Day 201 – Evolution

Evolution of the bull. Blood, sweat & years. After 3 sessions and 22hrs of tattooing with world renowned @NikkoHurtado, the story's almost done.. Every detail is a reflection of my own personal history. From the cracks and heavy damage in the bone representing life's hard lessons I've learned over the years. Just like scars and wrinkles – I'm so grateful to have 'em because they're earned. To the horns, not pointing up or out to the side, but pointing straight ahead representing relentless energy and forward progress. The core and anchor of this image is in the eye. Look closely and you'll find the life, energy, power and you'll feel the MANA (spirit). The eye tells the story of a disruptive positive energy always ready to dent the universe. Depending on the light and angle, sometimes the energy's subtle and sometimes it's glaring. But it's always alive and ready to disrupt the universe and love and protect my family and all things I love with intense passion and gratitude. Cheers to living, learning, evolving and growing. And to the positive disrupters ready to dent the universe. #EvolutionOfTheBull #TheDisrupter #TheMana #NowLetsBreakOutTheTequila

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As I grow up, the passions that motivate me change. When you are younger, you pursue more childish aims — this is not news. I was concerned about catching WWE Raw each Monday and listening to the newest Eminem record. I was not concerned about upgrading the CRM at work, or being up on JavaScript trends, or dedicating time to sermon writing or kicking tail at the gym.

Nope.

But things change. Our hearts, minds and bodies change and evolve as experiences mold us. For Christians, we rejoice that God himself works to mold us, beating down our sinful nature one block at a time. We are not what we wish to be, but we’re also not what we once were.

When I saw The Rock decided to change his famous bull tattoo, I smiled. I admire Rock (don’t look surprised). The man has done so much, driven entirely by a desire to achieve in new realms. Remember: Rock’s dream wasn’t Hollywood or WWE, it was the NFL, but a devastating back injury did that notion in.

So, he moved onto the WWE, became one of the three biggest stars in the history of the profession, and then moved onto Hollywood. Again — success in that realm was not considered a given. Sure, he had the look and charisma of a big action star, but highest-paid actor in Hollywood? No one predicted that.

So, yes, I admire The Rock. I admire Dwayne Johnson. I admire that he works incredibly hard and isn’t satisfied. Too often, I feel satisfied, too willing to let down my guard and soften up. No time for that in Rock’s world, there’s another door needing kicked down.

Rock’s production company is “Seven Bucks Entertainment.” Why? Because before he was The Rock, before he was electrifying, before he stood toe-to-toe with Stone Cold or John Cena, before he walked tall, before he brawled with Dominic Toretto and even before he sang in “Moana”, Dwayne Johnson stood outside of an apartment building with only seven bucks in his pocket.

Never forget.

Evolve.

Day 200 – The most excellent way

And I will show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. -1 Corinthians 12:31-13-3

Your spiritual giftedness is of serious value, Christian. God has blessed you with something of His divine use, and use it He will. He will mold you, prepare you and place you in a position to do what He needs. You are to be used.

If you teach, do so. If you preach, do so. If you encourage, do so. If you can heal, do so.

And as great as that is … as wonderful as it is, the Apostle Paul tells us something greater is afoot.

No spiritual gift is worth anything — no amount of knowledge, healings, encouraging talks or powerful sermons — if it comes devoid of love. Short of love, all of it is worthless.

Christians, we are to be known for love before anything else. This is not optional. And love breathes life into the gifts and skills given to us by God, making them effective in a dark world. Do all things through love and Christ shall be revealed.

But what does love mean? Oh, how our society has warped this. Love means tolerating everything, right? Love means no one is wrong (except the Bible, of course), right? Everything goes, everyone is right, we make the rules now.

Wrong. Utterly, entirely, categorically wrong.

This is love:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. –1 Corinthians 13:4-12

Love is patient, kind, humble, gentle, easygoing, forgiving, steadfast, righteous, strong. God’s love is overwhelming, a force so powerful that it can defeat anything. God’s love defeated sin and death when it manifested itself as Jesus Christ, Son of God, slain on a tree and raised mere days later.

Love is not catchy political slogans or cultural notions that give us warm fuzzies. Love apart from truth is not love, folks — it is something different. You can decide what that might be.

Love is permanent, unable to be destroyed by man or devil, as it endures at the behest of the Lord, who Himself endures forever. God created love — He literally invented it — and so of course when can it expire? It never will.

And love is also a promise, hope for tomorrow, reassurance that Heaven indeed awaits. Christians, this is not the end. Christians, your pain is not the end.

Heaven awaits, a time where we shall have the opaqueness of our view wiped away for good, our eyes opened to the beauty of a fulfilled promise.

I see now in a mirror dimly, but not for long. I know in part — but not for long, even though I am fully known and loved.

This, brothers, is love. And it is the greatest of all.

Day 199 – ‘Moana’

Maybe it’s the fantastically catching tunes. Maybe it’s the charming, memorable debut of Auli’i Cravalho. Heck, maybe it’s The Rock singing.

Whatever the true reason was, I adored “Moana”, the latest Disney creation (out last November). I saw it last night and can’t get the cuteness out of my head. That pig! That chicken! It was a delight.

The story follows usual themes, but it should. I don’t see that as a problem, because the story is but one aspect of the experience. These animated sing-songy movies are about more than the plot — they immerse you in a world of fun characters, unique worlds and great tunes. “Moana” has all of that in spades.

I also love that the story doesn’t revolve around Moana finding love or something. No — she finds herself. I like that quite a bit in retrospect. We’re not watching her chase after a guy — we’re watching her chase after life itself.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, of “Hamilton” fame, penned the hits here and it shows. “How Far I’ll Go” is a downright fantastic song, not relying on jokes (like Rock’s amusing “You’re Welcome”). You probably heard it on the radio or caught Cravalho singing it on TV — she and Miranda worked quite well together. Bravo, girl.

Rock chews every inch of scenery, relishing the chance to voice an egotistical demigod (a semi-autobiographical role, eh?). The man is pure talent and charisma. Little did I think that the wrestler I loved back in 2000 for slamming Vince McMahon through a table would be crooning in a Disney movie 16 years later, but he’s that good. (Rock ‘2020)

Rent “Moana” and prepare to love it.