August Rush, Belief, Conviction, Faith and God’s Plan

You never quit you music no matter what happens. Cause anytime something bad happens to you, it is the place you can escape to and just let it go. I’ve learned that the hard way. And anyway look at me. Nothing bad’s gonna happen. You gotta have a little faith.”

August Rush, a little orphan following the music in an attempt to find his parents hears these words after having a little jam with what turns out to be his father later in the movie ends up indeed finding his parents through his music. The movie itself is all about the power and mystery that is music, but more than that it is a movie about straying true to your belief, in fact about staying true so much that they become your convictions. There is a subtle difference in that beliefs may change but for your convictions you are willing to die. A remark came back to min that was made by Chad Dedmon during a seminar organized through Harmony Church:

“You cannot let your circumstances determine your theology.”

August Rush stayed true to his belief, that the music he was hearing everywhere would one day lead him back to his parents and of course it did. One of his parents did not know of his existence, the other his mother was trying to locate him and indeed in the end recognized his sounds as something that could well have been coming from her son. All that time however the world was telling August Rush that his convictions were not going to bring him anywhere and that he should be getting back to reality. But AUGUST WAS IN HIS REALITY! He did not just believe what he said, it was HIS CONVICTION; HE KNEW!

For those interested here is the final scene of the movie, with the piece of music that would reunite a scattered family:

Make your Belief your Conviction

I guess the following bible quote illustrates and summarizes the movie completely:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

That is exactly what the movie is all about. The lesson for me personally: trust, patience, and endurance will get me there.  My conversion has not come without challenges and temptations and it seems sometimes that every time I think I know, something will come along to distract me or get me off track even. Never before have I found myself to realize how good I am in screwing up: in the sense of not being able to live up to God’s standard. But through prayer, conversations and meditation (which is actually just playing music without thinking about what I play), God’s plan for us reveals itself, and than it is up to us to pursue and persevere. In an email Rick Warren wrote:

I like the definition of conviction I once heard from the great Bible teacher Howard Hendricks: “A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for!”

I guess that is what the movie August Rush can teach all of us Christians but most of all me. First of all that we should make our beliefs our convictions as that will make us sure of the things unseen. I know it works for me: despite all the challenges it is posing an despite all the failures on my part along the way.

Conviction ==> Purpose

5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
1 Thessalonians 1:5

Jesus’ life was dominated by his conviction that he was sent to do the Father’s will.  This produced a deep awareness of his life’s purpose and kept him from being distracted by the agenda of others. It was exactly the same with August Rush. When invited to have his Rhapsody played by the NY Philharmonic, all he want to know is whether or not a lot of people will be hearing it: he is convinced that they need to hear it so as to enhance the chances that it will lead him back to his parents. His talents serve his purpose.

Jesus’ convictions become clear through his words: just study all the times he used the phrase “I must.”
I a slowly learning that in developing Christlike convictions a new and deep sense of purpose.

God’s Plan for You or Your Plan or God

It’s one thing to pray and ask God to make you to person He wants you to be, but it is a second thing of  His plan does not seem to make sense or poses foreseeable challenges straight away. Repentance is a challenge in itself but His plan may well go even further. That is where faith comes in I guess. That is the moment where you have to decide on the question of whether or not to follow through and place your faith in Him or to continue with your plan for God? I choose the first what about you?

Book Review: Timothy J Keller, The Reason For God. Belief in an Age of Scepticism

Most recently I had the pleasure to read the book The Reason for God, by Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan New York.

The Reason for God is written for sceptics as well as believers alike. It responds to the the writings of popular authors like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.  What I thought was especially attractive about the book was the currency. Many introductions to Christian belief were written longer ago and do not address what today’s skeptics are concerned about. The timing of the book is impeccable as it arrived in a time frame where both skepticism and conversion appear to be on the rise. More importantly the discussion is being polarized by popular fundamentalists of both camps.

Going over some apologetic notes that will probably be part of another post I noted that perhaps a lot of these books (and similar to what happens with many Christians in general) are focusing on fellow believers and not so much on the group that really deserves serious and respectful attention: the skeptics.All too often other (apologetic) books merely gloss over the important questions or come up with answers that may be convincing to the average believer but do not seriously address the questions by skeptics.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism

The Reason for God:
Belief in an Age of Scepticism,
Buy here>>>

Keller does not distinguish between believers and unbelievers. Instead he talks of believers and skeptics. His theory: we all believe something. And rightfully so I guess as the questions or concerns discussed by Keller are more than once similarly difficult for people that do consider themselves to be a Christian.

“If you come to recognize the beliefs on which your doubts about Christianity are based, and if you seek as much proof for those beliefs as you seek from Christians for theirs—you will discover that your doubts are not so solid as they first appeared.”

The first seven chapters of the book cover seven of the most common objections and doubts about Christianity and discerns the alternate beliefs underlying each of them. This section is titled “The Leap of Doubt” and answers these seven common critiques:

  1. There can’t be just one true religion
  2. A good God could not allow suffering
  3. Christianity is a straitjacket
  4. The church is responsible for so much injustice
  5. A loving God would not send people to hell
  6. Science has disproved Christianity
  7. You can’t take the Bible literally

In the second half of the book, titled “The Reasons for Faith,” he discusses seven reasons to believe in the claims of the Christian faith.

  1. The clues of God
  2. The knowledge of God
  3. The problem of sin
  4. Religion and the gospel
  5. The (true) story of the cross
  6. The reality of the resurrection
  7. The Dance of God

This book places Keller’s apparent influence C.S. Lewis into this day and age and I could not help but thinking how in some respects the experience of reading Keller’s book was similar to reading for instance Mere Christianity.
Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity,
buy here>>>

Publishers Weekly has advises that this is a book for “skeptics and the believers who love them.” Believers will rejoice in this book that carefully and patiently answers the most important objections of their skeptical friends with integrity and grace and Biblically consistent way. Skeptics will see that even their skepticism may well be based on some kind of faith. They are challenged to discern those underlying beliefs. A GREAT READ. It is most certainly one of the most compelling and at the same time highly accessible apologetic books I have read so far, and one that mist certainly addresses the right crowd.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism

The Reason for God:
Belief in an Age of Scepticism,
Buy here>>>

But perhaps even better: why not let the author explain about the book himself.

An extensive chapter by chapter summary of the book can be found at the Set ‘n’ Service blog here >>>

Also highly recommended is the next video in which Keller visits Google’s Mountain View, CA, headquarters to discuss his book. This event took place on March 5, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series.

I think that by now you should have enough reason to get the book for yourself. Follow the link below to order online. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism

The Reason for God:
Belief in an Age of Scepticism,
Buy here>>>