Are you ready to 'Get Smart'? Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99 - sounds like a good combo for a light summertime flick - wouldn't you say? Heck, there's even a new 'Sierra Mist Undercover Orange' drink that was released because of the film.
In another round of 'let's make a movie that took no original plot planning because we stole it from a 60's/70's show' - this one should be - at the very least - entertaining to watch. Being a big fan of The Office, I think I could watch Carell mow his lawn and find it funny.
In the Get Smart series, Maxwell is a resourceful yet often clumsy - bumbling agent who somehow manages to, time after time, save the day with the help of cool gadgets and Agent 99. They are fighting against the evil crime syndicate 'KAOS' - (as in chaos - get it?) - and it will take all their dedication and skill to defeat the bad guys.
I think it's pretty easy to relate to the idea of chaos in our world, wouldn't you say? Earthquakes, cyclones, wars, threats of nuclear war, even skyrocketing gas prices add to the chaotic feeling that seems to be ever growing. But to me, the bigger turmoil and confusion that is gaining momentum is the mounted attack on Christianity - and specifically our belief in Jesus' claim to be the only way to heaven. Books and movies like the Da Vinci Code and ridiculous YouTube videos trying to connect the Egyptian god Horus with Christ are just a few examples - but I'm sure you've seen other patterns.
So if you are a Christian - I would highly recommend that you 'get smart.' In a way, we are all a bit like Maxwell Smart - we are agents on a mission - the Great Commission in fact - and we need to know our stuff if we want to succeed.
How do we 'get smart'? Well, the Apostle Peter already told us how in a letter he wrote to persecuted Christians nearly 2000 years ago:
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15-16).
This verse is a basic 'how to' manual for being the kind of 'agent' God desires us to be while we complete our trips around the sun. For an excellent breakdown of this manual - I refer to a very gifted writer named Ken Boa - who through his writings has helped me be highly motivated to 'get smart.' Here is his explanation*:
• "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts." In other words, be certain Jesus is Lord of your life and affirm your utter dependence upon Him. Remember that when you are talking with someone embracing another worldview, this is a spiritual battle. Your task is to be faithful in proclaiming the truth. It is God's business to change the person.
• "Always be ready." Know God's Word and know how and when to use it. In doing so, you will be prepared to correct misconceptions about biblical Christianity.
• "To make a defense." Always keep the discussion focused on Jesus and His finished work on the cross. Stay away from minor issues and do your best to prevent the other person from focusing on his or her misconceptions. Stay focused in a friendly, God-honoring manner, and do not be sidetracked by the other person's unique claims or errors.
• "To everyone who asks you." Pray that God will give you opportunities to share your faith in this pluralistic (many beliefs) culture. Above all, be a good listener and ask for permission to express your view in the discussion. Do not be pushy or arrogant.
• "To give an account for the hope that is in you." It is your personal relationship with the living God that is the source of your power and strength. Do not be afraid to recount your personal experiences of all that God has done for you. He is your hope and strength.
• "Yet with gentleness and reverence." Show patience, respect, and love as you talk. Always look for common ground and seek to develop a relationship of trust and confidence that God can use to bring that person to Himself.
We may not have shoe phones and other cool gadgets, but we have, "The Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)." to help us defeat that satanic chaos that surrounds us.
Ready to take on your mission?
Head - In this day and age of questioning and even despising God's truth and the Gospel message, Christians must be ready to give a well informed and respectful answer to our critics.
Heart: Remember that our 'chaos' enemies are not people, rather they are ideas. This will help you avoid foolish arguments and personal attacks on those who argue and attack you.
Hands: Here are a few excellent web sites to help you on your way to 'getting smart':
*Ken Boa, Cults, World Religions and You (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1981),
Lane Palmer serves as a writer for Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.