Paris, Tomorrow and the Church

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Last night, before my husband made his way home, he called me to tell me he was going to stop by Redbox and get a video game for our son, Noah. Interestingly, he hasn’t rented from Redbox in over a year. I have really wanted to see Tomorrowland so I asked him to pick it up if they had a copy. When I got home he was playing the game with Noah. As we were waiting for them to finish so we could watch the movie, I got on my phone and saw the horrible news about Paris.

About halfway through the movie, something really incredible happened. The main characters Frank and Casey get into a machine that you assume is taking them to Tomorrowland. However when the machine stops and when they get off you are surprised to see them at the Eiffel Tower. This obviously caught my attention. Inside the Eiffel Tower was the real rocket that was going to take them to their destination. This is where I began to see some truths and parallels in the movie I thought I would share:

A picture I took while watching the movie

A picture I took while watching the movie

  1. In the movie, the rocket inside the Eiffel Tower had always been there and was the real purpose behind its creation. I believe that what happened in Paris can be the beginning of a turn around for this world. The rocket came out of something, not new, but that something that was always there. An antique that was originally created for this purpose. A beacon into the darkness. A clarion call if you will.
  2. The rocket enabled them to travel to a new dimension. Where Tomorrowland was located. I believe that we are being called to a new dimension of living. That we are going to have to shift our thinking and mindsets to be able to overcome this terror. (For example – focusing on a red cup isn’t going to take us there)
  3. When they arrive at Tomorrowland it is in a state of decay. It appears mostly abandoned and everything is grey and gloomy. It is not the bright, inspirational place you see at the beginning of the movie. Casey is so taken a back by what she finds there she makes the statement “This place has nothing to do with hope – it is the opposite of hope.” That is where this terror is birthed from. A place devoid of hope.
  4. Casey is told that the world is going to end in 58 days. They have realized that she is the key to saving the world – and the one thing that makes her special is that she doesn’t give up. Where everyone else sees the end – she asks what’s the solution. God is calling us to a new level of living and thinking where we stop looking in the natural at the doom and gloom around us and begin turning our eyes upward towards where our help comes from – and asking for the SOLUTIONS to these problems we are facing.
  5. Casey has an idea to save the world that is birthed from a story her dad has always told her, it goes like this “Two wolves. One full of hope and one full of despair get into a fight. Which wolf wins?” The answer is, “whichever one you feed.” This is the most important message from this revelation. Whatever we feed is what wins. No matter the terror, the Church, must rise up and feed hope. Hope is the key to this entire situation.
  6. Frank and Casey figure out what has been hurdling the world towards its end. A monitor full of some futuristic energy source, was thought to have been showing what was happening around the world. This is also where the future, including the apocalypse, was being broadcasted. But Frank and Casey discover that the truth was this wasn’t a monitor showing the end but an antennae broadcasting the idea over and over. Sound like the media? Look at the top grossing movies over the past few years. The list is full of apocalyptic movies like The Age of Extinction, Hunger Games, Desolation, etc. Watch one, sixty minute broadcast of the news.
  7. Frank and Casey figure out that another character was behind this monitor, trying to scare people straight. But what began to happen was a self fulfilling prophecy was being released. Here is a monologue from that character: “They didn’t fear their end – they began to gobble it up like a chocolate eclair. They embraced the apocalypse and repackaged it as video games and movies. Simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation. In every moment there is the possibility of a better future but you people won’t believe and because you won’t believe it you resign yourself to it…for one reason. Because that future doesn’t ask anything of you today. You see the iceberg but her you still say full steam ahead to the titanic – because you want to sink – you gave up.” So much truth is held in that statement. We are gobbling up the fear and terror. And we are feeding the wrong wolf. As he said, every moment there is the possibility of a better future, we just have to believe. And we have to be willing to answer the call from a tomorrow that does require some things of us today. All complacency must go. 
  8. At this point we see a flashback where the character Frank opened the door for this entire situation when decades before, he gave up hope. Not only did he give up hope but we see that he became angry at the one who gave him hope. This is the key, to our prayers and our strategy moving forward. This is the heart behind radical Islamist and those like them. They have no hope. And because they have no hope they are angry at people who do. The Church and all lovers of Christ must rise up and be the beacon of hope that we were always created to be. The wolf named despair has been fed and Isis and Al Qaeda have came from that. Where there is no hope, a void opens, that can be filled with hate and despair. We need an injection of hope! We must start feeding the right wolf!!
  9. Finally, at the end, this injection of hope that the savior of this movie, Casey, was able to bring stops the apocalypse. They realize that knocking down evil isn’t hard, but figuring out what to build in its place is the challenge. Their strategy moving forward was simple. They went into the world and found all the dreamers. All the ones who haven’t given up. All the ones who believe in spite of what they see. They are the ones who will build Tomorrow. And they all converge together in a field of dreams.

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I believe this is all what we are being called to do at this time. Look for the dreamers. Unite them together. Realize that knocking down evil isn’t the hard part, but leaving behind an injection of hope is the most critical, non-negotiable part. We must inspire people to have hope and to stop feeding the wrong wolf! As I was adding the picture from the movie to this blog, I realized that last week the Lord had given me the vision of that field of dreams. A field of wheat, a field of Harvest. I remembered it when I added the picture because I saw the pictures of the fields of wheat I had used to make my cover photo on this blog!!

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Let us pray that out of Paris a revival of hope and dreams begins that allows a light so bright to shine out of that city that people turn their heads away from the self fulfilling prophecies played on their monitors day after day, and instead begin to turn their eyes towards the way, the truth, and the life. That the dreamers are awoken and realize they are standing in the middle of a field ready for Harvest!

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Do You Know Who is Speaking?

I hear from many people that they don’t feel like God is speaking to them. I read an article the other day that, like many out there, gives advice for how to hear the Lord speak to you. The first piece of advice I would probably give (primarily speaking to myself) would be to spend more time reading God’s word then articles! I’m not trying to be dogmatic here (I mean, come on – I’m writing and you are reading an article!) but the truth is that often we, including myself, want a “word from the Lord” and will go to other people, ministers/pastors/prophets, watch a sermon, read an article all in an attempt to chase after a word. But the truth is none of that makes as much sense as simply going to the Wordto get a word.

Recently a friend shared with me a revelation from her mentor, she said “you treat your Bible like it is a book. Don’t you realize, that is Jesus you are holding in your hands?” What a powerful truth. If we receive the revelation that the Bible is not just words on a page but everything it is, is Him – THAT is a game changer. I find it much harder to walk past my Bible in the morning when I realize that I am literally walking past the Word, the Word that was with God from the beginning (John 1). All this still doesn’t answer the question many have burning on their hearts, “How do I hear more clearly from the Lord?” Well I believe some answers can be found in the third chapter of 1 Samuel.

At the beginning of this chapter we find Samuel, in the service of Eli. During this time, the Lord, who verse one shows us was withholding His word from a corrupt and apathetic people, begins to call Samuel. The first three times He called Samuel thought it was Eli.

1 Samuel 3:7-10 (HCSB)

Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Lord, because the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again, for the third time, the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. He told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The Lord came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

I believe there are some powerful keys to hearing from the Lord revealed in this chapter. First, we see that Samuel had not experienced the Lord because the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. This means that if we want to hear and experience the Lord, He has to reveal himself to us. How do we get the Lord to do that? Well the first verse showed that the Lord was withholding His word and visions from people because they had become corrupt. If you contrast that with Samuel, Samuel had not even experienced the Lord himself, but still was being faithful and obedient. So to hear from the Lord we must be obedient and faithful.

The second key to hearing from the Lord, and I believe one of the most important, was Samuel had to understand who was calling Him. Until Samuel had the revelation of who was calling him, he could not hear the Lord. If we want to hear the Lord, we have to understand who it is that is calling us. Who He is. If we really understand who is calling us we won’t take for granted the opportunity and blessing of His call. We won’t hesitate to say yes to Him if we truly understood that the creator of the universe who holds the foundation of Heaven and Earth in His hand, is the One calling us. Understanding the reality and the nature of God should always inspire us to respond with spontaneous obedience.

And finally, Eli told Samuel to go and lie down, and Samuel responded by going and lying down in his place. If we want to hear from God we need to be in position to do so. Sometimes that means giving God a yes, sometimes that may mean giving someone else a no, or most of the time that means saying yes over and over to the process God has put in place to move us into position. There were a lot of “yeses” that had led to Samuel being in that position, in his place. Many that had nothing to do with him. It was Hannah’s obedience that had sent him to Eli. It was his father, Elkanah’s obedience that had allowed Hannah to follow God’s word to her. It was the disobedience of Eli’s sons that opened the door for Samuel to take their place. It was Eli’s disobedience that kept him from stopping his sons from their corruption. And finally it was Samuel’s obedience that allowed him to grow in favor and stature. What a perfect picture this is of the power of our obedience and disobedience. Our decisions and willingness to surrender to God’s will doesn’t just effect us, but everyone around us. And the obedience of Samuel and his family led him to the place where his life collided with the presence of God. The very first verse of chapter 3 says that Samuel was in the presence of Eli. Being in the presence of Eli had put Samuel in position to be in the presence of the Lord. (This is the same truth we see in the gospels. The first disciples called by Jesus were the ones who had been obedient to the Lord’s calling to follow John the Baptist. Being in the presence of John the Baptist led them to be in the presence of the Word, manifested in flesh!)

This chapter also allows us to see the stark contrast of what happens when you don’t obey God. The Lord was patient with Samuel and called to Him four times. But in the same chapter we see the Lord removing His favor and bringing judgement on Eli’s house because of their disobedience. To me, this says, that

obedience, which is surrendering of one’s will, is the key that unlocks the door to experiencing God and hearing His word.

So if we want to hear the Lord speak, the recipe seems to be pretty simple: recognize the voice of the one calling you, respond in obedience and faith and be in position when He calls. Now…if only that were as simple as it sounds!

Lord, may we all have the courage and revelation of who you are, to respond when you call, “Speak, for your Servant is listening.”