Omit Fluff, Not Jesus.

In my usual twenty-first century fashion, I have been perusing social media and have been noticing consistent phrasing that I think needs to be addressed in Christian culture. “My faith got me through”… “My faith is important to me”… “My beliefs are what brought me out of the struggle”… Statements or phrases like these, although seemingly great statements, are missing a key ingredient and that would be the name of Jesus. Somewhere along the line “Jesus” has been omitted from our every day conversation, social media post, and our occasional church invitation. Our excuse may be that we are trying to make Jesus and the church palatable or that we want to make sure that we have gained comfortability with our audience and therefore do not want to scare them off. Sacrificing the holiest of holy names is not the answer. As I am convicted of such leniency in my own conversation, I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6,

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.  But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”

My challenge to you is reintroduce the name of Jesus into your conversations, giving Him the glory for whatever occurs in your life. We ought not to proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord. That way our phrases are no longer “My faith got me through”, but “Jesus Christ got me through.” Our phrases are changed from, “I did a great job,” to “Jesus has given me the ability to do a great job.” We see that through our proclamation of Jesus rather than ourselves the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is shone.

We must proclaim Jesus no matter what the earthly consequence may be, because we know that the eternal glory is at stake and Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. Omit fluff from your language, NOT Jesus.

HEY CHRISTIAN! You are NOT called to be an American.

So yeah, I am a Liberty University alumnus and I have been asked at least a couple times about Jerry Falwell Jr endorsing Donald Trump and blah blah blah. I am the last person who would say that politics are dumb and boring. I actually find the political race towards presidency quite invigorating. I think as an american it is your duty to at least try to understand what each candidate stands for and what your vote implies. If you are a Christian-American you should want each policy to reflect the God that you serve. Do not get me wrong when I make my power statement, electing proper leaders to lead our country is important and I love America. With that being said, I will say what I said when Obama got reelected in 2012… Hey Christian! You are NOT called to be an American.

Jesus deals with how we are to abide by our governmental policies and what our posture should be to the law that we are under, but I am confident that Jesus did not call any of his followers to be conformists to the culture or government around them. In fact Jesus called his disciples to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to give to God what was God’s. (Matthew 22:21) Jesus implied that since the inscription on the coin was Caesar’s, that the inscription on humanity is God’s. We are not called to give our lives to politics, we are called to give our life to God. That means that if the USA goes into a catastrophic failure we are not thrown into turmoil, we still praise God for being God. That means if Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders become president of the USA, we still praise God for being God. That means if our government is obliterated and complete anarchy breaks out and its every man for himself, we praise God for being God. That means if we are overrun by ISIS and are forced to die for our belief in Jesus, we praise God for being God as we go to our grave and our life with God forever in paradise. No matter what country you live in or what government you reside under, you are always called to give to God what is God’s. After all the Prophet Isaiah claimed in Isaiah 9 that ALL government would hang on Jesus’ shoulder and Jesus would be called the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Isaiah says that there will be NO END to the greatness of his government and NO END to the greatness of Jesus’ peace. I mean come on! How could that not bring you a peace and hope thats unshakable? How could that not make you see how weak and futile our 300+ year government really is?

This United States will come to end just like all things will come to an end on this earth. This government will eventually fail completely just like everything on this earth will fail, just like you and I will fail. Have you told anywhere near the amount of people you have told about your political stance that Jesus has a plan of salvation for their life? If not, does that not seem like a problem? I know that I have that problem and thats why I am writing this. I want to challenge you, the reader, rather than talking to someone about how to “Make America Great Again”, talk to that person about the one who will never stop being great for all of eternity, Jesus Christ.

Top Ten Christian Hip-Hop Artists

Ask yourself if you like any of these qualities in music: Word play, fire emoji beats, lyrical genius, encouraging message, good news sharing, Gospel preaching, theology explaining, testimony telling, great production, something to shuck and jive to, and something that gives you the feels. If you answered “yes, I want that in my music” to at least one of those things then this list is for you. I will be ranking and analyzing the Top Ten Christian Hip Hop Artists with a quote of their best lyric and a link to sample some of their music. Hold on to your boots ladies and gentlemen and get ready to dive into a whole new world of music.

Base of the Mountain:

10: Eshon Burgundy. Best Albums: The Fear Of God

Eshon is a hip-hop artist and producer from Atlanta, Georgia who was born in Pennsylvania. He hold nothing back in his head on attack approach of Christan Hip-Hop. He has a raw feel to his style with very deep lyricism. Eshon usually raps to his own beats that he produces which gives his music a more personal feel. Eshon will rap about systematic theology and he will rap about what is happening in his culture. You will feel encouraged after listening to this man spit.

Lyric: Lord Knows

“Only The Lord Knows

I’m questioning if that’s really who they be blessing when they rapping at award shows Scripture telling me the god of this world blinds the mind of the boys and the girls.
So they grinding for the diamonds.
Rounding tan rubber bands wrapped around the commerce.
No snitching, no whispering to your honor Study the youth and you see the end is upon us                                   The way, truth, and the life is like two thousand years behind us”

9: Trip Lee. Best Albums: The Good Life, 20/20, Rise

Trip Lee has been around for a long time in the christian Hip-Hop game. Trip Lee is from Dallas, Texas and has been with 116 Clique since the beginning. Trip Lee in my opinion is a better preacher than he is a rapper, but he has a very unique style of hype music. Trip Lee is a great option for encouragement and being fed with promises from God in your music.

Lyric: Cling To You

“Lord, it may get better but it may not. So when I pray God, I pray I would trust You whether or not the pain stops. So when the the pain falls, coming down like rain drops. I just gotta cling to You.”

8. Andy Mineo. Best Albums: Heroes for Sale, Uncomfortable.

Andy Mineo has a huge following right now in his career. This stems from his ability to get a fan based hyped with encouraging music and wonderful beats. Although I feel like his lyricism is lacking on some fronts, he has an amazing ability to encourage his listeners. This New Yorker rapper is a must listen if you need to warm up for any type of activity.

Lyric: Pick It Up

“So I pray that you make up your mind, deny yourself and take up the pine.        Live the Cross, it ain’t a chain or design, ’cause Sin Is Wack.                  Don’t wear one on your chest if you don’t bear one on your back, fam.”

7. Alert312. Best Albums: Of Vice and Virtue, The Upside Eternal

Alert312 is comprised of two artists who are extremely hard to find our their identities. They are Chicago Hip-Hop Artists who have a sound that I would describe as “Chicago Hip-Hop Artist” They have a very sing type style. When you sit down to listen to them, expect cool beats and deep lyricism mixed with the ability to be very diverse.

Lyric: Invisible Man

“This is Love we’re not accustom to, imagine this view: Humility written in his jaw bone, sank low to take blows from creatures He himself knew before the cosmos were spoken into, tendons of mercy, holding back wrath from a crowd that swore they had the last laugh, as they whipped His blood soaked back, He is a genius typed into a paragraph.”

Middle of the Mountain:

6: Jackie Hil Perry.  Best Album: The Art of Joy

Jackie Hill Perry is a poet/ rapper with an amazing story of salvation. She tells her story of being a lesbian and Jesus saving her from her sin. She is one of the best story tellers I have ever listened to and she uses that poetry background in her rapping. Her beats are great and her lyricism is on point.

Lyric: The Art of Joy

“I tried to find joy in everything, Searched a couple mountains. Even thought I could get it from two from fifteens. That filled my lungs with something higher and inspire me like a sixteen or Sistine. It didn’t work But what did it was the finished work, Brought me back to Himself, Now I’m living in reverse; Seeing good gifts as a glimpse of the giver. Not the gifts as a giver. Merry Christmas if the vision works”

5: Propaganda. Best Albums: Excellent, Crimson Cord

Propaganda is from southern California with a background of poetry as well. He does some amazing spoken word that I advise you to research and listen to. His Hip-Hop is a mixture of new spoken word and a southern California feel. He has a great story telling ability while point every song that he writes back to the cross of Jesus.

Lyric: Redeem

“He be morphin’ the pimp, hustler, and rapist to co-laborers
And them muy mal female canines, come see the change in ‘em
It relates to the laymen, our mistakes ain’t go to waste, boy
The Redeemer did just that then sent us right back to ya
Huh, Wake up, come join the winning circle and come hang wit us
Swoop through, we stroll this royalty in full regalia
And don’t love the old us that’s pitiful necrophilia
The nasty made clean, there’s no rewind just redeem”

4: Jgivens. Best Albums: El V Envy, Fly Exam

Jgivens is a rapper who is fairly new to the scene. His testimony consists of being a former drug addict and a complete life transformation in Jesus. His lyricism is on another level. You might have to sit down and put on your headphones and pull up rap genius to understand what he has to say. I truly believe that he has the ability to be the best.

Lyric: Friends

“I’m Icarus trapped in a life lackluster
Women and religion and a glass pipe livin’ in a ziplock bag
Full of Sprite-colored bite-size nuggets
Full of trees like a white guy running
(Forest, Forest)
You livin’ locked up, lukewarm earthling
Livin’ for the twerk team
First thing in the morn’, view porn, hurting
Super low
But do you know?”

The Top of the Mountain

3 and 2: Braille and Odd Thomas as a part of Beautiful Eulogy. Best Albums: The Satellite Kite, Instruments of Mercy

I decided to break up the group Beautiful Eulogy into two different numbers on the list. Braille comes in at 3 and Odd Thomas comes in at 2. Both of these artists have solo work that is very well done, but as Beautiful Eulogy I would say have produced the best lyrically theological driven Christian Hip-Hop I have ever heard. Let me say that again, the BEST lyrically theological driven Chrstian Hip-Hop I have ever heard. These Portland based Rappers also own Humble Beast Records and employ at least 3 of the artists that are on this list. They constantly produce great music and also Humble Beast gives out all of their music for free on their website. Listen to these dudes right now.

Braille Lyric: Exile Dial Tone

“But God does not use the same methods as the world

He chose the foolish and the weak to bring His message to the world

We were rescued from the world, He left us here to be His servants

We don’t need more superstars we need more Gospel-centered churches”

Odd Thomas Lyric: Exile Dial Tone

“We keep fighting over the issue of what’s too worldly of a christian to make a difference So no matter how you paint it or politically campaign it

Whether you water it down and drain it. It’s really all the same ain’t it?

It’s the same frustration, same constant segregation.

Christians living like aliens trying to relate with citizens of a different nation”

1: Lecrae. Best Albums: Gravity, Anomaly, Rehab. Best Mixtapes: Church Clothes 1 &2.

Simply put, Lecrae made Christian Hip-Hop relevant. Lecrae started Reach Records and the 116 Clique. He has an amazing ability to put together a song and he has lyrically grown astronomically in the last 6 years. His mixtape are great, his influence in the community is greater. Lecrae is known for reaching secular rappers and allowing them to be on songs with him. He is truly an ambassador for Christian Hip-Hop.

Lyric: No Regrets

“You not a leader cause they follow you on twitter
And you not a man based up on your age and your gender
If you die tonight you’ll probably die a boy
Chasing toys objectifying these women thinkin they gon’ bring you joy
Don’t you want more than last night’s braggin rights
What’s yo life?
I know it’s hard to think about underneath these flashing lights
Scratch the surface money’s worthless when it comes to finding purpose
If you keep the end in focus you can’t keep it when it’s over
And when it’s over there’s something else starts
Only thing that’s really gon’ matter is that hope inside your heart
What you trusting in what you lusting in
For that busty momma that’s strutting in
And you popping bottles you throwing dollars
That’s cool but partner this just in
That you gon’ live forever whether you want to or not
Some of us gon’ end up holy some of us gon’ end up hot
Tell this life to keep my problems kiss my momma when I’m gone
Tell her I have no regrets and I’m home I’m home”

Don’t Hide The Light

One of my favorite things this whole world has to offer is the Ohio State Buckeyes. I really do feel like my cheering and yelling and jersey wearing helps the Buckeyes win games. In 2014, the Buckeyes had an amazing run towards the National Championship that began with a loss to Virginia Tech and had a number of unfortunate events happen that include losing their first two starting quarterbacks. After the loss to Virginia Tech they just kept winning and winning under circumstances in which losing was inevitable. Eventually they made it to the National Championship and won that game as well. Man I was stoked for the team and for my own personal fandome. I was too happy to share with everyone I knew that not only was I a Buckeye fan but that they won the whole thing. This is a curious thing to think about in the context of our personal relationship we have with Jesus.

Luke 8:16-18:

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Jesus tells us in Luke 8 to not put our lamp under a basket because, well, that makes no sense to have light that is hidden. This is a direct relation to our faith in Jesus Christ. The instant that we come into relationship with Jesus Christ we are now given a light.  We are meant to shine the light of Christ that many can see. Jesus calls us to let our light shine that he shone on us. In that, we are to be bold in our relationships and not hiding the light. It is funny what happens when we are willing to share His story…God gives us opportunities all the time to do so. How does this relate to the Ohio State Buckeyes? Well I am so quick to talk about how great they are and find it hard to share about how great Jesus Christ is in my life. This is a conviction for my own heart on an every day basis. I am sure that you have an “Ohio State Buckeyes” in your life. I pray that we are willing to share boldly in the relationships that God has placed in our life.

A Pointless Blog About Being A Browns Fan

I woke up from a daydream just a few moments ago or I guess I should say that I woke up from a day-nightmare. Johnny Manziel was rolling to his left in the Red Zone and threw a laser rocket pass to the back left corner of the End Zone and his Taylor Gabriel right in the hands but instead of catching it, Gabriel decided to drop it like Braylon Edwards circa 2009. After I woke up, I realized something…. This was not a nightmare, this actually happened on Thursday Night against the unbeaten Bengals. That play and like three other plays changes the game and the Browns win this football game.

So anyway, in my misery I was thinking about all the teams in the NFL that have had seemingly poor luck and how I am jealous of all of them. I am going to make a header of a team that I think has had fake bad luck and why being a Browns fan is ions worse than being a fan of that said franchise. Mostly I will be referring to being a fan of these franchises since 1999. Mainly because The Browns came back in 99 and I first truly became a fan of the Factory of Sadness around this time. Lets look at the Four Franchises that seemingly have bad fortune but really don’t. These are random numbered and are really more subjective to my own frustration.

Not In The List But Still Really Annoying Occurrence In Football World:

Indianapolis Colts

This will be short and sweet Guys we all know being a Colts fan has been Great since Peyton. Like I mean GREAT. For some reason, these fans like to complain because they haven’t won the illustrious four Super Bowls that the Pats have won in that span, but nonetheless, it has been great being a Colts fan.

I know that right now the Colts are struggling and their savant of a QB does not look like an MVP, but this is what I want to talk about. The Colts had Peyton Manning, won a Super Bowl, got to watch records broke, and had Tony Dungy as their coach. Peyton got neck surgery that one time and The Colts threw Curtis Painter and Dan Orvlosky out there to pretend to throw a football. What happened? They were not good at all, and the Colts somehow get the Number 1 pick and who did they draft? Andrew Luck.

The Browns have thrown out like 213 Quarterbacks since 1999 and the Colts had Peyton Manning, suffered for a year, and got the next Peyton Manning. I am done man, I think I just cried.

The List:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Ok, yeah I see what you are saying about how the Jags are terrible and are always terrible. I understand what you are saying about how their jerseys being turd sandwich. And yes, I get is, Blaine Gabbert was a first round draft pick for the Jaguars and everybody is still scratching their head about that one, BUT Blaine did win a game for the Niners yesterday which means he isn’t completely useless. Yes the Jaguars have been pretty bad since 1999 and I commend everybody who is truly a fan. I think we should focus on the positives just so we can focus on how being a Browns fan is way worse.

The Jaguars have a pretty good offensive attack right now even though they are not winning games in playoff type form. They got the Allen, Allen tandem on the outside and both of those dudes are getting mad yards and Touchdowns. Also, it turns out that Blake Bortles is competent enough to not be called a bust, which for Jacksonvile first round draft picks, is a win in itself. Also, they have Paul Posluszny and if he doesn’t have the best name in Football, he is still one of the best Linebackers in the last 8 years. We can’t forget that they won 14 games in a season once and they had Mark Brunell under center for a good 8-year span.

There is really only one thing you need to know about the Browns that make us a sadder franchise and that is that we once traded our first round draft pick of potentially Julio Jones for PHIL TAYLOR…. BROOOOO Phil Taylor. The Browns could have had Julio Jones, but we got Phil Taylor. Yes if you were wondering, he actually did play for the Browns for a little bit. I even have a Ticket with Phil Taylor being the featured player of the day and I am pretty sure that is the football entities slapping me across the face. And yes, if you were wondering, Julio is being video game unreal and Phil Taylor is no longer in the NFL.

Verdict: Being a Browns fan is way worse than being a Jaguars fan.

  1. Chicago Bears

Right now the Bears are the closest things to opposite of the name of their football stadium as we have ever seen. They play at Soldier Field and they have zero players playing like soldiers. Anyway, the Bears have had some misfortune lately. They resorted to starting Jimmy “spiked hair” Clausen and it was the most laughable football experience I ever seen on TV outside of watching the Browns. They have a franchise QB who looks like he has never been happy before in his lifetime. I get it, right now its not easy being a Bears fan.

The Positives:

The Bears had the nerve to have one of the best Defenses of All time and go to a Super Bowl. Like Rex Grossman was a starting Quarterback in a Super Bowl all because their defense was THAT good. So yeah, they did have Rex Grossman as a starting QB, but they got to the SB.

The Bears have a pretty explosive offensive attack, which makes them watchable. Jake Cutler is REALLY good. Alshon Jeffery has hands of gold. Matt Forte has a cool name and his forte is being a really versatile RB.

I once bought a William Green jersey and remember saying, “He is the next best running back the NFL will see.”

Verdict: It is way worse being a Browns fan.

  1. Detroit Lions

Ok, The Lions are not good. The Lions have not been good like ever. If you remember like 2004, you remember Joey Harrington and the worst football that Michigan had seen until Brady Hoke got to Ann Arbor. I totally understand where the frustration comes in for Lions fans and how they have a very sad franchise to root for. Still I think they are not as bad as perceived, and definitely not close to as bad as being a Browns fan.

The Positives:

Guys, the Lions fan base gets to watch Megatron Calvin Johnson play football. This dude has made some of the best catches ever. I am truly jealous of the Lions fan base for getting to watch this dude work. Sure he is regressing a little bit due to Matt Stafford being really indecisive and his age, but still they got to watch this dude go off.

The Lions have also made the playoffs and that is all I need to say. I do not care about Super Bowl’s. I do not care about winning playoff games. I care that the Lions have got to play past week 17 more than once since I have been alive.

To compare, the Browns have/had/we are not really sure Josh Gordon and he was straight greatness on the outside. He put together one of the best WR seasons ever with completely incompetent QB play, which really gave us hope because he was going to be nasty with a semi-Ok QB. Well what happens? This dude gets like 13 different suspensions and now we get to watch Taylor Gabriel drop Touch Downs in the End Zone that hit him in the hands.

  1. Carolina Panthers

The biggest reason that I am writing about The Panthers is because I went to school in Virginia and now work in SW Virginia and have ran into my fair share of Panthers fans. I have heard it all from them. Especially this year: “Oh, our receivers are terrible and we have lost all of our good ones” and “We always have bad luck in games and can’t get the big game win.” And other stuff like that that I am probably making up in my head. I always heard about Jake Delhomme throwing massive amount of Interceptions in big games, but lets not forget the dell homie started for the browns at age 61 and it was completely hilarious.

The Positives:

The Panthers are undefeated right now and they have Superman Cam running under center. They do have an array of Ohio State Buckeyes which is the most positive thing that can ever happen to your team. Since 99’ The Panthers went to a Super Bowl and lost to the best QB ever. So yeah, its sad that they lost and that Delhomme was not stellar, but the Panthers fans got to watch a Super Bowl and root for their team at the same time. Something that I don’t think I will ever get to do as a Browns fan.

I just don’t understand how all these teams that have had terrible seasons come up with Quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Linebackers like Luke Kuechly. We get first round draft picks like Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Phil Taylor, Gerard Warren, William Green, Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, and many others. Also, we just cannot win ever and that is so super sad.

Verdict: Its way worse to be a Browns fan.

Factory of Sadness, I wish I did not care. Being a Browns fan is a sickness. After every week I say, “No more, I am done with this team.” (See my crying during the Colts rant.) And then the next week I will anticipate the game and truly believe The Browns will not fall flat on their face. Guess what? We usually fall flat on our face. I really need help…

ALEX’S 10 FAVORITE MOVIES……. PROBABLY

THE LIST:

For those of you who know me, you know there are certain things that I quite enjoy. Some of those things include but are not limited to: Lists, Ohio State, and Cleveland. Chipotle, Arguing Semantics, Music, and Movies. One of the most important things to remember when talking about Movies is that calling movies “films” just is not that cool of a thing and calling them movies makes you less pretentious probably. Its not that I won’t like you if call them films, but I definitely won’t not like you if you call them films either.

My grandpa Kacere is very consistent with telling me ,“you can not love things boy. You can love people, but you better not love things.” I want you to know before this list starts that my favorite movies is not a list of “the best movies ever”, but it is a list of my favorite movies. Usually what makes a movie great to an individual is simply put as “entertaining.” Entertaining has plenty of subjective meanings, but sometimes entertaining is something that makes me cry and other times its something that makes me pump my fist in manlihood. Some of the things that will go into choosing favorite movies are rewatchability, Acting, and wanting-to-show-someone-this-movie-ability. So without further adieu here are my top ten favorite movies that I really like a lot with description:

Random Numbered Movies:

62: Warrior (2011): Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte

89: The Muppets (2011): Jason Segal, Amy Adams

28: Lawless (2012): Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf

42: The Iron Giant (1999): Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr.

90: Extremedays (2001): Dante Basco, Ryan Browning, AJ Buckley, Derek Hamilton

16: Dumb and Dumber (1994): Jim Carey, Jeff Daniels

12: The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005): Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane

11: Catch Me If You Can (2002) Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Disney Princess: Belle by a long shot.

83726: Twilight: New Moon (2009) Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart

The List:

10: Wild America (1997): Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Devon Sawa, Scott Bairstow

Wild America is probably a move that you haven’t even heard of and I do not blame you. This is one of those movies that shows up on VHS in your house when you are 10 years old and you aren’t even sure where it came from. You are positive that pops didn’t pick it up, and you are even surer that moms didn’t go to the movie store for this thriller. One thing is for sure is that after you watch this movie; you don’t care where it came from.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas and company truly captures the essence of a movie about the wild in the late 1990’s. Three brothers work for their dad’s trucking company but want more for their life. The two older brothers decide to go on a cross-country expedition to film wild animals before they all go extinct and they want the end of the trip to be in Alaska where there is myth about a thousand bears sleeping together in a cave. Their fart-loving father spots them the money for the trip and they are on the way. Little did they know that Jonathan Taylor Thomas is chillin’ in the backseat under a blanket. They decide to let him stay and the three brothers end up on a journey that lets them interact with wolves, deer, moose, gators, broken legs, and bears.

This movies is rollercoaster of emotion and action for a ten year old boy who wants to find the adventure of his own heart. I will be the first to admit that this movie is not in the top ten best movies ever. Heck, this movie is probably not even in the top 432 movies ever, but it shaped my love for watching movies, and it has a very high rewatchability ranking. Basically, if you haven’t seen this movie, watch it. And if you don’t watch it, then shame on you forever and ever.

I really don’t want to spoil too much away in each movie in this list. Wild America is an exception because there are only 5,000 rates on IMDB and that’s a low number.

Best quotes:

  1. Marshall Stouffer: (talking about his older brothers) “They were most dangerous when they had a camera in their hands. They had their camera in their hand a lot.”
  1. Marty Stouffer Sr: “You telling me what to do, son?”

Marty Stoufer Jr. “No, dad. I’m asking.”

  1. Stango: “He came here to get himself a pair of gator skin boots. He got himself a whole GATOR SKIN SUIT!! AHHHHHHH”
  1. Hot Rod (2007): Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher

BRUH! When it comes to comedy movies that have rewatchability, acting, and wanting to show it to people who haven’t seen it before, Hot Rod might score highest on that list by a far shot. Andy Samberg and his team of The Lonely Island team up with hilarious actors such as Danny McBride, Will Arnett, and Bill Hader. I mean Andy Samberg plays a dude named Rod who wants to be stunt man but rides around on a motorized pedal bike. If that was all the information you gave me about this movie then I would probably make some popcorn, grab a diet coke, and watch with intent.

For sake of spoilers, just know that this movie is so funny that you WILL spit up your diet coke, this movie is so funny that you WILL tell someone who hasn’t seen it to watch it, this movie is so funny that you WILL find yourself quoting this movie for a long time, and this movie is so funny that you WILL start your own crew.

*these are not guarantees and I am not held liable to anyone who does not achieve these open promises

Best Quotes:

I am sorry but there are too many quotes, but know that if you watch this movie, you will be quoting hardcore.

8: Lion King (1994): Micheal Broderick, Jeremy Irons

 

AHHHHHHH SAVENNNNYA LA MA WEASTY A MOY….. SAVENNA A MOY

Best Quote:

“AHHHHHHH SAVENNNNYA LA MA WEASTY A MOY….. SAVENNA A MOY”

7: Major League (1989) Tom Berenger, Chalie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes.

 

You put Cleveland Indians, winning, and a movie together and what do you get? You get Alex’s 7th favorite movie of all time. Major League literally is everything that I want for the Cleveland Indians. Give me a hilarious announcer and NOT Rick manning. Give me a young pitcher that gasses heaters. Give me a center fielder who leads the league in “amazing catchers” by exponential numbers. Give me a power hitter who finds out his false God does not help him hit baseballs but that it is himself who crashes dingers. Give me a catcher who willingly rides a bullpen car on the road to follow his previous love. Give me a 40 year old starting pitcher who uses grease to throw curveballs. And Give me a manager that previously worked at a tire company and that can inspire even the worst baseballsters to hit for average. You give me all that and I will give you my 5 dollars at the Walmart 5 dollar movie bin for a movie made about this non-fiction team. It’s fictitious unfortunately, but I love every second of this movie. Also, Wesley Snipes is credited with like 100 stolen bases on the season and they show the same steal for at least 32 of them. So that’s a cool cinematography thing, right?

Important factor: Charlie Sheen plays a pitcher who somehow gets out of jail to try out for the Sons of Geronimo and you could tell by his fastball, that even then, he indeed had Tiger Blood.

Best Quote:

Harry Doyle: “Just a reminder, fans, comin’ up is our “Die-hard Night” here at the stadium. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant.”

  1. About Time (2013): Domhall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams

You had to know that there would be a chick flick in my list of favorite movies. I am a semi hopeless romantic that is not opposed to taking a girl out and dance under the stars to some Nat King Cole on a cold winter night. About Time is just about everything you want in a Romantic Drama. There is a not so great looking dude so all the real dudes watching can relate. He is paired up with a great looking girl who happens to be played by the eloquent Rachel McAdams. Basically Tim, played by Domhall Gleeson, discovers that he has the ability to travel in time by just standing in a closet and thinking of a place that he wants to go. So he uses this awesome tool to try to find the woman of his dreams. He starts with Margot Robbie, and I can tell you that when I saw Robbie in this movie, I instantly decided that About Time would be in my favorite movie list for probably the rest of my life.

Robbie just keeps giving Tim the stiff arm and so he somehow found Mary, played by Rachel McAdams, and the whole movie is about how he tries to balance love, family, and time travel in the right manner. I will not give any more away. I will tell you that after watching About Time, if you are a man, you will have the utmost confidence in yourself when it comes to approaching girls. Domhall Gleeson got to fall in love with Rachel McAdams and she actually fell in love back. Isnt that what any romantic movie is about in the end, to have men and women believe that they have a shot with that man or woman that capture their heart? Well About Time has succeeded people.

Best Quote:

Tim: “Lesson Number One: All the time travel in the world can not make someone fall in love with you”

  1. Shawshank Redemption (1994): Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman

Dude…… Andy Dufresne is literally one of the coolest names I have ever heard and I am tempted to ask my hopefully future wife to name my son Dufresne. If you have not seen Shawshank Redemption, then I highly recoomend you ask your parents if it is ok to see this movie… Then go ahead and grab some Swedish Fish, a Green Tea, and a person to watch with and then turn your phone off and let the movie do the rest. I am from Ohio and this movie was filmed in Ohio so that gives this movie extra cool points.

I really can not describe this movie more because if you have seen it, you understand how great it is, and if you haven’t then I do not want to give anything away. All you need to know is that on IMDB this movie is the top rated movie by the fans with an extraordinary 9.3. ITS MORGAN FREEMAN PLAYING AN INMATE AND TIM ROBBINS ACTING TO HIS FULEST YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS MOVIE IF IT’S THE LAST MOVIE YOU PUT IN YOUR DVD PLAYER YOU WILL LAUGH CRY AND BE JOYFUL PUNCUATION IS STUPID.

Best Quote:

Andy: “That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you… Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?”
Red: “I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it though. Didn’t make much sense in here.”

Andy: “Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don’t forget.”

Red: “Forget?”

Andy: “Forget that… there are places in the world that aren’t made of out stone. That there’s something inside… that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. That’s yours.”

Red: “What’re you talking about?”

Andy: “Hope”

4: Goodwill Hunting (1997): Matt Damon, Robin Wiliams, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck

 

            “ Sky rockets in flight…. AFTERNOON DELIGHT.” This is the end of one of the best trolls on a psychiatrist that I have ever heard. It came right from Will Hunting played by Matt Damon. Will Hunting is a janitor at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts, but is secretly a genius. He solves this hilariously hard math problem and he is found out. It is also found out that he is a skilled fighter and the opposite of a law-abiding citizen. Will goes to jail and is bailed out by the head professor in the math department and he gives him an opportunity to work at the school for the time being instead of serve a jail sentence. The only stipulation is that he has to meet with a psychiatrist about his mental issues. After many failures and Will playing jokes on the psychiatrists, he finally finds one that understands him. It ends up being Robin Williams who happens to be from the same neighborhood that Will Hunting is from.

Bruh, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote and directed this flick and they grew up together and both became good actors. I like the story outside of the story. Also, my dad loves to say, “how do like them apples” to me all the time and that is an essential moment in Will Hunting’s character development.

This movie is the bomb and you should watch it. Obvi I am suggesting all these movies, but this one…. This one is greatness.

Best Quote:

Will to college student who tried to pick up a girl by embarrassing Will’s friend: “ You like apples? Well I got her number…. How do you like them apples.”

3: Dark Knight (2008) Christian Bale, Heath Ledger

 

Guys…. I have never liked a villain as much as I like The Joker played by Heath Ledger. I find myself rooting for this dude during the movie and I love impersonating his character. Christian Bale also does a phenomenal job of yelling. “where is Harvey Dent” in a super deep voice. Probably the coolest thing about this movie is that The Office does a Joker Halloween joke with Dwight, Creed, and Kevin and I die every time I see that part. There isn’t much to write in this description as to why I like this movie so much. It is simple really. Batman and The Joker played by awesome actors and a little bit of anarchy mixed in. I. AM. IN.

Best Quotes:

  1. Joker: “Why SO Serious”
  1. Joker: “All you care about is money. This city deserves a better criminal. And I’m gonna give it to them”
  1. All of Batman’s quotes basically.

2: Saving Private Ryan (1998); Tom Hanks, Matt Damon

You never really feel like a man growing up in the late 90’s and 2000’s until your dad sits you down and says, “Al, it is time for you to watch Saving Private Ryan with me and learn what a great war movie is all about.” That time came in probably 2004 for me when I was 12 and I have not looked back ever since. What I really like most about this movie is that the director saw how bad of an actor Vin Diesel was and killed him off pretty soon into the movie. I am always pretty psyched about that part because Barry Pepper also shows us his sharp shooting skills.

So confession, Tom Hanks is my favorite actor and I have a portrait of Tom Hanks in my office. Saving Private Ryan is a big reason that I love Tom so much. There is shooting, strategy, gore, funny banter, and Nazi destroying in Saving Private Ryan and it is secure in the number two spot for a long time coming.

Basically all Tom Hanks movies could make my list at any moment. Catch Me If You Can is my number 11 movie if you recall and it could easily be 4.

Best Quote:

Captain Miller: “you want to leave? You want to go off and fight the war? All right All right. I won’t stop you. I’ll even put in the paperwork. I just know that every man I kill the father away from home I feel.”

 

1: Remember The Titans

 

            Did you guess it? I believe you probably did. No other movie was close when it comes to my favorite movie. Remember The Titans has every thing that is quintessential for a boy’s favorite movie. It has Racial tension, integration, football, Denzel Washington, injuries, and perfection. I was 8 years old when this movie came out and I got to see it with the whole family. My dad and I still to this day will have conversations that only consist of Remember The Titans quotes. When he is disappointed in me he still says, “Alex, you are overcookin’ my grits.” At one point I owned 8 different copies.

Denzel Washington absolutely kills his part of Coach Herman Boone and he is definitely a Hall Of Famer in my book. Also, Hayden Panettiere became a really attractive person so that is pretty cool.

There is so much to say about this movie and why it is my favorite movie, but to put it simply, Remember The Titans is as entertaining the first time that I watch it to last week when I turned on the TV and stopped what I was doing to catch the last 45 minutes. It can make me cry, laugh, be joyful., and have hope. I LOVE THIS MOVIE! The number one spot will probably NEVER be taken away from Remember The Titans.

Best Quotes:

Every quote of this movie is amazing, but the one that I love above the rest is the first interaction the players have with Coach Boone.

Boone: PUT YOUR HAND DOWN… You are smiling

Petey Jones: Yes

B: Yes, sir. Why are you smiling?

PJ: Cause I love football. Football is fun.
B: Fun, Sir? It’s fun?

PJ: yes.

B: You sure?

PJ: I think

B: Now you’re thinkin. First you smile, then you thinkin. You think football is still fun?

PJ: uh, yes.

B: sir.

PJ: yes, no sir.

B: No?

PJ: um, it was fun.

B: Not anymore though, is it? IS it?

Pj: Not right now, no

B: No it’s not fun anymore. Not even a little bit

PJ: uh… no

B: Make up your mind. Think since you’re thinking. Go on, think. Is It fun?

PJ: No, sir.

B: No? Absolutely not?

PJ: Zero fun, sir.

B: All right, listen up! I am Coach Boone. I’m gonna tell you about how much… “Fun” you are going to have this year.

Living Through The Gospel

I still remember sitting in Freshman Year Gen Ed class with Mr. Wider and our week-long discussion throughout the class about Worldviews. I was quite intrigued with what our class had to say about all the belief systems in the world and what it looked like to live a worldview out in everyday life. We often came back to the common understanding that a worldview for each person was like a set of lenses that you would see the world through. So for ten different people with ten different belief systems, they would all see the same situations ten different ways. It was the first time this was brought to my attention and I was and am still very intrigued by this idea. Unfortunately for the Christian, it seems like we have so many lenses that we wear to discern our decisions and our attitudes. Some groups of Christians are motivated by self-righteousness and see all situations from that perspective. This usually results in hateful actions and speech in the name of Christ. Other groups are motivated by legalistic upbringing. These people wear lenses that usually result in Christian tradition that turn people off to the real redemption of Jesus Christ. There are also self-motivated love lenses, ‘rootin-tootin-shootin’ lenses, antinomianism lenses, and many more. From the outside looking in, it seems like the Christian belief system as a whole is not united, but divided. I propose the true lens of which humans should be living their lives through is that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ: The Lens by Which We See

 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a list of good teachings, lifestyles, and history that we look at and have an opinion about. We do not look at the Gospel and decide what we want to use for our own personal life and throw away the rest. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the lens by which all of Christianity and by God’s grace, all of humanity should be living through. How do we live our lives through the lens of the Gospel? Become like-minded with Jesus Christ.

What I think is so cool about this concept is that Paul’s letter to the Philippians he pleads with the people on this issue, proposes a solution, and shows the hope for the world all in eleven verses. I want you to read this passage and then read it again:

Philippians 2:1-11, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Look at what Paul is saying! If there is ANY encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, what should we do? We become like-minded with Paul and with Jesus Christ. Paul’s call on our worldview on our lens to be as empty of ourselves as possible and FULL of Jesus Christ. How do we have that mind? The Spirit of the Lord bestows it upon us.

The hope in this all is that we find freedom in the name of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself to become a servant. God gave Jesus the name about all names so that every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord!

It seems to me that this is the ultimate plan for man from God. When I think about the ultimate purpose for Christian, the reason that we do not drop dead when we are justified in the Lord is because we are used as God’s vessel to share the Gospel. So how does this pertain to our life? How do live through the Gospel? We change our perspective. We no longer go to school to only do well and learn, but we go because there may be an unsaved soul who needs to be loved. We no longer only go to work to have a salary and to enhance what we are doing, but because we might have a coworker who needs to know Jesus is the savior of the world. Living through the gospel affects all of our decisions and our desires. Jesus affects our emotions and our attitudes. He affects our ability to love and our motivation for relationship. Living through the gospel instead of looking at the gospel is the difference between divided ideals that create untruthful rifts and being united in the objective truth of the triune God.

All you need is love….. right?

It is very hard these days to open social media, watch the news, or even have a conversation without hearing about the next new atrocity of our world. There has been tragedy after tragedy. There has been murder of innocent civilians by police officers, racist groups who believe in a superior race, terrorist groups in the Middle East getting stronger, fathers not knowing how to raise their children, and now outrage over a Lion being killed and ignoring the fact that there is a group of people who kill babies and sell their body parts. What really perplexes me more than anything else is that there is an overwhelming sweep of progressive America that is part of the “love” movement. That all we have to do is love and every issue will be fixed in the meantime. The perplexing part of this sweep is that I look outside my window and realize that there is not any real change in the world from all of history. The issues might be different, the tragedy may not be the same, but the deep-rooted pain, hurt, and sin are still one hundred percent evident.

You see, we love to say that what we are doing is loving without a real understanding of what love actually is. We want to change the world and we think that technological advances and pseudo love is going to be the remedy to our worlds hurt. What have we seen in the last twenty years in since the advance of technology? Well for one, we have made improvement in the efficiency of which we kill innocent babies. I don’t know about you, but this seems like the complete opposite of loving humanity to me. It is actually the least loving thing that has been done since I have been alive. Most of the time we think that affection, emotion, action, listening, and not being controversial is love. Unfortunately, these are elementary ideas that have no basis or justification. Love goes two thousand leagues under the sea deeper than just a feeling.

The only understandable justification for what love ACTUALLY is comes from the holy word of God. True love is rooted in the character of God, the real triune God of the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit. How can we love one another? Well first we must have a grasp on the love that has been shown to us by the Father. The word of God gives us the answer of that love that we can stand on so we do have reason to love the world and people around us. 1 John 4:10: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Love that does not come from this heart transformation and understanding of God’s love is not actually love but and action, emotion, or thought that is most likely driven from an innate desire to be wanted, accepted, and loved. So where do we actually find love? We first find love in the character of Jesus Christ and we let that overcome out lives. Then after we have been opened to the perfect love of the father and obtained salvation, we live out the gospel in our lives that Jesus has come to die and be the propitiation for our sins. We let that govern our jobs, relationships, and our every day life decisions. If that truth is what we are standing on, then the outflow of our life will be true, to the core love.

How do we solve the tragedy of the world? How do we unite as a people and end racism? How do we end the killing of millions of innocent babies? How do we figure out the purpose for our own lives? The answer is simpler than we believe. The answer is in the true love of Jesus Christ.

Peace… Its What’s For Dinner

My heart hurts…. It hurts for our country, it hurts for the world, it hurts for humanity, it hurts for the lost souls around me, and my heart hurts for the tragedy that is seen every single day. I can’t help but to think that there is something mightily wrong with the world. I think you can look outside and agree with this thought as well. You can see humans, everywhere, trying desperately to do whatever they can to stop this brokenness. I know people who will run to a different country and climb mountains because it is “so much more peaceful up here.” I know people who will try to find inner peace by letting go of everything in their life because “peace is found when you are not attached to anything.” Almost everything that we do as humans is driven by some force in us that wants to get back to a peace that we believe we once had. Unfortunately, if you read about history, you can see that throughout all of recorded history there has been immense brokenness and hurt. There has been terrible tragedy and death. There has been hatred and murder. There has been war and terrorism. There have been laws against certain humans and complete destruction of human races. For goodness sake, in America it is actually legal to kill a fetus. ACTUALLY LEGAL TO KILL AN UNBORN BABY. I could go on and on, but we can all agree that throughout all of humanity, peace has been a striving after the wind.

The first question that I ask is, “was there ever true peace?” The answer to that question can be found in the book of Genesis chapter 1. God had created everything in the world and man and woman were also created. After this, God said that it was very good. Adam and Eve were in perfect harmony with God and with the world around them. At this point in humanity, perfect peace was established and known.

The second question I ask is, “How did we get to where we are now?” This question is answered just a couple of chapters over in the book of Genesis chapter 3. Satan deceived Eve and Adam sure enough followed suit. Sin entered the world and from then until now there has been destruction, suffering, pain, and death.

I would venture to say that everything that you do is driven from an innate quality in your heart yearning for peace. The decisions that you make every day, good or bad, are because somehow you have rationalized that it would make you more peaceful than your current state. Often times, those decisions that we make don’t bring peace but on the contrary, hold us back from achieving that peace that we so desperately desire.

The last two questions that I would ask are, “can we ever get back to a place of peace?” and “how do we do so?” And I would say the answer to the first question is yes. And the how is rooted in the life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the universe is the only answer to the problem of peace that we face today. Jesus brings the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

I have mentioned this before, but Jesus used in any way, shape, or form for hatred, racism, or murder is a misuse of his name and something that we would call hypocrisy.

So we want to stop the hatred, racism, murder, and war? We want to overcome our personal issues of depression, anxiety, feeling unworthy, and a whole array of personal inadequacy? Well the answer is in Jesus Christ. God is restoring ALL of creation back to himself by the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf. He is God’s plan for peace. He is God’s plan for redemption.

The Proof For God

I bet you showed up to this post to read some great explanation of how God can be proved and you are either here to debate it or affirm that it is “so true”, but I am going to start off this post by saying that not only can I not prove God, but there is no need for proof of God for God to be real and evident in this world. Asking a Christian to prove God is real is as dumb as a Christian asking that same person to prove God isn’t real. See because it’s not really the proof that we need to believe. These are just circular arguments that go nowhere and usually end up with both parties bitter and unchanged either way. We have got to stop asking for proof as the end all reality. After all, understanding gravity is still a theory, and you would be held in a small minority if you chose to believe that gravity was not an active part of reality. You see we all make truth claims each day. Some of us say that Jesus is the only way to heaven, some of us say that God is not real, some of us say that all religions are the same and it does not really matter which one you choose. Loving or hating someone is not based on the truth claim that you make, but the way that you treat a human dependent on their belief system. As I write, I want you the reader and myself the writer to do what we do as humans, think. I want us to think rationally, I want us to think without argument, I want us to think while realizing that we can’t know everything that the world has to offer, and I want us to think with an open mind. Having an open mind does NOT mean that you accept everything that comes your way, but that you look at the evidence of what it being sent your way and you make a rational decision to believe or not believe. I am not claiming to prove anything, but I am saying that there is overwhelming evidence that point to a reliable God.

As a Christian one of the common belief systems that I hear about is that people believe in science. I am still not sure exactly sure what that means if I am being honest. “If science can’t prove it, then its not real” or “If there is not empirical evidence, then it is not plausible.” The biggest issue is that just about nothing philosophical can be empirically tested. Now obviously 2+2 is something that can be tested over and over and each time with logic you will get 4. You cannot empirically test whether or not loving someone is right or wrong. You cannot empirically test whether or not hitting a 5-year-old child is right or wrong or if you pick that child up and nurture it with love is right or wrong. These examples and many others are just relative opinions and tastes if God is not real. These are questions of much deeper intellectual thought, and almost every person I have met has the ability to make that thought.

The evidence points out that there is something extremely wrong with this world.

The evidence points that there are moral questions that need answered for each individual human. There are four logical places that determine morality comes from: The government you live in, the culture you are a part of, the individual person, or God.

The evidence points that three out of four of those are subjective creations that really have no justification to make a stance on any of the laws that they give. The other is God.

The evidence points to moral absolutes having to come from a lawgiver, being God.

The evidence points to each human being imperfect all the way up to the thoughts that we have.

The evidence points to humans in need of a Savior

The evidence points to Jesus Christ as being the only perfect human ever. He is the most ethical, understanding, loving, unbiased, accepting human being of all time. Every time Jesus is used for hate would be a misuse of His name and a complete contradiction to what he taught and what the bible teaches.

The evidence points to Jesus dying on a cross.

The evidence points to Jesus rising from the dead.

The evidence points to Jesus fulfilling prophecy.

Now the question you must ask yourself is, “what do I believe and can I live it out?” If you believe that the our world is just matter and energy evolved to a higher order then there can not be any ultimate meaning and I think that is just an unlivable world.

Timothy Keller said: “If from where you came from is insignificant, and when you die you return to insignificance, then nothing in this world can be significant.”

The evidence points to Jesus being the most reliable human being ever. I believe that if you truly search the truth about Jesus Christ, you will come to know the Savior of the world.