God on Film
Stories have power, and almost nothing captures the power of story better than a good movie. With this in mind, Bethel’s “God on Film” sermon series will use scenes from Hollywood films to help illustrate God’s story in Scripture.
The whole idea of this series comes straight from the methods of Jesus. Just a quick glance through the Gospels will show you how many times Jesus used parables—captivating and culturally relevant stories that helped people more clearly understand the grace and hope of God. It doesn’t matter your age, gender or the culture you grew up in—everybody is captivated by a good story. In our modern world, movies are a primary form of story-telling.
But movies are more than just stories. According to film critic, Josh Larsen, movies are prayers. In his book, Movies Are Prayers, Larsen believes that movies are our way of telling God what we think about this world and our place in it. He states, “Movies can be many things: escapist experiences, historical artifacts, business ventures, and artistic expressions, to name a few…They are expressions of raw emotion, naked vulnerability, and unbridled rage. They often function in the same way as prayers, communicating our deepest longings and joys to a God who hears each and every one.”
Because of the power of movies, there aren’t many rooms where we will laugh, cry, cheer and boo with 100-plus strangers, but a movie theater is one of those, and all of a sudden strangers become united around a common thing: story. Jesus knew that well and would use an earthly story to help unite people around an eternal one. That is what we hope to do through this series.
What is Right About Our Nation
[Jesus prayed:] “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
May 29, 2022
Pastor Mike Brown
How to Win the Fight of Your Life
A Jewish leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.’” The man replied, “Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich. Jesus saw that he was sad and said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”
The people who heard him asked, “Who, then, can be saved?”Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look! We have left our homes to follow you.”
“Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will receive much more in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”
May 22, 2022
Pastor Mike Brown
Building Trust In Hard Times
When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, “Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?” Jesus turned on them: “Of course not!” And they traveled on to another village.
May 15, 2022
Pastor Mike Brown
The Messy Truth of Being a Mom
Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.
May 08, 2022
Pastor Mike Brown
When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense
Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger one said to him, ‘Father, give me my share of the property now.’ So the man divided his property between his two sons. After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living. He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing. So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father’s hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve! I will get up and go to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and started back to his father.
“He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him. ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’ But the father called to his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began.
“In the meantime the older son was out in the field. On his way back, when he came close to the house, he heard the music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him, ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Your brother has come back home,’ the servant answered, ‘and your father has killed the prize calf, because he got him back safe and sound.’ The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in. But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends! But this son of yours wasted all your property on prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!’ ‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’”