It’s been a long, demanding week, so let’s take it easy today.
My friend, Jon Stolpe, asks an icebreaker question every Friday. I’m stealing his idea today.
The Super Bowl is being played Sunday. Are you watching? Who you got? Are you going to a party?
I watched the Fantastic Four trailer yesterday like many geeks did. I say geeks with much love because I count myself as one. Of course, sometimes I’m a nerd, but I digress.
I have not looked forward to this movie. There are a lot of reasons why. I liked Josh Trank’s, the director, Chronicle when it came out a couple of years ago. However, I’ve been afraid that movie would look like a “fantastic” version of that and I really didn’t want to see another version of that.
I’ve heard that there were all sorts of problems that have gone on. I read that Fox seriously came close to firing Trank and bringing in someone else at the last-minute. The rumors about the script have troubled me. What I’ve been afraid of is that this movie would be totally unrecognizable from the source material, which holds a huge soft spot in heart.
So, once I saw the trailer, I might have written and posted the following tweet.
Then something happened.
I decided to show the trailer to my son, Andrew. Following his viewing of it, his reaction was, “That looks cool.”
I was stunned. I immediately began trying to figure out how I could feel lukewarm about it and he could like it.
Then it hit me.
He doesn’t really know what the Fantastic Four is. He has never read the comic books. He hasn’t seen the original movie, nor the rise of a certain Silver Surfer.
He looked it without the jaded view that I have developed over the past year.
And I realized that many of us need to look at things the way Andrew does. We need to drop the baggage we attach to things. We need to give events and people chances. Whatever we encounter, we need to take a look with fresh eyes.
If we did that the world would be a better place and we would all be a lot happier.
What was the last time you looked at something with a fresh perspective?
I never was a Boy Scout.
I wanted to be. To be honest, I had no idea what Scouts did when I was a kid. I’m not sure why. I never thought to ask one what they did.
My imagination took control of what I learned about them from TV. I thought every weekend for a Scout was spent marching through the woods to another campsite.
Truth be told, I really wanted to be a Scout because of the uniforms. I’ve always been a sucker for uniforms. I used to use my version of the Internet, the World Book encyclopedia, to look at every military uniform available.
For whatever reason, though, I never became a Boy Scout and never learned what it meant to be prepared the way they were taught.
I ask myself all the time if I’m prepared for church when Sunday rolls around.
Did I get enough sleep?
Did I get my clothes ready the night before?
Did I eat enough so that my stomach doesn’t growl right in the middle of the sermon?
Those aren’t the most important questions, though.
Did I spend the week in worship so that I can worship on Sunday?
Did I spend time in prayer preparing for corporate worship?
Did I spend time in God’s word preparing for, well, everything?
I don’t like the answers to a lot of these questions. Why?
Because I’m not prepared to answer them.
Do you prepare for worship?
Next year will be the 30th anniversary of my graduation from high school. My class and I were among the last of those who grew up in the 80’s. We were also among the first of those who came of age in the 90’s.
The first of the 90’s and the last of the 80’s.
Led Zeppelin formed in 1968, the year I was born. They went to become one of the most successful bands of the 70’s and of all time. They transcended the genre they are labeled as. They were the biggest band in the world at one time. They were also thought of as the last band of the 60’s and the first band of the 70’s.
The first of the 70’s and the last of the 60’s.
I’ve been listening to a podcast from Hardcore History called Blueprint for Armageddon. In five episodes and nearly 20 hours time, Dan Carlin details the history of World War I. When the French entered the war, it would have been difficult to distinguish them from Napoleon’s armies. By the end of the war, tanks were being used. World War I might rightly be called the last war of the 19th century and the first of the 20th.
The first of the 20th Century and the last of the 19th.
Just over two thousand years ago a group of misfits began following an itinerant preacher around Israel. He was unlike anyone they had ever heard before. They were among the last who followed Judaism before Christ and the first who simply followed Christ.
The first who followed Christ and the last who followed Judaism before Him.
A bit later one of those early followers was stuck on a rock called Patmos. He was in the Spirit one Sunday and saw His Lord again. Christ spoke to John and gave him a vision. One thing sticks out that Jesus said to His beloved disciple.
“I am the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
My family and I went to see Taken 3 Saturday night. You might recall that it did not make my top 10 list of most movies for 2015. I really didn’t plan on going to see it at the theater and planned on waiting until it was out at Redbox. However, my family wanted to see it and we rarely go to the movies together, so off we went.
We had really enjoyed Taken and Taken 2 over the past few years. Taken took us by surprise when it displayed Brian Mills’ particular set of skills. Taken 2 took the stakes to another level. So when I heard that Taken 3 was going to be made, I look forward to it with anticipation.
Then the reviews rolled in, like my friend Rob’s that he posted at his blog. He didn’t like it, comparing it to Speed 2 as one of the worst sequels ever. My in-laws went to see it, stating with wild abandon how great it was. So, what would I find when we went?
I liked it.
I didn’t think it was the greatest. I think it had a nice twist on the previous two films. Brian Mills had to use his skills to evade capture by the police, solve the crime he was accused of, and exact some justice and vengeance. It was good escape fare and we all enjoyed it.
If everyone else hadn’t wanted to go see it, I would have waited for it to come out on DVD. I would have rented it and, perhaps, enjoyed even more. Now, though, Jan wants to buy it for our DVD collection.
If you go to the theater, try to go to the matinée. Otherwise wait for Redbox.
What movies have you seen lately? Will you see Taken 3?
The biggest movie in America right now is American Sniper. It tells the story of Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, who is known as the most lethal sniper in the history of the United States.
If you know me, you know that I love movies. I watch a lot of them, albeit when most of them make it to Redbox. However, I don’t plan to watch Sniper. Here’s why.
First of all, this movie is being put up for some major awards as we are in the midst of awards season. Here’s something you need to know. I don’t watch many movies that are up for any kind of Academy Awards. It’s just not what I do.
Second, I have never understood either of the Gulf Wars in my lifetime. Now, I’m not squeamish about war or violence. I totally understood our military going after terrorists in Afghanistan. I grew up in the 80’s and have always been a little hawkish. I still have never understood what our national interests were both times we went into Iraq. I support our troops. I just never have understood the war.
Third, this seems like a message movie to me. I don’t do message movies.
Finally, I watch movies to be entertained. I don’t get the entertainment value of this one.
Now, please understand this. If you want to go watch American Sniper, I think that’s terrific. I just don’t personally want to watch it. I think it is great that we have a military and I fully support them. I am just going to pass on this film.
Are you going to watch American Sniper?
Yesterday I wrote about a small group paradox. You can read about that if you happened to have missed it.
Jan and I talked about this a bit. You could say that small groups are on our mind a bit, leading me to think that we really do want to be a part of one. As I’ve thought about it more over the past twenty-four hours, I realized that I’m guilty of something that I didn’t even realize.
I have thought that my approach to small groups has to be the same as everyone else’s .
You see, my situation is unique. Jan and I have our own schedules. We have our own lives that don’t exactly mirror any others in our church.
Yet I have thought that we have to shoehorn ourselves into the existing small groups within our church.
I’m not sure why I’ve thought that except that it seems that is the way it all seems to work.
This isn’t a criticism of any of those existing small groups. It’s just that they have been created and grown and become cells of our local body. There are probably people who can easily assimilate into those existing structures. However, everyone shouldn’t follow that same approach.
Jan and I work differently than others. Every other week I am unable to make it to our Wednesday night service due to my job.
Jan and I are in the final stages of our time as parents of kids who are involved in a ton of activities. That doesn’t seem to mesh with the existing structures.
So what do we do?
We need to think outside the box. We need to seek out others with unique situations like ours. We need to think outside the box. Maybe we shouldn’t meet weekly with others. Maybe we should meet every other week or even monthly to begin with.
We both trend toward being introverts. The larger a group is, the harder it is for us to feel connected. Four to six people are about the max for us to feel real comfortable.
There are just so many options that we need to explore to make gathering together with brothers and sisters in a small group workable.
We don’t have to be guilty of doing it just like everyone else.
What do your small groups look like if you are involved in them?