Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Football & M. Night Shyamalan vs. Galatians

Lunch with Adam, John, and Amy is always something worth looking forward to. There have been so many different things we have experienced simply eating lunch together. We always enjoy eating together, and our lunch times are never the same. There are days we have “serious lunches” (those times we use to plan events, pray for concerns, or figure out problems that need fixing), there are “funny lunches” (those we use to lighten our soul and laugh more than we eat), there are “fast lunches” (where we literally eat and run), there are “rare lunches” (those we get to experience with Mr. Harvey and Thomas), and many others types. Lunches are always a surprise. However, ever so often, there are those lunches where Amy and I are left to fend for ourselves when John and Adam start talking about sports. These lunches I would probably call “lost lunches” for two reasons: 1) I am usually completely lost, and 2) I get to make up these names for our lunch times. :-)

I say all of this just to say that a few days ago I noticed something particularly profound during a “lost lunch”. John and Adam were trying to figure out what team won the super-bowl in 2005 or 2006 and they simply could not remember. After a few minutes, Adam pointed out that it was a shame that he could not remember the team because those guys had worked so hard for the super-bowl title all that year. Everything that particular team had worked for (and all of the training that the team went through) was forgotten at our lunch table. I am sure that the triumphant football team enjoyed the few minutes of fame that they experienced after winning the super-bowl, but that victory obviously has had limited impact on the world because it was easily forgotten by two football fans. I couldn’t help but begin to think long and hard on this issue.

A few days later, I was talking to Sarah’s family about the different M. Night Shyamalan films. While we were casually discussing the neat ideas of the movie “Signs”, the plot of “The Village”, and some aspects of “Lady in the Water”, another similar situation occurred when we forgot about one of his first movies, “The Sixth Sense”. We started to talk about it, but then moved on. We looked over it quite quickly, wrote it off as old news rather easily, and moved on to another topic. I started thinking how it might make M. Night feel if he knew we had just passed over it like that. It was then that the thought hit me… Every ounce of energy that he put into “Signs”, and all of the hard work he put into “The Village”, all of the time he put into writing “Lady in the Water”, was for what purpose? What was the end result? Was it so I could forget about them? What about these movies changed the world? Or did it change at all? Was it worth it? Did it make him truly happy? Can he rest in peace? So many questions...However, it was worth thinking about.

Now, I am sure that all of the money that M. Night and the super-bowl winners brought in was enough to make them "happy" for a season, but we know it cannot make them happy forever. Because we only live once, I started thinking how important it is to choose what we give of ourselves to. What will matter at the end of time?

I was so encouraged when I started thinking on the verses in Galatians 6:8-10. It says:

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (ESV)

I was encouraged because Scripture promises that my works in Christ will not be forgotten because they are rooted in His works. In short, the LORD promises that if I sow to please the Spirit I will reap a harvest if I do not grow weary of doing good! Every ounce of energy I put forth (or sow) in Christ towards the advancement of His kingdom will one day produce a harvest! As an adopted son through Jesus, I do not have to fear ever expending myself for the sake of Christ and then finding myself at the end of my life wondering if my life had any lasting effect or if it mattered at all. I can rest in Christ.

After super-bowl winners have their parties, it is back to the training field for next year’s big game. When a hit movie breaks blockbuster, it is back to producing the next big movie! It’s a mean world out there and we have to compete, right? Well, the good news is that after Christ became a sacrifice for our sins once and for all, He sat down at the right hand of the Father! (Hebrews 10:11-15) There is no competing; there is no need to practice for next time or produce something new and catchy to entertain the world. In Christ, He has satisfied all of the demands of the law and imputed to us His own perfect record- one time. He won the big game, counted us as winners through His own perfect record, and no one can ever match it or take it away!

Can you grasp this truth? Because Christ has won the game, all of our good works in Him have celebration, reward, satisfaction, and joy already awaiting them in the harvest. It is impossible that we expend ourselves in the Spirit and possibly waste our efforts. Likewise, it is impossible for us to find out at the end of time, that it wasn't worth it. We have already won! We continue to play because He calls us to finish well while the clock is still counting down. He created the game, made the rules, played it perfectly, made us winners with Him, and invites us to the after party…which by the way, will never end! We just have to finish well. We must not grow weary of doing good. The clock is still counting, and we are in the final moments of the game...

Go back and read Galatians 6, and then read the book of Hebrews while you are at it!

Further Study:
Cool article

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Do Hard Things

I wanted to recommend a book that I have been reading that has been extremely encouraging and convicting.  The book is titled "Do Hard Things" by Alex and Bret Harris, they were only 18 years when the book was written, and even younger than that when they began the number 1 christian blog on the internet (www.therebelution.com).  

This book is not deep in its theological content, however it is very deep in its application towards the teenagers of today's generation.  The official book description describes "do hard things" as "Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, by redefining the teen years as the launching pad of life and to map a clear trajectory for long-term fulfillment and eternal impact."  

This book contains lots of stories about the twins life and others they have met along the way, which can be pretty exciting to read about.  However, most importantly it encourages this generation to rebel against the low expectations that they have been given, and to use this time as an opportunity to carry out God's Will for your life.

The more I think about it, the more i regret not rebelling against these low standards in my own teenage years.  I became a Christian when I was 17 years old, and at that point I was given the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, I should have used that power at school, work, or  my baseball team to share the Gospel to those who didn't know God.  And yet I was not encouraged by anyone or anything around me to do hard things and rebel against the low expectations that were set for me.  

If you get a chance check this book out, if you don't get a chance recognize the fact that God has big plans for all who follow Christ, and that he has given us all high expectations (and the ability to perform those high expectations through the Holy Spirit). 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Discerning Our Input

I came across a beneficial article that reinforces everything we have been learning on Wednesday nights recently concerning our responsibility to "think about these things" (Phil. 4:8) that we are allowing our minds to focus on. I would encourage you to read it and be a good steward of your time this week. Remember we must be a "discerning listener and viewer." Click here for the article.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Music and Christianity

As we continue studying through Philippians 4:8 I wanted to make you aware of a great podcast to listen to that continues the discussion on music and the role it should play in the life of a Christian. It comes from "Showtime's" breakout session last summer at Snowbird. Check it out here

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Podcast Address

Please note that our podcast site has changed to www.mtnstudents.mypodcast.com. If you are looking for an older sermon they will hopefullly be back up soon. We are having to re-upload all the sermons one by one because the mypodcast.com site crashed. Hope everyone is having a good week...looking forward to MainEvent and seven:ten tomorrow night!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Response to "Queens for Christ"

Recently I was encouraged to invite the girls in our youth group to a church sponsored beauty pageant entitled "Queens for Christ: Celebrating the Beauty of Christ." The purpose of the event I am told is to celebrate Christ's beauty and the sisterhood of Christian women. You can read my response below. Summary: We aren't going. 

I don't mean to be critical and please understand my heart and attitude is one of concern and not divisiveness. I believe the purposes that you stated for this event and the event itself could not be any more opposite. The title of the event is "Queens for Christ: Celebrating the Beauty of Christ" and you said quote "Racheal's idea is to bring girls together to represent the beauty of Christianity and the sisterhood amongst Christian young women." By saying those things and then using them in the context of a "beauty pageant" you automatically divide the sisterhood and limit it to those who meet worldly criteria of "first impression, personality and appearance." The beauty of Christ is that through Him we gain acceptance regardless of these things and we are invited to enjoy fellowship with other men and women as brothers and sisters because of our unity in Christ, not the similarities we share in looks. I for one will not be recommending such an event to my youth group. I counsel girls regularly who have been discouraged and at times defeated by the notion that "first impression, personality and appearance" are things to be pursued in our culture. How can I recommend such an event when I have girls struggling with eating disorders as they are deceived by the world's lie that such things give worth to someone. Instead I will continue to encourage my girls to pursue "good deeds and godliness" as the fruits of their salvation. I am disappointed to learn of such an event in our community. I would ask that you please reexamine the purpose and title of such a pageant. I believe the current communication fails to proclaim the beauty of Christ and fellowship available to women as sisters in Christ. 

Adam Vinson

Monday, March 16, 2009

Recommended Blogs

Sometimes it is tough for us to stay up to date with our "blogging" with all the duties we have at the church right now. We have tried to be intentional about giving you other good blogs to read to enhance your spiritual growth. Read these blogs with discernment and allow God's instruction to others to encourage you greatly in your own walk with Christ.