Emptied & Humbled: More to Lent

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

There is more to Lent than just Lent.

First, Lent is more than just 40 days and giving something up.

As I’ve stated earlier, I did not grow up observing Lent. I didn’t even know, until recently, that Lent ends before Easter. (blush)

Holy Week

Lent ends during Holy Week. Holy Week starts the Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday celebrates and remembers Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem. The crowd loves Him and expects big things from Him.

Holy Week ends with the Triduum, where we remember the last Thursday (the last day of Lent), Good Friday and Saturday before Easter.

 

Holy Week is interesting to me. In the span of a week, the people went from loving Jesus to killing Him. On Palm Sunday they welcomed Him into Jerusalem and then on Friday killed Him on Golgotha, just outside Jerusalem.

I wonder how often I do the same thing.

Praise God on Sunday, and then deny, ignore, hurt, sin against Him that same week.

This is why I need Lent.

This is why I need Easter Sunday.

Triduum

Triduum is the last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before Easter.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is a day to remember Last Supper and Jesus’ washing the disciple’s feet.

Some Maundy Thursday services end with the removing or covering of items in the Church, especially the cross. This is to visually show the sorrow, sadness, grief of Good Friday.

Good Friday

Good Friday is the day we remember Jesus’ crucifixion and death. As I stated earlier, I sometimes struggle with how Good Friday is good. How can death be good? I tend to agree with the people who refer to Good Friday as Black Friday.

 

But then I remember Hebrews 9:22 and Romans 5:8

Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  (Hebrews 9:22)

 

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

Friday is good because it shows us how much God loves us.

Jesus’ death – His sacrifice – is good because it allows us, even though we are the dirty rotten sinners that we are – to be reconciled to God.

It is good because it is not the end. Yes, it is crucifixion Friday, but Resurrection Sunday is coming!

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is the day we remember – commemorate – the day Jesus was buried. It is a time of quietness and contemplation.

Remember, what Jesus did, He did for you.

Remember, Jesus is in the tomb, but Easter Sunday is coming!

Easter

Easter Sunday is also called Resurrection Sunday.

 

Easter is the time of year that we celebrate what the Jews celebrate at Passover. God has made a way to save us! God has conquered death!

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the lawBut thanks be to God,who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (I Corinthians 15:56-57)

This is an awesome time of year.

It is a time for us to take our faith seriously.

It is a time for us to empty and humble ourselves.

It is a time for us to repent and to draw near to God.

it is a time for us to grow in our relationship with Jesus.

It is a time for us to be conformed to the image of Jesus.

This Lent season please join Reel Parables as we look at movies to see how we can be more like Jesus.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

Emptied & Humbled: 40 Days

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

As we discussed yesterday, one aspect of Lent is preparation. This is one reason, traditionally, why Lent lasts for 40 days. Traditionally, the forty days of Lent mirror the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before He started His earthly ministry.

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he endured temptations from the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, he was famished. Luke 4:1-2

 

For forty days Jesus fasted.

For forty days Jesus was tempted by the devil.

For forty days Jesus prepared Himself for His earthly ministry.

The same can be true for us. The forty days of Lent can be a time for us to prepare to fast.

Again, I did not grow up observing Lent. As my wife and I have started to observe Lent we have followed the tradition where Sundays are not part of Lent and, assuming you are fasting, you are not expected to fast on Sunday. The reason is so you can take part in communion, the Lord’s Supper, in your church community.

This Lent devotional – Emptied and Humbled – will follow this forty days Lenten calendar.

After this week’s introductory posts I will post Monday – Saturday, but not on Sunday.

Each week will focus on a different movie and will follow, more or less, this outline of Philippines 2:

  • Choice
  • Sacrifice
  • Death
  • Identity
  • Glory

Each week we will look at how Jesus emptied Himself and humbled Himself (Philippians 2) and then examine how we can do the same. After all, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning? But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from youDraw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded. Grieve,mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despairHumble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. James 4:5-9

Yea, I know it’s not about Lent or Easter, but 40, by U2, is based on Psalm 40 and seems to fit in here nicely.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

Emptied & Humbled: Ash Wednesday

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

From ashes to ashes and dust to dust…

This common saying, often heard at funerals, is not a quote from the Bible, but it is quite Biblical.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the groundfor out of it you were takenfor you are dust, and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:19

And the dust returns to the earth as it wasand the life’s breath returns to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7

He has flung me into the mudand I have come to resemble dust and ashes. Job 30:19

We are finite. We are perishable. Unless Jesus returns first, we will all die.

We will, as Genesis, Ecclesiastes, and Job state, return to “ashes and dust.”

As I stated in the introduction, I did not grow up participating in Lent. I did not grow up putting ash on my forehead. But, as I have grown older, I appreciate its importance.

The ash, in the design of the cross, is meant to remind us of our own mortality. Ash Wednesday and Lent are a time of preparation, repentance and of sacrifice.

Lent is a time of preparation.

The end of Lent coincides with the last week of Jesus’ life; His leading the Last Supper – the Passover feast, His betrayal by Judas, His trial, His crucifixion, His death and burial, and His resurrection.

Jesus prepared Himself.

Lent is a time to prepare ourselves.

Two ways we can prepare ourselves for Passover/Easter is to repent and to sacrifice.

Lent is a time of repentance.

Therefore I despise myselfand I repent in dust and ashes! Job 42:6

Like Job, when he met God in the whirlwind, we, too, are compelled to repent when we meet God during Lent.

Jesus loves you. Jesus loves your spouse. Jesus loves your children. Jesus loves you so much that He died for you.

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

Repentance is more than just feeling bad about something. Repentance means to turn from something (sin, actions, words) to God. We turn away from the bad things and turn towards God.

An outward showing of this is ash on our forehead. An inward showing of this is repentance.

Lent is a time of repentance. What is something you need to turn from? In what areas of your life do you need to turn towards God?

Lent is a time of sacrifice.

Fasting is a common tradition during Lent. We give up something because of what Jesus gave up for us.

If I fast during Lent it is usually a traditional fast – not eating food.

For me, it is a time to “reset” my appetite, my heart, my mind, my dependence on God, etc.

There are some who argue that fasting for Lent is a man-made tradition. And maybe it is. But Jesus assumed that we would fast. In Matthew 6:17 Jesus said, “When you fast…” Not if you fast, but when you fast.

Jesus expects us to fast.

What can you fast from this Lent season? Is there something keeping you from God? Is there something coming between you and God? From what can you fast that can/will help you draw closer to God during this Lent season?

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

Emptied & Humbled: Fat Tuesday

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

I did not grow up observing Lent. 

It is, however, something that my wife and I have added to our family devotions and to our own personal spiritual disciplines, usually in the form of some sort of fast.

You see, the time between Lent and Easter is a very important time for our family, both spiritually and personally.

Spiritually

I like Easter more than Christmas. I like that Easter is less commercial and, to me, more spiritual. Christmas is important, and I love the Christmas season, but to me Easter is crucial. Easter is where it’s at. No Easter, no Faith.

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty.” I Corinthians 15:14 (NET)

Because of this my wife and I have started to take Easter, Passover, and the whole Lenten season more seriously.

While Advent is a time of longing, Lent is a time of preparing.

Personally

It is also a very important time for our family because it marks the life of our middle child, our middle son, Jude.

Jude was born February 11, the week before Lent began and died, two years later, on April, 12, shortly after Easter.

Because of this, Lent is a very emotional and meaningful time for our family.

I get giving something up. I gave up my son.

I know the pain of the Father as He watched His son die.

I have cried out, like Jesus, “why have you forsaken me?”

I get Good Friday. Like others new to Lent, I too question how the day Jesus died could be called good. I also question how any good can from our son’s death.

Yet I still long for the hope that comes with Resurrection Sunday.

I need the hope of Easter.

As we share Lent together with this devotional, we will focus on two themes; being emptied and being humbled. Both of which come from Philippians 2:7-8:

(Jesus) emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death —even death on a cross!

In preparation for this Lent devotional read Philippians 2:1-11.

Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had,

who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,

but emptied himself
by taking on the form of a slave,
by looking like other men,
and by sharing in human nature.

He humbled himself,
by becoming obedient to the point of death
—even death on a cross!

As a result God highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,

so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—

and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.

After a brief introduction, Wednesday – Saturday, each week we will look at Lent through the eyes of a movie. So get ready to discover Lent in a whole new way as we prepare ourselves for Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

A Reel Parables Response to the Harvey Weinstein Situation

I have been hesitant to write this as I am afraid it will be too “Christian” for my non-Christian friends but also too blunt – or non-Christian – for my Christian friends.

But I have said most of this in one-on-one personal conversation and really felt like it needed to be said.

As much as I obviously love movies – it’s the passion behind Reel Parables – I just don’t feel like I can be quiet about it here.

This is going to be a bit long and a bit all over the place. While I do have some VERY clear opinions, I am also torn in some areas.

Also, I am sure there is more for me to say as I process it in my own head first.

The Blame is His

If the allegations are true, and let’s be honest, it sure looks like they are, this is, without a doubt, his fault. It is not the actress’ fault. It is not the woman’s fault. It is not the system’s fault. It is not the “time I grew up in’s” fault. It is Harvey’s fault.

The blame is his.

The guilt is his.

The crime is his.

The assault is his.

The sin is his.

The __________ is his.

Shocked?

That said, I am SHOCKED that people are SHOCKED!

Why are we shocked that a rich and powerful man (or woman) of position would use his riches, his power, and his position for his pleasure? Have we – as a culture – not learned anything from history?

Kings and leaders and ruler have done this for ages.

This is not new to Harvey Weinstein. And this is not new to Hollywood.

Stars as famous as Marilyn Monroe have talked about it. Stars as far back as Shirley Temple – Shirley-freaking-Temple! – talked about it. She retired from acting at 22 and talked about what happened to her as a child – A CHILD – in her autobiography.

It’s as if we’ve forgotten that we know anything about the “casting couch.”

And fellow Christian, before we start to decry the evils of Hollywood, let’s not ignore the log in our own eyes.

The easy go-to is the fairly recent revelation about some priests in the Catholic church.

But I, not being Catholic, don’t get to stop there. This is also an issue for Protestants/Evangelicals: Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Eddie Long, Marcus Lamb, Billy Grahan’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, and many others.

Heck, one of my best friends and roommates from Bible College got caught up in pornography and adultery, while he was a worship pastor. So much so that he got caught publically, lost his job, and almost lost his marriage.

We must be careful not to throw stones in this situation.

We’ve done the same thing.

And remember…

This…

Is…

Not…

New…

King David, the greatest king that Israel ever knew, also used his riches, power, and position to indulge his own pleasure.

He then used his power and position to cover it up.

When that failed, he used his power and position to have someone murdered over it.

Yeah, this is not new and it is not limited to Hollywood.

Suprised?

While this may not be limited to Hollywood, why are we surprised that an industry that promotes the sexualization and objectification of women – young and old – would both sexualize and objectify women?

Complicit?

Are we, as a society, not complicit? We are the ones going and watching these movies, right?

And dear Christians, please do not start throwing stones. With few exceptions, we see pretty much everything “the World” sees. Are we not also complicit?

Again, it shocks me that anyone is shocked.

Do Not Blame the Women!

Do not, I repeat, do not blame these women for not going public earlier. They are the victims and this is not their fault.

Not only did he use his power and position for his pleasure, he also used his power and position to keep them quiet.

Sometimes at the threat of them keeping/getting jobs.

Here’s is a “way not in the same league” example from my work here at Reel Parables.

Last October was my best (as in my traffic) month ever. By far.

I got hacked – I was dumb enough to use a free version of a paid backup service where the free wasn’t from them – and Reel Parables was spitting out porn links!

I was embarrassed.

Sure, I was angry for being so stoopid as to use what ended up being a “fake” free version of the backup software, but I was also super embarrassed!

I had spent YEARS working on Reel Parables. I had been SUPER deliberate to only talk about movies that pretty much anyone/everyone would appreciate. I tried to stay away from sexually explicit movies, even if there were awesome Reel Parables in them!

I tried my best not to offend anyone. And then Reel Parables started showing porn link in Google!

Even after I cleaned it up, which took almost a month, I was so embarrassed that I didn’t post for a year. A whole YEAR.

And let’s be honest, *this is NOTHING compared to what these women experienced*. If I was embarrassed – and not wanting to address it – then how much more must some of them feel?

I repeat, do not blame these women for not going public earlier. They are the victims and this is not their fault.

The Complicit Women

On the flip side, do not let the women who went along with it off the hook either!

Yes, there is a huge public outcry from women who were assaulted and denied him and did not go along with it.

But we also know there were/are women who went along.

“What? All I have to do is f#ck this guy to get a job? Fantastic! Let’s do it!”

They, too, are complicit.

THIS GRIEVES GOD!

Does this situation break your heart? It should. Because this breaks God’s heart.

This grieves God.

This is not what God wants.

I repeat: THIS IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS!

Every one of these women (and if we are honest, the men victims also) is made in his image. He loves – and died for – all of them; the victims who rebuffed this horrible sinful man, and the ones who went along with it to further their own career.

God loves them. And we should too.

Now is not the time to throw stones and hurl judgments.

Now is the time to mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)

Hollywood and the Church Agree!

For once, the Church and Hollywood agree!

I mean, we DO agree, right?

We agree that this is horrible, right?

We agree that this is NOT how men should treat women!

We agree that this is NOT acceptable!

Furthermore, we agree that this is NOT biblical, right?

We agree that this is NOT what God intended!

We agree that this is NOT what God teaches!

We agree that this is NOT how God intended sex and intimacy to be used!

We (currently) agree with Hollywood, right?

Now is the time to stand with Hollywood – to stand with these victims – and to show mercy and seek justice.

Now is the time to show that “for God so loved Hollywood that He gave His only begotten Son…..”

This is a Sin Issue

This is not a Hollywood issue.

This is not a Harvey Weinstein issue.

This is not a Church issue.

This is not a man issue.

This is not a woman issue.

This is not an American issue.

This is not a liberal/conservative issue.

This is not a political issue.

This is a SIN issue.

And that makes this a Jesus issue. These men and women, these abusers and victims, all need Jesus.

Not because Jesus will magically make the victims whole. He may or He may not.*

Not because Jesus will magically make the abusers good. They may struggle with this for the rest of their lives.

They – we – all need Jesus because there is more to this life than just this life. There is more to not sinning than being good and there is more to being good than just not sinning.

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

*For those that don’t know me, I speak from experience. My middle child, Jude, died from brain cancer when he was two. While God could have saved him, He did not. While Jesus could magically make me whole, He hasn’t. I still grieve, question, doubt, etc. But I also still believe and trust. I am working on the obeying part…

Show Mercy

Show mercy. Not just to the victims, but also to the abusers.

Yes, what they did – and are doing – is horrible and an affront to God, but it is not unforgivable.

I am not talking about a get-out-of-jail-free mercy. These men need to be stopped and punished! As far as I am concerned they need to be punished to the FULL EXTENT of the law!

But they also need to be forgiven. If not by the victims, at least by God.

Because God still loves them, right?

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

Sinners or not, God still loves them and demonstrated His love towards them. Right?

DO SOMETHING!

BE the change YOU want to see in the world.

BE that answer to someone’s prayers!

Remember 2 Corinthians 2:3-4:

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Yeah, I know most of us don’t know these famous Hollywood stars, but as the #metoo movement shows, you probably know someone who has been sexually abused, assaulted, and mistreated.

Now is a GREAT time to show THEM mercy and to comfort THEM.

Just as the Bible says you should.

For Leaders

Lastly (for now anyway), If you are in a position of power and influence – especially if you are a pastor or teacher:

  • DO NOT use your power or your position for your own pleasure! Go back and read what Paul says about leaders and how they should be. (I Timothy and Titus)
  • Use your power and position help these women (and men) and to bring light to his epidemic
  • Don’t ignore it on Sunday morning. Don’t sweep it under the proverbial rug. Don’t hide from it or hide it.
  • Be salt and light in this world – about this situation – and let’s show the world what God does want!

JOIN THE CONVERSATION MOVER ON FACEBOOK

God bless and Godspeed,

Simon L Smith

Reel Parables

Emptied & Humbled: Finding Nemo – Glory

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Lent is about glory. Yes, Lent is all about the “happy ending,” and the “they lived happily ever after.”

This is true in Finding Nemo, and this is true in Philippians.

As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every nameso that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Notice the “as a result” comment. As a result of the emptying and as a result of the humbling, God the Father did something. God exalted Jesus and gave him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow: not may bow and not can bow, will bow.

And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Why? For the Glory of God the Father.

The glory – even Jesus’ – comes as a result of the suffering.

Just like Marlin found Nemo, just like Nemo learned that his dad loves him and wants what is best for him, and just like Dory found community, they all had to suffer first.

But this is far more important than knowing that suffering precedes glory.

Don’t miss that you will bow and you will confess. I implore you, empty yourself and humble yourself now. Get right with God. Get right with your family and friends.

Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest? Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandmentThe second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Lent is the perfect time to remember this – love God. Love others.

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

Did you know I wrote a whole devotional based on Finding Nemo? You can check out Sharing God’s Story with Finding Nemo over at Amazon.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

Emptied & Humbled: Finding Nemo – Identity

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Lent is about identity. What we choose and what we sacrifice says a lot about who we really are. So, who are you?

Finding Nemo has a rebellious son and a scared, but loving, father.

It also has Dory.

Dory is easily a fan favorite. She is funny, she is sweet, and she is sympathetic. We just like her. But she is also a pretty good picture of the Holy Spirit.

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)

This translation uses the word Advocate, yours may say Helper or even Counselor.

In Greek, the work is παράκλητος or Paraclete in English. A Paraclete is someone who “comes alongside.” Think someone who comes alongside of you to help you, hence the translator that chose Helper.

This idea – this visual – fits nicely with what Jesus says in Matthew 11.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you restTake my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soulsFor my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Notice that those in the yoke are side-by-side. They come alongside each other to make the load or burden less.

One does not carry the load. They do it together.

Marlin did not have to find Nemo on his own. He, too, had a Paraclete. He had someone come alongside him to help him Marlin had Dory.

Sure, she is comic relief, but she is also very much Marlin’s helper.

It is because of her that he ultimately find Nemo.

Dory is Marlin’s Helper. Dory is Marlin’s Paraclete.

Marlin had Dory. We have the Holy Spirit.

So what does this have to do with identity?

But it is God who establishes us together with you in Christ and who anointed us, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

We are God’s because of Jesus. God the Father gives us the down payment of the Holy Spirit to show us that it is true. We may not yet be with God forever, but God is already with us.

Did you know I wrote a whole devotional based on Finding Nemo? You can check out Sharing God’s Story with Finding Nemo over at Amazon.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

Emptied & Humbled: Finding Nemo – Death

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Lent is about death. Sometimes it is the ultimate sacrifice and a literal death, like in Frozen. Sometimes it is the death of pride, a dream, ego, or ambition.

This was true for Marlin.

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humilitybe moved to treat one another as more important than yourselfEach of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Marlin wanted to keep Nemo and himself safe. But when Nemo literally got caught in disobedience, Marlin let his own wants and ambitions die.

Marlin left the safety of the reef – his home – to go find his son.

Marlin thought more of his son’s needs than his own.

What about you?

Do you need to let some dream, ambition, desire, or want die?

What are you holding on to that needs to die?

Did you know I wrote a whole devotional based on Finding Nemo? You can check out Sharing God’s Story with Finding Nemo over at Amazon.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

Emptied & Humbled: Finding Nemo – Sacrifice

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Lent is about sacrifice. It is a time for us to contemplate and to consider what Jesus did for us. These last few weeks we’ve looked at Philippians 2 through the eyes of Spider-man 2, Wreck-it Ralph, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Frozen. This week we are looking at Philippians through Finding Nemo.

Nemo is lost because he disobeyed his father. And yet it is his father who will sacrifice to find Nemo.

Marlin feels safe in his community. But because Nemo got caught, Marlin sacrifices his own ambition – to stay safe in his community – to go find his son.

Marlin left something – and somewhere – to save Nemo.

So did Jesus.

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility,be moved to treat one another as more important than yourselfEach of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be graspedbut emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himselfby becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:3-8)

Jesus left heaven. He left the Father. He emptied himself and humbled himself to save us.

Just like Nemo’s dad, Marlin. He left his home to go find his lost son.

Just like the woman who searched for her lost coin, just like the shepherd that searched for his lost sheep, and just like the father looking for his son, Jesus was born the Son of Man to save us.

Today, remember that Jesus sacrificed himself to save you.

 

Did you know I wrote a whole devotional based on Finding Nemo? You can check out Sharing God’s Story with Finding Nemo over at Amazon.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith

Emptied & Humbled: Finding Nemo – Choice

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Lent is about choice. Peter Parker/Spider-man wanted to keep a job, get good grades in school, and to get the girl. Ralph wanted to be part of the community. The Guardians of the Galaxy each wanted something specific, but all related to their shared purpose. Anna simply wanted to play with her sister.

In Finding Nemo, Nemo and his dad, Marlin, want two very different things. Marlin wants to protect Nemo (his wife, Nemo’s mom, was attacked and killed) and Nemo wants to spread his fins and have an adventure.

Finding Nemo fits nicely with Jesus’ “Lost” parables in Luke 15. After all, the title is Finding Nemo.

As we’ve seen with the other movies – which all retell Philippians 2 – we all make choices all the time.

Marlin made a choice to protect his son, Nemo. When Nemo’s mom was attacked and killed, Marlin purposed to protect his son.

Nemo, however, didn’t like what he thought was “over-protecting” and chose to disobey his dad.

It is this disobedience that leads to Nemo getting lost.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

Nemo was quite literally entangled by his sin.

Nemo is captured by the diver because he broke his father’s rules.

Nemo went too far – crossed the line – and was captured.

While we all make choices, some of us (like Nemo) do not make good ones.

Let me ask you this as we near the end of Lent:

What choices are you making that you already know are bad choices?

How have you crossed the line?

What sins currently entangle you?

Did you know I wrote a whole devotional based on Finding Nemo? You can check out Sharing God’s Story with Finding Nemo over at Amazon.

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

Get my free e-book, How to See God’s Story in Movies. This free download will help you share God’s story with your kids and students by showing you how to see God’s story in movies.

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 Time Travel.”

And be sure to check out my About page for more info on what I do around here at Reel Parables.

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith