Monday, April 16, 2012

Alienated Turtles and A Mutated Gospel

As a child I remember reading a couple issues of a black and white comic book about ninjas. Teenage ninjas. Teenage ninjas that were mutated turtles! It was awesome. Then there was a full color animated cartoon. It was awesome. Then a live action movie. It was awesome! Then more animated cartoons, different universes, two more live action movies, video games, and a CGI animated film. The story was roughly the same. Radioactive ooze turns pet turtles into ninjas. They learn ninjitsu from a mutant rat (like the turtles) who was once either a man or a rat (depending on the story line you follow) until he came into contact with the ooze. Ahh, the ooze.

Recently, Michael Bay, director of the Transformers movies (who has been hired to direct a new live action Ninja Turtles movie), made a statement about the upcoming movie. He said that the turtles would be aliens and people would love the story. ALIENS?!?

Fanboys across the world took to the interwebs and blogosphere in an outcry. The problem: The fans were excited about a new live action movie (the method of telling/retelling the story) but they were upset about the alien roots (the message, the origin, had been corrupted).

Today the church faces a very similar situation. When the virgin birth is denied or it's importance is limited, when preachers teach Christ is "just one of many ways" to heaven, or hell isn't as bad as some people say it is or it isn't even real, we have strayed greatly. As Christians, we should be just as outraged as "fanbois" all over the interwebs at Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles. As Christians, we have the greatest story ever told and we need to tell it again and again in as many different ways and venues as we can but we cannot change the story! With the greatest story comes the greatest responsibility. In other words, the Gospel's just too important to mess with.

God created us. Our sin separated us from God. We don't like that separation so we do anything we can to fill it, typically falling into more sin. God doesn't like that so He puts into motion a plan to deal with our sin. Enter Christ, God the Son, born of a virgin. Christ teaches us about living for God the Father. Christ dies for us to make a reunion with God the Father possible. Christ rises again to ensure us everything will be just as He said it would. Christ ascends to Heaven telling us He will come again to, once and for all, reunite us with God. God the Spirit works in us today, guiding, teaching, compelling us to turn from sin and receive Christ. Those who receive Christ receive Heaven. Those rejecting Christ receive Hell.

It's the greatest story ever told. It's not our story to mess with. Let me spur you to share it with someone today. Share your forgiveness!

all about Christ,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Titanic Mistake...

I was hoping we let go of the Titanic, even though Jack whispered "I'll never let go." The Titanic has re-emerged and is back in theaters and in 3-D no less. I know many are excitied, (James Cameron's bank account, and all most every female) but for myself it reminds me of the first huge mistake I made in youth ministry, an iceberg I didn't see coming and had no idea was there.  

I was in my rookie year of youth ministry at a loving and encouraging church in the small town of Milford, KY serving as their weekend youth guy while attending Bible College. I decided it was time for a blockbuster outing for our group so we set sail in our 15 passenger old school Dodge church van (which was the size of a boat) into town. We docked the van and walked up to the ticket counter and each said these words, "One for Titanic"...from then on the night began to sink.

My mistake was this: discernment. I had not previewed the movie, my college friends, the press and the media gave it glowing reviews. I added the reviews to the amazing reports and the box office numbers to equal this must be a great movie. It was for a while, but much like the captain I was in uncharted waters, not previewing the movie myself. Queue the steamy window scene in the car, and then the scene that sunk me Jack Dawson sketching Rose in the nude. I did not feel like "the king of the world", I wanted to jump over board.

I learned a lot about discernment that night. I learned that as a captain of the ship, as the leader, I must know where the boat is heading and the dangers that may lurk in the waters. Discernment in life and leadership is so very important. Take it from me you're not unsinkable.