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Tag Archives: Sam Worthington

When It Happens to You

Over the weekend, I caught a portion of the 2017 film the Shack. When a father loses sight of his daughter while camping in the mountains, a search party is formed to discover her whereabouts before dark. Unfortunately, this race against time ends in tragedy. Like any painful experience in life, the father played by Sam Worthington goes into a tailspin, struggling to make it through each day.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent and shrewd in their own sight! – Isaiah 5:20-21

A divine appointment leads Mack Phillips to return to place where his daughter was murdered. I can’t imagine anyone being able to cope, deal with or handle this ordeal. Despite being warned by a friend, Mack goes alone, to see if a letter from God found in his mailbox was legit or simply a hoax. To avoid a complete spoiler alert, Mack meets a family who attempts to help him see the hand of God working through this trial.

So speak and so act as [people should] who are to be judged under the law of liberty [the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love]. 13 For to him who has shown no mercy the judgment [will be] merciless, but mercy [full of glad confidence] exults victoriously over judgment, James 2:12-13.

A few days later, God allows Mack to switch sides, playing the role of judge and jury. Mack’s assignment is to determine which of his two remaining children will go to heaven and who will go to hell. When your perception of good and evil is placed in a position of power, making a final decision isn’t easy. Thus, when evil happens to you or someone’s misguided use of freewill results in a deadly accident, grasping this reality is unfathomable for many. Therefore, whatever happens to you, good or bad, make sure you display grace, mercy and love to your enemies so Jesus will forgive you too.

by Jay Mankus

Its Always Better When We Work Together

At the moment you enter this world from your mother’s womb, human nature causes a new born to cry out.  Whether this is out of hunger for food, frustration or a sign of a dirty diaper, selfish natures don’t hide very long.  Perhaps this may explain why its hard for married couples to put aside childish ways as they attempt to become one flesh.  Those marriages that fail can blame individuals who continue to work alone, unable to yield to a team concept.  In an ideal setting, its always better when you work together with your soul mate.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh, Genesis 2:24.

There is a scene in the 2017 film the Shack which illustrates this point.  Mackenzie Allen Phillips played by Sam Worthington has a near death experience where he spends a weekend with God and Jesus.  Following the tragedy of his daughter’s death, Mack spirals into a deep depression as well as developing bitterness within his heart toward God.  During a series a conversations, Mack begins to come to grips with his flawed mindset.  Like a disciple trained by Jesus, Mack is a slow learner, struggling to place his faith in God.  After walking on water with Jesus’ help, Mack tries this on his own, sinking to the bottom.  Laughing initially at Mack’s surprise, Jesus turns to him replying, “Its always better when we do it together.”

Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; 10 for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

One of the wisest men to walk the face of the earth stresses the importance of a soulmate.  Sure, not everyone is meant to become married, electing to remain single to follow their dreams.  Yet, when couples work together as a team, joy, satisfaction and peace is found.  After watching the Shack I felt compelled to consider how I can become a better teammate with my wife.  When my wife Leanne and I first got married, each of us thought we would spend years serving in youth ministry together.  Nearly 25 years later, its time to figure out how my wife can become a part of my blog Express Yourself 4Him.  Although I’m not sure the role Leanne will eventually play, marriage is always better when you work together.

by Jay Mankus

Going Back to Where You First Got Stuck

Sometimes authors use their life experiences and settings for a source of inspiration.  Prior to writing the Shack which was first published in 2007, William P. Young was an office manager and hotel night clerk.  These unusual hours provided an opportunity for William to pour out his heart and soul into writing.  Young’s resolve was rewarded with a book and a 2017 movie with the same name.  One of my favorite lines in this film occurs during a conversation between Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer.  A troubled father has an encounter with God when the Lord reveals, “Mack this is where you first got stuck.”

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken, Psalm 34:17-20.

To avoid a spoiler alert, I’ll let everyone who hasn’t seen the Shack to watch for yourself.  In the meantime, this sound byte reveals an important truth about life, at some point everyone get’s stuck.  Like a difficult math equation, it may take an extended period of time to solve this problem.  How you respond to this roadblock will impact your personal growth.  Those who give up, quit or walk away without discovering the answer will leave empty.  Anyone who persists, searches and receives the wisdom to obtain the correct answer will be able to move on, to live and learn.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you, 1 Peter 5:7.

In 1988, Christian Icon Michael W. Smith released i 2 Eye.  One of the hit songs from this album is Live and Learn.  The lyrics refers to where human beings first got stuck, tempted by forbidden fruit.  Prior to this day, there was no sin, suffering or pain.  Unfortunately, Adam and Eve’s willful act of disobedience has planted seeds of darkness into human hearts ever since.  Thus, Michael W. Smith writes about the sowing principle, sowing fields of stubbornness in his life.  Depending upon your current life, you may be your own worst enemy, self destructing on your own.  Others may still be stuck from a tragic event from your past, unable to let go of the pain.  Whatever your situation, perhaps its time to find a shack, retreat and spend time with God alone so that you can grow and mature from the place where you first got stuck.

by Jay Mankus

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