Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

9Jul/130

Sermon via Movie: Machine Gun Preacher, God Wants to Wreck Your Life

Often one of the hardest parts of being a Christian is staying focused, not getting discouraged in your pursuit of Christ. But we’ve got to stay focused…because the best things about the Christian life aren’t available to those who just get by in their spiritual walk…He can only bring deep peace and joy and mission to those who draw close—for reasons we will get to in a moment. In the movie when Sam loses his job and has to sell his bike, we see Sam go back into the old bar, talk to some old friends, and consider turning back. He doesn’t do it…but he is definitely tempted to. We all will be. We all dry up sometimes, sometimes it is are fault, sometimes it is because life hits us hard, etc.

Jesus knew this was the key—and he made sure that he planted a key thought in the minds of his disciples before he died to ensure that they knew it too. They had it easy for 3 years—to interact with Jesus daily, they just had to keep up with Jesus. They practically lived together. And they were full of life—seeing Jesus teach and do miracles every day. But as Jesus approaches the cross, he needs to ensure that they get off autopilot in their walk with God. He’s leaving. And in his wake, he is not only going to leave them alone, he is going to leave them in charge. Thousands of people who will look to the disciples for love and guidance and strength. And in life in general, we will dry up spiritually if we don’t heed his advice too.

Big Idea: A strong relationship with God leads to being on mission with God—God pours love in, and we let it overflow as God breaks our hearts for the needs of this world.

The Gospel of John: Chapter 15
3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Check out the sermon manuscript or watch online to see the whole message.

Download the Group Discussion Guide here.

21Apr/090

Movie Review: Fireproof

Stacy and I are avid movie watchers. Our small group used to find it humorous how often we would relate a thought from real life to a movie scene. Something inside me can illustrate any sermon point from a good wholesome movie. I've even got them catagorized in my head--

On Leadership and Teamwork: Down Periscope, Armageddon, King Arthur and The Star Trek Originals.
On Marriage: Cinderella Man, the Incredibles, Fun with Dick and Jane, the Family Man, and Rocky III.
On History: Schindler's List, Good Night and Good Luck, Cinderella Man, Rambo, and Hotel Rwanda.
And on God at work in life: A Walk to Remember, A Nativity Story, The Prince of Egypt, Evan Almighty, Chronicles of Narnia. (there are many more, but this list is already too long)

After this past Friday, we've added another movies to our definitive favorites list: Fireproof.

What's funny, is that Stacy and I don't have much taste for Christian produced movies. We've seen the Jesus film, watched numerous local and crusade productions, and reluctantly added the Passion to our collection...but don't typically find these pictures true enough to life. Fireproof is a HUGE exception, however. We are still thinking of the rich humor, cinematography, and true-to-life depictions in the movie. We'll be quoting the lines from it back and forth for years to come, and highly recommend that you pick it up on your next opportunity for a seriously rich movie. I've included a short clip here, in case you'd like to witness a bit of movie magic. The trailer is also available, and can be viewed by clicking this link, here.

26Nov/080

Prince Capian: C.S. Lewis would be Disappointed

In Disney's latest release of the Chronicles of Narnia, the writers and directors take a large departure from the storyline of the original author, and in doing so, destroy the reason he wrote the story.

C.S. Lewis is well-known and criticized for writing clear allegories to the spiritual lessons of the Bible, especially in reference to his popular Chronicles of Narnia. His engaging stories teach people, young and old, just as parables in ancient times hoped to do.

Unfortunately the God of the Chronicles of Narnia movies is not the God that C.S. Lewis portrayed. Gone from both movies is the Emperor across the sea and the majestically sovereign Lion. Instead we find a Lion who works more as the magical king of the region of Narnia, than as the creator of the world in which Narnia resides. Instead of hearing of power of God, we are told of "deep magic", which appears to be more reflective of George Lucas's Force, from Star Wars.

In the lastest addition, Prince Capian, we are met not with the Lion who brings the four Pevancys into Narnia and leads them to Aslan's How in correlation with Prince Caspian's blight, but we find them struggling to it's location on their own, aided by a dream and a momentary vision, rather than by the walk of faith that Lewis portrayed.

In a greater departure from the original story, we find the characters of the Chronicles to be very different from Lewis' intent. We find the children raiding the castle of the Talmarines at the bequest of a prideful King Peter, rather than defending Aslan's How at a humble and sacrificial Peter's request. We further see a King Peter tempted by the White Witch, rather than destroyed by Him. And we fail to see King Peter humbly raising up Narnia's new king through an understanding and submission to the plans of the true king...Aslan.

Finally...and saddest of all, We miss C.S. Lewis' glorious conclusion to the story of Prince Caspian, and the greatest spiritual metaphor of the book. For after the battle of Aslan's How, we read through the liberation of the faithful Narnian people and lands(including human men and women) and the judgment of the unfaithful. We see the sovereign Aslan lead more than the kingdom to a new ruler, we see him reward those with faith in Him.

For a similar opinion, read the following article:
http://www.anglicanjournal.com/100/article/narnia-film-long-on-action-short-on-faith/