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GOD IS REALLY SUPER MEGA GOOD!

I can’t even remember the last time I wrote a blog post… although, I guess I could just go check the date on my last article. Hold on.

April 4, 2010. That’s actually not as far back as I thought.

Well, a lot has happened since then! A few months after my last post, I met the most amazing woman. I bought a ring after only two weeks, we got married two weeks after that, and we have never looked back since. Let me tell you – short of deciding to follow Christ, marrying Ashley was the best decision I’ve ever made!

Here we are together:

When I married Ashley, I also inherited a son. Legally he’s my stepson, but I’ve always had a problem with fathers who constantly emphasize the “step” in stepchild. He’s only three now, and someday he’ll know the truth (We won’t hide it from him), but I hope he always knows that I will always love him as if he was my own. Otherwise, how could I ever be an effective father?

Archer is the coolest kid in the whole world! He learns so quickly, and he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s the bravest little boy I’ve ever met. He acts just like I did when I was a kid, and it’s so funny, because I find myself telling him the exact same things my parents used to say to me :) Right now he’s really into superheroes, and he says the coolest things. We’ve started writing them down so that someday when he’s grown we can look back and remember.

I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs over the years, but I have to say, life is pretty good. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to stay close to God. Don’t get mad at Him just because you don’t understand. For the longest time, I was so angry at God because I didn’t have a family. But then I let the anger go, and BAM! God blessed me with a family! Am I saying that God will give you whatever you want if you follow a formula? Hardly. But when I met Ashley, I finally understood why God had waited for so long to bring us together. My angers and frustrations were so petty, and my previous relationships were just smoke and mirrors compared to the reality of God’s love.

Ashley has told me before that she thinks I should start blogging again… and I’ve never been satisfied with having my last post be a horrible review of Clash of the Titans, so here I am. Will I write more blogs in the future? Maybe :) But if this is the last you hear from me, be blessed, and know that God is good.

CLASH OF THE TITANS

The original Clash of the Titans was something I grew up on. I can remember actually being scared of the horrible claymation Medusa and laughing at the antics of the weird mechanical owl.

I’m sure the original movie was groundbreaking, but when I watch it now, I see a rather stale special effects movie with no real depth. Sadly, the remake doesn’t do much better.

The new Clash of the Titans is a step up from The Scorpion King, but not by much. It’s basically a bunch of one dimensional characters running around doing epic yet predictable things. There’s no real character development, and the parts that are supposed to be inspiring end up being emotionally flat. When I was watching this movie, I felt that same disappointment that came from watching Terminator Salvation. It was visually stimulating, but only mildly entertaining.

The visual effects really were good, though. Medusa was incredible, and the Kraken was impressive. The giant scorpions were okay, although I felt a little let down by how easily they were killed.

I probably won’t go see this movie again in theaters, but I’ll buy the DVD. It will make nice background noise while I play a card game or do something else that I actually care about.

I want one of these.

TRON FX Test Footage

I can quote almost every line of the original, in order. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see this new footage… MAN! THEY’RE MAKING A NEW TRON – FINALLY!!!!

It’s Charlie!!!

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I got a new dog! He’s a blue heeler and his name is Charlie. My brother asked me why I picked the name Charlie, especially since I kind of wanted a futuristic post-apocalyptic nuclear sci-fi warrior name for my dog. He is the same breed that was featured in The Road Warrior, after all.

Well, first, I think Charlie is a good name for a dog of any modern or futuristic era. Charlie is a great name for a futuristic post-apocalyptic nuclear sci-fi warrior dog, because if you lived in a futuristic post-apocalyptic wasteland, you would want to name your dog something reminiscent of better days (unless you were a bad guy – then you would name your dog Blood or Ripper or Killface or something).

But besides that, I have some other reasons:
• Charles Xavier is the leader of the X-Men
• Charles Mingus is one of the greatest jazz players to have ever lived
• Willy Wonka is one of my favorite movies (the old one, not the new one)
• Charlie is the name of the star dog from All Dogs Go To Heaven
• Charlie is the name of a character from the Street Fighter series
• Names that end in the “ee” sound remind me of the words “happy” and “friendly”
There are other reasons, too, but the number one reason would be that it just seems to fit. I tried out all sorts of names, but when I called him Charlie, everything seemed right with the world.

Welcome to the family, Charlie!

John 1:6-13

So again, these are personal reflections on the Book of John.

“There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light, which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:6-13

I’m going to keep this short, since my last one was kind of long. First, about being sent, I think every Christian should identify with John. If you follow Christ, then you have this Light of Life within you. Your life should be a testament to God, so that all might believe through you.

Not everyone will believe. I mean, if they didn’t believe Jesus, who IS God, then you can’t expect them to believe you. But you still have to be there for those who will believe.

I think being sent is less of an exclusive thing than a lot of church people think. I’ve heard a lot of people say that missionaries are sent, but normal people just do their thing. I think that we can have a mentality of being sent, i.e. a mindset that is always on the lookout for opportunities where we can help people and spread the Light of Jesus Christ.

No matter what choices have led you to where you are now, God has a purpose for you. Whether or not you notice is largely up to you.

One of the most tragic consequences of sin and selfishness is that it distracts us. Have you ever been driving, and then you all of a sudden ‘wake up’ and realize, “Whoa, I don’t even remember driving that last mile or two!” I think sin is the same way. When we sin, it clouds our minds, and even though God is still working in our lives, our ability to notice it can be obscured.

The second part of these verses could be a great catalyst for a discussion about predestination VS free will, but I’m not going to go there because I don’t believe it’s one or the other. I think it’s both. When I look forward, all I see are choices, but when I look into the past, I see how God’s hand has guided me.

What I like more about the verses is the emphasis on being sons of God, and how that occurs. You receive Him, and believe in His name. Simple. No works save you – you just believe.

Of course, the Bible mentions in other places that good works should be the natural result of accepting Christ, but no works are ever set up as a means to salvation. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Christianity the only religion in which man cannot save himself? What I mean is, in Christianity, salvation isn’t about what you do, it’s about what was already done for you, and who you choose to be in response to that. But in other religions, it’s about trying to be a good person, or saying certain prayers so many times, or visiting certain holy sites. You have to do this or do that, and even then, most of the time your fate isn’t assured unless you go to an extreme (death while killing infidels, etc.). I once heard someone say that Mohammed, on his death bed, said that he did not know what would become of him when he died.

Humans have this epic sense of needing to atone. It’s pride, really. Let me make it up to you. We want power over our mistakes. Instead, you just have to give it up, and say, “Please fix me, my life, my situation… I wish I could take this back, but I can’t. I need help.”

Jesus likes to help people.

John Chapter 1

About a week ago, some friends mentioned that they would like to start a Bible study on the gospel of John. We haven’t begun yet, but I thought I’d get a head start and post my own personal reflections here. It’s just so much easier to understand the Bible when you put your thoughts down in writing – kind of like taking notes in class.

By the way, I’ve been going to a new church lately, which I love. You can find their websites here and here.

I’m going to take it slow through John because I don’t want to miss anything, so here are the first five verses:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” — John 1:1-5

I like these first few verses. They are so simple and profound. In the beginning, there was God, and he created everything. Pretty simple, right? :)

I like this idea of the Word being a particular aspect of God. Some people have a problem with the Trinity, or with Jesus being God. I think sometimes they struggle with the idea of God being one, but also being separate.

I have to say, I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the modern church description of the Trinity – “A triune God, three in one.” I can understand how Jews sometimes accuse Christians of polytheism.

The three major aspects of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – are definitely good to recognize, but I also like the Jewish way of thinking. There is one God, but he has many names. Provider, Savior, Purifier, Protector, Creator, and so on. In fact, since God is infinite, it’s not unreasonable to assume that he has an infinite amount of names to describe his greatness. The only thing that really limits God is our own human language, and that doesn’t so much limit God as it limits our ability to understand him.

When I think of the different aspects of God, I like to think more of a line than a triangle. To get what I mean, take a piece of thread or string and stretch it out on a table. Now imagine that the string goes on forever – it has no beginning or end. This string represents God.

Now take another shorter piece of string, and place it underneath the first string. This string represents mortal life (or human history). It has a beginning and end.

Now pinch the middle of the first string so that it comes to a point, and make that point touch the second string. That is how I understand an aspect of God showing up in my life. It’s still one string, but I am only seeing one point of it right now.

diagram_1

(If you want to get really fancy, you could make the top string woven out of three fibers, representing the three major aspects of God.)

diagram_2

Anyway, that’s how I get it.

The second part of these verses reminds me to be thankful. God created me. He also created everything that I enjoy. No matter how depressed or frustrated I may feel sometimes, there is something I can thank God for.

God created mankind in his image, but he also created the animals and plants and sunsets. I’ve always said that a person’s art is very revealing of that person’s heart. If you doubt God’s goodness, just watch a sunset sometime. Even though it may not help you understand your situation, I hope it helps you find peace.

The third part of these verses is awesome. In God is life, and that life is the Light of men. It shines in the darkness, and the darkness can’t comprehend it.

Everything about our existence is meaningless if we don’t have God, because God is life. Without life there is death – emptiness – meaninglessness.

That’s why you should choose God over everything. Would you really deny God just to hang on to an unhealthy relationship?

I love something a friend once said: “It’s okay if you’re not okay, but it’s not okay for you to stay that way.”

I can immediately think of several people who are making very poor decisions. Some claim to follow Christ, others do not. It’s okay for me to hang out with them – I care about them, after all! But what is true friendship? Ignoring their poor decisions because I don’t want to get in an argument? Or would it be better to call them out, to tell them the truth?

Obviously you should let prayer and scripture guide you, but in many cases, it is better to say something, even if it costs you your friendship. I mean, if your friend was hooked on drugs, wouldn’t you want to intervene for the sake of that friend’s health, even though they might hate you for it? Then why wouldn’t you speak up if they were doing other stupid stuff?

You have to be careful, of course, because you are NOT the lord and master of their lives. You can’t go around always telling people what they should and shouldn’t do. But in a clear cut case of, “Hey, this thing your doing is very much against what Jesus teaches,” then pray, make sure you have a spirit of humility (as opposed to self-righteousness), and then carefully speak the truth.

The timing has to be right, and your heart has to be right. If you’re set there, then go for it.

You know, as a follower of Christ, you just have to expect that certain people aren’t going to like you. Of course we all mess up – I’ve done dumb things in the name of Christ (and dumb things in the name of my own self interest). But even when we’re doing everything right, and we want to bless other people, there are going to be people out there who hate us for it.

You just can’t sweat it. I mean, who cares if you lose your job or your home or your life for the sake of Christ? Didn’t Paul say that any loss for the sake of Christ should be considered gain? What is a job or a friendship or a possession really worth if it’s tainted by compromise?

I think that’s what Jesus meant when he said that whoever doesn’t hate his own brother is not worthy of him. I think he meant that you have to put God above everything and every relationship you have. You need to risk sharing God with your family, even if they hate you for it, because no matter how strong your family relationships are, they are worthless without God.

Anyway, you can read John and come to your own conclusions. I have to go to work. Until next time!