Starting in June, our church will be doing our God at the Movies sermon series. I love this series! It allows us to use our brains to understand the messages and themes that are present in our media. If you didn’t know it, all media carries a message – that includes movies, music, TV, and video games. The test is if you can discern the messages and see how they line up with God’s word.
Every year, one or two people ask me the same question: how do you find these themes in the movies? To put it another way, once I preach on the theme, people who have seen the movie have an “Aha!” moment. They see the theme once it is pointed out. But up until that point, the movie was just an entertaining story. Let me give you two tips to finding the messages in the media.
First, never turn off your brain! Romans 12:2 says that we are not to conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Yep, God wants to renew our minds and change our thinking. This is a big way that our lives are transformed. Here is the problem – many of us consume media to turn our brains OFF. That is when the subtle, often unbiblical messages get in more easily. This especially happens if the entertainment has humor, drama, or action (and most does). First tip – don’t turn off your brain; it is the filter for your soul.
Second, ask the “why?” question. Why is this character doing this action? Did it turn out good or bad? Why is this movie being told (besides entertainment and to make money)? In the movie Rocky, you see a man who has incredible perseverance (a good quality) but at the expense of losing the woman he loves (not so good). The movie ends with Rocky losing the fight in a split decision, but not caring because he has Adrian, whom he called out for as the fight ends – a classic scene! He also has a detached retina in his right eye. The movie begs us to ask the question, “Was it worth it?” And the movie gives us its answer: YES. If you are not using your discernment, you will just swallow the movie’s message, hook, line, and sinker. The bigger question lingers: is it worth sacrificing your family and health for your career? This movie was made in 1976, and for many people in the 80’s and 90’s, they lived their lives like Rocky, killing themselves at work and sacrificing their health and families for their careers.
This year, we will be looking at the movies of Godzilla (2019), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Men in Black International, and Toy Story 4. We will also, on June 2, talk more about the themes in this blog – Mind Over Media. We will look at the sad story of Solomon, and how he let the influence of his wives pull him away from the Lord. Maybe he wasn’t so wise after all! If you read this blog but are far away from Covenant Grove, we post all of our videos on YouTube and our website. Join along with us!
Finally, God at the Movies is one of my favorite sermon series because people in our church invite a lot of new people. I love that!! If you are reading this, please pray for our church to reach new people and help everyone get closer to Christ in the next month. Prayer makes a difference, and we want to join God in transforming lives. Our church is growing and preparing to build to make room for even more people. This is an exciting time!