More on Extras in Movies and God’s Purposes – was this cricket a Columbo star?


Cricket Extra

Cricket Extra


I watched an old Columbo TV show the other day, and as a car drove by in an outdoor night scene, you could hear one of the cast members making noises in the bushes. The sound of a cricket’s chirps rang out, trying to convince the viewers they really were outside at night.

I’m sure he wasn’t listed in the credits, but, he was probably the cricket cast member for Columbo. If there was a nighttime chirping part to fill, I imagine the sound effects editor  pulled out the same “cricket 101” tape and over-dubbed it on the soundtrack. Perfection every time. Never missed his mark or had to do a re-take.

I wondered if this cricket was featured in other soundtracks. Had I heard him before but didn’t recognize him? Maybe he was a mega-star among crickets and recordings of his chirp were shared among the studios, and his “voice” heard in hundreds of shows and movies. Or was he even an international star – you wouldn’t need subtitles for that, because they all seem to speak the same in any language. (Actually not speaking, of course, but rubbing their wings together.)

I don’t know the answer to those questions or to the cricket’s stardom status. As you see, this relates to my last blog on “extras” in TV and movies. Slightly different because this one isn’t human, and we don’t see him but only hear him. Either way, his purpose is the same as other extras – to improve the quality of the environment, or as one comment said, to enhance the ambience of the scene – to make it more enjoyable.

Again, like my last post, that gives another aspect of being an “extra” that relates to our responsibility as Christians. Like the cricket who was heard and not seen, and perhaps noticed by only one person out of hundreds, we are to make life for others more enjoyable, without searching for praise and glory.

Jesus gave us instructions to enhance the ambience of any scene we’re a part of when He said “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Then, He made it clear that we are the extras and the glory goes to where it truly belongs:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV)

The Parts and Purposes of Extras in Film, and in God’s Plans

Crowd of Hollywood Film Extras in the 1930's

Crowd of Hollywood Film Extras in the 1930’s


Sometimes, I notice an “extra” on a TV show – someone in a quick shot at a table in a restaurant, or, someone who walks by in a street scene, and I pause the show. I especially look for scenes that have the stars up close and the extra is off to the side or behind them. (You’ll see why in a minute.)

I check to make sure my wife, Sharon, is reading or on the computer, and not paying attention, then rewind it a bit. I excitedly ask “did you see that?” and start the action again. As she looks and the extra comes into view, I exclaim “See! See! There I am, There I am!”

She knows I’m pretending to be that person who has this very small part in a program, but still gets excited and wants to show someone. That’s why the scene with the star up front is most effective. Viewers hardly notice anyone but the stars in those shots (“See, you can see the back of my head over her right shoulder!”). But, that extra has a part and a purpose, and I imagine their excitement bubbling over. Even though they won’t even get into the credits, there will be a sense of triumph.

Sharon and I usually then talk a bit about “extras” – their motivation and how they might get a particular part, the large quantity needed for some scenes, etc. (And, she’s so sweet, she’s never told me to stop bothering her with such silliness).

There are stories around about many big stars’ early “extra” days in show business. However, the vast majority of extras remain extras. And, because they do have a part and a purpose, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The same goes for us as Christians. Most of us won’t be famous. Most of us won’t be “stars”, especially in the world’s eyes. But, the Lord has given each of us a specific part and purpose. It won’t be just sitting at a table – but, it might be sitting at a table praying and studying His Word; or sitting down with your family to enjoy the meal you just prepared for them; or having a cup of coffee with someone who needs a good listener or comforting words.

It won’t be just passing by – but, it could be going out of our way to give someone physical assistance; or visiting at the hospital; or it could be figuratively “walking a mile in another’s shoes” to help us develop compassion for their burdens.

We can, and should, get excited about the parts God gives us. But, announcing it to the world with a “See! See! There I am!” isn’t an appropriate response. Simply and humbly telling others how God has blessed us to glorify Him is always correct. And, we should remember where our parts and successes come from.

            As the Psalmist says, all of our triumphs are through the work of God’s hands. “For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work. I will triumph through the works of your hands” Psalms 92:4

The Beatles Came and Went – But, the Word of God Will Remain

The Beatles Come to America - 1964

The Beatles Come to America – 1964

I remember we were at recess at Sallie Zetterower Elementary School, in November, 1963, when our sixth grade teacher called us into the classroom and told us President Kennedy had been shot. Strangely enough, I also remember a few months later, in early 1964, when a fellow student, Lee Driggers, told us during Civics news-sharing time that the beetles were coming. That’s the way most of us heard it and thought it, at least.

We all laughed and it took a little explaining that the bugs weren’t coming. Lee said a rock and roll band was coming from England to visit the US, and they spelled their name: The Beatles. We laughed again at someone misspelling a word on purpose.

I’m sure I could remember more events from elementary school if I concentrated, but overall, the other things I remember are the teachers, and the smell and taste of the cinnamon rolls in the lunchroom.

Yet, I know I was there and apparently paid attention to the teachers at times. I can read and write and do arithmetic (although, I do still have to think about it to remember that 7 times 9 is 63.) So, someone was doing things correctly, and I’m sure it wasn’t me most of the time.

Makes me think about Sunday preaching. I can usually remember some topics and points of the last few sermons I’ve heard (at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) But, I couldn’t list out the sermon topics and points for the last three months. And, certainly not for the last six years – relating that length of time to the six years I spent in elementary school.

But, I can think back on the last six years and say that I have learned from and been affected by many sermons. Someone was doing things correctly, and I’m sure it wasn’t me most of the time.

I (and we) do need to pay attention and think about what is being said in order for a sermon to affect us. And, in my opinion, the preacher needs to spend time in prayer and study in preparation for the preaching. However, while those actions are doing things correctly, they’re pretty much useless unless the One Who does all things correctly is involved.

In the praying and studying. In the hearing and thinking. In the preaching. Without the presence and power of God, it is all foolishness. Yet, with God’s power and presence, our hearts are opened up to Him, and His Word is opened up to us and, yes, we grow spiritually.

We can look back over a sermon, and a month of sermons and six years of sermons, and remember specifics of only a few. But, we also find it has become more common that a verse of Scripture or something said about a verse of Scripture comes to mind at just the right time. We realize we have grown stronger in our faith and knowledge through God’s power and presence.

The Beatles did come and did have an effect on the country, but, my memory of Lee making that announcement isn’t much more than a bit of personal trivia. Some elementary school classes (and news sharing times) may stick with us through time, but it’s the overall process that’s critical. If we have good teachers leading us, it makes for good results – and we learn reading, writing and arithmetic, along with other life skills.

Specific sermons may stick with us through time, but, it’s the overall process that’s critical. If we have our Lord and Savior leading us, that’s fantastic, and we learn and follow His ways and His paths through life – and those are the most critical life skills.

Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.” Psalms 25:4

Beautiful Blooms – Blessings From God

Pink Hibiscus

Pink Hibiscus

Day Lily

Day Lily

Coneflower adn Devil's Trumpet

Coneflower and Devil’s Trumpet

I’ve missed a bit on the blog posts the last couple of weeks, but thought I would show a few blooms from the backyard. At the moment it has been dry and the last few days were super “wet” – not from rain but from humidity.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin : And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  Matthew 6:28-29 KJV

Father’s Day Windspinner – Reacting to the Storms

New Windspinner in the Garden

New Windspinner in the Garden


Father's Day Windspinner

Father’s Day Windspinner

Here are a wide shot and closeup of the latest windspinner addition to the garden. Sharon gave it to me for Father’s Day. All the vanes are attached to one pipe so they turn together. Even in a strong wind, it doesn’t madly spin like the windmill and the other spinner on the blueberry frame. This new one takes its time, and seems to methodically turn as it sees fit. It can be soothing to watch – you can glance at the windmill spinning too fast to distinguish the blades, then see these blue vanes regularly advancing around – in no hurry but still in action.

Could be a good example in the stormy wind’s of life, and a reminder for us to remember Who is still in control in those storms.

And he (Jesus) awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:39-41 ESV

Garden, Blooms and Scripture 8 – Angel Trumpets Galore

Angel Trumpet Trees

Angel Trumpet Trees

Angel Trumpets Galore! We have an angel trumpet plant by Sharon’s shop that normally gets out of hand – growing every which way against the wall and windows. This year, we decided to cut all the stems back except two vertical ones and remove most of the leaves to make them look like little trees. That worked and they’re looking rather neat so far.


Angel Trumpet Cuttings

Angel Trumpet Cuttings

But, the result was a bunch of short cut-off stems. I have heard through the years that angel trumpets can be propagated easily from those stems. So,  I tried a couple of ways. Both involved cutting off a piece of a new growth limb about 12 inches long. You remove the leaves and get a stick like that in the pot on the far right (placed in there last week.)

The bucket on the left is filled with water and the stems were simply placed in there “right side up.” The ones in the individual pots were just stuck in typical potting soil.

The cuttings in the water have started growing roots and you can see the leaves that have come on (it’s been a few weeks). But, I’m really impressed with the two in the potting soil that have been there the same amount of time. The roots are actually coming out of the pots drain holes and going into the ground. That appears to be the better method. Now, I can start a bunch, plant and enjoy a few here, and give some away. (sounds like the three reasons to garden!)

They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more.” Jeremiah 31:12 ESV


Garden, Blooms and Scripture 6

Cherokee Rose

Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose is the state flower of Georgia. It is beautiful, as you can see. Typically, this rose is a climber, but if you don’t give it anything to climb, it climbs itself. This bush is a mound about 6 feet tall and 15 feet wide. And, again, this year has been its best ever for blooming. But, you do have to watch for the thorns. The stems can get 1-1/2 inches thick and the thorns nearly an inch high.

And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.” Mark 15:17 ESV

The photograph shows well the beauty of God’s Creation, and should be a good reminder of the beauty of our salvation through God’s love. The thorns on the rose, and the verse above are reminders that our beautiful salvation, though freely given to us, came at a very high price.