Create Your Own Star Trek Story

Posted on January 30, 2009. Filed under: Movies and TV | Tags: , , |

Star Trek
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Create your own Star Trek story. Heh. Funny stuff.

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Evangelism, Postmodernism, and Star Trek

Posted on September 7, 2007. Filed under: Faith | Tags: , , , , , |

Through the Motley Fool, I read a few forums; a participant recently posted a review that included a discussion of Christian faith, postmodernism, Captain Kirk and Captain Picard. It’s a terrific book review and offers some insight into those that dwell in a postmodern world. Those of us with faith in Jesus may find insight here in understanding those whose faith is more fluid and does not rest upon the solid rock.

Good reading, take a look at A Primer on Postmodernism.

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God's Word is Essential

Posted on May 13, 2007. Filed under: Bible Study | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have y’all seen the stories on the news this week about Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda? For the last few years, Mr. Miranda has claimed to be Jesus himself. He says he had a vision in 1973, then after 3 marriages, 5 children, a heroin addiction and a couple of jail sentences for petty theft, in 2000 Mr. Miranda claimed to be Jesus himself. Mr. Miranda says there is no devil or sin because all of that was defeated 2000 years ago, prayer is a waste of time, and he teaches that his followers have a “freedom to indulge” because his followers are predestined for salvation no matter what they do on earth. He tells all of his followers that all churches and religion are heresy and they are to burn religious writings and attack local churches. He’s been banned in several countries. He’s in the news this week because he now claims that besides being Jesus, he’s also the anti-Christ. He is a “good” anti-Christ, though, because there is no such thing as evil. To mark this new revelation, Mr. Miranda now has a very prominent “666” tattooed on his forearm. Of course, his followers happily had their own “666” tattooed on their arms.

1 John 2:18: “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” We know that this Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda is not Jesus because of scripture passages such as, well, the entire book of Revelation. It’s also clear from scripture that Mr. Miranda cannot be both Christ and the anti-Christ at the same time. If you ever watched “Star Trek” you’d know he’d explode and the universe would cease to exist.

Why are people misled by a charismatic preacher? It’s because they do not know who Jesus really is or what Jesus says. Colossians 2:4,8 says, “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Peter faced similar situations with false teachers. Peter and the apostles had been in direct communication with the Lord Jesus Christ and knew exactly what Jesus’ message was. The Word of God was shared through oral traditions and through the Holy Spirit, but the written word, the New Testament, had not yet been written. There was a vacuum of information, and men being what they are, unscrupulous or misinformed people stepped into the vacuum and began to spread problems of all kinds. Legalism was taught, authority of God was challenged, the core teachings of the gospel were challenged, and even the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus was challenged. The apostle Peter wrote this scripture specifically addressing the true theology of Christianity. He wanted Christians to know the truth, the freedom of living in Christ, and put to rest the false heresies that were being spread.

Let’s look at 2 Peter 1:12-15

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

Peter tells the early Christians that they already know the truth, but Peter will “always remind them.” Peter tells them he wants to “refresh your memory” for as long as he lives. Let’s see if Peter’s assessment holds true for us today – do we know the truth about Jesus? Are we firmly established with this truth and what Jesus wants for our lives? I think so. So why is it important to be reminded of these things and to have our memories refreshed?

Let me ask it in a more personal way. We are not perfect like Jesus, are we? We are tempted and fall into sin, whether it is lust of the eyes, hurt with the tongue, worshipping money and idols, sin of pride, something personal we struggle with as we persevere in our faith. When we sin, is at that moment that we stop believing in God? When we sin, is it at that moment that we stop believing in the bible? No, not at all. Of course we believe. What we have forgotten, though, is the truth of the Word. We forget that sin has consequences. We forget that Jesus paid an incredible price for that sin. When we fall into sin, we don’t become unbelievers. We become un-rememberers. We forget our need for grace. We forget God is watching every move and listening to every thought. Peter doesn’t want the believers of Asia Minor to forget. God doesn’t want us to forget.

When Peter says “as long as I am in this tent,” this of course, refers to Peter’s mortality. Our bodies are frail, they are impermanent, and they are imperfect. We have only so much time on this earth to do God’s will. When we are aware of our limited time here compared to our eternal destiny, it should give us some urgency to do God’s will while there is still time.

Peter knows that his time is short – Jesus hinted to Peter in the book of John (John 21:18) that someday Peter would also be crucified. “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Peter had an urgency to share the gospel, but we, too, have the same urgency.

Let’s read 2 Peter 1:16-18 –

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

Peter is telling us the truth; false teachers are not. Peter’s words have the strength of his conviction behind him, the truth of the Lord behind him, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. Myths about Roman gods were passed along from generation to generation that illustrated a particular Roman lesson, but they were myths. Peter reminds us that the story of Jesus is not a myth. Peter didn’t learn about it from others, it wasn’t hearsay or gossip passed along. Peter was there; he was an eyewitness to Jesus’ miracles. Peter was there on the mountain when he heard God speaking from the heavens. And notice Peter says “we” – Peter, James and John were there on that mountain and were direct eyewitnesses to the transfiguration of Christ. God directly spoke from the heavens that Jesus is the son of God and that God is well pleased with Him.

It’s important to remember that Jesus appeared to thousands or people. When Jesus fed the 5000, how many people were there? Ok, that was a trick question. The point is that these 5000 people were still alive and it was very easy to check to see if the story was true. These were real events that had occurred during the last 20 or 30 years, during their lifetime.

Let’s say I told you that 20 or 30 years ago that Richard Nixon was a great war hero and had fought in Vietnam and because of his great leadership the Vietnam war was won? It would not be a credible story because there are people here in this room that know that isn’t true. In Peter’s day, Jesus was well known. He had appeared to thousands of people, taught thousands of people, and after he died and was resurrected appeared to hundreds of people. They were eyewitnesses. The apostles were so sure that Jesus was the messiah, the son of God, that they were willing to die for preaching Christ crucified. Not one of them recanted their story, even though they were martyred for preaching the gospel.

Peter knows without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus came as the Messiah, as the Christ, as the Son of God, that Jesus died and rose from the dead after 3 days and ascended into heaven. False teachers could not claim that, nor could they dispute Peter’s eyewitness account. What other miracles did Peter see first hand?

That’s why Peter knows he is speaking the truth. Through divine revelation, Peter heard the very words of Jesus. The faith of Christians is not based on clever stories. Christianity is based on real, historical events with multiple eyewitnesses. Can you imagine seeing the transfiguration and hearing God speak from the heavens? Can you imagine how confident Peter was in his faith after seeing that? God wants us to have that same confidence in Him. How does God do that?

Let’s read the rest of our verse for today, 2 Peter 1:19-21 –

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

I love that part – you will do well to pay attention to the Word of God; it’s like a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” God’s Word gives us confidence; even though we are not eyewitnesses, we have the words of the eyewitnesses.

The bible is a unique book. There are 66 separate books written over 1500 years, by over 40 separate authors from all walks of life. Amos was a farmer. Luke was a doctor. Ezra and James were ministers. David and Solomon were kings. Daniel was a political prisoner. Peter was a fisherman. Mathew was a first century IRS agent. It was written in Europe, Asia, and Africa, from deserts, dungeons, palaces, and battlefields. It covers all sorts of controversial topics such as raising your kids, improving your marriage, managing emotions, handling money, breaking bad habits, and inheriting eternal life, all in unity. And yet the entire bible has one hero – the Messiah, Jesus Christ. One villain – Satan. One problem – sin. And one purpose – salvation. The entire plot of the bible can be summed up by –

Jesus is coming (the Old Testament)
Jesus is here (The 4 gospels)
Jesus is coming again (The New Testament epistles)

Peter reminds us here – he’s always reminding us, isn’t he? And then he’s reminding us that he’s reminding us. He reminds us that the Word of God is not written by man. Man may have been holding the pen and using his own unique personality, but the Word of God is provided by the Holy Spirit. Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. This is repeated in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Scripture is spoken by God, every word inspired by the Holy Spirit working through men. And it’s not just relaxing Sunday-morning reading, we are to use the Word. It teaches us, it rebukes us, it corrects us, and it trains us in righteousness.

If we take God’s word that the bible is indeed God’s word, how does that affect our relationship with Him? For one thing, if this is God’s Word, does God make mistakes? No, we know God is perfect and holy and infallible. Therefore, we take every word in the bible to be true, holy and infallible.

I heard a story about a pastor who was going to be preaching about Noah and the ark and the Great Flood. A couple of boys decided to play a prank on the pastor, and they snuck into the sanctuary and glued some of the pages of his bible together. Sunday morning, the pastor started reading from the bible and it came out a little different than he expected. He read, “And Noah took a wife, and she was” (here he struggles to turn the page) “450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall.” The pastor stood there stunned for a minute, and then said, “I have been reading this Bible for 30 years, and there are still some things that are hard for me to believe.”

Skeptics and atheists claim the bible is full of discrepancies and inaccuracies, but theologians have a scholarly rebuttal to each claim. Some scripture, a lot of scripture, may be difficult for us to understand, but what we have to recognize is that the problem is not with the bible. The bible is incredibly consistent, and when we come across what appears to be inconsistent scripture, we can recognize that the problem is with us. We have limited understanding. With study, prayer and meditation, we can understand more and more, and when we arrive in heaven, we will understand all of it. Right now, in our mortal life, we have a limited view of an unlimited God. Eventually, if we continue to seek him, the full meaning will be given to us. We can learn to doubt our doubts.

What do we do about scripture we do not understand? In Matthew 11:25, Jesus says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” The Pharisees knew the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law. I believe God reveals himself to us slowly over the course of our life; just as He revealed himself to Israel over 3000 years. Scripture that is unclear to us one year becomes incredibly clear to us in later years. Jesus says that if we seek Him, we shall find Him. What that means to me is to implicitly trust that the bible is true even if I cannot fathom its full meaning.

If we accept the entire bible as complete true, what does the bible say about the bible? Besides being useful for teaching and rebuking, the word is relevant. Does anybody remember the scripture that is at the bottom of each class newsletter? Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” The bible is not dead literature, it is living and active. It’s sharp and it cuts and exposes us to God. It convicts us and shows us our sin and how we fall short of His glory and how much we need our savior Jesus Christ.

There are many ways to ask the Lord for this sort of surgery, surgery that cuts the sin out of our lives. Try asking the Lord to reveal Himself to you. Read His word and apply it to your life. The problem, I think you’ll find, is not one of understanding so much as it is a problem of obedience. Mark Twain once said, “It’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that trouble me; it’s the parts of the Bible that I do understand.” Many passages are easy to understand. The Ten Commandments, for instance, are very easy to understand. “Honor thy father and mother, especially on Mother’s Day.” If you want God to work within you, try committing a favorite passage to memory. Try reading your bible eagerly and accept it as God’s holy word and then submit yourself to what it says.

Let’s look at John 8:31-31 – To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

To the non-believer, Jesus has but one command: “believe in me.” But if we are to grow in our faith, Jesus wants more from us. Jesus tells us to “hold to His teaching.” Where do we find His teaching? The very word of God, the bible. His teachings are here. Hold to His teaching, and we become His disciples, followers of Jesus. Hold to His teaching, then we will know the truth. Hold to His teaching, and we are set free from the bondage of sin.

An intellectual belief in God is not sufficient. The wisdom of man pales next to the foolishness of God. Heartfelt emotions are not sufficient – emotions can mislead us. Sincerity is not sufficient – the most sincere person can be most sincerely wrong. Sincerity does not equal truth, and sometimes religious leaders can be wrong. In Acts 17:11, it says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” While the Bereans were excited that Paul was in their midst and preaching to them, they examined scripture for themselves to see if Paul was preaching the truth. That’s how we know that Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda is not Jesus the Christ. What he preaches conflicts with the Word of God. It’s misleading. It’s false.

I’d like to close with the words of another eyewitness to the life and words of Jesus Christ. From the book of John, chapter 1, verse 1,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Let’s give a word of thanks to our Lord who has given us His holy Word.

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To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

Posted on November 16, 2005. Filed under: General, News | Tags: , , |

Or not go, depending on whether you can get the engines running. Looks like they could use another engineer like Scotty:

In life, James Doohan was the “Star Trek” engineer who worked miracles on the Enterprise, but a rocket meant to blast his remains into space has engine trouble.

A Falcon One rocket was to lift the ashes of Doohan, who played engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott aboard the fictional Starship Enterprise, into space next month but the launch has been delayed at least until February, organizers said Tuesday.

Scotty turned out to be the most well- liked of the old Star Trek cast, happy to be part of a legend and always thankful to his fans. One of the best odes to Scotty that I’ve heard comes from the musical talent of James Lileks’ Bleatophany; download this mp3 and enjoy.

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$3 Million for Star Trek

Posted on March 4, 2005. Filed under: Movies and TV | Tags: , , , , |

TrekUnited.com is reporting that three anonymous donors have pledged $3 million toward a campaign to keep Star Trek: Enterprise alive for a 5th season.

“We think Star Trek and especially its latest incarnation, “Enterprise” is the kind of TV that should be aired more often. The people responsible at Paramount think this is just a show and we want to tell them, it is not. We are in the commercial space flight industry and would like to testify that at least one out of two of all the actual entrepreneurs involved in this industry has been inspired by Star Trek; and we are not only good at watching TV sci-fi , we are also good at writing checks, big checks. The people airing this kind of TV have a responsibility; inspiration. Star Trek has inspired us, and particularly Enterprise, with its superb theme song that tells so much about our struggle to move space travel forward and closer to the public, this inspiration is so self evident, that Virgin Galactic has ordered a 5-sub orbital ship fleet from Scaled Composites, a 100 million dollar investment, and the first one being built is going to be christened ‘VSS Enterprise.’ Now doesn’t that ring a bell in Paramount’s ears? Now, canceling the series so bluntly, for the sake of just ratings, tells very much about the kind of thinking going on inside Paramount. If we thought the same way, Paul Allen would have never funded the SpaceShipOne program. Sir Richard Branson would never have funded Virgin Galactic and Space Adventures would never have put two space tourists aboard the International Space Station. Instead, we would all be at home watching Survivor or some other reality TV show. Enterprise needs to be renewed, for the sake of fan loyalty, for being quality TV, for bringing imagination and hope for a better future to our homes, but over all that, for inspiring us so strongly that we have fought all our adult lives to bring that future closer to our children and to us.”

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Fight to Save Star Trek: Enterprise Goes On

Posted on March 3, 2005. Filed under: Movies and TV | Tags: |

In the news today, fans have the attention of the media. They’ve given up on Paramount, and are instead trying to find somebody else willing to pick up the production costs.

Details at Trek United and Save Enterprise.

It’s the only television show I watch with any regularity. Please donate all your income to saving my show. Money isn’t used in the 23rd century, anyway. Thank you.

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Saving Enterprise

Posted on February 14, 2005. Filed under: Movies and TV | Tags: , |

There’s a last-ditch effort to save Star Trek: Enterprise. A full page fan-sponsored ad will be appearing February 21st, and a fan rally at Paramount Studios in Hollywood on February 25th.

The writing on Enterprise this 4th year is superb; if they had started the series this way, it would still be on the air. Alas, I think this effort is in vain, but if you just happened to be driving through Hollywood that day and have nothing else to do…

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Coming Up Empty

Posted on February 10, 2005. Filed under: Personal Stuff | Tags: , , , , , |

Hmm. Nothing inspires me to blog today. I tossed some ideas at myself but nothing stuck.

North Korea says the have nukes and don’t want to talk about it. The U.S. says we ought to talk about it. No solutions look good at the moment. Let North Korea keep the nukes? Force them to disarm? Blah.

And at the same time, Prince Charles decides to marry Camilla Parker Bowles. Coincidence? I think not.

Wardhill Churchill sounds like a bigoted lunatic. I predict he’ll voluntarily step down to save face. If not, he should be fired. Free speech isn’t the issue, by the way.

Stock market is down. Weather is cold. Irv’s still in the hospital. I think I’ll need a new car by the summer of 2007. I’m going to buy some sort of mp3 player. This weekend has plays to see, dancing, Star Trek, birthday parties, Valentine’s dinner, …

Whoa. I have a lot to blog about. I wonder where I should start…

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Friday!

Posted on February 4, 2005. Filed under: Family, Friends, Personal Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s my Friday off, but I’m at work. Something is seriously wrong with me.

One of the bosses walked by and made a comment to a co-worker about his blue jeans. “That’s not according to the dress code.” We’re supposed to be business casual, but on Fridays off most of the building is empty. Most of us are here giving up our free time to catch up on work.

I’m in blue jeans, too. Go ahead, tell me I’m violating dress code. I’ll happily go home. :)

The weekend plans are shaping up nicely. I’m headed out to the Woodlands to have lunch with John (Hayden’s grandfather). Since we’re both off work today and it’s a hour drive, I expect to be gone for some time. Probably won’t get back home until 4’ish. Then an early dinner with Diane and a couple of friends, Paul & Vania.

Saturday morning I promised Diane I’d take her to IHOP for breakfast. I think she’s forgotten so sshhhh it’s a surprise. :P That’ll fill me up for most of the day, so I’ll skip lunch and I hope to hit the gym in the afternoon.

Alex will come home to tell me all about some big decisions he’s making lately, then staying for dinner. Dinner will be pizza because it’s Star Trek night. Wo0t! Diane, Alex, Sean, Carmen and their daughter, Patch and Bella, pizza, Star Trek, and commotion. My kind of night. :)

Sunday morning, we’re considering an 8:15am bible study, though the time is sort of scary. I get used to being at work at 7:15am every day, but that’s not a weekend. I think there’s a good chance we’ll try it, though.

Sunday afternoon is a church singles Superbowl party. I think I’ll root for the Eagles, mostly because I flew through Philadelphia last week. Is there a better reason to root for a team.

I think Monday morning I’m going to be tired. :)

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To Boldly Go… Look, It's Really Gone Now

Posted on February 3, 2005. Filed under: Fun Stuff | Tags: , , , |

Star Trek: Enterprise is cancelled.

The writing was dramatically improved this year, but it’s too late. Viewership started at 13 million a week the first year, but now it’s down to 2.9 million.

The series was cancelled early enough to write a series finale, scheduled for May 13.

I’ve been watching Star Trek episode with Sean & Carmen since 1987 when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. We added my son Alex, then added Sean’s daughter. My son grew up with pizza and Star Trek on Friday nights; he’s now grown and off at college.

It’s the only television show I watch. What am I going to watch now?

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