This fall movie season Hollywood offers up the stories of two little-known American heroes from two controversial filmmakers. In “The Birth of a Nation,” director and star, Nate Parker, tells the story of Nat Turner, a slave who longs for justice and leads a bloody rebellion. Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” recounts how Desmond Doss went into the terrible Battle of Okinawa in World War II offering mercy as an army medic and saving many of the wounded without ever carrying a gun.
Both films are based on true stories and are unflinching in their depiction of violence. Both feature protagonists who are strong Christians. And yet the fundamental difference in these films lies in the way each of these characters interprets Scripture. One story depicts a man who believes he should lay down his arms; the other, a man who takes up arms.
When God demonstrated his faithfulness
Gratitude can only grow with the realization that we don’t deserve the good we receive. In our comfy homes with modern conveniences and technology, it’s easy to think we deserve only ease and comfort. But all of this is a gift. There is nothing wrong with enjoying God’s material goodness, but let’s not forget his ultimate goodness: our salvation, his everlasting love, his open ears to our prayers, his comfort, his peace, his Word. When we begin to see each and every gift coming from his hand, we notice the little things more.
As a Christian, I think it’s easy to read article after article and blog post after blog post and forget to live in the world we live in. If we’re not careful, I think all of these opinions and ideas that we read about online can prevent us from loving the very people God has placed in our lives for us to love.
The Christian life has been rightly reckoned as a war. The enemy is clearly defined as a spiritual war headed by Satan (Eph. 6:12). Some of his goals include and unceasing attempt to devour (1 Pet. 5:8), destroy (Job 2:3); kill (Jn. 8:44); blind people from the truth (2 Cor. 4:4); and keep them from coming to God (Gal. 4:8). In other words, the identity, intentions, and capabilities of our enemy are clearly known. We have solid, credible intel on him.
As I’ve cut my teeth in church ministry, academia, and publishing, I’ve learned critique can be a good thing. It grows and makes us better. In fact, it’s more insulting to be considered not worth critiquing than to be critiqued. Imagine writing something no one cares to engage with, that’s forgotten as soon as it’s read.
But if you write to be read (or speak to be heard), you should hope people are engaging with your work—positively and negatively. You want to light dynamite that clears out space for new thought and perspective. You want to teach, yes, but you should also want to learn.
Countless unbelievers experience and consciously enjoy the gift of exercise, but they do not adore Jesus or have the Holy Spirit. Should there be anything distinct about how a Christian exercises? How do we experience God’s natural gift of exercise in such a way that we benefit spiritually?
A favorite from the archives:
Unfortunately, it seems to be all-too-common for Christians to allow those who have no business doing so—at least not according to any reasonable reading of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 2—to exercise an authority out of line with their character. I was reminded of this even as our pastor preached from 2 Corinthians 11 this weekend, as Paul, dripping with sarcasm, continues a full-frontal assault on the false teachers who’d lead this confused group of believers astray.
Thinking back on the message, and re-reading the passage, I was particularly struck by verses 19-21…