Four Ways to Connect w/God…

orienteering-map-in-hand-la.gif

When I was in college, I participated in the Army ROTC program. One of the fundamental skill sets we learned early on was Land Navigation, which consisted of map reading, orienteering, and plotting out a course over the terrain to find different points on the map. We would often use a variety of skills and tools to hike through the woods to these points. We’d use compasses, protractors, and different techniques to find our points.

When I think of trying to better understand or connect with God, I think of this hiking or map reading imagery. So here are four things that you can use to connect with God:  Continue reading

The Gospel according to ‘Dr Strange’…

dr-strange

For a while now, I’ve been looking forward to seeing ‘Dr Strange’ in theaters for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason was the integration of Scott Derrickson serving as the director and one of the writers. I talk a little bit more about Derrickson here, but the short version is that he is a Christian who uses a secular medium (movies) to tell the Gospel story.

I know that ‘Dr Strange’ is going to be seen by a huge number of people. And that gives Christians and church leaders a great opportunity to have a common reference to discuss the Gospel with people who saw the movie. So I want to talk about a couple of places where I saw the Gospel in ‘Dr Strange’. Hopefully parents and church leaders can use this as a starting reference for discussions and conversations with their kids or non-Christians in their churches.

I have to warn you though, I cannot do so without spoiling the movie. So this is your [SPOILER WARNING] Continue reading

Making the roof fall in…

A few years ago, Mel Gibson, the worldwide movie star, had a very public and very terrible breakdown. He used racist, misogynistic, and sexually violent language talking about people, both in broad groups and specifically targeting a few, including his then girlfriend. After the dust of settlements and court hearings died down, Gibson essentially went into hiding.

Until this week, when he began to do the press tour for his new movie.

lead_960

One of the stops was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Now, I know Colbert to be mostly a comedian, but I also know he does not like to leave proverbial elephants in the room. I’ve watched him ask people some rather tough questions for a goofy late night talk show. So when Gibson came out, they eased the conversation to the topic of this very public breakdown. During the conversation, Colbert said something that struck me with such gracious poignancy, because I, and many others need to be reminded of it. He said:

“No person is their worst moment” Continue reading

The Gospel According to ‘The Magnificent Seven’…

Over the weekend, I went to see the latest version of ‘The Magnificent Seven’, a remake of the western classic of the same name, starring Yul Brenner (which itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’). And it was exactly what I thought it would be and wanted it to be.

Mag 7.jpg

Western’s, as a genre, have experienced some hit or miss success in recent years, but there is still a large swath of people who enjoy watching them, and I think there are good reasons why. The main character is almost always someone we, as the audience, can identify with. The main villain is usually the worst kind of human being, with nothing worth redeeming. The stakes are usually an innocent person/population being treated horribly. It’s a classic good vs evil arc.

Now, God and I have the kind of relationship where He shows up in movies for me. And this was no exception. So here are a couple of ways I saw the Gospel in ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (without spoilers)  Continue reading

Glimpses of Heaven…

On Christmas Eve, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 catch a glimpse of something that no one else had seen before. The crew was running experiments and studying the impact of orbiting the moon in the build up to landing on the moon. As a part of the experiments, they became the first human beings to orbit the moon, and thus the first human beings to travel to the dark side of the moon. Apollo 8 was about halfway through their mission when William Anders looked out the window and saw the earth rising above the moon, like the sun rises over the horizon on earth.

Earthrise.jpg

In an instant, the three man crew of Apollo 8 were the first human beings to ever witness an ‘earthrise’. They had witnessed something that no one else had. They frantically looked for their color film so they could try to capture the picture as best as possible. They understood that they had an obligation to share this sight with as many people as possible when they got home. It was too beautiful, too incredible, too important not to share.

Christians have a similar responsibility.  Continue reading