Ten Reasons Why Captain America is the Most Christian Film of the Year

cpt americaIn some ways, this is going to be a big year for Christians.  At least in Hollywood.  More Christian films will come out in 2014 than have been released in the last ten years, and church leaders are hoping this will start a new trend in the film industry.

Son of God and God’s Not Dead came out several weeks ago, the loosely adapted Noah was released last week, and other Christian films set to be released this year include Exodus, Mary Mother of God and Heaven is for Real.  But the film most Christians are anticipating: Captain America: Winter Soldier.

What was that?  You don’t think Captain America is a bible-based film?  Here are ten reasons why you’re completely wrong.

1. Black Widow is Rahab

I’m going to describe someone to you.  She is an attractive woman who works for the bad guys in a sexually promiscuous career.  However, she is befriended by the protagonists, turns from her wicked ways, ends up working for the good guys as a double agent/spy, and eventually becomes an important force of goodness.

Who did I describe?  Exactly.

(I can’t make any promises, but from the trailer, Scarlett Johansson appears to be more modestly dressed than ever. And if skimpy outfits were going to make an appearance, it’d be in the trailer.)cap-posters1

2. This is one of the few movies where Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t swear

As a youth pastor, I often am faced with a difficult challenge: “I want to play Samuel L. Jackson movies at lock-ins, but they are so inappropriate.”  For the youth leaders out there, you have undoubtedly faced this same problem.

Well thankfully, Winter Soldier solves this problem for us.  I can almost guarantee that Nick Fury will not enter into a fit of fury and yell, “I’m tired of all these Mother Mary double agents on my Mother Mary helicarrier!”

3. “Let the weak say I am strong”

He once was weak, but now he’s strong.  That’s sort of Captain America’s mantra.  Ours too.

4. The Captain teams up with an angel

the_falcon_captain_america_the_winter_soldier-wideTechnically his name is “Falcon,” but he’s a dude that can fly, battles the powers of darkness, and does whatever Captain America says.  Sounds like an angel to me.  (Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon, also played an angel in Adjustment Bureau.  Coincidence? I think not.)

5. Who’s making the cameo this time?

The Avengers films always feature an unexpected cameo.  Who’s it going to be this time?  Thor? Hulk? Tony Stark? Or Moses and Elijah.  Let’s not forget that they invented the cameo.

6. The Winter Soldier is Judas

Sort of.  But I don’t want to spoiler alert any of you, so I’ll leave it at that.

7. The movie might actually be somewhat faithful to the source material

Son of God was guilty of several changes and omissions.  Noah was guilty of a lot more. And though I did support Son of God, we were all left saying, “The book was better.”

But it seems like Winter Soldier is for the most part consistent with the comics.  Unless you ask someone who has actually read the comics.

8. S.H.I.E.L.D. is staffed by Pharisees

Captain-America-2-The-Winter-Soldier-Official-Still-Elevator-SceneJesus was surrounded by people who were supposed to be on His team, but ended up betraying Him for what they falsely considered was “the greater good.”  Sounds a lot like the first Winter Soldier trailer, if you ask me.

9. God is the original Avenger

“Vengeance is Mine,” saith the Lord. Circa 1,200 BC.

‘Nuff said.

And finally,

10. What’s more godly than a movie with “America” in the title?

americaSo there you have it.  Ten reasons why Captain America is bound to be the most Christian film of the year.  I was originally going to include a point about Steve Rogers epitomizing what is arguably the best comic book example of the hypostatic union, but decided it might offend people who actually knew what that was.

So see the film.  Support the film.  Then go to church on Sunday morning and talk to your friends about how the movie inspired you to read your bible more.

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Me Admitting I was Wrong: A Review of Noah

Grand PabbieMethuselah was easily the best character in the film. The 969 year old patriarch was played by Anthony Hopkins, who was actually believable as a 969 year old man (Cheyne said he bore a striking resemblance to Gollum). He also apparently is an early ancestor of Benny Hinn, because he had the innate ability to slay people in the spirit. And he had an affinity for berries.

In every scene he appears in, he talks about his desire to enjoy berries one last time. He chides his great-grandson for not giving him berries. He asks his daughter-in-law why she didn’t bring him berries. And before the floods descend, he frantically scrambles through random foliage in his pursuit of those sweet, sweet berries. As the waves come crashing toward him, he smiles as he finally finds a small, purple berry. He lifts it to his mouth, hoping to enjoy the tasty treat one last time before he dies.

And as this happened, I totally thought the wave was going to destroy him before he actually got to eat it.


Because that’s how “the Creator” is portrayed in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.

* * *

My recommendation: Don’t see it. Not because I’m afraid of what it will do to your faith or your walk with God. But because it was a terrible film. It won’t entertain you. It won’t benefit you. And you will definitely consider it a waste of $12.50 (or $19, if you wanted to see it at a fancy movie theater like I did).

I had high hopes for the flick, but I knew trouble was afoot when the infamous disclaimer didn’t appear at the beginning of the movie. After seeing the first two minutes, I could tell this was going to be a stupid movie. At around the eight-minute mark, I decided this wasn’t a movie I’d want my kids to see.

And then the Rock-People showed up.

I have a feeling that many Christians will not like the film. And I can predict why they won’t like the film. And honestly, there are some good reasons to avoid the movie and some bad ones. I want to present those to you now.


  1.       The Rock-People

I’ll admit it. The Rock-People were kind of dumb. And they were poorly animated. And they were a bunch of wussies. But having said all that, they weren’t entirely unsanctioned. Genesis 6 does make passing references to “the nephilim,” a word that is usually translated “giants” or “dead ones.” The director interpreted them as “Rock-People.” And that’s his prerogative. Is that what nephilim were? Probably not. Did the nephilim really build the ark for Noah? Probably not. Should the existence of Rock-People in the film be the subject of our criticism? Probably not.

  1.       Emma Watson

Noah didn’t have a daughter. But he did have several daughters-in-law. Is it possible that one of his son’s wives lived with them before they tied the knot? Sure. So let it go.

  1.       Too many animals

One scathing review of the movie I came across complained that the movie depicted Noah rescuing all “species” of animals rather than all “kinds” of animals. The reviewer claimed that this was a subtle affront on creationism. Buddy, there were plenty of blatant affronts on creationism. Why complain about the one that probably wasn’t even a thing?


  1.       Noah is far too dark

I understand that we weren’t on the ark, and don’t actually know every single detail of Noah’s journey. I also get that the film was created by Aronofsky, who majors in making movies about demented weirdoes. And I get that the point of the film was to explore the psyche of the titular character in an attempt to understand just how difficult his task was. But Noah goes too far. In its quest to present a gritty, relatable, human Noah, it abandons the only attributes the bible actually ascribes to him:

“This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” (Genesis 6:9)

We hardly see any of these traits in Aronofsky’s Noah. The film does stress the wickedness of man, but the film’s Noah overstresses his own wickedness and the wickedness of his children and grandchildren, claiming that “none of us are blameless.”

The film’s Noah also doesn’t appear very righteous. He is outraged by the miraculous pregnancy of his barren daughter-in-law, going so far as to attempt to kill her children to protect the earth. When asked why he was selected to build the ark, he rejects the notion that it was because of his righteousness and claims it was because God knew “he would get the job done.”

And far from “walking faithfully with God,” the film’s Noah hardly knew God. He joins an agnostic choir that includes the film’s main antagonist and the Rock-People when he screams at the heavens, asking why God won’t answer him and why God is forcing him to murder his children.

  1.       God’s ambiguity

Was the Creator really asking Noah to murder his kids? We don’t actually know, because God never shows up in the film. God only “speaks” to one character, and even though Noah “trusts that God will speak in a way he can understand,” God doesn’t. He speaks through cryptic dreams and esoteric visions, leading Noah to almost stab his grandchildren to death to fulfill what he believes to be God’s will.

The film presents us with two options as to God’s intentions for mankind. One, God left the decision of man’s fate in Noah’s hands, allowing him to decide whether humanity deserves to survive. Or two, God made a mistake by selecting Noah, because ultimately Noah was unable to do what needed to be done; namely, to make sure no humans survived the flood.  Either way, it was Noah’s love for his children rather than God’s love for His children that explains why we are still around today.

  1.       The movie is a waste of a Regal gift card

Ultimately, you aren’t going to like the movie. All blasphemy and misrepresentation aside, it just wasn’t that good. I went into that theatre with an open mind and honestly was hoping it’d be good, but before the opening credits were over, I could tell it was going to be a waste of an evening.

Like I said before, I’m not deterring you from seeing the flick because I’m afraid it might upset your faith; I’m afraid it might upset your credit card. Save your money for Captain America: Winter Soldier. That’s a film that won’t disappoint (mainly because it wasn’t written by Aronofsky).

I’ll leave you with this. The film claims that the Creator desired to save the animal kingdom, and Noah was lucky enough to be their chaperone. But the bible paints a different picture:

So the Lord said, “I will destroy both man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

But then Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:7-8)

The reason God saved the animals is because He loved us, not the other way around. By grace we are saved. We are the apple of His eye. We are the object of His love and affection. We are His children.

And He loves us with such a great love.

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(Read the biblical account of Noah.)

The Biblical Story of Noah: Genesis 6-9


Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” But Noah found favor with the Lord.

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. 10 Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!

14 “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 16 Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.

17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. 18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. 21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”

22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

Chapter 7 

When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous. Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice, and take one pair of each of the others. Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood. Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.”

So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.

Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth. He went on board the boat to escape the flood—he and his wife and his sons and their wives. With them were all the various kinds of animals—those approved for eating and for sacrifice and those that were not—along with all the birds and the small animals that scurry along the ground.They entered the boat in pairs, male and female, just as God had commanded Noah. 10 After seven days, the waters of the flood came and covered the earth.

11 When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. 12 The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights.

13 That very day Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and his sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth—and their wives.14 With them in the boat were pairs of every kind of animal—domestic and wild, large and small—along with birds of every kind. 15 Two by two they came into the boat, representing every living thing that breathes. 16 A male and female of each kind entered, just as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them.

17 For forty days the floodwaters grew deeper, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. 18 As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface. 19 Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, 20 rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. 21 All the living things on earth died—birds, domestic animals, wild animals, small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people. 22 Everything that breathed and lived on dry land died. 23 God wiped out every living thing on the earth—people, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the boat. 24 And the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days.

Chapter 8 

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.

After another forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat and released a raven. The bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. 10 After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. 11 This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. 12 He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.

13 Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. 14 Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”

18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. 21 And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. 22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

Chapter 9 

Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it.

“And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”

Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11 Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”

12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the boat with their father were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham is the father of Canaan.) 19 From these three sons of Noah came all the people who now populate the earth.

20 After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. 21 One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.

24 When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. 25 Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham:

“May Canaan be cursed!
May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.”

26 Then Noah said,

“May the Lord, the God of Shem, be blessed,
and may Canaan be his servant!
27 May God expand the territory of Japheth!
May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem,
and may Canaan be his servant.”

28 Noah lived another 350 years after the great flood. 29 He lived 950 years, and then he died.

(read more at BibleGateway.)

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Ten Logical Reasons Why Sickness Isn’t Good (and a Question for Good Measure)

homer-sickThere are plenty of scriptures that specifically cite healing as good and sickness as bad (there are at least 178 of them, to be somewhat exact).  There is also huge lack of scriptures citing healing as bad and sickness as good (there are less than one, to be somewhat exact).

However, I don’t want to list 178 verses for you here.  Rather, I want to look at the entire bible as a whole and derive ten logical reasons why sickness sucks.

Then I’ll end with a question with an obvious answer that sort of drives the point home.  Enjoy.

  1.      According to the Mosaic Law, sickness makes you unclean.

Being sick meant you were unfit to properly worship God.  You couldn’t enter the temple, couldn’t make sacrifices, and couldn’t hang out with other people.  That is generally viewed as a problem for God followers, since your primary job is to, you know, worship God.

  1.      Jesus healed the sick.

Jesus is the best picture of God we’ve got.  If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus.  And when you observe Jesus, what you find is that He healed every single person who came to Him in faith.  Strangely absent from his three and a half year ministry: spreading malaria.

  1.      Sickness is a curse.

Deuteronomy 28 goes into extensive detail when describing the Curse of the Law.  In that chapter, God mentions just about every single type of sickness, disease, and infirmity known to man (it’s worth noting that He also calls out poverty as a curse).  Centuries later, Paul said Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross rendered us free from the Curse (Galatians 3).

  1.      The plagues didn’t touch Israel.

Generally speaking, the Jews weren’t harmed by the plagues that destroyed Egypt.  God made sure His people were protected.  So even in the event of a deadly virus that threatens to wipe out humanity, rest assured that faithful Christians (read: faith-filled) will be kept safe.

  1.      Sickness isn’t a biblical platform.

No matter which chapter of the bible you read, you’ll never find a story of a terminally ill person using their sickness to promote the gospel.  Rather, you find those people begging to be delivered from their painful plight.  There was no organization in the bible called “Blind guys for Jesus”; they called themselves “Blind guys who really really desperately want to be healed, and won’t relent until they can see.”

  1.      The bible calls sickness “evil.”

Remember the Rich Man and Lazarus?  In Luke 16:25, Abraham said that Lazarus’ life was characterized by “evil things.”  The two defining characteristics of Lazarus were sickness and poverty.

  1.      Sickness was viewed as punishment in the bible days.

There is a story where the disciples come to Jesus and ask Him, “Is this man sick because of his own personal sins, or because of the sins of his parents?”  The mainstream idea of the day was that sickness resulted from sin.  And guess what?  Your sins have been removed.

  1.      Healing was viewed as glorious.

Jesus responds to the disciples’ question by saying, “Neither.  But to show you the glory of God, I’ll heal Him.”  Then POOF!, the man is healed.  People draw all sorts of conclusions from this story, but we have to agree on at least two things: a) Jesus viewed sickness as an unfit state for the man; and b) Jesus called healing “glorious.”

  1.      The bible never says Christians will suffer sickness

Jesus listed many sources of suffering that could befall Christians.  Just about all of them related to persecution.  Sickness never made the list.

10.     Paul never suffered sickness.

Paul, too, listed many things that befell him on his travels (2 Corinthians 11).  Again, sickness didn’t make the cut.

And finally, a Question: Did Jesus ever get sick?

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Three Reasons Why You Should All Go See “God’s Not Dead”

gods not deadLast Friday, Cheyne and I saw the new Christian-themed film, “God’s Not Dead.”  We liked it so much that we decided to take our youth group to see it on Sunday afternoon.

There are a lot of reasons I could give you to go see it, but instead I decided to stir things up a bit and give you three reasons why you shouldn’t see it.

  1.       It’s not perfect

While I overwhelmingly enjoyed the film, there were a couple of lines that I took issue with doctrinally.  This led me to a startling discovery:


But you want to know what?  Christians aren’t perfect either.  And expecting a Christian film to be flawless reveals the inherent flaws in our own expectations.

Christians make mistakes occasionally.  In fact, I’ve said something incorrect once or twice in my life (like my infamous speech to a roomful of promiscuous teenagers at the 2005 JSA Convention).

And while it’d be great for a film to teach the gospel with 100% accuracy in every single detail, a film that teaches that “you can believe in God without committing intellectual suicide” and that Jesus is the only means of salvation is a film worth promoting.

  1.       There are too many bible movies this year

2014 has been dubbed by many as “the Year of the Bible Movie.”  There are a plethora of biblically based films coming out this year… Son of God, Heaven is For Real, Noah, Exodus, and Captain America: Winter Soldier.

But what if this wasn’t an anomaly?  What if it wasn’t uncommon for a dozen movies to feature bible stories and Christian themes every calendar year?  We have tremendous power in our hands.  We can send a message to Hollywood that if they will finance bible movies, we will watch them.  We will promote them.  We will tell our friends about them.  And bible-based movies will do well.

Based on how well these films are received will dictate whether we see Jesus on the big screens next year, or Will Ferrell with no pants on.  In an age where Hollywood films are getting more decadent and more X-rated, we can turn the tide and usher in “the Decade of the Bible Movie.”

Or we can stay home and complain that Moses was too Calvinist/Pentecostal/Environmental/hippy/etc.  Ultimately, your decision will dictate what types of films come out next year.

  1.       No stars, no budget, no academy awards

herculesHercules and Superman walk into a bar… and make a Christian movie.

You probably didn’t get that joke.  For one, it wasn’t funny.  Also, “God’s Not Dead” didn’t have any celebrities from the 21st Century in it.  (But mainly, because it wasn’t funny.)

“God’s Not Dead” didn’t have any famous people in it.  It didn’t have a gigantic budget.  It won’t be nominated for an Academy Award.  And it won’t break any records for “Most Money Ever Made from a Movie Ever.”

And that’s okay.

When you watch movies solely because some famous guy is in it or because it’s been hyped up, you end up with movies like “The Hangover Part 3.”  And nobody wants to see that.  We shouldn’t see movies just because they are Oscar worthy.  In fact, if you look at the list of films that have won “Best Picture,” most of them suck.

“God’s Not Dead” will strengthen your faith.  It will cause you to see militant atheists not as your mortal enemies but as victims besieged by the lies of the devil.  It will embolden you to stand up for what you believe in.  It will cause you to take risks for the sake of the gospel.

And who knows?  If we all make an effort to support movies like “God’s Not Dead,” maybe the film industry will slowly start to change.  Maybe big stars will put their talents and their fortunes toward Christian-themed films.  Maybe we’ll see more celebrities thanking Jesus Christ at the 2015 Academy Awards.  Maybe in a decade or so, Christians will actually like Hollywood because Hollywood likes Christianity.

Or maybe not.  It depends on us.

Baby Shower Q&A: The Unrated Version

Cheyne and I reveal the gender of our baby.  I may look surprised, but I already knew. It's called "acting."

Cheyne and I reveal the gender of our baby. I may look surprised, but I already knew. It’s called “acting.”

We had our baby shower about a month ago. Beforehand, I was given the following questions to answer for the shower. Thought you guys might like reading through it.

1. If the baby could have a superpower what would it be?

The ability to have any superpower it wants.

2. What do you want the baby to be when the baby grows up?

Human.  Also, preferably not a Belieber.

3. What college would you want the baby to go to?

Somewhere close.  And somewhere that doesn’t have the word “fashion” or “burger” in the name.

4. If the baby could be a superhero, what superhero would you want the baby to be?

Superman.  Duh.  He can do everything.

5. What physical characteristic of your spouse do you hope your baby has?

If she’s a girl, then all of ‘em.  Hair, eyes, smile, and the rest.  If we’re having a boy, then definitely Cheyne’s biceps.  Cheyne is freakishly strong.

6. What personality trait of your spouse do you hope your baby has?

Her passion.  If the kid is born with that, he’ll change the world.

7. What physical characteristic of yours do you hope your baby has?

My beard. Hopefully not immediately though, as that probably wouldn’t be convenient for the birthing process.

8. What personality trait of yours do you hope your baby has?

My ability to take important things like baby shower questionnaires seriously.

9. What of yours do you hope your baby doesn’t inherit?

My webbed toes and back hair.  Also, my inability to dunk.

10. How old will your baby be when they lose their first tooth?

Hopefully before the next “Mother’s Day.”  I have a great idea for necklace…

11. How many kids do you want?

Twelve.  I figure if Cheyne says “two” and I say “twelve,” we can compromise at “four” and I’ll look like a caring, understanding guy.

12. How old does the baby have to be before he can date?

It depends if he is a boy or she is a girl.  If she is a girl, never.  If he’s a boy, thirty.

13. Who’s changing poopy diapers?

Whoever wants to be the favorite grandma.

14. What are you most looking forward to about being a parent?

Getting to tell other people how to raise their kids.

15. How long do you think labor will last?

Fourteen seconds.  Speakin’ it by faith. (Air-fives my wife.)

This mean little girl snuck into the shower and punched me in the gut!

This mean little girl snuck into the shower and punched me in the gut!

16. Who is most likely to faint during delivery?

The nurse.  When she sees how handsome my son is.

17. Who will cry more when their baby will be born?

Probably me, unless “Titanic” is playing in the delivery room, in which case, tie.

18. How did Cheyne tell Garrett she was pregnant?

She woke me up at 5 AM on the morning of August 12th.  I had feared that she found out I had replaced her “special” medicine with Tic-Tacs.  And I guess to some degree, she had.

19. What are Cheyne’s pregnancy cravings?

One Tree Hill marathons and baths.

20. What was the most challenging thing about being pregnant?

My body being stretched and warped beyond reason, having to get up six times a night to pee, gaining thirty pounds, and having to squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of my body.  Oh wait, that was Cheyne.  I haven’t been inconvenienced all that much.

21. What is your must have baby item?

Diamond Blu-Ray Edition of Braveheart.  Or as we call it, “School.”

22. How much will your baby weigh?

Let’s go with seven pounds.  I made the mistake of accidentally saying “ten pounds” last week to Cheyne (which apparently is a big number), and I was harshly rebuked for my unbelief.

23. How will you handle temper tantrums?

Duct tape.  They’ve worked well so far.  Oh, you mean for the baby…

24. Who came up with the baby’s name?

Our Ouija board.  The magic 8-ball had said, “Ask again later,” but we didn’t have time to wait.

25. What will the baby’s first word be?


26. Will you buy the baby a car at 16?

Baby can get a job if he wants to drive.

27. When will you start saving for college?

There are these things called “scholarships” nowadays. Lil’ Milo can get straight A’s if he wants to go to college…

28. What gender do you want the baby to be?

Can’t we let the baby decide?  I mean, it is the 21st Century after all, and my insurance isn’t the only thing that’s Progressive…

29. What do you think will be the biggest lifestyle change when becoming a parent?

More romantic dates with Cheyne and more midnight showings of superhero movies with Cameron.

30. What game/toy are you most looking forward to playing with your baby?

Setting the rowboat up in the backyard and playing with our “imagination.”

 31. Who will be more strict?

That will be obsolete, because my baby will be an angel and never do anything wrong.

Cheyne and I at our baby shower.

Cheyne and I at our baby shower.

Eight Guaranteed Ways to Lengthen Your Life

 photoEver heard a Christian lament that at any given moment in time, God might just decide to “take” their life? 

Absolute hogwash!

For one, God isn’t in the business of killing His people.  He is the Life Giver, not the Life Stealer.

And two, why would He tell us over and over and over again the many different ways we can extend our time here on earth?

Here are eight guaranteed ways to lengthen your life, according to God.

  1. Learn, remember, and keep God’s Word (Proverbs 3:1-2)
  2. Honor your mom and dad (Ephesians 6:1-3)
  3. Set your love on God (Psalm 91:14-16)
  4. Fear the Lord (Proverbs 10:27)
  5. Be honest in your business transactions (Deuteronomy 25:13-15)
  6. Use your words wisely (Proverbs 13:3)
  7. Be humble (Proverbs 22:4)
  8. Ask (Psalm 21:4)
  9. Don’t eat a mama bird if you find her in a nest filled with eggs (Deuteronomy 22:7)

Number 9 was a bonus.  I figured that most of us would rarely find ourselves in that sort of situation, so we all have eight applicable ways to lengthen our lives, and the avian biologists reading this got an extra one thrown in.

It’s worth mentioning that Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that the commandment to “honor your mother and father” is the first command with promise.  These are eight promises (or nine, depending on your affinity for birds) that God has made to you.

And assuming we can trust God at His Word, this is definitive proof that God wants you to live a long, satisfying life. 

We have a choice before us.  We can choose to believe the nonsense that a few preachers are spouting out.  Or, we can choose to believe God.

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.  Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

[ your turn: There are other “long life” scriptures, to be sure. Which ones did I miss? ]

Jesus Stalker

jesus-and-the-multitudeI think a lot of people are Jesus Stalkers.  They listen to the music they think He likes, they hang out at the places they think He likes, they read the books they think He likes.  They even daydream about spending eternity with Him.  But they don’t actually talk to Him.

Listen, going to church is very important.  So are listening to worship music and reading Christian books.  But none of those are a substitute for spending time with God.

So put down the Joseph Prince book, turn off the Jesus Culture CD, and go pray.  Not “I’m praying because I need more stuff” or “I’m praying because I’m also driving.”  Genuine prayer with your heavenly Dad.  Time set apart for Him.  Simply because you love Him.

It’ll be good for you.  I promise.

Two Important Lessons on Faith You Missed from My Last Blog

Jesus(Read My Last Blog Post)

Jesus was unable to do “mighty works” for the people of Galilee due to their unbelief.  The people had hardened their hearts toward the notion of a miracle-working God, and they received exactly what they believed they would.


But here’s the silver lining most of us miss when considering this passage.

“Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” (Mark 6:5)

Even in the midst of their marvelous unbelief, Jesus was still able to heal a few of ‘em.  I don’t know how much a few is.  I’d say at least three, but we’d all agree that the bare minimum would be two.  I also don’t know what sorts of ailments he cured that morning.  Decide for yourselves if it was a common cold, a broken wrist, or a sprained ankle.  It hardly matters what He healed.  The point is that He did it.  Even when faced with mockery and detestation, God’s goodness still was present!

I also like that healing only three or so people of mild illnesses isn’t considered that big of a deal.  For most churches, that’d be a great year, but for Jesus, it was kind of a letdown.

There are two lessons we can glean from this story.

1. Even in churches with obscene amounts of unbelief, God can still show up.  If you’re willing to trust God, you can bring God’s kingdom wherever you go, and you can at least lay hands on a few sick people and heal them.

2. Don’t settle for less than what’s available.  The bible says that when only a handful of people are healed, it’s hardly worth mentioning.  God has so much more in store for those who have the audacity to trust in Him.

Don’t allow the unbelief of a few to slow you down.  Go out into the world and do the greater works Jesus has called you to do!

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The One Thing Jesus Couldn’t Do

beautiful-jesusJesus walked on water.  He calmed the raging seas.  He healed the sick, opened blind eyes and deaf ears, and caused the lame to walk.  He fed ten thousand people with a kindergartener’s sack lunch… on two separate occasions.  He went head to head with the religious elite, defended the widows and orphans, and transformed the world as we know it.  He did everything and could do anything.

Well, not quite anything.

“Now Jesus could do no mighty work [in His own country], except that He laid His hands in a few sick people and healed them.” (Mark 6:5)

Hold the phone.  Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Great High Priest, the Lion of Judah and Lamb of God, the Son of Man, the Jesus, couldn’t do mighty works?

That doesn’t make any sense.  What could have prevented the Word Made Flesh Himself from healing the masses, when He had already proven Himself more than capable?  What force possibly could have stopped Jesus Christ of Nazareth from performing mighty works?

“And He marveled because of their unbelief.” (Mark 6:6)

It was the people’s lack of faith that stopped the miraculous power of God from working in their lives.  They chose to believe that Jesus’ power wasn’t available for them.  And as a result, it wasn’t. 

Over and over and over again in the scriptures, we read that it is our faith that triggers God’s power to move in our lives.  Every single day, we make thousands of choices to trust in the world and the circumstances and whatever else there is, or to trust in God’s Word.

The Galileans chose to reject God’s Word.

I’m choosing to trust God.

What’re you going to choose?

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