We have a dream to have a better life and to make a better world. I believe that it is our instinct. For example, parents hope that their children will live in a better place; that they will have a better chance to be educated; that they will have a better job. Surely, politicians are the people who know people’s desire exactly. They always proclaim that they can make a better life and a better society if they are selected as next leaders. So people will elect them. Of course, we will hear the same motto at the next election days again, they will make a better place to live if they are elected.
A better life, an American drama film.
“A Better Life” is a 2011 American drama film directed by Chris Weitz. The films shows the life of undocumented immigrant who longed for the American Dream”
This is the plot for this film cited from ‘Wikipedia’.
Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir) works as a gardener with Blasco Martinez (Joaquín Cosio) in Los Angeles, California. Blasco wants to return to Mexico and continually tries to persuade Carlos to purchase his business from him, which includes the work truck and gardening tools. Carlos's son Luis (José Julián) is in high school and is dating Ruthie Valdez (Chelsea Rendon), the niece of a local gang leader. Luis regularly goes to her house after school where gang members congregate. Luis is embarrassed by his father and, although he does not wish to follow in his footsteps, has a hard time committing himself to his education. However, his relationship with Ruthie and his friendship with Facundo (Bobby Soto) pushes him toward becoming a gang member.
Carlos asks his sister Anita (Dolores Heredia) for a loan to purchase Blasco's truck and tools. Anita lends Carlos $12,000, which comes out of her family's emergency fund. Carlos reluctantly accepts.
Carlos returns to a corner where he used to look for work and hires Santiago (Carlos Linares). However, on the first day, Santiago steals the truck. The next morning, Carlos and Luis head out to find Santiago. A trip leads them to a South Central apartment complex. The apartment is used as lodgings for undocumented immigrant workers. One man, to whom Santiago sold Carlos’ cellphone, tells them that Santiago moonlights as a dishwasher at a nightclub. When they first go, the club is closed and they go to a nearby rodeo.
At the rodeo, Carlos and Luis talk about Luis’s feelings toward his culture and his family. Luis is bitter about his mother abandoning them. He does not like Mexican music or certain Mexican traditions. When the nightclub opens, Carlos finds Santiago washing dishes. Santiago runs away, but Luis is waiting outside and tackles him and brutally beats him until Carlos pulls Luis away. They discover that Santiago has sold the truck and sent the money to his family back home to El Salvador. Luis runs away since he feels Carlos betrayed him for defending the man who stole their opportunity of improving their lives.
The next morning Carlos goes looking for Luis and finds him at Facundo’s house. They argue, and Luis decides to stand by his father. They find the garage where Santiago sold the truck and steal it back. However, on their way home, they are pulled over by the police, and Carlos is arrested and incarcerated as an illegal immigrant. He is quickly processed, and Luis gets to the prison just before Carlos is about to board a deportation bus. The guards allow Luis and Carlos to see each other, and Carlos apologizes to Luis for not being there for him. Luis tells him he should not be sorry. Carlos makes Luis promise him that he will succeed in his studies and Luis makes Carlos promise him that he will return. They both agree and Luis and Anita watch Carlos board the deportation bus.
The film closes with Luis at a soccer game with Anita and his two cousins watching him play. In the final scene, Carlos is about to go into the desert with other undocumented immigrants and a coyote who says: “Listos, para el otro lado” - “Ready for the other side?”, Carlos responds, “Vamos a casa" - "Let’s go home”
From this film, I learned that how hard the lives of the immigrants are.
The Gospel talks about a better life.
Last week, I shared what the gospel is. I shared that ‘gospel is about Jesus’. Today I want to add one thing: that gospel is the news about a better life.
The gospel Jesus preached was the kingdom of heaven. Heaven is a place where God is. Jesus taught the kingdom of heaven and shared the story of heaven also. God’s kingdom is what we long for because God rules over it. Who is God? The God we believe is the Justice, the Love, the Holy, and the Almighty. Gospel is the news about the kingdom of God. How come we compare heaven and this world! We can’t.
“After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.” This is gospel we should hear also. Heaven is not just better place, but the best place where we should long for.
What is the key of the book of Mark?
Recently I worked out the church’s homepage. I posted the sermons and found that it took 2 years to finish the book of Mark. Next book after this Sunday will be the book of Acts.
What is the key point of the book of Mark? It is the gospel about Jesus Christ.
Let’s read Mark 1:1. “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
At the end of the book of Mark, Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature. The key word of Mark is ‘gospel’. Indeed, this is true for other scriptures. We should hear the news about Jesus who governs this world; the story of the heaven, the kingdom of God. These are the good news. It is gospel for us.
As you read today’s passage, the Lord asks us to preach the gospel everywhere. This duty is not limited to his 11 disciples. This is true for all of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. You may hesitate to preach the gospel when you hear the Lord’s command because you believe that preaching gospel is only for some people who have strong faith; for those who have been trained well for gospel. However, it is not the case. Do you remember when Jesus asked his disciples to preach the gospel? When they doubted the Risen Christ; when they had a stubborn heart; Jesus asked his disciples to share the good news to every creature. Regardless of your faith, when you obey his word, gospel will be spread.
At the book of ACTS, you will see clearly who preaches the gospel to every creature. Of course the eleven disciples preached the gospel, but also unnamed Christians did. You should learn that most churches you can find in the bible were built by unknown people who had faith in God. Now this is the time for us to preach the gospel to every creature and every place.
Baptism is the ceremony for believers to be his people.
And the LORD asked people who believe in Jesus to be baptized. It will be important how to be baptized, but it is a minor thing. The most important thing is to know the meaning of the baptism.
Baptism is to show our faith to the public that we are the sinner who needs Jesus. Our sins should be washed out by running water and also by Holy Spirit. I believe that baptism is the ceremony for us to be his people in His kingdom. It is a similar ceremony when we become a citizen of the United States. Baptism is the ceremony for the believers to be a citizen of heaven. Baptism is not for the requirement of saving. But it is important to show that our citizenship belongs to the heaven.
Experience the power of the LORD.
Although your faith is weak, when you preach the gospel, you will experience God’s signs.
Let’s read the verse 17-18.
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.
Sometimes, people misunderstand these verses. Some people applied these verses to test their faith and then died. Since they believed that they had the strong faith, they picked up snakes with their hands; then drank the deadly poison. Please, do not use these verses to confirm your faith. You already showed your faith when you are baptized.
Some people will experience the power of the LORD when they preach gospel. However, this is God’s work. He will do if it is necessary to show the sign. I pray that you and I also experience the LORD’s power in our daily lives when we preach gospel. These verses also show that preaching gospel is a spiritual battle.
We should follow the LORD; we should preach the gospel. Then we will see the kingdoms of heaven. Preaching the gospel makes our world better.
These passages in the book of Isaiah describe the kingdom of heaven. I want to share these verses with you as a conclusion. Let’s read the book of Isaiah 11:1-9 together.
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD- and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:1-9)”