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Posts Tagged ‘failure’

Once there was television… And then there was Jack Bauer. Simply described, badass – the biggest, baddest and best television has ever seen.

Stubbornly pursed lips bent on serving out justice, grim eyes that defiantly stare death in its face, brazen boldness both in stride and word coupled with unequalled brilliance of scheme, weapons in skilled hands that miss no mark no fraction of a second too late – the irrepressible federal agent controlled only by self-will and determination, know for his unmatched courage, resilience and resolve despite losing everything to gain nothing for self – so surreal, yet very real even if only on reel is Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland).

For me, and I believe many more across the world, Bauer and “24” have redefined television forever. Never has a character or TV series been so compelling or convincing, thanks to the ingenious concept, script, direction, performances and cut that went into its making. We, the captive audience, couldn’t help but join Bauer in the longest days of his life by spending the longest days of our lives watching every episode of every series back-to-back if we could help it. What was it that mesmerized us so and still holds us in its grip? The heart-thumping action, no doubt… and like it or not, the dissatisfaction – of never getting enough of Jack Bauer. I, for one, can honestly say that 24 was my “twelve” and I struggle with withdrawal symptoms, now that the series has concluded. Seth Godin was right when he said that great brands (and I say, great TV series/characters) are built on dissatisfaction. You have a prime example of that in 24!

What drew me most to Bauer and what I will no doubt remember him most for, though, is his motto to “do whatever it takes to save them and I mean, whatever it takes.” (Dialogue between Jack Bauer and Renee Walker in my favourite season, Season 7) Sure, there has been a lot of controversy about the torture and violence implied and portrayed throughout the series as a means to the end. However, my fascination is with regards to Bauer’s commitment to protect his country and people no matter what the cost. As a federal agent forced to turn fugitive whose wife was killed, daughter estranged, and his own health seriously jeopardized on more than one occasion, he owed his country nothing, least of all after they abandoned him as prisoner to the Chinese and then decided to sacrifice him in order to meet terrorist demands – all of that despite the great service he had rendered his country. Wouldn’t some recognition be in order? A medal of honour, perhaps? Or a bravery award? At least, a chance at a decent life? But, no!

I find it hard to fathom such unquestioned allegiance and dedication to a cause, harder still to implement it in my own life. Season 7 forced me to think hard and question my own commitment to mission accomplishment. Was I willing to do whatever it took? Or would I turn chicken when the going got tough? Worse still, would I turn into a Tony Almeida, agent turned traitor, disillusioned, distraught? Would my losses, failures, fears and regrets rule me or I would I overrule them?

I learned that the name Jack Bauer is believed to allude to the highest card in the game of Euchre, the “bower” being the jack of the trump suit and the most powerful card in any particular round (via Wikipedia). I sincerely pray that in my mission and commission I will come out the “Jack Bauer” in every trial, know that I have been given a spirit of power, believe that I am more than a conqueror with greater strength in me than is in the world. So help me, God!

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How many times in life do we ask, “Why, Lord, why??? Why me? Why now?” I’ve asked that question more times than I can count, and I’ve learned it’s a good thing to ask, because God always answers. He always shows and teaches me knew things through every dire circumstance I go through.

I was listening to CBN’s Spiritual Gifts Seminar online when Gordon was teaching about Moving in the Power of God, and what he shared really touched me and taught me something I needed to hear regarding a situation I have been struggling with.

(I am adding my notes from Gordon’s teaching in another post for anyone who is interested in reading them. Of course, you can also watch the teaching yourself at:

http://event.cbn.com/spiritualgifts/event/?EventID=114120)

Here are the key passages Gordon spoke from:

 

Luke 22: 

31“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

 33But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

 34Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Peter Disowns Jesus

54Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 

 57But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

 58A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” 
      “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

 59About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

 60Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.

John 21:

Jesus Reinstates Peter

 15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

      “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

      Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

    Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!

 

These passages literally brought tears to my eyes even as I listened to Gordon speak on them and later read them, simply because I could so identify with Peter. Like Peter I had forgotten my past so much so that I thought I was perfect in one particular respect. I thought I could never fall into one sin, or be like the other “sinners” who are blinded and don’t quite realize what they are doing. In the past I had always discerned well when confronted by such situations and was able to deal with them strongly – maybe even overly so. I had even built up a reputation for being against those that gave into it and failed the test – not so much against the persons really, but the issue itself, although I did distance myself from people who gave in for fear of being associated with such behaviour and falling into it myself. Ask any of my close friends and they will testify to this. “Janie doing that? No way!” It was totally unimaginable.

And then, boom! A weak point in life and I rolled headlong right into it, almost before I realized what it was I was getting myself into. Sure I can blame circumstances, people and the enemy himself, but none of that is truly justified because it was a conscious mental decision to just do it followed by some very foolish actions. I can well imagine Jesus looking straight down at me the same way He looked at Peter, while the rooster crowed. “Did you really think you were immune and that you could never fall into this yourself? Well, guess what? You’re wrong!”

However, that was not the end. Thankfully, I do not serve a God who is quick to condemn and does not forgive. I can’t tell you how pathetically miserable I have felt about myself, putting myself through self-condemnation and knowing full well that what I was doing was wrong. One the one hand I wanted to be free of it, but on the other hand I actually enjoyed it because it gave me some kind of false comfort. Perhaps it made me feel good about myself and let me forget the sad reality, or perhaps a million other things, none of them justified in any way. 

The only thing that gave me comfort today was to know that despite Satan having asked for me to “sift me as wheat”, Jesus had been praying for me. He had prayed that whatever I went through, my faith would not falter and that I would return to Him. And not just that, but that after I myself had overcome, I would be able to strengthen others like me. Sure, I would go through this rough patch in life as difficult as it was because I was being sifted as wheat, refined, purified. When I had come through I would be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, and the Master would use me to encourage and help others through my own example. Wow!

I love how Jesus has his talk with Peter after the resurrection, commissions him into his service and basically reinstates and reaffirms His call on Peter’s life. It’s such a weight lifter just to know that God does not give up on us just because we have failed in a test, but that He is willing to forgive and accept us when we repent of it. I am so thankful that His call on my life hasn’t changed just because I screwed up. His plans still remain and I can go to Him with a repentant heart in that faith. 

I can literally hear Jesus say to me, “Janie, Janie, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Janie, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Ah! That brings tears to my eyes just typing it! So here I am, turned back to strengthen my brothers and to comfort others with the comfort I myself have received from above.

I can imagine that anyone reading this might be wondering what this great, big “sin” is that I have been writing about. Well, it’s something I’m not quite comfortable talking about yet, but I will in time. And really, it’s not so much about what sin it is as much as it is sin and struggles itself, because what I have learned is applicable in any trial and testing. So I am thankful to have been sifted as wheat.

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