X-Men: Overcoming The Days Of Failure Past

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What sets the X-Men apart from a lot of other superheroes is their origin story.

Unlike many other comic book characters, the X-Men are born with their powers.

There are no spider bites, no dramatic deaths of family members, no gamma radiation.

The X-Men are mutants. Their superpowers are part of who they are and always have been.

With that, each mutant has a choice to make when they discover their power: will they use it for good or for evil? Continue reading

POP GOD POPcast: Episode 19 – Summer Movie Preview with Josh Gibbs

slide.001Welcome to Episode 19 of the POP GOD POPcast – an exploration of into the lives of people seeking God in the present tense.

This week we’re doing something a little different with the podcast – a preview of this summer’s biggest movies. My good friend and fellow movie buff Josh Gibbs sits down with me as we break down the movies we’re most (and least) excited about. We give our thoughts on Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, 22 Jump Street, The Fault In Our Stars, TMNT and many more sequels, superheroes, cartoons, and even chick flicks.

Listen to the podcast here:

Enjoy this exploration into the movies which will inspire a whole slew of POP GOD posts over the summer. I challenge you to seek the presence of God out in these blockbusters as well.

Or Download on iTunes Or Listen on Podbean

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, rate it, leave a comment, listen to all the other episodes, share it on Twitter and Facebook and anywhere else. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

I love sharing stories of people seeking God in the present tense. Let me hear your feedback. Leave me a comment and let me know how to improve things, what you’d like to hear discussed, and give me your ideas as to who you’d like to see on the next episode of the POPcast.

When Is It Ok To Compromise Your Beliefs?

photo-11The greatest compromise a man and woman will ever face is on Movie Night.

Men and women are genetically predisposed to enjoy different movies. It’s a scientific fact. Or something like that.

Women wonder why “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days” didn’t win an Oscar. Men question why every movie isn’t produced by Marvel.

My fiance and I have worked out a pretty common compromise to avoid Movie Night fights. We usually take turns picking out the movies we watch together.

Of course this means she often has to slug through quirky indie movies the critics love but are really just plain weird. And I fall asleep through cheap horror movies that belong on SyFy. But, you know, love and all that.

I believe a movie should be more than cheap thrills and entertainment. I want movies to transcend entertainment and move me emotionally and other nonsense.

Sometimes our movie choices flop. When she picks a bad movie I get a little angry that I wasted a couple hours of my life to watch a crappy film. I feel like I compromised my beliefs. Continue reading

All You Need To Be A Great Friend

Kermit+The+Frog++Fozzie+Bear+Jim+Henson+Frank+Oz+ker+fozThere’s a special kind of love that exists between friends. Friends are the only people in our lives we choose to love.

You’re born into your family’s love. You may or may not love them. They may or may not love you back. If you do love them, it’s not because you chose them to be your family above anyone else.

When you fall in love you usually can’t help yourself. Something stirs in your heart. You’re romantically drawn to the person of your dreams. You don’t always choose who you fall in love with.

Friends are a different story.

When I was in elementary school, I had certain qualifications a person had to meet to become my friend. I quite literally would walk around the playground at recess with potential pals and interview them for a position in my social circle. The three major qualifications for being my friend were:

– You had to like X-Men.

– You had to like wrestling.

– You had to like country music.

These three things of course being the most important things in my life at the age of 8. If you were a fan of all three of these, congratulations: you and I were about to be buds.

No matter how old you are, you still get to choose your friends. You’re not forced to love these people as family or as a spouse. Instead you think so highly of them that you want to associate with them on a regular basis without any patriarchal or romantic ties.

And to think, that’s how Jesus thinks of us:

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12-15)

Jesus calls us His friends, and this entails a very special type of love. He does not have to love us; He chooses to love us intentionally.

Jesus also says He does not look down on us as servants, though we are called and should be moved to serve Him. Instead He calls us into His inner circle, sharing great truths and secrets with us from His dad like any best friend would.

Read through the gospels and you’ll see Jesus being a friend a friend would like to have. He talks with the disciples. He eats with them. He walks with them. He parties with them. He spends the night with them. He challenges them. He listens to them. He forgives them. He ultimately gives His life for them. And He does all those same things for us – His friends.

What turns an average friend into a great friend? The answer lies in how Jesus treated His friends: He gave to them out of love without any regard for Himself, up to and including His own life.

It may seem impossible to love your friends the same way that Christ did. But that’s what the holy spirit is for. We can call on our friend Jesus anytime we want, since His spirit lives inside of us.

So here’s a piece of friendly advice – try loving your friends unselfishly, no matter how outlandish it may seem. Boldly love your friends the way you want to be loved. Love them without expecting anything back in return. You’ll gain more from it than you give.

What do you think makes a great friend? What sort of friends have modeled Jesus to you?