NOAH, my honest & confused review…

This post does NOT contain spoilers or specifics about scenes from the movie NOAH.

About a year back, I remember being at the movies with my family when the previews began to play… I was mesmerized by the scenes flashing before my eyes, and then an intense montage of water, earth, sky, animals, and Russell Crowe flashed through followed by all bold letters that just said NOAH. Oh man was I excited… And I was continually excited for the release of this movie until my Christian friends on Facebook and Twitter began to tear the movie apart limb by limb.

NOAH is a movie that is obviously loosely based on the real Bible story about a man whom God saw to be blameless and so he chose he & his family to be responsible for building an ark and beginning life on the earth all over again. Now, we believe that Noah existed because of artifacts and possible ark remains that have been found that point to this being a real story. As a child, I was always fascinated with Bible stories, but it wasn’t until I was older that my heart toward them changed. One day the stories became less “myth and legend,” but, indeed, they transformed into real life happenings that I could learn from even 2000+ years later. God still works, teaches, and speaks through these stories, ALL OF THEM, and none are left untouched by the hand of the Father who wants to share His history with us.

Back to the movie… Noah is easily one of my favorite stories in the Bible, but I can’t say that this movie holds a candle to the story from Genesis. Now while the movie was highly riveting and brought me close to tears at points, the story strayed so far from the Bible that I left the theater feeling that, while the movie shares the simple plot-line and name of the Bible story, it is not the same story. I have watched plenty of movies whose plot-line is an exaggerated telling of a story like this: boy likes girl, boy chases girl, boy marries girl, boy & girl fight, they have a baby, and so on… IN THE SAME WAY, Noah was an exaggerated retelling of this: man has a family, higher power tells man to build boat, rains come down, floods go up, new world…

I find that I am left in a weird place after seeing NOAH. I am contemplative over symbolism throughout the movie, I am sad that it was so outlandish, yet I am entertained by the storyline, but most of all, I am so excited to see God work in the midst of all the reactions to the film.

On Twitter, I follow a pastor that I’ve heard speak a few times, Craig Gross, who wrote a great article that’s posted on the Fox News Opinion site. “A message for my fellow Christians:”  As I read his article, I found my self nodding along, saying “yeah, you tell ’em.” And then I realized, it’s my job too. While I may not have the platform of 14.8K followers on twitter, I do have almost 300, and I can link this blog post to my Facebook and easily reach my 750 friends there too. My platform may be smaller, but my platform is still a platform.

As a leader with a local ministry that seeks to show high school kids the way to reach the foot of the Cross, I am reminded that this movie will beg questions from some of them. My friends that are anywhere from 14 to 19 will be asking about what they saw in this movie, and it is my responsibility to show them to the truth. To show them Genesis 6 thru Genesis 9, where the accounts of Noah are written in scripture, and tell them about the promises God gives us in this story. I hope that they will yearn to know what’s truth and what’s exaggerated. I hope that all people will yearn to know this truth: God’s heart was so broken by the actions of the people he created in His image, that He chose to start again with the only man on earth who was righteous, blameless, and walking with Him, Noah. God made a promise after it was all over that he would never flood the world again (Genesis 8:21-22), and that is what a rainbow represents.

While I could continue to write about how beautiful the Biblical account of Noah is, I wont. Instead, I will pray that you will choose to read the scripture for yourself and hold it in your heart.

The movie NOAH, while it is very loosely based on scripture, was a great story. But that’s all it is, a story. A man took the basic storyline of a Biblical story, took away some pieces, and replaced them with other things. All movies are built this way. You take apart one story to build a new one…

If you are still planning to go see the movie, here’s what I would suggest you do… Think back to the story that you know from scripture, go see the movie, and before you talk too deeply about it… READ THE SCRIPTURE. Dive into the truth and let God show you what you can take away from it.

If you don’t want to see it, that’s fine… but until you have a knowledge that’s NOT secondhand from your friend’s Facebook post & all the comments… don’t engage in conversation about the movie. Do not use other people’s rants about this movie to form judgement. Please, for the sake of other Christians, don’t go bashing the movie or the actors or the director. How can you lead people to the Cross when your words leave destruction in their wake? It doesn’t work like that…

I am really pleased to have now worked through all my thoughts about NOAH and I hope you have too.

Christians, we have a chance here, and in the upcoming days with other movies that will be released that are either heavily or loosely based on scripture… We have a chance to show people the magic of what the stories truly say. We can lead people to Jesus just by being kind, loving, and open about it. Don’t react harshly, don’t jump to conclusions, don’t bite people’s heads off because they went to see a movie… Let’s just talk about the truth.

If you have questions, if I got something wrong, if I hurt your feelings, or if you just want to talk… post a comment below.
I read all the comments and would be happy to respond to you.

 

-Bethany

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I said goodbye to my “Purity Ring” & here’s why:

Ever since I was 12, I’ve been told that purity is in my best interest. Which I totally agree with, by the way.

What I don’t agree with is that for 15 years of my life, I’ve worn some kind of ring on my finger to show that I’m committed to my purity, but it was only a piece of sterling silver and never anything more.

LET ME BE CLEAR: purity is a beautiful thing that I believe all people, young/old, man/woman, married/single should strive for. Purity is biblical, and it’s more than just about sex. It’s about our emotional relationships, it’s about our mind, it’s about what we watch and listen to, and yes, it’s about sex. I am a huge advocate for staying pure until you are married and then embarking on a God ordained and blessed relationship with the man/woman that He created for you. Also, purity ceremonies where teens stand before God and their parents and commit are beautiful times, and I totally support them. I also still support wearing a symbol of your commitment.

But for me, I am not going to wear my ring anymore. What I am going to do, is give a few reasons why.

1. The pressure to stay pure is hard enough, and when people see my rings, it’s often too personal for me to explain that “this one is because I’m staying pure till marriage” when the reality is that I’ve broken that promise many of times.
2. I am 25 and the boundaries of my purity, in my understanding, go far beyond sexual purity.
3. I have broken my purity promises that the ring stands for too many times.
4. Purity is not about my ring, it’s about my relationship with Christ.
5. These days, my ring no longer reminds me of my commitment to stay pure, what it does is it brings to remembrance all the times that I failed to stay pure. It brings up memories of me knowingly taking it off so that I wouldn’t feel guilty about what I was about to do. It’s a terrible reminder of how I repeatedly broke my promise to purity.

I know that last reason seems to contradict the concepts of forgiveness, grace, and redemption… So hear me out…

GOD IS BIGGER than any broken promise, than any situation I fell into, than any action I may have taken… God has worked some huge redemption miracles in my heart, my mind, my emotions, and even my purity. His blood washed away my sins and makes me whole again.

I’ve felt for a while now a tugging on my heart to retire my shooting star, James Avery purity ring because I truly believe that I’ve let my ring dictate my life. I let my ring be the reason I didn’t do something, instead of letting Jesus and His convictions be the reason.
The ring became an idol for me.
I have prayed about this decision, and I have prayed about sharing my thoughts on it… I know I am being called to take off my ring, as for my thoughts… That’s all they are: thoughts… In the end, do what God leads you to do.

But, as of March 23, 2014, I will no longer wear a ring on my left hand ring finger. And I will strive for purity in all aspects of my life while walking the road God has set before me.

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2014.

It’s been a long while since I posted anything here to my blog, and it seems that with every life change, I redesign my blog (name, headers, layouts) and feel refreshed to write new things. 

I am not a professional, I barely got my bachelor’s degree,
I am not eloquent with words, I stumble over my mouth every minute it seems.
I am not crazy wise, I have just been around the track many times.
I am not the #1 Christian, I am just presented with grace OVER and OVER and OVER again.

I AM, however, someone who has something to say… sometimes. 
I AM learning to control my tongue and the words that leave my lips. 
I AM growing each & every day (like the old Barney song) in my wisdom & stature. 
I AM walking with Christ and learning how to live a God-honoring life in each moment I live.

 

These are my thoughts, my views, and my life as a Social Worker.
xoxo, Bethany

TOMORROW.

Tomorrow I leave for Papua New Guinea and I am BEYOND excited! A lot of preparation has led up to this trip, and I am extremely grateful for all the prayer, finances, and emotional support that everyone has sown into this trip. Your contributions are much appreciated!

If you wish to be on the prayer calendar for this trip, please let me know so that I can get you into contact with my mom who is coordinating all the prayer!

Peace & Love
Bethany

Blessing upon blessing.

I just want to encourage someone tonight. I don’t know who this is for…

Always remember that God has prepared blessing upon blessing for YOU. And as long as you continue on the path that He has laid before you, those blessings will come.

 

That’s what God wants to say to someone who reads this. : )

Peace&Love,
Bethany

It’s getting closer & closer!

9 Days!!! I only have 9 more days until I leave for Papua New Guinea!

Our team is so excited to head out on this major journey in all our lives. God has called each and every team member to Papua New Guinea for such a time as this! We are expecting God to move in BIG BIG ways!

There’s so much going on in the next 9 days! Please be praying for focus, unity, and peaceful hearts & minds among the team members! We all have a lot going on right now, with finals, school ending, jobs ending, and this trip just right around the corner!

Thanks for praying!
Bethany

It’s closing in!!!

Hello Everyone!!!

The financial deadline for my Papua New Guinea trip is quickly approaching! With only 10 (ten) days left to get about $1,500, this is my last stretch!

Papua New Guinea quickly became a love of mine as I began to study what I could about the culture, the people, and what God is already doing there. I am do thrilled to be going on this trip, and I am blessed by each person/family who has decided to partner with me!

If you would like to partner with me in prayer, you can comment with your email information & I will get you in touch with the people coordinating prayer for the team!

If you would like to donate to the trip, you can either use your credit card & pay through PayPal or I can send you the address where you can send a check. ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTABLE.

Thank you all!
Bethany

When life gets tough.

Admit it… you’ve had a rough week before, right? Yeah, me neither…. Just kidding.

It seems that every day this week has included some sort of situation where God has challenged me. I’ve been challenged to grow beyond what is comfortable and beyond what I know, and it is just tough. It hurts pretty bad. But God has provided tons of encouragement and support through friends, family, and even strangers.

Psalm 139:5 has been a wonderful encouragement. It says, “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.”

In times like this, I’m really really glad that I have a God that loves me so much as to speak so clearly through His word.

His promises are clear.

I like it.
-Bethany

Happy Friday Everyone!

Hi!

This week has been absolutely amazing. I love the joy of the Lord & the blessings that rain down whenever we learn to walk in His will & not our own.

Yesterday and this morning, something has been pressing on my heart. It’s the concept of the true freedom that we can experience when we know wholeheartedly that we have been forgiven.

This concept of true freedom begins at the cross.
Our relationship with Christ also begins at the cross.

This is no coincidence. We are called, by Christ, to lay our lives down at the cross, to die to our sin, and then to walk with Him.

In Galatians 5:13 it says, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sister. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, us your freedom to serve one another in love.”

The last part about walking in LOVE in one thing that I struggle with. Pastor Adam McCain says this all the time, “You can only love God as much as you love your worst enemy.” It’s so true. And it’s one of the hardest things to do.

I am enjoying this time of my life where I get to fall more in love with Jesus everyday.

Spend some time in His Word today.
Pray for yourself, those you love, those you don’t love, and those you don’t know.
And worship with reckless abandon.

God is enthralled with you. And He is ready to walk beside you, not behind or in front of you… BESIDE YOU.

Love you all,
Bethany

I’m running to your arms…

If you ever feel inadequate, alone, or discouraged… Remember that God’s arms are always open and He’s ready to embrace you.

I needed to be reminded of this today. And these are the lyrics of the song we sang today before lecture.

“Oh I’m running to your arms.
I’m running to your arms.
The riches of your love,
Will always be enough.
Nothing compares to your embrace.
Light of the world, forever reign.”

Hope this helps someone today.
Bethany