Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue

Why aren’t there any more movies being made like Airplane? It had so many great lines, who could forget:

“Shirley you can’t be serious…” “I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.”

“A hospital… what is it?”  “It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now”

“What kind of plane is it?”  “Oh, it’s a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol.”

“Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?”

“Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don’ want no help, chump don’t GET da’ help!”

And one of my favorites:

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue

Seriously though I think Hollywood is missing out on something here. But maybe the elements that make a movie that funny and memorable and great don’t come along that often. Maybe it’s like lightning in a bottle…or pouring salt on a bird’s tail…

Don’t tell me you never heard that one….

My dad used to say it to me all the time…”If you can get close enough to a bird to pour salt on its tail you can catch it.” He would say handing me the salt shaker…to which I responded by taking the salt shaker and chasing birds around the house for close to ten or twenty minutes before giving up. He would watch from the front porch and laugh and laugh…I was a pretty dumb kid.

I think we’re ready to laugh again at the movies, the same way we did at Airplane in the eighties. Hollywood needs to bring the funny back to the big screen.  I’ve seen plenty of movies that were promising and plenty were funny, but not funny the same way Airplane was funny. The humor in Airplane had an intelligence to it, the humor in movies today have all the intelligence of a junior high boy’s locker room and maybe that’s the main reason why Hollywood hasn’t produced another movie like Airplane. The suits in Hollywood believe that humor in movies has to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

As with all double standards though, Hollywood doesn’t carry over that same lowest-common denominator line of thinking to the television shows it produces, I can easily name half a dozen shows that are intelligent and funny…most of them are on NBC…but some are on CBS…and ABC to a much less degree.  I’ll write more about funny television in a different blog post…in the future…probably…but I’m a slacker so don’t hold your breath or anything…unless you like holding your breath for long periods of time, which can be quite a useful skill in say…swimming or changing dirty diapers.

What about you? What was the last intelligent and funny movie you saw? What was a movie you thought would be good and funny but was a bigger disappointment than being a Cubs fan in July?

The Dead Can’t Decide to Live

SUB-TITLE: The Free Will Myth

You do not have free will, you have the illusion of free will” – Limitless

Decisions, decisions…you make them everyday, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. Do you choose the fiber laden Colon Blow cereal or do you choose the magically delicious Lucky Charms? Do you wear jeans or khakis to work? Do you take the scenic route to work or go the way that will get you there the fastest, but who really leaves in time to take the scenic route? We do make decisions everyday which is what makes us think we have complete free will but the simple truth is we do not have complete free will. All of our actions are guided by God, much the same way a movie is directed. Only in this movie God is the director and executive producer and the main star is Jesus. This goes for everyone, whether you believe in God or not..

In the book of Exodus it is God who used Moses and Pharaoh to demonstrate His power, and it was God who hardened Pharaohs heart.

Mistakenly many Christians believe they can make a decision for Jesus, that they can decide to follow Jesus whenever they are good and ready. This idea was introduced to the church during the revivalist movements started by Charles Finney. This idea goes against everything the Bible has to say on the matter and has sadly permeated many evangelical churches in America today.

The Bible says in the book of John:“This is why I’ve told you no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”

A little later in John it says this: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit”

We cannot choose to follow Jesus because the Bible calls us dead in sin (Romans 8:9-11, Ephesians 2:1) The dead cannot decide to get up and live. It can’t be done no matter how many Night of the Living Dead movies Hollywood makes. It is only Jesus makes us live, he chooses us because in our sin we would never choose him. It is Jesus that breathes life into us. He not only chooses us but he gives us the ability to follow him, he gives us our faith in Him.

If the idea of free will is true and we can decide whether or not we follow Christ then heaven would be empty.

If the idea of free will is true than God has given people the power to override His will.

If the idea of free will is true than God wouldn’t be directing a movie, he’d be directing a stage play.

Simply put we cannot decide to follow Jesus. The good news of the Gospel is that Christ chooses to demonstrates His love in that while we were still sinners He died for us. He draws us into His net of grace, He makes us live through His power and that is truly good news.

Miscellany Mondays

Now that your Easter dinner has been eaten and you’ll be eating wonderful dishes like Ham Soup, Ham Kabobs, Ham Salad, Ham Stew, and of course the good old Ham Sandwich all the rest of the week it’s time to sit back and relax with some good reading.  Here is some interesting links I’ve found around the web this past week. Enjoy!

10 Reasons Why the Typical Southern Baptist Church Is BETTER than the New Testament Church

Piety vs. Pietism

Throwing the Bible under the Bus

and for fun:

Trying Not to be late for church on Easter Sunday

I Don’t Want to Drown

About a year ago in New York City a 2 year old girl and her family were touring a ship that was docked along the banks of the East River. Suddenly the two year old girl slips, and falls 20 feet into the frigid water. The dad without any hesitation runs down the boarding dock, shedding his coat and dives into the river after her. He holds on tightly to his little girl to keep her out of the water.

That is love.

I cannot imagine being in that situation, but I’d like to think I’d do the same thing.
Now think about that for a minute, that picture of the dad jumping into the water.

That is what Christ did for us.  We’re drowning in a world marred by sin; in fact we are born with a sinful nature, a nature that naturally rejects the light of God. (John 3:19)

All we know how to do is sin.

But Christ dove into the water to save us. (John 3:16-17, Romans 5:8)

And it is this hope that we can cling to.

Christ loves us, he showed this by laying down his life for us as an offering to God on our behalf, and if he hadn’t done this the picture would look much different.  He had to do this. (Hebrews 9:22)

Think back to the East River in New York City…Imagine for a minute that after the toddler fell into the water the dad acting quickly …

Threw down a rope…

Or threw out a life preserver.

The problem is it’s a toddler we’re talking about. The toddler has no idea how to use those things and while those devices can be used to save a life, that doesn’t work for someone who doesn’t know how to use them.

Some people hold the point of view that Christ dove in the water to “relate” to us.

Think about that …

After the toddler falls into the water the father dives in and says “So this is what it’s like in the water. See how much I love you I’m in the water too.”

But that’s not what Christ dove into the water. Christ dove in the water to do the thing that we could not do for ourselves. (Galatians 2:20-21)

Without the father diving into the frigid water and grabbing hold of the child the toddler would drown.

That is what Christ does for us.

He grabs hold of us and pulls us up out of the water.

That is love.

Top Eleven things I don’t want to hear behind me at church

11. “Dude, I’m gonna hafta call you back. We’re about to pray or something.”

10. “Boo-oooo!”

9. “The pastor looks really cute today.”

8. “Mommy, my tummy doesn’t feel good. I think I’m gonna throw uh—erpleeeeeck!” (Accompanied by a splashing sound against my seat.)

7. “Hey there, ladies… nice bibles. You come here often?”

6. “Zzzzzzzzzz…”

5. “Sweet! I just scored the last Krispy Kreme at the snack table.”

4. “He’s good, but he’s no Joyce Meyer.”

3. “Dang it, I grabbed my Bhagavad-Gita by mistake. The Message Bible is still in the Prius next to my yoga mat.”

2. “You think they’ll mind if I use the offering basket to break a five?”

1. “I can’t see the pulpit. The guy in front of me has a melon that could show up on Google Earth.”

The “Made-Up-Buzz-Word” Church

It is difficult to grasp the true heart and soul of Christianity without understanding the mission of the church. It’s like peas and carrots, you can’t have one without the other.

What is the mission of the church? To prepare the Christian to be missionaries to the world around them.

To be honest I think of the word “missional” is a made up buzz word. It’s all hip and cool, like a venti mohca frappacino, but I do sincerely believe in the principles of “missional”. The mission of the church is simple and clearly laid out in scripture: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” It’s interesting to me that the imperative here in this sentence isn’t the word “Go” it’s “make disciples” that’s a part of this instructions that’s overlooked a lot. We have a tendency, especially in the SBC to overemphasis the “Go” and we have an even worse tendency to turn the word disciples into “converts.”

Why is that? Why is the imparitive part of the great commission the part that is missed by some?

Why are some in the evangelical community content to make converts and not disciples?

Making disciples is hard, it’s messy and it’s frustrating, but most of all it takes time.

Disciple making should and will be a natural process. God has put each of us where we are for a reason. Acts 17 says this: “He has made…every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings“

Furthermore, as a man and husband and father, I have a responsibility to make disciples out of my children. I once heard a pastor say that every father is already the pastor of his own little church. 3 John 1:4 says: I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth.

Salvation belongs to the Lord, he is the author and perfector of faith. We cannot save anybody, only God can. Only God can open the doors to others hearing the gospel. But we have a part in that…and what is it? Prayer and proclamation of the gospel…for faith comes by hearing and hearing from the Word of God.

Any church that’s not being a missional church is a social club and not a church at all. The church was created for a mission, and the mission is not to stamp out hunger or take care of the poor, the church exists to make disciples who make disciples who plant more churches that make more disciples…etc…

It’s very easy to reduce the mission of the church to social action and while social action is good if done for the right reasons, it’s not part of a missional church. Social action-driven mission isn’t unique to the church.

When Paul and Silas weren’t arrested and thrown into prison for feeding the poor and taking care of the sick and needy, they were arrested and thrown into prison for the proclamation of the gospel, and as soon as they were released from prison they went back out and continued to proclaim the message of the gospel. While feeding the poor and taking care of the sick and needy is VERY important and can open doors for sharing the gospel…we can’t stop at the taking care of part, Paul and Silas didn’t …and sometimes that will have consequences.

Sleeping-in on Saturdays

I hate don’t like mornings…espically mornings when I could be sleeping-in however I cannot…today it was because my wife went to some consignment sale with a friend. I got up with the full intention if going back to sleep, however approxamaitly 2.5 seconds after  she closed the door behind her my kids were up.  I love my children I do…but when they interrupt my precious sleep I have a little easier time understanding why some species eat their young.  Mornings make me grumpy…especially when my son starts BANGING ON A DRUM, I’m not ready for this day. How can they have so much energy?

In spite of all the circumstances going on this morning that I don’t particularly like, I am deeply thankful. God has blessed me greatly and in this I can rejoice…because of this I can look past my daily schedule,  full of this stuff that in reality I’d rather not be doing and be thankful. The joy of salvation always transcends my circumstances And I can truly say: “this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”