Sharing God’s Story with Captain America: Civil War

2 Weeks from today (04/22) Captain America: Civil War opens! Here are your Spoiler Free Talking Points to Help You Share God’s Story!

My youngest son and I had the privilege of seeing Captain America: Civil War.

It. Is. AWESOME! It *may* be my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie so far!

If you haven’t’ already, go check out our definitive Captain America: Civil War binge watching guide. This will get you caught up on what you should see (again) before you see Captain America: Civil War.

Your definitiveCaptain America-Civil WarMCU binge guide

While I try to be spoiler free, there may be some inference/contextual spoilers. I *think* nothing more than what is in the trailers, but if you are concerned about spoilers, you may want to turn back now.

Divided We Fall

CW_Poster_01 “Divided we fall” is played up in both the trailers and in this official Civil War movie poster. And for good reason.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom will not be able to stand. If a house is divided against itself,that house will not be able to stand.  (Mark 3:24-25)

In this passage Jesus is addressing those who claim that He casts our demons because He is of the devil. Jesus’ response is that a kingdom or a house divided against itself will not stand.

We get to see this idea play out in Civil War. Will Cap and Iron Man stand united? Or will they fall divided? What does that mean for The Avengers? Will the Avengers stand or fall?

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Spiritual Gifts

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As with most team super hero movies (the Avengers, Fantastic Four, the Incredibles, the X-Man) we get to see how the Church should use our spiritual gifts.

As Christians we all have spiritual gifts. We just don’t all have the *same* spiritual gifts.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (I Corinthians 12:4-6)

This is just like Civil War, each hero has their own gift, their own power. When used properly, they are used for the common good.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (I Corinthians 12:7)

This is how the Church and Christians should act. We should all use our individual gifts in community. Not just in and for our local church, but also in and for the global Church. We should all be moving towards a common good, and not simply our own good.

Sacrifice and Atonement

Sometimes we try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody. But you don’t give up. (Captain America)

I don’t know your theological background, but this could lead to some very interesting discussion.

It reminds me of II Peter and how God “does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

The Lord is not slow concerning his promiseas some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

I know there is more to it than just this verse, but does everyone come to repentance? Don’t some people perish? Don’t some people reject God?

We want to see everyone saved. We want to see all of or family and friends saved. We want everyone saved, but often we know that not everyone is saved.

Not Perfect, Just Forgiven

I know we’re not perfect. But the safest hands are still our own. (Captain America)

This line totally reminded me of the whole “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven” bumper sticker.

We feel that tension too, right? We want our heroes to be perfect. We want the good guys to be completely good.

The same rings true for the Church. We want our local Church to be perfect. We want the global Church to be perfect. We want our Church leaders – pastors, preachers, elders, teachers, etc. – to be perfect.

But we know they are not. And the world knows that they are not. And sometimes we get called out on it.

But we know, like Cap, that “the safest hands are still our own.” We are still the Body of Christ. We still have a purpose. We still have a plan.

Yeah, we are not perfect. But we don’t need to be.

Sharing God's Storywith Captain America- Civil War

There is so much more, but I don’t wan to cross the line into spoiler territory. I will do another Sharing God’s Story with Captain America: Civil War after its been out a while.

Have fun. Enjoy the movie. And don’t forget to share God’s story with Civil War!

Hey, would you please do me a favor?

Would you please share this with someone you think would enjoy it?

And If you haven’t already, will you please like us over at Facebook (click below) and sign up for the Reel Parables email list?

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Not only will this guarantee that you get the latest Reel Parables posts, but you will also get my most popular downloads, including “How to See God’s Story in Movies,”

And be sure to check out our new Start Here and About pages!

Until next time,

Simon L Smith

Your Definitive Captain America: Civil War MCU Viewing Guide

My youngest son and I had the privilege of seeing Captain America: Civil War. It. Is. AWESOME!

It *may* be the best Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie yet!

Yes, you could watch every movie in the MCU to prefer for Captain America: Civil War, but you don’t need to.  We did that for Avengers: Age of Ultron and it took a long, long, long time.

So, to save you a bit of time I present to you your definitive Captain America: Civil War MCU binge guides!

While I try to be spoiler free, there may be some inference/contextual spoilers. I *think* nothing more than what is in the trailers, but if you are concerned about spoilers, you may want to turn back now.

our definitive Captain America- Civil War MCU binge guides!

The Incredible Hulk Plan (because he is big…)

What to watch:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (I know it was not the first MCU movie, but most of the movie does take place before the events of Iron Man.)
  2. Iron Man
  3. Iron Man 2
  4. Marvel’s the Avengers
  5. Iron Man 3
  6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  7. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  8. Ant-Man
  9. Captain America: Civil War!

This MCU viewing guide skips The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardian of the Galaxy but still gives you everything you need to know to be ready for Captain America: Civil War.

The “pick-your-favorite-character-that-is-not-the-Hulk-or-Ant-Man” Plan (because they are smaller than the Hulk but bigger than Ant-Man)

Still don’t want to spend that much time? I get it and I understand.

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (I know it was not the first MCU movie, but most of the movie does take place before the events of Iron Man.)
  2. Iron Man
  3. Marvel’s the Avengers
  4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  6. Ant-Man
  7. Captain America: Civil War!

In addition to Hulk, Thor and Guardians, this MCU viewing guide also skips Iron Man 2 & 3.

NOTE: My 15-year-old son said to keep Iron Man 3 because of how it ends (Tony getting rid of his Iron Man suits). While mentioned in Civil War, I don’t think you need to watch Iron Man 3 to understand what is going on. Consider it an elective.

The Ant-Man Plan (uh, because he is small…)

Pushed for time? Here is the bare bones of what you should watch before you see Captain America: Civil War.

  1. Marvel’s the Avengers
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  4. Captain America: Civil War!

Yep, this MCU viewing plan is very minimal, very bare bones. “Just the facts ma’am.”

My son and I debated whether or not to include Ant-Man but finally agree that while helpful, it is not needed for plot. It *Is* important for some of the character interaction so treat it as a bare bones elective.

There you go… Now you have your choice between three MCU viewing guides to catch you up on what you need to know to get the most out of Captain America: Civil War!

Your definitiveCaptain America-Civil WarMCU binge guide
Hey, would you please do me a favor? If you don’t already own these, are want to, would you please consider buying them form the links in this post? It won’t cost you a penny more but Amazon will send a small percentage my way to keep this site up and running. Thanks!

Also, please you share this with someone you think would enjoy it? And If you haven’t already, will you please like us over at Facebook (click below) and sign up for the Reel Parables email list?

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Not only will this guarantee that you get the latest Reel Parables posts, but you will also get my most popular downloads, including “How to See God’s Story in Movies,”

And be sure to check out our new Start Here and About pages!

Until next time,

Simon L Smith

Hide & Seek and a Daddy Daughter Campout

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Tomorrow  (April 15, 2016) my youngest daughter and I leave for our latest and greatest Daddy-Daughter Camp Out. Not only am I looking forward to spending time with and having adventures with my girl (past Daddy-Daughter Camp Outs included racing motorcycles and shooting guns), but I am looking forward to “preaching” on Sunday morning.

(FULL DISCLOSURE – The Daddy-Daughter Camp Out was cancelled last minute. I still like this and plan to use it when and where I can!)

The last time I had the privileged to preach I shared God’s story (and presents the Gospel) with Disney’s Frozen. Basically, I did for them what I did in my first book, Sharing God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen.

This year I still plan to share God’s story with movies.

Instead of one movie – Frozen – I plan to use many to show my main point. And this year’s main point is Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners,Christ died for us.

God loves us – and pursues us – before we ever love or pursue Him.

Even when we sin, God still loves us!

We will talk about this in the context of Jesus’ Lost Parables. We will also talk about movies where we see this.

We see this played out in Frozen (God loves us the way Anna loves Elsa), Finding Nemo (Marlin still loves Nemo, and chases after him, even after he disobeys).

We are all playing a game of hide and seek with God.

Even though our sin separates us from God (before we are Christians), like with Adam and Eve He is looking for us because He still loves us.

Adam-and-Eve

Be sure to check out my first book, Sharing God’s Story with Disney’s Frozen.

And would you please do me a favor? If you don’t already own Frozen or Finding Nemo, would you please consider buying it from these links? It won’t cost you a penny more and Amazon will send a small percentage my way to keep this site up and running. Thanks!

Also, please you share this with someone you think would enjoy it? And If you haven’t already, will you please like us over at Facebook (click below) and sign up for the Reel Parables email list?

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Not only will this guarantee that you get the latest Reel Parables posts, but you will also get my most popular downloads, including “How to See God’s Story in Movies,”

And be sure to check out our new Start Here and About pages!

Until next time,  – May the Force be with you!

Simon L Smith

Who is the Jedi in Return of the Jedi?

Who is the Jedi referred to in the Return of the Jedi?

I have always thought that it referred to Darth Vader, i.e. Anakin Skywalker.

Because of that I see the whole Star Wars saga (episodes 1-6) as the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.

Yes, I see Star Wars as a classic redemption tale.

EveryoneisRedeemable

Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Anakin is a kid and fairly innocent.

Yeah, yeah, I know he isn’t really innocent, but he wasn’t a bad guy.

(While I am not really Reformed or a Calvinist, I do believe in total depravity.)

Here we see Anakin, a sweet kid – not the bad guy and certainly not Darth Vader!

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Episodes II – Attack of the Clones

Here we see the rise of Anakin Skywalker. He grows up a bit and starts to become a Jedi!

A bit whiny, but not the bad guy.

Episodes III – Revenge of the Sith

Here we see the fall of Anakin and the rise of Darth Vader!

Pride gets the best of Anakin and he finally turns to the Dark Side.

Anakin, once the little innocent kid, is now Darth Vader!

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Episodes IV & V – A New Hope & The Empire Strikes Back

Yeah, we think the story is about Luke. But it’s not.

Luke is the “New Hope,” but not in the way that we may think!

We do get a glimpse at how the Church should work – with everyone using their gifts for the greater good.

But this is not really about Luke, but his Dark Father, Darth Vader!

Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi shows us that everyone – and anyone – is redeemable, even Darth VAder.

Even me.

Even *them.* (Whoever they are in your head.)

Even you!

But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinnersChrist died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Jesus DIED for you before you ever knew him.

Jesus died for you before you ever did whatever it is that you did that you feel God just cannot forgive.

God loves for, regardless.

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Hey, would you please do me a favor? If you don’t already own Star Wars, would you please consider buying it from these links? It won’t cost you a penny more and Amazon will send a small percentage my way to keep this site up and running. Thanks!

Also, please you share this with someone you think would enjoy it? And If you haven’t already, will you please like us over at Facebook (click below) and sign up for the Reel Parables email list?

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Not only will this guarantee that you get the latest Reel Parables posts, but you will also get my most popular downloads, including “How to See God’s Story in Movies,”

And be sure to check out our new Start Here and About pages!

Until next time,  – May the Force be with you!

Simon L Smith

Why Christians Take Bible-Based Movies So Seriously

An Open Letter to Biblical Movie Filmmakers (Or why Christians take Biblical-based movies so seriously.)


Dear filmmaker,

In a lot of ways, 2014 was a good year for Bible-based movies, it just wasn’t a good year for Bible-based movies. In addition to Son of God, we also had Heaven is for Real, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

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While Son of God didn’t generate too much criticism, the others did to varying degrees.
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Heaven is for Real generated a lot of talk around theology, revelation (as in getting God’s Word, not “the book of”), and, of course, heaven. I did not see it so I cannot speak intelligently about it. I just know that most people that I respect and follow online did not care for it.

noah-poster

I did see Noah.

Oh boy… Noah… I don’t think any other Bible movie has caused this much of a stink since the Last Temptation of Christ (1988). In my opinion, Noah was more divisive in Christian circles than any other Bible movie ever.

Most Christian critics and leaders I follow online said, “avoid it like the plague!” They labeled it heresy, a work of the Devil, New Age, etc.

Others that I respect, however, said “go see it!”

While they admitted that it wasn’t an accurate or “true” retelling of the Biblical story, they suggested that it was not that bad. Instead of avoiding it, they argued, we should embrace it and then use it to engage our world with the true story of Noah.

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I also saw Exodus: Gods and Kings. While not as bad a Noah, it was not nearly as good — or as faithful to the Old Testament — as it should have been. What was with the Lake Placid giant crocs?

2014 was a big year for Bible movies. It just wasn’t a good year for Bible movies.

With very few exceptions, most Christians see the same movies that our non-Christian friends see.

We geek out with Star Wars and the Avengers. We wait with baited breath for that next new movie trailer.

We like to use movie clips as sermon and Bible study illustrations.

We appreciate when you try, when you throw us a bone. We loved when Captain America said, “Ma’am, there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that.” We dig it.

What we don’t dig, however, is when you screw up a Bible story. Yes, we take the Bible pretty seriously. Here’s why.

Why Christians Take Bible-Based Movies So Seriously 2

We Believe the Bible is God’s Story

Those of us who believe the Bible don’t just like the Bible.

We don’t even just love the Bible.

We believe that the Bible is God’s Word.

We believe that the Bible is God’s direct revelation to us.

It isn’t just a book — or even a religious book — but it is actually the Word of God.

So why do we take Bible-based movies so seriously? We believe that the Bible is God’s Word.

So, why go messing with God’s Word?

We Believe the Bible is a True Story

We also believe it to be a true story.

Yes, there are poems and parables and metaphors, but we believe that the overall story of the Bible is a true story.

Sure, we don’t always agree on how it is true — think Creation and the Book of Revelation — but we believe that it is more than just a bunch of make-believe stories that teach a good moral lesson.

Simply put, we believe the Bible is true.

We Believe the Bible is a Good Story

Not only is the Bible God’s Word and true, it is also a good story!

The Bible has everything you could want in a good story!

Its got passion, suspense, intrigue, romance (and a fair amount of sex!), fighting, heroes, chases, etc.

You name it, chances are the Bible has it.

So what?

We get it. We know that the Bible can’t really be turned into a movie that would do it justice. It is too vast, too big, too grand.

And, if we are honest, we wouldn’t want to see all of it on the big screen. So much violence and sex — we couldn’t go see it just on principle!

But we do want you to try.

We will forgive some artistic license and creative embellishments.

We dig Ben Hurthe Passion of the Christ, the Robe, and the Ten Commandments.

Remember, we already know that you can’t do it justice. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t at least try to do it justice.

Think about, why would you make a Bible-based movie and then stray so far from the Bible? Why alienate the very audience that is likely to go see the movie?

Sincerely,

Simon L Smith


Hey, would you please do me a favor? Would you please you share this with someone you think would enjoy it? And If you haven’t already, will you please like us over at Facebook (click below) and sign up for the Reel Parables email list?

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Not only will this guarantee that you get the latest Reel Parables posts, but you will also get my most popular downloads, including “How to See God’s Story in Movies,”

And be sure to check out our new Start Here and About pages!

THANK YOU!