Minor Musings over Movies: One More Step

We all have a desire for adventure within our hearts. Some of us embrace it and race out our doors to see exotic places or do thrilling activities. Others timidly step out, wondering what will happen when we leave the place we call home, the place we are comfortable in. And others still, gruffly abhor even the thought of adventure, like Dickens’ character Scrooge, they call “Bah Humbug!” at even the slightest mention of it.

Yet, if you are living your life for Jesus, you will be faced with the greatest adventures of your life.

If you are that timid first step taker, you are in good company. I have learned, and often times tell others, you can’t let the future overwhelm you, or allow the steps you will have to take drown you in fears. You must take one step at a time, knowing Jesus is with you in each one.

That’s what Samwise does in The Fellowship of the Ring. He has lived in the Shire his entire life, experiencing a peaceful routine existence. Who knows if an adventure ever even crossed his mind? In fact, he couldn’t even take the step to ask a girl to dance, let a lone go on a quest to save the world.

Yet, there he was, embarking on this journey, and he pauses, he hesitates. Fear, sadness, and insecurity seeps in. He looks ahead to an unfamiliar path, feet planted in the comfortable.

“If I take on more step, I’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”

It’s never been done! What lies ahead? How can he leave? I am sure in that minute, questions raced through Sam’s mind. However, with a small nudge, Sam takes that first step. As watchers and readers, we know the incredibly hard challenges that lay ahead for Sam. We may think he should have taken a step backwards, but once Sam said, “Yes”, and activated something in himself, no matter the challenges ahead, he continued to have the perseverance to take that “one more step”.

I’d say our Christian life is exactly the same. God leads us into situations we might find scary or uncomfortable. We’ll face that “farthest away form home” moment. Do I say yes to God’s leading or do I turn back and remain safe? Thankfully God will nudge us forward and  in response we should take that first step.

The rest of the journey, no matter how dangerous, should be lived “one more step” at a time. Because we activated our faith by stepping out, like Sam, we are more likely to respond in faith as challenges come along our journey.

If you are facing a scary and overwhelming list of challenges and/or tasks ahead, remember Sam and just take “one more step” until you are swept off your feet on the adventure of a lifetime with Christ.

 

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Dear Younger Me, Look Nowhere Else

Dear Younger me,

No amount of compliments , likes on Facebook or Instagram posts, you get parties you are invited to, will give you unshakable security.

What you’re looking for, that feeling of assuredness, that you are loved, you’re worth something, you are approved of, you can and will only find in one place.

When you look upon the cross, you’ll see it in Jesus’ face.

That’s the only place you’ll always find it. He’s the only one who can give you everlasting security. So stop looking everywhere else.

Olympics, Failures, and Tears

Shaun White’s victory did not just make winter Olympic history. For him, it was a personal victory. For us, an example of what to do when we do not meet up to our own and others expectations. What to do when we fail.

If you haven’t heard of Shaun White’s gold medal win at Pyeong Chang, you may just be living in a cave or not care about the Olympics.  Typically, I pay little attention to sports, but the Olympics are not just examples of great athleticism, but of great humanity and perseverance.

Shaun White had 2 gold medals in his repertoire by 2011. He was considered the best. He may have been a bit cocky too, as he competed in Sochi. Sochi had all kinds of problems already, from bad weather to badly built structures, but the Olympics are all about facing these adversities and winning over them. Shaun did not. He came in 4th, not even medaling.

From what I know, he felt his lowest mentally after that point. 4 years later, he hits his head on a ramp while practicing, needs 62 stitches in his face, and seriously faces the fear and reality that something like that could happen to him again if he keeps going.

4 months later, he wins gold in Pyeong Chang and cries tears of complete joy and relief.

When we fail in a big or small way, it’s easy to throw a pity party and go a different direction. Whenever I start a new job, I find myself failing in small ways every day. At first, I allowed these failures to define me and beat myself up over and over again at home because of them, until one day I got fired. Big fail! My world came crashing down in a way, but relief came too. My biggest fear had come true and I may have not handled it in the best way, but it shaped me none the less.

At my next job, I was terrified of messing up, being criticized, or reprimanded. Through my small failures came small victories.

My point is, failure shapes you. With each mistake your mind begins to process life differently. You begin to understand that failure will happen, you can’t stop trying when it does, and you can’t let it change the way you see yourself.

Hopefully, one day, you’ll be like White, so when you fail, rather than just continuing on, you come back better than ever and blow all expectations out of the water.

Dear Younger Me, That Magic Moment

Dear Younger Me,

In movies, especially musicals, there’s always a scene where the guy or girl realizes they are loved by their crush. They sing about it sometimes or tell their friends about it… maybe even scream about it.

Basically, it’s an exciting moment and they can’t believe their luck. This one piece of news has brought them the greatest joy.

I was listening to the radio the other day. A well-known, often heard Chris Tomlin song played, but it took on a new meaning for me.

You see, I had been driving in my car, feeling lonely after hearing all about my new friend’s romance. I wondered when I would get my “he loves me” moment, when this song suddenly came on…

Jesus. He loves me. He loves me. He is for me.

And I thought, this is that moment! The way those characters sing or talk about their true love, how excited they are to have requited love, that’s the same when we talk/sing about how God loves us.

“He (Jesus)  loves me” should be said with just the same, if not more excitement.

You’re already living the greatest romance of all time, so stop wondering when the other one will come.

Acts 14:8-10

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

Here is a lame man treated poorly by his society, overlooked, probably unloved by most, and I would imagine in a constant state of hopelessness and discouragement.

I think it’s important that it is stated he’s been lame since birth, he had never walked. Now we have the full picture. How could this man ever have any hope to walk again or for things to change? After all, he’s been this way his entire life!

Yet, when he heard Paul speak, when he heard the gospel, about Jesus, hope was renewed, and he was healed. His life changed. He “jumped up and began to walk”.

I want to challenge you and myself. Maybe there is a pain you have lived with a long time: the pain of being single, the pain of unemployment, broken relationships, emotional or physical pain. You’ve lost hope. How could anything ever change when it’s been this way, maybe forever?

If you don’t know Jesus, I urge you to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and meet the One who brings light into darkness. Experience hope in the gospel of Christ.

If you know Jesus, I will be more blunt with you. Your hopelessness is a poor witness to everyone around you. If you, who has the hope and life of Christ living inside you, feel like giving up, why would anyone want to follow your Jesus?

Let others see that you have faith just by looking into your eyes. And just wait! You may find yourself jumping and walking again.

Dear Younger Me, Entitlement is not Godly

Wrote this a while back, but the sermon at my church talked about pride and arrogance today and I felt this fit with the theme:

 

Dear Younger Me,

You look at the idea of pride and arrogance and feel so disconnected from those things.

Perhaps your pride and arrogance isn’t as flashy or loud as many others, but you suffer from it too.

When you feel entitled to something. When someone is thanking people for the good work they do and they forget you, when you are dedicated and loyal to a person or place, but it seems to make no difference to anyone. When those things consume your thoughts, when you constantly notice them and say woe is me, that’s pride and arrogance.

Yes, it would be nice to be remembered or recognized, but it’s not all about you.

So, when your mind starts to keep track of those moments, push that thought away and replace it with the truth that you are meant to be a servant, like Jesus, humble and selfless. You are entitled to nothing, but by God’s grace you have been given new life.

The Wrong Heart

*Written months ago

Acts 8:20-22

May your money perish with you because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.

Though I know all good things come from God, not based on our good works, but out of His will and  grace, these words said to Simon are convicting to me.

Especially when you are in ministry, spending the majority of your time and energy serving others, it’s easy to allow selfish thoughts into your mind. I can’t help but look at all the good I am doing or look at how I went above and beyond. I’ve been so faithful I’ve sacrificed a lot. Don’t I deserve _____________?

I begin to feel I am entitled to some kind of reward for what I’ve done. Like Simon, who wants to buy the power of the Holy Spirit with money, I think, I believe, I can somehow buy God’s blessings with my good work.

In response, Peter tells Simon to pray that God will forgive him for “having such a thought in (his) heart.”

 

I pray God would forgive me too. I pray He will change my heart. I pray He would make it so my thoughts are only of how much of an honor and joy it is to serve Him without any rewards except being in His presence always.