How Will You Turn the Bad Into Good?

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When times get tough, do you ever feel like giving up? When you hit bumpy roads in your relationships, at school, or in your work life, do you find yourself blaming other people or circumstances outside of your control?

It happens to all of us–this feeling that we don’t deserve to face hardship. “Things shouldn’t be going this way for me,” you might think to yourself. “I shouldn’t have to deal with this issue.”

Of course, when we step back from the situation, we know that isn’t true. God allows us to be challenged and to struggle for many reasons–some of which we may be able to discern, others that may not be clear to us until we get to heaven. Perhaps we face a problem that requires us to grow spiritually and put our hope in Him. Perhaps the challenges we face will teach us to rely on God and not ourself.

Think of Your Struggle as an Opportunity to Learn to Trust God More.

In Waiting on the Alchemist, Frankie, a soccer player at a school without a soccer team, is told by his mother, “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” After feeling despondent and hopeless about his situation, Frankie decides to tackle his problem from a new perspective. Instead of seeing his challenging circumstances as limitations, he decides to think of them as opportunities.

In the same way, God wants us to trust Him. It’s not easy, but trusting Him requires a change of perspective. In Him, we are more than conquerors, regardless of the circumstance (Romans : 37-39).

WATCH Waiting on the Alchemist

Watch Waiting on the Alchemist on the Jesus Film App.

Download the Jesus Film App.

  1. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  2. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  3. Swipe down and select Waiting on the Alchemist.
  4. Select the play icon.
  5. Watch and share!

Will You “Turn the Bad Into Good”?

Pick a discussion question below, and share your answer with us and other blog readers in the comments:

  1. Is there a character in the film you resonated with? If so, who?
  2. What two worlds do you see colliding for Frankie and what are the opposing views?
  3. What do you think his mom meant when she said that not going back (to school) isn’t going to change anything here”?
  4. How do you approach a situation when change is required? Have you seen instances where change has brought about something unexpectedly good?
  5. The big idea of The Alchemist is about a kid going on an adventure and finding his treasure at great odds. What treasure are you searching for?

Even Anne Hathaway Fears Loneliness

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Have you ever been truly lonely? Faced the stifling, fear-gripping choke of isolation? At some point or another, it’s likely that you have felt loneliness–and the fear that accompanies it. Actress Anne Hathaway once said,

“Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life. The thing that I’m most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me.”

The way Anne phrases that thought is interesting:

Loneliness isn’t just about being loved; it’s equally about loving.

In A Man By the Name of Frederick Pennyhouse, a short film available on the Jesus Film App, the idea of loneliness is explored from both of these perspectives. The camera opens up on a man who lives on a stilted house far out in the ocean. He is surrounded by a few crudely made stick figures, with whom he fishes and eats his meals.

His life is simple and good, until suddenly the loneliness gets to him. He begins to write a letter…

WATCH A Man By the Name of Frederick Pennyhouse

Watch A Man By the Name of Frederick Pennyhouse on the Jesus Film App.

  1. Download the Jesus Film App.
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select A Man By the Name of Frederick Pennyhouse.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

Why Does Frederick Pennyhouse Create Stand-Ins for Friends?

Is it because he feels the need to have someone to love and care for? Or do you think it’s because he wants to feel like someone cares for him? Perhaps both?

Other questions to consider from the film:

  • Why do you think he lives in the middle of the ocean?
  • If you were him, would you have written a message in a bottle? If so, what would you write?
  • What would cause you to isolate yourself from your family or friends?
  • What keeps you going and gives you hope when people disappoint you?

Oftentimes, we look for hope in other people, things, or lifestyles. But outside of Jesus, everything ultimately leads to disappointment. Has there ever been a time in your life where you looked to something else to help you escape fear or loneliness? We encourage you to share your response – or an answer to one of the above questions – in the comments below.

Audrey Hepburn, the “Constant Search” & LOVE

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short film Not Evelyn Cho

short film Not Evelyn Cho

Audrey Hepburn, one of the most iconic Hollywood stars of all time, once said, “We all want to be loved, don’t we? Everyone looks for a way of finding love. It’s a constant search for affection in every walk of life.”

 

Imagine that… even the beautiful, talented star of blockbusters like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday was constantly looking for love and affection. No amount of success or fame could satiate that human void… only the knowledge that you are truly loved could make Audrey–or anyone, for that matter–feel whole.

 

How A Mislabeled Package Can Change Everything

In Not Evelyn Cho, a short film on the Jesus Film App, we see a young woman named Sarah who seems to be depressed. Her apartment is a wreck and she’s sleeping away the later hours of the morning on her disheveled couch. The quietness of the film and seemingly unique interruption of a doorbell all lead us to believe that she may not have any close friends either.

 

One day, the doorbell rings. A fist pounds. A package appears… but it’s addressed to Evelyn Cho. “I’m Sarah,” she tells the delivery man. Enamored with the delivery man’s good looks, the wheels start turning in her mind. We can see her thinking, “But what if I was Evelyn Cho? What if I did receive packages from this guy every day?”

 

She quickly hurries back upstairs to her apartment and starts ordering packages online. You’ll have to watch the film to see how the rest of the story plays out…

 

WATCH Not Evelyn Cho

Watch Not Evelyn Cho on the Jesus Film App.

 

  1. Download the Jesus Film App.
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select Not Evelyn Cho.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

 

What Audrey Hepburn, Sarah, Me & You All Have In Common.

We all want to be loved, don’t we? We all want that validation–affirmation–from somebody else. Ultimately, however, only God will consistently, faithfully, and lavishly love us. A spouse can’t; a friend can’t; a parent can’t do it either. As we’re reminded in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

 

All your needs. God can do that. They may not be the needs you think you have or the desires that you have, but He will meet your needs. So if you’re searching for love and acceptance like Audrey and Sarah… put your trust in God, and have faith that He will surprise you and fulfill you in exactly the ways that you need.
Has God ever surprised you in His provisions? Would you consider sharing with us and other readers about this experience in the comments below?

Don’t Hold Your Breath… After the Christian ‘Honeymoon’

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Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.53.06 PM

“When we first begin a relationship with Christ, we first go through a honeymoon phase,” explains the fisherman in Don’t Hold Your Breath, a short film available on the Jesus Film App. Everything’s great. Wonderful! We feel refreshed and renewed. A huge burden is lifted off our shoulders.

But then the weight of sin inevitably begins to creep back in. We are reminded just how powerful sin is. As C.S. Lewis said, “You only know the strength of the wind when you try to walk against it.” In other words, it’s not until you are actively fighting against sin that you realize its crushing power.

 

When the Honeymoon Is Over…

We oftentimes try to take control of sin ourselves. We beat ourselves up for not being able to resist sin on our own–forgetting that Jesus and only Jesus can help us in that department. (See James 4:7.) So, we make ourselves feel guilty about the sins we commit over and over. We act as if by beating ourselves up we’ll somehow atone for our sins on our own.

Well, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, we only make ourselves feel worse. As the fisherman in Don’t Hold Your Breath tells us, “The sheer weight of our own sin and human limitations overwhelms us. It crushes us, and we can’t maintain it… but the Holy Spirit can take us to wonderful new places we never even knew existed. All we have to do is breathe.”

Breathe. What does he mean “breathe?” Watch the 16-minute film on your phone or tablet to find out. Here’s how…

 

WATCH Don’t Hold Your Breath on the JFM app or online here

Watch Don’t Hold Your Breath on the Jesus Film app

  1. Download the Jesus Film App.
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select Don’t Hold Your Breath.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

Just Released- Jesus Film Media App 2.0

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It is even easier to share your faith with the updated Jesus Film Media App 2.0.

The new Jesus Film Media App 2.0 has hit the App Store and Google Play today ! Updated features include brand new global localizations (so that when the app is downloaded to a device, it automatically uses the device’s default language), major video search improvements, “related content” suggestions, expanded share options (including Messenger, Snapchat, and more), a cleaner map interface, and country detail pages. Visit jesusfilmapp.com to download the app, a great companion that makes it easier to share your faith.
Jesus Film Media App 2.0

 

When Going Home for the Holidays Is Tough

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For some people, returning home for Thanksgiving or Christmas is a joy: good memories, treasured traditions, and the faces of loved-ones… for many people, though, going home can be tough. Relationships have been damaged, families have been divided, and hurtful words that can’t be taken back have been exchanged.

Home and the people who make up “home” are always complex – even for those who have good family situations. In La Búsqueda, a short film that means “The Search” in Spanish, we we see the complexities of a father-daughter relationship unfold.

Though not a single word is spoken in the entire seven-minute film, we clearly understand that some kind of hurt has occurred in the family. In a series of imaginative scenes, the father reaches out to his daughter across many, many miles with a tin can and a red string – an old throwback to a craft they used to make together when the daughter was young.

Again and again, the daughter rejects the father’s attempt to reach out to her until finally one particular tin can makes her change her mind… but the ending isn’t what you expect.


LaBusquedaWATCH
La Búsqueda

Watch La Búsqueda on the Jesus Film App.

  1. Download the Jesus Film App
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select La Búsqueda.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

Reflection Questions

Are you getting together with family this holiday season? If not, is it because of a past hurt that hasn’t been forgiven? Reconciliation can be a difficult process – especially when it involves the people who are closest to us: our family members. Regardless of which side you sit on – victim or perpetrator, strong or weak, justified or marginalized – pray about reconciling your relationships this season.

Who is the one person with whom you most need reconciliation?

  • Why is the relationship damaged?
  • Have either of you tried to repair it before?
  • How can you open up a conversation with that person?

Try journaling your responses to these questions, and prayerfully consider pursuing reconciliation with him or her.

We All Have Something To Hide. But Is It THIS Obvious?

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Shame is one of the earliest emotions referenced in the Bible. It appears in Genesis 2:25, but in a positive context. “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame,” we read.

Of course, that didn’t last long.

It’s not too many paragraphs later until Adam and Eve eat from the Tree and sin enters the world. Along with it… shame, that nasty feeling that’s one part painful, one part embarrassing, and many parts extremely uncomfortable. In that moment of shame, we can’t believe what we did.

“I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“I’ll never do that again.”

“I just wasn’t thinking.”

These are all statements we might make when we get caught doing something we shouldn’t be doing and experience that stomach-dropping sense of shame. Jangled, a short-film available on the Jesus Film App, carefully displays all of those feelings.

A Short & Unexpected Film About Shame

JangledJangled approaches shame from an interesting perspective. In the film, a young woman picks up a beautiful gold bracelet in a museum and places it around her wrist with the full knowledge that she is stealing the bracelet.

At first, she’s proud of her new piece of jewelry. The feeling doesn’t last long. Soon, something beyond her control begins to happen, causing her to feel total shame and social anxiety.

WATCH Jangled

Watch Jangled for yourself, following these steps:

  1. Download the Jesus Film App
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select Jangled.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

Questions to Think About

Observation

  1. What did you think of the film? How did it make you feel?
  2. Did the film end as you expected? Why or why not?

Interpretation

  1. Why do you think she’s trying to hide the bracelets?
  2. Why do we hide things from others?

Application

  1. Have you ever felt you needed to hide something from others?
  2. What might the bracelet represent in your life?

Gospel

  1. Issues of shame and honor ultimately point to how we view God. How do you view God?
  2. What do you think your response would be after being freed from the bracelets?

Did you know that these questions (and discussion questions for all Short Films in the app) are available by tapping the ‘More’ button beneath the film?

Love Is A Choice You Make Moment to Moment

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There are two kinds of decisions. There are the decisions you make just once (or a very few times) in life. And then there are the decisions that you must make over and over again.

In the first category: You can decide to get married. You can decide to start a family. Maybe you choose to move or to take one career path over another. These are the big decisions that have a profound impact on the rest of your life. Oftentimes, their effects cannot be reversed.

And then there are those decisions we must make daily. These are decisions that you must say YES to every day… every hour… and, perhaps, every minute.

Love Is A Choice…

An insightful person once said, “Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.” Nobody decides just one time, “I’m going to be a loving person,” and then sticks to their resolution for all time.

We all fail at love. Every day. We are all capable, for example, of turning a blind eye to injustice or saying an unkind word to an undeserving person. So, we must make the proactive decision to love on a daily basis if we ever want to become known as genuinely loving people.

Dying RoadsWATCH Dying Roads

Dying Roads is a short film available on the Jesus Film App that poignantly interjects itself into the heart of this very dilemma. A beat-up man lies in the street, thick raindrops splashing down on his injured body, dirty rainwater filling up the gutters and washing over his face.

As he lies there, possibly taking his last breath, passerby after passerby walks along the sidewalk. Only one man even seems to notice, but even he won’t put down his cellphone and pull the man out of the gutter.

Will anyone help him? Will anyone make the decision to love? Watch Dying Roads to find out…

  1. Download the Jesus Film App
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select Dying Roads.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

How Can You Make the Decision to Love?

Share the love of Jesus with someone today. Tell them about the Jesus FIlm App, a great way to engage with the gospels and the power of Jesus Christ’s love for us. Short films on the Jesus Film App offer an easy and enjoyable way to introduce friends, family, and strangers to the message of Jesus Christ!

All You Need Is Need

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Pastor, author, and apologist Tim Keller writes, “If you want God’s grace, all you need is need, all you need is nothing. But that kind of spiritual humility is hard to muster. We come to God saying, ‘Look at all I’ve done,’ or maybe ‘Look at all I’ve suffered.’ God, however, wants us to look to him.”

All You Need Is Need.

The phrase makes you stop and think. It’s a paradox. All you need is need – like an endless cycle, a wheel that keeps spinning. Without God in the picture, the phrase can only offer us a bleak and hopeless image.

But when Jesus shows up, everything changes. Jesus says to us, You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to prove yourself. You only need to need me.”

WATCH Jätku Leiba (“May Our Bread Always Last”)

Jätku Leiba is a short film (shot on location in Estonia) that raises several questions for viewers about need. In the film, we see a single mother face several challenges – any one of which would qualify as a “bad day” for most of us.

She faces all kinds of needs: food, rest, money, companionship, and others. Despite these challenges, there is a peacefulness and contentedness about her. Though she is clearly worried and exhausted, she seems to have that kind of “need” that Keller talks about. She seems to know of her need for Jesus.

Jätku LeibaWatch Jätku Leiba on the Jesus Film App, and tell us what you think. To view this short film:

  1. Download the Jesus Film App
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select Jätku Leiba.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

In Matthew chapter nineteen, Jesus tells a rich young man that, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Is Jesus condemning wealth? Not necessarily. We read of many wealthy people in the Bible who were faithful servants of God. What Jesus may be saying, however, is that those who have much may feel less need than those who have little.

What’s your take on Jätku Leiba? Is Keller right? Is “need” all we need?

Like A Wine Stain On A First Date

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Our society is pressure-oriented. We feel a pressure to be the best, the prettiest, the most-liked, the wealthiest.

To achieve these things we work long past 5:00 p.m…

We spend hundreds of dollars for a few ounces of designer perfume…

We mindlessly refresh our social media profiles to make sure everything about us looks perfect.

Perfection.

Isn’t that what so many of us strive for? Though we all tell each other, “You’re perfect just the way you are,” we don’t really mean it, do we? Deep down, we think, Sure, that may be true for you, but not for me. I’m far from perfect.

The strive for unattainable perfection haunts most of us – whether we’re willing to admit it or not.

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect. For Just One Reason…

It’s not because “you’re good enough.”

In truth, you’re not.

None of us are.

And if that was the end of the story, then we would all face an unfathomably bleak and hopeless reality.

Incredibly, Jesus Christ makes us perfect. He’s the reason why we don’t have to be perfect. He sanctifies us – he makes us holy, sets us apart – by taking the blame for our sins on the cross. This guilt and shame that we feel… we don’t have to bear it. We don’t have to fight and struggle to overcome it, because Jesus already did that for us.

What’s the “Stain” You See On Yourself?

CabernetCabernet is a short film on the Jesus Film App that asks us to consider all of these questions. In the film, a young man gets a wine stain on his fresh white shirt while waiting for his date to arrive. As he tries to fix the stain himself, he only makes it worse. He struggles for perfection, and in doing so, finds that not only is he unable to fix the stain; he actually draws more attention to his stain.

Cabernet: Short ‘Conversation Starter’ on The Jesus Film App

You’ll have to view the film to see what happens to his stain. To watch Cabernet:

  1. Download the Jesus Film App
  2. Swipe down to “Short Films.”
  3. Open “Short Films,” and select the Videos tab on the mid-right.
  4. Swipe down and select Cabernet.
  5. Select the play icon.
  6. Watch and share!

As you view Cabernet, consider:

What’s my “stain?” What am I ashamed of?

Can you give this stain to Jesus? Why or why not? You don’t have to share your “stain,” but please feel free to share about your own feelings concerning sin and perfection in the comments below.