to do so! So get up and GROW!

Did Honda Steal My Idea? DOUBTFUL!

Here is a Honda commercial that illustrates the truth of my video sermonette about the music box...that we can accomplish more when we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. I guess this is a corollary of that truth in that we can accomplish more together than we can alone. Solomon put it this way: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work..." Ecclesiastes 4:9

Click on the video to play...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth..."Mostly!"

I am SO glad the presidential election is over. If you are interested in the final "distortion count" (That sounds so much better than "lies!") go to:

And if you want this thorough (and non-partisan) description of just whose fault our current economic crisis is, go to:

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Little Video Sermon

I hope my BIG head doesn't frighten you. I just thought this illustrate how much better it is to be connected to something bigger than we are! Just click on it!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dare You Join the Advent Conspiracy?


This video could be a first step toward the most meaningful Christmas of your life OR ruin it forever if you want to keep on doing Christmas the American way. I realize the timing isn't that great considering our retail economy depends so much on "Holiday shopping," but it's difficult to ignore it's message if we truly pause to ask, "how does Jesus want us to celebrate His birthday?" You've been warned!

For more information go to: http://www.adventconspiracy.org/