This past weekend we closed out July by introducing you to our church@home teaching series.
For the next 4 weeks we’ll be diving into Bob Goff’s small group material, based on his book, Everybody Always.
In classic Bob Goff style, he shared stories about how God uses us to love others in the same, big, boundless, and audacious way that God loves us.
We’re invited and challenged to love our neighbour as our self. Even though we can do this in simple ways, many of us find it difficult and even scary. Bob reminded us, in this first video, that God often uses these words when challenging us to love and serve, “Do not be afraid”. We read them in both the Old & New Testament.
We segued from Bob’s talk and turned our attention to the communion table. What a perfect way to end July – around a table with wine and bread – reminding us of how much Jesus loves us.
In all this talk of loving our neighbours, know that Jesus calls us his neighbour, and we are his friends, and he is the best example of what it means to love our neighbour as ourself, because that is the way he loves us.
Read John 15:12-17 this week as you think about this.
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Our 60 day summer challenge is in full swing. You still have time to participate in the remaining 30 days.
– read one gospel book
(i.e. Mark works well by reading 4 chapters each week in August)
– read one short NT book
(i.e. James, Philippians, Jude)
– start each week with a Psalm
(i.e. 1, 4, 8, 13, 15, 23, 46, 51, 139)
– pray before and after each reading
– be open to loving and serving as God leads you
Church@Home is our August rhythm/routine. Make sure to check out the simple gatherings we’re hosting and get to a bunch of them this month. There is a Sunday option (Second Cup, North Whitby, 10-11am) and a mid-week home gathering (Wednesday from 7:30-9pm). More details on our events page and social media links.
Our Third & Final movie of this July series is Black Panther…
- This is a Marvel Movie…a Superhero Movie.
- Which means we risk blocking out an audience that isn’t into these kinds of movies so much…sorry.
- Black Panther was one of the most anticipated movies in a long time.
- They grossed more than any Marvel movie (1.3 billion)
- 1st in Superhero, 3rd in Domestic, 2nd Disney
- Why? Why all the hype? Why would we dabble with this story on a Sunday morning? What kind of connection could this possibly have with Faith, Hope & Truth.
- Let’s see. But first, a bit of the story!
Black Panther, the character, originated in 1966, in a Marvel comic featuring the Fantastic 4. It was issue #52.
Think about it. Why 1966? These are the years of MLK, John Lewis and the civil rights movement. This was Marvel’s way to speak into the climate of the day. (on purpose or by accident). One might say that it’s just animation, or just a comic book character. Others might say it was a very clever way to invite a new audience to Marvel and speak into a broken culture in some helpful way.
The story is about a people in a third world African country called, Wakanda.
To the world, they are considered impoverished, but that is only their front. Beneath the surface, they are an advanced society in resource, technology, and more. This is all because of something called Vibranium.
They recognized what they discovered, and how their way of life contrasts the rest of the world. So what did they do? Hide it. Conceal it. Protect it.
Some background is given. King T’Chaka’s brother was sent to the US as a spy. He didn’t do too well. Instead of observing and fitting in, he was influenced by the ways of “the world”. He sold Vibranium to someone who wanted to use it for ill. King T’Chaka comes to visit, confronts him, and in the process we discover that another spy was planted, this causes the King’s brother to react, and in this conflict, the brother is killed. Sad. For him…and his son that is left behind in poor Oakland neighbourhood.
We fast forward. King T’Chaka, is now passed, due to an accident at a United Nations meeting (Marvel story). T’Challa, his son, must now become the new King of this nation.
We learn that T’Challa is a good man; a peaceful man. He is opposite of the ways of the world. He doesn’t want to wage war on others, and is able to change and see things differently than even his ancestors did.
There is a beautiful exchange in the movie between T’Challa & his father. “You’re a good man, with a good heart, and it’s hard for a good man to be King”
- this reminds me so much of CS Lewis & Narnia. Little Lucy in that story asks if Aslan is safe. And the beaver responds by saying, “Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
- I love how this story throws us into questions of leadership and integrity. Can good people be effective leaders? YES.
The villain in this movie is Erik (or Killmonger), the boy left behind by the King T’Chaka. His circumstance, his suffering, his past, drives him to revenge. This is something both T’Challa and the people have to deal with as it forces them to face a reality they don’t like – their former King, even though his intentions were good, made a bad decision – he chose protection over care – he chose to leave his nephew to protect his people. T’Challa must be different.
- this is important to think about
- Can we move beyond the sins of our fathers/mothers?
- “You can’t let the mistakes of your father define you” (Nakia)
- Can we, respectfully acknowledge, that even though we love and appreciate who’s gone before us, we can be better.
- Perhaps some of our own stories resemble this…
The dilemma or problem to be solved in Black Panther is this:
- Your prodigal son/nephew has come home with a vengeance
- He fights for the throne
- Your good King is dethroned
- Will you continue to fight within or will you come together to be better?
- Erik, as new king, wants Wakanda to respond to his enemy’s in the same ways his enemies treated him. T’Challa says to him at one point, “You want us to become just like the people you hate”
I don’t wanna give too much of the story away, plus there’s too much in this story line to share in this format. I will say that this story ends so well.
- The King decides to purchase the buildings his uncle and cousin lived in, in Oakland, and restores the community.
- They will build the first Wakanda International Outreach Centre focusing on social outreach and sciences and technology.
- It’s like they went back to where their worst mistake was made and redeemed it…moved forward from it.
- Then, speaking at the United Nations, they say these remarkable words, “For the first time in history, we in Wakanda will be sharing our resources with the outside world. We can no longer watch from the shadows, but be an example of how we, brothers & sister on this earth should treat each other. The wise build bridges, the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another.”
INSIGHTS/APPLICATION/SCRIPTURE: (Faith, Hope, Truth)
Black Panther deals with many ISM’s (Agism, Racism, Feminism, Elitism, etc)
- this story highlights equality in all respects
- The women in the this movie are the heros
- They are strong, intelligent, confident, and leaders
- Young & Old come together. Wisdom & Work shared by all.
- Joel 2 definitely comes to mind here…
- “Then, after doing all those things,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your old men will dream dreams,
and your young men will see visions.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on servants—men and women alike.
- 1 Timothy 4 as well, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
- “Elders” in the scripture is given to those who are not only of age, but of ilk, those who lead by example
- Colour is strength, not weakness
- Where you live really does effect your world view. We of course can be better than this.
- This movie breaks barriers…in so many ways. A BLACK movie…unapologetically…as it should be.
What do we do with what we’ve been entrusted with?
- Fight the temptation to protect what you have, and instead share what you’ve been given.
- It’s yours to keep
- It’s yours to use
- It’s yours to share
- The Wakanda people came to the conclusion that sharing what they have is the best way to live and to lead.
- In Luke 12 we read, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
- There are countless other places in scripture where we are called to be generous…don’t miss out on the gift of generosity.
- Idolatry is a potential problem in this story as well. They’ve come to trust in, worship if you will, Verbranium. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Remember Jesus’ words, “you can’t worship both God & money”. These are fitting words in this context.
3 ethics reflected in this story
- T’Challa / King – justice/goodness
- Killmonger / villain – revenge/hurt
- Nakia – compassion/heart
The viewer is faced with a decision…what ethic will you live by?
This concludes our series in movies this year. Hope you enjoyed it. Each movie had something different to offer. Thank you for engaging with us and allowing us to take a different approach this month. Also, a big thanks to Wes Peel, Cheryl Romeril, and Renz Laserna, for participating in each of these conversations. They added so much to this series.
Peace & Love & Recycle!!!
TRAILER : The Greatest Showman…
Inspired by the story of PT Barnum
Situated in the mid 1800’s…
The story is a recapturing of how the Circus came to be. In actuality, it’s the story that leads to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which ran uninterrupted for 146 years until it’s closing last year.
This movie starts with a HUGE song, “This is the greatest show”. Calling us to the watch and participate in the greatest show, “like it’s everything you ever wanted and needed.”
This is partly a true invite, and also a way to sidetrack the viewer, you, and me, from initially identifying what the greatest show actually is.
Before we say anything else, know that this movie is “inspired” by the story of PT Barnum and events around his life. It’s not a true life description or telling. There is much liberty taken in this movie. But that’s ok. And here’s why. The writers are using the inspiration of Barnum’s life to tell us some things about dreams, ambition, values, community, humanity, and much more.
Barnum came from very little. His Father was a tailor who worked at wealthy families home, one home being the home of Charity, a little girl who Barnum became best friends with, and eventually married.
One of the main songs running through the film is “A million dreams”. Very important, as Barnum thinks the world should be better.
- His Father died when he was young
- He had to do what he could to survive
- He was determined to somehow move from his situation to a better one.
- “A million dreams for the world we’re going to make”
As a young adult, Barnum goes to Charity’s house to ask for her hand in marriage. Her Father let’s her go, but not without warning Barnum… “Sooner or Later she’ll tire of your life, of having nothing, and she’ll be back.” This is a prominent theme in the movie, rich vs poor, elite vs peasant, gifted vs unique…and how the world needs to change in how they separate & divide people. This also plays out in a scene with Phillip Carlyle & Anne Wheeler.
Fast forward to Barnum & Charity being married with two young girls of their own. Barmun’s work company goes bankrupt. As bad as this is, it inspires and challenges Barnum to dream again. And dream he does.
He begins to envision a place where people’s uniqueness is celebrated, a place to show off our differences and our gifts. This venture/vision, even though it eventually takes off, is criticized and protested. One of the words used to criticize this show was ‘CIRCUS’. Barnum loved it, and used it in his new title of the show.
The interesting thing is that even though Barnum believed in the uniqueness of everyone, he was tempted to be like everyone else and to be loved by everyone else. This led him away from the circus and his family for a short time to run a tour for an opera singer. He was fooled to think that prooving himself to the elite and wealthy would bring him happiness.
Barnum was beginning to lose his way, but his family, his circus community, and I think, his convictions, helped him find it again.
Something tragic happens to his building. A fire. Horrible. Like most traggic things in life, they lead to questions that bring perspective and purpose.
A few post fire conversations were important…
- While sitting on the steps with the reporter who mostly wrote critical reviews, we hear this conversation, “I never liked your show, but I always thought the people did. Putting folks of all kinds, colours, shapes and sizes on stage with you, presenting them as equals…another critic may have called it a celebration of humanity.”
- The circus crew met Barnum at the bar. He tells them there’s no money to be paid, not sure why they’re there. They respond with…“Don’t you get it Barnum? Our own mothers were ashamed of us. They hid us our whole lives. Then you pulled us out of the shadows. Maybe you were a fraud. And you made a buck. But you gave us a real family. You gave us a home. We want our home back.”
- Beach scene with Charity as Barnum goes back to her: (B) “I wanted to be more than I was.” (C) “I never wanted anything than the man I fell in love with”
- why do we feel we have to prove ourselves to others…God loves us, accepts us, calls us, sends us…this is a key gospel theme.
- Carlyle says to Barnum “Before I met you I had a job, an inheritance, and an invitation to every party in town. Now all that’s gone. All that’s left is friendship, love, and a work that I adore.” You brought joy into my life.
The fire actually did lead to an outstanding idea. “We don’t need a building…we can house this in a tent”
The movie ends with the song, This is the greatest show, but by then we realize that the greatest show isn’t the show you put on for others, it’s the relationships you build with others along with way. It’s the inspiration we give to others, the love, the encouragement, the care we give and share with those around us, in our community. In the final minutes we see Barnum walking off stage, handing his baton & hat to Carlyle (literally and symbolically) then goes to watch his greatest show, his kids ballet recital.
INSIGHTS/APPLICATION/SCRIPTURE: (Faith, Hope, Truth)
Are you the person you want to be or have you gotten caught up in someone else’s aspirations and false hopes?
- this movie is about someone with wonderful and pure intentions who’s lost his way…and fortunately found it again.
- Matthew 16 seems to come to mind again (like Hacksaw). Don’t try and gain the world and lose your soul (lose you) in the process…
Do we appreciate others, for who they are, not who we want them to be? Do we see the humanity, the image of God, that connects all of us.
- This story represents the beauty of the misfits (Peter Dewit’s FB comments)
- Why is it so hard for us to accept others, when in reality we all live with insecurities that challenge our sense of belonging?
- Isaiah 43:1 “I have called you by name, you are mine”
- James 2:2-9, Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?… If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin
What’s your sense of home?
Does your life project a sense of home onto others? Do they feel at home when you’re around?
- Luke 15. Prodigal comes home.
- You will be known for how you love others – for how you make others feel at home.
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Cheryl Romeril added these amazing insights:
Who is great? In who’s eyes? Such an important question to ask ourselves.
Early in the movie we were shown that the poor are often the most generous (Phineas was trying to steal food and the disfigured woman gave him an apple while the vendor in the market chased him down for trying to take a loaf of bread) a small part but a huge message…the woman…disfigured, hidden by her cape, shunned by society was GREAT in the eyes of a hungry orphan boy.
This movie is all about celebrating uniqueness.
All kinds, colours, gifts are really a celebration of humanity. It wasn’t a “freak show”… it was people working together for a common goal.
People need people
The body of Christ is unity amidst diversity. Everyone is “home” when they BELONG.
We don’t need a building, we just need a message that changes lives. Barnum wanted the circus show to bring happiness to people….to celebrate people!
OUR (the church’s) message is Jesus…a message of hope and love to lost people.
The passing of the top hat at the end was key…it takes a village. Everyone contributed to the success of the circus…everyone brought something different to the table…everyone made it HOME. They respected each other and appreciated each other’s gifts. They passed the hat with confidence and purpose. No one tried to stop the hat or take ownership…they kept up the passing until it reached Phillip Carlisle…the natural new leader with the gifting to do the job. They ALL celebrated in the moment.
1 Corinthians 12:14-26
Each week we will be providing “Take Homes” for you to use to continue the discussion at home with your kids.
An administrative reminder that we are redoing/updating our registration at The Park. Thanks to those of you who stopped by the registration table last week to fill out family registration forms! If you have not done so yet, please grab a registration form this week to fill out. All families (new and old) will need to complete this registration. Get your Family Registration Form here!
JK/SK Take Homes:
Praise Week 2 – Parent Take Home
Praise Week 3 – Parent Take Home
Praise Week 4 – Parent Take Home
Praise Week 5 – Parent Take Home
Grades 1-6 Take Homes:
Campfire Week 2 – Parent Take Home
Campfire Week 3 – Parent Take Home
Campfire Week 4 -Parent Take Home
Campfire Week 5 – Parent Take Home
The movie starts with these words from scripture… (Isaiah 40) “The Lord is the everlasting God…he will not grow tired…gives strength to the weary…increases the power of the week…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…they will soar…run…walk.”
We’re invited into the playful relationship with Desmond’s brother, loving relationship with his mother, and difficult one with his father.
– His mom is seen as a wonderful woman
– His Dad is a war veteran still living with the effects of his time at war…alcoholic…hates himself and takes it out on others…
– He loves his brother, though almost killed him in a play fighting accident. This is one of the things that shapes his views on fighting and killing.
While in this crisis with his brother, we see Desmond looking at a poster in his house with both the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 commandments, focusing on commandment #6, Do not Kill.
Demond seemed to always have compassion for others. While cleaning the church windows, he hears a noise, rushes out to see, and help, as someone was struck by a car. He saves his life and this starts his interest in medicine.
– This also leads him to meeting his future wife, Dorthy.
– He goes home and tells his family, “I met someone today, Dorthy, she’s gonna be my wife.”
This is of course the years of WW2. Americans are enlisting to war. Desmond’s brother enlisted. And Desmond, makes the choice to enlist as well.
– one problem, he is a conscientious objector to violence, a pacifist, an abstainer to guns and killing
– he signs up as a medic
– problem two, they send him to a rifle company/training centre for front line soldiers
Desmond goes to military training with a bible in hand. Not because he believes in war, but because he believes he can make a difference, without fighting. His dad warns him that this war isn’t going to fit into his thinking and values…“You have to pray about everything, and war doesn’t give you that option.”
Military Camp is not pleasant for Desmond. Some of the soldiers and lieutenants abuse and mistreat him. This of course is because of his faith and values. The others are told, “Do not look to Dos to save you on the battle field, as he’ll be struggling with his conscious”
In conversation with the Psychiatrist Dos says…“I’m not crazy sir”. I just simply believe what I believe. “God says not to kill” and “Jesus said, a new commandment I give unto you, to love one another.”
Doss ends up in prison for a few days, as they wait to give him a trial, and attempt to send him home. He missed his wedding because they didn’t let him go home for the weekend. His lieutenant brings his fiancé to him, to try and convince him to give up this foolishness.
This conversation unfolds… “I don’t know how I can live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe…or how you can live with me…I’d never be the man I wanna be in your eyes.”
During his Trial, Desmond’s Father brings the leading officer/judge a letter reminding them of the constitution; a constitution that was written to give people freedom of choice. Desmond wins the trial, is allowed to go back to the army, and the story leads us to Okinawa, Japan, and the battle on Hacksaw Ridge. His parting sentence? You are free to enter into the hell fire of war without a single weapon to protect yourself.
What proceeds to happen in the final 45 min of the movie is one of the greatest acts of courage & conviction you’ll ever see.
Desmond, true to his values, does not use a weapon, but proceeds to risk his life to save the life of others.
After a day of fighting, when the surviving soldiers leave the Ridge to go back to camp, Desmond stays, and going back and forth, bringing wounded soldiers again and again, lowering them down to camp to be cared for. During this time he ask’s God, ‘what do you want from me?’ Then hears the cries of his brothers, and knows what to do – help them.
His prayer that whole night, “Help me save one more. Please Lord, help me save one more.”He helped more than 75 soldiers that night.
His Lieutenant said these words to him…“All I saw was a skinny kid. I didn’t know who you were. You did more than any kind of man has done in the service of this country. I hope one day you can forgive me.”
AND… “Let’s get this soldier to a hospital bed”. This is significant, as earlier in the story, Doss tells that same lieutenant, “While everybody else is taking lives, I wanna be saving it…With the world set on tearing itself a part, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to put it back together.” He was laughed at a criticized – now he’s called a solider.
INSIGHTS/APPLICATION/SCRIPTURE: (Faith, Hope, Truth)
Live out your convictions…your values…your heart felt principles.
- Matthew 16:24-26, ““Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Decide how you want to be known and who you are…you have nothing else.
Have an answer for everyone who asks about the hope & faith you have.
1 Peter 3:13-15. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
Peace, and non-violent confrontation, even in the midst of impossible situations, is valuable and life changing/saving.
Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3 They will beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, Nor will they learn war anymore.
We heard some really good questions and comments following our conversation. Some highlights…
– Why do we have to wait for someone like Doss to save 75 people before we can appreciate his values and principals?
– War movies are always about the one with the most guns while this story is about the guy with no guns or weapons.
– All we can do is help one person at a time and leave the results up to God.