Personal Life Messages from the movie Unbroken

December 28, 2014 at 12:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I watched the anticipating movie “Unbroken” the other day (CHRISTmas) with my parents (my grandfather was captured as a POW as a “Filipino” civilian and survived as a cook) and still absorbing the personal messages from this inspirational movie in this season in my life. I was first introduced to this real-life story (Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken”) by Neil, pastor of Harvest Community Church (Fargo, ND) and host to a weekly morning Bible study-fellowship group I attend in Morris, who gave me to read and share with one of my friends (college student from Japan renter) years ago. Unfortunately, my renter wasn’t interested in reading this book, but was inspired by the story. I got more interested in this story when Neil shared about this book was going to be movie on facebook. I’ve been looking forward to this movie since this Spring and now anxious to share about it with others.

Zamperini’s life story has taught me many life virtues (e.g. perseverance, gratefulness, commitment, and forgiveness) in this point of my life, which I’ll try to share as many of them down below. One of them is perseverance, which the stories he shared of what he endured during WWII is very inspirational. I’ve read many stories from that war, which has helped me to not complain and be more grateful no matter what challenges I’m facing in my life. The sacrifices many soldiers faced (including my own parents’ country-Philippines-> Filipino Military
Bataan Uncensored Paperback – December, 1991
, a must read book!) during that war helped my generation to reap the blessings we have right now. It’s important to never forgot our own history (U.S., Philippines, and any other nation), so we won’t take for granted what we are blessed with.

One of the memorable scenes or lines (motivational-inspirational quotes) that stuck out the most was when Louis made that covenant-commitment to God…

“If you get me through this I swear I’ll dedicate my whole life to you. Please”-Louis Zamperini (from briandoddonleadership.com)

I made a similar promise to God (Heavenly Father) before giving my life to Him back in the winter of 1996. I went skiing at a ski resort (Andes Tower Hills in Kensington, Minnesota). I went down hill skiing with a bunch of college friends (international students) and wanted to show off, so I just jumped on this chair life not knowing how far and big the hill I would be down hill skiing at. Well, when I got to the top, I realize this was higher than I thought and already forgot how to ski. I haven’t gone down hill skiing for years (should’ve gone on the smaller hill or bunny hill to get some practice). Well, this would be called, “Pride before the fall”. There was no way down but to go with my skis, so I had to fall 4x or so to finally decided to walk (after feeling my knee really swollen or hurt). I went to the ER at the local hospital (Morris, MN) and was at the X-Ray room. The doctor took an X-Ray and left the room by myself. This was when I had my “first” BIG encounter with God. I was more concerned about the financial cost of the medical expense than what happened to me physically. I then just called out to God and told Him-“God, if your real. Heal me and I”ll follow You”. Well, the doctor came back and told me that I didn’t break anything, which would be the beginning of my journey of faith (see testimony) Ever made a promise (e.g. Matthew 5:37-“Let your yes, be “YES”) with God, family, friends, etc…? I challenge and encourage you to “follow-through”!

I read and heard many stories of the atrocities in World War II and many wars before and after. Even though this movie just showed one perspective of one American’s experience. The torture that he and many others out there is very “inhumane”. Unfortunately, we as a county didn’t learn from this and still use this to this day (e.g. Shocking cases in CIA report reveal an American torture program in disarray – Spencer Ackerman in New York Tuesday 9 December 2014 ) This is an embarrassment as a nation to this world as we “preached” against inhumanitarian acts of other nations (e.g. North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, etc..).

In my response to what our nation has done and even myself (I too have “wrong” people in different ways and levels due to sin)…”forgive them for they do not know what they do”. Zamperini’s story can be applied with what’s going on today (e.g. Ferguson-we need to forgive each other for the wrong that’s been done to one another). There are “good” and “bad” cops-same with any group of people. We can’t “judge” or “stereotype” (e.g. NOT all Somolians are “evil” as the movie “Black Hawk Down” might stereotype these people group) any group because of the actions of a “few” of a group of people (e.g. race, nationality, political party, religion, institution, etc..) The real “enemy” is satan and his cronies (demons) that try to deceive and divide the human race to “fight” one another. It’s God’s love that is shared in the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ behind the message of Zamerini’s forgiveness!

Is there someone out there that has hurt (e.g. abuse) you in the past? Just as Zamperini had one-the “Bird”-was a “bully” or “tormentor” while he was Prisoner of War. When Zamperini went home after the war, he was like many veterans that would suffer from PTSD. He would have nightmares, which I too had them at times growing-up for different reasons. Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Well, Zamperini started to sleep better after his “encounter” with God at a Billy Graham Crusade and forgave his “enemy” (abuser, bully, etc..). Have you forgave that individual(s) that hurt you in the past? It’s not easy, right? You can’t do it on your own because you need that strength from God alone, which I personally (e.g. my own bully story) got when I gave my life to Him.

Ephesians 4:32New International Version (NIV)https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+4%3A32&version=ESV32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Good News Lovehttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1418219528396722/http://www.openbible.info/topics/forgivenessIan McCormack - an Atheist - Dead on Morgue Slab - Goes to Hell, then to Heaven and Back!! http://youtu.be/59mRZ1Vj8ZUmore...  http://life.goodnewseverybody.com/forgiveness.html

If you have read this book or watched the movie, curious-what was your famous line/quote/scene in the movie? why? what did you learn? How are you applying it in your life to this day?

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“Movie theater in Oakdale, Minnesota where I saw the movie “Unbroken” with parents on CHRISTmas Day

Good News Movies
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Folks with Signs Along the Highway Exit Ramps Part 1

December 26, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I’ve driven by “homeless” folks many times over the countless years around the Twin Cities and debating how God can use me to “reach out” to them….

The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25 )https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025&version=NIV41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”*see http://smu.gs/1yENQyBMoviesThe Fourth Wise Man http://youtu.be/Jg8Gho7hsz4Good News Sociologyhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/139706352858524/

I can’t say this was the voice of God, but this was spoken to my heart through an idea through a conversation with a friend. During Halloween, I like to give out “healthy juice” drinks (w/various Bible verses) instead of candy, which I bought a whole bunch several months ago. I was debating in my spirit my involvement with this “pagan day” this year, which I decided to not turn the lights on, but have my juices ready in case someone comes over. Well, no one came at all this year, so I have all these juices left over. I was telling my friend this and the idea of giving it to these “folks with signs along the highway exit ramps” would be a blessing.

Well, the holidays visiting family was going to be a great time do it. When I arrived in the cities yesterday (CHRISTmas Day) morning, I had my juices ready (along with food). I forgot I had them in my back of my car until I saw this guy with a sign along the highway exit by my parent’s home in St. Paul. It would have to be a quick and give as there were going to be cars coming behind me coming off the highway (eastbound on I-94). I grab one of the juice bottles (w/Bible verse) and a carton of some bakery goods. I ran over to the corner with my car running and quickly gave these items to this guy. I asked what his name was, he replied “Ben…thank you!”. I ran to my car and said “God bless you” and got to my car in time before the car came behind me coming off the highway. I did a quick prayer for Ben and went “home” to visit family for the holidays.

Today (26th of December 2014), I had another opportunity on that same corner, but it was a different guy with a sign along the highway exit ramp (Ruth & I-94). I noticed this guy as I was heading across the highway bridge to drop my car off to get an oil change at Firestone. When I dropped my car off early this morning (8:30ish), I got a bag of one juice bottle w/Bible verse and my last carton of bakery goods. I took it with me as I walked back home to wait to get my oil change done. This time, I had the time to chat with this guy, so I walked across the street and gave these items (prayed for preparation earlier) to him. He was grateful as he said thank you as he put the bag down by some of his stuff as he continued to hold his sign. Being that curious talkative guy, I asked his name and he replied “Tom” . I then asked about why he is here, he replied-“I got laid off my job several months ago and sleeping over at a friend’s house nearby’ (paraphrase as I can’t remember exactly what he told me word for word). He then shared, he’ll be getting his Social Security benefits soon. I would later share about what brought me to town (visiting family for the holidays). Prior to our talk, the Bible verse on “Silver or Gold I don’t have, but I have Jesus”-Acts) came to me, so I decided to tell Tom about Him. He then repeatedly told me he is Christian. I then asked him if I can pray with him for God’s provision. He then replied, “I don’t feel like getting prayer right now….I’m not feeling well as I caught the flu”. In my mind, I had a feeling this guy had some “hurt” in the past and didn’t want anything to do with God. I then replied, “..well that’s the best time to get prayer because your sick?” as I smiled. He then repeated again he was a “Christian” already, so I decided to move on and didn’t want this guy to “blow-up”. As I walked away to go back “home”, he would repeat and shout again “I’m a Christian already” as I quietly prayed in my Spirit for him. If you are reading this, please pray for Tom and Ben too…thanks!

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How the movie “Frozen” spoke to me?

December 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I finally had the chance to see the popular movieFrozen” for the first time yesterday. It was a special public “sing-a-long” (see short video) at the local campus. I’ve loved the song “Let it go” since it was frequently played on the radio and never knew it was from this movie until awhile after when I asked a co-worker. I did a karaoke version of this song this past summer too…

“Let it Go” (Kaoroke by Sal July 14′) in “Frozen” (14′ Winter “cold” Season ) w/Lyrics

After watching the movie, I’m now more understanding of this song as it became more meaningful to me personally. As I watched the movie, I did a lot of self-reflection and life symbolism (this grows when one meditates God’s Word in an almost daily basis and views almost everything symbolically). If you haven’t watched the movie, you might want to stop reading this blog as this might be a spoiler. I never knew what the whole story/plot of “Frozen” was, so I was watching with uncertainty on what will happen next.

The first scene of the movie, Anna and Elsa are playing like any other kids would be doing. Unfortunately, Anna got hurt for overplaying, which I remember getting hurt many times as a kid. It was a scene many of us can relate. I saw the injury as an almost concussion symptom with a head injury due to the fall accident. I almost got serious injured when I was playing (trying to pretend I was Superman) as a kid. I was trying to use a blanket as my flying robe as I slid down the handrails (4-6″ wide) of my parents’ 2-story house. Somehow, the blanket got caught and stuck, which caused me to fall almost a floor down. I hit the stairs down below pretty hard with my back landing on the curvature of one of the stairs below. I couldn’t breathe for a while as I landed on the right spot, which my parents came running out of the kitchen. They asked what happened and if I was ok, I tried to yell as loud as I can-“Yes, I’m o-k” (barely could say it as I was having trouble breathing) in a small voice. My parents went back to the kitchen and I then started to get up aching and relieved that my parents didn’t know what “really happened”. I look back years later and more thankful that I didn’t get severely hurt.

Anyways getting back to the movie, the popular song -“Let is Go” became more meaningful after I watched the movie. Elsa goes out to the mountains and starts building her own ice palace, so she can live by herself as she’s afraid of hurting more people with her powers (gifts). How this scene spoke to me is the part when she sings “let it go”, which I personally feel we need to get out there and use our God-given gifts..for “good” of course. Sometimes, we can use our “gifts” for “bad”. There is that freedom when we do use our gifts! What talents, skills, or gifts do you feel you have? Are you using them (e.g. workplace, church, family, etc..) ? …Using it to praise oneself or giving it glory to God?

The character that I personally somewhat identified myself with was Kristoff. There was a scene when Kristoff explained to Anna why he’s the way he is, which is due to isolating himself from the others because people can be so mean. I had a season like Kristoff (just wanted to just hangout with Sven…”Exclusive: Disney’s frozen Clip “Reindeers are better than people“)…

years ago when I just got “tired” of being “nice” to people as “they” have taken advantaged of my “niceness” (e.g. financially). I just wanted to put a wall (e.g. “No Man Is An Island
Tenth Avenue North
“) and isolate myself. I started to just “keep to myself” in various ways, which in isolation-one can get oneself in trouble by doing things (e.g. sin) one shouldn’t be doing in the “dark”.

Towards the end of the movie, Anna is still suffering and is about to die as her heart is getting cold. In order for her to live, she need someone to kiss her that loves her too. In the middle of the movie, one would thought it would be Hans. As the movie progressed, the relationship grew between Anna and Kristoff. In the scene where Kristoff finally finds Anna on the frozen bay, Anna notices her sister (Elsa) is about to get killed by Hans. Anna runs to go between the sword of Hans and Elsa, which she freezes exactly in time to stop the in-coming sword. I would later saw this as symbol of how Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for “us”. However, Elsa hugs Anna and this love melts the ice and warms her heart to live again. After the movie, I went to a special church workshop on healing. The teacher would encourage us to have more compassion for the people we were praying for healing. I then started to reflect this ending scene of Frozen on the power of love can bring healing!

Let it Snow (Parody of “Let it Go”-Frozen) Nov 22nd 2014 from Sal Monteagudo on Vimeo.

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