Wonder – Movie Review

It is based upon a real disease that deforms the face and skull.

At first, the trailers will give you the impression this movie is all about a little boy and MV5BYjFhOWY0OTgtNDkzMC00YWJkLTk1NGEtYWUxNjhmMmQ5ZjYyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjMxOTE0ODA@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,648,1000_AL_the trials caused by his physical problems. That is misleading. It’s not all about a little boy. It’s about a family. Who has a little boy that has trials caused by his physical problems. It’s important that you know that.

It also seems to be based upon a true story. That is not the case either. It is based upon a real disease that deforms the face and skull. That part is never really talked about directly. But the movie is not about the disease. It is, as I said, about a family.

The Pullman family have raised their son, Auggie (August), in a rather closed environment and home schooled him due to the ongoing needs of the disease. When he is ready for 5th grade, they decide to enter him into a regular school. As usual, he is instantly ridiculed and made fun of. Bullied, much like reality (unfortunately). Despite more than one set-back, he is resilient and fights his way through it.

There are a few surprises along the way. And an ongoing need for a hankie as the tears will come, like it or not. I saw it at the PIX Theater, here in Albany. A place I highly recommend for both the environment and the cost being about half what the regular theaters charge. And while the writing was somewhat typical and the story, overall, nothing really new, it was a terrific movie with a few new spins. Fun and poignant.

Both Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson did a great job. Especially considering neither have done much in a while. But the show was definitely stolen by Jacob Tremblay, who played Auggie. He was funny and very believable.

His character underwent a change. He was already full of laughable lines and humor, but he was mostly alone. The movie brings him into friendships with others as well as a better understanding of all that his family has been through in helping him along. There are “chapters” in which the film focuses on others that are in his life and how his complications have changed and affected theirs. While he is the main character, the movie is not abut him alone.

You will enjoy this as one of the best “feel good films” of 2017. It is PG, but could easily be a G. Very family friendly. I would recommend this to anyone. Any age. There are mature themes, but they deal with bullying and every kid needs to know how awful that part of school and life is anyway.

I would give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. The half being only because it can be a little predictable sometimes. Fun, lots of humor, some tears, and, ultimately, a very well resolved story. GO SEE IT!

sige117

Hello

Greetings friends. I know it has been a while since you heard from me via this format. More than a month in fact. I do apologize for the gap if any has been missing the blog. It’s alive and well. In fact, I have worked a little on a new page called simply “Books.” It is a link for the books I am writing. You can see and purchase and get some heads up on them. I do work a regular job and write so my time is usually filled making it difficult to have the blog on a regular basis.

However, I wanted to post a little something about Thanksgiving. So, that’s what we’ll talk about today.

I was chatting with Nancy earlier today and the thought occurred to me that the three biggest holidays of the year are in celebration of God. Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I don’t want to go into super detail, but think about that. Everyone (mostly) celebrates each of these in some way. Regardless of their faith or belief in God, they celebrate Him.

Easter might have eggs and candy and bunnies, but the point is that Jesus rose from the grave.

Thanksgiving has ridiculous amounts of food and arguing family members, but the point here is to give thanks to God for His provision.

Christmas might be celebrated by massive spending and crazy decorations, but the point is we celebrate His birth.

And some of the other holidays are based in some fashion on the goodness of God as well.

No matter what your holiday actions are, it is indeed a wonderful time of year. And we have the gracious God of All to thank for it!

I hope your Thanksgiving was spectacular and filled with family and fun. I pray a blessed Holiday Season on you and your loved ones!

It’s time to start wishing those we encounter a Merry Christmas!

sige117

P.S. Nancy and I will be getting married April 14, 2018, at our church, Grace Point Nazarene, here in Albany, OR. You are all invited. 🙂

Is It Okay To Do This?

Paul made a couple of contradicting statements in the Bible. In one place he says, “It is lawful for me to do anything I want, but it is not always profitable.” 1 Corinthians 6:12. But in Romans 6:1 he says, “What shall we say then? Shall we sin more so that grace will abound more? Certainly not!” So I can do anything I want as long as it doesn’t tempt grace? So, which is it?

The real question we might want to ask is, “Does true Christianity dictates rights and wrongs?” Or this one, “Are there things we shouldn’t do?” “How do we determine what is sin and what is not?”

The list of questions can go on and on. However, the first thing we have to understand above all else is that God loves us. And not like the neighbor loves us. Or even a family member. His love has no bounds and no level of up or down. Here is a short passage from the book, “Crazy Amazing Love: 31 Pieces of Love” –

“Let’s use a chart type to explain this. The greatest Love is a 10. That’s the level of Love that will give up the Son to die to make a way. Our Love for God will vary within that chart. Our Love for others will also.

About a 2 for criminals and strangers. That’s the hardest one. We might be pushing a 4 for people we know. Co-workers, distant relatives, and so on. Our family might garnish a 5 or 6. Our spouse, maybe even a 7. Our Love for God 5-8. At best. Of course, there are many variations in the Chart of Love. There might even be a few 10s in there somewhere. But very few.

God has a 10 for us. He had a 10 when He made Adam, and He had a 10 when He made you. There is no variable. He doesn’t have off days. He doesn’t get up in the morning with a 5 until His first cup of coffee.”

The point is that when we begin asking questions about our sin and what is or is not sinful, we need to filter everything through the eyes of God’s love.

But, then it seems to become circular. As we come to know God’s love, our whole way of thinking changes. Questions like whether or not something is sinful or not become less and less important. Then we begin to wonder about whether or not we are wondering about things that are no longer relative or important. Does sin disappear in our lives? No, we still do things we shouldn’t, but the resolve of those things become different.

It sounds complicated, but it’s not. At least not once we begin to see the level of God’s crazy amazing love. We can live worrying about if we messed up or live knowing God loves us despite anything we might do that is wrong.

Yes we can technically do anything we want. But as we grow closer to God and see a clearer picture of His love, we desire to do less and less of that which might push us away from Him. And it’s true we should never take advantage of the great grace God has bestowed upon us. But, again, as we learn more of God’s love, we desire less and less to damage the grace he gives us.

So many questions and confusions can be resolved and put to rest if we just remember the amazing level of God’s love…

sige117

What Is A Legacy?

Long before I ever thought about the true significance of the Kingdom, Before I knew what it was like to really be a dad. Before I ever thought about leadership. Before I understood a true movement of God. Before I got what it was like to affect others. Before I knew to write. Knew how to love others on sight. Before I understood how much I and my world really needed God, I met a man. A father. A mentor. A pastor.

He wasn’t perfect. He had quirks, and likes and dislikes. He was funny. He was serious. He was smart and well educated. He was inventive and talented. He had a beautiful voice and a heart for God. His name was Jack and he was a “Jack.” His name fit him. I’m not really sure how that works, but it did.

Jack was my pastor. But he was my friend more. He was my confidant. My buddy. We hung out.

He loved science fiction. We had that in common. Especially Star Wars. We went to see Star Wars: Episode I together. He was fun. He insisted on sitting in the first row, center. And everyone was warned to be quiet. I loved the big kid that came out in him.

We had other things in common, but mostly that he loved God. He affected me with that. He was genuine. He was good company. We loved competing football teams. I have forgotten how many games we watched together. He changed me. The way I thought.

Some years before we lost this man, we lost his amazing wife, Ruth. They were two of a kind. They were so in love with each other. That love was only eclipsed by their love for God. They were amazing pastors and so wanted to do the will of the Master.

They did indeed leave this world too soon and too young. But they left behind a lot of people. Including two amazing children. Elizabeth is their daughter. Married to a great man, loves Jesus with everything in her. She is a published author with a great book called “The God of My Parents.” She carries on her dad and mom’s legacy by proclaiming the love of God.

Their little boy, Jack III, married a beautiful lady and they now have a handsome young man of their own. Young Jack is one of the most talented people I know bringing puppetry to a new level with his “Arlo” character and 170,000 followers. He’s not so little anymore.

When the time comes for me to leave this land and go to be with God for eternity, I pray God grants me the grace to leave a legacy behind that changes people and makes them want to be something more as Jack did with his kids and those, like me, that were privileged to know him and have the love of God affect them as well. He was an amazing man.

Today he has been home with his two best Friends for 16 years. It’s hard to believe that it has been that long. It is good to put a loss behind us. But it is also good (and maybe better) to recapture the emotion that person evoked in us from time to time. That joy. That laughter. And, maybe a few tears too.

Thank you Jack for the memories…

sige117

No Words…

It’s hard to understand the mind of anyone who decides that others must die for reasons that are not even clear. Mr. Paddocks brother described it like this: “It’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky.” How do you respond?

In America we enjoy a massive freedom: To connect and be part of things going on around us. Concerts and other venues where we gather together in crowds and groups.

We enjoy the freedom to own guns. Not automatic guns of course, but the choice of weapons is extensive.

Which do we choose to remove to keep people safe?

The thought of something like this happening is downright scary. But it did happen…

For days to come, and months, and even years, the fallout will inundate our moments, and our seconds, and ours hours. Discussions will happen in the church, the board rooms, the coffee shops, and work places. Arguments and opinions will flare and explode. The worst shooting in modern American history. Hundreds wounded, closing in on 60 dead. This is what the word tragedy was coined for.

Mr. Paddock will overshadow our day to day for some time to come. In this, heroes will be recognized, decisions will be made. Security will be increased and I am certain some will become unemployed for a lack of security.

How did this happen? How could this happen? CNN called it a “soft target.” An easy place to attack.

It represents one of the key indicators of a time when God’s love has been spurned and pushed away. And thus, a time when we as a country clearly see the results. But that is not where the blame will be put. As always, it will be placed on the backs of some Amendment or organization. Or freedom itself.

In reality it’s like eating cream pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for years and not expecting something terrible to happen to our body.

I do not mean to lessen the horror of this or try to put the blame on any particular group or individual. What I want to say more than anything is that God loves us. He wants to fix us. That’s why He sent His Son in the first place. To teach us love. Not just His love but how to extend that love to others. Thus preventing such atrocities before they are even conceived. We can be transformed into a new, merciful, loving and amazing creature, just knowing His love. (Romans 12:2)

I pray for Las Vegas and the innocents that have endured and will continue to endure this horrible moment. This will ring as an echo for a long time. As it should. But it is the love of God that will heal this, not angry senseless tweets, new laws and long political debates.

And, if you aren’t praying (to God) for America, you are wrong.

sige117

 

No, Stupid – Porn Bad

I know this one thing for sure: Jesus loved Hugh Hefner.

Hugh Hefner died. Sorry, I have no aspirations of sorrow. The only thing the man could have done before his death was be honest about how porn made him rich off the backs of once innocent men and women. How he propagated the dysfunction of millions of people. How he began a “revolution” that took the lives of millions of babies (ultimately, yes). How he created an environment that will never go away and continues to move through generation after generation. Only growing in size and acceptance. Leaving absolute destruction in its wake. The porn industry and the sexual revolution owe a huge debt to him.

I have seen porn destroy everything it touches. I have been as transparent as possible about this addiction. And much of it is owed to looking through Playboys as a young man.

Jesus actually spoke of this very thing:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matt 18:6

Many people think of men like Hefner to be “reprobates.” Someone who has been so bad in their lives that they cannot be forgiven. If a man in the public eye ever resembled such a person, Hefner did. His complete disregard for his fellow man through the trappings of the industry he promoted were a strong indication that he could have cared less for anyone but good old boy, Hugh.

He is no different than the monsters of the age. The ones who have gone down in history for the terrible actions they committed. He will be one of them. Maybe not in the accepted eyes of the general public, but in the eyes of God. Indeed!

But what of that? What of the fact that Jesus Himself says those who bring destruction to the young are suffering in some way? Is it guilt? Shame? Is there pain somehow for them. While they yet live?

Did Hugh face the demons of the underworld as he fought for another breath of life? Was he laying there on his bed, screaming something like, “Don’t let them take me!?” Of course I have no idea and if he was, and it would never be published. Or if it was, no one would believe it.

What if instead, he lay there drowning in regret. What if he called for someone like Franklin Graham to come pray with him. Would Jesus forgive him? Could he find peace? Would Hugh Hefner make it into Heaven?

I do not know if Hugh had ever had anyone tell him about Jesus. I would think he didn’t need anyone to explain that what he was doing was wrong. At least not at the beginning. Maybe after a few years, he came to see it as being okay and proper. But in the beginning, he almost certainly knew it was wrong. Did he ever hear the Gospel?

Questions and suppositions that may never be answered. But I know this one thing. I know this truth about Hugh Hefner. I know this thing that the world might be somewhat divided on. He did indeed do everything I mentioned above. He is indeed responsible for the terrors that pornography create. But, still there is one thing.

I committed murder. Not just anyone either, I hung the Christ on a cross. Is my guilt worse than Playboy?

You may be as disgusted by the porn industry as I am. And, we should be. But in the end, every life is precious to Jesus. He does not find happiness in the death of someone who went without knowing Him. We all face eternity. With or without Jesus. Without, of course, being the scariest thing of all. But, His love never wavers from us. He will never pick and choose someone He loves and someone He hates. Was Hefner even able to have met Christ before his death? I would have to say yes. Whether he did or not, I would not even answer. I know this one thing for sure: Jesus loved Hugh Hefner.

sige117

Taking Your Blog To The Next Level

Every person has a story to tell. Every blogger has a beginning. Every Christian has a witness to give.

This is geared towards anyone who is a Christian blogger, writer, potential author, or just someone who is considering it. Hi! Here’s a little of my story:

I have been blogging in various formats and on various sites for over 10 years. It doesn’t mean I have been really successful or that I have hundreds of followers. The truth is I don’t have many followers and I have never made a dime from blogging. Not that those things are not important or that I wish I did, just that I realized some time back that those reasons weren’t my reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, I really would love success in that area, but it’s never happened and I’m okay with that.

About 3 years ago, after not having written much for 2 plus years prior, I was working in a factory in mid-Missouri. It was a small company and the owner was pretty relaxed about stuff. So, several of us wore our ear buds for ear plugs and listened to music. One fine afternoon I had downloaded a podcast from one of my favorite ministers and was busy listening to his sermon. The subject was that God is the Master of whatever art form you are a part of and He wants to guide you to do that art for His glory. He named off several different positions that God filled: Master Painter, Master Craftsman, Master Architect, and so on. I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, “I am the Master Editor… The Master Writer.” It was a very powerful moment.

Amidst the noise of the place, no one heard me speak, but I said out loud, “What do I do?”

The answer was as clear as if I had heard them audibly. “Write.” Nothing more, nothing less.

I tossed and turned about that for several nights. Then late one evening while I was praying, I told God His love was crazy and amazing. Crazy because He loves nothing like we do. Amazing because, it is truly amazing. He tapped me on the shoulder, so to speak, and pointed to that title. And, I began blogging again.

About 60 plus blogs later, I felt God start talking to me about a book. It sounded exciting. I thought, “Well, I can just modify the best posts and make them devotions or chapters.” Sounded grand. Most of it is already written.

I remember the day I hit 100 blogs on this particular site (not this site here, but this blog). I couldn’t believe it. I had been writing all my life and this was the furthest I had ever gotten on one subject. Like everyone else, I had “umpteen” unfinished stories, but this was a milestone.

Jump forward to number 250 blogs. Yeah, exciting. No book yet. I had begun to compile the blogs that seemed to work, but with few positive results. So many had to do with current events and a million other ideas that I wasn’t sure if it would do the trick. So, like the dolt I am, I decided to talk to God as a last resort. I felt like He was saying that the idea behind the book was the theme of my blog, but the blog itself was not the source.

Then one day, I was hankering to write (you know that feeling). And in a matter of minutes, the fresh ideas flowed and my first chapter was done. I was so excited. It was beautiful, funny and perhaps some of the best writing I had every done. Smooth and quick. The next day, another one. Then another. The original idea was for it to be a 31 Day Devotional. However, the chapters were too long, but not long enough for a regular book.

cover -front

So, the 31 Pieces Series was born.

I said all of that to say this: Every person has a story to tell. Every blogger has a beginning. Every Christian has a witness to give. You have something in you that compels you to write. You have a book in you, not just a blog. You have something more to give to the Kingdom of God and the world that so desperately needs to hear about it.

I was very intimidated by the thought of writing a book and finishing it. But I did. And, turns out, with God behind it, it wasn’t nearly as tough. Now, my blog has suffered a bit, but the first hurdle is the first book. I am literally working on 9 different books and I can easily write 4,00-6,000 words a day now. When I have a day alone.

So, here’s the real thing. That book you have in the back of your mind? Now is the time to make it happen! Not tomorrow!

sige117