Countering FEAR with Fact

“And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” – Mark 10:32-34
 
Screen Shot 2020-10-15 at 11.40.35 AMOne of my favorite movies is a two-part French film series; Jean de Florette, & Manon des Sources – that translates as “John of the Flowers” & “Manon of the Springs”… they tell a powerful story of personal responsibility & how our actions impact not only ourselves, but the results move away from us in waves, impacting generations to come.
 
The story goes as such: Cesar Souberyran, years before – away to war – returns to find his love, Florette,  married and with child.  Heartbroken & cynical, he pours his energy into helping his only remaining relative – his Nephew, Ugolin – have the physical comforts he did not.  Through scheming, & even physical violence, his actions lead to an accident that ends of the life of Jean, Florette’s now grown son, and so Cesar & Ugolin take his land. This land has a naturally occurring Spring & they grow very wealthy growing Tulips for market. 
 
BASICALLY, a man loses the woman he loves, so as revenge he takes what he wants in return – her son’s property.  A few years later, however Ugolin is wealthy & wants to start a family, but falls in love with Jean’s only daughter, Manon, who – seeing the havok Ugolin & his uncle caused for her father, rejected his advances, resulting in Ugolin’s eventual heartbreak & suicide.  Towards the end of the second movie Cesar goes to a local convent to speak to an old friend from his youth.  Sitting together, discussing the “old days”, Cesar asks the nun about the now-deceased Florette, she realizes something tragic; “You never received her letter?  Oh no, this is tragic indeed.”  And Cesar learns for the first time that Jean, the man he murdered out of both jealousy & greed, to provide for his nephew – the results of which led to his nephew’s eventual suicide – Jean was HIS OWN SON.  In trying to take what was “his”, he destroyed everything in his wake – even his own son.
 
Let me tell you, the moment that fact is revealed it’s like the whole weight of everything Cesar has done comes crushing down on your shoulders – I literally wailed when this part of the story unfolded.  That one little truth changed EVERYTHING.  Not having the whole truth about his situation led him down a troubling, ultimately self-destructive path. 
 
It really helps having the BIG PICTURE.
 

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Our Creative God

Infinite God, from eternity past, creating, with the Cross in sight, entering into time. The Timeless one creating time – imagining the idea, making it so, then sustaining it with his own will and thought, carrying forward all of history to its great and glorious end: the real beginning.

I am a believer. That’s not to say that I believe in anything – quite the opposite. In most ways, I am a skeptic – an atheist, even. That’s just to say, there are a great many gods that I don’t believe in, and I do not like to be made a fool. [Read more…]

GOD’S SONGBOOK: Shout for Joy!

Screen Shot 2020-08-31 at 1.38.27 PMOver the past few months at CrossPointe Church we’ve been working through Wednesday night Bible study series on the Psalms, & I chose Psalm 66 because, as a Worship Pastor, this is ONE OF MY FAVORITES!

Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
Sing the glory of His name;
Give to Him glorious praise!
Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!’” (Psalm 66:1-3a)

Don’t read it – SHOUT IT! Think on this: the book of Psalms is an ancient liturgical book – a collection of hymns & poetry for the purpose of aiding God’s people in worshiping Him as He ought be worshipped.

Do we do such a text any justice to read it dully, without emotion… “shout for joy to god all the earth” (said in monotone)? When your favorite sports team scores the winning goal, or your favorite band closes the show with that awesome sing-along, is your response, “oh…yay”?

Check this list of Scriptures out, & you should grasp what I’m meaning…

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Rebirth, New Life, & New Beginnings

Though I know Easter is behind us, & Christmas on the distant horizon, these thoughts have been swirling around in me since April, so I though I’d put them down for others to engage with.

I was raised in a non-believing home, so I had only the vaguest notion that Easter had anything to do with Jesus – if anyone in my family had ever mentioned it, I didn’t remember – but the excitement of Spring, new life, and EXCESS AMOUNTS OF REESE’S EASTER BUNNY CANDIES just moved my SOUL, so it didn’t surprise me whatsoever when I began exploring the Bible late in my teenage years that Bunnies, Eggs, and Spring all represented new life and were a living arrow all pointing towards the resurrection of Jesus.

My younger brother and I would get up early on Easter Sunday, sneaking out into the kitchen to find our huge Easter baskets – packed full of candy, and toys – and Mom & Dad would be awoken by the ruckus, joining us shortly to cook a full-out breakfast of  pancakes, bacon, eggs, and hash-browns.  Then we’d empty our Easter baskets in our room, and take to our immense 8 acre back-yard to hunt for eggs for the next hour or so.  And when THAT was through, we’d  hop in the car and drive across town to Granda & Papa Wilkinson’s with the rest of the extended family, hunt eggs again at their house –  except they had mostly plastic eggs with MONEY INSIDE – then eat a huge Easter lunch that would make Thanksgiving recoil in fear of it’s huge-osity.

I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone here has some sort of annual traditions that you uphold – whether the big one takes place at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas… or SUPERBOWL.  There are things in each of our lives that we count on year after year to happen a certain way, and often just ride through the experience – simply going through the motions.  Well, Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews had a LOT of traditions they upheld, but few as important as the passover… [Read more…]

Philippians 4: what is Reel? Christians & the media

It seems to me that, given the restrictions caused by Covid19, this topic has never been more relevant than it is now. Feeling trapped in our homes, we’re devouring any & all available entertainment at our fingertips: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, cable TV, & all sorts of ‘entertainment’ available on the web. I pray this message is a healthy reminder for us, because I’m likely going to step on everyone’s toes, my own included… [Read more…]