Thursday Quote Day: Joshua Harris

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day” here is a quote from author and pastor Joshua Harris:

“The purpose of Christian community in the church is not only our joy and spiritual growth. The purpose is also mission–displaying and advancing God’s reign and rule in the world.” (Joshua Harris Dug Down Deep)

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 122

“I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Our feet have been standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
    that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
There thrones for judgment were set,
    the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
    “May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
    and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
    I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your good.”  (Psalm 122)

It is a blessing to gather together to worship.  Corporate worship is something that God wants for us.  Because He knows that is a great way to honor him.  When we gather together to sing songs of praise, when we give tithes and offerings, when we study a portion of his word together, we are honoring and worshiping Him.

David in this psalm shares about the joy he has about going into the house of the Lord (which in the Old Testament days was the temple).  There they could worship the Lord, they could pray to Him and they could enjoy God’s peace among them.  Like David, we can enjoy that as well when we gather together to worship.

As we gather together to worship today, let us celebrate that we get to gather together for corporate worship.  And let us celebrate all that God has done for us and will do in the future.

Sunday Devotional: Colossians 1:15-23

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

Jesus is everything.  And the awesome thing is that He gave up everything so that we could be reconciled.  He came to Earth to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be redeemed.  He is the one who has rightful authority over us because of His place of rule over creation.  And He loves us so much.

This week, let us remember who Jesus is and all that He has done for us.  And let us never forget how much He loves us.

Fitting In: Reflecting on Short Circuit 2

Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Short Circuit films.  I watched them all the time on VHS and loved seeing again and again the antics of Johnny 5.  And while I loved very much the original film that had the hilarity that is Steve Guttenberg and the charm of Ally Sheedy, I always related more to the second film Short Circuit 2.  I recently rewatched the film and it still holds up for me.

The second film centers around Johnny 5 and Ben Javari (played by Fisher Stevens).  They are the only two characters to return from the first film (though Sheedy’s character Stephanie Speck makes an audio cameo).  Ben also has a character change (in the first film he’s an American citizen but in this film he is trying to get his citizenship).  He’s now in New York City trying to make his way in the world after losing his job at NOVA.  He builds toy replicas of Johnny 5 which gets the attention of toy buyer Sandy Banatoni.  She loves them and wants a bunch for the department store to sell.  This brings Johnny 5 to NYC to help out his friend Ben.

Along with trying to help Ben (and Ben’s new ‘friend’ Fred Ritter), Johnny 5 is about his usual getting of “input”.  This of course leads to some interesting encounters in the city.  These encounters lead to Johnny 5 struggling to find out what it means to be accepted as alive by those around him.  This also mirrors Ben’s attempts to have Sandy see him as a person and not just a producer of robot toys.

Probably the scene that really reflects this for me the most is set up by the following: Johnny 5 is on his own after trying to be sold by Fred.  He spends time in a sculpture garden and is mistaken for art and called “repulsive”. He then grabs some clothes (trenchcoat and beanie hat) in order to fit in with He goes into a church looking for answers and gets run out by priest thinking someone is controlling him.  He then gets arrested for “trashing the book store” with the officers thinking someone is controlling him.  When he gets to the police station, he is sent down to stolen goods because jail is for “humans”.

The scene finds Johnny standing in the impound area chained to two poles.  He is reading one of the two books he got from the bookstore.  There is a kind of melancholic music playing as he’s slowly reading (the only time he ever reads slowly by the way).  Ben finds out that he’s there in the impound and goes to pick him up.  Ben rushes up to and asks Johnny to say something.  Johnny’s response is four words “Hubcaps, corn dogs, soul.”

Johnny 5 and Ben

After scolding the officers for chaining Johnny up like they did, Ben tells him it’s okay to break the chains which Johnny promptly does.  Ben asks Johnny why he’s dressed up that “ridiculous garb”, Johnny responds as he slowly rolls away “Attempt to look human, fit in, belong.  Unsuccessful.”  Ben is left standing there with Johnny’s beanie hat and two books.  The two books?  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.  Ben looks up from seeing the two books as Johnny is rolling to the door.

I could relate to how Johnny 5 felt.  No, I wasn’t a robot come to life.  But i understood what it felt like to want to fit in and belong.  Growing up, I wasn’t very popular.  I didn’t fit in with the cool crowd.  I grew up in one town and went to school in another.  I was the younger brother who was kinda nerdy.  I wanted to belong.  I wanted to feel like that I fit in but I didn’t.  So when I would watch this film, that scene always got to me, because I knew what that feeling was like.  To want to be seen, to want to be known, to want to belong.

Deep down that’s what we all want.  And that’s why even to this day, that scene still gets to me.  Because that pain is real.  That is something that we all struggle with all through our lives. God knows this.  He made each one of us to be in community with Him and with others.  We were never meant to be alone, in isolation.  Sin separates us from others and sin separates us from God.  But the good thing is Jesus restore those relationships paying the penalty for our sins.  We don’t have to feel in solitude or alone.  We belong to God if we are willing to repent and turn to Him.

Short Circuit 2 will always have a special place in my heart as a film.  Not just for the goofy lovable Ben Javari and wise cracking hero Johnny 5, but for the broken hearted Ben who longs to be known by Sandy and the lonely Johnny 5 who simply wants to belong and fit in.  In the end, Ben and Sandy are together and in love and Johnny 5 finds out he does belong and has people that do care for him.  May we find that place and those people (and hopefully it is found with God and with the church).