In this season of Lent (giving something up to remember the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus) and as Easter approaches (the celebration of our salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus), I found myself reflecting on specific people who could help me remember the importance of defending my faith.
God chose and orchestrated people in specific places to teach us about Himself and how much He loves us. Pontius Pilate was an interesting character to study. He was a Roman political leader who desired power and aggressively pursued it. He was a man who wanted to be remembered and achieved it, but not in the way he intended. (more…)
I remember seeing my first augmented reality (AR) movie years ago. It was a Michael Jackson ride – Captain EO at Disneyland. But somehow, it didn’t have the same effect on me as the one I saw at the Sundance Film Festival years later. The first ever AR documentary produced, Cane Toads: The Conquest, brought to life an invasive amphibian species in Australia. They were swarming the country, killing dogs and cats, and literally covering the ground by the thousands. There seemed no way to stop them. With AR glasses on, we sat in the theater and had frogs pop out at us. We were jumping out of our seats! It was just a little too real for me.
Today, we’ve gotten more use to it. AR is rapidly becoming the choice of escapism. Movies and TV entertainment have matured, and our appetite to immerse our minds in another reality is growing.
We think about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) differently.
Sometimes self-centeredness can look like striving and having an internal hyper-focus on yourself. If the focus is on you, you, you, then there might be a need for readjustment. Read this month’s INNER VIEW with producer Amanda Ashley Miess as she shares how she took the attention and pressure off of herself and put it where it belongs… back onto God.
Amanda Ashley Miess is a writing, producing, and directing triple threat who has over ten years of experience working in almost every facet of filmmaking. A creative storyteller and idea generator, she’s had her hands in film, TV, and digital media and has worked for some of the most influential names in the industry, including Jerry Bruckheimer, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. Amanda has developed, produced and directed a host of digital kid-led variety shows for big brands such as Disney Princess, DC Kids, and Polly Pocket, with some videos reaching well over 1 million views. She also co-directed the Pure Flix mini-series The Power Couple, starring Alexa and Carlos PenaVega. She is currently a Senior Producer at Little Dot Studios, an award-winning digital content agency and media network owned by All3Media. A graduate of USC, she has also made several short films, including festival winners Silence Is Olden and Remember Me, winner of 9 awards at LA’s 168 Film Festival. A kid at heart with a strong passion for making influential content for today’s youth, Amanda loves to do anything a 12-year-old would do…. including but not limited to dancing, backflips, board games, crafts, and making goofy music videos.
Kathleen Cooke: This industry is about “hurry up and wait.” How have you learned to wait on God and embrace His peace?
Amanda Ashley Miess: Has God ever “recently” taught you something that He’s actually been bringing to you layer by layer for years? I have! He is so patient. After spending way too much time trying to earn people’s respect and affirmation in this industry, I am finally starting to embrace the fact that I only need my Lord’s approval. I literally have a Google Drive that is 98% full with unproduced scripts, pitch decks, and story ideas. My Lord has shown me that my value comes from Him alone; all my giftings are from Him and are for Him. He will open the doors in His way and in His timing.
One vision He showed me years ago that I’ll never forget: I saw a dog pile of people clambering on each other to reach one key dangling from the ceiling. This is what succeeding in the entertainment industry often feels like. As I stood to the side, watching them climb over each other, fighting for that one key, the Lord told me to instead walk forward towards a small door that was shaped like me. Only I could fit through it, and I was the key. I have spent many years striving to reach that prized “key” hanging from the ceiling and have grown disappointed in God and my abilities when I have not obtained it. Recently, He has instilled in me a newfound peace and purpose. Even if I don’t have all the answers and I am still learning what my true purpose is in this industry, I know I am exactly where I need to be, and I know that even through the mundane, He is using me to bring His Kingdom on earth.
Kathleen: What do you do when it seems like God is silent and you can’t connect to Him?
Amanda: The times I feel most disconnected from God are when the enemy gets me to look at my human efforts and believe that my works aren’t good enough. Even in my spiritual walk, it is easy for me to believe that I am not praying hard enough, reading the Bible long enough, fasting enough, or ministering enough. I start to believe that nothing I do is ever good enough, and so I give up. That’s when I have felt like God is silent, or I am not close to Him. I think that I need to improve my relationship with God and work harder at loving Him and serving Him. But the truth is that if I believe what Jesus did on the cross puts me in right standing with my Heavenly Father, then I am in right relationship with Him right now! Even if I’m not “feeling it,” I am connected. I am pleasing to Him. Every little thing I do for Him or every thought towards Him counts. He is still moving in my life, and progress is being made. When I remind myself of that truth, connecting with God is easy. He’s right there, and I’m right there with Him. (more…)
How do we live according to the truth of God in a deceived, yet truth-obsessed culture? How can we tell if “our truth” is a little askew or not rooted in Jesus? Read this week’s INNER VIEW with Pamela Christian as she breaks down the building blocks of both truth and lies—and how to tell the difference.
For over twenty-five years, Pamela Christian has compassionately helped people discover and live from life-giving truth. Pamela is a keynote, radio/television talk-show and podcast speaker, teacher, multi-award-winning author and blogger, and an ordained international itinerant minister. As an apologetics enthusiast (Biola University) and charismatic apologist herself, Pamela uniquely helps people balance rational thought with spiritual realities.
Kathleen Cooke: What’s something that God has taught you lately?
Pam Christian: Recently, God’s been teaching me the vital importance of teaching our children absolute truth, morality and righteousness. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home at a time when the culture pushed every limit—a trend that’s continued to this day, bringing with it all sorts of egregious immoralities, corruption, censorship and more—all promoting evil. Unless children are taught truth, they will, as I did, follow the ways of the world, leading to their personal demise.
The entire world today is suffering under the gross increase of evil, which would have been restrained had more people been firmly standing on and promoting truth. I wouldn’t have such a strong understanding of this without experiencing my own personal life crisis, which revealed I’d been deceived and not living in the light of truth.
Kathleen: I, too, believe that young women—and men—are under attack from the deceiver as never before. Your heart, like mine, is to help others discover and live in life-giving truth and experience the hope that truth provides. What can you share to help others in their quest for truth?
Pam: My own experience and current conditions compel me to help others understand that truth is not personal and relative as many people claim. Those who claim truth is relative would say, “There’s no such thing as absolute truth.” Yet that statement relies on the laws of absolutes, proving those who claim truth is relative, in reality, believe truth is absolute. As I share in my book, Examine Your Faith! Finding Truth in a World of Lies, unless we intentionally examine what we believe and why, we can easily be deceived and unaware of our condition because that’s the nature of deception. And in this condition, people are pawns in the hands of the devil.
Kathleen: Yes, the world is obsessed with truth today because we live in a culture of internet lies and deception. Yet, the Bible says, “the truth will set us free.” How can we know the truth today?
Pam: There is a three-point proof-test we can use to discover truth. When all three are in place, we can confidently embrace the matter as truth. These are:
- Truth is based on reality (i.e., gender is not a choice)
- Only one thing can be true and all opposing matters are false (i.e., it cannot be both dark and light at the same time)
- Truth is universal (i.e., tyranny is recognized as tyranny anywhere in the world)
One question I ask is, “Who in this room wants to live your life on the basis of lies?” No one ever raises their hand, which is highly revealing. That one question reveals that each of us has an innate moral compass enabling us to recognize truth as good and lies as bad. The fact that we universally desire truth is a God-given trait to guide us in discovering Truth, namely Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Light.
Kathleen: God tells us to go and be an influence on the world. Why is this important in our truth-obsessed culture?
Pam: Today, more than ever, we have overwhelming evidence worldwide of the importance of those of us who have the truth, to be actively sharing the truth, consistent with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). We are to partner with Jesus to share the truth with those who are deceived—to share the gospel of truth and hope. When God’s people fail in this, the enemy increases his influence bringing all manner of evil and destruction as we’re seeing today. As was true in my own life, sometimes it takes a major crisis to cause us to realize the path of destruction we’ve been on. And even in that, we experience the restoring grace of God.
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Podcast: Faith to Live By with Pamela Christian
How do you lead and balance your career, while prioritizing Jesus in your schedule? Read this week’s INNER VIEW with Lisa McGloiry, executive director for Dream of Destiny, as she breaks down the most important life lessons she’s learned as an executive-level professional working in the corporate and nonprofit sphere.
Bio – Lisa McGloiry, J.D.
As a creative visionary and leader, Lisa has over 25+ years of experience in communications, marketing, and public relations for corporate and non-profit entities. Currently, she is the executive director for Dream of Destiny, a diversity and inclusion ministry at Shepherd Church, a 10,000 member multi-racial and multi-cultural church, with three locations in Porter Ranch, Woodland Hills, and Agua Dulce, California.
Lisa is also a certified church consultant specializing in communications and marketing. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and, in her spare time, is a conference speaker and writer. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in legal studies at the University of Maryland (UC) and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Concord Law School at Purdue University Global. Growing up as a “PK” (preacher’s kid), she and her family served as missionaries in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa for many years.
Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her husband Michael, stepson Blair, and is a paw parent to a spoiled terrier named Charlie. She loves music, salsa dancing, dogs, lions, and all things purple.
Kathleen Cooke: This month, we focused on leading where God has you, even if it seems insignificant or small. What has God taught you about that?
Lisa McGloiry: God has taught me to seek His mind and heart about everything to make sure my plans, intentions and desires are aligned with His. I’ve learned to ask Him about my role in His bigger story. God promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him. I would encourage women to rely on the Holy Spirit for more wisdom. We can never ask God a silly question because He wants to give us direction and answers. (James 1:5) When we call on Him, He will show us mighty things. (Jeremiah 33:3) I’ve learned the power in “the ask.”
Kathleen: Yes, often we forget to ask God with the right heart. He knows our schedules and what is good for us here and now. Working at a mega-church in media can get intense; how have you learned to balance your work and family and keep your priorities in line?
Lisa: I’d like women to understand that God wants to spend more time with His children. When we fail to prioritize our time with Him, we miss out on the abundant life Jesus promised — more joy, peace, wisdom, favor, mercy — inherent rights as daughters of the Most High. One thing that has sparked my faith is realizing that we were not made to live outside the continual presence of our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus died so we can have a close relationship with our Papa God — the maker of the universe, the one who knows all things, and who holds us in the palms of His hands.
Kathleen: What’s a life lesson that you’ve learned?
Lisa: Here’s a learned life lesson. “If you ever want anything in life, just ask God for it.” It seems really simple, but I wasted so many years searching for approval or favor from others rather than looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. One day, the Lord said, “Why don’t you trust and wait on me?” One of the names of God is Jehovah-Jireh — God our Provider. He provides much more than just our financial needs. Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” When we look to Him, He will supply our needs, so we never lack anything.
Kathleen: We are called to be influencers of God. The Bible says it this way; we are to be a “sweet aroma.” How can we do that in our day-to-day lives?
Lisa: God has given us the capacity to be influencers in our homes, workplace, and community. Our influence is mighty and tangible. As Christ followers, when we walk into a room, lead, work, create, serve, pray, and play, we can dramatically change the atmosphere and people around us. I’ve asked of the Lord not only to use my gifts and talents for His Glory but also to give me the ability to refresh others. People in the world are hurting more than ever before and need to see Jesus in us. When His presence permeates our being, we leave a sweet lasting aroma and show who God is by our love, acts of service, empathy, kindness, and grace that we extend to others.
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