At the Movies
family Discussion guide
"Beauty and the Beast"
When you get the opportunity to dress up like a prince or a princess, who cares about the morale of the story, right? Alright, mom and dad, snap out of your fairytale and let’s get down to business!
There is so much to love about this movie … talking candlesticks, singing tea pots, dancing dishes, but when you peel back all the magical layers, at the heart of this tale is a beautiful story of redemption. And for anyone who chooses to know, love and follow Jesus, this “tale as old as time” should hit close to home. Without Jesus, we are ALL like the Beast … selfish and ugly to the core - at least on the inside. Without Jesus, our story (just like the Beast’s) remains dark, cold and hopeless without a meaningful purpose to bring us and those around us joy. But just as Belle loved an unlovable Beast and didn’t give up on him, God loves us inspite of our sin and He NEVER stops pursuing us. Because Belle loved the Beast and his heart softened to receive her love, the spell was broken and the ending of the Beast’s story was changed - it was rewritten. This is EXACTLY what happens (times eternity) when you and I accept God’s love and His gift of Jesus; God rewrites our story to give us a hope and purpose more beautiful than any fairytale that has ever been told!
So, consider these truths from today’s message, will you allow God to COMBAT YOUR CONDITION, OVERRULE YOUR OFFENSES and TRANSFORM YOUR TRAGEDY to rewrite your story into something beautiful?
1. COMBAT YOUR CONDITION
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13
2. OVERRULE YOUR OFFENSES
“We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” - Romans 5:8
3. TRANSFORM YOUR TRAGEDY
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” - Philippians 1:6
TALK IT OVER
Ask, "Who is your favorite character in the movie? What characteristics do you have in common?”
Ask, "Who did you like the least? Do you know anyone who acts like that character?"
Ask, “What does the word redemption mean?”
Ask, “Why do you need God to redeem you?”
Ask, “What does it look like to be selfish? Do you ever feel selfishness in your heart? What are some examples?”
Ask, “What does it mean to accept God’s love and His gift of Jesus? Why is what Jesus did for us so important?”
LIVE IT OUT
Pray. "Thank you, God, for loving me even when I wasn’t very lovable. Thank you, God, for giving us your Son, Jesus, so that we could have hope and a purpose here on earth, but also so that we could live with you forever in Heaven. Help me to recognize when I’m selfish and help me to trust You and Your ways to change my heart. Please show me what it means to love the unlovable, and please show me what it means to know, love and follow Jesus all the days of my life.”
This week, think of someone who is “unlovable” and do something kind for them to show them the love of Jesus.
This week, practice putting others wants first (being unselfish). For example, if someone wants to play a different game than you do, play their game first. If someone in your family would rather eat pizza and you want a burger for lunch or dinner, agree to eat pizza instead. If your sibling wants to play with your favorite toy, let them!
The fun of At The Movies doesn’t have to come to end until next year! Make family movie night a monthly or weekly tradition in your own home. Even if you don’t make a sermon out of the movie, you won’t regret investing quality time with your family!
"The Jungle Book"
“Forget about your worries and your strife!” Don’t you just love that little jingle from our easy-going friend, Baloo? Don’t you wish life was that easy? The truth is that the reason life sometimes feels like we are trying to survive in a jungle full of predators is because we broke the world with our sin. Our sin introduced darkness, and predators love to hide in the dark. But, God, who is Light, always provides a way to deliver us from ourselves, our world and even our predators to give us an ABUNDANTLY full life. Our life may not always be free of worry or strife, but it will always be full of hope and promises for our future and our good.
The main theme we want you to take away from this weekend’s movie is the value of COMMUNITY in your journey to know, love and follow Jesus. Did you know your community can either bring you closer to God and His plans for you or draw you further away from Him and take you down a path you were not intended to travel? To know what your community looks like, look at the people who make up your closest circle of friends - the people who you spend the most time with and who you do life with. The people who speak words into and over your life (because words are powerful).
The Bible gives us a lot of great principles to help us build community God’s way. Here are four laws of community that we can learn from The Jungle Book ...
1. First Law of Community … ADOPT because you were adopted
“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” - Romans 3:22-24
2. Second Law of Community … PARTICIPATE because you are gifted
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” - 1 Peter 4:10
3. Third Law of Community … GUARD because the enemy seeks to destroy
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” - Proverbs 4:23
4. Fourth Law of Community … UNITE because we are better together
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9
TALK IT OVER
Ask, "Who is your favorite character in the movie? Why?”
Ask, "Who did you like the least? Why?"
Ask, “Who are the people in your community? Do they encourage you to know, love and follow Jesus? Do you encourage them to know, love and follow Jesus?”
Ask, “Is there someone you know who is searching for community (a friend)? Is there room for them in your community?”
Ask, “What gifts has God given you that you can use at church? At school? At home? In your neighborhood?”
Ask, “What would have happened to Mowgli if he had trusted the snake? How can you guard yourself against bad influences in your life?”
Ask, “When is a time that it was easier to do the right thing because someone else agreed with you, supported you or stood beside or with you?”
Tell your child examples of when you’ve seen them being a good friend.
LIVE IT OUT
Pray. "Thank you, God, for creating community so that we do not have to journey through life alone. Thank you for the family members and friends who make up my community. Thank you for giving me parents to help guard my heart. Help me to be accepting of others, but also wise in my choice of friends. Please, show me how I might better use my gifts to show someone else how to know, love and follow Jesus.”
This week, think of someone who is not currently in your community and invite them to church.
This week, spend some time thinking about your gifts. Ask your family or close friends what they think your gifts are. Ask God to show you how to use your gifts to create community.
This week, think of one temptation that is hard for you to overcome. It could be anything - watching tv shows with a poor influence, being quick to judge others, not using your words wisely, etc. Make a list of things that you can do to guard yourself from making wrong choices.
Think of someone in your community who encourages you to do the right things. Write them a note to let them know you appreciate their friendship and that two are better than one!
This is probably our least known blockbuster of this year’s At The Movies series, but chances are pretty good that it is likely to be a favorite. For those who love to see the underdog rally to overcome insurmountable odds, Hidden Figures, based on a true story, gives us not only one inspirational character, but three - Dorothy, Mary and Katherine.
As politically charged as our culture seems today, can you imagine that magnified and multiplied? For an African-American female living in the 1960’s, nothing came easy and the odds of succeeding were stacked against them. But through the daring and determined example shown to us by these three brave women, we can draw four Biblically-based principles ...
1. Look beyond the PROTOCOL to the PROVIDER
If protocol had the final word, we would be eternally separated from God because of our sin. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5) That is right - Jesus, our Provider, made a way where there was none. So, don’t allow protocol to override your Provider. Ephesians 3:20 says that Our God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us …”
2. Look beyond your PAST to your PURPOSE
We can’t focus on the road ahead when our eyes are fixated on what we see in the rearview mirror. How easy is it to look back and regret mistakes we see in the past? If we want to experience an abundant life and fulfill the purpose for which God created us, we must “... throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
3. Look beyond the PREDICTIONS to the PROMISE
Did you know that even our grandest predictions do not measure up to God’s “smallest” promises? God’s promises merit all of our trust, but our big-time predictions are nothing more than empty air. So, why do so many Christians put a lid on what God can do? Maybe it’s time to test your beliefs. Do you really believe God will do what He says He will do? Scripture says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” - 2 Corinthians 1:20
4. Look beyond the PRESSURE to the PLAN
In Hidden Figures, toward the end of the movie, the pressure begins to mount, and the stakes are high. It is in moments like these that our human nature finds comfort in a plan - but, we should be careful not to invest all of our hopes and dreams in our own manmade plans. We must leave room in our lives for a plan better than even our own because “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) And, as a child of God’s, scripture promises that He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
TALK IT OVER
Ask, "who is your favorite character in the movie? Why?”
Ask, "have you ever felt like there was something that you really wanted to do but you couldn’t do? How did you feel? Did you give it a try anyway?"
Ask, “is there something scary ahead of you that you need God’s help to overcome?” (Examples, doing your best in a sport or activity; facing a bully the right way; learning something challenging at school)
Ask, “what does it look to encourage others in their goals and dreams? Your family? Your friends?”
Talk about your child’s attributes and why you are proud of them.
LIVE IT OUT
Pray. "Thank you, God, for providing Jesus that I might live forever with you. Thank you for giving my life a purpose. Thank you for always keeping your promises, and thank you because you have a plan to work ALL things out for my good. Help me to know, love and follow you every single day that my life might be used to help someone else who is far from you.”
This week, identify one challenge that seems too big to tackle and ask God, your provider, to help you overcome it.
This week, remind yourself that our purpose as a Christian is to love others well. Identify one person who could use some encouragement overcoming their own challenges and do something uplifting for them.
This week, identify one promise that God has made and kept.
If you are a planner, make a list of things to buy at the store. Take your child shopping with you and let them mark each thing off the list. Use this activity to talk with your child about their future plans and what God may have for them.
Don’t you love At The Movies?! We kickoff this year’s series with a forgetful, funny fish named Dory. We’ve all suffered from short-term memory loss at one time or another (remember when you couldn’t remember how your homework got lost?), but what if you lost your family and could not remember how to get back home? That would be pretty scary!
The reality is that at some time, we ALL wander away from God. But, just like Dory’s parents loved her unconditionally, God’s loving grace and mercy for us is also unending, and He will place “seashells” of hope in our path to lead us back to Him. What does those seashells look like? Well, He often uses people or circumstances or His truth (the Bible) to show us that we are lost and are in need of RESCUE. Ezekiel 34:16a says, “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick…”
But you know what? That is not all. God doesn’t only seek to rescue us and bring us back to Him; He desires to REHABILITATE us, too. He wants to make us well and whole again, so that we can be RELEASED to fulfill our purpose of loving and serving our family, friends and even strangers around us who have also drifted far away from Him.
Friend, you may forget about God, but God will NEVER forget about you. No matter how far away from Him you may go, He will never stop making a way for you to find your way back home to Him.
TALK IT OVER
Ask, "what is your favorite memory?"
Ask, "have you ever lost a favorite toy? How did you feel? Did you search until you found it?"
Ask, “is there anything that you need God to help you overcome (REHABILITATION) that may be leading you away from Him?” (Examples, being defiant or disobedient; being dishonest; being selfish; being prideful)
Ask, “what does it look to love and serve your family? Your friends? A stranger?”
Talk about what your child SHOULD do if they are ever lost or separated from you.
LIVE IT OUT
Read John 10:1-30 together.
Pray. "Thank you, God, for loving me, seeking me, protecting me and blessing me. Help me to know, love and follow you every single day that my life might be used to help someone else who is far from you.”
This week, identify one thing that may be taking you down a path away from God and ask God to help overcome that.
This week, look around you for “seashells” that God has put in your life to bring you closer to Him.
This week, find one person in your life who could be uplifted or encouraged by a simple act of kindness and do that for them.