Five Year Anniversary

Today marks the five year anniversary of this blog.  When I started this blog, I was in a real rough spot in my life.  And to be honest, that hasn’t changed that much.  These last five years have been some of the hardest, toughest, depressing years of my life.  This blog has helped in dealing with some of that but even still it has been a struggle.

Each time I reach this anniversary I hope that there will be some good news, something that will be a turning point.  But here I wait still.  God ultimately knows what the future will hold but in the meantime it has been tough in the waiting.

There have been seasons with this blog when there has been a lot of content and also times when there hasn’t been.  That has been a struggle as well.  When you don’t have the words to express the emotions and thoughts you feel.

If you have been with me all this time, thank you.  May this next year of blogging bring newfound hope and a turning of the corner in my life.

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“Purpose in Pain”: Thoughts on Brian Dawkins

Everyone that knows me knows I’m a huge sports fan.  Among those is football.  I love playing football and I love watching football.  This weekend was the induction ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  And I was sitting in a hotel room in Arkansas and happened to turn the TV on and caught the majority of the event.  And at one point I tweeted that it felt like there was a church service going in in Canton given some of the speeches.

The one that really resonated with me with Brian Dawkins.  Dawkins was a defensive back who played mainly for the Philadelphia Eagles (also some time with the Denver Broncos).  His speech got into not just his career but more importantly his faith in Christ as well as the pain and struggles that he dealt with including dealing with depression.

What really stuck with me was when he said the following:

“See there’s a purpose for my pain.  There’s a purpose for my pain.”

Those words stuck with me.  They stuck with me when I immediately heard it.  And they have stuck with me these several days later.  These last five years or so I’ve dealt with pain.  Emotional pain, mental pain, spiritual pain.  It has been a season of my life that has been a tremendous struggle.  There have been more rough days than calm days in these last five years or so.

And so when I heard Dawkins’ speech and he was mentioning those words, they resonated with me.  I need to be reminded that there is a purpose for it.  I may not fully understand the reason for this pain, ultimately the purpose is for me to get closer to Jesus and to point people to Him.  If there’s anyone that knows purpose in pain, it’s Jesus.

If you have not seen his speech, take some time and watch.  It is worth it:

MoviePass Adventures: Month 6

I’m into my 6th month of MoviePass and should get more interesting given it’s starting to get into a more film heavy season.  Here’s what I saw in this month:

1.) Tomb Raider

Based on the popular video game franchise, Tomb Raider tells the origin story of sorts of Lara Croft, adventurer who is seeking the truth about the whereabouts of her father while having to deal with the mysterious organization Trinity.  I thought it was better than the Angelina Joile versions.  As a whole I thought it was a decent film.  The villain was not as good as he could’ve been and thought that kinda dragged the film down.  Otherwise I liked the film.

2.) Pacific Rim: Uprising

The sequel to the 2013 film, this film takes place 10 years later after the end of the Kaiju war.  Jake Pentecost (son of the character that Idris Elba played in the original) and a new group of cadets and pilots have to stop a new kaiju threat.  As a standalone film, I really enjoyed it.  As a sequel to the first film it fell flat in a few spots.  The main one being it never addressed what happened to the main character Raleigh.  But as a whole I really enjoyed it.

3.) Midnight Sun

A remake of a 2006 Japanese film, Midnight Sun tells the story of Katie Price, a girl with a rare disease that prevents her from ever being out in sunlight.  She falls in love with the boy down the street, who doesn’t even know she exists.  A chance meeting one night a train station leads to both of them meeting and falling in love.  I liked the film.  I really enjoyed the cast especially Rob Riggle was great as Katie’s dad.  It is kinda a sad film so be prepared for that.

4.) Paul Apostle of Christ

The film is based on the life of Paul of Tarsus, who helped spread the gospel of Christ to Asia Minor and into Europe.  The main focus of the film is the later years of Paul’s life, during his second imprisonment in Rome just before his death.  There are a few flashbacks but for the most part sticks to these later years that aren’t really covered in the Bible.  Overall, it’s a pretty decent film.  I liked it and was for the most part faithful to how scripture portrays Paul.

5.) Ready Player One

The film, based on the novel of the same name, takes place in Columbus, Ohio in 2045.  A tech genius created a virtual world called the Oasis and left keys within it that if collected would unlock a secret Easter egg & control of that entire virtual world.  Wade Watts is among those seeking those keys and at the same times keep control of the Oasis away from those who want it only for greed.  I really enjoyed the film.  It’s a lot of fun and a lot of 80s/90s references abound.

6.) The Miracle Season

The film, based on the true story of the 2011 West High School Girls’ Volleyball team, tells the story of the Women of Troy and their run to the state championship after losing their star player Caroline “Line” Found to a tragic accident at the beginning of the year.  The team must overcome the tragedy and go ona miracle run to qualify for state and try to defend their state championship.  They have a great cast that includes Helen Hunt and William Hurt and it’s a compelling film.  I would add it to my list of favorite sports films of all time.

7.) The Miracle Season (second viewing)

8.) Rampage

Based on the video game, Rampage deals with some evil corporate scientists, the military and The Rock.  It’s a pretty fun escape film.  It’s the kind of film you just go and have 2 hours or so of escape.  I had a fun time with it.

9.) Sgt. Stubby:  An American Hero

Based on a true story, this animated film tells the story of a stray dog named Stubby who is adopted by an American regimen and goes off to World War I and helps save lives of American and French troops.  He was even awarded the rank of sergeant and is the highest decorated war dog in American history.  The animation was pretty cool and the overall it’s a very entertaining and underrated film.  Definitely worth checking out

Total films seen overall with MoviePass: 37

(Number of unique films seen overall:  35)

2017 Year in Review

This year of 2017 is finally drawing to a close.  This has been another rough and tough year for me.  It has been that case the last several years.  I hope though that your year was good.  If it wasn’t, I hope that 2018 is better for you.  As is tradition for me, I like to look back and review the year.  Here is the year in review starting with the final book list of books I’ve read this year.

Final reading list for 2017:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters by Brian Solomon

Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier

What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Church by Dave Anderson & Tim Wilcox

You Can’t Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television by Al Michaels


This is the 13th year of keeping track of books I’ve read. Here’s the number breakdown:

2005: 19

2006: 20

2007: 18

2008: 22

2009: 29

2010: 24

2011: 15

2012: 14

2013: 9

2014: 7

2015: 13

2016: 12

2017: 12

2016 Year in Review

Highlights of the year: The highlights were the following:  Board game nights with friends, Opportunities to preach, The joy of writing for this blog, Seeing the total eclipse and a baseball game afterwards

Five things that 2017 taught me:

1) It’s okay to let go of some things so you can better grab hold of what’s better

2) Being a jerk is never okay no matter the situation

3) It’s important to know what fights to pick and what hills are worth dying on

4) Hold onto hope with every part of your being, especially in the rough times

5) Show kindness to others, a little goes a long way

*Five personally significant events of 2017:  (Well this year it was three again)

1) I celebrated the 4 year anniversary of this blog

2) Had opportunity to preach several times

3) Got to spend quality time with friends

4) ——————————————–

5) ——————————————–

Ten things I want to do in 2018 (in no particular order):

1) Continue to grow in my walk with the Lord

2) Be faithful to the work God has called me to

3) Hopefully find and be in a relationship with a girl that is honoring God

4) Continue to pray for my friends around the world

5) Show grace and mercy to everyone around me

6) Find time for recreational reading

7) Travel to see friends

8) Be an encouragement to those around me

9) Learn as much as I can from the experiences I have

10) Smile every day

Five things I don’t want to do in 2017:

1) Grow weary in doing good

2) Not appreciate the blessings God has provided for me

3) Forget where God has brought me and where he’s taking me

4) Hurt people and lose friendships because of my actions

5) Grow angry and bitter at my circumstances

Five things I love beyond all reason currently:

1) God

2) My family and friends

3) Opportunities for the future

4) Reading

5) Writing

Five things I hate with good reason currently:

1) My sinful nature

2) Frustration about circumstances beyond my control

3) Being lonely

4) Being hurt

5) Bad attitudes

I hope that 2018 will be a better year than 2017.  That is my prayer for me and for you

Updated 2017 Book List

Here is another update for the list of books read in 2017:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters by Brian Solomon

Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier

What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Church by Dave Anderson & Tim Wilcox

Updated 2017 Book List

Here is the updated book list for this year:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters by Brian Solomon

Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier

What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert

Updated 2017 Book List

Here is the updated book list for this year:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters by Brian Solomon

Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier