For this year's Encounter Follow Up Curriculum we are providing discussion questions for 3 movies that we felt like tied into the LYFT theme. Each of these movies touch on the idea of blessings and suffering and how there are actual blessings in our times of suffering. Just as James 1: 2-4 teaches:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
How it works:
We suggest taking these movies and showing them to your group and then allowing time to go through the discussion question with them and maybe spend some time asking if and how they connect with the LYFT Encounter theme.
- How do hard times benefit our relationships with other believers? With our friends? Our families?
- How did Alexander’s family handle their frustrations about their day? How are we as Christians expected to handle our frustrations?
- What gives you greater hope? “Things always work out” / “Things work out like they’re supposed to” or “God is able to work all things out for the good”? Why?
- One of the lines in the movie is “If it weren’t for bad days, we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones.” What are some other ways in which God uses bad things for good?
- What do you think God’s ultimate purpose is for the things that go wrong in our lives?
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (PG) is available to watch for free on YouTube.
- In a final conversation with the Chief Elder, the Giver argues for the benefits of love, saying: “If you could only see the possibility of love. With love comes faith. With love comes hope…we can do better. We can choose better.” The Chief Elder reminds him that with emotion and choice comes pain, loss, and death. For the Giver, love is worth it because it is part of what makes us human. Do you agree with the Giver? Can we experience love without pain and suffering? What does Jesus’ life tell us about love?
- God desires freedom for us, but that freedom cannot be found in a perfect, pain-free life. Describe the kind of freedom you think God desires for us.
- Good things like love and choice can often lead to suffering- why are these things worth the pain that they cause?
- In Isaiah 66:9 God tells us that He will not allow pain without causing something new to be born.
- What examples of this do you see in the Bible? In you on life? Do you think it's possible that pain and suffering could be key parts of God's good plan for creation?
The Giver (PG-13) is available on iTunes or at RedBox.
- What are some of the consequences of the free will that God has given us? What are the pros and cons?
- People sometimes view God as similar to the creator of the Truman Show. Because God places hardships in our lives, He is sometimes perceived as cruel and manipulative with no real concern for the welfare of His people. What do you think? Does God put us through hardships or do we bring them upon ourselves? Does He allow bad things to happen because He is cruel, or because He loves us?
- Describe the idea of freedom that you think God has in mind for us.
The Truman Show (PG) is available to rent from YouTube.