Watch Me Wednesday: A Brilliant Young Mind

So I have a have found a recent affection for independent films and non-Hollywood/non-famous movies. The stories, the characters, the fact that somebody poured time, passion and their vision into a work; I love it. So every Wednesday I am going to spread the word about a little known film in hopes that will be your pick for a weekend flick!

So without further ado….

“A Brilliant Young Mind”

brilliant young mind

This recently released British film was originally entitled, “X+Y”, but was released in the U.S. as “A Brilliant Young Mind”. It was directed by Morgan Matthews and stars British youngster Asa Butterfield, whom you might recognize from “Hugo” or “Boy in the Stripped Pajamas”. This movie is about a young boy named Nathan diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. He has an affinity for math and a teacher diagnosed with MS who tutors the brilliant young mind to prepare him to compete in the International Mathematic Olympiad. Without spoiling too much, I will leave you with it follows Nathan’s journey to the competition and navigating being a teenager with Autism. From what I found online, the movie appears to be based off a documentary done about a British team that competes in the Mathematic Olympiad, so very likely a true story (bonus points!!).

I personally loved the movie. I saw the trailer on YouTube and googled and found a website that had the film to watch online for free. There was some language at the very start of the movie, but do not let that deter you. Having worked with Autistic teens before, I may or may not have balled in this movie…more than once. #noshame. But seriously, highly recommend the movie! Fantastic story and very well done. A good balance of happy, sad, funny, and inspiring.

Watch Me Wednesday: Leading Lady

Leading Lady

leading lady

Released in 2014, this film received little to no advertisement here in the states as far as I am aware. This romantic comedy tells the story of British drama teacher, Jodi Rutherford, who journeys to Brandfort, South Africa to research for a role in an upcoming film she is pining to play the lead in about an Afrikaans war heroine. While there, she convinces farmer Kobus Willemse and familty to help her prepare for the role where in return she will arrange and direct the community in their annual concert at the farm. Working and living life with the people of Brandfort teaches her their is more to life than landing a major role, fame and fortune. You might recognize the leading lady of this film, Katie McGrath, from BBC’s “Merlin” where she portrays “Morgana”.

LOVED this movie. On the reals. Beautiful scenery, meaningful plot line, great soundtrack and all in all, very cute. I would recommend doing a quick Wikipedia search about Brandfort and Afrikaans, unless you are familiar with the history. I wasn’t and was slightly confused at the start of the movie, but after looking it up, I was golden. I really enjoyed the soundtrack and found a new artist to Spotify admire. Matthew Mole sings on much of the soundtrack and if you haven’t ever listened to him, give him a go-he is seriously great! Highly recommend this movie is you are in the mood for something cute, quirky, sweet, and funny.

My Response To BuzzFeed Videos’ “Things Christians Want You to Know”

There’s a video circling the Internet right now put out by BuzzFeed Videos entitled, “Things Christians Want You to Know”…and I have some things to say about it. *PSA: I am not speaking on behalf of the entire body of believers.*
Below is a screenshot of the video I took on my phone.

BuzzFeed

Before that, I have a confession. I do love me some BuzzFeed. I actually have the app on my phone. This post is not to dog the website as whole. It is not to dog the people in the video. It is not to dog any particular anything, I simply want to voice some disappointments I have as a Christian in this video because of the publicity it is receiving. This video is sweeping the Internet. I saw it shared eleven times by Facebook friends of mine on the first day that it was out.

This video is painting a not complete truth about Christianity. While yes, parts are true, they are not the whole truth and it actually paints a terrifyingly not whole picture of Christianity. I want to attempt to shed some light on the truth in response to that video. A “Things I Want People to Know About Jesus and His Followers” if you will.

  1. First off let me define Christian: the word itself has Christ is it…#justsaying. The video did not mention Jesus AT ALL. Christians are humans who have given their life to Jesus because of the His sacrifice and God’s love for us (don’t worry, this will be further explained and proven). They are striving after Jesus, seeking to portray traits of Christ to the world, yet we are still humans and humans tend to (*cough cough* always) fall into a little thing (big thing) called sin. Sin is just missing the mark; not achieving perfection.
    So yes, the video is not lying in the beginning. We are attempting to be these types of non-judgmental, open armed types of people because that’s what Jesus has told us.

    Luke 5:30-31 says, “And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Jesus came for the sinner. He came for you. Matthew 22:39 says to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 6: 37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” Multiple times throughout the Bible, Jesus says love. So yes BuzzFeed people, truth is there, we should love. We should be seen as some of the most loving, grace-giving people around because we know God loves us enough to send His son, Jesus, to die for us to pay the debt that we owed because of our sin. Jesus actually says in Matthew 28:19-20 to go into the world and spread the good news about Him and the freedom and salvation found in Him-that sounds pretty loving to me. Unfortunately in the culture we live in, this is not how Christians are viewed today. We are seen as terribly judgmental, hypocritical people. On one hand, yes we are human and we done mess up A-Aron (Romans 3:23-we all sin), BUT, the follow up first to the verse to the Luke 5 verses above (v.32) says Jesus came not to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance. These so called Christians have watered down the mighty word “Christian”, and yes should be shown grace and forgiveness for their actions, but maybe not looked to as the poster child for Christianity. Actually, while I’m at it, let me blow that out of the water too: There is no such thing as a “good” Christian. I know, blows your mind. But it’s true. We are all sinful, we all do the thing we hate, we are all humbly striving after something we cannot attain, but praise God that He is gracious and the unattainable has already been attained through Jesus, now we just follow Him!

  2. “I don’t place myself on a pedestal”
    …says the video where each sentence starts with “I”…again, #justsayin. The point of Christianity is not about us. The Bible is not about you. Church is not about you. The point of Christianity is to follow and serve God, who created the world (Genesis 1:1), with us being sinful in nature (Romans 7:22-25), sent His Son into the world, becoming sin, paying the price that we owed (John 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:21), who meets us where we are and we can now have a relationship with (John 17:3, Romans 5:8). That’s what it is about! This video misses the point. Christians are loving people, because we serve a loving God! God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us AND that same God wants to know you and have a relationship with you, right now in the middle of your mess! That’s why I want to love you. Not because I’m a young, progressive who believes in pro-choice. Nah. I choose to love, because when I didn’t deserve it, Jesus loved me. There is a freedom of choice…again because God loved us and didn’t created us as mindless heaven robots, but the gospel does demand a response, one of repentance from your sins and death to your old self, SO that you can live life to fullest in your new self with Jesus (Romans 6:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20-22). Jesus isn’t out to wreck your life so you can be some Jesus monk rocking turtle necks and rated G movies. He came that you might have life abundantly (John 10:10) and be set free from sin (Romans 6: 6-7). The price you pay, is much smaller to the price already paid on the cross, and Jesus is worth it.
  3. “We’re all kind of not crazy?!”
    But yes, yes we are. If you are thinking in terms of logic of the gospel, we are. Like seriously, think about. We love God-who created the world. He can do what He wants right?! He’s God. This God, who is  almighty and powerful, decided to love us puny, sinful, jank humans. Actually, loved us so much that He sent His SON to DIE for us. Not just death though. He became the thing God despised and would have nothing to do with; he became sin. To experience, this love, you don’t have to do anything or follow a list of rituals…nope just believe, right there, right where you are because of grace (Titus 3:3-7). Like what the what?! So yes, BuzzFeed video, I am crazy because I believe in a crazy love and I crazy love Jesus because God crazy loves me.
  4. “But at its core it really is about love, and acceptance, and being a good neighbor.”
    In the words of Dwight Schrute, “False.” At Christianity’s core is God. At the core is the gospel. At the core is immeasurable love. At the core is grace-undeserved merit. That’s what it’s all about. Acceptance from people is great and all because you know we live on Earth, a planet inhabited by humans, but what’s more important? Your status with people or relationship with God?
  5. I’m a Christian, but I am sinful. I am messy. I stumble and mess up. I am humbled by the magnificence of God. I am dead in sin, but made alive through Jesus. I am only the person I am today by the grace of God.

    BuzzFeed and Internet, I apologize for my rant. This comes from a place of love of Jesus and truth wanting to be spread. My prayer is that you would look to the Bible for things about Christians and Christianity, not just people. We are sinful, and while God is amazing and changes lives and uses people-look to God and His Word for truth. He might speak through people-fact, but make sure it is backed up with the Bible. Please don’t base an opinion of Christianity or God on a social media ploy that doesn’t even mention our Savior’s name. While I appreciate what they were trying to do and this is an opportunity for conversation to be sparked and for them to even make the video, there’s got to be talk of God going around that international website which is awesome, let’s keep some light shed on the truth!

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17.

The Runaway Bride

We joke about it. We make movies about it.

runaway bride

See, this is a thing.

This is a thing when it comes to my walk with Christ.

Unfortunately.

Lately the phrase “bride of Christ” has been popping up and I’ve been pondering what that means. I’m in my early twenties, which means I am surrounded by weddings. It seems as if every weekend I get on Facebook and someone else has gotten engaged or married. It’s actually a little game I play now with social media. I know…I need a life.

But, back to the point.
Bride: marriage, commitment, picture of beauty.
As humans, we are the pinnacle of God’s creation. We are His beauty in human form, made in His images, displaying His characteristics to the world He created. As the bride of Christ, He is pursing us. He has pursued us from the cross. He has made a commitment to us, the grand gesture if you will (we call it the gospel). It’s our turn to respond. But just as Julia Roberts in her hit movie, The Runaway Bride, I find myself freaking out and running away while walking to Him.

I come into the relationship striving after Him, following Him. I bit by bit lose myself to Him; in this case it is a good thing (not so much in an earthly relationship…ladies if that is you- bounce, bye felicia, like for real). Somewhere along the way down the aisle though, I get distracted. I start thinking (which is never a good thing). I get bogged down by stress, current and past sins, and the struggles in my head. While I am learning to be more Spirit led and silence my voice in my head to hear His more clearly (shout out to Priscilla Shirer and her study on discerning God’s voice), I am learning how easily I get distracted. I fill my head with me and can’t hear God. This study is actually showing me just how much I resemble those fish that are drawn to shiny things. I am drawn to the shiny thing called “the future”.

Currently, my biggest distractions is the future. To quote the movie Letters to Juliet, “”What” and “if” are two words as non-threatening as words can be, but put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.”  This is my struggle. I wonder: What if? What will my career be? I think I know what I want to do, but is that what God wants me to do? What if I take a chance and go for this opportunity? What if I try for this job? Where will I live next year? Am I going to get married? If so, when? Will I get a chance to travel the world like I dream of? These are the questions that cloud my discernment. They leave me in my own head. They leave me thinking as I’m walking down the aisle, not focused on the joy and peace and promise in front of me.

If God has it in the plan for me to ever get married, I would imagine as I am walking down the aisle to the man I love and am in love with that I won’t really care about anything else. Nothing else will matter in that moment except the man in front of me. Why am I not that way with Jesus? Why do I let these questions distract from my walk with Him? Why do I turn and run? Why do I constantly do the thing I hate and turn from God? Don’t be the runaway bride! Don’t let these distract you. Seek God. Earnestly seek Him and surrender it all. I am in the boat with y’all. This seems easy at first, but progressively seems harder. I trust God, I’m just struggling with my humanity. Run to the groom. Run to God! Surrender.

“Like a rushing wind, Jesus breathe within, Lord have your way, Lord have your way in me; Like a mighty storm, stir within my soul, Lord have your way, Lord have your way in me”

“Like a bride waiting for her groom, we’ll be a church ready for you, every heart longing for our king, we sing, even so come, Lord Jesus come”

P.S. sorry for no scripture references in this one, this was a spur of the moment post

The Art of Losing Myself

I went to a worship service for college students tonight in Denton, TX. At the end of it, we sang “From the Inside Out”. A song I have sang in church a dozen and one times, but there’s a line in the song that struck me tonight. It says “your will above all else, my purpose remains, the art of losing myself in bringing you praise”,

The art of losing myself. The art. That word choice.

Art:
1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form; producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power
2. various branches of creative activity
3. subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life
4. a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice

Yeah, I looked up the definition, come at me bro. #wordnerd

Losing ourselves to praise God is an art. In a way, it’s all of these definitions of the word. Its an expression and application of praise. It’s not our own creative skill or imagination though, it’s God’s (thus praise). It’s expressed in various means. It’s a process; a beautiful, lifelong process. Its a product, but not of human doings, but of knowing Jesus. It’s acquired through practice, or rather, the daily act.

Romans 7: 22-25 talk about how, as humans, we tend to do the things we hate. We wage battle against our flesh, but praise be to Christ, because He’s won that war. Lamentations 3:22-23 tell us His mercies are new every morning. Because of these new mercies, we have the ability to lose ourselves in this art form. John 3:30 tells us we must decrease and He must increase. Colossians 3:1-7 tells us how we can do so, by stripping off what is messy and putting on what is glorifying.

Losing yourself to Christ; Him increasing while we decrease is an art. It’s a daily expression and application of praise expressed through various moments in life daily. It’s not a one time deal. It’s a daily walk with Jesus. That’s our purpose: Relationship with God through Jesus, glorifying Him. Out of that comes everything else.

I am humbled by my lack of artistic ability in this department. I’m no Van Gogh when it comes to losing myself to Christ, I feel like I’m still in the finger painting stages. Honestly lately, I have struggled with laziness with God. I could list the reasons why laziness has come about, but they really don’t matter. This ugly piece of me right now is inhibiting my daily life with Jesus, as well as influencing me to step into other messiness. Just like with any art form, the beauty comes in the progression of the work. The gospel and reminding myself who Jesus is and what He did for me on the cross, as well as resting in the knowledge that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave is living in me is the drive to defeat laziness, or whatever the sin that happens to be tripping me up may be. It’s a fortunate fall, because I’m caught in grace. I know this isn’t a very long, in depth, or deep theological post. Truthfully, this was just for me and writing is the best way for me to gather my thoughts, but nevertheless I hope God uses it to strike a chord with you as He did with me. Strip off whatever is keeping you from Jesus and leave it at the foot of the cross!

A Whole New World

A whole new world.

Life with Jesus right there.

This hit me in a cool, new way this summer while working at Charis Hills Camp again this summer. This is a gospel centered therapeutic camp for kids with special needs. Truthfully, it wasn’t until about the sixth week of singing the hit Disney jam “A Whole New World” with campers. This seemed to be a theme song of the summer (a nice change from “Let It Go” last summer, shout out to the classics), and sort of became the theme of what God was teaching me.

And this is eternal, that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. -John 17:3

This was our theme verse for the summer. The verse says “know”. In this context, the word means to experientially know, aka to have a relationship with. That’s what its all about. Knowing Jesus. Having a relationship with God through His Son. Its not a set of rules, a top ten ways to get to heaven list, or a cut your hand, blood brothers type of thing. It’s not about what you can do. Its about what’s already been done, what God can do. It’s about meeting the man who did the thing, the greatest thing that ever happened to the world (please see Romans 5:23, John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 2:21, Titus 3:4-6).

God opened my eyes to that this summer. This summer I was in a different position at camp, one that added much stress. I really learned to lean on the Holy Spirit in decision making (which is probably my least favorite activity of all time). I really had to trust that God had put me there for some reason. As the summer went on, I was humbled by who God is and the work he did through me and everyone else there at camp; as well as what he was doing in the hearts of the campers and all of us.

To bring this back into context, I give you, “A Whole New World”, sung by God, performed by Jesus:

I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid
(2 Corinthians 5:17-With Christ, you can have a new shining, shimmering, splendid life with Him…and heaven, which is pretty cool–understatement of eternity)
Tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide
(Romans 10:9-Believe in your heart what Jesus did and you are saved, have you decided what to believe?)
I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder
(Luke 24:45, 1 Corinthians 3:16-With a relationship with Jesus comes the Holy Spirit, like how Oprah gives away a car to audience members and friends, but ten zillion times better; the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and open your eyes to a new life with Christ)
Over, sideways, and under on a magic carpet ride
(Jeremiah 29:11, James 1:2-4, James 1:16-17, Romans 8:28-30-God has something great in store for you! Does that mean a relationship with Jesus is always sunshine and rainbows…nah. Actually, you will probably go through some maybe not super fun things, but some actually pretty tough thing, but joy comes from knowing who Jesus is and that God causes everything to work together for good, and we have puny human brains who can only see right now, but God sees everything, plus things of this world seem not so urgent when we know what’s to come–Jesus, eternity in heaven!!)
A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view, No one to tell us no, or where to go, or say we’re only dreaming, a whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew, But when I’m way up here, it’s crystal clear, that now I’m in a whole new world with you
(Romans 6:4-7, Romans 6:14-Freedom is found in what Christ did on the cross, free from old sins, free from who you used to be, a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view on life through that relationship)
Unbelievable sights, indescribable feelings, soaring, tumbling, freewheeling, through an endless diamond sky
(Hebrews 13:8-Jesus is forever, an endless diamond sky with the the treasure being eternal life with the Savior and Creator)
A whole new world, a hundred thousand things to see, I’m like a shooting star, I’ve come so far, I can’t go back to where I used to be
(Romans 6:23, Romans 5:20-You are saved, saved forever through Jesus, eternity found in Him, you can’t go back to where you used to be, we may trip into old sins, but where sin is increased, grace abounds)
A whole new world, every turn a surprise, with new horizons to pursue, every moment red letter
(Romans 6:4-We die to our old selves when entering that relationship, our old selves being buried with Christ so that we can walk in newness of life, a new life, full of surprises marked out by God for our good and His glory)
I’ll chase them anywhere, no time to spare, let me share this whole new world with you
(Romans 1:16, Galatians 2:20, Ruth 1:16-This is not something to take lightly, Jesus is a life commitment, but its a commitment to truth and life brought by admiration and love for Christ. Will you chase Jesus anywhere He calls?)

Jesus died, offering you a whole new world. He paid the debt you owed. You have been set free. He desires to have a relationship with you. We can have that relationship with God because of what His son did. If that’s not a shining, shimmering, splendid, red letter, whole new world, then y’all I just don’t know what is.