Every story that touches our hearts does so because it echoes the story that is true. It begins with hope, but there is always trouble — a villain, a tragedy, and then a rescuer and a happily ever after. John Eldredge believed the secret of the success of the movie Titanic lay in its closing. After all the death comes life, a scene of all restored. The Titanic is back to its former glory, the people are young, alive, and dancing. Ahhh — and one day, so it will be for we who know the Lord.
Last week we had a “kiss from the King,” that is too wonderful not to share, for I want you all to be kissed by One who is so personal. Remember I posted this map? I chose it simply because it had a clear YOU ARE HERE on it for I was making Eldredge’s point that we must always remember in our pain and sorrow, that this is not the end of the story. This is the map I posted:
Our own dear Chris whom many of you know lost her son Daniel who was walking along when boys assaulted him. He lingered in the hospital and then died. Chris said, “Did you intentionally post that map — it is a map of the hospital grounds and the “You are here” is where my husband and I sat one day after getting bad news. We walked outside and sat by this sign. I told her, “No — I had no idea. That was God. That was obviously for you.” This is not the end of Chris’s story, not the end of Bill’s story, and not the end of Daniel’s story.
We are part of a story — there is an enemy, but he does not have the last word.
VIEWING MOVIES AND LITERATURE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE TRUE STORY
Every good story that touches our hearts does so because it taps into the true story. If you read or watched John Eldredge’s Epic, be sure to share.
Jerram Barrs of Covenant Seminary www.Covenantseminary.edu has a course on Children’s Literature (you can hear his lectures on their website under resources and then classes) in which he explains why some children’s books have such a great appeal — for they are “Echoes of Eden.” In Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown taps into how the heart of a child (and adult!) wants romance and adventure, and thinks he can find it by running away. But then he also longs to have a rescuer. The mother bunny lets her little bunny dream of running, but then tells him all the ways she will rescue him. “If you become a bird and fly away, I will become a tree you can fly to.”
J. R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis had a famous conversation shortly before Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. It’s nine minutes long, but worth it:
This week we will look at Philippians and learn the secrets of overcoming anxiety.
1. What stands out to you from the conversation of Tolkein and Lewis and why?
2. Review the four acts of the True Story as explained by John Eldredge last week.
3. What elements of the true story did you see in Titanic, or in another adventure or love story you love?
4. How might you read (or watch) and then discuss good stories in a way that would make them more meaningful? Have you done this?
Monday/Wednesday: Bible Study (Philippians 3:20 through 4:7)
5. Read Philippians 3:20-21 and tell us: “Where is your real home and how should this affect you today?”
6. Read Philippians 4:1-3
It makes me so sad to see how frequent is conflict in a local body of believers. I see it all the time, and I see congregations turning on their pastors, and I see the enemy divide the sheep. When it happens, it is because we have lost sight of the big picture, of what is really important.
A. Find everything you can about Euodia and Syntyche.
B. This section begins with “Therefore.” Paul is putting the problem of discord in the church with Euodia and Syntyche in the context of Philippians 3:20-21. Why? What perspective could this give to overcome conflict?
Two weeks ago, one of our own, Dawn M. S. confessed she had lied to her boss and went to her boss in repentance, confessing her sin. She received a gracious response and healing occurred. I thought, How I wish this was more common — how much more harmonious our worlds and our churches would be.
7. Think about conflict you may be having. Could the big picture help you gain perspective?
8. In Philippians 4:4, what are we told to do? Why can we rejoice in Him even when times are hard?
9. What are we told to do in Philippians 4:5, and why?
Your translation may say graciousness, reasonableness, or moderation. All have an element of this Greek word. We can be kind and gracious in good times and in hard times, because they are temporary. We are in the middle of “the story,” and neither should be too important to us. Keller, in this week’s message, compares it to 1 Corinthians 7:25-31.
10 What is the main point of 1 Corinthians 7:25-31? How could this help you in both good times and bad times?
11. According to Philippians 4:6-7, what are we to do when we are anxious? Find everything you can.
Last week my dear friend Sylvia was telling me of a friend who has experienced one tragedy after another and has also, along with it, had grief and anxiety for years. But she has changed and become peaceful. When Sylvia probed her about it, she said she has learned to thank God for even the hard things, knowing that He is in control and has a purpose in the big picture. This is hard, and I do not suggest recommending this to a person in high tide grief, but we may each take it to heart, and when we are ready, obey this, for this is indeed, inherent in this passage. If God is good, if God is in control, if we are not at the end of the story, then, yes, we can thank Him for the things that seem unfathomable to us.
12. What is the promise at the close of this passage? Have you experienced this peace? If so, share.
Thursday/Friday: Keller Sermon Peace in Church and Heart (LINK)
13. Share your notes and thoughts.
14. If you watched or read Eldredge’s Epic, share something here.
15. What is your take-a-way and why?