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Marveling with the Wise

Welcome to my favorite day of the whole year, Christmas Eve! I mean, sure, Christmas is great, but Christmas Eve is where it’s at people. And my favorite part of my favorite day are Candlelit Christmas Eve services, which I will get to enjoy tonight with my family- I’m sooooo excited!

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? I don’t watch Christmas movies except during this time so it’s a tough job to cram them all in right now. And while I have many, MANY ones that I love, my absolute favorite is The Nativity Story. There’s a very particular reason I love that movie and it’s all about the wise men. This is the best scene of the whole movie:

Hmmm…gives me the chills. When that last magi finally realizes who is before him and falls to his knees to present his gift. He knows what sacrifice has been made- God has come in human form. The frankincense points to another sacrifice- Jesus dying on the cross for us. It’s a beautiful picture.

In my devotions the other day I read this verse, “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.” John 5:20 The verses immediately after it talk about salvation and God bringing life back to those who are dead (again, salvation!)

And sometimes, I wonder if we have lost our marvel. Do we look at God’s incredible work in the manger and on the cross and take it for granted? Or are we like those wise men and fall before Christ in wonder and worship?

Merry Christmas, friends! May we all remember why we are celebrating today and tomorrow and marvel at our Lord!

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2018 in Christmas

 

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Tradition! Tradition!

I’ve always been a sucker for good, old musicals. Oklahoma, Singing in the Rain, The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and the list goes on. Yup, I’m one of those people. So a couple of weeks ago, when I noticed that Fiddler on the Roof was on Prime, I put it on my watchlist. 

But everyone knows you can’t just jump into a 3 hour movie without forethought. It didn’t take me too long to decide that it wouldn’t be a waste of my life to watch it again and plus I’d probably only watch the first half anyways….yeah….I watched the whole thing.

There are a couple of things that really stood out to me this time. Which is saying something considering I grew up on that movie. My sisters and I would sing those songs on car rides and while we did dishes. Harmony and everything. I have it memorized to the point that I left the room for a minute just as the line came up, “We’ve been waiting for the Messiah our whole lives; wouldn’t this be a good time for him to come?” And I called out from the other side of my apartment, “He’s already come, Motel!” (Yeah, I talk to movies when I’m by myself.)

But back to life lessons, people. I was SO struck by how much Tevye talks to God throughout the whole movie. He’s literally in constant communication about every single thing. I’m not saying he always has the best attitude but I’m saying it actually really convicted me to look at my life and see how it compared.

Also, when I watched the scene before the Sabbath it suddenly reminded me of church. They are rushing around crazily to get everything done before the Sabbath comes. They are arguing with each other, shouting, everything is chaos. And then suddenly it’s like, “Okay, hush, it’s the Sabbath now.” Whoa. Have you ever had a Sunday like that? Have you ever had a crazy morning where nothing goes right, you fight on the way to church, and then get to church and pretend like everything is perfect? Yeah, me too.

And lastly, I got a huge chuckle right at the beginning of the movie. Tevye is, of course, explaining the basis of the whole story line: TRADITION! He explains about the traditions and then says, “You may ask, ‘How did this tradition get started?’ I’ll tell you!…..I don’t know. But it’s a tradition!”

And I laughed because there are SO many things in our churches today that are like that. Things we do simply because that’s the way they have always been done and no one even remembers why. BUT IT’S A TRADITION! And sometimes you can look at Scripture and see why a certain thing is done and other times it’s not clear until you try to change it. There may or may not be a reason. I’m thankful to be a part of a church that is becoming more open to new ideas little by little.

Sometimes I need to remember myself that change is okay. Feel free to remind me anytime. I’ll try to be like Tevye and examine to see if it’s something that really matters or not.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2018 in movies

 

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An “Epic” Review

I recently had the blessing to travel across the country for a good friend’s wedding. And by travel, I mean fly, because if you know me you know that I get carsick pretty easily so if it was a road-trip, the word “blessing” would probably have been dropped from that sentence.

Anywho…I always take a book with me when I fly and sometimes I actually read it and sometimes I just sit like a creeper and people-watch. But this time I brought a book I had actually been saving for my next flight, as weird as that sounds. It’s small, short, and even weirder for me, I have NO IDEA how I got it or it’s study guide! So while you may have been thinking I was being stuck up with my blog title, the title of the book is actually Epic, and I couldn’t resist. 🙂

I got through security for my flight pretty fast (because I’m a good rule-follower) and since it appeared that the people-watching chances were slim, I opened the book right up. Seriously guys, I hadn’t even read the back cover. I was going in blind on this one, which is really new for me. It’s by John Eldredge, who I don’t know much about, except he wrote Wild at Heart, which I’ve never read.

The very first line of the book hooked me because he referenced my favorite movie, Lord of the Rings. I was immediately intrigued. He also had a quote by G.K. Chesterton and I thought, “Gosh, he’s off to a great start!” The book is about telling the gospel with more of an “epic story” perspective. I’ve never read anything that referenced SO many well-known movies and books: Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women, Gladiator, Titanic, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, The Odyssey, Stars Wars, and so many more. It was insane!

It was quite an interesting perspective and while I can’t say I agreed with all the theology (mainly the section on free will), he came at it from an angle that was really different from anything I’ve ever read.

But after a while I started to notice something. It wasn’t quite fitting anymore. Instead of trying to show how the gospel had similar themes to some of our movies, it seemed more like he was trying to make the gospel fit into the movies’ themes. I think he was letting his imagination run away a little bit.

Because while God’s story is incredible, amazing, and (I would even agree, epic,) it’s not one of our movies. It is written by a supreme Creator, not humans. And somehow comparing it to our flawed stories relentlessly gave it less meaning than reading it how it was actually written, in God’s own Words. 

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in books

 

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My Case Against “The Case for Christ”

When I was in middle school or so, I read The Case for a Creator. And although a lot of the science was (and probably still is) completely over my head, I really enjoyed the book. I loved all the reminders about how creation points to the Lord. So I was pretty excited when I heard they were making a movie on one of the other books by Strobel, The Case for Christ. I haven’t read that one, but I was eager to see the movie. Although a little anxious too because, let’s be honest, Christian movies tend to be cheesy and have bad acting.

My whole church was excited, actually. We even did a movie night for it and hung posters up all over town. I ended up working nursery that night so I didn’t watch it but wasn’t too upset because by that time, it was on Netflix and at my fingertips.

When I finally did get around to watch it, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t because the movie was cheesy or the actors were bad, it was the message. If you haven’t watched it, this might spoil it so here’s your fair warning.

The wife gets saved at the beginning but all throughout the movie the meaning of that is somewhat vague. I was willing to let that hang in the open because the focus was really on Lee anyway. So what really got me was at the end when he admits that the evidence for Christ’s existence, death, and even resurrection is too overwhelming to ignore and he gives in. He admits that he believes God is real, is sorry for hurting his wife and family, and that is portrayed as what everyone needs to do. I kept waiting for salvation to be explained and things to be cleared up for the unsaved watchers but it never came! I mean c’mon! Christian Mingle had a better salvation message than that! (Yes, I watched it- don’t judge. I had the stomach flu and was really bored.)

Salvation is MORE than believing in the existence of God and even Christ. There are many people who believe that because the evidence IS too much to ignore or because- Duh, of course I believe in God- it runs in my family. But those same people are sadly not on their way to heaven and it’s wrong to give them a false hope that they are. Salvation includes heart change, repentance, forgiveness, and an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So I take issue with narrowing it down to simply admitting that God is real.

A lot of people will probably say I’m being picky. Yes, I am. I think we need to be picky about a movie that SO many people talked about as a great way to lead others to the Lord. It may be great as an encouragement to those who are already saved- a way to confirm the faith they already have, but I don’t believe it should be used as a salvation tool.

If you want a salvation tool, may I recommend the book of Romans? I have found that much more helpful. 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2018 in movies

 

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So This is Love?

Warning! Pet peeve rant coming!

We’ve all seen Cinderella, right? You know, the poor, oppressed girl who has magical mice to help her with her chores? The one who is a slave to her family’s whims? The one who went behind her stepmother’s back to attend a ball?

That ball is the turning point in the movie.  Cinderella is invited to dance with the Prince and somehow, during that 2 minute dance, she falls in love with him.

“So this is love,
So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I’m all aglow,
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings,
And I can fly
I’ll touch ev’ry star in the sky
So this is the miracle that I’ve been dreaming of
So this is love”

This is the song that Cinderella sings in her mind while she dances. Not exactly sound theology. 

It’s amazing to me that she supposedly loves that handsome guy with all heart-  when she never even spoke to him!!!  How superficial can love get? Does she love him because she’s flattered that he picked her to dance with over all the other girls?  Does she love him because he’s got dreamy eyes? He dances well?

She doesn’t know a thing about his character. She gave him her heart before she could find out.

Now, some people would say, “Big deal. It’s just a movie!”  I know it is, but movies influence minds. Do people think that because they have a special moment with someone, they must be in love with that person and they should give themselves to them?

Love is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  I fear, in most movies, that it is. People fall for each other without even knowing them.

And that is my problem with Cinderella.

 

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in movies

 

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Christmas Movies

Here’s a list of some of my favorite Christmas movies!

Charlie Brown Christmas

The Nativity Story

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

It’s a Wonderful Life

Veggie Tales: The Star of Christmas

The Toy that Saved Christmas

Saint Nicholas

The Little Drummer Boy

The Santa Clause Movies

White Christmas

I took a poll of all the kids favorite Christmas movie. Here are the results:

Bethany: all of them!

David: Charlie Brown

Becca: I like them even.

Caroline: I don’t have one.

Me: Oh…Charlie Brown, I guess…or The Star of Christmas….or The Nativity Story…

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Christmas

 

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Happy Hobbit Day!

Several years ago, I invented a holiday.  On September 22, I remembered that it was Frodo’s and Bilbo’s (from Lord of the Rings) birthday.  I then created Hobbit Day.  Or so I thought.  I later found out that the American Tolkien Society had already created it (in 1978!)  and Lord of the Rings fans from around the world celebrated it.  I was a little bummed that I didn’t really have the idea first but……

So, I know what you’re thinking…what a nerd!  I know, I know.  Hey, we all love Lord of the Rings here.  The little girls can’t wait until they are old enough to watch the trilogy.  Unfortunately for them, that won’t be for a while.  We usually watch the series at least once a year and it must be the extended version, none of that cheap theatrical stuff.  We also quote the movie often.  Probably the most-quoted movie line at my house is, “But it is not this day!”  We can’t get through two days without spouting this line for some reason.  I do have a few pet peeves about those movies though- like how they completely changed Aragorn’s outlook on being king, how they added some non-existent romance, and don’t even get me started on how they ruined Faramir!

I love the books and movies for several reasons.  The biggest reason is the conflict between good and evil.  I love how there aren’t really any in-between characters- you are either good or evil but you can’t be both.  I also love Sam.  I love his loyalty, his courage, and his cheerfulness.  He and Legolas are my favorite characters.

So, whether or not you think me a complete nerd or not, I wish you a very happy Hobbit Day and I leave you with my two favorite quotes from the said movies.

(Sam) I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. (Frodo)What are we holding onto Sam?(Sam) That there’s some good in this world and its  worth fighting for.

(Gandalf,  in reply to Frodo wishing that the ring had never come to him)  So do all who live to see such times, but it is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in about me, family, Lord of the Rings

 

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