Hawaiian Ballistic Missile Crisis Reflections

BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.[1]

On 13-January-2018 at 8:07am the above statement was my present reality. This alarming message occurred approximately one year ago, and I will never forget where I was and my reaction.

Specifically, I was lying in bed checking my smartphone for any messages that came overnight. While checking Facebook, I noticed many residents on my local neighborhood page asking others if they had received the emergency alert? Interestingly enough, I knew I had not received the warning and now know have made changes in my phone’s settings to receive future alerts.

Fortunately, by the time I saw my neighbor’s concerns I knew it was too late to matter the outcome. Continue reading “Hawaiian Ballistic Missile Crisis Reflections”

My One-Word Goal For 2019

New Years has come and went; so are the resolutions many of us do not keep. Perhaps you made some resolutions, maybe not. Either way, I want to encourage you to restart by doing what I have done the past few years: choose a one-word goal.

In 2015, I did my first one-word goal by choosing to focus on hope. That year I learned a lot about hope, I gained a strong foundation on the topic, and I have since built on the theological virtue.[1]

Following hope, in 2017 my word was peace. Unintentionally peace has been my one-word goal for the past two years because I took multiple years to develop a solid foundation with the word. Now that there is a solid foundation, there is also room for peace to grow in my heart, which I look forward to explaining in future posts.

In 2019, however, it’s time to transition from the one-word goal of peace towards the foundation of a new one-word goal: The theological virtue, faith.[2]

Faith became my 2019 one-word goal after watching a montage of Billy Graham videos. At one point in the video, in his famous North Carolina draw, Graham addresses Phil Donahue with these words, Continue reading “My One-Word Goal For 2019”

Highlights From My 2018 Reading List

Previously I shared my 2018 reading list. Within that list are a variety of books. Some were fun, some were serious, other books I wish I never started. The later books I will not spend anytime on. Rather, below, I want to share with you my big picture reflections over the books I read and the impressions they made.

Authors – In 2018 I read a lot from the same authors. Be it Richard Blackaby, Tim Keller, Eugene Peterson, or others. By reading the same author continually I read more books. Plus, since many authors emphasize consistent themes across their works, it is easier to retain the points they emphasize.

Francis Schaffer – Schaeffer resonated with me after finishing the biography on him. While reading this biography I discovered a kinship with him. Overall, I closely identify with his views on culture, worldview, theology, and ministry. As a result, I read two more works of his in 2018 and purchased the hardback version of the entire Francis Schaeffer Completed Works: Volumes 1 through 5. In 2019 I look forward to reading Schaeffer more with another author who I identify with.

Eugene Peterson – Peterson is another author I continually read in 2018. Across Peterson’s works I found an author who shares my ideal way to relate to God: through contemplation. Be it reading, writing, quietly thinking, music, and most of all praying, Peterson advocates to actively contemplate and see God at work. He believes we can see constant reminders that Jesus is on our side due to the free gift we have received through Christ alone. In response to the Peterson’s works, I have been reading, writing, and praying more. In 2019 I am looking forward to seeing how my faith grows and how I get to share Christ with other more through these contemplative disciplines. Continue reading “Highlights From My 2018 Reading List”

Books I Read in 2018

Below are the books I read in 2018. They range from theology to comic books to biographies and more. The next post will explain impressions the list gave to my reading and life. My hope is that you’ll find a book below that interests you. If so, feel free to ask!

  1. Who Moved My Pulpit by Thom Rainer (3/6/18)
  2. Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller (3/7/18)
  3. Blessed Are The Misfits by Brant Hansen (3/8/18)
  4. The Reason For God by Tim Keller (3/9/18)
  5. The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler (3/11/18)
  6. You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins (3/12/18)
  7. StoryBranding 2.0 by Jim Signorelli (3/13/18)
  8. Find Your Why by Simon Sinek (4/2/2018)
  9. Schaffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Sourituality by William Edgar (8/12/2018)
  10. Cinemagauge by James Harleman (8/13/2018)
  11. Art and the Bible by Francis Schaffer
  12. The Blacklist Graphic Novel Vol 1 by Phillip Lobel (8/19/2018)
  13. The Blacklist Graphic Novel Vol 2 by Phillip Lobel (8/20/2018)
  14. The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher (8/26/2018)
  15. A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston (8/27/2018)
  16. Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud (8/29/2018)
  17. Goal Analysis by Robert Mager (8/30/2018)
  18. The Final Summit by Andy Andrews (8/30/2018)
  19. Unpacking The Blacklist: Season 1 Interpreted by G. Walter Bush (9/3/2018)
  20. Midwestern Style Guide (2nd Edition) by Steve Thompson (9/4/2018)
  21. God In The Marketplace by Henry & Richard Blackaby (9/8/2018)
  22. Biblical Theology by Nick Roark and Robert Cline (9/8/2018)
  23. Batman: The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul by Grant Morrison and Paul Dino (9/8/2018)
  24. Batman: Knightfall Vol 1 by Chuck Dixon (9/8/2018)
  25. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyun (9/9/2018)
  26. Batman: Vol 1. The New 52, The Court of Owls Vol 1 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo & Johnathan Glapion (9/9/2018)
  27. Batman: Vol 2. The New 52, The City of Owls Vol 2 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo & Johnathan Glapion & James Tynion IV & Rafael Albuquerque & Jason Fabok (9/9/2018)
  28. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade (9/15/2018)
  29. The Case for Grace by Lee Strobel (9/17/2018)
  30. Batman: The Sword of Azrael by Dennis O’Neil, Joe Quesada, and Kevin Nowlan (9/22/2018)
  31. Batman: Vol 3. The New 52, Death In the Family by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Jock (9/23/2018)
  32. The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy by Tim Keller (10/20/2018)
  33. Pilot Down, Presumed Dead by Marjorie Phleger (10/21/2018)
  34. Nitro Book by Guy Evans (10/26/2018)
  35. The Trail of Blood by J.M. Carroll (10/26/2018)
  36. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck (10/31/2018). 
  37. Batman: Vol 4. The New 52, Zero Year – Secret City by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Danny Miki (11/3/2018)
  38. Run With Horses by Eugene Peterson (11/17/2018)
  39. Summary: The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko (11/20/2018)
  40. The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson (11/27/2018)
  41. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: Summary by Mark Manson (11/27/2018)
  42. A Theology of Biblical Counseling by Heath Lambert (11/30/2018)
  43. The Blacklist: Elizabeth Keen’s Dossie by Paul Terry and Tara Bennett (12/1/2018)
  44. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson (12/1/018)
  45. Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul by William Irwin: Mark D. White and Robert Arp (12/2/2018)
  46. Awe: Why It Matters For Everything We Think, Say, or Do by Paul David Tripp (12/2/2018)
  47. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick (12/6/2018)
  48. The Message of Christmas by Eugene Peterson (12/6/2018)
  49. Escape From Reason by Francis Schaeffer (12/6/2018)
  50. Batman: Knightfall Vol 2: Knightquest by Chuck Dixon (12/10/2018)
  51. Batman: Knightfall Vol 3: Knightsend by Chuck Dixon (12/11/2018)
  52. J. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life by Leland Ryken (12/11/2018)
  53. Night by Ellie Wiesel (12/12/2018)
  54. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Butterfield (12/12/2018)
  55. Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi by David Crowder (12/12/2018)
  56. Dawn by Ellie Wiesel (12/13/2018)
  57. Stuff Christians Like: A Hilarious Look at the Funny Things We Do In The Name of Faith and Church by Jon Acuff (12/15/2018)
  58. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (12/16/2018)
  59. Batman: The Killing Joke (Deluxe Edition) by Alan Moore and Brian Bollard (12/17/2018).
  60. On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior (12/18/2018)
  61. Disruptive Witness by Alan Noble (12/18/2018)
  62. Batman: A Death in the Family by George Perez, Marv Wolfman, and Jim Starling (12/23/2018)

Shadowlands Movie Review

Good movies are hard to find, but some films are like diamonds in the rough. They are hidden gems that have always been there; just a few knew of their excellence. One such movie that fits this description is Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins. It’s a film where Hopkins plays the late C.S. Lewis and his surprise marriage to his wife Joy. Hopkins both excels at his portrayal of Lewis while honoring his faith well, especially for a Hollywood film.

Part of the surprise with this movie is that it came after Hopkins initial portrayal of Hannibal Lecter and Van Helsing in Dracula. Since Lewis is considered a giant in the Christian faith, at least during the 20th century, it is easy that this film may have been forgotten in Hopkin’s lexicon of movies. Afterall, it is not often that one can legitimately contrast Dracula, Hannibal Lecture, and C.S. Lewis in the same paragraph. Despite these odd contrasts, the film is worth watching for the following reasons:

 

  1. Production is Valued – Recently Hollywood has attempted to make a better effort when making Christian films. For example, they will try to bring in a big-name actor. However, the movie is left with either a B-movie or made for TV-movie feel. Shadowlands has neither, which allows the viewer to enjoy the story without distraction.

 

  1. Difficulty is Valued – Too often Christian films love to close the plot in the end neatly. The aim is correct. Often producers want to show the hope of the Gospel lived throughout life. The problem with this approach is, often life does not have the happy ending for some time. Therefore, Christians films can inadvertently portray a lite-prosperity gospel. Though the intention is to inspire Christians; for some, it will offer a false hope that can frustrate in real life when the results are not so soon. Shadowlands does the impossible job of closing the movie by showing a harsh part of life, yet leaving the characters with a profound hope. This dichotomy is an example of how Christians movies should conclude. Not that every movie should end on a depressive thought, but that the consequences of living in a fallen world should remain as realistic as the Gospel hope often portrayed. Remember, the Gospel rescues us from the fallen hurt of the world, which should not be easily dismissed. Such quick dismissals cheapen the cost that Christ paid for both our sins, and it’s practical consequences. While Shadowlands does not overtly preach the Gospel, the movie provides a balanced portrait of the Christian dilemma and hope too.

 

  1. Faith is Valued – Throughout the film Lewis’ faith if valued. Pictures of how he connected his faith with his literary work among his colleagues exist. Apologetic lectures are shot multiple times. Plus, there is a point where he shows his vulnerability and how God can use this grief as a “tool” for his faith. These and other scenes exist throughout the movie. Even the closing line of the film, which I will not spoil, echoes of his devout Christianity to the trained ear.

Continue reading “Shadowlands Movie Review”

Autumn Rest 

“Make it a source of spring water; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings.”

-Psalm 84:6 (CSB)

Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people.

-Hebrews 3-4 (CSB)

 

Autumn is a season of beauty. The days begin to get cooler from the hot summer season. The leaves change and fall to the ground. Together it creates a beautiful tapestry of foliage across the plains and the mountains of God’s creation.

Autumn is a season of reward. Here the fruits of our labors during the summer and spring are given. Crops are collected, livestock is tended, and gains are made during this harvest season. Each of these rewards is made possible from the hard work and exploration made from the preceding seasons.

Autumn is a season of preparation. After the harvest, winter crops are planted to produce needed resources during cold months. Families invest in firewood to keep warm. Even God’s creatures know that Autumn is a time of preparation, as many animals gather their final collections before winter. Continue reading “Autumn Rest “

Krispy Kreme Flavored Sarcasm = Trouble: Pastoral Redemptions

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are delicious! They also make for a great youth ministry sermon illustration. The trick is, knowing where to find the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop.

In 2004 I was a Summer Youth Minister for a church just north of Charlotte, North Carolina. It was an exciting time, and I wanted to make a good impression with my first sermon for the youth. In other words, it was time to borrow my friend Jeff Prosser’s Krispy Kreme doughnut sermon.

The gist of the message is that you use Krispy Kreme’s mission statement and illustrate the importance of intentional living for Christ. Furthermore, you can use the doughnuts themselves as an illustration to “Taste and see that God is good” as stated in Psalm 34:8.  It is a fun sermon and at the close of it, everyone gets to celebrate with a delicious doughnut. My problem was finding the store’s location.

Not being from North Carolina I had to use MapQuest to print-off directions. Yes, during this time I also used dial-up for the internet and would print off my directions. The iPhone and other smartphones would not be released for another three years.

Finally, with my directions literally in hand, I headed off to the next town where the nearest Krispy Kreme was located. I figured this trip will make for a great adventure. Indeed it did.

Trusting my paper made directions they humorously led me to the 18th hole of a golf course with no Krispy Kreme in-sight. Thankfully there was a nearby drugstore that I thought could help.

Once inside I asked the store associates for directions to the Krispy Kreme. As they provided their assistance it was clear that the doughnut shop was on the other end of town. MapQuest was way off, and the employees struggled to provide clear directions too. After a few attempts, they differed to a customer for better assistance.

The customer – who was in street clothes – was introduced to me when the store associate said, “She can help, she knows these streets well as she is a police officer.” She was in street clothes indicating she was off duty.

Once our introduction concluded my sarcastic mouth spoke before I could stop it. I said, “Oh you’re a police officer. Then you MUST know where the Krispy Kreme is located!” Continue reading “Krispy Kreme Flavored Sarcasm = Trouble: Pastoral Redemptions”