Just One More – At the Movies 2022

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Thou shall not kill. In the movie Hacksaw Ridge, an image of these words strengthened Desmond Doss’s conviction about not taking another person’s life, after almost doing that very thing to his brother.

It wasn’t until later, when Desmond helped a young man after an accident by placing a tourniquet on his leg and staying with him until he got to the hospital, that he realized he could join the wartime efforts fighting for his country and still remain true to his religious convictions. He gained new insight into the purpose God had for him.

I have to admit, there have been moments in my life when I faced similar convictions. Those moments are opportunities that God used to strengthen my faith. You have a choice: Will you stay stuck in the trauma? Or will you turn to God and learn to lean in?

Hebrews 11:1 NIRV
Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.

Desmond chose to turn toward his purpose and lean in. It wasn’t easy, but he didn’t waver.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Desmond held strong to his conviction and fought for what he believed. He felt God was calling him to help put the world back together when everyone else was tearing it apart. He never gave up.

Not when his father discouraged him from joining the Army.

Not when the Army charged him with being unfit for service for refusing to pick up a rifle.

Not when his officers and fellow servicemen disrespected his decision.

And not when he found himself on Hacksaw Ridge in the bloodiest battle of World War II. The soldiers were ordered to retreat from their position on the ridge during a counterattack. All who could escape did, except one—Desmond Doss. He stayed behind to stabilize the wounded and transfer them down the 400-foot cliff, one by one.

We have all been called to a common purpose—to spread God’s message of love and hope. Just like Desmond, we don’t know how much time we have left on this earth to accomplish our task. But in order to live out our ultimate calling, we must stand in faith and move toward the purpose and plans God has for us.

Desmond called upon the Lord in his darkest hour. He prayed, “Help me get just one more, Lord.” He was given the strength to save 75 lives that day! As you and I step into the purpose God has for our lives, trust that he will give us exactly what we need to accomplish it.

Questions:
What calling has God placed upon your life? Has it been easy? Has your conviction led you to stand? Were there times you wanted to give up?

Next Steps:
Meditate or journal on the answers to the questions above. Share your story to encourage another in their faith walk.

Text Fiction to 419-419-0707, and join us for a flash fiction story that parallels the theme from this week’s movie.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for the pain that teaches me to grow my faith and push my boundaries for your glory. Show me how to encourage others to stand. Open my heart and mind to find the courage I need to live as a follower of Christ. Most of all, Lord, help me to save just one more! In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Julie Estep, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut, who is grateful for the opportunity to reflect, write, and share what God is doing in her life. She’s glad you came today!


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Fight For Your Convictions – At the Movies 2022

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Like Desmond Doss in Hacksaw Ridge, I always felt a bit out of place.

What do you do when you’re surrounded by people who don’t look like you and were never taught things relating to your culture? Obviously, you go out of your way to make people uncomfortable. I was that person from fourth grade on. My style was a fusion of hip-hop and black consciousness, and my reports always introduced the class to a new topic from a world beyond the usual curriculum. I was aware my approach made people uneasy. There was conviction behind my motives, but I hadn’t found the right words.

Unfortunately, my silence in a drastically changing world allowed people to paint a picture of me that didn’t fully capture who I was. There’s a perception of what being black is on the surface, and stepping outside of that box brings many false labels. It’s too much to dive into, but in short, speaking properly and not living up to stereotypes meant I wasn’t “black” enough for some Caucasians and African-Americans, so I creatively told them otherwise.

I continued my battle to define who I was while trying to figure out who I would become. The only thing I was certain of—I wouldn’t let anyone else write my story—but I struggled to find sound in my voice. I slowly started to believe that I was the only one who wanted to hear my words. That can happen when you let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. 

I was ready to stop writing until my English 111 professor pulled me aside. She printed out writing pieces from different African-American writers and suggested I use them as a bridge to find my voice. Something in my writing needed to be unlocked.

2 Chronicles 15:7
But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.”

Last weekend, we heard that we’ll never accomplish our purpose if we choose to play it safe, run away, and give up. It will never be easy, but anything worth living for never is. I look back now and see where hard work paid off and where cutting corners pushed me back.

This past year, doubting voices from the past grew louder. Someone who used to know me questioned my “blackness.” Over the years, I have encountered this both from within and outside my culture, but honestly, it always hurts more when it’s from within. Thankfully, my convictions didn’t allow me to doubt myself. A few months later, I was approached by a magazine that uplifts black culture. They asked why writing is special to me. I replied, “Writing allows me to live in my purpose.” It’s a great answer to many questions or doubts.

Questions:
What past challenges do you struggle with? How has the past prepared you for the future? Where is God inviting you to be?

Next Steps:
Watch Hacksaw Ridge if you haven’t already. Read 1 Samuel 17 to see how David used conviction to face the challenge with Goliath. Don’t be afraid to invite others to live out their purpose. Tell them about GrowthTrack.

Prayer:
Lord, help strengthen my convictions when I allow life to weaken them.  Give me the courage to face my problems, but also help me fight for those who haven’t found the strength to fight for themselves. Let my voice speak your truth. Amen. 

Would you like to read more?  Text Fiction to 419-419-0707, and join us for a flash fiction story that parallels the theme from this week’s movie.


This post was written by Jaron Camp. Jaron is a storyteller and a professional ghostwriter who enjoys using his gifts to write for the LivingItOut. When he’s not developing fictional worlds, researching, and writing, Jaron enjoys watching sports, participating in family game night, and spending time with his wife and four kids.


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Not A Cake Walk – At the Movies 2022

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Have you ever felt led to do something that you knew would be both rewarding and challenging, but then gave up when faced with the challenging part?

I know I have. And when I look back on those times and analyze my failure, it points to one main thing: a lack of conviction.

In yesterday’s LIO, we learned what convictions are and how they are tested. So how do we develop strong convictions and carry them out? The answer is simple—follow God’s lead and everything will fall into place—right? Wrong!

As we learned this past weekend in the movie Hacksaw Ridge, Private Desmond Doss’s strong conviction led him down a path where he felt God was calling him, but it was anything but easy. He was beaten, ridiculed, threatened with a court martial, and forced to deal with one challenge after another. But because of his faith, he stood by his strong conviction, trusted where the Lord was leading him, and was exactly where he was meant to be to save 75 lives in battle.

Too often, we naively think that doing God’s will and following his purpose for our life is going to be a cake walk, a stroll down Easy Street. But that’s not how God works. If it was easy, there would be no need for faith or conviction—everyone would be doing it.

The truth is following where God leads us can be very hard and challenging. There will always be someone trying to tear you down … telling you to quit … telling you it’s not worth it and you’re not worthy. The task you are called to do might be dangerous or frightening or pull you far out of your comfort zone, but the good news is God does not call us to a purpose without providing the tools we need to accomplish it.

We never face our challenges alone. We have God’s armor.

Ephesians 6:13
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Ephesians 6:18
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Yes, pursuing our purpose still requires us to fully trust and depend on God with conviction.

Conviction—a feeling of being certain about something.

I’m here to tell you friends, my conviction is that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). I will gladly put on my gospel armor and step into whatever purpose my Heavenly Father calls me to, even if it’s not a cake walk.

How about you?

Questions:
How strong is your conviction when it comes to following God’s purpose for your life?

Do you find it difficult to step into your purpose when others are opposing you? Why?

Next Steps:
Watch the movie Hacksaw Ridge and put yourself in Desmond’s shoes. Try to imagine what you would have done.

Attend GrowthTrack to get a clearer picture of your God-given gifts and purpose.

Would you like to read a story that ties into this week’s theme?  Text Fiction to 419-419-0707, and join us for a flash fiction story that parallels the theme from this week’s movie.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I love you and trust you with all my heart. I want to step into the purpose you have for me, but at times, my conviction is weak. Help me to see more clearly, and give me the courage and strength to trust and follow your lead no matter what challenges I may face. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Ned Miller. Ned loves serving through writing on the LIO team, prayer team, group leader and as a greeter. He loves spending time with his family and working on his model railroad.


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Stand Up! – At the Movies 2022

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Convictions, when they’re well placed, can be so powerful.

I would like to say I have stood for every conviction I’ve had, but that wouldn’t be entirely honest. There have been times when I stood for what I thought was right only to find out that the conviction wasn’t my own. Sometimes, I put too much value in what others think which often leads to my own downfall—because what other people think (even what I think at times) doesn’t matter.

What matters above all else is what God thinks. And he loves us all the same, unconditionally.

There’s a popular saying, “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.” Isn’t that the truth? Thankfully for the 75 men he saved that day on Hacksaw Ridge, Desmond Doss did stand up for what he believed.

Imagine how scary it must have been to take on the U.S. Army in court based on your convictions alone? Doss found his courage in the Lord. He stood up for what he believed in and won the right to live it out on the battlefield, where he risked his life to save both American and Japanese soldiers. I like to think of it this way: Desmond’s faith drove him to fight for the soldiers that he saved before he even knew that he was fighting for them.

I have to believe that once they knew WHO Doss got his strength and courage from, he not only saved 75 lives but also saved 75 souls by leading them to Jesus.

Proverbs 29:25 GNT
It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.

If Desmond had run from his convictions and obeyed his commanding officer, he would have been forced to pick up a rifle and deny his true purpose—to honor God through helping and serving others. What he said in court was so moving:

“With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to wanna put a little bit of it back together.” 

I believe all Christians are called to do the same—selflessly share God’s love with others without any expectation of it being returned to us.

Matthew 25:40
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”

Unfortunately, in this day and age, we’re often guilty of caring more about what others think, even if we don’t want to admit it. I know I do.

Instead, we should put our trust in what God says is right and live by his truths and purpose for our lives. It’s not always easy, but doing so will give us the rich and satisfying life Jesus promised (John 10:10).

Questions:
Have you ever had to fight for what you believe is right? Did you stand your ground or run from conflict? What is a conviction that you are willing to go to the ends of the earth to uphold?

Next Steps:
Carve out some quiet time and listen for God’s purpose for you. Pray that God would help you stand firm in your convictions like Desmond Doss did.

Invite friends and family to join you next weekend for the third installment of At The Movies.

Text Fiction to 419-419-0707, and join us for a flash fiction story that parallels the theme from this week’s movie.

Prayer:
Father, show me how to have the courage to stand up for what is right and to be unconcerned by what others think of me. Who you say I am is what matters most, and I know that you say I am loved, worthy, and strong. When I listen to others, I fail. When I listen to you, I know it’s right because you have not and will not fail me. Thank you for your confidence in me when mine fades. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Casey Stengel. Casey is a follower of Christ, a dad, and an avid Chicago sports fan. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with family and friends. He works in recovery and loves to help people however he can. He is also working toward his Associate Degree in Biblical Studies.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


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What Do You Stand For?-At the Movies 2022

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This week’s movie, Hacksaw Ridge, tells the story of Desmond Doss, a young Virginia man who enlisted in the military during World War II, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Doss was one of many young men who enlisted at the time, but what made him unique was being a pacifist who refused to touch a gun while serving as a medic. This conviction was challenged in many ways throughout his time of service. Yet he held strongly to his belief in the face of opposition and, ultimately, became a hero during the battle of Okinawa.

Desmond’s pacifist conviction was first developed as a young boy, when he almost killed his brother while roughhousing. This incident was a turning point for Doss. From there, he determined to fully embrace the biblical commandment “thou shall not kill” and instead devoted himself to saving lives.

As Ben shared this weekend, Doss’s turning point is similar to the turning point of the younger son in Jesus’ parable, The Prodigal Son. When this rebellious son had exhausted his resources in pursuit of foolish living, he found himself at rock bottom. But his rock bottom moment would not be the end for this prodigal; instead, it became the turning point of his life.

Luke 15:17-20 NIV
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.”

Like the prodigal son, Desmond Doss decided to turn in the midst of his darkest moment. He took the opportunity to make a change, and he allowed a dark moment of his life to fuel his conviction and determination to save lives instead of taking them.

During his time in the military, Desmond saved many lives, but not before being harassed for his conviction to not carry a gun. His commanding officers did everything they could to get Doss to give up his convictions, and when he did not, they attempted to force him out of the military. Unshaken, Desmond stood by the belief he forged as a young boy. He refused to give up and continued to live out his purpose even when it was tough. And in the end, he earned the respect of his fellow soldiers for his dedication to serve others and his commitment to his beliefs.

Questions:
What have been the turning point moments in your life that fueled your convictions and beliefs?

What makes it difficult for you to stand by your convictions?

What do you stand for?

Next Steps:
Pray about what convictions you need to stand by. Then make a choice to stand by those convictions even when it’s tough.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to see what convictions I need to stand by. Help me to see the purpose you have given me. Please help me live out my purpose and stand by convictions even when it’s difficult. Amen.


This post was written by David Hammack, Jr., a regular contributor to the LivingItOut.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


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