NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

Captive or War Room

Image Source: http://theyoungfolks.com/review/jons-movie-review-captive/64320
Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvBUfx9_kRoGexuOLr3iKtg

So my friend wanted to hang out with me one last time before I head to Mozambique and we decided to go see the new movie Captive.

Here’s a preview if your interested:

But recently I also went to the theaters to see War Room.

Here’s a preview if your interested:

So now that I’ve seen them both, I thought I’d compare the two.

While both of these movies are Christian based and have compelling stories, they are very different in how they communicate their message. On the one hand, War Room tells a fictional story of a marriage that is falling apart and how prayer is the real answer to the couple’s problems. And on the other hand we have Captive telling us the true story of Ashley Smith’s being held hostage and finding that her life and her captor’s life both have purpose.

Although both films have Christian elements, War Room has a clearer Christian message. Captive is more of a thriller movie with God having a purpose for your life woven into the story. It is also much darker than War Room due to its story involving drugs, murder, and violence. Though War Room also deals with hard issues such as divorce, unfaithfulness, and fraud, it has several comedic moments, especially with the character Clara making odd comments or observations. She has a way of making the audience laugh or smile.

So although both of these movies were well made, had good messages, and were enjoyable to watch, I think I enjoyed War Room a bit more. This is partly due to my enjoyment of comedies over dramas, but in any case I would highly recommend both of these movies. So if you’re looking for something to go see, check out War Room or Captive.

I will be offline till mid October because of the mission trip, so look for a new post around October 20th.

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Music’s Effect

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Have you ever noticed how much music affects you? Whether it’s during a movie or at a church worship service, music has a way of stimulating our emotions. It’s a powerful thing, and may effect more than we’d like to admit. Music can set the mood; at a party you want upbeat music but while you’re studying sometimes relaxing is the way to go. I’ve even noticed that depending on what music I’m listening to in the car, I drive differently. So what kind of music do you let affect you? Is it uplifting? Is it exciting? Is it just fun or repetitive?

I’ve found all kinds of music that I enjoy, but one of my favorite memories is going to a little church in Limbe, Haiti and joining in their worship music with fellow believers. I didn’t know the language, there were very simple amps and microphones, and no instrument besides the drum. But it was truly inspiring. I filmed a few clips on my little camera and made a video. If you feel like watching, go ahead.

I know music can be an expression of the soul, and not everyone likes the same kind of music. But if you feel the urge to listen to some of my favorite songs, I’ll post them here. I hope they lift you up today and maybe encourage you to worship God. By the way these are in no particular order since my favorite song changes with my mood or on how recently I’ve heard it.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” one of my favorite hymns. The video has an interesting retelling of the man who wrote the hymn.

“The House of God Forever” is a song based on Psalm 23. It is very calming and a good reminder of God’s presence with us.

“See You Tomorrow” is a soundtrack song from How to Train Your Dragon. It’s so fun, I just love it.

Well I could put music up all day, but what are some of your favorite songs that your love to listen to over and over?

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Waiting

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This morning I was in a Doctor’s Office Waiting Room and it reminded me of what I’ve been reading in the book of Job. You see Job was in the tough spot of waiting on God for answers. There was a little diagram in my Bible that mentioned several other people in the Bible who had to wait for something. It seems like one of God’s favorite tools to help us grow and mature is making us wait for something. I usually think of myself as a pretty patient person, but to me waiting is usually nothing more than sitting in a doctor’s office for 30 minutes or sitting in traffic for an hour to get home from work or school.

There have been occasions where I had to wait longer, maybe months, or maybe years for something and I think that’s when it gets really hard to be patient or content. I’m sure several people in the Bible felt the same way about having to wait whether it was for a child, a promise from God, or all kinds of other things. Some of them never even got to see what they were hoping for, because it wasn’t fulfilled until future generations came along, but still they waited and trusted God to keep His promises.

In this day and age waiting can be seen as a negative thing. We want everything at the touch of a button. Even Amazon has started a new delivery service that gets you your product shipped to you within hours. But waiting isn’t all bad; in fact it has some benefits that we often overlook. When I think about it, having to wait for something often increases the value of the thing I am waiting for. For example, say a movie comes out that I’ve known about and wanted to see for years. I’d be really excited to go see it because I’ve had to wait for it for so long. But say I just hear about a movie the week it comes out. I may want to see it, but I wouldn’t be as excited. Another example comes from when I was a kid. Waiting for Christmas to arrive was really hard, but when I finally got to open all those presents under the tree on Christmas morning, it made for a very special and memorable occasion.

Another benefit of waiting comes more specifically when we are waiting on God. When we get what we want from God, or what He has promised us right away, there is some good that comes from it. We usually praise God and it feels great. But when we don’t get the answer, or the thing we’re waiting for, it forces us to trust God even when we don’t get what we want, or don’t see His goodness. It helps us to practice trusting Him, and not just what He gives us. Faith can be defined as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. God wants us to have faith in Him even if we do not see. He doesn’t want us to just say He is God and we trust Him, he wants us to live it. And He gives us plenty of chances to practice living our faith when we are stuck waiting. And although it isn’t fun, it is effective. Our faith grows and is strengthened by the obstacle of waiting.

So maybe this week you’re stuck waiting for something, try to remember that waiting can be a good thing and ask God to strengthen your faith while you are waiting.

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Ten Things a Christian Should Try

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I’ve seen a lot of blog posts or quizzes where we’re told places we should see, things we should try, or something we have to experience before we die. There’s food, landscapes, movies, books. Just ask and you’ll get hundreds of suggestions of what you should do. But I was thinking about this the other day, and a lot of the suggestions you get of what to do before you die are… empty. You do them and it’s fun, or yummy or pretty. But then it’s over, and that’s it. I started thinking through what things can we do that have eternal significance, that actually make a difference. So I started making a list of suggestions I would make to other Christians of things they should ‘try’ and hopefully continue to do. Anyway, it’s not in any specific order, but if you’re following Jesus maybe you should try some of these things.

1. Give Sacrificially

Hands, Suit, Give, Take, Offer, Present, Presentation

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/hands-suit-give-take-offer-462296/

Or in more plain terms, give till it hurts. Try giving money or time or possessions not so you feel good about yourself or don’t feel guilty, but actually for someone else. Give in a way that is hard, maybe more than you think you can give. It’s surprising what can happen when you do, and how freeing it is. It can also help remind you that your security comes from God and not what you own.

2. Pray for Everything

Girl, Praying, Hands, Eyelashes, Closed, Eye, Eyes

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/girl-praying-hands-eyelashes-15599/

 

I mean this not in a greedy way but in actually praying for things even when they seem trivial or impossible. Like ask God to help you find your lost car keys or pray and ask Him to restore a broken friendship, or heal someone of cancer. I won’t promise that He will say yes to every request, but He knows best how to answer your prayers and He loves it when you ask Him. You may be surprised with how He answers.

3. Read the Whole Bible

Bible, Hand, Designate, Read, Christian, Study

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/bible-hand-designate-read-1089968/

I know some people struggle with reading their Bible at all, or prefer to read favorite sections over and over. But I can honestly say reading the whole thing has been so good for me. Sometimes reading a passage that isn’t quoted often brings new insight to me, or a little surprise, and spending time in God’s word is so refreshing and good for me. It reminds me what is true and important and often puts my life’s problems in perspective.

4. Serve at Church

Church, Buildings, Christian, Clergy, Spire, Steeple

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/church-buildings-christian-clergy-157216/

Many people at least in America can view church as a place to get their needs met, to be taught, and encouraged and in some cases, entertained. But the Church is meant to be a body with everyone helping each other. Even if it’s passing out bulletins, or hanging out with children, if you get involved with a church and seek to serve and not just be served, there is so much blessing!

5. Share the Gospel

Clasped Hands, Comfort, Hands, People, Adult, Friends

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-541849/

Share the Gospel with a friend, a coworker, a neighbor or even a stranger. There’s nothing like telling someone about what has changed your life, made you who you are and given you hope and peace. Not only is it a command but it brings so much joy and purpose into your life when you step out and share the Good News that Jesus saves sinners.

6. Rest on the Sabbath

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Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/girl-sleep-child-feather-1041019/

I know it’s hard to stop, especially in this culture, but we all need a break and God gave us the command to rest for a reason. Actually taking a break, even from good things like work or serving others, is needed. Otherwise we get burned out. Plus, changing up our routine and taking a break can help us listen to God more easily.

7. Fast

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Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/rigatoni-pasta-noodles-food-meal-569072/

Or more specifically fast from something that’s hard to let go of. It may be food, but it could be your cell phone, or television, or internet. Take a break from something that controls you, let go of it and don’t let it dictate your life. Often when we let go of something that distracts us constantly, and consciously choose to ignore it, it is much easier for God to speak to us.

8. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Woman, Girl, Afraid, Frightened, Scared, Young, Female

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/woman-girl-afraid-frightened-933488/

This could be as simple as talking to a neighbor you hardly know, or driving to that part of town that you don’t like, or even going on a mission trip across seas. But the point is, when you follow God into uncomfortable situations, it forces you to rely on Him and not yourself. And it’s a constant reminder that it’s not about you but about God. And even though it’s uncomfortable, you don’t have to worry, because God’s in control, and you might find that it’s quite fun to see God work in your uncomfortable situation.

9. Care for the Poor

People, Homeless, Male, Street, Poverty, Social, City

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/people-homeless-male-street-850097/

Jesus constantly told us to care for the poor, but it’s easy to forget. However, what if you actually did it? What if you packed extra water bottles in the car to pass out to the homeless, or spent a day serving at a soup kitchen? There is great blessing in obeying Jesus and caring for what He cares about. Why not try and see what He does?

10. Worship God

Person, Human, Joy, Sunset, Sun, Orange, Lust For Life

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/person-human-joy-sunset-sun-110303/

Worship everywhere, not just at church. For me singing is a way to worship God and I can do it by myself in my room, or along with the radio as I’m driving, but it always reminds me of what’s important, who God is and who I am and I need that reminder more than just on Sunday mornings. Maybe you’re not a singer and staring up at a night sky, or at a beautiful sunset inspires you to praise God for His handiwork. But no matter what your preference, take time to worship God, and refocus on Him.

Well there’s my list, I hope you get a chance to try some of these, or do them again if you’ve already done them. But more than that, I hope you grow closer to God through them and become more like Jesus, because that will last through eternity.

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The Finale

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So because I don’t have cable, sometimes I don’t get to see the Finale of a show until weeks later than most people. But that’s alright with me as long as I get to see it eventually. Often with my favorite shows the finale is the best episode. Now not every show does a finale well and some shows don’t even get a finale, they just get canceled, which is horrible for people who really enjoy it. But in any case, this past week I saw the finale for one of my favorite shows: White Collar. And it was perfect! It focused on all of the elements of the show that I loved, the relationships, a cool con pulled off by Neal, and ultimately what I’ve waited to see for so long. If you haven’t seen this show, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I would definitely tell you to check it out. All seasons are up on Netflix right now.

Anyway, seeing the finale episode for White Collar made me think about all the other finales I’ve enjoyed and why I enjoyed them. As in many TV shows, there can be no real conclusion or ending during the normal running of the show. In sitcoms, characters may learn lessons during the course of the show, but they generally stay the same throughout the series, not experiencing real change. Otherwise the set up for the show might not work anymore. On the other hand, TV dramas often have a lot of changes going on but one thing that the audience is really rooting for, like a certain relationship to finally work out, or a problem to finally get solved, or a bad guy to finally get caught. Well the finale is supposed to finally give us those things it promises; the couple does get together, the world does get saved, the bad guy is dead or in jail. It’s the conclusion, the resolution, the ending. And it better be a satisfying one.

But what about in real life. What’s my finale? What happens when my life is over? Do all the things I strive for get resolved? Is my ending going to be satisfying? Well I was watching a movie with my family last night called Heaven Is For Real. It’s based on a book which is based on a father’s account of what his 4-year-old son went through and described to him. All of it stirs up a lot of questions about life, death and what comes after. I think we can all agree that a happy ending is preferable to a sad one. The finales that end with giving us everything we wanted for our favorite characters makes us feel satisfied. But the ones where we get surprised with a death, or many deaths, feel wrong. That’s not what we wanted. Maybe it seems more realistic, but it’s not what I want to see.

Anyway, all this reminds me of a verse from the Bible, written by a very wise man. It says, “He (God) has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

As a follower of Jesus, I believe what He said about my finale or my ending. I believe that whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And I also believe that this life is part of it. My eternity doesn’t start when I die, I’m already living. I get to know Jesus now and grow closer to Him each day here on earth. But I also know that even when the day comes and I leave this earth, my story isn’t over. I do get an eternity with my best friend and Savior and I get to be a part of His family of believers forever.

Another verse from the Bible that comforts me is 1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Having a happy ending is not something I have to worry about, I can know I have eternal life because I know Jesus. He is faithful, He is true, He is alive, and He keeps His promises. He has promised eternal life to those who believe in Him and I trust His promise.

So I don’t know what you think about finales, about life after death, about Jesus, but maybe you should spend some time thinking about it today. After all everyone’s finale is going to come sooner or later.

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Great Adventure Week

So this week is my church’s Great Adventure. Since I was in Jr High, this has been a part of my summer plans. So I thought I’d share a taste of what it can be like. This is a short story I wrote about my experiences at the Bible clubs one summer and the lessons I learned. I hope you enjoy!

July 2010 167

Backyard Bible Clubs

It was a hot July morning, the kind of morning that starts out hot and just continues to get worse. The only relief is the sweet air conditioning of a building. I stared at the barren landscape before me. This was my first club as a captain, and it didn’t look pretty. A field of dead grass lay before me, with a small playground in the distance. We were in a park, a park with very little shade. A few scraggly looking trees stood off to our left. Some people were hanging out in the shade there.

“Alright, you ready?” our driver asked as he hopped out of the car.

No one answered him. We had prayed before leaving the church that morning, we had prayed before leaving the car, but I still felt like praying some more, begging God to help me not mess up. I grabbed the bag of supplies from the trunk and headed for the shade.

Our enthusiastic driver bounded over to the play scape to hang out with the kids. He was one of those guys that had graduated and wasn’t on a team anymore, but had run the clubs in the past.

I watched him run and wished that I felt as excited as him, but all I felt was nerves. It seemed like all the pressure was on me; I was the captain after all. But I took a deep breath and checked with my teammates verifying that everyone knew what their roles were for the day.

Soon we had a little game of bounce the beach ball to each other going, and more kids started to arrive. We had to take water breaks between each game because of the heat, but it seemed like the kids were having fun.

I caught Sammy’s eye, “Can you keep the game going?”

She nodded.

I ran to the bag of supplies and pulled out my Bible and the curriculum. I glanced over my story for the hundredth time and prayed again for calm nerves.

Then the kids began to gather on an old blanket.

“Who’s ready for story time?” Jake said excitedly.

The kids yelled back at him, some said “Me!” and others said “No, more games!” But eventually all were corralled onto the blanket.

“Hey boys and girls!” I said as my many times of practice kicked in. “Welcome to Backyard Bible Clubs! My name’s Lydia, and this is Jake, he’s going to hold some pictures for me. And that’s Sammy on the blanket. Today I’m going to tell you a story from God’s Word, the Bible.” I held up the Bible. “See?”

The kids nodded along and listened fairly well as I guided them through the story of Mary.

As I came to the end of the story, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. This wasn’t so hard after all. Most of the kids actually liked the story and listened, not like the teens at camp who had made snarky comments. “Alright kids,” I finished, “Now it’s time for another game!”

* * * * *

The rest of the club went fairly smoothly, we had a few times of uncertainty, and Jake forgot a part during his gospel presentation, but for the most part, it went better than I had feared it would. As we packed up the car to head to the next club I waved at the kids, “Don’t forget to wear your cowboy outfits tomorrow for Tumbleweed Tuesday!”

The later clubs all seemed to get easier and easier. Our team began to flow, we all knew what came next, where to go, what to do, and we started to learn how to keep the kids’ attention better and better. By the evening, I felt like a pro, but I also felt exhausted. We had gotten up at seven in the morning and we didn’t get back to the church till at least nine o’clock.

And it wasn’t over, the next day we had to do it all again. Four clubs, four stories, four gospel presentations, tons of games, and crazy kids all day long. The only break we got was in the middle of the afternoon, in the heat of the day. We would come back to the church office, and relax, or practice the next day’s routine if we thought we weren’t ready. But often times, we would just take a nap, because after all those screaming kids, we needed some shut eye.
One of the best parts about the week was Wednesday. Not only did it mark the middle of the week, so we were given hope of rest and the week being completed, but it was also Water Day. So instead of suffering in the summer heat, we were able to cool off with buckets, splash balls, hoses, and water guns. Usually the club would conclude in an all-out war with every kid and leader trying to get someone else wet. It was great.

In all the commotion of the week; seeing prayers get answered for different teams, keeping up with what day was what, and just trying to remember sixty kids’ names, it was hard for me to remember that I had a birthday coming up. It was on a Friday this year, the day of Summerfest, our end of the week carnival. When my Mom pulled up to the elementary school parking lot, where our church met, we could see booths set up everywhere. It almost felt like a big party just for me. We had hotdogs, cake, and candy, played games with kids from our clubs and even had a live band playing music.

I signed up for the dunking booth so kids that knew me from clubs could have fun dunking me in the water. It was a little scary to sit on the edge of a plastic seat that you knew could go out from under you at any second. But it was also fun to get a good view of all the families walking around, and the water was refreshing when you did fall in.
All in all, that summer taught me some valuable lessons. I leaned not to be so quiet, and that even someone like me could be a leader. I also learned to pray more, as I saw God answer prayers for specific kids to be saved and for my own calmness during a club. I also learned to rely on my teammates and let them use their own gifts and talents. So that was my summer… my Great Adventure.

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Why Share?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dannysullivan/4544087069

So I asked my sister what should I post about today, and she enthusiastically suggested that I share one of her favorite webcomics with my blog audience. It’s a comic that she has been following for over a year and it doesn’t have a huge fanbase so she is always trying to tell other people about it. It’s something she enjoys and she wants everyone around her to know about it, especially because not a lot of people know how great it is. So, I will share the comic’s link at the end of this post, but what I actually want to write about is why we share in the first place.

You see when I hear sharing, I usually think of two little kids fighting over a toy and an adult telling them they need to share. But after that scenario stops buzzing around in my head, I think of what does it mean to share your faith. Since I follow Jesus, and have been for quite a few years, I’ve heard this phrase more than a few times. “Share your faith… go and share your faith… just share your faith” but what does it mean to share your faith? It’s got to be more than pressing a Share button on Facebook. So how do you do it, and more importantly, why do you do it?

My sister bouncing next to me in her enthusiasm to share her favorite webcomic is not how I would describe most Christian’s reaction to “sharing their faith.” It somehow seems a lot easier to share our favorite movies, books, or TV shows rather than our faith. Maybe it’s because of fear. It’s a lot easier to accept that someone else doesn’t enjoy the same entertainment you do, but when they don’t understand something that makes you who you are, well that’s hard. And it’s hard for everybody, not just Christians. It’s hard to open up and be honest about what is really most important to you, what has shaped you and made you who you are. It can be scary to let people in, tell them about being bullied or abused, or that you’ve had a divorce or whatever.

So I think that’s one reason why it can be hard to do, but it can also be hard if you’re doing it for the wrong reason. Your motivation for why you do something is so critical to your enjoyment or hatred of doing it. I think a lot of Christians feel pressured to “share their faith” because they’re just “supposed to,” and they don’t enjoy doing it anymore than someone told to share their personal thoughts, just because they should. It’s not comfortable.

But what do people enjoy sharing, and when do they enjoy sharing it? As with my sister, people enjoy sharing something that they like, that’s good and beneficial and well, enjoyable. It you just tried a new restaurant and they have the best burgers you’ve ever tasted, telling other’s about it just feels natural. But you might not go up to the first random person you see and tell them, “You have to try this restaurant!” More likely, you’ll tell your friends. And yes maybe the occasional stranger if it comes up in conversation.

And I think this is more of what it looks like to share your faith as a Christian. It shouldn’t be a burden but a joy. It’s you telling the people around you who you know and care about, what God is doing in your life. You’re telling people about how you were worried about finances or a job interview or whatever is going on in your life, and you asked God for help, and what do you know, He did! That’s exciting and it’s alright to share that with people even if they aren’t Christians. And honestly, that is much more appealing to hear than someone telling you why you should believe what they believe.

In fact I have a real example from today. I’ve been raising support to go on a Mission Trip to Mozambique this fall. But for the past several weeks, I’ve seemed to hit a wall in my support. I was starting to worry about how to get the remaining money and what else I could do to raise it. So I asked for prayer, specifically that God would provide what I needed and give my heart peace. Then this morning, out of the blue, my cousin texted me and asked about how the support was going and how he could help. It was a literal answer to prayer and I was overjoyed! God is so good and I’m so happy that He showed me that I don’t have to raise support on my own. He has all I need and He will provide it.

So I know that was a long post, and I still want to share the webcomic that my sister asked me to, so here it is: http://www.thesilvereye.com/comic/chapter-1-cover-4/

But I hope this little post helped take some of the pressure off for you to “share,” and helps you know that sharing your life with people and letting them know what is going on and what God is doing is something you can enjoy.

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Encouraging Stories

So this past week, someone posted a video on Facebook about a Jewish man who had come to believe in Jesus. As I watched it I was just so encouraged because it reminded me that Jesus is not just a made up Savior that only people who grow up Christian believe in. Jesus breaks through to people no matter what situation they are in, they could have grown up as a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, or even an Atheist and He still loves them. He is God, He is alive and He is saving people! That really encouraged me this week. So I thought I’d share a few stories here. I hope they encourage you too.

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My Favorite Character in LOTR

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Well, I was thinking recently over one of my favorite movie/book series: Lord of the Rings. I admit I’ve watched the movies more times than I’ve read the books, so my opinions are mostly based on the film version. But I’ve been a fan for sometime now, and I’ve noticed that over the years my favorite character or the one I connect to most has changed.

When I first heard of Lord of the Rings I was in 5th grade and a teacher tried splitting us into teams based on if we liked Frodo or Sam better. I barely knew anything about the story, but I knew Frodo was the main character. And in almost anything I read or watched, the main character was my favorite. This seemed to hold true as my classmates began choosing Frodo. So I jumped on the bandwagon and said Frodo was my favorite.

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Well, when I finally got to read and watch the movies for myself, I was offered so many more options for a favorite character. There was Gandalf the wise and powerful wizard, Gimli, the grumpy yet loveable dwarf, Legolas the attractive and agile elf, Merry and Pippin the mischievous and hilarious hobbits, Sam, the best friend of Frodo, Arogorn the mysterious and humble ranger, and a host of other side characters. Faramir and Eowyn also come to mind. In any case, picking a favorite character just got a lot harder. There were so many great characters, how could I choose? After watching the movies, and the extended editions, and the behind the scenes features, I finally settled on Aragorn. For one he was good with horses, not only as a character, but the actor too. And he was the good king that came from humble beginnings. So he was wise, yet fierce, loyal and brave. He led his friends, and he was good looking too. Plus I felt as if he was genuine because the actor wasn’t completely acting; he would fight for real with the stuntmen. And so the character of Aragorn was more and more attractive.

Viggo as Aragorn

Aragorn remained my favorite character for sometime. How could anyone compete with him? But what do you know, as I got older, the one character I rejected even from the beginning when I was choosing between Sam and Frodo has made a comeback. When I rewatched the LOTRs recently, I found myself more and more impressed and attracted to Sam. He may not have a lot going for him on the surface, he doesn’t go on all the crazy adventures that most of the characters do, he isn’t even the one carrying the ring. He’s short, a bit plump, and not as funny as Merry or Pippin. But Sam has something that I’ve come to value. He is honest, he is faithful despite the circumstances, he is protective and hopeful and looks for the bright side. He encourages Frodo and just as Frodo said, “Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam.”

Without Sam, the quest would have failed, yet he stays back in the shadows, he doesn’t look for glory or respect. He’s just doing his job, looking out for his friends and putting other’s needs before his own. In my eyes, he’s doing what God has called each Christian to do: to serve, to love, to point the people around us to the truth and hope we have in God and to keep going, even when it’s hard. Sam’s speeches are the most memorable part of LOTRs for me. So I’ll end with my favorite.

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Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

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Christian Movies and TV Shows

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There seem to be more and more movies and TV shows about Christian topics these days. Recreating Bible stories has become especially popular in the entertainment industry.  For example, “A. D. The Bible Continues” is a new TV show that has started quite recently. But recreating Bible stories is not the only Christian themed entertainment out there. There have also been a slew of Christian films coming out in theaters. One such film that I got to see recently was “Do You Believe?” As a Christian, or Christ follower, I thought I’d give my opinion on these most recent Christian entertainment pieces, and how we as Christians should react to them.

 

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I’ll start with A.D. Since Easter this new drama has been playing on NBC. It follows the stories of Christ’s disciples and what they had to face in the early days of the Church. The network picked the right time to start the series, launching the show on Easter Sunday, with the Resurrection of Jesus being the main focus of the first episodes. The 3rd episode showed last night. As a Christian, I was naturally interested in this show. I’ve read about the history of the early church in the gospel accounts and in the book of Acts several times, and I was excited to see how this TV show would portray it.

But just as a movie can take liberties with it’s source material, (It seems like fans of books that were made into movies are never satisfied with the outcome), so this show can take liberties with the Biblical accounts. And I admit, there were a few instances when something was left out of the story. For example, in this most recent episode I was looking forward to seeing Peter give his sermon that brought thousands of people to believe in Jesus. In the Bible, this happened right after the Holy Spirit came, as a result of people asking questions about the disciples strange behavior. But this part of the story was skipped over in the episode, and instead the focus was put on Peter and John getting arrested in the temple.

From what I’ve seen of this series so far, the focus is on how hard it was for early believers, and the trials they had to overcome. It also gives us a look into the Roman ruler’s life and how they viewed what was going on. And although it is enjoyable to watch, and much of the story is consistent with the Biblical account, you can tell that this is meant to be a drama. And just like any cop drama on TV, there are good guys, bad guys and action and adventure with the audience always left hanging, so they’ll want to watch more. I will probably keep watching this show with interest, and I think the quality of the plot line and acting is all nice and good. But in the end, this is a TV show, not God’s Word. So keep that in mind, and remember that the screenwriters have taken a creative license with their source material.

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Next, I’d like to talk about “Do You Believe?” Like so many other Christian films, this movie attempts to give a Christian message through the telling of a compelling story. It ties together the lives of several characters all with the focus of if they will choose to believe in Jesus and act on their faith. The movie was well made, the story compelling, and I liked the character development. I think the film had a good message; that Christian’s can’t just say they believe and then go on living however they want to, that it takes commitment to follow Christ. It can be an encouraging story to see played out. But in the end, it is just a story. The events did not really happen, and even though God is at work in our lives for real, we often don’t see things work out as nicely as it does in a movie script.

So in conclusion, here’s a few things I think we should remember when watching Christian entertainment, whether it be a movie made by Christians, or by Hollywood, or even a TV show.

1. Always Come Back to God’s Word. 

Don’t base your faith on a movie or TV show. Base your faith on Jesus Christ and no other. He didn’t leave us a movie when he went back to heaven, but He did give us His Word, the Bible. Don’t take his gift lightly. Use it, and get to know Him for yourself. And make sure your view of God is shaped more by His Word, and a pastor’s teaching, than by the entertainment you watch.

2. Don’t let watching something become a substitute for doing it yourself.

If can be easy to watch some compelling movie or show, get caught up in all of the emotions, and enjoy the thrill of it. But don’t confuse it, with real life. God didn’t just use the disciples in His work, He wants to use you too. It’s not enough for us to watch and clap when someone else does the right thing, we need to do the right thing in our life. And we need to keep doing it, even if things don’t work out the way we want, or we don’t get the happy ending that we expect. God’s plan is so much bigger than our own, so much bigger than a human writer’s script. We won’t get to see the Big Picture in our lifetime. Maybe we’ll get hints at it, little previews of how God is working things together for good. But even if we don’t see it all, we can still have faith that it will because God is Faithful, and He is Good.

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