Movie List Accomplishment: The Silence of the Lambs

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Wow. Why did it take me so long to get to this masterpiece? Only the third film in history to win the “big five” at the Oscars. I’ve loved Anthony Hopkins’s work (most recently in WestWorld), but he is something else in this. It’s not often that after I watch an older film I begin asking myself “Does this make my top ten now?”, but I’m asking it today. Guess I’ll see in February of 2018. Loved it.

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Book List Accomplishment: Wonder

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Really great novel for kids. Tempted to have my class read it next year. Maybe we can read it during lunch. Really loved that the novel tackled different view points, and how people react and deal with people with deformities. Choose kind.

Movie List Accomplishment: Blood Simple

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Oh the Coen Brothers have always been great. Got to check this one out because Corrie bought it for me on Criterion. What a cool little drama. It’s almost a Shakespearean tragedy about miscommunication. Really dug it. Final moments are super intense.

Is the Gospel Good Enough for You?

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Paul starts the book of Galatians pretty normally. Verses one through five are his typical greeting to the churches in which he states who he is, and asks for God’s blessing on them. However, as soon as his introduction is over Paul slaps the churches in Galatia across the face.

” I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— “

Ouch! You feel that? That’s some straight guilt tripping right there. One might be tempted to read this verse in a passive aggressive way (Oh my gosh! I can’t believe how fast you ate you dinner! You just don’t care girl! Go you!) , but this is not the case. Paul is genuinely shocked at how fast the churches have abandoned the Gospel he taught them. They’ve rejected the Gospel that speaks grace, and the calling God has for them. Instead they are embracing a different Gospel.

Now we’re not talking books of the Bible. Paul isn’t mad the Galatians ditched their study in the Gospel of Luke, and instead started reading in the Gospel of John. No the Gospel Paul is referencing is the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This is the Gospel: Jesus Christ was God’s only son, who was sent to earth, lived a sinless life, yet He took on the sins of the world, was crucified, died, and was buried. Then He rose from the grave, and put death in His place, and now all who believe in Him and accept His salvation shall have everlasting life. Maybe you’ve heard of it before? So if that’s the Gospel, whats this different gospel Paul is talking about?

” not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah.”

Oh. So there is no other gospel. Just a bunch of people trying to muddy up the story about Jesus. See Paul is writing this letter to get things straight in Galatia. These churches have come under the influence of false teachers who are trying to spread a false gospel. What is this false gospel you may ask?

Was is that Jesus didn’t really die? Or that He secretly had a child no one knew about? Or was it something else scandalous? No, actually this “different gospel” was actually fake news. It said that the key to salvation did  not only require belief in Jesus, but also a strict adherence to Law. In other words false teachers were saying Paul’s message was weak sauce. They were saying people needed more than just faith in Jesus for salvation. They had to also keep the law. They needed to live legalistically. Paul has little mercy for these false teachers.

” But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him![b] As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!”

Dang. Did you read that? Paul just repeated himself for emphasis. He isn’t messing around here. He says that even he or an angel tells them a different gospel they shouldn’t believe it. (Note: no angels weren’t going around telling different gospels to people back then!) Paul says that anyone spreading a false gospel should have a curse put upon them. That’s some heavy stuff.  Telling the Gospel honestly must be a pretty important deal. Which brings us to verse ten.

10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.”

This is Paul saying “the Gospel I gave you was true.” As I said before, people thought Paul was giving them a weak version of the Gospel in order to obtain more of a following. They thought this message of simple belief was too good to be true. Paul says pretty bluntly here that he could care less what the people think about him. He is a slave to Christ, and cares more about what God thinks. We know Paul means this too because he lived a very persecuted life as a result of his faith. He shared the Gospel as it is to people because it is the truth. He did the opposite of what he was being accused of.

How often do we fail to accept the Gospel as it is? We tend to go back to legalism whenever we start sinning. We have a hard time accepting that God’s grace is big. It’s big enough to cover our sins in the past, the present, and the future. We are freed from the Law that we could never hope to keep. This is the good news.

On a similar note, how often do we feel the need to hide the truth of the Gospel when sharing it with others. If we truly believe in the Gospel, then we must believe it is the greatest news in the history of mankind. Yet, I know that often when I try to share the Gospel I get nervous, and I feel inclined to not fully put the truth out their for others to embrace.  We must start embracing the Gospel, and not try to change it to make it more palatable for different people’s views. It stands as it is, and God is pleased when we share the master plan He completed thousands of years ago.

There is no other gospel, other than THE gospel. It is good enough for me, you, your friends, your family, and the entire world. Don’t be afraid of the good news!

 

I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news[a] about the Messiah. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him![b] As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!

10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.

Book List: To Live is Christ to Die Is Gain

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Finally finished this sucker. Bought in 2015 for a Bible study I didn’t get to attend regularly. Tried to do lead a Bible study on it for college group, but nobody got into it. I finished it always. Really good commentary and sermons on the book of Philippians. I like that Chandler used the three people from Acts 16 as a sort of glass to read Philippians through, although I’m not sure how historically sound that decision is.

Ended with a really powerful charge to find contentment in Christ.  Final chapters were all about letting go of worries and praising Christ even in dark circumstances. I like that Chandler doesn’t pull any punches and brings up personal examples of trying times when praising God was hard. His explanation of how we do it was very insightful.