Three Reasons I Don’t Give One Rip About The Royal Wedding

In three days (April 29th) the much-anticipated public union of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be a reality. The media frenzy has been exponentially heightening as the date approaches. I for one will be thankful when this uneventful news is no longer thrown up in my grill every TV commercial and checkout lane.

Here are the top three reasons I don’t give one rip about the royal wedding:

I’m an American

This is not a hyper nationalistic faux patriotic observation.* Rather it’s an observation of simple apathy. The whole royal family sham is nothing more than a  worn out national tradition that props up a figurehead with a nice title. I mean the King or Queen of England hasn’t had any real political clout since the Boston Tea Party. Not surprisingly, the wedding guest list is filled with other wannabe dignitaries with meaningless titles (Queen of Denmark? Constantine of Greece?).

I admit, maybe I don’t have a cultural grid to understand such a pompous national affair; but on the other hand I’m not sure I want to understand it. All I know is that American culture consumes excessive Hollywood celebrity weddings like they are boiled peanuts; and I have a hard time treating this royal wedding like any more than a temporary celeb affair.

Why should anyone on the correct side of the Atlantic give two Euros of interest to this?

It’s a colossal waste of money

The British government is going to spend 48 million of taxpayer’s dime for this wedding spectacle. 48 million. At a time when the world economy is about to collapse under the weight of its own debt do the Brits really have that much spare change lying around for these overly extravagant festivities? Does every wedding guest really need choices between seared goat throat or sautéed eel eggs (or whatever nasty English cuisine they’ll be serving)?

Some estimates forecast the federal mandated “day off” for the wedding will cost the British economy almost 10 billion dollars in lost productivity. More Brits are opting for a convenient “week off” instead to celebrate Easter and the wedding of the millennium. The chief of Britain’s Federation of Small Businesses says, “There is a real risk we are turning into France when we just put down tools for weeks at a time.”

Wow. Is Britain ready to stoop to the level of France for what amounts to a glorified dog and pony show?

I always hear about all the money owed to the US because we have loaned massive amounts of American cash to every Tom, Dick and Honduran country out there. Well, maybe it’s time to stick our empty hands into the gold mine of the British economy;

Dem bloody blokes got mad pounds to spare!

I’m a dude

Sorry, I just don’t care what color Elton John chooses to paint his nails for the royal service. Or that the cost of the flower arrangement alone could feed a starving village in Ethiopia for a year.  Or that the train of the bride’s dress could fill the grand heavenly temple of Isaiah 6.

I’d rather be eating wings. Or throwing a ball around. Or receiving a swift roundhouse kick to the throat by Steven Seagal.

I have no reason to care about a wedding unless it is my own. Or unless they are serving Golden Corrall at the reception AND I AM INVITED. My wife was great in dissecting the details of our wedding day, and thankfully all I had to do was show up in a tux.

There is one positive thread that can be pulled from all this. Prince William seems to be unknowingly spreading awareness of a malady that hits very close to home for me. 1 out every 3 dashing young men fall to the tragic disease of male pattern baldness. I am one of them. So is Prince William. The King-in-waiting is bringing bald(ing) back with a beautiful vengeance! More power to him in this heart-rending endeavor.

But alas, for the sake of America, economics and manhood I reject this whole royal wedding fiasco. The “brotherhood of the receding hairline” is not enough to change my mind.

Am I being too hard on the royal couple? Or am I missing many more legitimate reasons to not care?

Bryan Daniels

*Go America!

The Tree of Wrath-The Wedding Wine (Poem)

He drank full the cup of bitter wine

So I would drink at His table

To make this enemy a friend

To make this Cain an Abel

The blood of royalty spilled not

for one lonely ethnic nation

But for a tribe and tongue of many

Son felt Father’s separation

And when the victory cry rung out

For heav’n and earth to hear

Love won out for the bride alone

Cast to hell was earthly fear

The whole world may scoff and mock

at the foolishness of the tree

But there on that dark hill of wrath

God’s blood was poured for me

Great mystery of Father’s love and hate

All fell on Son of Man that day

Praise! He chose the belly of the beast

To purchase me a wedding feast!


Bryan Daniels

“Special Care For Boys”-Papa’s Poem

My Papa was a giant of a man to me. Not in a physical sense by any means; by the time I was in high school I probably had 7 inches and 60 pounds on him. He was large man in a more real sense, which measures a man’s presence in a room, his impressions on other people.

My grandfather, Sheldon Shepler, was a Marine during WWII. He had disturbing firsthand knowledge of Iwo Jima, and rarely shared what that “hell on earth” was like from the perspective of a teenage boy from Peoria, Illinois. After his short military career his main vocation was working for the prison system teaching inmates job skills for their re-entrance into society. He was an armchair politician and a consummate debater, a hobby he enjoyed deeply as the only liberal in our family. He was a proponent of tough love, scathing humor, and calling it like he saw it. The grandkids were usually both endeared and intimidated by him. Papa could be both a lighthearted jokester and grumpy old man in the same conversation. 

But that rusty old veneer had a soft spot or two.

He loved music. He taught himself the keyboard late in life and he was always the driving force behind impromptu family Christmas carol sessions. In the waning hospice days of his life, old-time hymns from Andy Griffith kept his finger whirling to the beat.

He loved animals. It’s not a stretch to say he preferred dogs over people. His two canine companions, Bucky and Nicky, were regulars at the breakfast table whether you liked it or not.

And apparently, he was also known to pen a poem or two. 

Some time after the death of my grandparents my mom found a typewritten poem on faded paper entitled, “Special Care For Boys.” The subject was likely in reference to my Uncle David. Having two sons of my own now this poem resonates with me. I especially see these unencumbered boyhood attributes in my nearly three-year old, Josiah:

Special Care For Boys

I’m sure there are special Angels on earth to care for little boys,

Perhaps Cherubim and Seraphim who love their ways and noise;

Who know the thrill and pleasure of sliding down roofs and trees,

The lure of bugs, frogs and worms and mad buzz of bottled bees;

I’m sure this special Angel will bring our cowboys through,

Keep cops and robbers from sad grief they manage to get into;

Yes, I’m sure these special watchers are included in God’s great plan,

If there were no special watchers no boy would grow to be a man.

Sheldon Shepler

Why I Write/Have a Blog (in no particular order)

1. I enjoy it. I know, not too profound. But for some odd reason, I find writing cathartic. When I get lost in a verse, a thought or a sentence it feels like a natural process, an outworking of some inward stirrings. Some guys golf or hunt to unwind. I write.

I don’t do it because it’s a duty (like grading papers), I do it because it is like throwing a football or drinking a good cup of coffee to me.

I’ve never been into journaling my thoughts by pen, and that is partly because I have the handwriting skill of a drunk five-year old. Seriously, “handwriting” was the only subject I got a “U” in (for Un-satisfactory) during kindergarten. So my blog serves as a functional online journal for me, a record of my weekly musings I would otherwise not keep.

2. It blesses me. Really, if there were no audience or blog platform I would likely still write. In my early college years I once began an essay on “Jesus-The Bridegroom’s” relationship with His “church-bride” from an ancient Jewish cultural perspective. This wasn’t a class assignment but simply an area of interest. About one hundred single spaced typed pages later, my concentration began to taper off. No one has read the paper in full and I probably will never share it with anyone (some of it is poorly written and theologically weak).

But writing sometimes brings a deeper joy than the surface level satisfaction of reason #1.

In my college writing project I learned a lot in my studying about ancient Jewish culture, the book of Song of Solomon and even eschatology. So I was blessed to come to a deeper understanding of the Bridegroom’s radical love for His church (me) and how He desires a deep relationship with us.

As St. Augustine said, “I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.”

3.To bless others. I always hope my sometimes ignorant musings will bless someone somewhere in someway. I don’t want to keep my light under a bushel if anyone may benefit. It can be borderline arrogant to presume I have something to say or that I deserve to speak into another’s life.

I struggle with that sometimes.

But when another gives positive feedback or an encouraging word it does affirm that I am not just speaking to a wall or typing into an inanimate object. And, as CS Lewis once stated, “One compliment can last me a whole month.” It is a sober reminder that there are souls on the other line, and it is a humbling endeavor to communicate a message that may edify them by the grace of God.

I know it sounds unspiritual if I don’t overtly say I write “for the glory of God.”  Though it is true, in my opinion that phrase is beginning to get overworn in contemporary Christian language. I believe when humans delight in the common graces of God (writing, sports, kids, etc.) for what they are, then God’s glory is in view in a distinctly beautiful way. In other words, instead of saying it in an obligatory manner (“for the glory of God!”), it is better to just show it.

So for my own joy and blessing, and for the good of others and glory of God, I try to faithfully maintain a blog.

Besides, it’s much easier on my pride than staring daily at the inebriated scrawlings of a kindergartener.

Bryan Daniels

My Wife Says I Run Like Steven Seagal

My significant other has recently channeled some disturbing news to me. While running around the yard and kicking a ball around with my two-year old she delivered this haymaker to my manhood: “You run like Steven Seagal.”

Interpretation: You flail your arms around like a double jointed wet noodle when trying to sprint…Or simply put, you run like a little girl.

This ninja can run AND play a mean Santana cover

At first I thought my wife was just jealous of my God-given talent and blazing puma like speed. After all, you should see her try to run. I always tell her she runs like a cartoon; you know, the Wile E. Coyote type running style, where the feet are flying a mile a minute but they are only kicking up dust in the same stationary spot.

I could run backwards faster than my wife can run forwards. I would challenge her to a footrace to prove it, but highly strenuous activity is dangerous to women this close to their post delivery date.

Being a proud track coach, one who always stresses the proper ear to hip arm rotation, I proceeded with an attempt to prove her wrong. But in my attempt to display impeccable running form, I pulled a hamstring.

I bet Steven Seagal never pulled a hamstring while running down greasy drug lords and mob bosses.

Give me a couple of weeks, and I’ll be back to top speed. By then my wife will be physically able to try to cash that check her mouth has been writing.

What happens when Seagal faces off with a Looney Toon? Stay tuned.

Bryan Daniels

A Revelation of Jesus Christ-The Lion, The Lamb, The Life Evermore pt 2

5And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying,   “Worthy are you to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
   from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
   and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:5-10)
The first figure John is introduced to is a Lion (verse 5). A lion preys upon the weak; the noble creatures are strong, majestic, and dangerous. You don’t fight with a lion, you submit to a lion. Lions aren’t hunted as prey, they are hunters.
Christ, like a lion, devours His enemies. The book of Revelation displays Christ as a sword wielding horse riding warrior with a tat on his thigh (Revelation 19). With one swipe of the His just sword He will slay the enemies of the gospel. The devil is only “like a roaring lion” (1Peter 5:8) but Jesus IS a roaring lion. Satan and the demons tremble before His might.
He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The protector of Israel in the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Yet He is before Abraham (John 8:58).
He is also the “Root of David” (verse 5). The source of David’s reign. The pre-eminent one above every King or patriarch.
He is a descendant yet He is pre-eminent.
And He is worthy to take the scrolls because He has “conquered” (verse 5)
In an incredible contrast, when John fixes his eyes to behold this “lion,” He in fact sees a Lamb (verse 6). Lambs are preyed upon; they are weak, harmless, lowly, sheared for clothes and killed for food and sacrifice.
These two juxtapositions could not be more shockingly stark. In Christ we have the paradoxical Servant King, the conquering Lion and the lowly Lamb.
In a mysterious peculiar narrative that could only be God-borne, the Lion conquers all His enemies by becoming a Lamb. (Phil. 2:5-11)
The Lord of the Universe becomes a suffering Savior to His covenant children (Isaiah 53:3-12).
The Lamb is standing, alive forevermore, though it appeared for a short time He “had been slain” (verse 6)
Christ’s final cry on the cross “It is finished” was not the surrendering death gurgle of a tortured Jewish man, it was the victorious roar of a Lion that shook foundations of heaven and earth.
This is a lamb like Lion, and a Lion like lamb. And he is “standing,” next to throne not slumping or laying down. Not dejected and defeated, but upright and fully alive because the war is won.
Seven (perfection) horns protrude from His head– Again seven, the number of perfection or completion. Horns in the Old Testament signified authority. Christ is a Lamb with perfect authority and power, or “omnipotence”  Seven eyes-He sees all and knows all. Seven eyes signify perfect wisdom and knowledge of all. He knows the beginning from the end (Isaiah 48:9-10). This is Christ’s “omniscience.” Seven Spirits signify God’s presence everywhere at all times. No one can flee from Him, He is always imminent in our lives. This is Christ’s “omnipresence.”
A king with only authority and no wisdom would be a cruel tyrant dictator. A Hitler of sorts. A King with only wisdom and no authority would be helpless to exercise good for his people. A figure-head of sorts (King of England?)
Look how both perfect wisdom and perfect authority dwell in the person of Jesus Christ. These are the diverse excellencies of Jesus Christ!
As a father I can be very loving and gentle with my children. But if I were to feel they were in harms way that gentleness would be replaced with a fierce hand (or bullet) of violent protection. As you know, I will go straight William Wallace on you and your speeding chick car in my neighborhood.
God in Christ is the same way, only exponentially more loving and powerful. He protects us with a loving soft hand of a father and defends us with a clenched fist of a righteous warrior.
In verse 7 we see Jesus literally take the scroll of history from the very hand of God the Father. This is the Father handing over the keys of the Kingdom to the Son. Christ the sovereign one holds history in his perfect hands from beginning to end! He is working all things out (your life) according to the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11).
The heavenly company falls down to worship the Lamb (verse 8) an adulation that was at one time reserved for God the Father (Revelation 4:10).
They reveal in their song why the Lamb is their sole object of worship: Because of His blood shed for His ransomed people (verse 9).
Or as John the Baptist said “Behold! The lamb who takes away the sins of the world John” (1:29)
The culmination of God’s perfect love, justice, holiness, mercy and glory is found in beholding the God-man suspended between heaven and earth taking the full cup of the Father’s wrath for us.
Behold the worthy one being revealed in Revelation 5. CH Spurgeon concludes :
We admire him for his glory, but even more because his glory is mingled with humility; we admire him for his transcendence, but even more because his transcendence is accompanied by condescension; we admire him for his uncompromising justice, but even more because it is tempered with mercy; we admire him for his majesty, but even more because it is a majesty in meekness; we admire him because of his equality with God, but even more because as God’s equal he nevertheless has a deep reverence for God; we admire him because of how worthy he was of all good, but even more because this was accompanied by an amazing patience to suffer evil; we admire him because of his sovereign dominion over the world, but even more because this dominion was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission;
Even obedience to the cross. Amen.
Bryan Daniels

A Revelation of Jesus Christ-The Scroll, The Seals, And The Sorrow pt 1

(Revelation 5:1-10 )

1Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.  

There is a reason the book of Revelation means very little to us. With it’s vivid imagery and striking symbolism we typically leave it up to the prophecy experts and theological doctorates to debate the book’s mysterious meaning. But before we believe this controversial book has anything to do with Kirk Cameron, a European antiChrist, or a pretrib/posttrib debate we better go back to the first verse: “The revelation of Jesus Christ….” (Revelation 1:1)  

Paul displays why we miss the blatant significance of the gospel in his letter to the Corinthian church:

4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.(2 Cor 4:4, 6)


We know very little of the far-reaching negative implications of our sin nature. Scripture says we are morally twisted creatures, depraved and sinful to our heart’s core (Romans 3:21-26). But this means that we’re not just bad, we’re blind.

We’re blind to the glory of God in Jesus Christ.

You can be involved in church activities and ministry leadership and still have no revelation of the glory God in the face of Jesus Christ. Fortunately, many Scriptures lift up the veil in spectacular ways for a moment for us: Isaiah 6, Hebrews 1, John 1, Ezekiel 1. After Ezekiel has his vision of God’s disturbing holiness, the prophet is in a trance for a week! On the surface, it seems these are the babblings of mad men; they search for words as best they can pressing the language with all their mental might.

John, the exiled revelator was one of those blessed mad men.

In Revelation 5:1 of John’s vision we are introduced to The King holding the Scrolls-The scrolls were probably similar to a Roman will or contract deed. The scrolls intimate the God’s purposes for human history:The King’s divine decrees from start to finish. He is in absolute control. From Creation to the fall, from the death of Christ to the return of Christ, it all fits in his mighty right hand. Earthquakes, terrorist attacks, stillborn babies and even a sparrow falling to the ground.  God knows and has some purpose for letting it all come to pass. 

Notice John only sees the throne and the right hand of the one holding the scroll. God’s face can never be seen in its unadulterated light. One of the most shocking testimonies to God’s unapproachable holiness is the fact that the godly men who knew it best could never even begin to describe it. No man may see His face and live.

In v.2-3 an angel asks a provocative question: “Who is worthy to open the scroll? The scroll is sealed with seven seals, the symbol of perfection which suggests they could not be opened by just any candidate. This question is posited by a particularly Strong angel (Michael maybe?) This question begs the question: Why doesn’t Michael or one of the blazing seraphim open it? They can’t.  

Furthermore, why doesn’t the holy King on the throne open it? He needs a mediator (1Tim2:5-6). The only thing God could do to us apart from a worthy mediator is destroy us. One holy man must open it, otherwise every name would be blotted out of history in the King’s just judgment.

 In Verse 4 John comes undone.  There really was no one present that could make right the tragedy that is human history. No mighty angel in heaven, no charismatic leader on earth.

But we need not weep with John just yet.

The most prominent figure of the passage hasn’t been injected into the stirring scene.  We know the end of the story. But let John’s grief make it clear, a Christless heaven is only a prospect to be mourned. The future is hopeless apart from a perfect substitute taking our wrath; that’s why John is a torn man. Only Christ is worthy to unwrap the climactic events of the last days, and every day for that matter.

What John observes next is a shocking illustration of God’s character and glory. It leaves the apostle shaken and stirred; God willing, it will brand us in the same way.

Bryan Daniels

Why I Am No Longer a Glenn Beck Fan-From A Guy Who Should Be

Glenn Beck is a cultural mover and shaker.

There is a reason his opponents have been gleefully basking in the revelation of his Fox News show’s cancellation. For major liberal pundits to claim victory over Beck’s termination proves Beck has already won the battle. Beck (or Fox) is quitting while the show’s ratings are exponentially further ahead of any competitors. If this is a victory for the leftist apologist, it is a victory like beating Usain Bolt in a footrace because he slipped on a banana peel midway. You may be able to gloat, point and laugh at the Jamaican wonderkid, but you can’t say you deserve his Nike Contract.

Still, in some strange way Beck slipped, pulled a hamstring, or threw in the towel. Or maybe Fox News just called the fight altogether before it got…weird. 

If you read carefully into the words of Fox News Chairman Roger Allies, the rub location is apparent. When asked about Beck’s conservative conspiracy lecturing mode of operation: “I think he told that story as well as could be told. Whether you can just keep telling that story or not… we’re not so sure.”

Interpretation: The chalkboard prophet schtick was wearing thin. Even conservative guest panelists were rarely invited anymore; Beck was becoming the lone ranger in his world of illuminati type conspiracy theories and prophetic utterances of impending economic doom.

This post is coming from a committed “evangelical” Christian with strong conservative leanings mingled with libertarian tendencies. I believe the tea parties are saying something legitimate, and I believe any connection they have to greedy healthcare corporations is tenuous at best.

According to mainstream media, this is coming from someone who should be a Glenn Beck fan. Instead, this is coming from a one time Beck fan. A fan of his earlier radio days where “information and entertainment” used to collide with profound levity. We all knew we were getting the “news lite” back then, with hilarious conservative commentary sprinkled in for good measure.

But something dark happened 3-4 years ago. Instead of poking lighthearted fun at liberal idiosyncracies, Beck’s tone became somber. Political opponents like George Soros were no longer just liberal hackjobs, they became to Beck, manifestly evil.

Instead of enjoying what he was saying politically, I began worrying about what he was saying theologically.

I don’t claim to know the psyche of the man. He sincerely believes himself to be a “Paul Revere” type forerunner, sounding an alarm of danger to the unsuspecting masses. And many of his suspicions are probably not without warrant. But to spend one’s life chasing through the rabbit holes of a New World Order conspiracy must be mentally taxing, and apparently all-consuming.

I’m not kicking Beck while he is down, in reality, this was an amicable departure for us 2-3 years ago…around the time Beck started claiming the Constitution to be divinely inspired while coronating himself as an ecumenical politically driven modern leader of a new “Great Awakening.” This was around the time for me it got…strange.

Somewhere along the line, Beck lost what got him the Fox platform. There are only so many times one can scream “Fire!” in a crowded room of jealous pundits before one of them begins the charge of “Chicken Little.” Apart from Tea Party ties, Beck had isolated himself as the sole bearer of the bad news. The lonely voice crying out in the wilderness for America to return to her Constitutional roots. The prophetic voice for those with an ear to hear.

This is all too much responsibility for one mere man to bear.

Let this saga be a fair warning to the left and right.

Beck’s story is a tumultuous tale of a stars rise to astronomical heights. The higher the trajectory the more spectacular the media fizzle on the way down. Whether it’s Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, or Tiger Woods, the lesson is the same: No man can stand for long under the weight of human adulation.

Either we stay grounded, or we crash and burn when we hit the ground.

For the sake of Glenn Beck I hope it is a safe landing.

Bryan Daniels

The Final Prophet: Who Has Your Ear?

The ever quotable AW Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us… Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.”

We can be very religious, but if we are not utterly fascinated with the person of Jesus Christ our worship is base. Scripture says the Glory of God is found in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). If we would be acquainted with God’s glory we must find it in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Christ revealed Himself to be many things. One office He fulfilled was that of prophet; not just any prophet, but in an ultimate everlasting way THE FINAL PROPHET for all peoples and ages. Scripture communicates this in Hebrews 1:1-2:

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

In Hebrews 1:1 we find that God speaks-He is not silent. He reveals Himself. Only a person can speak. Only a person who wants to relate to other persons can speak and communicate.

God is a person, with a personality, with a heart to communicate to us. He is neither stoic nor neutral about communicating truth to us.

Before, in the Old Testament, He spoke through various prophets to Israel. Who was a prophet? Not a purple haired lady or some greasy haired charlatan in a three-piece suit who waxes, “Sow into our ministry and we’ll give you miracle water/prayer cloth/financial anointing!”

The OT prophets words were tough; Forget seeker sensitive, more like seeker abrasive. Their consummate message: Don’t put your trust in the living God for coats and boats, trust Him because His perfect wrath will fall on you if you don’t! Some prophets were subjected to utter rejection while carrying out strange and radical displays of obedience. (read about Hosea here)

John the Baptist, the forerunner prophet of Christ, was a wild man with an uncompromising message of repentance.

A prophet is one who simply speaks for God. They are, in the moment they are prophesying, the mouthpiece of God (2 Peter 1:21). God could have spoken with a thundering voice from the sky, but that would neglect the human incarnational component He was intimating. In an awe-inspiring way God chooses sinful men as His blessed ambassadors.

This speaking happened “in many ways.” (verse 1) Through creation, as Psalm 19 shows, nature speaks praises of her Creator. God speaks now through the recorded lives and words of Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Samuel and David. God can even speak through the sacrificial system of Leviticus and endless genealogies of Numbers. Though the message is singular, God has diversified the means with which He would speak to man.

For us to say “God has not spoken to me,” is like covering our ears during a concert and saying “I can’t hear anything.” If we aren’t hearing it’s our fault. The problem isn’t with the decibel level of God’s voice, it is with the selective hearing of our own ears.

God’s creation, God’s prophets and Christ’s blood have spoken with clarity, and all who spurn their word will be condemned justly.

Verse 1 says He has spoken in these “Last days through the Son” Usually, in the NT, the “last days” refer to the advent of Christ into the world. I’m not convinced the disciples had a “Left Behind” dispensational understanding of the end times. The beginning of the “last days” started with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So in a real sense the disciples believed they were living in the last days. In the person of Christ, we find God’s final communication to humanity for these last days.

As CS Lewis stated “Christ is the self-expression of the father.” The Father had one thing to say to us, and He breathed out Christ into the world as the message in the flesh. As the final prophet, He is the living Word of God to humanity (John 1;1).

Have we heard God’s voice through the work and person of Jesus Christ? Has the magnitude and beauty of the cross ravaged us? Has the wonder and power of the empty grave captivated us?

Both the Old and the New Testament speak of Him, and thus the whole series of prophets testified to the Person, work, grace and glory of the Son of God. Christ said “You search the Scriptures because in them you seek eternal life. But these Scriptures testify of me!”(John 5:39) Our privilege is to see Christ in it all from Genesis to Maps. Jesus in every bible story, character, prophecy, praise, lament, everything.

He is the center of the story. His words do not reveal information, they reveal Him!

God’s word is “God –breathed” and He continues to speak to us through his word about Jesus. (2 Tim 3:16) The testimony of Christ is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev 19:10)

What is the final prophet saying to me? This is no ordinary man making unsubstantiated claims. This not just another Mohammed, Joseph Smith or Jim Jones. This is the “heir of all things.”  Christ owns it all, for through Him God made the universe (Hebrews 1:2) Yet this is still a person; through God’s word in the power of the Holy Spirit a word is being spoken to us. The Comforter has many things to say. There is a message that is being communicated right now. That is why Jesus and the prophets proclaim again and again, “He who has an ear let him hear!”

Which begs a personal question:

Who has your ear?

Facebook, Fox News, Hollywood, ESPN, Twitter? (I’m wounding my own pride)

Some voices have no right to speak into your life.

You can listen to Snookie. Or you can listen to the one who speaks for God. This one Who speaks is very God of God. Are you listening to Him? He is speaking. In and through Christ. Listen.

Bryan Daniels

“The Tourist”: In The Long Run It’s Worth The Ride (in a way)-A Movie Review

{This movie was not viewed on the big screen, but rather on a 32 inch screen at my house through a $1 movie rental vending machine….because I’m cheap…and that’s just how I roll…}

“You look ravenous,” Frank. 

“You mean ravishing?” Elise.

“Yes. that’s it,” Frank.

A movie that hails Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie as its twin centerpieces would do well to include plenty of playful banter between the two. But really, the above example is an exception to what is found in the “The Tourist.”

This is what the world's most expensive display of non-chemistry looks like

The film would have been better served to lean towards an action comedy than a forced drama. As it stands, it currently resides in an undecided no man’s land.

For every drab dialogue between Jolie and Depp we get a cheesy violin soundtrack cued. It makes nearly every scene with the two melodramatic. Depp’s character, Frank, is an American math professor and unsuspecting tourist. Without spoiling the ending, I’d say you will find that while Frank is being swept up into a stirring plot of international espionage he seems a bit unimpressed, nonplussed. This never piques the interest of Jolie’s character, Elise, who is supposed to be a heckuva secret agent in her own right.

Jolie’s beauty is overplayed throughout the movie, so much so it gets in the way. Every male waiter, hotel manager and ballroom attendee is unwittingly awestruck by her. We get it, she’s pretty. Of course this could also just mean Italian men are unabashed chauvinistic creepers, and the movie is only staying true to the cultural reality. Bravo if that is the case. 

At least the directors don’t make Elise out to be some femme fatal superhero (a la SALT). And though some of the chase scenes (especially the boat scene) are farfetched, none are on the scale of a “Transporter” travesty. There really aren’t enough fights and explosions to categorize this movie as a “thriller.”

Considering Depp and Jolie are the two hottest movie stars of the day their onscreen chemistry is neither compelling nor believable. Any romance the movie proposes between the two is forced from the beginning. Depp is bumbling fool and Jolie is an obnoxiously confident narcissist. The filmmakers seem to assume since the backdrop of the movie is Paris and Venice a minimal amount of believability is needed for a romance to develop. If anything, the awe-inspiring scenery and architectural beauty exacerbates the fact that an unbelievable romance has developed.  When Jolie mouths “I love you” to Depp in the final climactic scene of the movie you have to wonder, “Really?” You two have seemed nothing but uncomfortable with one another ever since you met two days ago.

The film would be more fitted for a Travel Channel special than a cat and mouse blockbuster.

At the end of the movie, when you remember the whole plot premise hangs on a very improbable encounter on a speed train, the holes begin to manifest.

There are three redeeming nuggets to the movie:

1. I’d like to think the French police are as impotent as the movie portrays them to be. Or to put it in another way, as impotent as the French military is.

2. The really bad guys are Bulgarian (or Russian?) gangsters. For some reason it’s  still not politically incorrect in our society to portray Eastern bloc citizens as heartless thugs.

3. Paris and Venice really are breathtakingly beautiful cities. I’d love to be an actual “tourist” there someday.

I guess going to those historical cities through a disappointing dollar movie ($1.07 including tax) is more cost efficient than emptying out my son’s college fund. In that way, and maybe that way only, viewing “The Tourist” was worth it.

Bryan Daniels

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