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

How to See God’s Story in Movies (Part 2)

(This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Parts 1 & 3 are here: How to see God’s Story in Movies Part 1 & How to see God’s Story in Movies Part 3)

This is part 2 of my attempt to answer the most common question I get about Reel Parables, “How do you do it?”

Part 1 was all about seeing a pattern.

  • There is a corrupt world, usually with a counterfeit king or ruler.
  • There is typically an outside – and dual natured – hero (savior) who is not a part of the corrupt world.
  • The Hero will almost always sacrifice something, often his/her life.
  • If the hero dies, he/she will often be resurrected or reborn. If the hero does not die, the world is often restored to its former glory. Also, relationships are restored and reunited.
  • This resurrection/restoration usually leads to community (restored relationships) and a calling.

In part 2 we will see how this pattern shows itself in a “Lost Parables.”

 

Jesus and the Lost Parables

 

Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd in stained glass

In Luke 15 Jesus told three Lost Parables; one about a lost sheep, one about a lost coin, and another about two lost sons.

In each of these stories we get to see what Jesus is like.

The shepherd went looking for one lost sheep, even though he had 99 others. Why? Because that one sheep was important to him. We are that important to Jesus. Jesus loves you the same way.

The woman went looking for one coin, even though she has 9 others. Why? Because that one coin was valuable to her. You are that valuable to Jesus. Jesus loves you the same way.

Finally, a father had two sons. While both wanted the father’s blessing/wealth, neither wanted the father. One got his inheritance early, ran away, and blew it. The other stayed, had access to all the father’s blessings, but ignored it.

Both sons had issues, not just the proverbial “Prodigal Son.” The father loved – and longed for – both sons.

In each of these stories we see Jesus’ character.

  • Jesus loves and cares for us the way the shepherd loved and cared for the one lost sheep.
  • Jesus finds us valuable in the same way that the woman found the one lost coin valuable.
  • Jesus longs to be with – and share His blessing – with us, just like the father wanted to give his blessing on his two sons.

Adam and Eve and the Lost Parable

This story – God looking for what was lost – goes all the way back to the beginning, all the way back to Genesis.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the orchardBut the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you? The man replied, I heard you moving about in the orchard, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” (Genesis 3:8-10)

Adam and Eve had sinned.

Adam and Eve were ashamed.

Adam and Eve tried to hide from God.

But God went looking for them. Yea, I know God knew where they were. But He was calling out to them, “Where are you?” They were lost and God went out to find them.

You and Me and the Lost Parable

These three lost parables retell our story. Like the sheep, like the coin, and like the children (sons), we too are lost.

But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God;your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers. Isaiah 59:2

Because of our sins we are separated from God. Me. You. Your parents. Your kids. Everyone.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

But just like the shepherd searched for the sheep, just like the old woman searched for the coin, and just like the father was looking out for his son, Jesus chases after us.

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

Yes, while we were still sinners – and therefore lost (separated from God) – Jesus demonstrated His love for us by dying for us.

Jesus died for us while we were sinners.

Jesus died for us while we were still lost.

Jesus died for us while we were separated from God.

Hollywood and the Lost Parable

FYI – Hollywood can’t stop remaking and retelling the Lost Parable.

Finding Nemo

The Parables of the Lost Fish

Nemo is literally “caught up in his sin.” He disobeys his dad, Marlin, and is caught by a diver with a net. How do you know Marlin still loves Nemo, even though he disobeyed? Because he went looking for him!

Finding Nemo is the parable of the lost fish.

The next time you watch Finding Nemo with your kids remind them that they are like Nemo and lost because of their sin. But also remind them that Jesus loves them the way Marlin loved Nemo! And just like Marlin went looking for Nemo, because he loved him, Jesus is looking for them (and died to save them)!

Frozen

The Parable of the Lost Sister

Elsa, ashamed and afraid of her own actions, runs away. She is the lost sister. But Anna, the sister she left behind, loves her and went out looking for her lost sister.

In this story we are Elsa, the lost ones, and Anna is the Christ character. She even died to save Else like Jesus died to save us.

And just like Jesus rose from the dead, so did Anna!

“Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.”

Jesus loves us the way Anna loved Else.

The next time you watch Frozen with your kids remind them that they are like Elsa and lost because of their actions. But also remind them that Jesus loves them the way Anna loved Else. Not only did she go out looking for Elsa, but she died to save her. Just like Jesus died for us.

Saving Private Ryan

Not all Hollywood Lost Parables are for kids. Saving Private Ryan is a Lost Parable for adults.

Private Ryan is lost at war and a group of soldiers are sent to find him.

Like Jesus did for us, these men sacrificed their own lives to save Private Ryan.

Yes, Jesus demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, He died for us!

The Parable of the Lost Soldier

Yes, the Lost Parables are powerful. We get them. We understand them. They move us.

Why? Because the Lost Parable is our story.

Be on the look out for this type of Reel Parable.

  • Someone is lost, usually due to their actions (sins).
  • Someone, the hero and Christ-figure, will chase them and try to find them.
  • This hero will usually sacrifice something to save them, usually their life.
  • That sacrifice usually leads to resurrection or restoration or reunion.

You can share God’s story the next time you see this Lost Parable in a movie!

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)

 

 

I know this is a lot, so In addition to the worksheets above, I have also combined all three parts into one free e-book, How to Share God’s Story with 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 our new Start Here and About pages!

Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith