Today's Devotions

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New Things to Consider

  • Witnesses for Jesus by Tim Keller (Mark 15) +

    Tim Keller discusses the significance of the women and men who saw Jesus die, buried, and resurrected.  Read More
  • Prayer-bringing light into darkness by NT Wright +

    NT Wright discusses the importance of prayer in maintaining a relationship with Jesus. Read More
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avatar1Avatar, the 2009 movie by James Cameron, raised as much discussion and controversy through its piecemeal use of Native American, Norse, New Age, and Wiccan religious beliefs and practices as it did in its application of 3-D technology. Avatar was so popular, in part, because it drew from this bouillabaisse-mix to present a world where every creature, living and dead, is connected to each other—Cameron’s version of the ultimate network. Since creation, humans have struggled with how our reach exceeds our grasp. Apart from Christ, our lens to comprehend who we are and who we were meant to be, and the broken world we live in, is dark and unclear. Avatar teases us with a scenario of experiencing our lives loosed from the limitations of our apartness, whether from God, the world, or each other.

Cameron cannily uses 3-D technology to enhance and exploit the moviegoer’s experience on the planet Pandora, slyly paralleling Jake Scully’s journey within the body of a Na’vi, Pandora’s native, human-like beings, while also enabling us to share Jake’s flights with declans, winged, banshee-like creatures. The director draws the viewer into the Rousseau-like innocent milieu of the Na’vi and their connectedness with all Pandoran living creatures via Eywa, the mind and soul of Pandora. Crucial to the plot is the natives’ ablity to connect with their deceased ancestors through the Tree of Souls, whose roots act as hardwire connections enabling communication.
Following a science fiction tradition, Cameron portrays the human race as desecrators and potential destroyers of this alien paradise. Because the planet contains vast mineral resources, Earth’s mining companies set up shop to satiate the needs of its employers. However, the Na’vi live in an area where the deposits are especially rich, and they are unwilling to relocate. The military sends in Jake, a paraplegic soldier, as an undercover spy, utilizing a technology adapted from the Na’vi that enables him to inhabit the body of one of the Na’vi, his avatar.

Cameron’s 3-D vision of a life where all is in harmony seems a natural attraction for those who do not have a relationship with the Father through Christ, and do not know of the shared intimacy with His Spirit, who speaks among us and between us. Avatar testifies to our desire to experience the rest in our souls only God can provide. Moreover, God can provide a depth and breadth of understanding—of being—that far surpasses what either Cameron or we can conceive. Through Christ we become a dwelling place for God himself. Rather than entering some other creature, we experience the wonder of God’s own Spirit in our lives. However, God is not interested in using us as his avatar. Instead, he looks to share with us who he is, enabling us to know the trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in a relationship we were meant to live.

. . . with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Ephesians 2)

What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, subjecting all things under their feet. (Hebrews 2)

I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3)

Reflections to Consider

  • The Community of Jesus

    What does it mean to be a Christian? Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, makes a compelling Read More
  • Life as an Alien

    Timothy Keller, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, provides an inspiring portrayal of what the church is supposed Read More
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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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The Hit List

  • Salvation Altogether (Spurgeon) +

    Salvation Altogether by Grace by C. H. Spurgeon “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not Read More
  • The Landscape of Piety: Majors +

    The following is recommended reading from the blog by Justin Taylor, on the gospel coalition website. J. I. Packer: For Read More
  • Why We Need the Puritans by JI Packer +

    1 Horse Racing is said to be the sport of kings. The sport of slinging mud has, however, a wider Read More
  • Cases and Directions Against Censoriousness and Unwarrantable Judging, by Richard Baxter (Puritan) +

    The following comes from: http://www.puritansermons.com/baxter/baxter26.htm Cases and Directions Against Censoriousness and Unwarrantable Judging. By Richard Baxter Tit. 1 Cases of Read More
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Gems

  • Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster +

    In Freedom of Simplicity Foster gently encourages us to see that our identity, our sense of comfort and security must Read More
  • Disciplined Spirituality Links +

    Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank Laubach Simple but astonishing in its example of what discipline and perseverance can Read More
  • Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard +

    Understanding Changes Lives A good companion to Richard Foster's book Celebration of Discipline, the Path to Spiritual Growth; it provides Read More
  • Spiritual Classics, Richard Foster and Emilie Griffiin +

    Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines Good collection of essays, saints throughout the ages. A Read More
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