Saturday, April 26, 2014

God's Glory is for Real!

My Tie Values: Trust and Dwell

Easter weekend of 2014 was really awesome for me. Besides a weekend of enjoying our Good Friday service, fasting and praying, watching the sunrise, worshipping, and celebrating, I had the experience seeing “Heaven is for Real” movie after our Good Friday service.

At first, I felt a bit disappointed in going to the movie alone. However, this was quickly erased as I entered a packed theater where single seats were the only seats to be had. The seat that God reserved for me was in between a couple who told me they came to the movie to watch the stupid Christians react and a Christian family with young children. 

As the movie started, I was interested in three conversations. The couple on my right were really having a great time being cynical about the pastor and the congregation. They saw hypocrisy of how the characters in the movie portrayed themselves one way at home and work while being another way at church. This couple would have renamed the movie “Hypocrisy is for Real.”

     Despite the warning “PG: Not recommended for young children,” the Christian family on my left saw this movie as a way to deepen their family conversation about faith and life. They had two children below the age of 10. Each child had their questions like.
  • “Why did the pastor’s family get mad?”
  • “How did that boy see Heaven?”
  • “Why did people in the church not believe him?”

     It was a joy to hear the parents’ converse with their young children about faith, death, and the struggles of life in a way that their children understood. I wished more families would take time to live more genuinely together. This family would have renamed the movie, “Life is for Real.”

     Then the conversation of the movie changed the way everyone was watching this story unfold when the doctors had realized that the young Colton’s appendix had ruptured for at least a day. Everyone watching knows that this can be a serious condition that can be fatal. Who hasn’t had the fear of a ruptured appendix happening to them at some point? The movie did justice to the story to highlight regardless of one’s view about the possible experiences in heaven that a miracle had taken place in the lives of the pastor’s family, church, and young Colton that transformed their lives forever. 

     It was amazing to see a story that brought together the messiness of life with the glory of heaven without making heaven as an escape from life’s hardships.

Then I had a My TIE Moment

     What about the conversation that was taking place in my heart? I must admit that it is hard to watch a movie that shows some of the unpleasant realities of the pastor’s occupation. I felt like disappearing each time the:
  • Financial realities were portrayed
  • Family arguments about children, relationships, and faith emerged during hardship
  • Ministry job insecurity when key church members are not happy with their pastor.
  • Struggle in being transparent with the church and community about struggles, and experiences when God is at work. Especially when it conflicts with the image of how people see the pastor.

     I like to be genuine to my congregation by not maintaining the unrealistic false pastoral images. Yet, I found myself in this story as one trying to tell Pastor Burpo, “Don’t tell them that or you will regret it!” Silly as it seems, I began to realize that I was talking to myself. Unfortunately, I do at times protect myself from the scorn of others by not fully trusting in the power of God’s Word in all of life’s circumstances.

     As Christians we need to understand that people need to hear about how:
  • Sin complicates all of our lives.
  • The Good News that God can restore the brokenness that happens to us as well as the brokenness we cause in the world.
  • The blessed life in God is not described in the comforts of prosperity but also in the discomforts that birth His glory.
  • We are all saved from God’s eternal judgment because of our sins.

     Through the story about Pastor Burpo’s family, I realized that God’s glory is all around us on the verge of breaking through. Sadly, we all fall short of living for God’s glory because we often allow our own preferences and comfort get in the way.

     Since Good Friday, I have taken refuge in these words from Psalm 37:3, “Trust in the Lord and Do Good. Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.”

     On Easter Sunday I revealed to my congregation how the power of Christ and His church have enabled me to overcome hate that was in my heart because of what others have done to me.

     In all reality, all of us often choose to protect ourselves from future pain by secretly hating others in our hearts. We surround ourselves with people and communities who make us feel comfortable while we shut out all others that remind us of our pain. It is time to let Christ resurrect us from our own tombs so that we may reach people who we consider too uncomfortable for our reach.

     By the way, I would rename the movie “God’s Glory is for Real.” 

1 comment:

  1. I see what you mean by attractive worms.. interesting .. i will always remember that worms can be very attractive.