Tag Archive | "No"

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CLERGY CORNER: Sometimes, God says “no”

Posted on 19 July 2018 by LeslieM

Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) NRSV

The author of the above text, the apostle Paul, reminds us that prayers are answered, but not always the way that we want them to be answered. Sometimes, God says “yes.” Sometimes, God says “no.” Persistently Paul asked God to remove the “thorn in his flesh.” And God said, “No.”

When 2 Corinthians appeared in our lectionary a few weeks ago I felt that this is a good time for a reminder. Christians need to be reminded, now and then, that God says no on occasion.

I certainly am not the first pastor to address this and I know that I won’t be the last. It occurred to me that the greater problem is not the fact that God’s answers are unpredictable. I think the greater problem is that our response to God is predictable. When God says yes, we are predictably pleased. When God says no, we are predictably disappointed. What is rare, but not impossible, is the person who hears God’s no and responds with contentment. It is not to say that doesn’t happen, it is just to say that it is rare. For the most part, we feel entitled to a yes from God. That is the imperfect part of our human nature.

I remember hearing this story when I was younger and one could tell it in a number of different ways, but it is pretty much the same story.

A little boy asked his mom: “Mom, can we have hamburgers for supper?” His mom answered “no.” The little boy was disappointed. Then, when supper time came around, mom loaded up the car and took her family for pizza, the little boy’s favorite pizza place.

The same little boy, a few weeks later, realized that his favorite program was on TV. The little boy asked: “Mom, can we watch my favorite program on TV?” His mom answered, “no.” The little boy was disappointed. Then prime time came along and mom loaded up her car and took him to see a movie, a movie he was excited to see.

The little boy, once again, asked his mom: “Mom, can I go with my friend to the park?” His mom answered, “no.” The little boy was disappointed until his mom started loading up towels, blankets, chairs and his pale and shovel. It looked like he was going to the beach and his mom said he could bring a friend.

Then the little boy thought for a while and said, “When mom says ‘no’ to something good, she says ‘yes’ to something better.”

I thought about this simple story and reflected upon my life. I thought about all of the people in my life who bring me joy. I thought about where I live, where I serve and the joy that comes with being at Zion Lutheran in Deerfield Beach. If God would have said “yes” to every prayer I prayed, none of these blessings would have come to fruition. I am grateful that God said “no.” That is not to say I haven’t been disappointed. It is to say that disappointment is only temporary while God’s Grace is eternal and, as the Lord revealed to Paul, sufficient.

Every person should take inventory of her or his life and consider the disappointments and blessings. I think we would all be blessed to discover the many times when God said “no” to something good only to make it possible to say yes to something better.

Maybe that is why the Lord’s Prayer has the petition “Thy will be done” as opposed to “My will be done.” God seems to know better.

Thank God for all the times God said “no.” Thank God for all the times God said yes to something even better.

Pastor Gross is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, located at 959 SE 6 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-421-3146 or visit www.zion-lutheran.org.

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FLICKS: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Posted on 01 June 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


With less than expected box office revenue and mixed reviews from mainstream movie critics, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales still took the box office crown for Memorial Day Weekend. Yet, according to a popular critical website, RottenTomatoes.com, the paying public likes this fifth Pirate movie more than critics getting a free screening.

Dead Men Tell No Tales features a young Henry Turner locating his father, Will Turner, (Orlando Bloom) who is the current cursed Captain of the Flying Dutchman, the ship that ferries souls to Fiddler’s Green. The son claims that if he can locate the Trident of Poseidon, he can free his father from his curse. The barnacle-faced Will Turner rejects such an offer, especially if it means involving Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).

A decade passes and a grown Henry (Brenton Thwaites) is still searching for the Trident of Poseidon. His ship is raided by the ghostly Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), a ghost with a score to settle with Captain Jack. A pirate on hard times yet again, Sparrow has become a landlubber with a dry-docked crew. Henry and Jack eventually meet in prison, where they encounter Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario-Davis), an astronomer who is accused of witchcraft.

The plot unfurls like a lapping wave as Jack, Carina and Henry confront Captain Salazar. Eventually, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) enters the scene in search of his own treasure. Along the way, sea battles, sword battles and zombie sharks add spice to this film.

If this is the final Pirates of the Caribbean film, this Disney franchise closes on a high note. While not slowing down story momentum, this fifth installment answers lingering questions from the previous four movies. While the climax bogs down with too much reliance on computerized special effects, there is enough creative visualization in the earlier scenes to hold one’s interest in the movie.

It is the colorful character interactions that drive this motion picture. The bickering between Jack and Barbossa is as refreshing as the new kids, Carina and Henry.

Captain Salazar is the best antagonist since Davy Jones, who makes an effective cameo that might drive a sixth movie, if there is one.

With Baywatch bombing at the box office, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has proven to be the most sea-worthy movie on the big screen. For those interested in more realistic drama, keep your eyes peeled for Megan Levy, a true story of an American Marine in Iraq who develops a special relationship with a combat dog.

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