Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Captain America and Hipsters

I'm going to go ahead and say that I really enjoyed Captain America. (the movie) I liked the explosions, I liked the good acting, and I liked the special effects. I say this knowing full well that really cool people will say that big Hollywood blockbusters like that are too "mainstream," or "formulaic." And to that I say, "Go back to watching 500 Days of Summer, you hipster!"

But yeah, I really liked Captain America. In the movie, Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, your run-of-the-mill weak guy. Now, the guy has a lot of heart and courage, but simply doesn't have the physical prowess to fight with the best of 'em. Insert Dr. Erskine, who magically scientifically transforms our bite-sized friend into an Ahnold-like crime-fighting machine.

I'm pretty sure you didn't come to Kingdom Eyes to get a synopsis of a movie that came out last year, so I'm going to make this simple: at one point of the movie, the good doctor tells Steve, "The weak man knows the value of strength."

*Pause for effect.*

Did you get the heaviness of that? 'Cuz I'm pretty sure I heard that quote drop heavier than a Skrillex base line. Why is this profound? Because it carries over into real life.

"What do you mean?"

I'm glad you asked. James 2 says the following:
"For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man."
As sinful people, we tend to elevate those who are rich and successful because they're the ones who can do something for us. If we treat them better, they might give generously to the church, and that way we can expand the Kingdom of God, right?


If your Manifest Destiny is based on growing by treating poor people as less-than-human, than what is it that you're trying to expand? Injustice and selfishness? That's not the way we're supposed to go about doing things. At least in this area, we are to be counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. While the world would immediately put the rich (or famous, or popular) on a pedestal, the church is supposed to lift up the person who is poor (or uncool, or a failure) because they are the only one who can truly appreciate kindness.

This is my philosophy when it comes to reaching out to the kid at church who is sitting down in the back row, wondering if life is worth living because no one values him. Or the kid who's coming because it's the only opportunity to get out of the hell-hole that his house is. Or the kid who can't look at someone in the eye because every eye he's ever looked into has responded with mockery and hatred.

Those are the only ones that know the value of being treated well.

So let's start lifting up the poor, weak, lonely, and and uncool. Because it's just like Jon Foreman from Switchfoot said in the song "Beautiful Letdown", 

     "We are a beautiful let down,
     Painfully uncool,
     The church of the dropouts
     The losers, the sinners, the failures and the fools;
     Oh what a beautiful let down."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

RMP: The New "F" Word

At the risk of making Kingdom Eyes look shady, I'm going to post this video, which got me cracking up the first time I saw it. The video is a short clip of a pastor suggesting what the new "F" word should be. If you find yourself offended by the clip, I'm sorry to hear that. There's really no reason to be, considering the fact that a powerful point is being made. One of forgiveness.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Warning the Sheep

Lately, the name Lauren Scruggs has been making huge rounds all over the internet. Lauren, who is a fashion model and blogger, has come under the spotlight for the most tragic of reasons. She lost her left hand and eye to a propeller blade that she ran into at night. The propeller belonged to a plane that she had just taken a ride in to look at Christmas lights from the sky.

After some time passed, curious inquirers wanted to know just how such an accident could occur. Because apparently, it is safe practice for a small-aircraft pilot to shut down his airplane before any passenger steps out. Despite this fact, the Scrugg family is not blaming the pilot for this incident. To read up on the story, you can check out this link.

Well, as I was reading this story, I realized something very poignantly metaphorical. It turns out that  the pilot had put his arm up in front of her before she got out and warned her not to walk in front of the plane. Certain reports claim that a possible reason that she ended up walking in front of the aircraft is because the roar of the engine might have been too loud to hear the warning of the pilot.

As I read this piece of information, I stopped a little while to think about it. I knew that there was something more to this story, when suddenly it hit me like a sack of bricks. (which would have to have some pretty crazy structural integrity to carry bricks with.)

Are our lives too loud to hear God?

The implications of this question go deep. Really deep. Like Marianas Trench status. For those who struggle with recognizing the voice of God in your life, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Because if the answer to this question is "yes," then we must go deeper with the following question:

What is making our lives too loud?

Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." But if you haven't been intentionally listening for the voice of God, you probably won't know what it sounds like in your life. You're most likely drowning it out with other things. For brevity's sake, I'll make a list of certain things that may be making your life too loud.

#1- Sin
If you have some kind of indwelling, unrepentant sin in your life, the chances are that you won't be hearing too much from God. Isaiah 59:2 says, "but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear." Trying to get close to God while living in direct opposition of His commands is like trying to get into Disney World with a bomb in your hands - it won't work.

#2 - Distraction
Sometimes, we just get lazy and let insignificant things get in the way of our time spent with God. Like spending an hour on Facebook, or wasting our nights on video games and Netflix. These things might not even be sin, like watching porn or going out or going out and breaking the law, but they still distract us from intentionally spending time with our Maker. John Piper hit it on the head when he said,
"The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night."
#3 - Busyness
This last noise-maker is one of the most deceptive of the bunch, because we can often be busy with really good things, like working hard to put food on the table or serving in a bunch of ministry opportunities. But if these activities take time away from our personal Jesus-time, we either need to start cutting some stuff out, or start making more time for God by waking up earlier or going to bed later to spend some one-on-one time with Him.

Having said all this, I want to leave with this point: Cut out the noise in your life that's keeping you from spending time intentionally listening (through prayer) for God. That way, if there's a warning for something down the road, you might be able to hear it and save your life.

Note: My condolences go out to Lauren Scruggs and her family. Keep them in your prayers and ask God to heal her. They're going through a lot. (James 5)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

RMP: In the Words of Satan

I'd like to introduce you to kinetic typography. Big words, I know, but all it means is "moving words." Now, that sounds kinda lame at first, but some people are very talented with it. Like this guy. His YouTube handle is unashamedbeliever390. If you have a good computer, make this video widescreen and turn it up to its highest quality setting. You'll thank me later.

In any case, the video is very powerful. It's all about Satan's lies told from the perspective of Satan himself. And the best part is that its hardcore message is disguised under a infectiously poppy tune. The song is called "In the Words of Satan," and it was made by The Arrows, a great Christian band, which you should check out.

Whoa. Something's Different.

Hey all! I'd like to be the first to welcome you to my newly overhauled website. It comes with a new interior. Step inside. Take your shoes off. Make yourself feel at home. Mi casa es su casa. 

And now that I've got all of the cheesy welcome jokes out of the way, let's get started on explaining just what's happening to Kingdom Eyes. There's some exciting changes and I'd like you to take full advantage of everything happening here.

Out with the Old:
The old Kingdom Eyes website wasn't my best work, I must say. It had unresponsive links, a single page, and an old-fashioned template. So I listened to all of the cries for change (all none of them) and came up with what you see now.

One of things that I'm most excited about is the addition of what I'd like to call the Random Media Post. You can find out more about what it is in my "About" section, but it's basically an opportunity to share a bit of media every week with you, my reader. Along with this post, I'll be posting my first RMP.

The Egg:
I came up with The Egg a few months ago when I was thinking about John 3:3, which says, "Jesus answered him [Nicodemus], “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And just as the Bible relates the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed, The Egg is a reminder of the amazing power that can come from something seemingly small.

New Layout:
After slaving over a hot computer (C'mon. You couldn't expect me not to make that joke.) for a few days, I've managed to create what I believe to be a very Web 2.0 kind of website. After countless frustrations with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, I am finally able to present you with the new website look. It still holds a lot of the same color scheme from before, but in an updated sort of way. Hopefully.

More Pages:
In order to expand the closed-in feel of Kingdom Eyes, I've added a few new pages. The "About" page is my best effort to explain what Kingdom Eyes is all about. If you ever feel the need to contact me with a question or comment, you can find out how to do so at my "Contact" page. And, as for "Links," it's the new page that I'm the most excited about. On it, you can find links to relevant blogs, websites, and books. I highly recommend checking it out. Although, I am kinda biased. But still.

Well, that's a short list of what's going on here at Kingdom Eyes. Stay posted, because more significant changes are being planned on.

So, what do you think of the new website? What do you like and not like about it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Battle Won

Ever since I was a kid, I was interested in history. It might be because my dad's a bit of a history buff, but, for whatever reason, I've always been intrigued with going to places that are a huge part of the past. That's why I love hanging around ruins, old barns, and age-old walkways. Call it creepy, but I'm fascinated with the fact that someone from hundreds of years ago had walked the same steps and touched the same objects that I am in the present day.

Well, last semester I took a class called American History. This course further increased my interest in the past. The teacher, who presented history as realistically as she could, (in other words, filled with hate, crime, and very inglorious acts) made the subject fascinating for me.

Well, one of the biggest parts of American History is a little war called the War of 1812. (I use the word "little" sarcastically. Many people died.) In it, the fairly young United States of America went to battle with the British Empire for reasons of continued oppression and impressment. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, follow this link.)

Well, to make a short story shorter, the good ole US won. Yay. 

But wait! There's more!

It turns out that the war was still being fought even after a war-ending treaty was signed by both countries. This was made evident in the Battle of New Orleans. Oh, sure the battle was a great success for the Americans! The British had 2,000 casualties while the Americans only had 71! I would call that a landslide. It was this battle that made Andrew Jackson a hero and eventually led him to the presidency! However, the only reason that the battle occurred was because the information that the war was over had not yet reached US soil. In other words, it was one of the most famous battles that didn't need to happen.

"So what does this have to do with God?" you ask.

Well, the War of 1812 is a little bit like the war going on in our own lives. Now, when I say war, I refer to the spiritual war. Ephesians 6 says,"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Each of these bolded terms refers to different types of demonic spiritual forces.

Now, I've spoken before about this whole war-being-over-and-still-fighting concept, but I wanted to go further with the idea. Since the end-of-war treaty was signed with blood at the Cross, we can treat our battles with the enemy as last-breath attacks of a dying force. Under the power and in the name of Jesus Christ, our battles become no more than simply telling Satan and his forces to go to Hell. And since our perspective is now one of victory, we do not have to be afraid of demonic forces any more than a lion has to be afraid of a mouse.

The moral of the story? We already won. Let's start living like champions.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Getting on Another Train

My brother and me often work with my dad at his woodworking shop. Sometimes, the work requires little mental attentiveness, like sanding 379,256 pieces of wood. (I'm not whining, I promise.)

Well, anyways, because of the relatively thoughtless actions, the mind tends to wander. You go from thinking about the song you woke up with stuck inside your head, to what you were doing last weekend, to what you might eat when you're done working. Referring to this phenomenon, my brother likes to say something along the lines of:

"I let my mind wander, and now I can't find it."

Now, we naturally think about the things we care about, right? If I don't enjoy thinking about sports statistics, (which I don't) then I won't bother to focus my mind's precious energy on it. Well, the Scriptures say in Romans 8, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit."

In other words, if we're living the way we're supposed to, our minds should naturally gravitate towards thinking about the things of God. Just like the Psalmist, of whom it is said, "his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night." (Psalms 1)

So, what's the deal?

Cuz I would love to say that my mind is filled with God and His glory and His majesty. But I can't. Why? I believe that our minds aren't focused on Christ because we do not have a clear picture of who He is. If we were to completely understand how glorious and majestic God was, we would be fueled to think upon Him. Just like when you can't stop thinking about that beautiful guy/girl that you met last weekend.

So how do we view God in the right way then?

Honestly, the only answer I can give to that is that we spend a substantial amount of time alone and quiet in His Presence. And I'm not talking about just praying here and there throughout the day. I'm referring to setting aside specific parts of your day to getting to know your Maker through prayer and reading the Scriptures. It takes hard work. It takes discipline. It takes the ability to say, "I'm gonna get away from everything and spend time with God, even though everything inside of me wants to be somewhere else."

Because once we have a better picture of who our Creator is, thinking about Him and talking to Him will become as natural as breathing air or digesting food.

In other words: you won't have to try. It'll just come.