Updated: Jun 9
(note: this post is adapted from a message I gave at a few different churches in 2016)
My film “Life is Now” is about a guy named Jake who is bored with where he’s at in life. He feels stuck and little bit lost. He just wishes he could skip forward and get to the exciting parts. The parts where things are less difficult and things are more clear.
And then that’s exactly what happens. But he soon realizes that it’s a life he doesn’t know, full of friends he doesn’t remember, and a family he doesn’t recognize.
I’m a movie guy. I love movies. I love making movies, reading about movies, talking about movies, and going to movies. Especially going to movies. I go to a lot of movies. In 2014 I went to 54 movies, 2015 I went to 60, and last year I went to 51. For a point of reference, the average American goes to right around five movies a year, while the frequent movie goer goes to twelve or more movies a year.
I don’t know what bracket I fall under, probably obsessed?
Anyway, watching so many movies you may start to expect reality to behave like a movie. We’ve all been there. We’re sitting in a car, it’s raining outside, a sad song comes on. We’re transported to a dramatic music video as we mouth the words to “Someone Like You” by Adele. Or we’re at the gym working out or out for a run and “Eye of the Tiger” comes on and suddenly we’re in Rocky III.
Well I feel like that happens to me more than most.
The idea for this film came from that. It was during the first semester of my sophomore year at Vanguard University. I was feeling restless with where I was at in life. There was so much uncertainty. So much confusion. I wanted to move from the place of constant decision after decision, to where the decisions were already made.
I went back on my Twitter and found some tweets during that time period.
But after a long time of having these kinds of thoughts, I began to wonder what would happen if I actually transported forward in my life. What would I miss?
The two key verses for this post are:
“For today is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24
And one of my favorite verses of all time:
“For the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come to give you life, and life abundantly.” – John 10:10
When we normally read that verse, we almost read it as if Jesus says the word “life,” and then clarifies himself by saying “life abundantly.” But what I see when I read it, it seems like he’s giving us options.
The first option, life, is your basic cable. Life is waking up, going to school, going to work, eating, going to sleep, waking up and doing it all over again. But life abundantly is when you choose to make every single day count. When you don’t let any moment pass by without giving it your full attention. When you hug your neighbors and high five the mailman. When you write that book or make that call. The opportunities for life abundantly are endless.
You see, everyday is a special creation, formed just for you for where you’re at. And even more specifically, every moment, is handcrafted by God for you as you go through your day. And every moment is an opportunity to glorify him with our lives.
Life is all around us, continuing, whether we realize it or not. And every time that we live as if the moment that we’re currently in doesn’t matter, that’s when life starts to slip away. That’s when opportunities, and experiences, and our thoughts, start to slip away. And we don’t even realize it.
God has so much for us at any given moment, but when we don’t take advantage of that, we squander what he has for us. Now that doesn’t mean we have to be running ourselves into the ground because we want to make the absolute most of every single second. I’m not saying we can’t relax. I love relaxing. Relaxing just might be my favorite thing to do on the planet. Relaxing is great. There are plenty of times where God tells us that rest is good and sometimes sitting and waiting is what we need. For example:
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” – Psalm 62:5
But it’s when we face life with no real drive, that’s when the real problem arises. In the film, we see Jake get bored with the life God had given him, he blinks, and suddenly it’s years down the road and far from anything he recognizes. God doesn’t want us to walk through life with our eyes closed, he wants us to live extraordinary lives for him. But we have to be intentional with every moment, because every moment is from God and every moment has brand new opportunities for us to use for him.
If we don’t pay attention to what he has for us, we’ll eventually confuse what is important and what isn’t. When we don’t live in every moment with intentionality, we run the risk of growing complacent. If we didn’t take hold of what God has for us in each moment, we’ll be overcome by what the world has for us, which is nothing, and lose out on what God has for us, which is everything. In Lamentations 3:22-23, it says “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” Because of his love for us, if we choose him, we can start again everyday, regardless of what yesterday was.
In every moment, we have the ability to choose whether we are going to be intentional with that moment and live it to the fullest, or if we’re just going to let that moment slip away, quietly telling ourselves that we’ll choose the next moment instead. But as cliche as it sounds, that’s a slippery slope. Once we say “next time,” that “next time” becomes “next week,” and then “next month” and before we even realize it, we’ve let years go by without ever doing what we promised ourselves or what we promised to God. If that happens, it doesn’t matter if we suddenly have the life we want, because we missed out on the lessons and experiences that God had intended for us. Those moments are so valuable but we don’t realize sometimes until it’s too late.
We need to be happy with where we are, regardless of our circumstances or our attitudes, because it was given to us by God. Jake from the film doesn’t realize this, he thinks he’ll be happy if he gets what he wants now. He thinks his own idea of what his life should be is better than what God has planned.
Now of course God will still use your life if you let him, but what did we miss out on the first time around? One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from C.S. Lewis:
“Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed him.”
God is so good he won’t leave you empty handed. Even in the midst of our “boredom.” If today you want to start new, you can turn around and God will meet you where you are.
But humans are stubborn. When I was writing this film and as I watch it today, Jake reminds me of the Israelites. Complaining even though life is relatively and arguably amazing.
At the beginning of the sixteenth chapter of Exodus we find Moses and the Israelites heading out of Elim. This was a month and a half after they had been miraculously and spectacularly saved out of Egypt, and they have gall to say, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!”
God literally defied every law of physics by splitting a SEA into TWO. And all the Israelites can see is the situation right in front of them. It’s like they completely forgot what God had done for them. They wanted the Promised Land NOW.
While we wait on God for his promises, we need to be doing what God has called us to be doing today. Just think about everything the Israelites missed by complaining about where they currently were.
But that’s the human condition. Despite everything that God has done for us. Despite the incredible miracle of life all around us. We’re so focused on what we want. If you feel a passion for something, don’t wait until a certain point to begin. There’s no human timetable on God’s call, He wants you to begin as soon as you feel it.
This moment. The moment that we’re currently in. The moment you’re reading this sentence, could be the most important moment of your life. It could be as important as the moment your parents decided to get married. Or as important as the moment you decided to go to college. It all depends on what you decide to do with it. And if you’re always using the current moment to wish you were in the next one, you miss out.
Imagine you’re on the 3rd-story of an unfinished 10-story building, and you get bored of waiting and you ask, “God, could you please just take me to the tenth story?!” So he’s like, “Uh, okay.” But when he takes you there, there are no walls, there’s no ceiling, and there’s no foundation. Because it’s not ready for you yet.
Every moment is a brick in the building of your life. If you skip the story you’re currently a part of, it’s impossible to get to your next story.
Life is fleeting. This is the day the lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. God created this day and this moment so that we could live life and live it abundantly.
We can’t sit around waiting for life to happen, thinking we’ll wait until the next moment to begin what we know we should’ve done in the last one. Every moment is carefully constructed by God to give us the opportunity to choose the life he made for us. Every moment is so full of life. So let’s not let important moments pass us by.
Let’s choose to be intentional with our actions and our thoughts in ways that glorify god. Let’s choose to let each and every breath be used for what God wants for us.
Let’s not wait for tomorrow to do what God wants us to do today.
Me giving part of this message in the morning service at Senior High Camp at LPBC in July 2016.