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I think of Eric Liddell. The movie Chariots of Fire depicts how his sister Jenny tried to persuade Eric to give up his running, and go to China with her to be a missionary. He said, "No, God has made me fast and called me to run." It would have been wrong at that point to be a missionary. Of course, Liddell had other opportunities to take up the cross. At the 1924 Olympics in Paris, he would choose to forfeit his chance to win a medal in the 200 meter dash, something he very much wanted to do, because he believed the Lord did not want him to race on Sunday. Then a number of years later, he would take up the cross quite literally and go to China as a missionary where he would later be killed by the Japanese.
A number of people think of Satan as the personification of evil. Like Uncle Sam is the personification of patriotism, the devil is the representation of all evil. Or they think that people are evil and need no one to tempt them. But if they could, just for a moment, have the curtains of this seen world rolled back, they would believe.
Video Clip from Constantine - Chapter 12: 37:33 - 39:51 = 2:08
Now, that movie has some rather radical Biblical mistakes in it but much of what Constantine said in that dialog is true. Satan wants to influence us to evil. He and His minions are there to try and give us just the right or wrong nudge and it’s clear that the Devil knows about us whether we want to admit He’s real or not.
(Video Clip montage from Titanic - mpeg 2:58)
It was that tragic, true story that served as the backdrop for the blockbuster film Titanic, which steamed past all other movies to become the top grossing movie of all time. It earned $601 million. It was the #1 movie in America for 13 weeks in a row. Thousands of people returned to see Titanic two, four, ten times, and they didn’t return to see a big ocean liner sink in icy waters. (Oops, sorry if I ruined the end of the movie for you.) No, they returned because of the romance. They returned because there was something about being embraced; to have someone’s arms around you as you stood on the bow of the ship of life, to know that you are loved beyond reason, as in the case of Jack and Rose.
As tragic as the sinking of the Titanic was, over 1,500 lives lost, you can multiply that number a million times over and record the death toll of marriages.
A few weeks ago I rented the movie AI. It is set in the future, where a company has created a human robot child with the ability to love unconditionally. In many ways it was a disturbing movie, posing a number of difficult questions about what it means to be human and what the limits of our dependence on technology should be. But probably the most poignant question that came to mind watching the movie is, ¡§to what extent will we go to find love?¡¨ I won¡¦t give away the plot of the movie, but the thread that runs through it from start to finish is capsulated by a question this robot-boy asks repeatedly: "Then will mommy love me?"
It is perhaps the deepest longing of our he...
In 1986 Tom Hanks & Shelly Long starred in a movie called "The Money Pit." It’s a film “for everyone who’s ever been deeply in Love or deeply in debt.” One of my favorite lines: “Here lies Walter Fielding. He bought a house and it killed him.” Disagreements over money cause marital failures, church splits, business breakups, and any number of other disputes. The power of money can be used to accomplish incredible good or horrible evil.
Make It So
As a child, I remember when the original Star Trek program was introduced. Although we had a black and white television, the word was that those with color TV's could see that Mr. Spock was greenish.
Marylu and I watched Star Trek, the Next Generation, but none of the other spin offs that came later. Lost interest. But I noted a command that JeanLuc Picard would give to Commander Ryker, "Number One, Make it so."
That command saved a lot of words or explanations; whatever was suggested would now become the plan. God is a sovereign God. He says, "Make it so" and it is.
REVELATION AND OVALTINE
The word often translated "revelation" or as I translated it, "unveiling," could also be understood as "decoding." Ever heard of those Ovaltine Decoder Rings in the '40s? Ovaltine drink advertisements used to have a coded message on them (as did some of the Ovaltine radio ads you might hear when you listen to tapes or CDs of old radio programs). If you twisted the top of the ring to the symbol in the ad, you'd get a letter or number that was part of the message. Of course, those messages were designed to enhance the ad--much like the scene in the Christmas movie when Ralph finally gets his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring and deciphers the secret message only to discover that it said, "Drink more Ovaltine."
God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us decode what God wants from us. But it isn't a disappointment. The Holy Spirit not only helps us to know God's will, but to know how to accomplish God's will and empowers us to do it. But where other religions promised to let a few chosen people in on the special mysteries of their knowledge, promising the ancient equivalent of today's Scientology with its promise of amazing powers for those few special ones who are dedicated enough and donate enough to reach the upper echelons of their religion, God has revealed Himself to us in order to share the mystery of His love, His presence, and His purpose with EVERYONE.
Another movie I saw recently was the Fellowship of the Ring. It too is about the use of power, in particular a magic ring that gives its wearer the power to control all living things. “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” Godlike powers available to the user of the one ring. And a number of times in the story people ask questions like: ‘Can we not use the power of this ring to defeat evil?’ ‘Cannot those who are strong in wisdom and goodness use this ring to bring about peace for all?’ Indeed the ring-barer himself twice offers to...
THE IN-LAWS: "ARE YOU A PRAYING MAN?"
Sheldon Kornpett was a quiet, reserved man with a successful dental practice in Manhattan, that is, until he met his future in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Vince Ricardo. Sheldon’s daughter was soon to be married to their son, so Sheldon’s wife hosted a dinner party at their house to meet the parents of her daughter’s fiancé. This is the setup, of course, for the 1979 film, The In-Laws, in which Alan Arkin plays the docile, subdued dentist and Peter Falk plays the wild and goofy Vince Ricardo.
On the day after the party, Vince drops by Sheldon’s office and tells him that he is actually a CIA operative and that he has secretly robbed the U.S. Mint of a number of engraving plates. He explains that it was a necessary action if he was to crack a worldwide plot against the economy of the United States. He had to act on his own, he says, because the CIA wouldn’t go along with him. Not only that, Vince says, but he left one of the stolen engraving plates in Sheldon’s house the night before. As you might expect, when Sheldon arrives home that evening, the Feds are there to meet him.
But Sheldon doesn’t go into the house; he turns his car around and goes the other way. He calls Vince, and, before he knows it, he and his daughter’s future father-in-law are in a somewhat unstable plane, flying over a vast expanse of water, headed for Central America as part of Vince’s plan to save the United States from financial ruin.
When they arrive, they fall into disfavor with the local dictator, a General Garcia, and they wind up in front of a firing squad. The General enjoys having these Americans at his mercy, and he struts around in front of them, trying to torment them with their fate. This works with the dentist, of course, but the Peter Falk character isn’t shaken a bit. I remember the General, prancing in his black, high gloss, knee-high boots, wielding a riding crop in one hand -- I remember him walking up to the Alan Arkin character, tilting his head to capture his prisoner’s line of vision, and saying: "Tell me, sir: Are you a praying man?"
It’s the question I want us to consider today. Are you a praying man? Are you a woman who prays? Is prayer a part of your practice?
Sermon Central Staff
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE MOVIES--THE APOSTLE
In 1983 Robert Duvall wanted to make The Apostle because he felt that the motion picture industry had mostly ignored the work of the Holy Spirit. According to Duvall, filmmakers hardly ever made a movie that would actually show the truth about the Holy Spirit. If they did make a movie it is usually one that was patronizing and full of stuff that has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit or the Bible. Duvall wanted to realistically portray a preacher who was completely under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Duvall wanted to understand what these preachers went through and what they believe in order to be able to portray this in an accurate way so that the audience would understand. When he first approached various studios about this movie they wouldn’t go near it because it didn’t attack the evangelical community.
Duvall put off the movie for nearly 15 years, until he was able to finance it with his own money. The movie became so popular that he earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of preacher Sonny Dewey. Duvall who was raised in a Christian home and though he was taught to believe in Jesus Christ he never knew much about the Holy Spirit until he made The Apostle. It was during his research for the move that he felt the touch of the Holy Spirit as he sat in a church in Harlem.
In response to the popularity of movie Newsweek devoted an article to the concept that there was a resurgence of the Holy Spirit ministry in churches since the movie. According to a Newsweek survey taken after the movie was shown to the public, the survey found that 47% of people in churches claim to have an experience of the Holy Spirit ministry in their lives. What is interesting is that according to Newsweek survey they also found that a large numbers of people who didn’t even go to church say that they also had experienced the Holy Spirit ministry in their lives. I find it interesting that since the movie came out we now have people who have never went to church who have never sat under a teaching ministry and who very likely are not even saved say that they have experience the Holy Spirit ministry in their lives.
Today there is a tremendous amount of confusion and controversy that exists about the Holy Spirit.
(From a sermon by Eugene Morell, The Ministry of the Holy Spirit, # 1 5/21/2012)