Avengers, Wookiees, and Holodecks

Saturday night, I finally got to see the blockbuster movie everyone was talking about with Dad and Jeremiah. Avengers: Age of Ultron certainly did not disappoint, especially when watching in an IMAX 3D theater. Since the last Avengers movie, I wondered how the sequel could possibly top the first. After only a few minutes into the movie, I realized this one would be even better.

As the lights dimmed, we sat in our seats to see the first preview. It was a preview for the new Star Wars movie that will come out in December. Of course, I had previously watched this preview over and over (I even saw the video of Matthew McConaughey’s reaction to the preview), but watching it in 3D was beyond awesome. Lightsaber battles, storm troopers, Han Solo telling Chewbacca, “We’re home.” It was awesome and it only built up the excitement for the main event, Avengers in 3D. There were times when it all looked real, as if we were immersed in all the action.

I love sci-fi and superhero movies and the past six months, Dad and I have been watching Star Trek on Netflix. I absolutely love, love, love everything about Star Trek. I guess you could call us Trekkies. We have already finished the Voyager series, and now we are going back and forth between The Next Generation and Enterprise.

Some of my favorite episodes involve an amusing invention created in the Star Trek universe called a holodeck. Basically, holodecks are giant rooms where you can program the computer to place yourself in an artificial, and interactive environment, such as a crime novel, a love story, or a trip to your favorite tourist destination. The computer uses hologram technology to the extent that you can feel and touch what surrounds you, including interactive people who are programed to believe they are real and that their fictional characters are real. It seems as real as can be, and yet it is all make-believe.

Watching this 3D movie and enjoying these holodeck episodes got me thinking about my walk with Christ. When people see me, a Christian, do they see what looks real and seems real, yet is a far cry from reality? Or do they see something that looks real and IS REAL? Essentially, is my faith all for show or am I truly living the Godly life in which my actions and pursuits reflect those of a true believer?

I will be quite honest. I have not read my Bible, I have not prayed, I have not given God the amount of time I should lately. In fact, I have not read my Bible (other than in Church) at all for the past several weeks. Earlier, this month I wrote in my blog that I sometimes try to come up with excuses of why I can put it off until later, but now that I am done with the semester, done with all of the stress of exams and papers, what excuse do I have? Why can I not just get myself to read, at the very least, a little bit of my Bible a day, or even once a week? I have no exams to study for, no papers to write, so why do I still put my relationship with God on the backburner? Why is it that when He calls my number, do I continually put Him on hold?

And why does it take an epiphany while watching the Avengers or Star Trek to make me see that I am giving excuse after excuse to not live a REAL Christian life? As I am writing this blog post, I am going to give myself a challenge, and I give others this challenge as well. No more excuses! I will read more. I will pray more and seek God more. When others see me, I don’t want them to see someone who only acts like a follower and seems to be a follower. I want them to see someone that not only looks like a follower, but also actually follows Christ. I want others to not see someone who deep down is just going through the motions of being a believer. Instead, I want them to see someone that is truly seeking God with everything in me.

I can say, all day long, that I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and I am. I try my best not to hide that fact. But if I don’t continually seek God, then those words seem pointless. When others see me, I don’t want them to see a holodeck program of my faith (something that only looks and seems real). When others see me, I don’t want them to only see my testimony of faith like a 3D movie, a faith that seems real. I want my faith to actually be REAL. I want my walk with Christ to be so real, one completely dependent on Him, that there is no question… My faith is not a 3D movie or a holodeck. It’s as real as real can be.

I want my walk with God to be one that continually seeks Him, a faith echoed by Psalm 63:1-5:

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

I pray that my soul continues to be on fire for God, that I earnestly seek Him, that I earnestly pray and read His Word, that my praise for Him lasts until the end of time. I pray that we all strive to walk with Him with everything in us!

Let our faith not only seem real like 3D movies and holodecks. Let it actually be REAL!

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 18 May. 2015.

The Motions by Matthew West

Thrive by Casting Crowns

Slow down! God has a speed limit too.

As I was driving to UMHB’s Commencement Ceremony to bid farewell to awesome friends that I have made the past couple of years, I thought, “In two years, it will be me receiving my diploma.” When I started school, I told myself that I hoped it didn’t last me more than four years. I told myself that going a fifth year was just too long and that I wanted to move on with my life as soon as possible. Then I realized something my Freshman year. I realized that by double majoring in History and Political Science, with a minor in Education, there would be no way to finish in four years and I will likely spend a fifth year as an undergrad. This seemed frustrating at first, but after realizing how silly I was being, I realized that was God’s way of saying, “Slow down. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”

Driving to the graduation ceremony, it was only natural for me to imagine myself in two years, receiving my diploma. Then, I thought about what I planned to do for the next decade after that. Go to grad school at Baylor. Work towards a PhD. Start a family. Start a career. I thought about my own future and thought, “In just two years, I will be on the football field getting my diploma, and everyone else will be in the stands.”

Then as I was driving to Belton, several cars passed me even though I was going over the speed limit myself. As I was getting ready to turn left at an intersection, waiting until it was safe to turn, someone honked and honked and honked. I thought, “Are you people really in that big a hurry?”

Then it hit me, “Am I?”

Of course, the week leading up to the end of the semester, I was absolutely in a hurry to get last minute homework done and exams finished, so that I could breathe a huge sigh of relief to be completed until August. I also thought, “Just two more years! Just two more years!”

But honestly, what’s the rush? Why are these people in such a hurry to get somewhere? Why am I in such a hurry to read the next chapter in my life’s story, when I haven’t finished enjoying the current chapter?

It was then, as I was being honked at, that I heard God’s voice telling me, “Don’t lose today’s opportunities, and don’t miss out on today’s experiences because you’re in such a hurry.”

Too often, though, that’s exactly what happens. We become so focused on what’s ahead, that we don’t cherish the blessings we have today. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t plan for the future or imagine where our life will lead. I’m saying that we shouldn’t be in such a rush to go to the next chapter, that we don’t enjoy the one we are currently reading.

There have been plenty of times when I have had required reading for class, and I have periodically stopped, counted how many pages I had left, and thought to myself, “I’m almost done. I’m almost done. 12 more pages, 7 more, 4 more, one more page!” As I would do this, it would sometimes be difficult to focus on the page I was currently reading. I truly believe God is telling us, “Slow down. That page will get here soon enough. Enjoy the page you’re currently reading. Enjoy the blessings and opportunities I have placed in your life for today.”

I challenge readers, myself included, to enjoy the opportunities you have today. Tomorrow, next week, next year, etc. will get here soon enough, but don’t lose the moments you can experience today. Out there, somewhere, there is someone who needs to hear the Gospel. Out there, there is someone who needs some comfort, some joy, someone to talk to. If you spend life in a frantic rush to get to the next chapter, you might miss out on those opportunities to live life with the people around you, to share the love of Christ with those people. You might miss the opportunity to grow in relationship with others and with God if you don’t enjoy today’s moments.

Before you know it, that chapter you’re looking forward to will get here and when it does, it will seem like life has gone by way too fast. Don’t let it go by so fast that you don’t cherish today’s blessings.

Matthew 6:34 (NIV) tells us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

We can plan for our future, and we can imagine what life will bring, but we must not allow ourselves to become worried about that future, about that next chapter. Tomorrow will get here soon enough, let us not lose focus on today.

Psalm 118:24 (TLB) says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Every day is a gift from God. Let us not worry so much about what lies ahead that we don’t cherish the present gifts and opportunities that the Lord has bestowed upon us. Let us rejoice and be glad that today is a day of opportunities!

It can be easy to speed through life, to go 70 mph when we should go 60, to count down the pages before we are finished with the current chapter, but let’s strive to enjoy today. Tomorrow will be here before you know it. So, whether you are awaiting that new job to start soon, that semester to finish, that mission trip to get here, don’t take for granted the opportunities God has for you to experience today.

So slow down! God has a speed limit too!

New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 11 May. 2015.

The Living Bible. Bible Gateway. Web. 11 May. 2015.

Blink by Revive

In the Blink of an Eye by MercyMe