The End of the World According to Nicholas Cage

This last Wednesday Night, the men’s Converge Group, that I lead, went out to bid farewell to our brother, Kyle. He is leaving on Easter Sunday to minister in Ethiopia for two weeks, so we decided to send him off by filling ourselves full of pizza and burning all of those calories by sitting in a theater.

After finding out that we can only get our student discounts on Thursdays, we walked in to watch the only decent movie that is out right now, Knowing. It’s a movie set in 2009 where all tragic events leading up to the end of the world have been laid out already in some “numeric code”. These prophecies are handed down to earthlings, specifically little kids, by creepy, Vanilla Ice looking guys (later we find out they’re aliens/angels… oops… spoiler alert!).

This is where our hero, Nicholas Cage (John), comes in. John is a really smart guy; a scientist and a professor. As he explains the fact that the earth is just the right distance away from the sun without burning up or freezing, he asks the question, “Is life as we know it predetermined and planned out for a reason? Or is everything just meaningless?” He, of course, being a lover of science, says it’s meaningless. Well, as the story unfolds, we see the old world, and all of its non-chosen population, fried to a crisp by a predetermined solar flare and we see the children chosen by the alien/angel/Vanilla Ice people to populate a “new earth”. Before our prophet, played by Nicholas Cage, is turned into the Human Torch, he asks another question, “What’s the point of me being predetermined to warn of the end, if no one will be saved?” I was left with a sense of hopelessness…

I don’t know if you have seen Knowing yet. If you have, can you even pull theological truth from this movie? I am cursed with having to find some sort of biblical/theological application from everything… so bear with me.

You might believe that nothing is predetermined and God gives us free will to choose Him, or you might be one of those heartless Calvinists who sleeps well at night. Either way, I am not here to fight that battle today. With it being Holy Week this week, I thought I would focus on my one problem with the movie… the lack of a redeemer. Heck! How about the lack of THE Redeemer?

I heard John Piper this last week say that Easter is more important that Christmas. That statement puzzled me, but after a while it makes sense. We celebrate Christmas and His birth by singing carols, setting out our little manger scenes, and giving each other gifts. But this time of year the world doesn’t help us celebrate what Jesus did on the cross with carols and crucifixion yard décor. We also see this demonstrated in the Scriptures where everyone celebrated His birth. They even celebrated His “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:4-11). But once they realized He wasn’t coming to overtake the Roman Empire, they rejected Him, beat Him, and they killed Him… and that’s just putting it nicely (Matthew 27:22-54). The cross is offensive. To ignore it you might say, “Jesus was a good guy. A teacher. Maybe even a prophet who died just like the rest of them.” But you talk about being the Son of God, the King, the Messiah, the one who can forgive sins and all of a sudden He becomes controversial.

This week as we watch Hollywood and the rest of the world portray a hopeless and Godless way of life, let’s remember the One who lived, died and resurrected so that we could have hope and life.

Before we take on the doctrine of Salvation or the end of the world, lets not forget who does the saving and who brings judgment to a fallen, sinful world. And one day when the end of the world does come, instead of questioning our meaning and looking to false heroes, we can praise the King who has redeemed us from this sinful world and who has seated us next to Him in the heavens (Ephesians 2:6).

Happy Easter!
-Mike, the intern

Advertisements

Suffering: This Is Not My Home

[originally posted at http://www.convergeomaha.com%5D

This last weekend we (me, my pregnant wife, and my two kids) moved from our little two bedroom home in midtown Omaha to my father-in-law’s large, musty, old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere Iowa.

Honestly, Iowa is the last place I want to live. And it’s not easy saying, “Father-in-law, can I move in to your house with my wife, who is the daughter you entrusted me with and who I promised I would provide for? Oh, your two adorable, yet crazy grandchildren are coming as well. And yes, while we are staying in your house, there is a possibility that we could give birth to our third child”. Not something I really wanted to do.

It’s my desire to be “home” in Omaha. I don’t feel home on the farm. But it is what I had to do as the head of my household. Being an intern and trying this “living by faith and following Jesus” thing wasn’t conducive to being able to afford living in our house anymore. I wish I could blame all of this on the fact that I lost my 6 figure-paying job and my 401k became a 101k because my portfolio wasn’t diversified enough. But that is obviously not the case `cause I don’t even know what a diversified portfolio looks like.

For the last 3 days I have felt like I have been in this purgatory-like state waiting for someone’s prayers or possibly the grace of God to release me from this anxiety, this feeling of tension, and this feeling of pining for a place I cannot be right now.

For me, everything in life happens because God has predestined it to happen (God’s perfect will) or is allowing it to happen (God’s permissive will) for His glory to be known. So with everything that happens in my life I try to ask myself, “what are you trying to teach me?” “How are you glorified in this?” instead of me asking, “why is this happening to me, God?”. All weekend I asked, “what are you teaching me?” and “how does this glorify You?”, and this is what I got:

First: God is showing me to be one who follows Christ accepts not a life of luxury and happiness, but one of suffering and sorrow, but always rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:1-10, Luke 22:31, 1 Peter 3:17)! Paul reminds us in Romans 8:18 that despite our sufferings, they “are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us”. He goes on to explain how even the creation is subject to suffering only to be relieved when Christ comes again for our ultimate redemption from this sinful world.

Second: I don’t belong here in this said “world”. Yes, I believe God has put me in this city to be a leader in the city church, ultimately to preach the Gospel. But Omaha is not my home. Heaven is my home. And no matter what terror I see, calamity I am injured in, persecution I face, or suffering I may experience, my eyes are focused on heaven. Just as Stephen looked up into heaven and saw the Glory of God (Acts 7:55), it is my prayer everyday that I can do the same.

I’ve sometimes asked myself, “How can I sleep knowing that God would predestine or allow things that would cause His children pain and suffering?” I believe it’s because that suffering draws us to Him who has suffered every possible pain imaginable (Isaiah 53). I heard Matt Chandler (Pastor of the Village Church in Dallas) say it best, “God sends both joy and sorrow to detach our hands from things of this world, to attach our hands to Him”.

If living in Iowa is to be considered “suffering”, then God help us. But after my worldwide hissy fit I threw this weekend, God has put me in my place (once again) and I am confronted by a God who is a sovereign, scary, terrible, loving god, worthy of my praise. If suffering for the sake of His glory is His will, then I can sleep knowing that no matter what I suffer in this life, I am one more day closer to spending it with Him in perfect eternity.

Revelation 21:4 “…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Have any questions or comments? Email Mike!

fall is near…

hello friends and family!
The summer is reaching its end and fall is almost here.  We had a very good summer in Northeast Nebraska.  Camp was very good!  And Jen and the kids adapted well to living in Norfolk (with Grandma and Grandpa Kresnik) away from our home in Omaha.

But now we are home and we are entering into a new season.  Not just the “Autumn season”, but the next stage in our faith and our walk with God.  On Tuesday, August 19th, I started my internship at Trinity Church with Converge College Ministry, the church’s college/young adult ministry.  I will be taking the charge on numerous aspects of the college/young adult ministry, including  media (sound/graphic/web design) and men’s ministry (accountability/discipleship/authentic manhood).  

Among other interns, I will be an intern with my best friend Nick Evans.  (He will be interning under the Worship Pastor, Sean Keith.)  I have been friends with Nick and his brother, Chris, for almost 13 years.  I am so excited to see what God is going to do in both of our family’s lives over this next year.  Please check out Nick’s website and consider supporting him as he pursues God during this internship!

I believe God is moving among His people.  One of the things He has brought to mine and Jen’s attention is that there is more to this life than just money, education and careers.  We have peace about this next year, not just knowing God will provide for us, but resting in the fact that God is going to move in a multitude of people’s lives.  I pray that your life is touched by God and you are drawn to have a closer, more real relationship with His son, Jesus Christ.  

I have posted my “End of Summer Update/Fall Support” letter as well as a letter of recommendation from Pastor Micah on the support page of my site.

We also have set up an update newsletter that we will be sending out once or twice a month.  If you are interested in being updated with the latest, please sign up for our free newsletter.

Until next time, may God pour His grace and peace on you!

Mike Kresnik

the middle

NEW PICTURES! Check out our photos page for new pictures!

I can’t believe it’s been 7 weeks already since we started the “camp season”. Right now we are home for the Independence Day holiday week. We have enjoyed our time home so far

When we left Norfolk last Friday afternoon, we were not expecting to be tailing a storm that would bring so much destruction with it. In Omaha and surrounding towns, there was major tree and building damage, not to mentionSaddle Creek Rd in mid-town Omaha flood damage. I sat on HWY 275 for about an hour and a half because of downed power lines. Over 124,000 residences and business were without power Friday night. We were without power for about 24 hours. We lost everything perishable in our fridge, and once we got our power on we realized our AC unit went out. But thank God our home warranty was able to cover that! Our “vacation” didn’t start out as planned, but God has given us joy and peace this week. So far every day has been interesting. We can’t wait to see what God has next!

We have been able to spend lots of time with friends and family too so far this week. Some of our closest friends gave Jen and I one night in a hotel and dinner for two at Carrabbas Italian Grill (yummmmmm….) to enjoy without the kids on Monday. That was a total blessing. We needed that time away from everything just to refocus on each other and gain some composure from the already long summer. We only have 3 more weeks to go, and then we will be able to be home for good!

Please keep praying for us, for our physical, spiritual and financial well being. We have raised just about half of our support, and we still need to raise the other half. So please prayerfully consider sending financial support to Camp Assurance, Attn: Scott Boysen, 87089 Hwy 20, Laurel, NE 68745 with “Mike Kresnik” written on the check’s memo line. You are doing more than just supporting me while at camp, but you are supporting my family as well. We hold on to the truth that I am not doing this alone. This ministry is OUR ministry, my hardships are OUR hardships, my joys are OUR joys. When God blesses me, He blesses my family as well. The same thing goes for you, when you write “Mike Kresnik” on your memo line, you are also writing in “Jen, Aleena and Judah.

Thanks for your prayers and support. Video updates will be coming soon. So keep on the look out! Love to all of you. Until next time…

Mike K.

It’s crunch time, baby!

It’s May…

2 years ago this week, we had just moved back to Omaha from Wayne, NE. I went to school at Wayne State College for 3 years, and we moved back to be closer to family while we awaited the birth of Aleena Jean. When we moved, we had no idea where we were gonna be in 6 months let alone 2 years. We’re still in Omaha. We have TWO kids now. And as of May 21, 2008, neither Jen or I will be working normal jobs. 2 years ago, if you would have told me all of that, I would call you crazy. Maybe I am the crazy one now… 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
It is also crunch time…

These next three Sundays I will be in Wayne, Norfolk and Sioux City speaking in churches about Camp Assurance and we have a little over three weeks before Staff Training starts. So this month is going to be a crazy one for sure. There seems to be so much to do, and so little time to get it all done. Please keep all of the camp staff in your prayers as we prepare for this summer. If you are interested in helping out this summer or you just want to know more about Camp Assurance, please visit our website.

Until next time… summer is near. Are you ready?

Mike Kresnik
I AM THE GENERATION. WE ARE THE REVOLUTION.
Camp Assurance 2008
http://www.camp-assurance.com

Summer is near

Today’s temp is supposed to be around 60 degrees. The geese and every other migratory bird in Nebraska have made their way back north. The only thing that tells me is that summer is also making its way here.

I hope that you will continue to visit our site this spring, summer and all the other seasons to come. Here I will keep you updated on everything going on in the Kresnik household, everything about our summer at Camp Assurance and anything else cool I feel like sharing. I’ll post journal entries, videos and pictures to give you a little insight on what’s going on.

If you like/dislike something you read and/or leave a comment.  Maybe you are interested in supporting us, just shoot us an e-mail!

~Mike Kresnik