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Optional Activity #1:

Get a wide variety of catalogs from a wide variety of companies and spread these out on the table.  Give each student pen and paper, (have a few calculators) and tell them to see if they can spend a million dollars. Many of them will be surprised at just how large an amount that is.

Optional Activity #2:

You will need a dollar bill, a five, a ten, and a twenty.  Xerox lots of copies of these bills (for fun, cut out a photo of your senior pastor and put in place of the president).  After making several dozen copies cut the bills out and hide them around the church. Be creative.  You’d be surprised how many kids will walk right under a bill taped to the ceiling.  The higher the bill value the harder it should be to find.  Split your group into two teams and tell them to bring back as much cash as they can. (Added Twist: Tie the team together by the wrist.)  The team that returns with the most cash in twenty minutes is the winner.

Field Trip Idea:  Take your group to a local mall or someplace where there are soda pop machines.  Let the kid take turns putting money in the machine and then coming back to discreetly watch as random strangers get a free can.  You can come up with your own version of this depending on your location. IMPORTANT: Don’t let the students take credit for the “miracle.”

Bonus Suggestion: Play the song If I Had A Million Dollars from the pop group Barenaked Ladies. It’s found on the Gordon CD.

Bonus Idea: Did you notice?  Much of the scenes filmed in the boys’ home are filmed as though the camera is floating above the sleeping family, as if you are the guardian angel looking down. (You even get to pass through walls).

Scriptures:

About one in ten verses in the entire Bible have to do with taking care of the poor, the orphans, and the widows.  In the book of Luke alone it’s about one in six verses.  You start to get the idea that this is high on God’s priority list when he actually tells a church (in the book of Amos) to STOP worshiping Him, STOP Singing, because he doesn’t want to hear it from a church that’s been cheating the poor.  Select verses at random from the list below and make this point to your kids before starting the discussion.

Exodus 22:25-27; Exodus 23:11;

Leviticus 19:9-10; Leviticus 23:22; Leviticus 25:25- 28;Leviticus 25:35-37; Leviticus 25:39-43;

Deut. 14:28-29; Deut. 15:2-14; Deut. 24:12-21; Deut. 26:12-13;

Neh. 8:10;

Psalm 37:21; Psalm 37:26; Psalm 41:1-3; Psalm 112:4-5; Psalm 112:9;

Proverbs 28:27; Proverbs 29:7; Proverbs 31:9; Proverbs 31:20;

Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 16:3-4;Isaiah 58:7; Isaiah 58:10;

Ezekiel 18:1-32;

Daniel 4:27;

Zech. 7:10;

Matthew 5:42; Matthew 19:21; Matthew 25:35-36;

Mark 14:7;

Luke 3:11; Luke 6:30; Luke 11:41; Luke 12:33; Luke 14:12-14; Luke 18:22; Luke 19:8;

Acts 20:35;

Romans 12:8; Romans 12:13; Romans 12:20;

1 Cor. 13:3; 1 Cor. 16:1-2;

2 Cor. 6:10; 2 Cor. 8:9; 2 Cor. 9:1-15;

Galatians 2:10; Galatians 6:10;

Ephesians 4:28;

1 Tim. 5:9-10; 1 Tim. 5:16;

Hebrews 13:3;

James 1:27; James 2:2-9;  James 2:15-16; James 5:4;

1 John 3:17-19

Other Verses:  Psalm 65:9,  Proverbs 14:27,  John 4:10-11

Questions:

  1. First one is obvious…what would you do with the money?  What would you do after the robber came to collect?
  2. How true is the phrase “Money doesn’t buy happiness”?  What about the joke that goes “Money doesn’t buy happiness but it can rent it for awhile”?   When do Damian and his family seem happiest?
  3. In the beginning of the film we get the idea that Damian has an active imagination. (He was imagining what his new house would look like.)  Do you think Damian really saw the Saints?
  4. In the school, it is Damian who sees that the talking robot is being controlled or at least “voiced” by the nice lady named Dorothy. How easily do you talk about your faith in school?
  5. How do the brothers deal with their mother’s death differently?
  6. Saint Anne appears smoking a cigarette and says : “You can have anything you want up there. Its down here that you have to make the effort.”  There are some churches that would say smoking is a “sin”.  Do you think you can really anything you want in heaven?
  7. Damian says “Money is just a thing and things change.”  When was the last time money played a part in one of your relationships?  How did it change things? 
  8. Is there anything in life that doesn’t change?  What happens when we try to stop things from changing?
  9. Anthony tells Damian on the first day of school…”Don’t be so conspicuous or you won’t fit in.”  Is this good advice to someone on the first day of school?  How much of a goal should “fitting in” be?
  10. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost things and Saint Damian is considered to be the patron saint of physicians.  How do these names fit the characters?
  11. Check out:  http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/patron02.htm  Do you share a name with any of the Patron Saints?  Does the saints name fit with yours? 
  12. The name of the boys house is Serendipity. (which means destiny or karma.  Someone once said that Serendipity is when fate has a sense of humor.)  How does the name of the house fit in with the story?
  13. How does the house itself seem like a character in the story?
  14. Saint Peter tells Damian he’s going to talk to the man upstairs about getting someone assigned to the Damian’s case more permanently.  Do you believe in guardian angels or saints watching over you?  Do you have story about a time when you thought you were being watched over?  
  15. When you see magic performed or special effects in a movie, do you wonder how it was done or are you able to sit back and enjoy it as part of the act? 
  16. Has God ever answered one of your prayers in a blatantly obvious yeah-this-is-from-ME- kind of way? Talk about it.
  17. Anthony is very grounded in reality while Damian is very focused on the intangible.  Are you more like Damian or Anthony?  Explain.
  18. Have you ever worked at a homeless shelter or participated in a “feed the hungry” program of some kind? 
  19. What’s the most you have ever “given” to a cause? (You don’t have to answer that with a monetary number.) 
  20. Have you ever bought something for a random stranger?  Talk about it.
  21. What did you think about Saint Peter’s story regarding the loaves and fishes?  What would you do if someone were able to offer up a rational explanation for each of Jesus miracles?
  22. The only organized religion depicted in this movie is the Mormons.  They are shown (almost as triplets) as white, blond, male and handsome guys.  They talk about being faithful and then as soon as they get cash in hand they spend it on material things.  What is a Christian’s responsibility to the poor?   (Choose any verse from the first set.)
  23. The biggest, most convincing argument Damian has for not keeping the money is “Its not ours.”  Keep that in mind with the next several questions:
  24. If the lady behind the counter at 7/11 thought you gave her a twenty instead of a ten and gave you too much change would you give it back?
  25. If the high school worker at the drive-thru at McDonald’s gave you a quarter too much in your change, would you give it back?  Would it matter if you were sitting there in line or if you had already driven away?
  26. If you were in line for your burger and coke and the employee passed you a giant bag of food by mistake, would you take it and drive off?
  27. If the cafeteria lady didn’t charge you enough for your lunch and you knew about it, would you correct the mistake?
  28. If you found a wallet on the floor in the mall would you turn it in?  If you found a hundred dollars in loose cash would you keep it?  If you found a hundred dollars in cash inside an envelope with the words “Christmas money” written on the envelope, would you turn it in?
  29. Does the idea “it depends” come into your thinking on any of the previous questions?  Should it?
  30. When Damian’s dad says “I’ve earned it!” Had he really?  How does he justify his behavior?  How do we justify our own?
  31. History records stories of “Honest Abe” as in Lincoln who walked five (six, seven, eight, twenty) miles to return a woman’s dime (nickel, penny).  Who is the most honest person you know?  Who do we have in our culture today that seems to be so full of integrity that they will be remembered for it long after they are gone.”
  32. Anthony seethes at notion that his father has found someone new.  Where does the anger come from?  Who is he really angry at?
  33. Damian’s mother says “You’ve got faith in people and that makes THEM stronger.”  How does this work?  How does this apply to the characters in the movie?  Does this apply to the people in your life?
  34. Just before the end of the movie it looks like the family blasts off in a cardboard rocket ship and lands in a far off country.  We hear the voice of Damian say “This is how I want the story to end.”   Why do you think the film-makers gave the ending a “magical” tone?
  35. In the end of the movie it seems that Damien and his family have used the left over money to purchase a well.  Read the three verses listed under “Other verses”.  How does this apply to Damian and his family?

Closing Prayer:

God we know you watch over us. Forgive us when we know what we are supposed to do and go running off in another direction because it looks like more fun or because we think we have earned it.  Let your presence be known to us in very real way.  Sometimes we just need clue, God.  In the meantime, give us faith. Amen.

 

Optional Activity #1:

Have kids bring in their favorite games from childhood or raid the Sunday school closet and set up multiple games in your youth room. Have all the games being played at one time and then (at the youth workers discretion) randomly choose kids to switch places. When you’ve taken away the “playing to win” idea you are left with kids “playing to have fun.”

Optional Activity #2:

Meteor Shower Game.

Mark off a  4’ x4’ square on the floor with masking tape.  Pass out lots and lots of newspaper to your group and have them make paper wads (meteorites).  One at a time, have a volunteer stand in the square.  The rest of the youth take turns throwing meteors at the one in the center. The player in the square may dodge the meteors or bat them away with his/her hand.  Any meteor that hits the student is one point.  The student at the end of the game with the LEAST number of points in the winner.

Bonus Idea: Serve homemade sugar cookies as a snack but instead of topping them with sprinkles, use pop-rocks.

Scriptures:

Genesis 4:1-16

Genesis 32:9-33:10

Luke 15: 11-32

Colossians 3:12-14

Before you begin asking questions read the scriptures from Genesis and Luke.  Because the story of Jacob and Esau is so long, summarize it for your group and then pick up the story around chapter 32.

The Questions:

  1. What was your favorite game when you were a little kid? Why?
  2. Did you ever cheat at a game?  Did you win?  Have you ever cheated and got caught? What happened?
  3. Is cheating at a game a big deal?  What about cheating on a test?  Cheating on a spouse?
  4. Are you a “read the instructions first” kind of person?  Have you ever stopped a game in the middle to check the instructions?  Talk about that.
  5. What was the hardest game you ever played?
  6. Did you ever turn the board over and storm out of a room during a game?
  7. Have you ever played a game without keeping score?  What happened?
  8. In the game LIFE by Milton Bradley you cannot win the game unless you are married, have children, and retire with the most money.  How is the game of LIFE like the game of “life?”   What are some of the things that life throws at you that can make you lose a turn or set you back?  What counts as a “win”?
  9. If Monopoly was like your life…. What is a hotel on boardwalk?
  10. If your life right now were a poker hand…what would you be holding?
  11. Of these four: Monopoly, Chess, Hungry Hungry Hippo, or Sorry…which one is the best representation of your life right now?  
  12. What board game (NOT VIDEO GAME) is representational of your relationship with God at this point in your life?  What would you like it to be?
  13. At what point does sibling rivalry become a problem?  What about Cain and Able?  Have you ever been that mad at someone in your family?
  14. Why do we sometimes treat family in ways that we would never think of treating total strangers?
  15. Which character do you most identify with in this movie?
  16. Talk about a time when you felt like you were the six year old sitting and watching everybody else have fun.
  17. Walter keeps using the phrase “so unfair” every time he doesn’t get his way.  Is he being treated unfairly?
  18.  Why do you suppose that he thinks he is?  Have you ever known anyone like that?  Any adults?  Why are some people just never satisfied?
  19. Walter and Danny keep pushing right up until their father explodes.  Do you know where your parent’s “limit” is?  Talk about a time when you went right up to that line and then went over or backed off.
  20. Read the scripture passage from Luke.  Ask: Which of the two brothers is most like you?  What if we are both the brothers and God is the “father”?  How does the lesson of the story change?
  21. Have you ever wished for something bad? Do you believe wishes come true?  Is wishing a waste of time?
  22. When was the last time you actually wished on a star?  A birthday cake? A Wishing well?  Why does it seem like our culture gives a whole lot of opportunities for people to make “wishes”?
  23. There’s an old phrase that goes “I can put wishes in this hand and [crap] in this hand.  Which hand is going to get filled first?”  What do you think that means?
  24. The “astronaut” says, “There are some games you can’t play alone.”  What do you think he means?  What are some figurative examples?
  25. The lyrics to Love Me Like A Rock are available on www.paulsimon.com.  Why do you think the filmmakers chose to use this song as their music behind the end credits?
  26. Take a look at the story of Jacob and Esau. Would you have forgiven your brother if he tricked you out of your inheritance?  If you had stolen from a relative and then run away for 20 years, could you ever go back?  How hard is it to ask someone for forgiveness?  Why?
  27. In the Hebrew culture people believed that certain areas of the body were the source of certain emotions and feelings.  The pelvis area was the sources of all pride.  When Jacob wrestles the angel his “pride” is dislocated.  How does this bit of information change the story?  Why did Jacob need to have his pride dislocated?  Could he have gone forward if he had not wrestled with the angel?
  28. Think about a broken relationship in your life. (You don’t have to say it out loud).  What do you think needs to be dislocated in you in order to have that relationship fixed? (Again, you don’t need to answer out loud).
  29. Read the scripture from Colossians: If you were told that this verse is the “instruction book” to living life…could you cheat?  How would a person cheat if these were the rules?   What would count as “winning the game”? 
  30. How did Danny and Walter apply these instructions to their relationship?

Closing Prayer:

God, this game you put before us seems so complicated. That’s probably because we spend so much time making up our own rules. Your son said we need to love you, and love each other.  Help us to do that. Help us to treat each other like we want to be treated. Help us to get through this life without feeling like we need to cheat or have been cheated.  We know that a “win” is a closer relationship with you. Amen.

 

Optional Activity #1:

Draw a chalk line on the parking lot around your church.  Students are to “walk the line” and follow it wherever it goes.  You can make this an obstacle course if you wish, as long as one foot (or other body part is on the line at all times).  Have adult volunteers lobbing water balloons or nerfballs at those walking.  You may even have someone with a plate of cookies or M & Ms just off to the side so that the students will have to leave the line to get the cookies.  Turn this into part of your Bible Study. Ask questions like, what things get thrown at you that make you lose your footing?  What things are just off to the side that tempt you away from walking the line?

Optional Activity #2

Have a Johnny Cash lip sync contest.  Purchase a “Best of “ CD and see who can do the best impression of Juaquin Phoenix doing an impression of Johnny. 

Further Options:

Johnny Cash’s last work is probably his best.  See if anyone in your congregation can loan you theUnearthed box set.  Cash has wonderful versions of U2’s One and Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus.

For further study check out the book When The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey Of Johnny Cash.  Written by YS author/editor Dave Urbanski

Johnny Cash Lyrics can be found at www.azlyrics.com

Scriptures:

Job 31:7 

Psalm 101:6  

Psalms 25 & 27

Proverbs 21:16  

Romans 12:1

The Questions:

  1. What did you know about Johnny Cash before you saw the movie?  Did you feel like you lived those years with him?
  2. Read the lyrics to Walk The Line.  What about this song made the filmmakers use it as the song title?
  3. Johnny Cash is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and played on the bill at Lalapalooza.  What is it about his music that allows him to appeal to all audiences? 
  4. Johnny’s brother was going to be a preacher. In the movie he said “You can’t help nobody if you don’t know the right stories.”  Do you think this is true?   Do minister have to know the scriptures by heart?
  5. Johnny’s dad said, “Satan took the wrong one”  when his eldest son died.  Do you think Satan works that closely in our lives?  Why do you think God allows tragedy?  Do you think we would have had a “Johnny Cash” if he had not lost his brother?
  6. In what way did Johnny Cash become a minister?  Read Matthew 25:44 and Luke 7:34.
  7. June is stopped by a woman in the store and told she is an abomination for getting divorced.  Johnny is told that Christians don’t want him to sing the wrong kind of music to the wrong kind of people.  Can you be screwed up and still be God’s servant? 
  8. What is a “good Christian?”
  9. To the woman who confronted her in the store June said, “I’m sorry I let you down Ma’am.”  Why do we do we so often use our faith to judge other people?  June says “I got a whole lot of judgment on me right now.” Have you ever felt that way?
  10. Do murderers and rapists deserve a free Johnny Cash concert?
  11. During the scene just before Johnny first marriage falls apart. Johnny is listening to the song Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan.  The lyric goes like this: Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son” Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin' me on” God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin' you better run” Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin' done?” God says, “Out on Highway 61.”
  12. How is this specific verse in this song significant to the life of Johnny Cash?
  13. How is the scene with the tractor significant to the story?
  14. Johnny Cash never did “hard time” but how was he “in prison”?  How do we put ourselves in prison?  How was Johnny Cash released?
  15. June told Johnny he had to learn to love himself.  How can a lot of Johnny Cash’s problems be attributed to the idea that he didn’t? 
  16. Read the scriptures from Job and Proverbs.
  17. What is “the line” we are supposed to be walking? 
  18. What happens we walk away from the path we know we are supposed to be on?
  19. How do we get back?  Do we want to?
  20. What is the incentive?
  21. Read Psalm 101: 6.   Can anybody truly “walk the line?” Why or why not?
  22. Johnny was complaining about the rules that have been laid on him.  Have you ever questioned the rules? Are some rules for our own good? Give an example.  What are some bad rules?  (In your life?  In history?)
  23. Jesus was constantly throwing the Pharisees rules back in their faces.  Who was the most Christ-like character in this movie?
  24. Go back and read all of Matthew 25:34-40.  Isn’t this what June Carter’s family did?  Could your family take in someone like theirs did?
  25. Read the lyrics to Ring of Fire (by June Carter) How does this relate to June and Johnny (separately and together).
  26. Does God choose his servants or do we choose to serve?  Explain.
  27. Record producer Sam Phillips tells Johnny, “If you got hit by a truck…. And you had just one song…
  28. Johnny sings Folsom Prison Blues.  Could this be called a “grace of God” moment?  How so?
  29. If you had to choose just one song to be played at your funeral that summed up your life…(NOT your current favorite song on the radio)  but the one song that told the world who you were and told heaven who was coming…what would that song be?
  30. Perhaps part of the problem we have with understanding the Bible is that we have an incorrect perception of  who wrote the words.  Look at the book of Psalms.  When we say David wrote the Psalms we think of the wise old king.  David was the giant killer, the warrior, the adulterer, and the “undignified” dancer.  Look at the Psalms and read them out loud. Picture Johnny Cash singing these lyrics from the stage.
  31. David was one of God’s main guys.  God ‘s own son came from David’s family tree.  Yet David screwed up A LOT.  Many of the Psalms are written about feeling like he is in a pit.  Would God choose someone who was that messed up to be a servant? 

Take Psalm 25 and turn it into a Johnny Cash song.

 

Optional Activity #1: The Dragon Game

You will need a large open area in which to play and ten to twelve students.  Select a volunteer to be Harry Potter. (Throw a scarf around their neck and a pair of plastic specs if you’d like.)  The rest of the group is the dragon. They must stand in a line with their hands on the hips of the person in front of them.  Only the head of the dragon may speak.  On “Go” the object of the game is for the dragon to completely surround Harry Potter.  “Harry” must avoid being surrounded.

Optional Activity #2: Edible Magic Wants

You will need the long-sized pretzel sticks, canned frosting (white) and lots of those candy sprinkles for cakes.  These can be found in most grocery stores.  Before the meeting dip the end of the pretzel stick in the frosting and then roll the end in the sprinkles.  This can also be accomplished with melted white chocolate. The white chocolate is much tastier but also much more work.  Pass these out to your students after seeing the movie but before the discussion.

Bonus Idea: Serve homemade sugar cookies as a snack but instead of topping them with sprinkles, use pop-rocks.

 

Scriptures:

Matthew 28:19-20

2 Cor. 5:17

Ephes. 4:14

Hebrews 5:12-13

Acts 15:6-10

Romans 2:12

Romans 2: 13-15

The Questions

  1. Have you seen all of the Harry Potter movies?  Who has changed the most?  Do any of these characters actually look fourteen?
  2. The films get more “dark” along with the novels.  Should the next movie be recast and let a new group of younger actors take over or should we see stories about an adult Harry Potter?  Why?
  3. Dumbledore refers to curiosity not being a “sin”.  The movie has a Christmas Ball.  Does it bother you that there are Christian references in a school for wizards and witches?  When the first movie came out there were protests by Christian groups against it.  Now most of the major Christian Publishers have Harry Potter books to go along with the movie or the novels.  How do you feel about this?  Why do you think the view of the movie has changed?
  4. Harry says, “I love magic” when he enters the tent that seems to be bigger on the inside than on the outside. Do you like magic tricks or do you try to figure out how they are done?  When the sign says “Wet Paint,” are you the type of person to touch it to make sure?
  5. There are three “unforgivable curses” that the students learn in class.  The curse of “obedience”, “torture” and “death.”  What is the hardest thing you’ve ever forgiven someone?  Is there anything that is “unforgivable” to you?  Is there anything that is “unforgivable” to God?
  6. Is your future written in stone?  Are there some things that are just meant to be no matter how we try and stop them from occurring?  Can you name any?
  7. When someone says, “I didn’t mean for it to happen it just did.” (Like Harry said to Ron) how easy/difficult is it to believe them?
  8. Mad Eye Moody seems to steal the show in this movie where Snape barely has any scenes at all.  Who was the most over-the-top-whack-job of a teacher you ever had?  Are they also one of your favorites?
  9. When Harry gets selected to be in the tournament someone immediately yelled, “Potter’s cheating.”  Even Harry’s friend Ron thought he cheated.  Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do?  Talk about it.  Have you ever been convinced that someone somehow wronged you and then you found out that YOU were the one in the wrong?  What happened?
  10. Read the scripture from Acts.  Why does it seem like we have to divide ourselves up into “us” verses “them” no matter what we do in life?
  11. Why does it seem like when something good happens to someone there is always someone on the outside to make it feel less ?
  12. Mad Eye Moody counsels Harry before the tournament against the dragon. He tells him to go with his strengths.  Lets say you are about to face a great dragon (figuratively speaking) what is the dragon?
  13. What is your greatest strength you will take with you?
  14. It was interesting that each of the challengers got to choose their own dragon?  How do we choose our “dragons” in life?
  15. Do you think God challenges us?
  16. When does “grown up” begin?
  17. Do you have any friends now that you had in Kindergarten?  Is there anyone you know whom you once said “best friends forever” and then that relationship seems to have gone by the wayside?
  18. Hermione says, “Everything is going to change.”  She says it with worry and fear.  Why do you suppose some people fear change?  Who handles it better, males or females?
  19. Read Romans 2:12 When Hermione says the line about changing, Harry responds with “Yes.”   How well do you respond to changes that happen when you don’t want them to?
  20. The students at Hogwarts prepare for the ball.  How are these scenes like your high school?  Harry makes a comment about girls traveling in “packs”.  Is this true?
  21. No matter how far we‘ve come in our society it still seems to be the job of the guy to ask out the girl.  Why doesn‘t this change?  
  22. When Harry and Ron are talking in the courtyard. Hermione shakes her head and says “Boys.”  What do this line and the way she says it mean? 
  23. How have the “rituals” of dating changed since your parents were in school? 
  24. When Hermione leaves the ball and cries on the steps, behind her there are another group of girls consoling a crying friend?  Why do you think the filmmakers chose to put this scene in the film?
  25. Read the verses from Matthew, Corinthians, and Ephesians. What do these verses have to say about growing up?
  26. Let’s say the goal is to be “grown up”.  What are the three biggest challenges you face?  What separated Harry from the others?
  27. Is there any real such thing as “well-mannered frivolity”?  Describe it.
  28. What is the ultimate magic in the movie?
  29. Read Romans 2:13-15 Dumbledore says “There comes a time when we must choose between what is right and what is easy?” Could this be a definition of growing up?  How so?  Do you think it fits with what happened to Harry in this movie?
  30. What is Dumbledore’s advice right after this statement?  (You are not alone).  What was the difference between the ways Harry met the challenges in the tournament and the way the others did?

Closing Prayer:

God, there comes a time when we must choose between what is right and what is easy.  Help us to make the right choice God.  Help us to hold our friends close to us so that we may grow together. Help us to understand that changes in our lives our at least give us the wisdom to remember that we can’t stop changes from happening.  Help us grow up and grow closer to you. Amen.

 

Optional Activity 1: Take your group to a local grocery store and give them each 2 dollars and tell them to see if they can buy an entire meal with the money.  (They may decide to pool their funds to get a better bargain)  Bring the food back to the church and have a meal of shared food while sitting on the floor in the dark.

Optional Activity 2: The official RENT logo can be easily re-created with some stencils and fabric paint from a local craft store. Have the youth bring T-shirts from home.  They can make “RENT” shirts or use the stencils to create an original design.  Challenge them to come up with one word that celebrates or summarizes where they are in their lives.

Scriptures:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 A time for everything

1 Corinthians 13 – Love is

Matthew 10:29-31-You are worth more than the sparrows

Psalm 8:3-5- What are you worth to God

John 8:1-11 – Let those among you without sin

Matthew 6:34 – Don’t worry about tomorrow

Matthew 11:19 – Jesus and the outcasts

Questions:

  1. Read the verse from Ecclesiastes.  Have your group read it together as a liturgy before beginning these questions.  
  2. In the opening song Mark says: “How do you document real life when real life is getting more like fiction every day?“  What do you think he means by this?  Is there a difference between “real life” and life in high school?  Is there a difference between “real life” and your life?  
  3. The “life support” group met in what appeared to be an old church.  Other than that there was very little religious imagery in this movie. Do you think one is necessary?   Create a “priest” or “clergy” character how would you insert them into the story line?
  4. How do you measure your life?  (Yes, just like the song says but take it seriously)  In what terms to you think back on the year?
  5. How do you measure something with love?  Measure yourself with love.   Measure your church.  Measure the world.  What do you come up with?
  6. The Life Support group sings an affirmation “There’s only us. There’s only this. Forget Regret. Life is yours to miss.”   How would you deal with life if you knew there was a good chance you wouldn’t last the rest of the year?
  7. Do you think this movie was depressing or affirming?  Explain why you think so.
  8. Read the scriptures from Matthew six and eleven.  Do you think Jesus would sit and have a party with these people?    Explain?
  9. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.”  The characters in the film say “No day but today.”  Are these people living the way Jesus would want them to?
  10. On the subway the characters sing about opening a restaurant in Santa Fe. It seems to be a dream that they talk about when life gets rough, yet they know it will probably never happen.    If you could chuck it all, and move far away, would you?  What is your “Restaurant In Santa Fe”?
  11. When Mark goes to try and fix Maureen’s sound system he says “There. We’re patched.”  Could he have been talking about more than the sound system? How?  What happens to “patches”?  How does this relate to Mark, Maureen and Joanne?
  12. Roger is resistant to joining the Life Support group.  His song even works opposite to the chorus the rest are singing. Eventually he begins to sing their song and his life starts to turn around.  Do you have a life support group?  Who do you go to when you feel like your life is at odds with everyone else’s?
  13. Read Psalm 8:3-5.  Paraphrase this as if you were sitting in the Life Support Group.
  14. Mimi says, “The Heart May Freeze Or It Can Burn. The Pain Will Ease If I Can Learn.” What does she have to learn?  How well does she learn it?  What was the hardest lesson you ever had to learn?
  15. Select at passage from the book of Ecclesiastes at random. (Seriously, close your eyes and pick one)  Read it aloud to the group and decide who in the movie this passage is talking about.
  16. Maureen’s performance used the phrase “The only thing to do is jump over the moon” over and over.  What do you think it meant?  What do you think her dream was about? 
  17. Mimi says, “I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine.”  What is the secret of a good relationship?   What’s wrong with Mimi and Roger’s relationship?  What’s wrong with Maureen’s and Joanne’s?  How are these resolved at the end of the film?
  18. Where do you see these people in ten years?
  19. What’s the difference between success and acceptance?  Which is more important to the characters in this movie?
  20. Is there nobility to the way these characters live their lives?  Does nobility count for anything if you are hungry, thirsty and cold?
  21. If all you have left to give someone is the light of a candle are you allowed to be choosy about who gets it?
  22. How many people died of AIDS in 2004 (this wasn’t in the movie but let’s see if you can guess)  (answer)  3.1 million.  Of those how many were under the age of 15 (510,00)[*statistics from USAid Health]
  23. Mimi dies and comes back. She says, “I saw Angel and she looked good!”  Why would some people have a problem with the character Angel being in heaven?  Do you?
  24. What is your dream?  Could you live just one step up from homeless to realize it?
  25. Mark thinks he is selling out when he takes the corporate job.  Is it “selling out” if you just want to put heat in the building and pay the electric bill?
  26. In the scene in the restaurant after Maureen’s show, (where they sing La Vi Boehm)…  Mark quotes scripture saying, “Let he who is among us cast the first stone.”   Do we as Christians have a right to judge anyone in that room?  Explain why or why not?
  27. In the restaurant, Mark makes a toast “To Days Of Inspiration, Playing Hooky, Making Something Out Of Nothing, The Need To Express – To Communicate, To Going Against The Grain, Going Insane, Going Mad To Loving Tension, No Pension To More Than One Dimension, To Starving For Attention, Hating Convention, Hating Pretension, Not To Mention Of Course, Hating Dear Old Mom And Dad To Riding Your Bike, Midday Past The Three Piece Suits-To Fruits – To No Absolutes- To Absolute – To Choice- To The Village Voice- To Any Passing Fad To Being An Us – For Once- Instead Of A Them- How does this toast strike you? Do you identify with it?  If you could reach into this scene and tell just one character one secret, whom would you choose and what would you say?
  28. Read 1 Corinthians 13:  Make a list of what “love” is and then assign a name from the film to each of the items in the list.
  29. Who do you think was the most Christ-like figure in the film? 

 

Optional Activity #1:

This one is sort of a given.  Set up a miniature golf course in your church building.  Use the whole building if you can.  The 18th hole is right under the Senior Pastor’s desk.  If you don’t have golf supplies you can use a croquet set.  A few pieces of clay will hold a wicket in place nicely.

Optional Activity #2:

Buy a roll or two of sugar cookie dough. Sprinkle with flour and roll out flat with rolling pin.  Cut out shapes of putting greens. Bake these and frost with green frosting.  With a white gumball for a ball and a plastic spoon for a club you can play a round of golf and then eat the course.

The Scriptures:

Isaiah 40:29-31

Matthew 20:1-16

Romans 12:6

James 1:1-11

The Questions:

 

1. The advertisements for this movie used the following lines:

He was born with nothing except a dream

He was given no opportunities except the ones he made

But sometimes it takes an outsider to change the rules

He was a long shot but he changed the game in ways no one could imagine

 

Take a moment and talk about how these lines could apply to the life of Jesus.

 

2. Francis’ dad teaches him the family work motto.  “Work hard. Bring home the money.” Does your family have a motto?  Do you?  Who taught it to you?

3. Francis’ dad chides his wife “All you did was encourage him.”  Her response is “Of course!”  Who is your biggest fan?  Who encourages you?

4. Whose “biggest fan” are you?

5. Who is your “Eddie”?

6. What about the opposite?  Who are the high hat detractors in your life? Do you ever feel like these “specters” are with you wherever you go?  What did Harry Vardon do about it?

7. Do you know someone who has been carrying around “specters” all of their life? (Without names…talk about it)

8. Why is it so easy to believe the people who put us down and make us feel small?

9. The point is made over and over again in this film that some people believe everyone has a place and there is no moving from one level to another.  Even Francis father believes this. Why do you think some people still go along with this?  Why do people whose “place” is pretty low on the scale believe this is the way it’s meant to be?  How does this system play out in your high school?

10. The club owner said the word “Caddie” like it left a bad taste in his mouth.  When was the last time you experienced some sort of prejudice?

11. Do you get nervous when people stand over your should to watch you work?  When was the last time this happened?

12.  Read Isaiah 40:29-31 (MsgB) 

 

What did God do for Francis?  Who or what does God put in your life to energize you?

 

13. When do you most feel like you have to be “approved”?  Why do you feel this way?

14. When Francis doubts his ability he is told, “You don’t know if you can (do it) until you’re in it”.   What was the last thing you found out you could do because you were in the middle of it?  Did you think you could before that?

15. The Pharisees were a group of men that held themselves in great esteem because they knew the rules and everything had to be approved by them.  (Mike Yaconelli used to call these people dream-stealers)   Where are the Pharisees in this movie?  Where are they in our culture today?  How about in your life? Does anyone have the right to steal your dream? Even if its for your own good?

16. Is there anything wrong with having an exclusive club?  If some like-minded people want to have a club with other like-minded people…isn’t that okay as long as they are paying for it and not hurting anyone? Should “mens only” clubs be forced to allow women?  Should stores that cater exclusively to women be forced to hire men?

17. Is heaven exclusive?  Read Matthew 20:1-16.  Put yourself in the place of the people who worked all day. Would you be angry?  If you get to heaven and see Osama Bin Laden at Christ’s lunch table…would that bother you?  (Ask again–is heaven exclusive?)

18. Some people say the church is exclusive. Why do some people feel this way?

19. Who is your hero?  Have you ever gotten the opportunity to meet or work with them?  How did it go?

20. Read James 1:1-1.   What was the worst thing you ever went through and what were the results? 

21. Do you remember Joseph and his coat of many colors?  Joseph had a dream that he would be a great leader yet there was no way he could have been when he was that person.  He had to go through being beaten, sold, enslaved, accused, and imprisoned before he could be what he dreamed.  What are you willing to go through to achieve your dream?  What have you gone through so far?  Have you ever known someone who has completely given up on his or her dreams?

22. Read Romans 12:6.  Who exemplifies this in the film?  Who does not?  What happens to these characters?

23. Do believe God gives everyone gifts?  Do some get more than others?

24. Is beauty a gift?  Why or why not?

25. Are there any gifts that someone else has that you find yourself envious of?  Do you think God would ever take his gifts back?

26. McNair Wilson (the noted speaker) says: Talent is like a brand new car but you don’t get the keys.”   What do you think this means?  What is the key?

27. The first time Michael Jordan got his hands on a basketball he did not run down the court, leap into the air, hang there for two minutes, and stuff the basket.  How did Michael Jordan get to be MICHAEL JORDAN?

28. Harry talked about the singer at the theater.  He said it was like “the music was coming through her.”  Is there any talent you have that seems to come “through” you? 

29. What are your gifts?  What are you doing when you feel the most alive?  Saint Ignatius said that’s where God is.  Where is God in your life? 

 

BONUS QUESTION: Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”  Is this true?  How do you know?  What do you do to keep from “giving someone your permission”?

 

Closing Prayer:

God thank you for the gifts you have given us.  The sunshine and the rain and our families. Thank you for the gifts that you have given just to us.  Help us to use them wisely. Let us use them to bring others into your arms. Let us say ‘thank you’ by using them for your glory. Amen.

Optional Activity #1

In the land of the dead there are a number of business with “death” pun names. (The “second hand” store).

How many businesses in “our land of the living” can you create puns out of? 

Examples: 

  • Seven/Eleven can be Zero/Zero.
  • McDonalds can be  AACCKKDonalds.

Optional Activity #2:

Eyeball cookies.  Make these up before you see the movie and serve them with the lesson.  See recipe at the end of the lesson.

 

Scriptures:

Matthew 5:1-11

I Corinthians 11:3-12

Ephesians 4:1-3

 

The Questions:

The Butterfly is often seen as a symbol of the resurrection.  How was the butterfly used in this movie?

How is Victoria’s corset like her life?

Victor plays the “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano in Victoria’s house.  This song is often said to be “God’s favorite piece of music.”  Why do you think the filmmakers chose to use it here?

It is the music that brings Victor into a relationship with both his brides. What is the difference in how they respond?

Victoria says her mother told her that music was not for proper young ladies, that it was “too passionate”.  What are the “rules” we put on women today?  What is the expected behavior?

What is the difference between the maggot in Emily’s head and Jiminy Cricket? Have you ever argued with the maggot in your head?  Talk about it.

In what ways are we too caught up in being religious to be spiritual?

Metaphorically speaking, why do you think Victors candle won’t light?

Do you think our culture has changed in its ideas about marriage?  In what ways?

What lessons were your parents taught that have been passed down generation after generation?  What does it take to break that pattern?

Have you ever been to wedding from another religion or another part of the world?  How were those weddings different than one here?

What is a vow?

Jesus changed the water into wine at a wedding. How is wine viewed at the weddings in this film?

Why does the city of the dead have more life than the city of the living?

Who did you want Victor to end up with at the end of the movie? Victoria or Emily?  Why?

What do you think happened to Emily at the end of the movie?  Why did this happen to her?

How do you think your parents would react if you brought home someone of another religion?  Another race?

When two people are married they are told that they are “one” person.  How is that possible?  Have you ever seen an old couple who have been married for years?  How are they one?

The characters spend a lot of time arguing about things going “according to plan”.  Do your parents have a plan for your life?  What is it?  Do you have a plan for your life?  What is it?  Does God have a plan for your life or does God lay out the path and its up to us whether or not we follow?  Explain your thoughts on this. 

Tim Burton likes to make movies where the outcasts seem to be the heroes…Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  Does it make you uncomfortable? What did Jesus say about the outcasts?  Read Matthew 5:1-11.

What is the difference between the old wise skeleton in the land of the dead and the minister in the land of the living?  What point do you think the filmmakers were trying to make between the two worlds?

Victor is told that he must make the ultimate sacrifice.  What would you be willing to give up in order to be with the one you love?  Would you give up your family?  Would you give up everything you’ve ever known and move to far off place where you know no one and are completely unfamiliar with the customs?

What do you think happens to a person after they die?

Read I Corinthians 11:3-12. How do you feel about this verse? Why do you suppose the minister was so upset when Victor could not get the rituals and vows correct?

In Victor’s world it seems that everyone is more concerned with knowing their place than knowing each other. How does that happen in your school? Are there certain lunch tables that only the “right” people can eat at?

Read Ephesians 4:1-3. How does this apply to the relationships in the movie?

Did you notice that the church (but not the minister) welcomed everyone?  How does your church do at welcoming people?

Who is allowed to tell you whom you are allowed to love?

 

Closing Prayer:

Watching, God we know you have more in store for us than we can possibly imagine.  Help us to not clutter our lives with rules and regulations that keep others away from you. You are the God of all, not the God of some. Guide our hearts and decisions. Open our minds and close our mouths and let our relationships be blessed in your name. Amen.

 

Eyeball Cookies:

These cookies are often called Buckeyes and are a favorite at Christmas cookie parties. This time, use white chocolate instead of brown.   This recipe takes a little time but it’s worth it when you bring out a tray full of eyeballs to the Bible Study.  

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups peanut butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
12 ounces white chocolate

Food Coloring Blue and Black

Mix the butter, peanut butter, vanilla, and sugar together and form into balls. Refrigerate the balls for about an hour.  Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Using a toothpick dip cold dough balls into the melted chocolate and place on wax paper.  When icing has cooled, add blue food coloring to the left over white chocolate and stir.  Dip just the edge of the cookie into the blue to make an iris.  Add black food coloring and repeat until you have about thirty to forty eyeballs.

 

END OF THE SPEAR DISCUSSION GROUPS

THEME: Sacrifice

  • You are in the final four of contestants working to become Donald Trump’s next Apprentice. Here’s your project: put together a 30-second video containing specific scenes from End of the Spear that best illustrate the concept of love. What scenes will you choose? Please explain your choices.
  • What kinds of things would you say motivated the five missionary families to embark on their mission to the Waodani people?
  • Take a look at Philippians 2:5-11. In this passage, Paul encourages his followers to have the same attitude that Jesus had. How would you describe that attitude?
  • In what ways did you see this attitude reflected in the people portrayed in End of the Spear?
  • What kinds of obstacles could have easily prevented them from demonstrating a Christlike spirit?
  • Would you say that God exalted the men and women in this story in a similar way to the exaltation Jesus experienced? If so, how?
  • As God-followers, what are some specific ways we can daily imitate the example of the real men and women of End of the Spear as they imitated Jesus?


 

END OF THE SPEAR DISCUSSION GROUPS

THEME: Forgiveness

 

  • At what point in the movie did you find yourself connecting with the story the most? What emotions were you feeling at that moment?
  • Think of a time in your life when you found yourself under some kind of attack from other people. How would you describe that attack?
  • What are some comparisons you can see between the attacks on the men in this story and the kinds of attacks we experience in our lives?
  • Read Colossians 3:12-14. What does it look like to forgive as the Lord has forgiven you?
  • When we forgive others, what is it that we are forgiving?
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the family members of Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint or Roger Youderian. What questions would you have had to answer in order to forgive the Waodani for killing your loved ones?
  • In your experience, what typically happens to those who either refuse or are unable to forgive others?
  • List some action steps that we could use to help us forgive others as God has forgiven us.

 

END OF THE SPEAR DISCUSSION GROUPS

THEME: The Ministry of Reconciliation

 

  • On the movie screen of your brain, replay the scene from End of the Spear where Rachel Saint, Elizabeth Elliot and Dayuma move in with the Waodani. What were you thinking when you saw that scene?
  • In what ways did the movie help you to see the actions of these women through the eyes of the Waodani people?
  • If you had been a Waodani observing this event, what kinds of questions do you think you would have been asking?
  • In 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Paul talks about the ministry of reconciliation that has been given to all God-followers. Please read this passage. Using your own words, restate what Paul is saying in this passage.
  • In what ways does this story illustrate the ministry of reconciliation for you?
  • Why do you think the actions of these ladies were so effective in God’s hands to bring about such significant transformation in the lives of the Waodani?
  • How do you think Christians in our world could imitate these ladies and carry out the ministry of reconciliation in . . .Our homes?

Our neighborhoods?

Our cities?

END OF THE SPEAR DISCUSSION GROUPS

THEME: Making Good Come from Evil

 

  • In which scenes of End of the Spear did you see the face of evil the most?

 

What are some of the characteristics of evil that you saw depicted in these scenes?

  • What are some typical responses you or I might have to evil situations that confront us?
  • Recall as a group the story from Genesis about Joseph and his brothers. What was Joseph’s response to the evil that consumed his world?

 

Read Genesis 50:15-21. What would you say enabled Joseph to maintain a loving attitude toward his brothers and say the words he spoke in this passage?

  • The Christian speaker and author, Gordon MacDonald, once said, “God can play tricks on evil, if we let him, and pull from the darkness light and beauty” (Leadership.com –July 1, 1997). What are some ways God played tricks on evil in the story End of the Spear tells?
  • How have you seen God play tricks on the evil in your life? If you feel comfortable, please share your story with the group.
  • What do you think we, as individuals, need to do to allow God to turn the tables on evil situations in our lives?
  • Personal Moment:If you are faced with an evil situation in your life right now, God is ready, willing and able to use that situation to accomplish His purposes. How are you standing in His way? Before you leave this discussion group, is there someone here who could help you open the door for God to work?

 

The following is a activity guide to use with your youth group based on the movie The Brothers Grimm.

 

A Word Before:

Don’t do these questions in sequential order and please don’t feel like you have to use all of them…It could take way too much time! It’s our hope that you’ll pick out the 5-6 questions that will benefit your group, figure out where you want to go and use these questions as a springboard. This is a freebie, so use it and pass it on—Just tell everyone where you got it….

Optional Activity:

In 1938 a man named Orson Wells created a production of War of The Worlds as a radio drama.  To get a realistic feel for the production, Wells played it as if it were a news bulletin.  Thousands of people, those who were not listening to Charlie McCarthy (ask your grandparents about that one) believed the earth was under attack.  Some left their homes.  Some went out hunting.  There’s a story that a man in Grover’s Mills, Pennsylvania took a shot at the local water tower thinking it to be an alien spacecraft.  Contrary to popular belief no one died or was killed as a result of the broadcast.  Reporters began making reports up after Orson Wells seemed to think it was funny that so many people were fooled.

To create the sound of the alien spacecraft opening (on live radio) Wells ran a microphone to a nearby men’s room and placed the mike in a toilet.  At a given signal a stagehand slowly unscrewed a mason jar in the bowl.  Laugh if you want…the effect was highly believable.   As an activity send your youth into the church armed with tape recorders and have them create their own science fiction type sound effect.  Be sure they don’t tell anyone what they actually did for the sound until afterward.

Optional:

Look online for a cool picture of the earth from space.  Print this out in coaster sized copies and be ready to hand these out to your students.  If you can’t print out enough for everyone, print out just one to use as a visual aid.

Scripture:

Genesis 9:18-17

Psalms 78

Romans 8:28-39

1 Corinthians 13:13
 

The Questions: 

Start off by reading the actual introduction to the novel War Of The Worlds.  Don’t tell the group right away that’s what you are doing. 

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable.

After you read the passage from the book tell the group that the work was written in 1898.  If you simply switch the word nineteenth to twenty-first the passage is completely relevant.

QUESTION 1:  How does it make you feel that the same words can apply so accurately to our lives today?   How are we too caught up in the “various concerns” of our lives? Give a few examples.

Read Psalm 78

QUESTION 2:  How does this Psalm make you think of the story in War of the Worlds?

QUESTION 3:  This movie differs from other alien invasion movies in that it does not focus on the great battle.  It zeros in on one dysfunctional family and how they cope with the crisis.  Tom Cruise is not the sly smirking hero he often plays.  At the beginning of the film he’s a pretty lousy dad.  How may families do you know who are the classic Dad-Mom-Kids-Puppy picture? What was the biggest crisis your family has ever gone through?  How did you survive?  How does crisis change us?

QUESTION 4: In many ways Ray’s children are the grown-ups and he is the child.  How does that change by the time we reach the end of the story?  How have your parents changed since you were small?

QUESTION 5: Stephen Spielberg made a little film called ET: The Extra-Terrestrial a few years back.  How are these two films different?  What does it say about who we were then and who we are now?

Spielberg also made Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.  The first time we hear the alien ship in that movie sounds a lot like the “blast” we hear from the ship in War of the Worlds.  Again, what does this say about who we were then and who we are now?   What does it take to get your attention? 

QUESTION 6:  In the Bible the word Rachel (The little girl’s name) means “ewe” or “girl sheep”.  Do you think there is any significance there?  How about when Ray leaves all the others to go back after the one “lost sheep”.

QUESTION 7: Who is the most Christ-like character in the movie?

QUESTION 8:  There are several scenes in the movie that seem to recall September 11th.  (The wall covered in pictures of the missing.  The flags hanging from the row houses.)  It is a seemingly ordinary day and suddenly everything is changed forever.  We watch the destruction of the neighborhood the same way we watched the towers fall.

How has life changed for the characters in the story?  How has life changed for the world?   How has your life changed since September 11th?

QUESTION 9:  Could you die for someone you loved?

QUESTION 10: Could you let someone else die to save your family?  (Ray let the bridge of the ferry close trapping the woman he knew on the outside). 

QUESTION 11: In the original story written by H.G. Wells, Tim Robbins’ character invites Ray to stay and help dig a tunnel and start a new world underground in the subways and sewers.  Ray leaves him alone to dig his tunnel. Why do you think the filmmakers made the change?  What did it add to the story this way? Could you do what Ray did to save his family?

QUESTION 12: Ray had to make a choice to let his son go and save his daughter from the well-meaning couple who tried to take her with them.  Why do you think it’s so hard for parents to “let go?”  How hard would it be to let your son or daughter go off to fight in a war?  Do you think Ray could have let Robbie go if he had not seen him rescue the people on the boat?   Why do you think Ray looked so amazed at his son’s action on the ferry?

QUESTION 13:  In that scene, who are you most like right now in life? Explain your answer:

            Ray

            Robbie

            Rachel

            The well-meaning couple

QUESTION 14:  Tim Robbins’ character says “The ones who survive are the ones who keep their eyes open.”   The ones who keep their heads are the ones who survive?  Do you think this is true?  Do you think it was true for him?

QUESTION 15: The only lullaby that Ray knows is the Beach Boys song Little Duce Coupe (a duce coupe is a really hot car).   The song includes the line “If she had a set of wings, man, I know she could fly.”

Rachel sings the song Hush-a-Bye Mountain.  This song was in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang another story about a flying car.

Why do you think the filmmakers used these two references?  Ray and Rachel may not be as far apart as we originally think.  What are some ways that you are like your mother or father?  Has it ever been pointed out to you “You’re just like your dad/mom?”  Talk about that–

QUESTION 16: Rachel has a splinter in her finger and she refuses to let Ray take it out. She says her body will push it out when it’s ready?  How does this little scene play out in the grand scheme of the story?

QUESTION 17: In the movie people seemed to be heading toward the church without thinking about it.  Why do you think so many people wait until things hit rock bottom before finally turning to God for help?

QUESTION 18: Why do you think the filmmakers made a point of wrecking the church building?  They could have used a supermarket or a school but they chose a church.

QUESTION 19:  One of Ray’s friends says, “God’s pissed off.”  Do you think that was true?  Do you think God gets “angry” and takes it out on everyone? 

QUESTION 20:  There were some comments made a few years back that the hurricanes that destroyed so much of Florida were sent by God to punish people for their behavior.  Do you think that was true? Do you think God would send aliens to “teach us a lesson?”

QUESTION 21:  Do you think God “allowed” the aliens to destroy so much of the world?  Do you think God “allows” bad things to happen to us?

QUESTION 22: There’s an old children’s lesson about God, it says He made the rose and the devil made the thorns.  Do you think this is true? We have a tendency to blame all the bad things in our world on “Satan”.

Read Romans 8:28-39

The scriptures tell us that God does not cause bad things to happen but takes ALL THINGS both good and bad and makes them work together for his purposes.

QUESTION 23: Does verse 36 sound like Tim Robbins’s speech about “This is not an invasion. This is an extermination.”  What is the scriptures answer to that notion?

QUESTION 24:  Read 1 Corinthians 13:13

Give an example of Faith in the movie.

Give an example of Hope in the movie.

Give an example of Love in the movie.

QUESTION 25:  In the final scene of the movie Ray does not run lovingly into the arms of his ex-wife. He stands far away.  Talk about what you think happens to the family in the next ten minutes after the camera faded to black.  What happened in the next ten days?  Ten years?

QUESTION 26: God was angry once and destroyed the earth by flooding it, except for one family and some animals, but He promised he would never do that again. (Genesis 6-8) How do you think God feels when he looks down now?

If you have the pictures of the earth, pass them out now. 

QUESTION 27 People in Noah’s time could not have conceived that they could see the earth like this, but to us it’s commonplace.  From this distance the aliens could not have conceived the problems they would run into. From this distance you wouldn’t know the problems we face. Read Genesis 9:8-17. God’s message after the destruction of the world is not one of condemnation but one of hope.  How could you apply this verse to the final moments of the movie War of the Worlds?

QUESTION 28 What do you think the narrator means when he says  “Man does not live or die in vain.”  Is it true?  If it is, what are the broader implications of that idea?

QUESTION 29: The scene in which Ray opens the door to the world covered in the red weed is eerily like The Wizard of Oz.  The camera sits behind the shoulder of the character opening the door and we see out the gray house into a world of bizarre color.  What do you think the filmmakers were trying to say, if anything, with this?

SAY SOMETHING LIKE: 

The final narration says that man has “earned” his place, that it was “God’s wisdom.”  In the story, Ray is told that the aliens were already here.  That the machines had to be in place millions of years ago, yet God was in place long before that and created a system that allowed man to grow and adapt and “earn” his place here. We adapt as humans.  We will survive. We will continue.  We believe in a God made of love and love hopes all things, believes all things and endures all things.

Pray with me:

God, there are challenges coming our way that we can’t even see yet.  We cannot prepare for them. We just have to be ready when they hit us.  Don’t leave us, God.  We don’t ask you to solve all our problems for us but we do ask you to be with us as we face them.  Give us hope. Give us faith. Give us love.  Amen.

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