Sunday, May 31, 2009

Am Really UP on UP! Go See It Now or ASAP!

Saw "Up" with my mom (who even loved it) and my brother today...saw it in 3D, too. Dug the dog still reminds me way to much of my Dave (my golden retriever)...loyal... overweight... loving beyond what one might think possible. The story is a celebration of love, and the wonder of new beginnings when one might be tempted to think life is over. One of my new favorites. It should be required viewing at retirement homes, too!

It is visually brilliant, but the story was its real joy. How this company, and these creative people (hundreds of them!) continue to create these movies (nothing but successes since Toy Story in '95) that entertain, teach, and amaze. There will be many people who will not see it simply because they dismiss it as a "cartoon." What a mistake. Go see it, and then thank God for every person He's given you in your past, is giving you now, and will give you in the future to make your life worth living.

We were created to love Him and each other above every other human activity, and "Up" showcases, even in the lives of animated characters, the power of this great gift called LOVE. Go see it!

Here's the official website of the film:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Classy Performer - Jay Leno

I got to be in the audience of the Tonight Show about a decade ago when I was vacationing in LA. I was impressed before the show at how friendly Jay was with the studio audience. He even placed a phone call to an audience member's brother to wish him a happy birthday.

Last night, Jay wrapped up 17 years as the Tonight Show host, and I was impressed with:

a.) His humility.

b.) His gratitude for all those who had a part in his success (crew members, etc.)

c.) His love for his wife, Mavis, of whom he remarked during his farewell: "One of the things I'm proud of, I'm leaving this dance with the same girl I came in with."

d.) And he surprised me with his "parting shot." Concerning the "legacy" he was leaving behind, he commented,"Well, there is a kind of legacy," he said, smiling. "Here's the answer. Take a look." He gestured to the curtain, which rose to reveal a passel of kids, the offspring of writers, assistants and others who worked on the show. "The answer is 68," Leno said with a grin. "We have 68 kids."

I guess what struck me is that, even though he's richer than we can possibly imagine, he still seems to get that the really important "wealth" is in the people we love. Hmmm...seems someone else once said that the MOST important things in our lives aren't things at all, but to love God and to love others. I thank our Father for reminding me of that through Jay Leno!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Don't Forget Their Gift to Us All...

I got home later than I had hope tonight after a quick trip to Charleston to check on a church member (to all my FBC folks, Mantha was MUCH improved today over the first of the week!). So I am getting ready to work on my thoughts for our graduate recognition service, and had the TV on in the background, and it was on the History Channel's presentation (a marathon I think) of "Band of Brothers." The scene was at the end of the war when the company found a "work" camp of Jewish prisoners that had been left there after the soldiers had fled. They told their liberators that the soldiers didn't have the time or ammunition to kill them all.

It was a pretty pitiful scene, but I thought that is wasn't like the real thing. They tried to find the skinniest actors they could, but they couldn't approach what our soldiers really saw in those liberations. And this scene was just a small camp, nothing like the huge concentration camps of Poland...Auschwich alone saw over one million Jews brutally murdered. I was thinking how little we take for granted...what if Hitler had won the war? Where would we be now?

There are thousands of graves in Normandy representing even more Americans (and our allies) who did not come home, but gave their lives so we wouldn't have to live under Hitler (or Japan). They protected our freedom, and returned freedom to those who had been conquered by German and Japan. And that's just one war.

I'm reminding my church tomorrow to observe the "Moment of Remembrance" requested by our government at 3:00 pm on Monday, Memorial Day, to pause and thank God for those who died to keep us free. No matter where you are, please take time Monday to remember these brave, selfless Americans who didn't get to live out their lives in peace and freedom so that we could!

Please take time to watch this video. What a great reminder that our freedom isn't free!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Don't Fight the Agitation! It's Cleansing!

I was inspired washing some clothes this morning in preparation for my cleaning lady to come and clean...actually, the main reason I have her come is to force me to pick up my clutter, which would consume me if I didn't have this bi-weekly fight! Anyway, it hit me as I was loading the machine. That all washing machines have to have an "agitation" cycle to get the detergent into the clothes to get the dirt and stains out of the clothes.

That same is true of life, isn't it? Our Father uses life circumstances to agitate us, not to frustrate, or to damage, but to shake out the bad stuff so we can embrace more and more of the cleaner life He offers us in relationship with Him through Christ.

Peter could personally attest to the power of agitation in his life, and he would eventually be inspired to write these important words, "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." (I Peter 1:6,7)

So don't run too quickly from agitating circumstances. Pause and ask your Father what needs to be cleansed in you! Now a short video on the beauty of "cleansing agitation!"

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I just started listening to an audiobook by Dr. Jill Taylor, a neuroanatomist (basically a "brain scientist") had a major stroke (she was 38) which took eight years of recovery. This is her story of what's she's learned. Two things that I have already found pretty interesting.

First, she says that when you get angry suddenly because of a situation, your brain orchestrates an emergency preservation "dump" of hormones and chemicals to "react" immediately for self-preservation. ( "blow up" at something.) What I found interesting is that the body flushes these "anger response" chemicals from the body in under TWO MINUTES!!!

Then, she said, your calmer
brain has to decide whether or not to keep the anger response going! much pain could we avoid if we took two minutes when we blow up to take a break, a breath, an opportunity to ask the Spirit to help us "see" reality as IT IS, not HOW WE FEEL!

Every Christian knows the two greatest commands (See Matt. 22:34-40) are to love God and love others. Every Christ follower should also know that love is described in 1 Cor. 13 as not being "easily angered." So if you want to love more and more like Christ, don't forget the two minute time-out when your circumstances get the best of you! By the way, if you are the subject of someone's "wrath," if they won't take a two minute break at your suggestion, just tell them that it is going to take a couple of minutes for you to process the situation!

The other thing I found interesting was how Dr. Taylor talked about how much power we have to "choose peace." Again, she's talking about brain function, but I think she reminds us of just how possible it is every day to choose more peace than we think. Paul would agree: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Rom. 12:17,18

Add in the power of God's Spirit to override your selfishness, and His truth to give you a clearer vision of reality, and you're well on your way to a life of real peace! Don't wait for circumstances to align themselves to produce peace (you might be waiting a long time)...instead, embrace the gift your Father has given you...the ability to CHOOSE PEACE!

If you'd like to hear about the actual experience of a younger person having a stroke, here is a video talk she did at TED. Remember, she's talking as a scientist, but I found reasons to thank our Father for being such a great biological engineer she talked. Sad thing is that we don't use all the "features" of our brains He wants us to! WARNING: She holds up an actual human brain if you're squeamish!

He was Rich, Famous, Popular, and Dead Inside!

How's this for a pretty amazing testimony! The "dead inside" comment is from Brian himself....just click on video to find out more. Sad though that the CNN anchor makes the statement, "After saving himself....etc." Guess he doesn't get it...I'm glad Brian did!