Posts Tagged ‘Tom Hanks’

Most of us know who Stephen Hawking is. For younger readers, Kirk Cameron was a swoon-worthy idol during his time acting on the 1980s TV comedy Growing Pains.

You might also not be aware that during the show’s seven-season run, Cameron decided to follow Jesus of Nazareth, who many people believe is the Son of God. Since the show ended, Cameron, now in his 50s, has starred in and/or produced many faith-themed movies and documentaries.

So why is he being mocked in this meme? Well, many of his productions have been….underwhelming. And some of his socially conservative public statements have made him a target of criticism from media, atheists and many celebrities.

What’s interesting about the meme that sparked this blog is how it singles out one controversial person while ignoring other Jesus followers who are widely admired for their intelligence and accomplishments.

Immediately, I can think of several:

  • Academy Award-winning actors Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington
  • Country singers Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood
  • Scientist Francis S. Collins, who led the way in mapping the human genome (I wrote about him here: https://wp.me/p2wzRb-3o)
  • U.S. talk show host Stephen Colbert

There are many, many more Jesus-following notables – I listed a few in this blog: https://wp.me/p2wzRb-e9.

Here’s the thing, though: it’s not about who’s on what side, it’s not about popularity contests and it’s certainly not about anyone’s IQ. All these “measurements” are distractions, designed to prevent us from thinking about the big questions: who am I? Why am I here? What happens after this life ends?

If you’re willing to consider these questions, then consider this: you’re a creation of God. And one of the original-source biographies of Jesus says “God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost, but have eternal life.”

Maybe you’ve read that statement before. Did you know it applies to you? God so loved YOU that He gave His only Son, so that if YOU believe in Him then YOU will not be lost, but have eternal life.

If this doesn’t make sense, then let me ask: do you believe there’s something beyond this life? Maybe even a “good” place and a “bad” place? If yes, then ponder these words that Jesus told anyone willing to listen: “you must be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

So that’s the ticket we need to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus and His Father. None of us have any hope of achieving perfection, so what to do? Simple. Trust in Jesus. Declare Him Lord, Saviour and your best friend.

If you do that with serious sincerity, then He’ll come into your life and start to make you more of the person God created you to be. And when this life ends, God will see you like He sees His Son: perfect in every way. And the doors of Heaven will be opened to you.

Sound interesting? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Forrest Gump, the Academy Award-winning movie, bowled me over when it first came out in 1994.

So when I encountered it while flipping channels the other night, I stopped and relived the magic of Tom Hanks portraying the slow-witted, über-innocent Forrest as he fights in Vietnam, meets presidents, runs across the United States, becomes a millionaire in the shrimp business and fathers a son with the love of his life.

More than Forrest, however, what sticks with me is his Vietnam platoon leader, Lieutenant Dan Taylor. Lieut. Dan (played by Gary Sinise) is saved in battle by Forrest, but his legs are so badly injured they must be amputated.

Dan curses Forrest for saving him and curses God for leaving him a wheelchair-bound cripple. He plunges into a life of drugs, liquor, prostitutes, and squalor.

Still, Dan can’t seem to stay away from Forrest and when Forrest goes into the shrimping business with his own boat, Dan and his wheelchair show up to join him. Their conversations are often spiritually charged, with Dan throwing out bitter barbs about God.

At one point, after their shrimp nets come up empty yet again, Dan caustically demands, “Where the hell is this God of yours?”

The answer comes moments later when a storm comes up, tossing the boat in gigantic wind-whipped waves. Where is Dan through all this? He’s hoisted himself to the top of the boat’s mast where, like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, he has his life-defining confrontation with the beast. For Ahab, it was the great whale; for Dan, it’s God.

“You call this a storm?” he screams above the hurricane. “It’s time for a showdown – you and me! I’m right here, come and get me!!”

If you saw Forrest Gump, you might recall the boat didn’t sink. In fact, it was the only shrimping vessel in the area undamaged by the storm and, as a result, Forrest and Dan had no competition for the shrimp.

They become rich off the bountiful harvest and a later scene shows a relaxed Dan finally thanking Forrest for saving him in Vietnam. Near the movie’s end, Dan shows up at Forrest’s wedding – clean, sober, with prosthetic legs and a fiancé. He’s whole again.

What can one conclude from this? One commentator on Youtube notes “where Lt. Dan ultimately surrenders and survives, Ahab remained stubborn to the end and died in the wreck (of his whaling boat).”

This conclusion makes sense. It’s certainly a notion that resonates in my life. By finally surrendering my questions about God and Jesus, I opened the door to spiritual wholeness – a real, life-changing relationship with Jesus.

It reminds me of something I read by an ancient writer: “I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

Is there a point of pride or anger in your life, or the life of someone you know, that’s keeping the door closed to a relationship with God and his Son?

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