When Life Turns Left

In this final part of our Christmas series, The Characters of Christmas, we look at Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. What can we learn to him? How about what to do when life takes a sudden left turn on us? Joseph’s perfect plans were thrown into chaos by the news of Mary’s unexpected pregnancy. How did he handle it? Keep reading to find out.

When Life Turns Left

Don’t you love a good plot twist?  I sure do.  The best movies and TV shows always have that moment that leaves you going, “Whoa!  I did not see that coming!”  When I was in high school and college, one of the directors who was the very best at creating those kinds of moment was M. Night Shyamalan.  Two films in particular do this better than just about any other show I’ve seen (and I think I can talk about these because they’ve been out long enough you’ve either seen them or you’re not going to see them).  The first was The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment.  Osment plays a young boy with the ability to see and interact with people who have died.  Willis plays a therapist who is trying to help him work through the fear and emotions of his unique ability.  The movie is filled with moments of heart-stopping suspense as Osment’s character navigates his frightening world.  But the real “whoa” moment comes right at the end, after Willis helps Osment figure out that the various dead people are coming to him to help them resolve some unresolved tension from before their death, and that with his help they can find peace and leave him alone.  The climax comes as we realize that Willis was one of these dead people all along who had come to Osment for help.  The moment is so jarring that people still talk about it almost 20 years later.

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Live Courageously

This past Sunday we ventured into part three of our teaching series, Pursue: Chasing God in a Godless World.  One of the truths we need to embrace if we’re going to do that is that sometimes it’s hard to do.  So, what do we call it when someone does the right thing even though it’s hard?  Keep reading to find out.

Live Courageously

Our culture loves heroes.  Superhero movies have always been popular, but the last few years have seen their profiles rise to epic proportions.  For many moviegoers, the wait for the next Marvel film is agonizing.  I recently read a quote from Kevin Smith, a director popular among the nerd culture, who said that given the choice, he would rather see the next Avengers movie than direct another movie ever again.  This past Wednesday evening I couldn’t even begin to count how many little superheroes I saw running around here.  Since the year 2,000, sixteen of the 40 highest grossing films have been about super-powered individuals in one way or another.  If you add films about heroes more generally (like Star Wars or Harry Potter) that number goes up 28 and you could probably make a good case for adding a few more to that list. Read the rest…

Stand with Conviction

In part two of our new teaching series, Stand Up: How to Fight Injustice, we looked together at the next part of the story of Esther.  Mordecai stands up to do the right thing…and everything goes wrong.  Through this hard turn of events we are reminded that if we are going to stand against injustice, we are going to have to make a commitment to do the right thing regardless of the outcome.  Keep reading to see how this unfolds.

Stand with Conviction

We live in a day when businesses are finding themselves needing to take social and moral stands in order to attract new customers.  Have you noticed that?  Used to be, companies and businesses focused on business.  If they wanted to convince people to spend their money with them instead of with a competitor, they worked really hard to plant the idea in our minds that they were the very best at what they did.  Their product was better than anybody else’s.  They were going to take care of their customers better than anybody else would.  They were the best…at their business.  Today, though, as being socially conscious has gotten more and more popular, many businesses are worrying less about talking about how great their products are, and are instead spending more time telling us how socially conscious, or progressive, they are.  Commercials often double as political statements.  Some don’t talk about their products at all, they just take a stand on some social issue and assume that customers will be drawn to use their products on the basis of that social stance alone. Read the rest…