Well Equipped

A cheerful and excited “Amen!” rang from the balcony of our church this past Sunday. It came after a “Can I get an Amen?” moment, in which the adults of the congregation responded with a collective “Amen” of a respectful, inside voice tone. But my four year son who had come to church that day dressed as Spider-man could not resist giving it more “umph”. This excited the young guest pastor, who had stated earlier in his sermon that he enjoyed an energetic crowd, and everyone got a laugh when he pointed out that “Spider-man” had given an “Amen” from the rafters.

My favorite super hero is Spider-man and my kids who have recently discovered Spider-man can’t get enough. This would explain why my son went to church looking like Spider-man. I love that Spider-man or Peter Parker, was just a regular kid, given an incredible gift. It wasn’t because he was rich or from another planet, it because one day he got bit by a genetically altered spider. And while he did use his powers for good and saved people from “regular” bad guys and epic comic book bad guys, he still faced the same daily struggles we all face. Money problems, balancing work, school and relationships, all while being Spider-man. He also didn’t have (at least in the movies) tons of gadgets, or fancy vehicles, just what was with in him. His abilities were all he needed to be Spider-man.

This got me thinking about the gifts that God gives us to fulfill our place in the Kingdom. Little things (and sometimes big things) that give us courage, grace, and help us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Sometimes we may feel like we need add-ons, extras, strengths from the world or our own “two cents”. But the amazing thing is God gives us everything we need to be the person He needs us to be, we don’t need extras or gadgets. God supplies our needs and surrounds us with the people we need in our lives that help us stay on track. The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” What really sticks out to me in this verse is the call to faithfully administer God’s grace, faith requires a steadfastness, a focus on staying the course. Being faithful means not swaying, not looking else where, simply standing on the promise and the gift that has been given. And knowing, trusting that the gift from God, is enough.

Anakin during Episode II, was beginning to look else where, he was losing his faith in the Jedi and the light side of the Force. He didn’t feel like it was enough, he believed that he needed more to accomplish tasks that he wanted to accomplish. The Jedi, like Spider-man, did not need a whole bunch of “stuff” to be Jedi. While yes I know that they had spaceships, comlinks, and few other gadgets, but they could still be Jedi even with out those things. To be Jedi, all they needed was the Force and to a lesser extant their lightsaber. From the Force, breathed everything they needed to be the peace makers of the galaxy, they didn’t need anything else. Anakin lost sight of that, lost himself, his gifts were twisted, and were used to serve the evil emperor.

How often do we allow other things to get in the way of following God’s plan, wander away from the place where we stand on His promise, and lose faith in the gift that has been given. Thinking that it needs something else, and we may not even know what that something is but we go looking for it anyway. Like the Jedi, whose strength came from the force, our strength comes from God. Like Peter Parker, who only needed what was with in him to be Spider-man, we only need our God-given gifts to fulfill our place in the Kingdom. With God on our side, we are well equipped.

He is enough, nothing else needed.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” -James 1:17

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Who Am I?

There is a new song out by Blanca (formerly of Group 1 Crew) called “Who I Am”. The song is about who we, as believers, are in Christ. The lyrics speak out how no matter what anyone else says, who we are in Christ does not change. This even applies to what we may say about ourselves. “I am strong, beautiful, I am good enough. I belong after all, ‘cause of what You’ve done.” Our identity is found in Christ and Him alone, and if one can be confident in that identity, rather than one the world may assign, that person can be capable of amazing things. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” You read right, YOU are a part of it, a part of God’s amazing plan. YOU are loved and treasured, beyond measure, and God has a divine assignment for each one of us, including you.

Sounds awesome, right? Now you may be asking what is the catch? There isn’t one really, not from God at least. If that is the case then, what or who, can get in the way of walking in this truth. The answer is, humans, you and me. How often do we get in our own way, doubt ourselves, or even our connection to God, and lose our identity. We find ourselves searching the ways of the world for our identity, or justification, or even purpose. And when we do this, we will mostly certainly come up short.

This got me thinking about Anakin, and the moment when he lost his identity. His identity was that of a Jedi, and a pretty awesome Jedi, and the Jedi found their identity in the light side of the force. This identity emboldened them with the mission to be peacemakers, to right the wrongs, and help those who could not help themselves. Problem is, Anakin began to look elsewhere for his identity. To look elsewhere for ways to accomplish the afore mentioned missions, believing that perhaps there was a better way, or a way that allowed for more possibility. He lost himself, and turned off of a path that would have fulfilled his purpose and his hopes. Meaning that he would have become a Master Jedi, of that I have no doubt, and he would have helped to bring “peace, justice and security” to the galaxy, the right way.

I have wrote in previous posts about Anakin’s pride, impatience, fear and anger, all things that where encouraged by Palpatine that led to Anakin turning to the dark side. An act that helped no one, least of all Anakin. Well no one expect for Palpatine. As Darth Vader, Anakin’s victories were bittersweet at best, certainly did not have the greater good in mind. Yet, his true identity was still locked inside of Darth Vader, and this is the most beautiful part of Anakin’s story. His identity was not found in his mistakes, and neither is yours. He lost his identity, or perhaps a better word is forgot, his identity for a time, but it was not lost forever.

You may step away from your identity in Christ for a while, and I think we all do to some degree, because human desires can be quite appealing to well, humans. This is why it is so important to pray, to stay in the Word, to worship, and to fellowship with other believers. A community of believers is there to encourage and to lift up, to listen and to hold each other accountable.

So who am I? I am a child of the one true King. Blessed, favored, treasured, loved, and here to accomplish a series of divine appointments, that are a part of His perfect plan.

Who are you?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”  -1 Peter 2:9

Mission Statement

While washing the dishes the other day, I received a word from God, something I will call the “Mission Statement” for Hope, Faith and Star Wars. Using the life of Anakin Skywalker as an example to teach a Biblical truth has been and will continue to be the focus of this blog. It has helped me to grow, because the emotions that Anakin felt are very human emotions. We all get angry, we all have fear and we all get impatient from time to time.

But my favorite thing about Anakin is the good that was in him, the good that was able to survive Darth Vader. And the good that he was able to find again, because someone believed in him before he even believed in himself. We need to fight for the good, and believe that it can be found again. With that being said, here is my hope and my mission:

I believe that goodness is in everyone. Does this mean that everyone who has fallen into bad deeds will find that goodness again (or for the first time), sadly, no it does not. But I will hold strong to faith in the good. Why? Because Anakin did not die as Darth Vader, Paul did not die as Saul, the guy who was beside Jesus on his own cross did not die as his “Darth Vader”, and I will not die as mine. All of the Darth Vaders of the world may not be reached, but I will faithfully follow my calling to reach as many as possible. They need someone to believe in them, like Luke believed in Anakin. Some many be quick to dismiss them as a lost cause, but God, at least until they breathe their last for then it is truly too late, believes other wise. Therefore, I will pray for them and the strength to believe the same.

Faith and Miracles

(photo credit fiallderil.dreamwidth.org, found on Pinterest)

Miracles can happen, we just need to believe that they can. Pray for those around you who are lost, and be obedient to the call to reach out to or pray for a specific person if you feel led.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” -1 Peter 4:8

The Importance of One

What can one person do? What can the hope and faith of one do for those who are lost? Let us think about Luke Skywalker, an important leader in the Rebel Alliance, new hope for the Jedi Order and…..the son of Anakin Skywalker. Luke wasn’t too pleased when he discovered that Darth Vader was his father, in fact his exact word was, “Nooooooo!” This revelation at first was horrible, but in the end this gave Luke the opportunity and the desire to look at Anakin differently, not as Darth Vader but as his father, Anakin Skywalker. Luke was the first person in 20 years, who saw past his mistake and challenged Anakin to make a change. He spoke the truth over him, saying words that went through Darth Vader and found Anakin’s heart.

In Romans 12:21 it says, “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Hate can not be overcome by hate. Fear can not be overcome by fear. Anger can not be overcome by anger. All of the people that had been close to Anakin were either dead or had given up on him, both Yoda and Obi Wan were convinced that dark path was something no one could come back from, Anakin especially. Luke chose to believe that there was good in Darth Vader, even though no one else believed him, and he felt that he at least had to try even if he was wrong, he knew he had to try.

God calls us to be lights in the darkness, to love on people and always speak God’s best over their lives. As 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.” Luke chose to love Darth Vader because Anakin was inside and Anakin, his father, was worth fighting for. We shouldn’t sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called us to do, don’t allow fear to make you complacent or inactive. Its that one moment in a sea of a million others, that moment is what matters, give it to God and He’ll take care of the rest. The moment where we choose to be kind, where we choose to be joyful or where we chose to speak about what we believe to be truth. It is never to late for someone to make a change in their lives and it can be the calling of Christians to speak that truth over those who have given up on themselves.

Anakin had been buried under 20 years of anger, hate and oppression, it destroyed him and most of the people around him. The hope of one person and Luke’s faith in Anakin’s goodness proved to be stronger than the power of the dark side. One person brought Anakin back and saved him from darkness…one person. So overcome evil with good, love each other deeply and hold strong to your faith because as the Bible says it truly can move mountains.