Jan 23, 2006


My wife and I were talking about how much I tend to reflect on things. Mind you, I'm not the type of person who lives in the past, but I am constantly taking a peek at my rear view mirror to see if I've left any carnage in my journey that needs tending to. Sometimes it's relational, and other times it's internal - in both cases, though, I'm thankful for the redemptive healing of Jesus Christ.

Memory is misunderstood. The practice of thinking about who you've been, whose you are, and where you're going will determine the inertia by which our lives gain momentum. Many religions participate in some form of this, from meditation to prayer. It's even been documented that "religious people live longer, healthier lives."

Sometimes we need to stop and remember. Not just for a moment, but really gnaw on it. For instance, fifty years ago this month five men were martyred in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador and their story changed lives around the world. This weekend a powerful movie called "End Of The Spear" was released to help us digest this story, and a friend of mine who saw it said this:
How many times have we gone to see a movie and wished for two hours of our lives back? Can you say "Oceans 12"!? Holla!! This movie is the direct opposite. I found myself emotionally gripped by the movie and atthe edge of my seat. I felt totally inspired by this movie. The acting is OFF THE HOOK. I was like who are these people? They are unbelievable!! The acting is stupid good. The production and directing is very well done. The story line is awesome. Do not worry - this is not "Left Behind." Some of the cinemetography was just beautiful. There are some gruesome scenes though so the PG-13 rating is appropriate. I personally givethe movie 3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars.

If you know of any missionary anywhere - you gotta see this movie. "End of the Spear" took me out of my materialistic, selfish world and inspired me with the essence of sacrifice and the power of selfless love. The movie was not perfect - but neither was Narnia. Unfortunately, there were about 12 people in my theater on a Friday night. I don't think this movie has the marketing budget that "Narnia" did (don't get me started!). Probably nowhere close. So see this movie fast as I don't give it a long theater life.
When we take the time to remember, we can even recognize how tragedy has shaped us. Here are a couple of real examples along these lines:
"[Before the tsunami], I thought the Buddha saved us. You know I believed in Buddha, and I would have died for that at one point. Now I only believe God. I am a changed Jenat, a new Jenat. Salvation came to my house. That’s why. I didn’t think I would change like this, but that is the power of God.”- Sri Lankan woman who accepted Christ after last year's devastating tsunami, Baptist Press

"This means everything. We've come home. My house is gone, but I'm still home for Christmas." - Lila Southall, upon returning to her New Orleans church after Hurricane Katrina, Associated Press

Today I spoke with a gal after our first service who reflected on where she has come from versus where she is in Christ. Through some hard choices, God has redeemed her soul, restored her relationship with her mom, and even given her an opportunity to serve in the church. At times, though, her memory works against her and she remembers the harder choices she made that took her away from God. I shared with her something that I'd like to go public with here, too.

God's name is "I AM." It's not "I WAS," nor is it "I WILL BE." In fact, it's not even "I'M NOW." His name is "I AM," meaning that He always has been God, is God right now, and always will be God. We showed up in creation on day 6 - guess who was here before that?

And the cool thing is that not only can God be the God of our present and future, but He can even be the God of our past. Meaning that when we made the worst choices we ever made, He still loved us and His image was still buried beneath us. If we allow Him to, His whispers can be louder than any screams of the past.

Like I said... memory is misunderstood.

Wait... I did say that, right?

God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' (Exodus 3:14)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)


Tanner Ridge said...

Yeah... Memory is good.... Just wish I had a better one.
But God knew that we are forgetful people and had us doing things to help us remember such as doing the Passover dinner for 1400 years every year up until his coming.
Then there is communion where we are told to do this in rememberance of Him... again until we can partake with him at the banquet.
God has always had us reflect in festivals so we would not forget.
But then there is remembering hurts. There is a time for reflecting in that and a time to get healed and move on.
I just glad that God will forgive and forget our sins and remember them know more.

I Wish could do the same.

Katie said...

a few things to chew on here:

1. LOVED the movie, you must, I repeat MUST go see this film.

2. Memories, I think of them much like scars from where the shackles use to bind us. The scars are painful to view and remind us from what we came, but the scars also show us that we are now free, the chains are no more. I like that about memories, they push me from the past to the present, from what was to what is.

3. I AM - what a wonderful name for God, and I love that it is the name He calls His people to call Him. He wants us to know Him as our present Lord.

Tony, you make me stop and think everytime I come here. It goes to show that those who preach and teach do so at the pulpit and microphone, but also in the daily workings of their lives. Thank you for that.

Kristi said...

So many truths here! I need to go see that movie. I remember studying about those 5 missionaries and their deaths when I was in Christian school. And my older sister is now a missionary, so I'm sure I would be moved by it.

Thanks for all the great reminders today.

Tony Myles said...

tanner - Good call on the festivals. In the society the Jews lived in it was the one way they stayed together. I kind of like traditions for that reason, too, to some level.

katie: I'd like to see the film- it's the age old issue of child care and finances. "Excuse me, but I'd like to take out a loan for two tickets and a Nestle Crunch, please."

I like your idea about memories. The whole idea of a rear view mirror is that it is the size it is for a reason. Any bigger and we'd be unable to drive forward.

kristi - My favorite Jim Eliot quote: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

You guys rock for sharing your responses out loud - thanks!

Katie said...

darn, if I lived closer I would so babysit for free

theoquest said...

Haven't seen the movie yet, but have a memory (of sorts), so maybe I'm qualified to comment...

It's awesome to look back on the junky stuff of life (the stuff that really sucked the life from your days) and be able to see God working through it anyway.

Tanner Ridge said...

I have the tickets for You and your wife Katie being emailed from Celebration Cinema.
Anybody in the Holland MI area want to babysit and or deliver a Nestle Crunch Bar :) ???

Tony Myles said...

We could always fly Texas Katie to Michigan.

Let me work on child care - thanks for the tix, fellow ring bearer.

Katie said...

man if only michigan and texas were closer I would love to baby-sit, your boys sound like they would be a blast, enjoy the flick and tell us what you think

Annalisa said...

I read the book about the story that that movie (End of the Spear) was based on (I used to work at Family Christian Stores so I had heaps of opportunity to read lots of cool books!) and the most amazing and affecting thing in it was a photo of a baptism. The one getting baptised was the teenaged/young adult son (or daughter, can't remember) of one of the men who was murdered, and the one doing the baptising was one of the men who had murdered his (or her) father...Blew me away...