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Greater, a surprise find of a film for the family.

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Christian based movies are regularly hitting our theaters these days and often the producers send information and flyers to our church to support by encouraging the congregation to buy a ticket.  Those I appreciate the most and am more likely to go see, are about real Christians living out their real faith.  The first such film I saw was the Hiding Place, the story of Corrie and Betsie ten Boom, two women who with their father hide Jews during WW2, are caught by Nazis and sent to a death camp.  Wonderfully filmed and acted this true story of faith and perseverance  became the bench mark of Christian films for me and impacted me immensely as a young Christian.

While buzzing around Netflix I came across the movie Greater (2016), the story of Brandon Burlsworth, an Arkansas Razorback walk-on who trusted God as he filled his dream to attend and play for the University of Arkansas.  He earned a scholarship and became an All-America offensive lineman during the late 1990s.  His Christian faith not only filled his life but impacted many fellow players and coaches until his life was taken in a car accident before he started his first year in the NFL.  Although it did not rise to the story and quality of Hiding Place it was very inspiring and moving. 

While Greater was a surprise find what was even a greater surprise was discovering the faith of actor Neal McDonough.  Holding major roles in many Hollywood films you will know him as the partner of Tom Cruise in Minority Report and as Lieutenant Lynn "Buck" Compton in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.  I have always admired his acting and was happy to find him playing Marty Burlsworth, Brandon Burlsworth's older brother who is Brandon's biggest fan and has filled the gap where their alcoholic father has failed.  But what even more rocked my boots was to learn of Neal McDonough's personal faith and his honest conviction "not to use God's name in vain or kiss another woman on screen."  His true commitment to God with his quality of acting caries the movie as a man struggling and questioning God after the tragic death of his brother.  In fact, though the movie was centered on the life of Brandon Burlsworth I'd say McDonough's character nearly takes the spotlight and fills the movie with emotion every believer can relate to. 

Greater is a great find and worth watching with your family.  Be sue to have your tissue ready.

Blessings

Pastor Bob

 

My discussion with an Iranian doctor 

Me - I heard someone say you are Armenian? ( I had an Armenian professor in college I really liked).

Dr - Oh no (chuckled), I'm Iranian

Me - I'm sorry (spoken nervously for the mistake).  I heard someone speaking to another commenting you were Armenian. There are differences.

Dr -  Oh, but there are really similarities, in features

Me - Yes, but big differences in cultures. 

Dr - That is true. Did you know that there is a very large population of Armenians in Iran? 

Me - I didn't realize that. 

Dr - Yes, centuries ago they migrated south to Iran and today there are over 150,000 in Iran. They are Christian and are a happy people. They follow the Muslim requirements publicly, their women cover with the hijab. But when they are together or have their own events they don't.  Their events,  likeweddings, are so wonderful, so happy. You know, young Iranian people always want to know the Armenians because they enjoy life and are so happy.  

Our discussion was then interrupted and I was not able to continue my inquiry or to interject my faith. But consider the simple witness of these Armenian Christians. "They are happy people." Even in Iran.  

Reminds me of the words of the psalmist, "Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"  Psalms 144:15

Jesus also said: "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."  John 15:11

Be happy, be joyful, for your God is the LORD! You just don't know who is watching.

pastor Bob

Mama Maggie - Living like Christ

Every once in a while I am surprisingly informed by secular radio programs.  Today I heard a doctor share about Mama Maggie on a KFI radio program.  The doctor was a surgeon that travel to Egypt with a medical team as he has done in many countries before.  There he met Mamma Maggie who has for many years ministered to the pour or the pour who live among the garbage. God is truly glorified by her testimony.  

Her ministry is called Stephen's Children. I'll let her speak for herself in the attached video from 2011. 

The following are interviews with Doctor Marty Makary, author of a book on Mama Maggie just broadcast today, 4/29/15.

Great Challenge to Men

I received an email from a friend who was led of the Lord to send out an exhortation to the men he knows, to pursure a love for God.  I was so blessed by it and asked if I could post his email on my blog.  So here it is. 

pBob

Hello Men,

    If you could give me a few seconds of your time, I'd like to share with you a positive exhortation I received from the Lord  this morning.

    There is a song written and played by Warren Barfield named "Love Is Not a Fight, But It's Something Worth Fighting For" made popular by the movie Fireproof. The premise of the song is both beautiful and assertive in it's challenge to us all to fight for our relationships with our wives or future wives in an active manner.

    The context suggests that we must actively pursue a right relationship with our spouse; we must conscientiously make a continuous effort to love her, cherish her, and please her daily. This takes a selfless attitude; we must sacrifice our own wants and desires daily and replace them with the desire to take care of her needs, encourage her, and put her first. This also means that we must be on guard in an active form; we must be aware of the incoming attacks that come in on a daily basis from external sources that wish to destroy our love for one another and from internal sources, lust, envy, pride etc that threaten our relationship with our spouse.

As I pondered this, the Lord asked me another question.

Do I fight for my love and relationship I have with Jesus? I know that He fights for me this way. I realized that I do not.  

    The application from this song also challenges us to love Christ in this way as well. We [believers] are the bride of Christ and have a relationship with Him. We must actively pursue a right relationship with Him and make a conscientious effort to love Him, cherish Him, and please Him daily. Our one purpose in life is to glorify Him. We must put Him first and be on guard of the attacks, both external and internal, that threaten our love and relationship with Jesus.  

The last chorus of the song is as follows: 

"I will fight for you, Would you fight for me? It's worth fighting for."

My challenge to all of us is that we would hear those words coming from the mouth of Jesus and except the challenge. 

Brother in Christ

Chris Whaley

"For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will
also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless,
He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." 
Tim 2:11-13

 

It's Congregation Appreciation month!

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Yes, I know there is no such thing as "Congregation Appreciation Month."  In fact, it is apparently pastor Appreciation Month.  Why?  

I couldn't find who started it, so I suspect it may have been Hallmark or some other greeting card company to promote their revenue or by some pastor needing to be validated.

Personally, I see no need for a month or a day to be designated for me to be appreciated.  My reason is simple and will let the words of Paul the apostle explain it.  He wrote to the Thessalonians:

But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.  1Thes. 2:4-6

I'm with Paul. I have been approved by God in my ministry as well, therefore I speak and serve to please Him, for He will be the one that I will have to stand before and give account.  Therefore, the glory of men (being praised and exhalted by men), or by my congregation is not needed or expected, nor demanded.

Paul also has taught me that my joy in ministry is not found by being recognized and applauded by my congregation but by their lives lived for the Lord consistently until His return.

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.  1Thes 2:19-20

I can sincerely say, for me to watch my congregation, those God has given to me to serve and teach, take hold of God's truth, to apply it and grow in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, is of great joy to me.  The apostle John made similar statements in his 3rd letter.

For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  3John 3-4

My congregation is a source of "great Joy" to me for they continually demonstrate a walk in God's truth and so demonstrate their appreciation of me as they glorify the Lord in their lives.  Lord bless them and keep them.

Blessings

pBob