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Archive for October, 2011

It’s easy to say that you’re a Christian. You may even be able to prove it by attending church, talking about your faith, and reciting scripture. You look good, really good. Or you may look like you’re striving, struggling, and though you’re not perfect, you’re not dead in your faith.

Attending a Christian school like mine, I encounter these kinds of people every day. Everyone is supposedly a Christian, having been raised in a Christian household, attend church meetings regularly, and go on conferences/retreats. Some exhibit a remarkable stash of verses in their memory. However, it’s much harder to find those who are truly believers; those who seek to pursue the Lord and doing His will. These believers will show some fruit, probably not too visible, but people can still recognize it.

What fruit am I talking about? Are not their church-going, spiritual-high-times, and Bible-memorizing habits enough to prove their faith in Christ? After all, they seem pretty faithful to me.

Sadly, that is not the case. Faith takes so much more than habits. Faith requires surrender, obedience, and submission. It looks up to God and follows the straight and narrow path towards Him. It takes up His yoke, His burden, His commission. The difference between the nominal Christians and the truly faithful ones is the fact that inward character is visible in the faithful Christians. Their moral standards, their convictions, and their dedication to the Lord are expressed through humble service, their refusal to use profanity, their grace-filled conversations, and their efforts to read the Bible so that they may know God more and more are evident. You may not notice them going about these activities, but when you talk to them, you can see that they’re different. They refuse to give in, because they already gave themselves up. They refuse to speak a certain way because they’re too busy proclaiming Christ in their everyday language.

Such fruit does not come without toil and effort. It requires prayer, perseverance, regular Bible study, and the strength and conviction to say “no”. I have no doubt that these few faithful Christians spend time regularly with God. They commune with Him, discussing issues in their lives and assessing their progress. They reflect on what they’re doing for God, and as a result, their lives exhibit far more character and faith than the nominal Christians.

It convicts me and encourages me at times whenever I talk with a faithful Christian. Through the smallest conversation I can identify areas where I’ve been slipping in my convictions. What I once regarded as wrong I’m doing almost regularly. Therefore, it’s good to have these Christians around impersonally holding you accountable. Because without their fruit, how would you realize you’re not living up to God’s standard like you should?

Producing outward fruit is so crucial to the daily Christian life. It not only develops your relationship with God, it encourages everyone around you. Sure, you may be a faithful Christ-follower inside, in your personal life, but if you act differently in public than you do in private, what’s the use? It only serves to stain your message if you ever decide to let out what faith you have inside. Fruit is made to be enjoyed, and if people can enjoy your fruit — your love, kindness, purity, etc. — then that’s all the more reason to keep producing. God is more than happy to see His little trees blossom because they submit to His care 🙂

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This morning, a few members from my church’s youth group went to see the new movie Courageous, a film about fatherhood by Sherwood Pictures, a film production company that gained recent fame with their movies Facing the Giants and Fireproof. From the movie’s website:

Honor Begins at Home

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.

While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they’re quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.

When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God … and to their children?

Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.

Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

In my personal opinion, this movie dragged a bit in the beginning and didn’t lock in my interest. However, near the middle of the film, the plot begin taking on a very surprising and interesting turn, and as the film progressed with more laughs and tears, I found myself hooked to the screen and engaged in the emotional appeal radiating from the characters.

Courageous had a very important message, and it delivered it poignantly and with multiple layers of truth and hope. The plot was very well paced, though to me the alternating emotional scenes (comedy and tragedy) switched too often. I found myself laughing one second, crying another, and in yet another laughing again. However, the comedy was hilarious yet clean and very well woven into the storyline, as were the sadder scenes. The soundtrack was very very relevant, and reached out where words and acting could not. I found myself going home, hopping online, and looking up the songs as soon as possible.

The characters fulfilled their role to their fullest potential, the acting scenes were not cheesy (as opposed to the fake firefighting scenes in Fireproof), and the story was moving, touching, and inspirational. It is a movie with a message to fathers, and I would definitely recommend this movie to everyone: it speaks to not only to fathers, but also to soon-to-be fathers, married men, engaged men, young men, mothers, wives, etc. There is a character for every person to relate to, which makes this movie even more moving.

I would say to round up a group of fathers or peers, or families or your peers to go see the movie this week. Help support the Christian film industry by helping the film’s opening week a smashing success.  🙂

Courageous is rated PG-13 for drugs and violence, and yes, some scenes may be mature for children. But honestly, the movie is  appropriate for anyone above the age of 10, relatively speaking.

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