Maleficent the Misunderstood?

Maleficent the Misunderstood?

I remember being very creeped out by Maleficent as a kid. The combination of the goat horns with the green goddess nuclear fog that always trailed her was the stuff of nightmares.

Plus, I blame Disney for my aversion to ravens and my tendency to freak whenever I got my finger pricked for blood before I turned 16.

And now after all these years….she’s baaaack!

Looks like Angelina Jolie was the perfect choice for the mistress of all evil – but I am both fascinated and frustrated with the direction the film takes.

upperWhy? Well, call me old fashioned, but I like my evil villains to be, you know, really eeeeevil – as in black-hearted, cruel creatures of irredeemable malevolent wickedness – so that when they are destroyed you feel really good about good triumphing over evil.

But alas, now we live in the days of the Disney revisionist revolution, where the Wicked Witch of the East, Maleficent, heck even Darth Vader are less portrayed as vile and more emphasized as misunderstood victims who are only acting out of their angst.

Whatever…

Don’t get me wrong – the back story is interesting, and overall I’m a fan of the House of Mouse, but this trend of blurring the lines between good and evil reminds me of a very stern warning from the Word of God:

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter 
(Isaiah 5:20).

This admonition was penned by the prophet Isaiah over 26 centuries ago, but is as relevant today as anything else I have read in the Bible.

Our polluted media is called “freedom of expression.”

Our neglect of the poor is called “self-preservation.”

Our craving for what others have is called “ambition.”

Our denial of absolute truth is called “open-mindedness.”

And worst of all, our passive approach to sharing our faith is called “religious tolerance.” To be sure, we should be characterized by love through gentleness and respect for our friends who don’t know Jesus, but isn’t telling someone that they are in danger of going to hell the most loving thing we can do?

But nowadays, we have been conditioned by the back story that “explains” everything. People from different faiths were raised that way – therefore, we should not offend them with the truth of the gospel. But instead of settling into this muddy, lackadaisical mindset, we must always remember that we are holding out light and hope and the free gift of grace.

lowerThe truth is this….when we take a stand and refuse to call evil good, there is no way to avoid “offending” somebody somewhere – and our 21st century tendency to evade the appearance of intolerance really isn’t our calling as Christ followers, right? Instead, let’s get back to God’s clear instructions in this area: Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

The word for “hate” in the original language of Greek is only used here in the entire Bible, and it literally means to “shrink back in horror.” In other words, when we encounter the things that are truly maleficent (i.e., working or producing harm or evil), we need to react as if we are witnessing the most horrific thing possible!

Are you horrified at what passes for “entertainment”? Are you horrified when you see the poor neglected, materialistic desires glorified, and absolute truth compromised?

And most of all, does the thought of your friends spending an eternity separated from God shake you to the core of your soul?

If not, then perhaps you have fallen prey to the pervasive perversion of our much-needed good vs. evil perspective. Only God – and God alone – gets to make the call on what is evil and what is good and we would be wise to pay heed to what He’s told us in His Word about the difference. When this is left to fallen human hands, we minimize and justify evil like it was some misunderstood fairy with a victim chip on her shoulder.

Let’s get back to our calling – shall we? So start by taking inventory of the evil in your own heart and soul, and ruthlessly root it out. Have you “settled” for the world’s standards, instead of God’s? And look around you. Take a stand against evil when you see it in the form of bullying, gossiping, cheating or whatever. Speak up for what is right. Do so in gentleness and respect with a motive of love, but don’t worry about being offensive. Most of all, cling to the ultimate message of good that will ultimately defeat all evil: the gospel of Jesus Christ. Set your purpose on THE Cause of Christ, and you will see evil defeated like a magnificent sword through the heart of a dragon!

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Time to Build an Ark

The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky,
The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky,
Build it out of hickory barky,
Children of the Lord.
-Rise and Shine lyrics

Well actually, the Ark wasn’t constructed out of “hickory barky” – but if you grew up with this awesome children’s song – you didn’t care because it was so much fun!

In many ways, that’s how I feel about the release of the long awaited epic movie Noah…on the one hand the movie (by its own admission) takes artistic license with the Biblical narrative, thus potentially detracting from the message God intended to convey in Scripture.

In other words, looks like they added some hickory barky to the plotline!

But on the other hand, the film features both Anthony Hopkins and Russell Crow as Methuselah and Noah respectively…

Um, awesome much?

Looks like they added some hickory barky to the plotline!

And despite taking liberties with the Biblical narrative of the aquatic apocalypse, Noah gets three things right (spoiler alert!):

  • Humankind is desperately wicked.
  • God judges the world through a flood.
  • Noah saves his family and reboots the human race on a renewed earth.

So in the final analysis, you must decide before the Lord if supporting or protesting this film is in obedience to His calling on your life, but don’t lose sight of the great opportunity we have for THE Cause when a Biblically based blockbuster hits the theaters like a flood.

And of what opportunity do I speak?  The same one that Noah himself was given!

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11:7, NLT).

And it will be by faith that you find a way in your corner of this wicked world to warn your friends and family of the impending judgment that may just be right around the corner.  Just like Noah, we are warning our loved ones of something we’ve never seen either, but the righteous God who sent the first flood made of water will surely be faithful to the promise of another massive, sweeping movement of God, Christ’s return. Jesus Himself describes it like this:

As it was at the time of Noah, so it will be with the coming of the Son of Man. In the days before the flood, people were busy making lives for themselves: they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, making plans and having children and growing old, until the day Noah entered the ark. Those people had no idea what was coming; they knew nothing about the floods until the floods were upon them, sweeping them all away. That is how it will be with the coming of the Son of Man. So keep watch. You don’t know when your Lord will return (Matthew 24:37-39;The Voice).

Sometimes it is easy to get comfortable in our contentment and forget that the same basic plotline that was true in Noah’s day remains the same today.

  • Humankind is desperately wicked.
  • Jesus will return to judge the world.
  • We must do our part to save those around.

And just like in Noah’s day, we don’t know the exact moment that destruction will come, so perhaps it is time to build an Ark?

Look to the skies…not for rainclouds, but for the return of our Savior.  Obviously, I don’t mean grow a huge beard, go down to Home Depot and clean out their supplies, then max out your credit card at PetSmart on doggie chow, elephant chow, giraffe chow and…(you get the picture).

Rather, like Noah, we need to be bold and outspoken in the way God has called us to tell people that they must trust in Jesus as their only hope of salvation.  Be fearless in proclaiming the truth that a storm is coming and that God still must react to wickedness.  Hammer home the words and works of Jesus in your heart so that everyone can see that you have received the righteousness that comes by faith in Him.

And most importantly, look to the skies…not for rain clouds, but for the return of our Savior.  Let His imminent return bring you both joy and a fearful respect as you long to see the fulfillment of our hope in the new heaven and new earth!

www.dare2share.org

Winter Jam 2014

Happy New Year!  Our first IMPACT Youth event for 2014 will be attending WINTER JAM 2014 at the Sprint Center.  This Friday night concert will feature:

  • Newsboys
  • Lecrae
  • Tenth Avenue North
  • Thousand Foot Krutch
  • Plumb
  • Newsong
  • Colton Dixon
  • Love & The Outcome
  • Everfound
  • Derek Minor
  • and speaker: Nick Hall

The concert costs $10 at the door and we’ll be charging $5 / person for transportation to and from the event.  All students under the age of 18 are required to have their parents sign this Liability Waiver.  Invite your friends and let’s make some memories at WINTER JAM 2014!

Don’t Be Afraid to Persuade

In our “live-and-let-live” culture, persuade is a word that can sometimes feel out of synch with embracing diversity and nurturing individuality. So you may be wondering why I chose persuade as the third stage in THE Cause Circle’s “Pray-Pursue-Persuade” approach to sharing your faith.

Well, I was admittedly casting about for a third “P” word, but I invite you to reflect on the powerful, evocative definition of the word persuade:

1: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action
2: to plead with; URGE
(Source: merriam-webster.com)
Can you think of anything in this world (or the next), that it’s more important to purposefully and relentlessly apply our skills of persuasions to than urging others to embrace Jesus’ gospel message of salvation by grace?

We Implore You on Christ’s Behalf

The Greek word for persuade is used eight different times in the New Testament in direct connection with evangelism. This is not a used car salesman-type pitch, but a sincere, yet convincing appeal to the heart and mind of the unbeliever. It’s the same approach that Paul used when he wrote, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Sure, persuasion can easily become manipulation or coercion if done in the flesh. But when we lay the groundwork of “Praying with Passion” and “Pursuing with Love,” then “Persuading with Truth” should pour forth out of a pure heart that is overflowing with the Spirit of God.

From www.dare2share.org

In Memory of Paul Walker

Once again, our tragedy-weary ears were subjected to unexpected and tragic news. Actor and humanitarian Paul Walker had been killed, alongside his friend, in a horrific and gut-wrenching auto accident.

It’s not so much that Walker was a more valuable or worthy person compared with the thousands who perished in the recent typhoon in the Philippines, or anyone else whose life is cut short for that matter. But that being said, it seems to me that Walker was an especially kindhearted and generous person who used his gifts and talents to inspire millions. And when that unique type of person is taken early from this earth, we feel an especially harsh sting in our hearts.

However as I browsed through the tributes and testimonies regarding Paul Walker, I was comforted by the fact that he had taken care of his eternal destiny:

“I’m a Christian now…The people I don’t understand are atheists. I go surfing and snowboarding and I’m always around nature. I look at everything and think, ‘Who couldn’t believe there’s a God? Is all this a mistake?’ It just blows me away.” (Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0908094/bio)

in-memory-of-paul-walker-1Of course, I realize that salvation and eternity in heaven is not granted to someone simply because he/she claims to be a Christian, but it appears to me that Walker was a person who lived out the convictions of someone who followed Jesus. My hope is that he is rejoicing in the presence of the Savior and reunited with his loved ones.

My hope, as well, is that Walker’s untimely death serves as a timely reminder that our journey here on earth is tentative at best, because that’s the way he lived! Listen to God’s perspective on this matter:

So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don’t run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise!  Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times (Ephesians 5:15-16, The Voice).

Paul Walker was “mindful of his steps,” and we should be, as well.

The Lord has probably not called you to be a famous actor, but He has given you the responsibility to “make the most of every living and breathing moment.”

How? For many people, this sounds like yolo, or some other worldview that justifies living for pleasure and selfish pursuits. But the word in the original language of the Bible for “make the most” is literally translated “redeem.” It has in mind something that is purchased out of slavery into freedom. In other words, making the most out your life requires a conscious effort and even a sacrifice, so you can break free from the slavery of our natural narcissism.

If we don’t specifically look for every opportunity to serve others, live with excellence, and exemplify compassion in the name of Jesus Christ, we will default to the bondage of meaningless and ultimately worthless lifestyle that is all too common in our culture.

But if we, like Walker, view our time on earth as a gift that can be “purchased back” from futility for God’s glory, we will find a joy and contentment that is impossible to retain when we simply live for ourselves.

in-memory-of-paul-walker-2One way that Walker exemplified this truth was through his generous efforts to help the victims of natural disasters. In 2009, he established a non-profit organization called Reach Out Worldwide, and part of the proceeds from The Fast and The Furious 6 DVD are being donated to continue his legacy.

So my question would be this…what is your “reach out worldwide”? You see, I believe one of the best ways we can honor the people we admired when they pass away is to emulate their godly characteristics. Walker had a heart for people devastated by nature, do we have a heart for souls devastated by their sin nature? Are we willing to redeem our time here on earth for THE Cause of Christ?

If not, then in many ways we are wasting the opportunity to honor the memory of Paul Walker, a Christian who wanted to make the most of every living and breathing moment.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, may he rest in peace and rejoice in the presence of his Father.

Dare 2 Share   P.O. Box 745323    Arvada  CO   80006   United States

YOUTH EVENT: Bible Study with Christ Chapel

This Sunday evening at 6:00pm, IMPACT Youth Ministries will be attending a Bible study at Pastor Daniel’s House in Platte City.  We’ll be joining with youth from Christ Chapel for games, fellowship, and a relevant discussion based on God’s Word.  You’re invited to come and bring as many friends as you want.  There is no cost for attending, but you may want to bring a couple extra bucks to buy yourself a snack from Dairy Queen afterwards.  If you are under 18 years of age, make sure you have your parent/guardian complete this liability form.  Van will leave NLCC parking lot at 5:30pm.  Students will be dropped off at homes at the end of the night.

2013 July Liability Waivers

Here it is students…links to the liability forms for our July summer events!

  • July 18, 2013 – Volunteering at Harvesters (contact: Pastor Stan)
  • July 13-14, 2013 – Girls Only Sleepover
    • More info to come…
  • July 21, 2013 – Hangout with Christ Chapel’s Youth Group
  • July 22, 2013 – Relient K Concert @ The Granada
  • July 30-August 1, 2013 – The Awakening Student Conference
    • early-bird deadline: Saturday, July 20th ($35)
    • regular conference rate: $45 (conference fee) + $15 transportation
    • Bring money for food, t-shirts, snacks, etc.
    • Liability Waiver: 13=07-30 TheAwakening Conference

Youth Hangout 05.30.13

This Sunday, May 30th, students are invited to hangout at Pastor Alex & Missy’s after morning church.  We’ll load up in the church van after church dismisses, eat lunch at the house, play some games, and hangout!  Afterward, students will be dropped off at their homes.

Cost: $3 per studentPermission Form Required (download here)

youth ministry of new life community church