“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:

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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)

MoviePass Adventures: Month 5

Into my 5th month of MoviePass, after last month’s record of 9 films, here’s what I saw this month:

1) Early Man

From the makers of the Wallace & Gromit & Shaun the Sheep films, Early Man is the story of Dug & a group of cave people who are trying to save their valley from the evil Lord Nooth and the impending Bronze Age.  It’s a fun little film with a really good voice cast featuring Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams and Tom Hiddleston.

 

2.) Samson

Based on the biblical story from the book of Judges, Samson tells the story of Samson, one of the Judges during the time before kings in Israel.  As a film, I thought it was good. It had a pretty interesting cast with Billy Zane, Lindsey Wagner among others.  Putting on the theologian hat, it got most everything right.  There were some things that were taken liberties with.  But overall I thought it was fair to the scriptures in telling the story.

3.) Peter Rabbit

Based on the children’s stories by Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit has all the lovable characters in a modern setting with a new Mr. McGregor  (played by Domhnall Gleeson) dealing with the rabbits and other wildlife.  It was a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed it and laughed out loud a lot of times.  Great kids movie and for adults as well.

4.) Red Sparrow

This film (based on the first of a trilogy of novels) centers around a former Russian ballet dancer who gets injured and has to help our her uncle who works for Russian intelligence.  This then leads her to live a live as a spy working to find out who the mole is in the Russian government.  She does this to save her own life and to help out her mother who is sick.  It is a very deep film with lots of layers.  Has a great cast.  I think though seeing it once was enough for me. It isn’t a film I would want to go back and see over and over.

5.) I Can Only Imagine

Based on the story of the life of Bart Millard, the lead singer of Mercy Me & the writer of the song “I Can Only Imagine”, the film tells the story of his life growing up in Texas with an abusive father and a gift for singing.  Along the way of pursuing a dream of music, Bart had to learn forgiveness for his father and also to find his voice as a singer.  It is a tremendous film and one that I would highly recommend to everyone.

Total films seen overall with MoviePass: 28

Board Games and Community

This past weekend was the 13th annual Tennessee Game Days.  It’s a board game convention that’s held in Franklin, TN.  This year was the 4th year that I’ve attended.  I was always one that enjoyed playing board games even as a kid.  But I really got into playing board games when the resurgence of popularity of them took off earlier this decade.

For those that don’t know, a board game convention (like this one) is where people from all around come together to play board games.  People from all walks of life get together and sit down to play games.  How cool is that?  This being my fourth year I’ve seen several people that I recognize from previous years as well as meet new people who are there for the first time.

People that know me know I’m a “extroverted introvert”.  I like small groups and need my time to recharge the social batteries.  But I love going to events like this to meet people and interact.  It is a cool way to build community sitting around talking and playing games.

People from different backgrounds can come together and fellowship and build community.  That is what the church is about as well  People from all walks of life coming together to fellowship and worship.  And I’ve found that something as simple as playing a board game can be a way to connect with people and build relationships.

In our society of being connected digitally, it’s nice to unplug and connect in such an analog way.  I think it would be well for all of us to find a group of friends (or make new friends) and play board games.  Connect and develop relationships through something as simple as a game can have a big difference in someone’s life.

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