Monday, March 31, 2014

Square Peg in a Round Hole-The Movie Noah

Last week I went to see the movie "Noah".  For weeks leading up to the release I had read dozens of reviews ranging from "the best movie ever" to "the biggest pile of crap ever put on the screen".  Needless to say my interest was piqued. So, I gathered my family into the van and we drove the sixty miles necessary to get to a theater where it was playing.  During the ride we discussed what we expected of the movie and how far it was going to go off the rails in its depiction of the Biblical account of Noah.  I was armed with the knowledge that the film's director is an atheist and had commented that the film he had made was "the least Biblical movie ever made about the Bible".  So, with background and reviews as my guide I sat down to watch this "epic" movie.

I have to say I enjoyed the cinema of the whole thing.  First of all, I am a huge movie lover so I appreciated the scale of the movie Noah.  I disagreed with its representation of "Noah" in some (OK, most) areas but it was watchable. My family and I then returned home and went about our lives.  The next day I log on to my computer and begin reading a fresh batch of Christian writer, pundits, and bloggers, once again blasting the movie.  It is there that I want to begin.

As our society moves further and further away from traditional Christian values we are seeing a shift in the attitudes towards Christians.  Just last week our President met with the Pope and was questioned on religious liberty being squashed in America.  There is no doubt that the attitude towards believers has soured in our country today.  Unbelievers, like Bill Maher,  like to mock our beliefs and call us idiots for believing a story like "Noah".  Do you ever wonder why some people hate us so much?  Do you ever wonder why they think we are idiots?  I believe one of the reasons is that sometimes we act like it.

I don't like the word "idiot".  I find it degrading and insulting. So when I say we act like idiots what I really mean is that we, as Christians, sometimes come across as these wide-eyed, gullible, uninformed, fanatics that are out of touch with the world.  We are sometimes perceived as goofs who can't seem to understand why the rest of the world is laughing at us and, sometimes, we deserve it.

Take for instance this whole blowup over the film "Noah".  Films are made everyday that ridicule, mock, or misinterpret the Holy scriptures we hold so dear.  Hollywood is no friend to the Christian faith and this shouldn't be news to us.  We should not be surprised when a movie that claims to be an interpretation of a classic Bible story comes out and is full of inaccuracies and theological errors.  What would we expect a Hollywood so-called Biblical movie made by an atheist to look like?  But, instead of saying, "Obviously, this is not the story of the Noah in Scriptures", we freak out and claim that Hollywood has hijacked our faith!

Listen, I get it. I know that Christians want the world to know that what is up on that big screen is not the true story.  I do too.  But it's when we act as if we believed that it was ever going to be accurate in the first place that we begin to lose credibility.  It's then that we begin to become all of the things that the world believes of us.

I believe this world needs more Jesus.  I also believe that the world needs more common sense.  And whether you agree with me or not  I believe that the world needs to see more followers of Jesus who display common sense.  We need to apply that common sense to the movie "Noah".

If Christians are planning to go and see "Noah" in hopes of watching a great movie depicting a great Biblical story then I would hope that they would go and watch something else because they will only be disappointed and that saddens me.  But, what saddens me even more is that we, as Christians, would be gullible enough to believe that we were going to watch a Biblical account of Noah in the first place.  Blockbuster Hollywood doesn't work that way.  Some independent films might, such as the makers of "God's Not Dead", but not big Hollywood.

In the end, "Noah" turned out to be exactly what I thought it would be and I am OK with that.  I came out of the theater with my faith intact and my belief strong and in some cases stronger and I think that was worth the six bucks I paid for admission!

I think the main lesson we all need to learn from this is that we shouldn't look for the message of the Bible on the big screen, we should look for it in scripture!

God Bless,


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"The "What if...?" Project


I want to ask you a question.  How many times have you thought of past events in your life and uttered the words "If only I had done that different."?  Many times we call that regret.  And while we can certainly learn from the past regret has the ability to drag us down.  The past can be both a blessing and a curse.  It can be filled with wonderful memories or gut wrenching regret. Those two little words, "if only...",  can be a weight around our necks that drag us to the pit of despair.

But, what if we could replace those two words with two new words?  What if, instead of focusing on the regret of "if only", we set our minds to pondering the possibilities of the "what if"?  Possibility not past, hope instead of regret, “what if" instead of "if only", this is the basis of the "What if...?" project.

What is the "What if...?" Project?  To boil it down to one word it is about hope!  It is about Christians gathering with the sole purpose of rediscovering hope.  It is about, once again, discovering the hope we have in Jesus Christ and living out that hope each and every day of our lives.

The "What if...?" Project is a burden that God has placed on my heart for the people of the Arkansas Valley in southeastern Colorado.  On Sunday, July 20, 2014, Christians from all over the valley are invited to come and share a worship experience that will focus on the restoration of hope in the lives of our communities, in each other, and in us. 

Perhaps you are saying to yourself, "Derek, I haven't lost hope in anything."  Outstanding!  Then we want you to come alongside and encourage those who have lost hope.  Through great speakers, great music, and great prayer, you will experience God in a unique and exciting way.

We are so excited about this opportunity to challenge the body of Christ to respond to this call for action.  It is time for all Christians to stand and proclaim with one voice that our hope shall not be determined by the regret of "if only" but by the possibility of the "what if"!

God has great things planned for the Arkansas Valley and it is time for us to claim our part in those plans.  So plan to join us on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 6 PM at the La Junta High School gymnasium as we proclaim God's promises and the possibilities of the "What if...?"

For more information about the "What if...? Project go to our Facebook page at  or go to to learn more.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Breathing life into dry bones...

     As we begin a new year I take stock in the year that has passed and the new year that is before us.  As I read the news, follow friends on Facebook and Twitter, and evaluate where our country stands in the midst of the world stage, I am saddened.  I can't say that I am shocked because that would indicate that we, as a nation, somehow didn't see the mess that we are presently experiencing coming our way.  I use the word saddened because I believe we did see it coming we just didn't do anything to stop it from happening.
     As I look at America in the year 2014 I see a country that has lost its way.  I see a moral footing that is slipping in the mud of mediocrity, humanism, and appeasement.  I see a country that has done its very best to take God out of the equation that equals a successful nation.  And through all of this the one thing that has saddened me the most is that I have seen Christians losing hope.
     Whether it be Phil Robertson, an attack on traditional marriage, the fear that the speaking of one's belief will someday be declared hate speech, pot in Colorado and Washington, or the replacing of  baby Jesus with Trayvon Martin, I see Christians losing hope in America.  I can't blame them.  I must confess that, at times, I have dropped my head in despair and wondered if things could ever be right again.  Yet, in the midst of my despair I have been reminded of the awesome workings of God in this world.  I believe that we, as Christians, can once again find hope in our nation. And I believe that that hope can breathe new life into the dry bones of the body of Christ.
     Let's face it, we Christians are back on heels, we are reeling from the progressive changes coming into our society, and we, frankly, are just letting it happen.  We have taken a hit and while we take time to gather our senses our country's road to destruction continues to be paved.  It is time for us to get up off the mat and get back in the game.  Now, after mixing as many sports related metaphors as possible I will end this paragraph as succinctly as I can.  Hope in God sometimes calls us to action.
     For Christians, hope is not about wishing, it is about believing and it is about knowing.  We can't stand around wishing our nation would once again be blessed by God.  We have to believe that it will be and then do what is necessary to make that a reality.  We have to become involved in what is going on in our country and not just complaining about it on Facebook.  Christians need to be willing to stand up for what they believe, not just so Phil Robertson can be back on Duck Dynasty but because no one should be allowed to take the word of God from our mouths and expect us not to do something about it. We have conceded to the world that we are the dry bones lying on the floor of the valley and it is about time that God breathes life into those bones.
     It is time for us to be confident in our beliefs, courageous in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and hopeful in God's plan for this nation.  It is time for us to stand up and be counted speaking the truth in love.
This country was once a great nation not because of its power and might but because of God's.  I believe it can be that again.  I leave you with the words of the prophet Ezekiel chapter 37:

37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
18 “When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ 20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on 21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding,[b] and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”