Wednesday, November 13, 2013

End of Year Recap

     In this final year of “Reel Christianity”, I’m ending the year a little differently. Instead of having a five-week series during October like I should have, I’m pushing the series back several weeks so we can end the blog with that, because trust me, it’ll be cool. In the meantime, though, let’s take time now to look back at the things God has taught us this year through the movies:

     Through “The Godfather”, we were reminded of Jesus’ teaching that contrasts to the world’s idea of success: that in order to save one’s life, one must lose it. (Matthew 16)

     Through “The Last Temptation of Christ”, we took a closer look at the part of Jesus’ life that is most often neglected: his human nature. (1 Peter 1)

     Through “Les Misérables”, we learned the power of loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5)

     Through “Cool Hand Luke”, we learned that true rebellion is that which denies the world and follows the Lord wholeheartedly. (Matthew 23)

     Through “Paradise Now”, we saw the idea of losing one’s life to save it through the eyes of two Arab terrorists fighting for another image of God. (Mark 8)

     Through “Lincoln”, we were reminded of how God created all men in his image, Jew and Gentile, slave and free. (Galatians 3)

     Through “Argo”, we were challenged with the idea of believing God’s truth above anything that the world tells us. (1 John 3)

     Through “Silver Linings Playbook”, we learned how love (beyond a worldly sense of it) is able to cover a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4)

     Through “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, we were reminded that though trials, temptations, or even beasts can come in and destroy our world, Jesus has truly overcome the world. (John 16)

     Through “No Country For Old Men”, we were assured that even though the world may be dark, God will always prepare a place for us. (John 14)

     In “Ordet”, we got to see for ourselves how faith in the Lord can truly raise people from the dead. (John 11)

     Through “American Beauty”, we were reminded that the things of this world will never truly satisfy more than the love of God. (Ecclesiastes 2)

     In “The King of Kings”, we saw the portrayal of Jesus as a man who never sinned, was crucified for our sin, and rose again. (Matthew-John)

     In “Blue Like Jazz”, we saw a young man who learned that being a Christian doesn’t mean following a bunch of dumb rules—it means loving people no matter what. (John 13)

     Through “Bonnie and Clyde”, we saw (albeit through a bad example) what it looks like to reach out to the poor in spirit. (Luke 23)

     In “Ben-Hur”, we witnessed what it looks like to go through a life of torment and finally reach a point of forgiveness. (Matthew 5)

     In our “Leaving the Ninety-Nine” series, we saw several examples of people risking it all to find one lost person, just as Christ does constantly for his children. (Matthew 18)

     Through “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, we were reminded of how greed and longing for our own control can lead us to ruin. (Mark 8)

     Through “M”, we saw a powerful metaphor for how we all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. (Romans 3-7)

     Through “Life of Pi”, we learned about overcoming unbelief in God, no matter how absurd it may seem at times. (Mark 9)

     Through “The Lion King”, we compared Simba to Moses, a man who had to overcome his fears in order to do great work for God. (Exodus 4)

     Through “Days of Heaven”, we were reminded of the promise God made to Abraham even after huge desolation. (Genesis 22)

     Through “The Bridge On the River Kwai”, we learned how to love the people in authority over us even when it is hard. (Matthew 22)

     Through “Babette’s Feast”, we were reminded that perhaps making our work pleasing to others, it can also be pleasing to God. (Psalm 119)

     In “The Master”, we witnessed what false religion can do to us spiritually and how we can overcome that. (John 14)

     Through “Barry Lyndon”, we saw yet another example of a man who may have said he believed in God but did not truly follow him, and in the end was ruined because of it. (1 Corinthians 15)

     In “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans”, we saw a man and woman who fell back in love after falling out of it because they let forgiveness happen. (Psalm 51)

     In “To the Wonder”, we saw another example of a married couple twisting the idea of love into something that is not in fact honoring to God. (Ephesians 5)

     Through “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, we saw another couple who decided to keep falling in love with each other no matter how many faults they find in each other. (Ephesians 5)

     Through the “Harry Potter” movies, we saw in action the idea of spiritual warfare and how even the weakest of us can be victorious over it. (Ephesians 6)

     Through “To Kill a Mockingbird”, we were reminded of loving even the least of these, though the world says otherwise. (John 8)

     In “The Apostle”, we saw a sinful man who was nevertheless used by God because he was open to His will. (Isaiah 6)

     In “There Will Be Blood”, we saw the actions, repercussions, and eventual downfall of those of us who don’t practice what we preach. (2 John 1)

     “On the Waterfront” showed to us what it looks like to stand up for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. (Proverbs 31)

     Through “The Best Years of Our Lives”, we were reminded that no matter how much time goes by, God will never leave or forsake us. (Ephesians 3)

     In “The Magnificent Ambersons”, we saw yet more people learning the hard way that the things of this world will not satisfy. (Ecclesiastes 1)

     Through “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”, we were reminded that no amount of work should make us neglect investing in other people’s lives. (Luke 10)

     “The Iron Giant” was a great metaphor for Jesus coming to Earth and saving us even when we sentenced him to die. (John 1)

     Contrary to “The Wizard of Oz”, we learned that apart from the salvation of Jesus Christ, we really don’t have the power to go home. (Romans 3)

     Through “2001: A Space Odyssey”, we saw the magnificence of God’s creation and how it truly is unfathomable to our understanding.

     And in our next series, we’ll be looking at what it means to take on the identity of Christ. Our theme verse will be Ephesians 5:1-2: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Join me as we explore this idea by watching several characters do this in a specific film saga.

     Namely, “The Lord of the Rings”. See you next week, friends!

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