Category Archives: Gospel in Film

8.14.09 Friday Insights from Darren Lippe

Sometimes we may struggle & be frustrated with our physical limitations.  However, Paul embraces our imperfect physiques & contends that they can be a powerful witness for Christ.  Consider these 2 “articles” that I came across this past week:

(Associated Press) Washington, D.C. – 2009 A.D. Local Auto Dealers, with the assistance of the U.S. Government’s taxpayer, is announcing a program called “Cash for Clunkers.”  Where, despite your current automobile’s flaws, idiosyncrasies & dents, you can receive a $4,500 voucher toward the purchase of a new car.

Mitt & Sue Bishi, spokespersons for local auto dealers, offered these comments:  “What if you have an old clunker that doesn’t have much power anymore?  It is still worth $4,500.  What if you have an old clunker that barely moves?  It is still worth $4.5K. What if you have an old clunker with flecks of gray showing through its paint job?  It is still worth 45 C-Notes.  Every car still has great value that may not be obvious to the naked eye.  It’s always tempting to see what the car can’t do, as opposed to realizing that it can still be of great value to someone, sometime, someplace.  So head down to your local redemption center (authorized auto dealership) & start enjoying your new ride today!”


(Associated Papyrus) Corinth – Circa 54 A.D. The local congregation of Christians, with the Apostle Paul’s leadership, is announcing a program called “Value for Vessels.”  The emphasis is that in spite of our body’s limitations, imperfections, & age you can receive a priceless voucher toward the purchase of a new life in service.

­­­­A spokesperson for the program, offered these comments:  “What if you aren’t able to lift much anymore?  God can do amazing things with even those whose strength is diminished.  (How much heavy lifting is really required to help guide a children’s Sunday School class?)  What if you aren’t as fast as you once were?  God can do amazing things with those who are a step slower than their prime.  (How fast do you need to run to be a reading tutor to a child in need?)  What if your hairline is receding or turning a distinguished gray before you might wish?  Christ is excited to have helpers for His kingdom, regardless of whether one’s hair is short & sassy or thinning & gray.  (The color of your hair doesn’t impact your ability to be a congregational care minister.  Seriously!)  Every body has great value that may not be obvious to the naked eye.  It’s always tempting to see what our body cannot do, as opposed to realizing it can still be of great value to someone, sometime, someplace in God’s Kingdom.  So head down to your local redemption center (church) & start enjoying your new life today!”

Darren Lippe serves as co-leader of the “Loving God” Learning Community at The Church of the Resurrection.

8.13.09 Thursday Insights from Correy Trupp

Today’s passage contains a familiar admonition to avoid the love of money as it is the root of all kinds of evil. While this makes sense, to be effective at dealing with this particular temptation, we need to look at what makes money so attractive to us in the first place.

For many of us, money can be synonymous with any of the following: power, security, self-worth, intelligence, strength, winning, safety, success, protection, influence, etc. Our desire for money is usually our hearts’ desire for something else.

However, sometimes in our lives we simply need money to pay our bills and make ends meet. If that is you right now, please lift your needs up to God in prayer. If you are in a particularly tough financial situation, please contact our Congregational Care team ( for help.

For many of us, dealing with the love of money can be an ongoing struggle. If that is you, try writing down what words or images come to mind when you consider money. Then, pray that God would help you deal with those desires and look to Him to meet your every need.

Correy Trupp serves as Director of Group Life at The Church of the Resurrection.

8.12.09 Wednesday Insights from Pastor Nicole Conard

One of the key tenets in the Christian faith is: We do not have to work at earning the love of God. We already receive it.  There are ways in which we can grow in OUR love for God such as knowing, loving and serving God.  But the good news is, as we are growing in our love for God, we can rest in God’s love.

God’s love never waivers and is always present in our lives.   The more we realize this, the more we can rest in the blessed assurance as we rededicate our lives each day.

So today, take a few moments and renew your faith commitment– by daily prayer in the morning, “Lord, guide me today. Help me serve you today in all I do”or by praying the Wesley Covenant Prayer or pause being aware of God’s presence.

After the day’s renewal, there will be someway to serve God today – look for it and do it — remembering God’s abiding love.

8.10.09 Monday Insights from Pastor Andrew Conard

Listening is something that takes practice. I remember when I was little and my parents were trying to get me to take a nap in the middle of the day I was encouraged to try to listen to the “quiet sounds.” These are the sounds that things in the house make when there is nothing else going on – a clock ticking, blowing of heat or air conditioning, whir of the refrigerator, creaking as the house settles, etc. I was only able to hear these sounds when I quieted myself and sought to listen to those things to which I did not normally pay attention.

The scripture in the GPS today is a story about listening and hearing. Samuel hears something and assumes that it is Eli calling him. Samuel is attentive to the words and makes a fair assumption about the source of the words. Eli soon realizes that Samuel is hearing God and encourages him to listen.

I may hear something, but without giving it attention I am not actually listening. Listening is something that can be practiced and I can improve at it. This applies to listening to other people and in listening to God. Often, I need to quiet my soul  to be able to really listen for God. However, with practice there is the possibility to improve one’s ability to listen to God.

I believe that God speaks through prayer, scripture, worship, other people, communities and other ways. I hope to continue to grow in my ability to listen to God by practicing the discipline of quieting myself and listening to God.

8.7.09 Friday Insights from Darren Lippe

What if we were to discover a long lost interview with the Disciple Thomas?  It might go something like this:

Interviewer:  Does the nickname “Doubting Thomas” bother you?

Thomas:  It used to.  I now realize that all believers, at one time or another, are doubters.  However, you might remember that I didn’t let my doubts fester.  I asked questions.  I did some homework.  I poked around until I either found the answer or realized the question wasn’t all that significant in the big picture.

I:  Was Jesus bothered by all of the questions?

T:  It is easy to overlook that Jesus was a teacher.  Like all of our favorite teachers, He loved to see our minds at work.  Jesus can handle intellectual scrutiny.  Think of all the debates Jesus had with the most educated men of our day.  They were ridiculously one-sided.  I could make a very compelling case that Jesus is the smartest person who ever lived.

I:  Your friend, John, noted the following dialogue:  Jesus says,  “You know the way to the place where I am going.” You asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus responds, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

T:  Ah, yes.  Bear in mind for someone of Jewish background, the phrase “the way” was very common in our readings.  We were taught to follow the way.  Jesus now says He is the way.  He’s not just giving directions or advice.  He is going to be beside us each step of our journey.  He doesn’t just say, “Go over there.”  Rather, He says, “Follow Me.”

I:  But Jesus dies & is resurrected.  What then?

T:  John further quotes Jesus saying, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.”  Christ is promising to send us a helper, a comforter:  the Holy Spirit.  He is calling us to a hard journey.  He never over-promises.  He told us up-front the road would be challenging.  But we are not alone.  We will have the Holy Spirit to guide us & to enable us to accomplish His great works.

I:  Getting back to the idea of the “way”.  How do we follow the “way?”

T:  We have to do what Jesus did.  Love God with all of our heart, soul, mind & strength.  We have to love our neighbors as ourselves. 

I:  Any last thoughts?

T:  (smiling) I can be a bit of a pessimist.  Yet even I believe that if a journey leads us home to the Father, who can complain?

Darren Lippe serves as co-leader of the “Loving God” Learning Community at The Church of the Resurrection.

8.6.09 Thursday Insights from Correy Trupp

Today’s passage is taken from Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, which he helped establish during his second missionary journey. The passage captures Paul’s perspective on his own imprisonment. And, of course, Paul sees it as just another opportunity to preach the gospel!

But at the end of today’s passage, Paul writes this, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (v21) Facing another persecution, this just isn’t just a theological idea for Paul. It is a living faith.

This single sentence captures Paul’s mentality throughout his missions, and reveals that when we have nothing to fear in death or life we are suddenly free, able to live the life that God gave us – to celebrate, to love, to serve others, and to enjoy His blessings.

A favorite country song of mine is Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” In many ways, this song captures the spirit of what it means to live the life God wants us to live. Even if you aren’t a country fan, I think you will like this song. Please click on the web link below, listen to the lyrics, and see how it might challenge you to live differently today.

I hope you enjoy it.

Correy Trupp serves as Director of Group Life at The Church of the Resurrection.

8.5.09 Wednesday Insights from Pastor Russell Brown

I recall talking to a young professional woman once about the loneliness she felt in her life. Too busy with a budding career to pursue any meaningful social relationships (male or female), she felt that her life consisted entirely of work, eat, exercise, and sleep. At one point in the conversation I asked if she had ever considered having a pet… obviously one that would not require a lot of time or attention.

“I’ve thought about getting a dog or a cat,” she confessed. “But then I realized that it would die someday and that would be too hard to take.”

What this young lady discovered in that moment was a reality that is a very present danger for every one of us. She discovered the cost of caring. You see, when we allow our cold and callous shell to be broken open, allowing the tender flesh of our hearts to be exposed to the world around us – we run a great risk indeed. No longer protected, we risk experiencing the heartpain of loss.

God knows this. And yet God calls us to it anyway. As creatures who seem programmed to be pain avoiders, we might wonder why, “… a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17b). This posture reminds me very much of a phrase from the first step of the 12 Christ-focused steps of Celebrate Recovery. In this step we confess our  powerlessness over addictive and compulsive behaviors and to the general unmanageability of our lives. We drop all pretense of being people who can just reach down for an extra helping of willpower, ready to grunt and sweat it out until we get well. We fall to our knees and cry out.

You see, when we place ourselves in a position in which everything depends on us and our efforts, there is really no room for God. There is no room in our lives for blind trust in the power of God to provide. It is all about me.

In the same way, trying to insulate ourselves from the pain of loss prevents us from trusting in God’s provision. It also prevents us from ever becoming closer to another person than our respective shells will permit. The lesson we hear from these verses is the lesson that comes from one of the most popular Bible verses of all: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

Yes, great love can mean great pain. In that pain is our deepest connection with our Creator and Redeemer.

8.4.09 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Penny Ellwood

My oldest child, a daughter, is getting married this Saturday.  The excitement and tension are definitely mounting as the big day approaches. As we make the final preparations for the wedding, we are in a “DIY” mode; that’s a DO IT YOURSELF mode.  We are working here and there to save a few dollars by making some of our own decorations and accessories for the celebration.  Last night we finished covering 100 tea-lights with parchment paper and ribbon.  What happened to the good ole’ days when you had cake and punch in the church basement! 

While we are willing to adopt a DIY mode for the physical preparations of this union, we’re advocating something entirely different for the spiritual preparation. As we carefully navigate through the process of establishing new relationships, those relationships forming by the joining of these two young lives, we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Our desire is to live into this day of celebration by reflecting the resurrection life we have received and not to fall prey to the brainless talk the Scarecrow described.  We want to send our daughter into the hands of her new husband to face life together with joyful expectancy; with a life lived in the Spirit.   This is the basis we want to establish for all the new relationships forming out of their union.

There are two ways to live, as Paul tells us in this Romans passage—in the flesh or in the Spirit. Either you follow the dictates of your flesh—and the sinful pull it exerts, or you follow the Holy Spirit of God—which leads you in paths of righteousness. Living by the Spirit is not automatic. A decision is required. You must choose to live by the Spirit’s power. It doesn’t happen by chance. 

 We want our children to begin their new life together in the Spirit. To choose to live by the Spirit’s power.   How to live in and by the Spirit is the single most important lesson a believer can ever learn.  When we stay in contact with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit continuously provides the power we need for effective Christian living.  Effective Christian living builds a strong marriage and family.  It is not a DIY adventure.

8.3.09 Monday Insights from Pastor Andrew Conard

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies. When I was little I remember being scared by the scene in the forest with the witch sending fireballs toward the heroes. I would hide under a crocheted blanket, but watch through the holes in the fabric. I was able to overcome some of my fear because I knew that my family was there watching with me. The scripture from 1 John assures us that when we love one another God lives in us and God’s love is perfected in us. I knew that when I was watching the movie, I was not alone. My family was right there with me and they were a physical sign of God’s presence with me as well.

I continue to seek this assurance in my life. Some of my friends and family members are clear reminders to me of God’s presence. It can be through a conversation, email or sometimes just being present with me. It is good to know that there are people with me on the journey through life. Our purpose at Resurrection is to build a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. Part of what it means to be in a Christian community is that there are others that surround us and seek to support us as we travel through life.

Dorothy had travelers with her on her journey to Oz. Who is traveling with you in your journey in faith? To whom are you a companion in their journey of faith?