Friday, May 17, 2013

A Woman to be Praised

This last Sunday was Mother's Day and I got to preach at church!  I spoke on Proverbs 31 to encourage the women in our church to strive for godly character, show the men what kind of girl they should be looking for, and help us all see the importance of praising the godly women in our lives.

I hope you are blessed by it!

CLICK HERE for the sermon.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 was a blast.  It was humorous, action packed, full of cool new gadgets and upgrades, and had a solid and unexpected twist.  It was inappropriate at times with language and sexuality, which is pretty much par for the course with Tony Stark.  I was mildly annoyed twice when Tony is saved by gadgets he happened to have on him the whole time.  This installment of Iron Man was quite different from the last two in the way it was directed, narrated, and even the plot structure and camera angles.  It was a lot of fun, but there is something about it that left me unsure how I'd rate it.  For now I'm thinking it was better than the sequel but not as good as part one.  Vague Spoilers Follow...

What is Tony Stark without his suits?
One of the major themes of this movie is Tony Stark's struggle to feel safe and secure.  The events in the Avengers movie have left him distraught, nervous, fearful, and suffering from anxiety attacks.  He doesn't feel safe without the Iron Man armor and has become obsessed with improving it and building new versions of it.  Despite his strongly felt need for the suit, he gets separated from it time and time again in the movie.

The whole issue of him feeling helpless without the armor is highlighted when a kid doesn't even recognize Tony Stark but points to the empty suit on the couch and says, "That's Iron Man!"  That's how Tony feels.  He is nothing without the suit.  Yet Tony continues to save the day with or without his fancy suits over the course of the two hour and ten minute film.  As Tony and not the suit rise to be the hero, he goes through a healing process.  By the end of the movie, he ends up with a restored confidence when the realization comes that he doesn't need the suits.  The suits don't make him great.  He made the suits!  The armor is not the hero.  Tony, not the suits, is Iron Man.

Just chillin' with my bro.
Ultimately this movie sends Tony on a quest to find himself and discover something about his own identity.  He was basing his identity on the suits so much that they became his only hope for safety and peace and led to anxiety and fear when they weren't around.  We all do that don't we?  Maybe we don't base our lives around our billion dollar robotic armor, but we all turn to the people and possessions around us to find our worth, safety, and peace.

We trust in our jobs and bank accounts to get us through life and when either of those is in jeapordy, we panic!  We look to our friends and family to be our rock and give us peace but when we feud with them our whole lives fall apart.  As parents, we base our whole life and identity on our kids and when they aren't home by curfew and haven't called, we go to Def-con 1 (or is it 5?) and absolutely lose our minds.

Just like our friend Tony, none of us will be at peace until we stop putting our sense of worth and security in the people and stuff around us.  You are more than your job, career, friends, money, clothes, significant other, children, and high-tech armor.

But in the end, I think Tony still ends up finding his answer in the wrong place.  In Iron Man 3, he finds his ultimate confidence and security in himself.  He is the great Tony Stark and there is nothing he can't face.

But you and I aren't billionaire geniuses who can MacGyver our way out of anything life throws at us.  The Bible says there is something greater than anything in this world and even greater than us that we need to base our identity, worth, and security on: our relationship with God.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  -  Romans 8:14-17

Who are you?  You're more than your career and possessions and friends.  If you've trusted in Christ as your Savior, you are a child of God!  That's where you need to find your identity first and foremost.  That's where you need to find your security.  As a child of God you know you are loved fully by God.  You are cared for.  You are watched over.  You have nothing to fear because Almighty God is your Abba, your Daddy!

Learn this well.  Let it sink into your soul.  And the next time the people around you let you down or your possessions are lost you will be calm as a Hindu cow because you know that your Father is still on the throne watching over you and He cares for you deeply.  You aren't Iron Man, you're something much, much more.