Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Matthew 6:9-13

Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy knigdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is thge kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen. 

For the overly churched, these passages collectively called The Lord's Prayer have been ritualistically recited to a point that all savour and substance have been drained and lost. Most regurgitate it without a second thought of what wondrous truth and inspiration are contained within. This is yet another fail of the modern church culture. A contemporary agenda designed to fill pews, not hearts, producing scriptures in quantity without quality dissertation, and focusing on verses that can be easily digested without offense or purposed for individual interpretation to sell yet another book or pop religious concept. To understand the deep significance of this petition a methodical analysis is required. Once the facets are closely examined one sees an intensely personal and sacred demonstration of God's desire for an intimate relationship with us.

First, in verse nine, Jesus presents this appeal, not as the Lords but belonging to the disciple.  It is not designed to be vainly repeated or ceremoniously parroted but as an example of how one humbles himself before his creator seeking His intervention. It is, in effect, a snapshot of the tone and submission required to truly seek God's providence. Let's take a look at it line by line to further elaborate this point. First, we examine the introduction, "Our Father." This is the launching point of two very specific expressions of adoration. By acknowledging God as Father, which is completely unfamiliar in any of the Old Testament prayers, one accepts God as Father of all. All throughout scripture God is given the designation of Father in regards to; Creation, Israel, Jesus Christ, protection, and redemption. The Bing dictionary defines the term father as; a man who brings up and looks after a child,  or who establishes, founds, or originates something. In the occasion recited here, God is compared as initiator and source of all life and truth. It is spoken like a child calling out to his own father for all of its needs, hopes, and survival. In correspondence, the introduction ends with an even more powerful statement, "Hallowed be thy name." Hallowed means to hold someone in complete reverence and holy awe. Christ starts this prayer honoring God with full respect and understanding that He is the author and giver of all. In every prayer we utter, both minuscule and massive, without excepting God's power and majesty, we simply speak into the wind.

Verse ten amplifies this reference with an acceptance, before any request is made, acknowledging that whatever our need or desire, God's will is what should be eagerly sought. "Thy will be done," is that acknowledgement,  the believer's deepest desire to be brought into conformity with God's will. The ultimate act of praise and worship is obedience to God. Prayer in itself is the act of bringing us into union with the nature and purposes of God. This is apparent in the first official requested spoken, give us this day our daily bread. One would immediately recognize this as a request for daily sustenance, which it is, but there is a deeper layer. It is a prayer of provision on all levels, physical and spiritual. It is representative of what we need, not just to survive, but to succeed.

Now one would think this would be followed by an elaboration of what is sought, however, Christ demonstrates a need we may easily overlook. "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, " seeking forgiveness of our sins. Sin is the debt we create when we disobey God, debts that can only be resolved through Christ's intercession. At the same time, it expresses the need to forgive those who sin against us demonstrating to others the grace given to us so freely.

Moving on we come across, in verse thirteen, an excerpt that may cause some confusion, "lead us not into temptation." Surely God does not tempt anyone, right? Of course not, rather this is a plea that God deliver us from temptation, providing us strength and wisdom to resist it. Temptation often comes from a direction we may not admit, within. We are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed. Satan takes those things that we desire and seduces us. This request is to lead us away from those things and then deliver us from evil. God's word promises us that if we resist the Devil he will flee. Sometimes that evacuation is instantaneous but most times it requires us to truly reach out for God and diligently and emphatically seek His deliverance.

The close of this prayer, again, honors God with an absolute reverence. It expresses total faith that God is who He says is His. There is no step program to effective prayer, its effectiveness comes from our submission to God allowing Him to work within us. What Christ outlines here is what God desires from us when we pray; honor, submission, dependance, humility, and obedience. When we truly seek God's answers, whether they agree with our notions and timing or not, God can do extraordinary things through us for His glory.

The next time you pray, remember you are praying to.  He is the one who already knows your needs before they are even spoken. Lay before Him your cares.  Trust in his sovereignty,  Seek the ways He may live through you to further His kingdom.  Obey His plan for your life. Are you humbled by the mere fact that the God of all listens and loves you so much that He wants to bless you?

God bless.

Friday, April 20, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Three Musketeers

Well apparently only director Paul W.S. Anderson can combine swashbuckling swordplay, royal intrigue, double agents, with a Jules Verne style fantasy and mix it together into an unimaginably dull, completely predictable, and outlandishly goofy recipe for cinematic disaster. The theatrical version of Wolfgang Puck he is not, more like the Swedish Chef on Xanax. With that in mind, can someone please explain to me who in the world thinks Milla Jovovich is an actual actress, let alone action hero. The woman seems to live and die by the slow motion cam. Am I the only one who painfully sat through the Fifth Element, hello? Her so called talent is like an enema for the senses. Fairing none better are the remaining Musketeers; Matthew Macfadyen, Logan Lerman, Luke Evans, and Ray Stevenson (not the funny one) who are absolutely void of any chemistry and charisma. The remaining cast is just as uninteresting. Even the villain Orlando Bloom's portrays (yes Orlando Bloom) is so cartoonish and silly he is barely watchable. The plot is juvenile and simplistic. The action sequences utilize a low budget version of the phantom cam ad nauseam, lacking both excitement and entertainment. This is the epic fail of film epic fails. If one has any regard for original story penned by Alexandre Dumas, please avoid this dribble like the plague. 0 out of 5 Kernels; one for all, and all for awful!

Monday, April 16, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Jack and Jill

 Velveeta has less cheese in it than this disaster. Sandler out does himself by combining every comedic cliche, fart joke, and ill timed slapstick routine that he can muster and regurgitate them into one non funny, badly edited, poorly written cinematic pile. I guess he has exhausted every other been done to death idea, so the Bosom Buddy routine was inevitable, and as expected, it quickly becomes an epic fail. His female persona is annoying and unlikeable, and how he got Judy Gold to allow him to use her likeness is beyond me. The interactions of the remaining cast are dull and predictable, like the ending, which is becoming an unfortunate staple of all his movies. Yet, in this Titanic of a failure he manages to wrangle in some considerable star presence both from the world of cinema and sports who apparently decided to whore themselves out, including, amazingly so, Depp and Pacino. There isn't a single redeeming quality of this film, especially their brief but ridiculous performances. Pacino is one of my heroes, so this was particularly painful for me. In the end, the result of Sandler's creative team maybe the best argument against the legalization of marijuana. I beg you, Adam, please stop, before anymore have to suffer. 1 out of 5 Kernels: a few SNL cameos and one, juvenile, but funny bathroom scene kept this picture from the giant goose egg.

Friday, April 13, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: In Time

I can think of several titles that would better fit this steaming pile of cinema. How about Waste of Time, Over Time, or even Time I Will Never Get Back, Ever. Andrew Niccol defecates this story like a man who has digested a gallon of beans and a six pack of RedBull. It is about as riveting as watching grass grow. To add to that, it's Justin Timberlake's first run at the lead action hero role, well, maybe run is too strong of a term, how about a slow limp. Timberlake has all the acting talent of a still painting. His costar and love interest Amanda Seyfried takes a break from her skill to match her leading man's lack of talent. The remaining cast is about as engaging as a box of rocks. The acting is so dreadful it takes an innovative concept and utterly contaminates it. Thanks to the lackluster performances the story gets wholly lost in translation. I thought this might be the Logan's Run of the next generation, chalk that one up to a big no. However, I must commend them for the number of times they squeeze in the word time to the nth level of absurdity. 0 out of 5 Kernels; I can not believe I wasted anymore time on this movie by writing this review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Thing (2011)

First, how one makes a prequel to a movie but titles it the same as the original defies reason on its own merit. At least Scott named his highly hyped Alien predecessor, Prometheus. If that was the only flaw it would be forgiven, but this flick is a plethora of fails. The story tries so hard to avoid copying the 1982 remake that it ends up doing just that but less appealing and suspenseful. Carpenter's 80's camp reboot is a terrible movie by all standards. It corrupts the original version, The Thing from Another World, a true classic and replaces its charm and authenticity with a goofy, nonsensical story line featuring gore galore. In the 80's version, at least we had Kurt Russell trying to carry the picture. In the 2011 prequel, they replace his presence with a no name cast with zero acting prowess and that is only the beginning of its shortcomings. All factuality of what would be required to survive in the tundras of Antarctic abandoned any plausibility of the plot are void, and there is a complete lack of real tension and thrills are sacrificed for over the top CGI effects that are as impressive as Lindsey Lohan's sobriety card. To put it simply this film is just downright lame, it does not even meet the puke factor of Carpenter's farce. The characters are dull. There is zero chemistry or connection with the audience. One just does not care who will survive instead you are just glad you did by the time the credits roll, escaping death by boredom. They attempt to create a claustrophobic hopeless scenario, they achieve the hopeless part flawlessly. This is director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s first film, and I hope his last. 0 out of 5 Kernels; watch something, everything, or anything other than this thing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Luke 23:34

Luke 23:34

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them;  for they know not what they do.  And they divided his garments, and cast lots.

On this Easter sunday, after hearing the crucifixion and resurrection message for the past 34 years, I am still perplexed by one nagging question. Why? Why would an almighty, sovereign God allow a rebellious, ungrateful, and sinful people continue to disappoint Him time and time again? Why would God provide an out for a society deserving of the consequence of their own wickedness? Why would He allow His son not only to die for those same degenerates, but suffer in such a horrific way, that its description coined its own expression excruciating? Why would the creator of time, space, truth, and life waste his valuable time on such a flawed group of beings? Why not start over, just design something else? It seems utterly ridiculous for an absolute God with absolute power to continue with such deliberately inferior and corrupt individuals. This verse is the apex of that sentiment. Even as, Christ is sacrificing Himself in their place, for the consequences of sin they deserve, those who have witnessed the greatest acts of brutality, want to mock rather than demonstrate the slighest of compassion. At the height of the crucifixion process, insult is literally added to injury by the precise people Jesus's death was designed to deliver. During this seemingly absurd reaction, as He is weighted with pain that defies description, the son of God earned full authority to express his righteous anger, instead He cries out to His Father to forgive them. So again, I ask no I marvel, why? My answer, though not simple, is found in the exact request uttered by Christ. It is not in the wording or tone, but in the complete compassion of the request. For the mere fact, that it would even be uttered at that moment.  An omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God does so because of His love for us. A love, like Christ's suffering on the cross, that defies explanation. So we return to one word we have explored before, Grace. Grace that can only exist because of God's unconditional love. A Grace that finite minds can not understand but desperately need to accept at face value. With all that said, there is still a question that should nag us, why? Why give us such a gift of Grace?  Why is God's love so acutley focused on us?  The answer to the question of Grace is this, God's love for us glorifies Him. Think about that for a second, God's love for you, glorifies Him. Can we even comprehend that? Christ sacrifice and resurrection was designed with the anticipation of your birth and life. His love stretches beyond the confines of time and is everlasting. Christ sacrifice in His time was purposed for the struggle with sin you will encounter during yours. An escape from the punishment before you ever commit the crime. Still, on a daily basis, we reject that love and purpose.  And for what, our own pleasure, agenda, and selfishness. Why would anyone turn from such love? Maybe that is the better question with no reasonable answer. What does the death and resurrection of Christ mean to you? What does it look like in your heart? With the awareness of its cost and meaning at hand what, excuse can justify resistance? God bless.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Rum Diary

Why, is the first word that immediately pops into the mind after seeing this film. Clueless, pointless, chaotic dribble and those are the highlights. This is a mess of a picture with no rhyme or reason to its purpose. Depp's performance is ho hum at best.  The remaining cast spew their attempts at artistic and self important dialogue like Lindsey Lohan evacuates alcohol the day after. It is self indulgent fodder with no real plot or depth. It is an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's early novel which I am pleased to say I have never read. The humor is vague and the dramatic elements fair no better. It is a white sheet hanging from a drying line in a dense fog, damp, pointless, and void of differentiation. Of course, with Bruce Robinson's track record as a director this choice is no surprise. 0 Kernels; if this film was a vacuum it is a Dyson, you fill in the rest.

One Minute Movie Review: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

Let's start with the good news; one of the best CGI animated musicals to come down the pike in a long time. I took my children to a Saturday matinee, and they were thoroughly engrossed by the film. They sang along, cheered the hero, and loved every moment of it. The entire cast does an excellent job, and the characters become completely three dimensional even without the glasses. Efron and Swift are adorable together. White and Devito add the appropriate amount of heart and laughs to complete the package. The color, scope, and sweep of the movie is simply stunning. With all that said, for me, it quickly dissolved into a goofy, public service announcement for the pro environmental set with greedy corporations as the villains who do everything from eviscerating forests to selling bottled air. They, of course, also include a too big to fail joke. What a surprise. I do not believe for a second this was Dr. Seuss' vision of what the Lorax's purpose was, political agenda. For all the uber liberals, here is a reality check, nature unchecked will kill you. Without human intervention and progress; animal populations would escalate beyond containment, disease would spread like wildfire through a dry field, and new and more effective forms of agriculture and industry would be non existent. Although, I agree, corporate America has done its share of harm, the good they have done far out measures those errs. I understand capitalism and profit are the new evils according to the left. Even though this film's existence is wholly based on their support. I also assume the purpose of this movie was to make money or has Hollywood gone non profit without my noticing. It appears it is impossible for the Hollywood elite to make a positive movie about care of our world without making everyone who is not willing to live in a cave or abandon all ideas of progress look like the seeds of Cain? So, I digress off my soap box and conclude with this; use the film to teach your children to care for their environment and ignore all the rest. 2 out of 5 Kernels; the only time I will be liberal in my rating system. They ruined a beautiful story for political poppycock.

One Minute Movie Review: Anonymous

Roland Emmerich leaves his passion for directing epic disaster tales (ID4, 2012, The Day after Tomorrow, and the ill fated Godzilla) to direct an incredibly intricate, engaging, and masterful film. Without spoiling too much, this movie poses the question, what if Shakespeare was not the true genius who penned the wealth of his poems and plays? In the process, the audience is treated to the weaving of a magnificent tapestry composed of intrigue, betrayal, mystery, and tragedy. It is truly a well constructed and flawless drama within a drama. The entire ensemble each deliver performances that are both incredibly honest and deeply personal. Ifhans and Redgrave capture the audience in their leading roles and never let go. This will unquestionably offend rabid fans of the world's greatest playwright, but for those adventurous and open minded cinefanatics, it is a compelling Elizabethan drama that overflows with spirit and story. A delicious recipe prepared by a surprising chef. 4 out of 5 Kernels; to see or not to see, there is no question an absolute must see.