Saturday, October 01, 2011


I've been a big fan of the Sherwood brothers movies ever since I stumbled across the movie "Facing the Giants" on DVD several years ago. I think I may have even blogged about it back then. And I recommend it to everyone  I have a chance to. Since then I have seen their other movies "Flywheel" and "Fireproof" and own the DVDs for FtG and FP (but not FW). I was very excited a couple years ago when I learned about their next movie framed in a police story and focusing on fatherhood. Well this weekend the day finally came and the movie "Courageous" was on my radar to see with the whole family. I ended up just taking the boys since Kathryne had other things to do today, but I plan on taking her to see it soon.

The movie centers around a group of men several of whom are police officers and face danger daily. Another who comes into their group struggles with the more mundane issue of just trying to feed his family. All of them face issues of how to be a good father. So many of the themes and situations hit home. As a father I struggle with all kinds of thoughts about what I'm doing right and wrong. How badly am I going to screw up my kids through my actions or inaction? Am I disconnected from my kids? What I am passing on to them?

The movie itself has some big changes from their previous films. It has the same gospel messages and may still feel a bit "preachy" to non-Christians. But the production values, acting, and story are all greatly improved. There was nothing in the production of this movie that you could look at an think it's not a standard Hollywood production (at least to my untrained, consumerish eye). But the drastic departure comes in the general tone of the movie. There is some serious tragedy going on here. It's an emotional roller coaster. I cried just about every other scene. There was the standard humorous banter between characters that we've seen in their previous films. But from the very start, there are no punches pulled. And there is no miraculous happy ending here. Just a lot of real life that is messy for all involved. I hate to say it, but I was really ready for this movie to be over. Not because it was bad or too long, but because I was emotionally exhausted. It is over 2 hours long and was emotionally draining.

It was also very challenging. Challenging to not be mediocre or "good enough". As a father. As a man. As a Christian. If you are a father you need to see this movie. If you have a father, you need to see this movie. If your father let you down and negatively impacted your life you really need to see this movie. Take your family. Take your friends. Support this high-quality Christian entertainment by going to the theater in the first week (or two). That is the critical time for the industry to judge the popularity of a movie. Let's help this one stick around for a while.

A couple caveats. I took Sean and Joshua. Sean was fine, but Joshua was a bit scared/bored/overwhelmed in many scenes. You be the judge of your children's readiness for this film. Also, it is PG-13 for some of these reasons and there is some violence and drug related content that the police deal with. The worst part about the PG-13 rating is the trailers and other promotions before the movie. The are a bit harsher than a G or PG rating would have warranted. But there wasn't anything that was so out of line that I wanted to leave or hide from little eyes and ears.

The movie website has the opening scene available for you to watch, but please head out to the theater soon.

Movie Website:
Plugged-in Review:
Rotten Tomatoes:

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Motown Woes

You hear about the bad economy in places like Detroit on the news, but it's so weird being here and seeing it firsthand.

We are right downtown, and there is NO traffic and no signs of anything close to a bustling city. If it weren't for this conference I don't think you'd see much on the streets besides the little traffic for the Tigers game. I'll be part of that traffic tomorrow night as they play the Yankees. There are so many office buildings that are completely empty and getting run down. The casinos around seem a desperate attempt to revive the dead. Just across the river in Canada, things look a little more lively. There are some signs of high-tech thriving business but they are like oases in the desert. I heard that in the 60's the population was 1.7 million, now it's below 800,000

If you want some cheap office space and no traffic commutes, Detroit might just be the place for you. Our CEO has already declined our suggestion that he look into it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thoughts on Harding University's Policy on Homosexuality

My alma mater Harding University came into the national news recently in part thanks to a NY Times article entitled "Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity". Read the article if you wish though you might have to circumnavigate the NY Times pay wall. Basically it talks about school policies at Harding, Abilene Christian University, and Baylor University regarding homosexual students.

This plus some recent comments on FaceBook by classmates and friends got me thinking and writing. In some of the comments and much of the national dialog, one of the phrases I've heard used is that we need to "affirm the dignity" of all people (in this case gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc.).

Affirming the dignity of a person is a very nebulous concept. I'm not sure what it means or how it would be practiced in the context in which it is being used. In my mind, letting someone know that God loves them (each and every person) so much that He wants a relationship with them and sent His Son to die for them to enable that relationship is the heart of the Gospel.

In Dr. Burks's recent chapel address on the issue  (video embedded below) I believe he stated something very similar. (As with all Youtube videos, please don't read the comments).

However, in the way Harding interprets scripture, homosexual activity is sinful just as other forms of sexual immorality are sinful. Therefore according to the university rules it is behavior that if discovered will be subject to disciplinary action, just as any other breaking of the rules.

You may debate whether the interpretation of scripture is correct, but it is fully consistent with their beliefs. Affirming behavior that you understand to be sinful would be inconsistent.

Jesus loved everyone, but when he encountered people engaged in sinful behavior, he didn't say "That's okay, just keep on being that way and I'll still love you." He said, "Go and sin no more." Then he died showing how much he loved them whatever choice they made.

I work with all kinds of people each day that engage in behaviors I don't myself engage in or often approve of and I treat them respectfully and kindly. I don't make it a point to tell them all their flaws or how sinful they are being. Such things rarely come up. But were I to have influence in their lives to inject my own opinion, it would be wrong of me to just say everything is ok.

I've rambled on too long and I know this is not a popular opinion, but I felt it on my heart to write something. I hope that Harding will continue to look for ways to minister to every single person attending or on whom they have influence. It is also my prayer that they never stop seeking to uphold the standards to which God has called us to be holy and pure in His sight.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Year of Jubilee

Recently I’ve started thinking about the concept of the Year of Jubilee. This came up recently in our Bible study as we read through the Law as part of our Daily Bible Reading schedule. Also, one of my favorite songs to lead in worship is “Days of Elijah” which references the celebration. At each of these occasions, I made mention of the fact that we don’t have any indication of the Israelites ever adhering to the celebration of the Year of Jubilee. A wise old (older than me) man came up to me to ask why I was pointing the lack of celebration out. It started me thinking about whether what I was saying was accurate. As we discussed it, I thought back to some time in my youth sitting in a Bible class somewhere and the teacher saying that the Israelites never celebrated Jubilee in full because it was too difficult.

So I went home and started doing some research. I struggled greatly with not using my phone to do research during the sermon immediately after our conversation.

The following are links to some of the pages I read with a little commentary but not much.
Jubilee years appear to have been used for counting even if not actually celebrated

In my brief searching I couldn’t find any direct evidence of Jubilee being celebrated in full by the entire nation of Israel.

Info on the Sabbath years

Sabbath years do appear to have been celebrated at times

2 Kings 19:29-30

The conversation between Isaiah and Hezekiah seems to be an indication of a Sabbath year followed by a Jubilee year with regards to the agricultural aspects but there is no mention of the slave, land and debt aspects.

This article has a really good tie in of Jubilee from Moses to Jesus

I especially liked that it tied in Jesus’ reading in the synagogue to the year of jubilee:Luke 20 4:14-21 “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

I’ll have to read through that some more as I think it has important implications to our lives today.

Of course people try to base everything including predictions on the coming of Christ on Jubilee year counting

Not too much useful info there unless you like reading rationalizations for millennial theology

So that’s about all the research I did and intend to do for now. No resolution to my initial inquiry but I certainly got some background information that I think will be useful.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A Wii Little Error

Today Kathryne and I both woke up to a great surprise. We had each lost about 7 pounds in 1 day. At least according the the Nintendo Wii Fit where we track our weight. Kathryne was so excited. We were both quite shocked and wondering how such a thing could be. She verified her result and then I stepped on and had a similar result. After the initial excitement died down, we started trying to think of what might be the cause or if there was an error with the device. I decided to replace the batteries (4 AA) and try it again. Unfortunately, we had not found some miracle overnight weight loss scheme and the losses were much more reasonable with the new juice feeding the platform. Fortunately, there were still losses.

Nothing like a bit of reality to burst your bubble. But I'd rather know the truth than be deceived into thinking things are better than they are (at least most of the time).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I ran across a story today that makes me sad for the cause of Christ. There's more background that you can  read here but my focus is a picture of a man with Leviticus 18:22 tattooed on his arm. This is one of the verses in the Bible that prohibits homosexuality. What interested me about this is that just a page flip away (variable depending on the layout of your Bible) is Leviticus 19:28. This verse prohibits tattoos. O.o

As Christians, one of the worst testimonies we can provide is when our lives our inconsistent with what we profess to believe and inconsistent with scripture. How often do we pick and choose those verses that we wish to live by and those we wish to ignore? We condemn those around us for one thing while ignoring our own issues. I think there's some verse in Matthew that speaks to this. Read the whole thing. It's good for you. Rather we should all work together in love to walk the path with God and when we stumble, pick each other up.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Cold Wind Blows...and yet I Run

Last year on Wednesday January 13th, I performed my usual ritual of driving through Chick-fil-A on my way to work to pick up a yummy chicken biscuit.  It would be the last I ever had. If this were the opening to a SyFy movie it would be because I was carted off by aliens for some unpleasant probing. In reality it's because of something that happened on the way to Huntsville.

This morning I crawled out of bed at 5:40 am after a single snooze cycle for the purpose of going to the 'Y' for a run around the track and some weights. Did I mention that it's freezing outside? If it's going to be this cold I really need it to snow. And yet I woke up and got myself all bundled up for a run. First I took Lily for a run around the block. Then I went on to the gym for some faster sprints and weights. My wardrobe include 3 layers: long johns, shorts and shirt, sweat pants and jacket, along with gloves and a sock top. I really should get some cold weather running gear for the 3 times this winter when bundling up will be required.

The point of all this is not to complain about the weather or brag about my running prowess, but rather to note the change in my mindset over the last 52 weeks. But then I look at yesterday morning when I slept in and realize I still have a long way to go.

1 year ago tomorrow also marks the anniversary of the last soda I had. At work I would have anywhere from 4-6 per day usually Coke Zero or Diet Dr. Pepper. The fridge here is still fully stocked with such things but I resisted and now have no urge to pop one open.

So what happened on the way to Huntsville that day? On my flight, I watched the documentary "Food Matters" (currently available on Netflix instant streaming and DVD). That was the tipping point. I realized that I could take control of my health and the way to do it was to take control of what I put in my body and what I put my body through.

And so I run. And try really hard to not put anything in my mouth that will be harmful and to put in lots of helpful stuff. Last week I started a health journal where I write down everything that goes in (I'll stay away from what comes back out), what exercise I do, and how I'm feeling. It has really helped me stay on track as can be noted by the weight loss column. I had been stuck on a plateau for a couple months and have really started to see better results in just the last 10 days.

If I had to label the focus for my family for last year it would be "Healthy Living". I'm not big on new year's resolutions. The only one I ever make is to not make any resolutions which I break on the first day and keep the rest of the year. What's my focus for this year? I don't know yet. There is still a lot of work to be done on the health front, but looking back at the end of the year I hope I can say that I focused on spiritual and family relations.

In other news, I quit World of Warcraft for good and am loving my rediscovered freedom.

Happy New Year!