Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Movie List 2016 (so far...)

Each year I keep a running list of the movies I've watched from that particular year. As I watch more and more films, the list will grow. On average I see about 20 movies a year in the theater. I've also got three kids under the age of thirteen, so yeah we see a lot of kids flicks.  My 5 star ratings system is pretty straight forward...

***** I would own this movie
**** I would watch again
*** A good and enjoyable movie but not worth seeing again
** Waste of time
* I'm dumber for having watched it

So with that being said, here's my list for 2016:

1) Captain America: Civil War *****
2) Doctor Strange*****
3) Hell or Highwater****
4) Deadpool ****
5) Eddie the Eagle ****
6) Hail, Caesar! ****
7) Pete's Dragon ****
8) The Jungle Book ***
9) The Secret Life of Pets ***
10) Zootopia***
11) X-Men Apocalypse***
12) The Angry Birds Movie ***
13) Finding Dory ***
14) Batman vs Superman **
15) Barbershop: The Next Cut * (Don't judge me, I watched it on an airplane and it was the only free movie they had)

Thursday, January 07, 2016



· John 14:12
· Jesus isn’t calling us to be greater than Him, but greater WITH Him through the Holy Spirit
· Same God that was born in the manger and died on the cross is the same God that lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit
· Why do we ignore that or think the HS is only for others?
· Believers aren’t in danger of ruining theirs lives, they face a danger far greater: wasting them.
· That’s what this series is about: developing a faith so ridiculous that you can die knowing nothing was wasted.

· Words w/opposite meanings: Bad, Sick, Ridiculous!
· Ridiculous - worthy of ridicule = Now - unbelievably good
· Life Elisha: OT prophet—ridiculous!
· Prophets were literally voice of God, one main prophet at a time, many others including false
· List includes Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Elijah
· Lived during 9th c BC.
· Israel divided nation: Full of idolatry: Baal.
· Elijah’s times was coming to an end, needed to find a successor, led by God
· Elisha becomes an incredible prophet
· Ask for a double portion and gets it: More recorded miracles.
· Divided Jordan, Raised dead, Ax head float, Purified poisoned stew, Bones resurrects dead man.
· Favorite: 2 Kings 2:23-24 I LOVE THIS GUY!
· Easy to see ending and assume He was born that way
· 1 Kings 19

19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” 21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant. 1 Kings 19:19-21

· Wasn’t son of a priest. Seminary. Monk.
· Living at home w/parents working on his dad’s farm.
· God called ordinary man to be a prophet
· Ridiculous responsibility: Counsel kings. Perform miracles. Speak on behalf of God.
· What is the future prophet doing? Staring at the back side of 12 oxen
· Not a great job - Hard, boring, monotonous work. Smell oxen. Staring at oxen rears.
· Every day. Same thing. Day after day.
· Same job, Student study/work, Parent (kids, laundry)
· Lose your passion staring at oxen rears.

· Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.
· Symbolic: Under my care.
· At this moment in time Elisha had a choice...
· Keep doing what he was doing or step out and step away.
· One path was safe, the other would take ridiculous faith and ridiculous commitment.



20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” 1 Kings 19:20

· Didn’t have to pray about it. Pros & cons. Therapist. Details. Salary.
· So in tune with God I trust you! I’m in—instantly.
· 13 years ago, first church plant, told I needed a plan. “What are your 5 year plans?” 80% fail before 2 years
· Guess what? Nothing ever turned out how I planned it.
· Why? Life is unpredictable.
· This time, a new approach - Don’t plan for the future—respond in the present.
· Ex. Save money in case something goes wrong.
· Now we save in case something goes right.
· God’s directions are often intentionally vague.
· Moses: Go to the land I’ll show you. Peter: Come.

Marriage:          Stay                    Church:             Commit
Health:              Trust                   Children:           Adopt
Idea:                 Start                   

· Some of you today—Ridiculous!


21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

· Slaughtered oxen—ceremonial sacrifice to celebrate.
· Doesn’t just make some steak—Burns the plows.
· Irresponsible. Disciples left everything. (Luke 5)
· Plow burning faith.
· Have to know God is leading you—don’t just walk in—quit my job! Wait a month.
· Step away from your plow and step toward your destiny

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chase the Lion (part seven)

Chasing Lions (part seven)
Looking Foolish

“Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.”

· Things that were fun as kids are foolish now
· Ex. Bubbles, sprinkler, skipping, How about climbing trees?
· We are called to climb trees! Climbing trees is actually a biblical metaphor in Luke 19.
· Read Luke 19:1-10
· We read stories like this and don’t think much of it. But how many adults do you know that still climb trees? Not too many.
· I love the mental picture of this tax collector in a three-piece suit climbing a tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus!
· Zacchaeus had a reputation to protect. He had an image to uphold. But this distinguished tax collector in a three-piece suit climbs a tree like a little kid. He didn’t care how foolish he looked. He just wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus!
· This is one of those days you never forget. He never forgot the day Jesus came through Jericho—the day he climbed a sycamore tree and Jesus hung out at his house! This is the defining moment of His life. I’ve got to think that Zacchaeus would occasionally make a trip back to this sycamore tree. Maybe even climb it for old time’s sake. I bet he brought his grandkids there and let them climb the tree and told them that is where he met Jesus!
· And it all started with climbing a tree.
· God isn’t looking for religious protocol. I think God is looking for tree climbers. God is looking for people who will do anything to get to Him
· Read the gospels and you’ll find that God is looking for tax collectors who climb trees to get to Jesus and prostitutes who crash parties to get to Jesus. He is looking for people who push through crowds like the woman with the issue of blood.

 · He is looking for people who yell at the top of their lungs like the blind beggar. He is looking for people who cut holes in ceilings; jump out of boats; and follow stars to get to Jesus!
· It seems like the people that God uses the most are the people who are willing to climb trees or get out of boats or follow stars or chase lions! The greatest turning points in Scripture can be traced back to someone who was willing to look foolish.
· Noah, David, Beniah, Wise men, Peter
· Let me tell you why some of us have never killed a giant or walked on water or found the Messiah. It’s because we’re not willing to look foolish.
· Deep down inside I think all of us have this primal longing to do something crazy for God. We want to build an ark or kill a giant or chase a lion. We want to do something great for God, but we allow the fear of foolishness paralyze.
· Share faith, counseling, pray for a miracle, invite someone to church, mission trip
· Have you ever seen an animal in the wild?
· Part of the excitement was the fact that they weren’t caged.
· I love zoos. But it’s not the same seeing a caged animal. It’s too safe. It’s too controlled. It’s too predictable.
· I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals.
· We take something that is wild and we domesticate it. And we put it in a cage for easy observation. We remove the danger. We remove the risk. And the end result is caged Christians.
· It just seems to me that that isn’t the approach Jesus took. For starters, he handpicked a dozen disciples who were totally uncultured, uncivilized, and undomesticated. And Jesus didn’t cage people. He unleashed them.
· The goal of church isn’t to take people out of their natural habitat and domesticate them and make them look and talk and act like Christians.
· When we pronounce the benediction at the end of the service we’re releasing people back into the wild. And you go back into your natural habitat as an ambassador of God’s grace.
· I love the way Erwin McManus says it in his book Unstoppable Force: 
“The center of God’s will is not a safe place but the most dangerous place in the world. To live outside of God’s will puts us in danger; to live in his will makes us dangerous.”

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chase the Lion (part six)

Chasing Lions (part six)
Seizing Opportunities

“Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.”

· Pray
· Life is like a puzzle—4pc, 9pc, jigsaw
· What if there was a missing piece? Almost complete is not the same as completed.
· Benaiah never had to look back at the lion and cave and think of what if.
· Nestled into Colossians 4 there is a verse that doesn’t get much air time, but I think it’s a great definition of spiritual maturity. If all of us obeyed this verse it would revolutionize our lives.
· Colossians 4:5 says: “Make the most of every opportunity.”
· This Scripture doesn’t specify how many or how few opportunities. It doesn’t quantify how small or how large the opportunity. We simply need to make the most of every opportunity.
· The English word opportunity comes from the Latin phrase ob portu.
· In the days before modern harbors, ships had to wait till flood tide to make it into port. The Latin phrase “ob portu” referred to that moment in time when the tide would turn. The captain and crew would wait for that one moment, and they knew that if they missed it, they would have to wait for another tide to come in.
· Seeing and seizing opportunities is an underappreciated dimension of spiritual maturity.
· Everyday we are surrounded by God-ordained opportunities—opportunities to love, opportunities to laugh, opportunities to give, opportunities to learn, opportunities to serve, opportunities to give.
· Seeing and seizing those opportunities is at the heart of what it means to follow Christ and be filled with the Spirit.
· Now here’s the catch. Opportunity doesn’t knock. The giant Egyptian that Benaiah did battle with didn’t knock on the door. He knocked down the door. And the lion didn’t roll over and play dead. Opportunity roars!
· Most of us want our opportunities gift wrapped. We want our lions stuffed or caged or cooked medium well and served on a silver platter. 
· But opportunities typically present themselves at the most inopportune time in the most inopportune place.
· Opportunities often come disguised as big, hairy, audacious problems, but lion chasers don’t see problems. They see 500 pound opportunities!
 · I love the way the Chinese language captures the two sides of this truth. The word crisis is made up of two characters—one means danger and the other means opportunity.
· Do you know when Paul wrote Col. 4:5?
· Col 4:2-3 - Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
· That’s right, he was in prison.
· How many times do we miss opportunities because we find excuses not to.
· Our prisons are often our finances, relationships, time, or age.
· Carpe diem is usually translated “seize the day”

· How about Carpe Leo - “Seize the Lion”?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chase the Lion (part five)

“Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.”

The Domino Effect
· On October 31st, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther walked up to the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and posted a piece of  paper on the church doors. His 95 theses attack the practice of indulgences—the selling of forgiveness by the church. Luther was put on trial. He was excommunicated from the church. But that one act of courage had a domino effect—it ignited the Protestant Reformation.
· On April 18th, 1945, a factory owner named Oskar Schindler had a list of 1097 names manually typed—297 women and 800 men. He rescued them from Nazi Concentration Camps. Schindler lost everything. He died broke. But that one act of courage had a domino effect—a half-century later, there are more than 6,000 descendants of the Schindler’s list.
· On December 1st, 1951, a seamstress named Rosa Parks got on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Segregation laws required black passengers to give up their seat for white passengers. Rosa Parks refused to do it. She was arrested. She lost her job. But that one act of courage had a domino effect—it inspired a citywide boycott and a court battle. Within two years, bus segregation was ruled unconstitutional.
· Let’s make an observation: It’s small acts of courage that change the course of history. Someone takes a risk and it has a domino effect.
· Now here’s the thing. We think about people like Martin Luther and Oscar Schindler and Rosa Parks in heroic terms. But they didn’t know they were making history when they were making history! They were just ordinary people taking risks! But when you take a risk you never know what kind of domino effect it is going to have.
· During the Chase the Lion series we’re looking at an ancient warrior named Benaiah chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killed it.
· Scripture goes on to list his military achievements and they are pretty impressive. He was one of the most decorated and celebrated warriors in Israel’s history.
· He was the captain of King David’s bodyguard. He was one of David’s thirty mighty men. In fact, Scripture says he was more honored than the other thirty. And Benaiah goes on to become Commander-in-Chief of Israel’s army.
· But the genealogy of success can always be traced back to the risks we take. II Samuel 23 records three dominos. Benaiah took on two Moabites despite being outnumbered; he chased a lion despite snowy conditions; and he fought an Egyptian despite the fact that he was out armed. And those three risks had a domino effect.
· As I reflect on my own life, I realize that most of the good things that have happened are the byproduct of a few risks. And the bigger the risks the bigger the rewards!

Buried Talent
· Let me try to put risk in biblical context. We don’t tend to think of risk in spiritual terms, but risk is one dimension of righteousness.
· In Matthew 25, Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven in terms of risk.
· Matt. 25:14-18
· If you really want to appreciate this parable you’ve got to realize that one talent was the ancient equivalent of twenty years of a day laborer’s salary. I don’t know about you, but if someone gives me a hundred years wages I don’t know if I ever take another risk. I’ve got enough money to last the rest of my life. You know what I’m saying? It had to tempting to play it safe. He had more to lose! But he also had more to gain!
· Verse 19-21
· Now let me stop right there and give you a biblical definition of faithfulness. Faithfulness is risk and risk is faithfulness. I think we tend to think of faithfulness in maintenance terms. Faithfulness is holding the fort. Faithfulness is maintaining the status quo. Faithfulness is hanging on to what you have. And nothing could be further from the truth. Faithfulness is ROI—return on investment.
· Faithfulness is multiplying what you have to the best of your God-given ability. Faithfulness isn’t minimizing risk. Faithfulness is maximizing risk because maximizing risk is maximizing reward.
· I’m concerned that too many of us have a savings mindset—we want to keep what we have. We’re playing not to lose. And the parable of the talents is all about an investment mindset—risking what you have to get more. It’s playing to win.
· Verse 24-30
· These are some of the harshest words in the gospels, and the servant broke even. Evidently, breaking even isn’t good enough.
· In the context of this parable, wickedness is burying your talent in the ground. And it is the byproduct of focusing on action regrets instead of inaction regrets. The wicked servant was afraid that he might lose what he had.

Play Offense
· A few months ago I read a fascinating story about Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Capitals. Let me pull a Paul Harvey and tell you the story behind the story.
· Leonsis made his fortune as an executive at AOL. And he is a highly regarded as an entrepreneur and philanthropist. But if you want to really appreciate who he isand how he got there, you have to hit the rewind button and go back to an incident that happened in 1983. Ted Leonsis was only twenty-five years old. He was on anEastern Airlines flight that lost its ability to use its wing flaps and landing gear. The flight attendants cleared the overhead bins; shifted passengers; and gave them a crash course in crash landings. And Ted Leonsis said he began to think about what he would do if he survived. He said, “I promised myself that if I didn’t die, I’d play offense for the rest of my life.” Leonsis survived the landing and compiled a list of 101 things to do. To date, he has accomplished 74 of those 101 things. He came up with categories like family matters, financial matters, travel andcharities. And he started setting goals. Here are some of the goals he has accomplished to date:
1.) Fall in love and get married
14.) Net worth of $100 million, after taxes
22.) Create the world’s largest media company
24.) Own a jet
35.) Give $1 million to Georgetown University
37.) Start a family foundation
40.) Own a sports franchise
83.) Produce a TV show
86.) Invent a Board Game
92.) Hold Elective Office
· I love those life goals. But what I love even more is the motivation behind them. Leonsis has a simple mission statement: play offense with your life.
· Satan wants to put us in a defensive posture. And he uses two primary tactics—fear and discouragement. He wants us to run away from fear, uncertainty, and risk. But Christ calls us to chase lions. Satan would love nothing more than for our ultimate goal to be not to sin. But doing nothing wrong doesn’t constitute doing something right. Goodness is not the absence of badness!

 Inaction Regrets
· Action regrets vs inaction regrets
· Action regrets taste bad, but inaction regrets leave a bitter aftertaste that lasts a lifetime. Inaction regrets haunt us because they leave us asking what if. We are left to wonder how our lives would have been different had we taken the risk or seized the opportunity. 
· What if we had chased the lion instead of running away? Somehow our lives seem incomplete. Failing to take a risk is almost like losing a piece of the jigsaw puzzle to your life. It leaves a gaping hole. When we get to the end of our lives, our greatest regrets will be the missing pieces.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chase the Lion (part four) **part 3 was done by a guest speaker so no sermon notes from me

Chasing Lions (part four)

“Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.”

· Benaiah didn’t wake up on that morning and have it all planned out.
· He was confident in whatever the day held that God was in control but there was still uncertainty.
· It is so easy to read about an incident that occurred three thousand years ago and fail to appreciate the element of surprise because we know how the story ends. What you need to see is that killing the lion was not a foregone conclusion.
· Hand-to-hand combat with another human is one thing. Humans have tendencies. You can predict punches and counter punches with a higher level of certainty. But savage beasts tend to be volatile and unpredictable. Their actions and reactions are less certain.
· How heavy was it snowing? Was it packing snow or slippery snow? What was the footing like in the pit? How about visibility? What time of day was it? How hungry was the lion? How well did Benaiah sleep the night before?
· There are a thousand variables and they all add up to one thing: a high level of uncertainty!
· Think of your favorite book or movie. What do they all have in common? The element of uncertainty.
· It is the uncertainty that makes those movies worth watching. And I would suggest that it is uncertainty that makes like worth living!
· High levels of uncertainty don’t just make the best movies. High levels of uncertainty make the best lives! And that is what faith enters the equation.
· We can know that we know that our sins are forgiven; our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life; we have been adopted as God’s children; all the promises of God are yes in Christ; every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ; and when we cross the space-time continuum we’ll spend eternity in a place called Heaven.
· But here’s the trick. I think it is those spiritual certainties that enable us to embrace circumstantial uncertainties.
· Faith results in a reduction of spiritual uncertainty, but it often results in an increase in circumstantial uncertainty because God is going to call us to go places and do things that require total reliance upon God. And in many instances, the more faith the more uncertainty.

· I think some of us are bored to tears with our faith. And I’ll tell you why. We’ve settled for certainty. But if we actually stepped out in faith relationally or financially or spiritually we’d be anything but bored. Go on a mission trip. Share your faith. Start tithing on your income. Quit walking the path of certainty!

· Do you remember what Jesus said to those who wanted to follow him? He gave them a warning in Matthew 8:20.
· “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
· Here is my translation: when you follow Christ you never know where you’re going to end up. Anything can happen. All bets are off! That is scary, but it is also exciting. Jesus was promising high levels of uncertainty—the element of surprise.

Sacrificing Certainty
· Matthew 4:18-22 records the calling of the first disciples. All of them were fishing at the time. And I’m guessing they enjoyed fishing. It was all they had ever known. It was their family business. But when Jesus called them it says they left their boats and left their father to follow Him. In a sense, Jesus was calling them to sacrifice certainty. He was telling them to leave everything they knew behind. They were leaving family behind. They were leaving their business behind.
· I wonder if their families ever tried to pressure them into coming back. So when are you going to come back and take over the family business? I wonder if they ever used the guilt card. Dad really needs your help.
· What we fail to appreciate is that following in the footsteps of your father was a cultural expectation. They were expected to carry on the family business. The fishing business had probably been in the family for generations! And there was a degree of security and certainty in that. But following Jesus required sacrificing certainty!
· When we look back on our lives, the defining moments are going to be those forks in the road where we could have stayed on the path of certainty, but we made a decision to walk down the path of uncertainty. Peter, Andrew, James, and John could have spent the rest of their lives fishing on the Sea of Galilee! But they made a decision to walk the path of uncertainty!
· In a day and age when the average person never traveled outside a thirty-mile radius of their home, Jesus told these fishermen to “go into all the world.” This was fifteen hundred years before the age of exploration!

· These fishermen who grew up and lived their whole lives within a stones throw of the Sea of Galilee traveled all over the ancient world and turned the world upside down!
· According to historians, Peter went to Italy. John ended up in Asia. James traveled as far as Spain. And even doubting Thomas ventured to India.
· They could have walked the path of certainty and spent the rest of their lives on the Sea of Galilee. But Jesus turned them into World travelers and history makers.
· Not only that, think about all that they experienced during their internship. They had box seats to every sermon Jesus preached and every miracle Jesus performed.
· So here is the question: what certainties do you need to sacrifice?
· Maybe it’s a relationship, maybe financial, maybe occupational.
· I’m not sure what certainty you need to sacrifice, but I have one last word of advice. Don’t wait for perfect conditions
· Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, "Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap."
· In other words, if you’re waiting for perfect conditions you’ll never do anything. There is a time to be cautious and a time to throw caution to the wind. There is a time to be prudent and a time to be valiant.
· And it takes an awful lot of discernment to know when to do which.
· But here’s what I know for sure, if you wait for certainty you’ll never do anything.
· In the words of Andy Stanley: “There will always be an element of uncertainty. Generally speaking, you are probably never  going to be more than eighty percent certain. Waiting for greater certainty may cause you to miss an opportunity.”
· "Uncertainty actually increases with increased leadership     responsibility. The more responsibility you assume as a leader, the more uncertainty you will be expected to manage. The cost of success as a leader is greater uncertainty, not less."
· If Benaiah had waited for perfect conditions he would have never chased the lion! After all, it was a snowy day!

Walk the path of uncertainty!
· In his book, The Barbarian Way, Erwin McManus writes about different animal groups. If you’ve studied animals at all, you know that different groups of creatures have different names.
· A group of fish is called a school. Ants are called colonies and bees are called a swarm. Cattle are herds, birds are flocks, and a tribe of lions is a pride.

· For what it’s worth, a group of buzzards is called a committee!
· A group of rhinos is called a crash.
· That name seems so fitting! Believe it or not, a rhino can run about thirty miles per hour which is pretty amazing considering how much weight they are carrying!
· Here’s the funny thing. Rhinos have terrible eyesight. They can only see about thirty feet in front of themselves. So they are running thirty miles an hour with no idea what’s at thirty-one feet! You would think they’d be timid creatures because they can’t see very far in front of themselves. But God, in his amazingly creative foresight, gave rhinos a big horn on the front of their head.
· Erwin McManus piggy-backs off the crash analogy: “The future is uncertain, but we need to move toward it with confidence. There’s a future to be created, a humanity to be liberated. We need to stop wasting our time and stop being afraid of what we cannot see and do not know. We need to move forward full of force because of what we do know.”

· Chase the lion!