Adam and Eve

The Encounter 2 Paradise Lost: A DVD Review

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A Pure Flix Film.

Last year, I watched The Encounter and LOVED it. A couple of months later, I had the blessing of interviewing Bruce Marchiano, the man who played Jesus Christ, and that experience just made me appreciate the project even more. And after sharing it with the people at my church and telling my friends about it, each time I did made me grow quite excited for the impending sequel coming out. A part of me, however, was very nervous wondering “What if the sequel stinks?”, well like Escape I had snuck in a viewing of The Encounter 2 on Netflix before it arrived to my mailbox…

The Encounter 2 takes an international setting, in that this story takes place in Phuket, Thailand; seven years after the terrible Tsunami. Like the first movie, there are a set of characters who have their own emotional baggage and are brought together under one roof to talk to Jesus Christ face to face. A resort owner and his wife, a vengeful DEA Agent, a local woman, and Jesus Christ himself are being held hostage by a drug dealer and his body-guard. Despite this hostile situation, this person who claims to be Jesus Christ remains calm and unafraid; even with guns being threatened on him. What will be said? How will Jesus respond to them? And how will the hostage situation turn out? The Encounter 2 for the most part was as great as the original.

Once Jesus was invited into the room by Bruno (the drug dealer) and Charlie (the bodyguard), the mood seemed to fit similarly to the first; one of the things which really made me appreciate The Encounter in the first place. Everything Jesus said and did was theologically sound, and I especially liked what he had to say in regard to death. The acting overall was very good and this had a great story. The only thing I can say is both an upside and a downside is the action scenes they added to this feature. The upside for the action is that it explains why the DEA agent HATES Bruno, but the downside is that it obviously takes time away from scenes where Jesus Christ is interacting with people. Otherwise this is very good, I give this a strong recommendation, and am looking forward to receiving it in the mail so I can share it with friends.

Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

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Suing the devil: A DVD Review

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A Mouth watering production

Very intriguing plot premise! I saw the trailer to this a while back and thought to myself “this looks like it could be a really good film”. I was further intrigued when I saw Malcolm McDowell, Corbin Bernsen (the Dad from the TV show Psych), and Rebecca St. James (Beautiful singer) were cast members; they are all very good actors. Keeping all that in mind I wanted to check out the movie Suing the devil.  I was excited in regard to the points above yet I was also a bit nervous too, because if this wasn’t done properly then it would probably look pretty cheesy in my honest opinion…

Suing the devil is about an Australian man who decides to sue the Devil himself for 8 trillion dollars, after certain events take place within his personal life. The court finds Luke O’Brien’s lawsuit bonkers, until a man appears within the court room who hints he might be satan himself. Because the court is convinced the man is indeed satan, the great trial is set to begin with world-wide news coverage! Little does Luke O’Brien know this won’t be an ordinary trial, because not only does satan have the best lawyers hired, but what is discussed and how things take place will surprise everyone. There is plenty of drama both in court and outside of the court room to put it mildly…

I saw some things I really liked, and a couple of things I didn’t like so much. I didn’t like the actor who played Luke O’Brien very much, because I felt certain scenes he either sounded like he was overacting or cheesy; although he did ok in other scenes too. Some funny jokes were in this movie: one example being how Luke O’Brien goes through the process of serving the prince of darkness with a subpoena. Now excluding the song: Mighty to Save I didn’t like the rest of the movie’s music very much; it was almost as bad as the music in Courage (not to be confused with Courageous). The best thing for me to note is Malcolm McDowell’s excellent portrayal as lucifer. My favorite part of his portrayal was, when he explodes in the courtroom towards the end of the film; especially with what he says about being left or right-wing. Though I felt certain scenes could have gone better, overall I thought this movie turned out pretty good and certainly gives the viewer a lot to think about especially in regard to how to respond to temptation.

TCP Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

p.s. Here are some neat videos you might like from my friend, Pastor Carl Gallups in regard to temptation and the fallen angel himself: satan’s name, and Defeating Demonic Strongholds.

The Prince’s Poison Cup By Dr. R.C. Sproul

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by Dr. R.C. Sproul

Recently, I stumbled upon another children’s book written by Dr. R.C. Sproul. I enjoyed reading his kid’s book: The Priest with Dirty Clothes earlier in April 2011. After finishing that book, a friend told me about another kid’s book Dr. Sproul wrote called The Prince’s Poison Cup. Not exactly the most positive sounding of book titles I’ll admit, but I wanted to see if this would be something both educational and exciting for my future kids. I’m actually glad I read this children’s book second, because it compliments The Priest with Dirty Clothes.

The Prince’s Poison Cup very simply put, is an allegorical tale. This story begins with a great and powerful King nicknamed ‘the King of Life’ who creates an entire city and its people. The city was beautiful and everyone within the city was happy until an evil enemy deceives the city folk. This shadowy foe persuades them to turn against the King, abandon the city, and live in their own settlement within the harsh desert where life is rough. The King desires to save his people from this evildoer, by sending his son the Prince to deliver them. As I read The Prince’s Poison Cup, I realized each of its events were allegorical for the overall gospel message presented throughout the Bible. I enjoyed reading this and I found nothing dull about the story. The artwork was beautiful and well detailed, although some pictures ought to have been on the same page as the story text for the sake of imagination. This was theologically accurate too. Like The Priest with Dirty Clothes, I recommend this book for any Christian parent who desires to teach their children more about God, Jesus, and the Bible itself.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Reformation Trust Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Reformation Trust Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus.  This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn

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by Randy Alcorn

A friend of mine, who I learned is an Atheist, once argued with me about suffering; more specifically viruses. I didn’t have the best explanation on everything he desired to talk to me about at the time, but then again only God will know the answer to every question out there. Thinking about that complicated conversation and being a bit depressed recently, I felt the whole idea of Good VS Evil and the concept of suffering itself were things I ought to brush up better apologetically. Because of my desire to learn more about those common occurrences, I picked up a copy of The Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn. Although this book is only 117 pages, I feel it was a very good read and inspires me to read even more books concerning the common complaint “Why does God allow suffering?”

The Goodness of God, is quite philosophical and thought-provoking. Randy Alcorn examines various topics like Sin, alternative world views, free will, justice, global depravity, love, natural disasters, natural selection, death, etc through logical argumentation. While discussing the big picture which is morality (you know the idea of Good and Evil), he also plentifully provides many passages of scripture in support of a Good and loving God despite all of the suffering within our world. Obviously, this book won’t answer every thought or question a person may conceive, although even if this book were over 1000 pages it still wouldn’t… This is a great book nevertheless, because it will slice into a person’s mindset and will also inspire additional research/Biblical discussion. Surprisingly, I feel this book would be good for both Christians and Agnostics/Atheists alike.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah Press, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Waterbrook Multinomah Press to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus.  This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Rob Bell’s wrong about Hell.

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*Disclaimer* For the sake of rational discussion I will be using the word “Hell” numerous times. It is only for the sake of reference and not for using as a cuss word. I apologize if you are offended by my use of the word, as my intent is only to talk about that place itself and the theology behind it, because as Christians we need to discuss Hell since its existence is real.  I have no intention to purposely blaspheme against the Lord for it is my hope that those who read this if they are not saved will repent of their sins and swear allegiance to Jesus Christ who is the only hope for any persons’ salvation… Whether you agree with what is discussed or not, please be respectful. Any comments with curse words or comments which either are uncivil  or is for the sole purpose of acting like a troll will be deleted.

Before I get into this very controversial subject I just realized today is the One Year Anniversary of this Word Press blog. For those who have remained loyal despite any disagreements you may have had with some of my writings, thank you for sticking with me. I appreciate it a lot. If you are new to the Christian Perspective I hope you learn/enjoy this discussion and feel free to make a comment and or subscribe. 🙂

I don’t know a lot about Rob Bell, but I am agreeing with his critics when it comes to what Bell thinks about Hell. You may not have heard, but Rob Bell is the unorthodox pastor of Mars Hill in Grand Rapids Michigan, and he launched a controversial video as a precursor to his new book Love Wins. So I saw a YouTube clip, from Wretched TV’s channel, of Rob Bell talking about Hell and I could touch on some of the things he said, though you ought to see the clip for yourselves, but of all the things he said if I could point out something that bugged me the most… it would be the idea Bell suggested which I have simplified into the effect of the following:

“How can a loving God send good people to Hell?”

and basically mocked the idea that someone like Gandhi, even though he appeared to deny Jesus Christ, is capable of being in Hell. As Todd Friel from Wretched TV said in the You tube link I provided, Mr. Bell is basically endorsing the Universalist, New Age movement concept that “Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation” (which Oprah Winfrey once said on her show) and “if you’re good enough and have done enough then you’ll be in Heaven too.” Take it from someone who used to think that I can do lots of good things and please my way into Heaven (see my Christian Testimony), no! No you can’t be good enough to earn a ticket to Heaven! Without Christ, I am just as Hell bound as anybody else who is apart from God, for I have committed many-MANY sins against God; I have no reason to boast about anything good. By saying what he said, he appears to be basically mocking people who feel or appear to feel (in his opinion) that God purposely sends people to Hell, and because of his interpretation he is mocking conventional Protestantism. This is a serious accusation considering some people have become Atheists because of this issue, not to mention there’s the Calvinistic interpretation of Predestination some believe in (I do not believe the Calvinist view), and of course the attitude of such a statement in itself is offensive and misleading. Sure  if God wanted to he could send us all into Hell right now in the blink of an eye, because he has the authority to do such a thing after all he created us and I’m sure when scientists build robots most don’t question if they can destroy their own creation… However, whether one can accurately judge if God literally “sends people” to Hell is irrelevant, because of what we do/say/think. If I could openly respond to Rob Bell himself I would tell him:

“God doesn’t have to send people to Hell, because we condemn ourselves!”

I’m neither dead nor am I God so obviously I don’t know exactly who is in Hell, as well as an exact description of what Hell is like, and I don’t have the authority to condemn anyone. However, what I can say about Hell is that 1) Whoever rejects God is in Hell 2) Whoever rejects God’s son Jesus Christ is in Hell. 3) Our good deeds do not save us from Hell. 4) A person who is in Hell deserves it just as a guilty criminal deserves to be in prison. Like in the video I provided second paragraph, when on trial you don’t get to say to a judge “Yeah I’m guilty of this crime, but I’ve done so much good work for my community, and I try to be nice to all people so what I’ve done outweighs my offense right?” and get away with the crime… No if we did that in the real world, most of us (unless the judge is corrupt) would be convicted and sent to prison anyhow. In regard to Gandhi, no doubt did he do some great things for the Indian people, but according to Bible verses such as Isaiah 64:6 good deeds themselves without God are irrelevant. (by the way, the rag Isaiah speaks of is one which a woman wipes up her period blood… gross I know, but it’s a gruesome point to remember.) What bugs me the most about Rob Bell’s statement is what he is suggesting denies the concepts of Justice and Grace as well he is twisting around the definition of Love. In my opinion, Bell’s simply saying “Hey it doesn’t matter that someone denies the one who created him. As long as someone does what others think is good then that person ought to get into Heaven too.” Sure it matters whether someone knows God or not:

1) As Todd Friel said in the video, how do we know how good we have to be? And what is the standard of that goodness? No one can answer that first question without giving some personal opinion, possibly related to someone else’s deeds… We all have our personal standards of right and wrong, but in reality they do not completely match up with what God wants of us, not to mention our standards change constantly while God’s don’t change. The simplest laws we ought to be obeying is the 10 commandments in addition to the rest of the Bible. We fail to meet those standards, because of our current sinfulness and the sin which our distant ancestors Adam and Eve committed long ago…

2) Such an idea that a person doesn’t need Jesus or God to be considered “good” and “worthy of Heaven” conflicts with various scriptural examples like the passages provided in the previous paragraphs, including what Jesus said in John 14:21. It does matter whether I have sworn allegiance to God let alone it being the correct God. I’m not just talking about the God of the Bible here, there are other religions out there like Islam that say “If you’re following the wrong God you’re in big trouble.” (I’m summarizing) Not to mention in a worldly example, if I suddenly decide to become a Terrorist against the United States do you really think if I did something like stole thousands of dollars or bombed some people for the sake of an opposing country/organization that I’d be treated nicely by the United States Government? “Oh well we don’t like what he did, but because he and his group approve it then that’s ok, I mean he meant well.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!

3) The after life does not function like a democracy! I mean if this “majority rules” mentality were accurate for general morality, then I could rape someone without guilt or consequence if I got enough people to support it. We people do so many horrible things, I don’t even have to provide evidence for that because all one has to do is watch the news or look outside their window depending on where they live! Not to mention if morality were determined by a collective consensus, then Grace wouldn’t exist very often… We people, I know I fit this especially at times, can be so unforgiving! What Jesus did for us by dying an innocent death on the cross, which by the way was voted upon when they chose to release Barabbas, he died for all the bad stuff we do and say and think… Like in our legal system we are not entitled to mercy, again if God really wanted to he could just teleport us all into Hell right now, but God doesn’t do that because of his mercy and love for us. He is giving all of us a chance to seek his son, Jesus Christ who died in our place. We have all sinned against him time after time after time…

Hell, in the most simplest sense which I’m able to comprehend without making any false judgments, is a place where God is not present; the Bible calls it an eternal lake of fire. All those who reject God will finally get their wish if they choose to go to Hell. I say choose, because we have the choice whether to repent of our sinfulness and put our faith and trust into our Lord Jesus Christ (by swearing loyalty and allegiance to him) the Prophesied Savior who delivered us from our wages of sin, or we can reject God and continue live for ourselves for the rest of our lives and when dead reside in a place where God, who gives good and perfect gifts, will not be present. I do not mean to scare anyone with “Turn or Burn” style theology, because that is not my intention today. I simply feel I must confess to whoever reads this that Hell is a real place that shouldn’t be dismissed so easily. Anyone who rejects God and sins against him deserves to be in there, for the sake of Justice. But God who loves his creations, without violating our free will, sent his only son Jesus Christ to die in our place so that undeservedly we are forgiven for those sins, and all that is required is for us to believe in Jesus Christ and live for him. I have written this, because I don’t want anyone to go to Hell, we should never wish or hope that upon anyone no matter what they’ve done, rather for those who commit various misdeeds we ought to hope for their repentance… Rob Bell by denying the grace of Jesus Christ and belittling what Hell is supposed to be, is a wolf who is leading those who listen to him into heresy…

The Masculine Mandate by Richard D. Phillips

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By Richard D. Phillips

 “What makes a man a man?”, this is a question we ought to imagine more often. If this question were surveyed, it wouldn’t surprise me if answers varied from money, sex, appearance, skills/talents, being a provider, etc. Although all of those qualities can be important, they are only pieces within the puzzle of who a man is supposed to be biblically. Before reading this book, I noticed when it came to many of today’s guys and even when looking at myself, I saw there was something wrong with how we are operating as men and this book confirms my suspicions as truth.

The Masculine Mandate is a great book in addressing the question “what makes a man?” by sourcing various examples of scripture including Ephesians 5:22-33, the early days of Adam and Eve, and Colossians 3:18-25. I love how Mr. Phillips addresses manliness without purposely “out to get people” through outright condemnation; though I did feel convicted throughout many sections. As men we are supposed to work, be providers for our homes, defend our wives or girlfriends, be Christ-like towards our children, to be spiritual leaders, etc rather than be selfish lovers of ourselves, absent or unjust fathers, apathetic or abusive husbands, cowardly scapegoats of responsibility, etc. I absolutely loved this book and I encourage everyone whether man or woman to get this book! Of course I doubt some women will enjoy hearing certain analyzes like how they are ‘cursed by a desire to possess and control her man…‘ as quoted in chapter 7.  To be serious though,The Masculine Mandate helped me discover many biblical truths about being the man God wants me to be and that being a man is not based on something simplistic like being an Arnold Schwarzenegger or pro wrestler like muscle man.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Reformation Trust Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Reformation Trust Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus.  This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A personally written riddle

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***** Please do not cheat. Please read this riddle first and then scroll to the bottom, because I wrote this and I’m not the kind of person who usually writes riddles or poetry. Thank you and I hope you enjoy reading it**********

I know you very well; probably even more than you know yourself. Whether you know it or whether you have not had the courtesy of noticing, I have known you for a very long time. You and I are like childhood twins, but then again I have many brothers and sisters already. For the evil I am their best friend, for the good I am their worst nightmare. My kind does not discriminate, for we cling to all walks of life. I am very persuasive and have a strong influence in your decision-making. In fact it is my hope that your affection is only for me, because I grow jealous so easily. I will appear to you in many forms with each I hope you are pleased, but if you hate me I hope you’re at least distracted. Some call me a ‘curse’, while others simply call me a ‘natural’ occurrence, either way I hope you will feed me so I can grow big and strong. Regardless of opinion and contrary to all disappointments in life, I will be with you always. If you desire to run from me, I will hate you and I will stalk you for the rest of your life. Like a good marriage ’til death do us part and when that time comes I hope you’ll meet my father… for I have been prepping you for that day since the day we first met. Who am I?

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(video presentation produced by Ads4Christ.)

The answer….

The Flesh (and its father is the father of all lies)