Saturday, August 15, 2009

A short film...

Hello all!

My friend Matt Sample and I put together this short film a week ago for the fun of it. We both have an interest in independent Christian film - so we decided to use a bit of time to try and hone our talents. This is what we came up with. Not going to go down in history in the ranks of classic cinema, but it's a good starting point.

God bless,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Effort of Teaching

I teach a class of 16 girls. The other day after class was dismissed, I was lagging behind cleaning up my materials while the students for the next class were coming into the room. One of the guys hesitantly asked me "Can I just ask, for curiosity, what class this is that you teach? It's all girls....... and you're a guy teacher." I suppose he was looking for some interesting answer like Cooking and Child Rearing 101, or Knitting for the Modern American Woman, but I had to give him the blase answer of Storytelling. Don't ask me how this happened. They filled up the class and had it closed before any guys could register for the class. Granted, there's not a LOT of guys who wind up registering for Storytelling, but there are a few of the Speech majors, and at least one that would've been in this class this semester had it not already been full. But alack, alas, he was too late. I actually have 17 people in my class since one of my students is married and pregnant, but they're not saying whether our smallest participant is a boy or girl yet, so I still may be the only guy present. Besides, he/she is really pretty quiet and doesn't contribute much to the classroom environment other than to make his/her mother shift uncomfortably in her desk, so I tend to think of my class as just 16 girls.

Teaching a class of 16 girls has it's challenges, particularly when they are not in your field of study. 95% of these girls are Education or Youth Ministries majors, and are only taking Storytelling because they have to. They're not used to the slightly-less-structured colorful flow of an interpretation class. When we first started the semester, all 16 of them would sit there in complete silence and stare at me with expressionless faces while I spoke. I wasn't used to that and I must say it unnerved me no small amount. Granted, I want my students to pay attention; I don't want them tooting trumpets and banging drums while I attempt to lecture, but you don't have to sit there in complete silence and stare. My attempts to thaw out the temperature of the room with some light witticism or unexpected humor were often greeted with uncomprehending faces. Sigh, tough crowd.

Now, I'm happy to say, it's a completely different class. I walked in to class the other day and the entire room was one mass of chatter, people standing around in little groups and animation and emotion bouncing off the walls. Our class is often punctuated with bouts of laughter, and generally my students look happy to be there. They feel comfortable enough to tease me at times (usually without crossing the line), and they can take a little hard time from me. It does a teacher's heart good. And, I hope, somewhere in the middle of all this, they're learning how to be better communicators.

God Bless,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Good Thing for our Nation

So the dust has settled, the votes are in, and the temporary surge in political interest has already begun to wane back to it's original state. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm one of those "temporary" Americans. I am a Christian, a conservative, a Republican. I don't believe in a woman's choice to murder. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, and protecting the sanctity of God's definition of marriage: one man + one woman = for life. In short, I support the freedoms and share the solid, traditional, Biblical values that this country was founded on. And I voted. But that's about it.

The question is, what was I (and those who stand with me) doing before this election year? What are we doing now that the election is over? I don't even pretend to be super-savvy about politics, but I do have some stirrings in my heart from the recent events. Dare I say that an Obama presidency may be a good thing for this nation? No, don't shoot me, hear me out. Conservatives voted for McCain, right? Why? Because he was more conservative than Obama (key word: MORE). McCain is not a conservative, true conservatives have been uncomfortable with his candidacy ever since it began - isn't that the whole reason he brought Sarah Palin in on the ticket? But he was MORE conservative than Obama. We at least liked his stance on a couple of issues: he said he was pro-life, he said he believed in smaller government, etc. So, we chose the lesser of two evils. The problem with this equation is we get caught up in the whole contest and begin to form the illusion that our candidate really is suitable.

It all comes down to this: if McCain had gotten elected, we would've wiped our brows and said "Whew! That was close! Well, we've got at least four more years." And that would've been it. But now, Obama has been elected. We have no choice but to face the grim reality that our country is making the wrong choices and losing perspective. Now, we are being forced out of our slumber into a choice: get involved, or get happy. An Obama election is only the natural development of the direction this country has been headed for decades. You plant tomatoes you get tomatoes. You plant seeds of removing God out of the education system, condoning the slaughter of millions of unborn children a year, mocking God and His followers consistently in the entertainment industry, a skewed perspective that man is innately good and just needs the right conditions to blossom, a removal of any sense of personal responsibility from individuals: you reap an election like this, a loss of freedoms, and more distance from God's values in society.

But what are we going to do now? Are we going to engage our culture for Christ? Are we going to aggressively spread the truth in love? Are we going to do anything besides sit around for the next four years and complain at the next election? I'm not suggesting that everyone forsake their current positions in life and follow full-time political careers, but I am suggesting that we ENGAGE the world around us. Where are the Christians in the arts, producing art purely out of a gleeful desire to honor God? Where are the Christians and true conservatives in politics, reminding our leaders that not all the people of this nation want a changing ruling standard. Where are the Christians who are willing to put their heebeejeebies aside and lovingly interact with homosexuals, sharing with them that there've been many individuals who have chosen to leave that lifestyle of their own accord and have found God-designed fulfillment?

Christ is the answer. If we can't show the world that we have a living, breathing, vibrant, tangible, real relationship with Christ, we may as well stay home. It's a hurting world; it's a world that isn't necessarily ready to follow their leader off the cliff; but they will, if no one else shows them an alternative.

God bless,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Prayer

Dear Lord,

I don't even know what to pray, really. Are you ready to judge our nation? Is it time for that? If that's Your plan, then I shouldn't pray otherwise, should I? Yeah, I can beg for mercy for the country; I can ask You for a reprieve, I can ask You to turn the tide and put us back on track, but the truth of the matter is - for the most part we haven't worked that hard up to this point. The sun has been setting for quite a while and we've just sat back and watched, talked about how bad it is, talked about how it should be, clicked our tongues at the state of events, shook our heads - and then went and dabbled in our own preferred sin. Our country is doing nothing but reaping what it has sown. We've sown liberal education, Scriptureless philosophy, an absence of God from the education system; the propagation of a world view that presents man as the victim, innately good, not responsible for his problems. We've grown increasingly selfish and dependent on satisfying our latest new desires - now. And we're reaping the fruit of our labors. We're reaping electing a man who could very well represent the turning point of a God-fearing nation as we know it. It looks very much like we might just be reaping judgement - and no one can blame You. God, You have been merciful to us for far longer than we ever could deserve. You've postponed destroying a nation that has shaken her fist in Your face for quite some time. You've put up with a church largely given over to lip-service while not having a clue about heart communion with You. A church that barely even knows Who You are. And then, when we are reminded Who You are in a message or a song or some sweet conviction that You send our way, we half-open our slumbering eyelids and decide that we really should study and seek You... soon. We're always planning on being closer than we are today, stronger in our faith, more familiar with Your heart, Your plans, Your promises, soon.

God, forgive us, forgive me. If your entire church was made up of multiples of myself, I'm afraid we wouldn't be very reliable, very powerful, very moving. God, change our hearts, change our attitudes, renew our minds. Do what You want with this nation. If You see fit to grant us mercy, then so be it. But grant us a reprieve to work, to know You, to live and walk and breath the truth openly to all those around us, to rest in You and Your promises and to seek You and know You and commune with You. Don't grant us a reprieve to sit around, to vaguely acknowledge the power of the Gospel, to seek You with a fraction of our being.

And, if You see fit to allow evil to consume this nation, to hand over control of this nation to those who will not acknowledge You, to bring in a change in the tone of the land that will eventually make this place unfriendly to those who name Your Name, then so be it.

Either way, teach us to KNOW You.

Something Inspirational

A little inspiration for your day. Yes, it's a commercial, but it's well done.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Lesson from a Little One

He's only six years old, but he taught me a pretty big lesson, and in a pretty vivid way.

Hey everybody, yes, I know, it's been quite a while since our last update - but we're still alive and kicking down here. The semester's going full swing - so there's been plenty to keep us busy, and, as usual, life passes in a whirl. "Oh yeah... the blog..."

Last night my wife and I were running a little bit late heading to church. We got there with about 5 minutes to spare, and grabbed a couple of empty seats in the section we usually sit in. In the row in front of us was a little six-year-old that I'll call Sam. Sam is six, and he's got the frame of a six-year-old, but it's a very small frame for a kid his age - so he's wound up with very fine, delicate features - a cute kid, to be sure. Sam's folks had left him there to hold the seats while they took care of something outside of the auditorium, so he was sitting there by himself waiting for them to come back. Our section was pretty full, so he was surrounded by a mass of people that he didn't know as he peered anxiously toward the back door, hoping for some sign of Mom and Dad. A college girl next to us tried to engage him in conversation - but he gave her monosyllabic answers and continued fretfully peering toward the back door. Then his face started changing; all of the worry inside began to mount and build as we neared the time church was to start, and his little face began to twist up in emotional agony. It was enough to rip your heart out; he was starting to cry and he was surrounded by people he didn't know and he didn't know what to do. He would shoot a tormented glance toward the back, then his little body would shake in agitation - another glance, another shake. It was too much to stand just watching the little fellow experiencing complete agony, so I told him (in what I hoped was a highly reassuring tone), "It's ok, Sam, they're coming. It'll be fine; they'll be here." Of course I wasn't extremely comforting since I also rank in the catagory of complete stranger; so I didn't help much. My wife leaned forward and asked him "Do they know you're sitting here?" "Yes," he responded. "Then they're coming. It'll be fine. Don't worry." Then his agonized question: "What's taking them so long?" Teri really didn't know what to say, so she said "I don't know, but they're coming, don't worry." At that point a kindly lady from a few rows back came up and sat down with him since the church service was starting and she tried to distract him with the hymn. Right after we started singing, his parents came down the aisle and to their seats - and *CLING* he was stuck to his mom. A short time of readjustment, a little nose blowing, and he was fine.

It was enough to rip your heart out - he was holding the heartstrings of the four people behind him in his little hand - but the situation really spoke to me because I saw myself in Sam's situation. I do this exact same routine with God. I'm sitting there, surrounded by a mass of troubled humanity, peering anxiously toward the back door. "Is He coming? Does He know I'm here? When is He going to fix my problem? What's taking Him so long?" I don't see Him when I think I should, so I resort to agitation and worry. I was thinking about things I could've said to reason with Sam. "Sam, did your parents tell you they were coming back?" "Yes." "If they told you they're coming back then you don't have to worry about it, because you know they are. All you have to do is wait for them." "Nick, did God tell you that He would provide for your needs?" "Yes." "Then you don't have to worry about how or when He's going to do it. All you have to do is wait."

Out of the mouths of babes, right? Sam didn't verbally give me a lesson, but he sure showed me one.

God bless you all,

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We thought this was pretty funny...

Something I ran across on GodTube. I wouldn't mind working for this company some day.