Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Frodo's Calling

It seems improbable that I include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy on my list of all time favorite movies, especially since I’m generally into “Chick flicks” and not “shoot ‘em ups”. (Or in this case “spear and slash ‘em up”.) Yet, I absolutely love these movies. I suppose I’m drawn and captivated by the many spiritual truths they contain – truths about friendship, loyalty, devotion, self-sacrifice, and calling.

Frodo, one of four extraordinary Hobbits, was quite evidently “called” by some higher being to carry the power-wielding ring to its destruction. No one else could do it, not even his faithful companion Sam. The wise elf-queen Galadriel said quite plainly, “If you don’t find a way, no one will.” And of course by movie’s end, he does find a way, receiving high commendation for his service from the King of Gondor.

I love stories where ordinary people step up to the plate and selflessly attempt an extraordinary task for the betterment of others. They travel long and perilous paths sprinkled with splashes of joy and tender moments. There are always “Gollums” who would derail the mission, and occasional “Sams” who forward it by their own devotion and self-sacrifice. And in spite of all the harrowing experiences and difficult challenges, in the end, the mission is accomplished making the world a better place. *sigh* These always leave me inspired by the hero’s courage and inner strength and yearning deeply for a calling of my own. I want to make a difference in my world.

After much pondering I’ve come to a staggering realization, I have received a higher calling, one requiring a generous supply of inner strength and courage, one that will impact my world, changing the course of history for those around me. It’s my job and mine alone, a task that won’t get done unless I find a way.

What is this task? The Great High Power, God Almighty, has asked me to care for those He’s personally entrusted to me - my children and my husband - not to their destruction, but to their construction – nurturing, encouraging, and building them up to be all He created them to be. Sure, someone else can cook, clean, shop, and read to the kids. Indeed, millions of women around the world have received similar callings, but God has uniquely crafted and gifted me to be the mom and wife these children and this man need in order to fulfill the call on their lives. If I fail – if I’m not true to the things I’ve been asked to do, if I don’t run the course, if I choose a different, easier path – what then?

Well…I’m sure, at first, Frodo and Sam didn’t fully understand the magnitude of their mission, or the consequences of failure. Neither do I.

So, I have accepted the challenge and press patiently onward…past runny noses, spilled milk, and sticky faces; through mood swings, broken hearts, and temper flares; tackling dirty faces, greasy dishes, and stained laundry, while stomping the occasional spider. Fortunately, my path is dotted liberally with lullabies, rocking chairs, and campfires; snuggles, chocolate chip cookies, and shopping sprees; church plays, family outings, and read-a-louds. I’m ever mindful to be the loving hands, feet, and voice of Christ to my family, so at the end, on that day when we all stand before the King of kings, we can all hear, “Well done, My good and faithful servants.”

I dare not fail.

“…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” ~ Ephesians 4: 1 & 2

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Facing the Giants Study Guide Part 2

Does God care about football?

In the locker room….

Coach Taylor: "10 bucks to the person who can tell me who won the state championship a decade ago."

Football Player: "Walker Jennings"

Coach Taylor: "No."

Football Player: "North Metro."

Coach Taylor: "Stop guessing you know it or you don’t...How about 5 years ago?"

Football Player: "Richland"

Coach Taylor: "That was 3 years ago. You can't remember can you? That leads me to ask a couple of questions. What's the purpose of this team?"

Matt: "To win ball games?"

Coach Taylor: "Then what?"

Matt: "We get a trophy and people talk about us"

Coach Taylor: "Maybe for a while. Then what?"

Matt: "I don't know. Get a scholarship, play for college, and coach Little League."

Coach Brady Owens: "What are you gettin' at Grant? You think we're just wasting our time?"

Coach Taylor: "If our main goal is to win football games then yes."

Matt: "You don't want us to win games?"

Coach Taylor: "No. Not if that's our main goal. Winning football games is too small a thing to live for and I love football as much as anybody. But even championship trophies will one day collect dust and be forgotten. It's just that so far all this has been about us. How we can look good. How we can get the glory. The more I read this Book, the more I realize life's not about us. We’re not here just to get glory, make money, and die. The Bible says that God put us here for Him. To honor Him. Jesus said the most important thing you can do with your life is to love God with everything you are and love others as yourself. So if we win every game and we miss that, we've done nothing. Football then means nothing. So I'm here to present you a new team philosophy. I think that football is just one of the tools we can use to honor God."

Brock: "So you think God does care about football?"

Coach Taylor: "I think He cares about your faith. He cares about where your heart is. If you can live your faith out on that football field then, yes, God cares about football, cause He cares about you. He sent his son Jesus to die for us so we could live for him. That's why we're here. But see, it's not just on the football field, we've got to honor Him in our relationships, in our respect for authority, in the classroom, and when you're at home alone surfing the internet. I want God to bless this team so much people talk about what He did. But that means we're gonna have to give him our best in every area, and if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and attitudes. So I'm asking you, what are you living for? I've resolved to give God everything I got. Then I'll leave the results up to Him. I wanna know if you'll join me."


What was Coach Taylor trying to prove by offering $10 to the one who could name the state champion ten years ago?

Think about what you spend your time doing right now. Will it matter in ten years?

Does God really care about the little areas of our lives?

If life is all about bringing glory to God, how can what you’re doing bring Him glory?

Facing the Giants Study Guide Part 1

I've already given my review of Facing the Giants. I showed it to my Sunday school class and they all loved it as much as I did. In order to glean all the wonderful lessons it contains I went on a search for a companion discussion/study guide. That has been easier said than done, so I decided to create my own study guide. I'm posting it here for anyone who wishes to use this movie as a teaching tool. Almost all the quotes from the movie were captured by my daughter ClassyCassie. (Thank you, Dear!) I'll be posting these in segments as there are quite a few lessons to be learned.

Open Doors

Mr. Bridges, the gentleman who has been praying over the students' lockers for six years, has a word from the Lord for Coach Taylor. It comes from Revelation 3:7 & 8: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.


What does Mr. Bridges mean by this statement?

How does that apply to our lives?

Praying for Rain

Coach Taylor to Mr. Bridges: “I admit to you I have been struggling. But I’ve also been praying. I just don’t see Him at work here.”

Mr. Bridges: “Grant, I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain. And both of them prayed for rain. But only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?”

Coach Taylor: The one that prepared his fields for it.”

Mr. Bridges: “Which one are you? God will send the rain when He’s ready. And you need to prepare your field to receive it.”


What does it mean to “prepare for rain”?

How does this apply to our every day lives?

Is there some area of your life you've been asking God to take care of? How are you "preparing for rain"?