Star Wars

The Reality of Star Wars

It’s mid-December. The Christmas bells are ringing. Lights are being put up. Store shelves are quickly diminishing. Families are getting together. But people aren’t talking about Santa anymore. It’s not the cookies, toys, or the elves that have stolen the spotlight: it’s Star Wars. The 7th installment of the world-famous saga is just days away from opening night, and it’s already breaking records. Ticket sales are through the roof. Don’t worry, I have a few tickets of my own! For some time now, even I have been embracing the hype. From leaked soundtrack titles, to Hollywood premiere pictures and tweets, I’ve been enjoying the bits of Star Wars: The Force Awakens the world has to offer.

Star Wars 2Star Wars brings me back to my childhood. I can remember the days when my dad introduced us to the original films, or the countless hours my brothers and I spent playing with our character action figures. We were even there opening night for each and every one of the prequel trilogy. I grew up on Star Wars, and it was good. Whenever I’d watch the movies and read those opening words fly across the screen, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away“, it was as if I’d somehow entered into an entirely different world. But what if this universe wasn’t as far as we thought?

 

There’s a real battle between “good” and “evil”.

In the Star Wars universe, there’s a constant battle between good and evil. Force users are turned to the dark side and seek power in order to advance only themselves. On the other side, there are the Jedi that use the force for good and not evil. The Jedi seek to destroy the Sith, and the Sith wish to eliminate all Jedi. While this battle between good and evil happened a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, this battle sounds a little closer to home than we had previously imagined. In the opening pages of the Bible, God created everything and it was good. This creation was good, right up until Adam & Eve took something that was off limits. That’s where Satan entered the scene. This battle didn’t stop there. We see this battle occur in the lives of people, at a cross in Jerusalem, in an empty tomb, and even during the end of days. Satan will stop at nothing to see God’s plans and His people destroyed. The battle is real.

 

Many people miss the opportunity to be connected with God.

Growing up, there were countless times that I had wished I was a Jedi. It didn’t matter if I was merely a padawan, or a Jedi Master, I just wanted the ability to use the force. Unfortunately, for those Jedi-wannabe’s out there, the force is nothing more than science fiction. There’s no all-powerful force in control of the universe. There is however, a personal God, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present, who actually wants a relationship with each and every one of us. That’s why He put on flesh, and went to the cross. On the cross, Jesus paid in full the debt we owed. This same God wants a relationship with you and me. He wants to connect with you, He wants to care for you, He wants to be by your side no matter where you’re at in life. In the Star Wars universe, many miss their chance at becoming Jedi. The same is true in our universe. Many people miss the opportunity to be connected with God. It doesn’t cost anything. He just wants a relationship.

 

God’s given everyone a greater purpose & identity.

One of the famous lines I’ve heard replayed countless times from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer is when Finn says, “But, I’ve got nothing to fight for.” It seems as if he’s lost his purpose and identity in life. Unfortunately, this is true for a lot of us in this galaxy. We walk around pretending we’re something that we’re not. Or we live a lie. Maybe we live as someone we so desperately want to be, only to fail in doing so. Countless people have questioned their purpose in life. But there’s no greater question than this: Who are you?  (For those of you that have watched the trailers a hundred times, do you get the reference?) Are you living for yourself, or are you living for something/someone greater? Jesus went to the cross to pay your price, He died the death we deserved, and then He was risen from the grave. This is a purpose I can get behind. The cause of Christ is one I don’t mind joining, something I can fight for, because He fought for me.

 

That fictional universe that existed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away is one I remember traveling to as a kid. Now, years later, I (along with millions more) are looking forward to seeing the 7th installment in just a few days. This world of Star Wars is a world in constant battle. It’s a place where people miss out on opportunity, and continue to seek out their purpose and identity. It’s a world that doesn’t sound so far, far away after all.

 

(Photo credit: Star Wars Battlefront commercial)

Noah

God Remembered Noah

Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t do it on your own? I know Noah did. In the early pages of Genesis we read about a man who walked with God. Noah was clearly different from the rest of the world, which was deteriorating rapidly. Men and women were plain wicked. Genesis 6:5 sums it up perfectly when it says, “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Creation had turned completely evil.

In order to fix this mess, God decided to start over. He killed off the entire planet with a global flood. Maybe you remember the rest of the story: Noah, his family, and animals of every kind were spared. After 40 days and 40 nights of rain, and after the earth was covered in water for 150 days, something interesting happened. God remembered Noah.

 

Your life matters to God.

In Noah’s day, the world had turned so evil that God destroyed everybody except for one. Noah was different. He mattered to God. Have you ever realized that you matter to God too? Don’t worry, God won’t flood the earth again. God won’t kill off the entire population of earth and spare just one. He’s not going to call you to build an ark in your backyard, but you do matter to him. You matter so much that he willingly died on the cross to cover your sins.

Jesus gave up his own life in place of ours. Because of our sins, we had a price that had to be paid. Because of our wrongdoings, we aren’t able to enjoy the fellowship with God like Noah once had. But when God became flesh, all that changed. Jesus showed his love for us on the cross. He lived a perfect life in order to be the perfect sacrifice. He died, so that we could live with him. That’s how much you matter to God.

 

You can make all the difference.

Noah was called by God to construct the ark. He was told to build it using exact specifications in order to save mankind, and the rest of creation. Noah made all the difference. Like I said, God won’t call you to build an ark in your backyard in order to save the world from pending destruction. Though God won’t call you to build a boat, he does call you to life a live of action. In living out God’s purpose for your life, though you’re only one person, you can make all the difference like Noah did. Go live for God!

 

God remembered Noah. He mattered to God and made a difference. Like Noah, you also matter to God. When you live the life God called you to live, you can make all the difference too. If you haven’t started a relationship with Jesus, I encourage you to read through the Gospel message in full. Have questions? Want to begin that journey towards walking with God? Contact Scott today.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: Keoni Cabral)

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Stuff

Lose Your Stuff

Over the last couple of days, my wife and I have been preparing for an upcoming garage sale. Going through old items can be a fun time to remember long lost memories. It can also be a great reminder of how much junk we collect throughout the years. I find myself saying things like, “Seriously? Why did I keep this?” While I was sorting through the piles of trash (or treasure…I guess it’s all about perspective) I was reminded of a passage in Luke 9:1-3.

Jesus gathers his disciples together and empowers them to go out and do ministry on their own, in order to continue the legacy that Jesus left. Think of this as an internship of sorts, where they’re finally sent out to do the work that they’ve been learning about for the past couple years. After giving a little pep-talk, Jesus sends them on their way, WITH NOTHING. The real question is why? Why does he tell them not to bring anything? I think there’s a couple of reasons.

 

Stuff doesn’t fulfill our needs. God does.

Our worldly possessions don’t really fulfill any need. No matter how new our stuff is, no matter how advanced, we’re still going to have a longing for something more. I believe we’re designed that way for a purpose. Think about it, when’s the last time you bought a new phone? How long did the initial excitement last? Probably a week at best. How long was it until you wanted something else? I’m going to guess you’ve felt this feeling at one point or another. This is how we’re built. Stuff doesn’t fulfill our needs, but God does.

 

Stuff gets in the way of God’s purpose for our life.

Like his disciples, Jesus has called all of his followers into ministry. We all are to take part in that internship program that the disciples went through. Every believer is do act out on the Great Commission, to share the Gospel. Unfortunately, not many do. Stuff can be a reason why we don’t. Why go talk about Jesus, when we can play video games, or watch television? Why spend time in God’s word, when we can spend time on social media? Stuff can be distracting. Jesus didn’t allow his disciples to be distracted from their true purpose in life.

 

Don’t get me wrong: Jesus isn’t saying to sell everything. Not everyone is called to do that. What he’s saying is that when your stuff is getting in the way of you discovering and acting out on your purpose, then ditch it! Never forget that your worldly possessions won’t fulfill your needs, but God does. Lose your stuff. Find Jesus.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: JD Hancock)

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Searching

Searching for God’s Will

Christians are so cautious today about finding and focusing on God’s will for their lives, that sometimes it can be a hindrance. Often, any type of decision is one that we go to God for guidance. While Jesus modeled the life we should be living, and called us to live something similar, He doesn’t really care about the little decisions we make. What I mean is that God doesn’t really care what fast-food restaurant you choose to eat at. He doesn’t have an opinion on what team you should cheer for, or what color socks you should wear.

But what about when the big life decisions roll around? What then? How can we truly find God’s will in our specific situations? Last night, I taught a similar lesson to my local church youth group, and I thought it would be a fitting blog post for today. Here’s a few things you can do when you’re searching for God’s will.

 

Journey Through God’s Word

When you’re searching for God’s will in your life, what better thing to do then spend time in His word? Personally, it was after spending a lot of time reading scripture that pushed me to hear God’s call on my life into ministry. If you’re planning on hearing from God, you’re not going to do so unless you’re spending time in His word.

 

Spend Time in Prayer

Prayer is another thing we take for granted. In the beginning, God created everything. He made Adam and Eve from the dust of the ground. He breathed life into you and me, and we can talk directly to Him. Prayer is such a powerful thing. If you’re planning on hearing from God, it’s not going to happen if you’re not praying.

 

Listen to the Holy Spirit

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside you. I know, creepy. When we come to believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we are filled with God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us, comforts us, and helps us in times of need. If you’re planning on hearing from God, start listening.

 

Listen to What People Have to Say

Surprisingly, God put people in our lives for a reason. If someone has experience in a certain area that you are questioning, talk with them. They’re experts for a reason. Go talk to people. Get advice from those that know what they’re talking about. If you’re planning on hearing from God, listen to what people have to say.

 

No matter what you’ve heard, God made you special and he made you with purpose. Find that purpose today, and start living the life you were created to live!

 

(Photo by Flickr User: Damian Gadal)