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Archive for March, 2014

While I have heard a lot of negative about the movie “Noah” before it came out, I tend to keep my mouth shut until I see something for myself. In the past, certain sections of the Christian community has been quick to bash anything Hollywood does for the smallest of details so I wait until a release. Usually, there are “artistic license”  moments but the movie can serve as a starting point for some who are more visual and then enter into study or conversations.

That said, I really do not recommend “Noah”. While I am sure the Holy Spirit can and will work in spite of Noah IF we as Christians will enter into the conversations around us, the following is why I suggest you save your money (unless you are seeing it to enter into the conversation with others).

To accomplish this, I must review this film in two lights. First, from a Biblical standpoint. Second, from a movie for general entertainment.

Biblical Stand Point – The biblical account of Noah is found from Genesis 5-9. There’s a lot of details in those four chapters but not enough for a full length movie so I expected them to take “artistic license”.

Last fall, I was at a church leadership conference where they had the writer and director of the movie (Darren Aronofsky) there to share about the upcoming Biblical epic. He talked about how the story of Noah impacted him as a youth in Sunday School and how he wanted to bring it alive for the culture we live in. He fell short.

A good 95% of the details in the movie are fiction. Some were written to fill the gaps. Some are in direct contradiction of the Bible (many of the characters and events). I will not list them all because much of it doesn’t matter past that point of making sure people know it’s fiction. However, there are two major ones I want to address.

– God did not destroy the earth because man did not take care of His creation. Genesis 6 is clear that it was due to man’s sinful actions.

– God did not have the goal of destroying mankind so creation wouldn’t be messed up again and then Noah went against Him. After God took Noah into account, He decided to start again with Noah and his family.

Why do these matter? Besides historical accuracy, because there are great truths in the Noah account that point us to truths about Jesus. It teaches us of the ugliness of sin, God’s mercy, and metaphorical understandings of how you can have peace with God through Christ. If you would like to understand those better, touch base with me and I’d love to talk more.

Movie for Entertainment – If you put the Biblical point to the side, there is one positive and one negative (take this with a grain of salt since this part is subjective).

One positive – Much of the special effects were spectacular when it comes to the nature. The animals and “rock angels” were a little lame but the nature parts were cool.

One negative – For me, it was simply long and boring. My wife and I are movie people but often found ourselves laughing when we were not suppose to.

So that’s it…. babbling for whatever it’s worth. The final thought would be this. While you won’t hear me say this often of a movie, it would be better to read the book.

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Pastor Tom returns from a period of sabbatical to reveal the next season at The Shepherd’s Fellowship. Last year, God led us to focus on the very foundation of the church and each other through the Word. This year, we move to mobilize!

Maybe you have a bad impression of Christians and the church because in your past, it never lived up to the hype.

Maybe you have been a Christian for years and even grew up in church but wondered why the church was not making the difference in the world you felt it should.

Maybe you are on fire for the Lord and either need encouragement as He leads or feel He’s leading you to a new step or level.

Then we hope you jump in to catch the vision of the next couple months as we dive into these and many more areas of being mobilized to live “Beyond Church”!

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A lot of people claim they are a Christian but do not really know what that means. To be a Christian is to be one who has accepted Jesus as Leader and Forgiver in your life by acknowledging with your mouth that He is the Son of God and believing in your heart He died and rose again. To come with repentance to be forgiven and given a new life… a new start.

Then living a life where you die to yourself, live like and follow Christ, dive into Christian community including church, and fulfill our calling of reaching others for the Lord in truth, love, and action. Within the Church community, to care for one another and to disciple one another to grow in this life daily.

Be cautious. The Bible tells us that there will be a day when we all stand before Him and there will be those who call Him “Lord, Lord” and He will say “I know you not.” Start a personal relationship with Him that impacts everything. If you need help or have questions, feel free to touch base.

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When we were young, we would chant the age old phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” However, when we are honest about it, we know that rings hollow when it comes to our hearts.

One of the most powerful skills we have is our speech; power to heal and power to destroy. The Bible is clear in it’s encouragement and instruction of how to handle our words.

Dig in for some healing on your hurts and to explore how you can be one who speaks life into the darkness of hurting lives around you (and at times, in your own life).

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I’m currently watching “Finding Neverland” during my morning workout time. There was one conversation in the movie that jumped out at me.

While feeling horrible after suffering a miserable response to their latest play , the author and the producer have this conversation.

Producer: They changed it on us, you know. The critics. They made it important.

What’s it called?

Author: Play?

Producer: Play.

When children of God struggle with guilt after committing a sin or falling down again.

Christian Friend: They changed it on us, you know. Those people in your past. They made it hard.

What’s it called?

You: Mercy?

Christian Friend: Mercy.

“ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2: 4-9

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In this study, we talk about drawing near to God.

Highlights include:
– Why is it so awesome that we are invited to draw close to God?
– How do you pray?
– How do you study the Bible?
– What is fasting?
– What is Ash Wednesday and Lent?

Hope you jump in……

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While I am used to a couple talks each year about the different views on the practice of Lent, I was surprised how many comments flooded my Facebook page for and against this traditional practice this year. So with that in mind, I was sparked to babble a few words on the topic.

For those who are unaware, Lent is a period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter where a Christian fasts something of value to them to let that craving drive them closer into God. Again, it is a tradition and not mandated by the Bible. However, the principles behind the act are Biblical. In other words, no one has to do Lent but the principles behind it are part of the Christian life on a constant basis.

For instance, we are called to humble ourselves before the Lord so that He can lift us up (James 4: 10). We are expected to fast and with proper motives (Matthew 6:16-18). Fasting breaks bonds, brings freedom, and encourages us to help others (Isaiah 58: 6-8).

I was not raised with Lent but I have partaken of it over the last 8-9 years. The goal is draw close to God, find freedom as He moves, and prepare yourself for the celebration of Holy Week. I have found it to be powerful and worth ever moment of the commitment.

It does not surprise me or bother me when people do not participate, reject the practice of Lent (but hold to fasting and repentance), or have questions about it. However, what is surprising me is some of the comments that are very negative towards other brother and sisters in Christ that do.

I am disturbed when I read comments that seem to be putting down others who practice Lent because they assume this is the only time these Christians are repentant or serving God. That is like putting down others because they celebrate Easter and assume they do not celebrate the resurrection of our Lord throughout the year.

Rather or not you participate in Lent is not the question. Again, it’s a tradition that is based on Biblical practices. You can reject the tradition but claim the Biblical practices in other ways. However, I believe you are on dangerous grounds when you are trashing others in God’s family because of their participation. In some causes I have seen people excel themselves in their own view as better Christians than those who participate which is the opposite of the humbleness that many people seek today.

Let me also note that I am aware that some have had bad experiences in their past with Lent that effects their view of the practice. I get that and fully understand. The only thing I ask when you are talking to others that you are aware of this before you accidently attack others for something they have founds beauty and passion in as God moves. It might even to be wise to try it again with people who are passionate about the God view instead of the corrupted man views.

That all said, the practice of Lent is a “disputable matter”. So with that in mind, I will leave you with this no matter what you perspective on Lent is…

Romans 14: 1-12

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

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