Over the years, I have loved preaching on children's books and films. Through the imaginative tales of Dr. Seuss, Robert Munsch, and Inside Out I have experienced God's story colorfully and creatively. I can still see those kids faces in the congregation, doing the math - seeing the connection between the stories of their day and God's story of old! God is a God who makes wooden people real (Pinnochio), who brings down dividing walls of hostility (How To Train your Dragon), and who wants us to taste and see that he is good (Green Eggs and Ham).
The Croods, Plato and Spiritual Freedom
In this message, I explore God’s call to a more spacious and meaningful life through the film, The Croods.
“Why are we here?
What are we doing this for?”
Eep, The Croods
“Perhaps a new world lies beyond the horizon of our experience, a world that we only know through hints and rumours.”
Theologian Alistair McGrath, The Unknown God, page 10
“Lord give me what you have made me want; I praise and thank you for the desire that you have inspired;
Perfect what you have begun,And grant me what you have made me long for.”
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
“Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near.”
Acts 17:25-26, MSG
The Cat in the Hat and the Kingdom of God
In this message, I look at God’s Kingdom truth in the classic Dr. Seuss parable The Cat in The Hat. Do you remember what it felt like hearing this story for the first time?
“Jesus spoke in strange, bizarre, disturbing ways. He balked at almost no comparison, however irreverent or unrefined. Apparently he found nothing odd about holding up, as a mirror to God’s ways, a mixed bag of questionable characters; an unjust judge, a savage king, a tipsy slave owner, an unfair employer, and even a man who gives help only to bonafide pests… Furthermore Jesus not only spoke in parables, he thought in parables, acted in parables, and regularly insisted that what he was proclaiming could not be set forth in any other way than in parables. He was practically an ambulatory parable in and of himself: he cursed fig trees, walked on water, planted coins in fishes’ mouths, and for his final act, sailed up into a cloud.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Parables of the Kingdom, pg 1-2
David's Father - Robert Munsch
This message looks at God’s truth in Robert Munsch’s story, David’s Father. What unknowns are you afraid of?
“I made this [story] up soon after we adopted our second child. Her name was Julie and she was five and a half years old when we got her. Every night I would tell Julie stories before she went to bed and David’s Father was the longest running bedtime story ever. I told this story every night for four months.Julie kept changing it and changing it and asking for different things. She put in all the things that interested her. She wanted to have a little girl who was afraid to go to school because she was afraid of meeting strange people and being kidnapped. She wanted to have a father who didn’t look at all like the child who was adopted because she was brown and I was white.”
Robert Munsch, RobertMunsch.com
“If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you're from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won't give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.”
Romans 2:9-11, MSG
Tangled - Discovering Who you Really Are
Tangled is a story about identity and finding your way home. Do you feel like you know who you are? Are you afraid or are you free?
“Take what has been lost, bring back what once was mine…”
Rapunzel in Tangled
"The whole earth is mine..."
God in Exodus 19:5, TNIV
"Why can't I go outside?"
"The outside world is a dangerous place, filled with horrible, selfish people. You must stay here where you're safe. Do you understand Flower?"
A young Rapunzel talking to Gothel
“Don't be afraid...don't despair. Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs."
Zephaniah 3:16-17, MSG
Green Eggs and Ham and an Ever-pursuing God
Green Eggs and Ham teaches us about how it feels to be pursued by an unrelenting and ever-chasing God.
"O LORD , you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD . You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."
Psalm 139:1-6, NIV
“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is.”
Psalm 38:8, MSG
Where the Wild Things Are
Our world is filled with people looking for a king that can make everything right, who takes away our loneliness and keeps out all the sadness.
"I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in Gods kingdom."
Jesus in Matthew 18:2-4, MSG
"Yeah, it was gonna be a place where only things you wanted to have happen would happen."
Carol ( a Wild Thing), about a world he made
"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them."
Isaiah 11:6, NIV
UP - Growing Young Agane
"I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom."
Jesus in Matthew 18:2-4, MSG
"God wraps you in goodness, beauty eternal. He renews your youth, you're always young in his presence."
Psalm 103:3, MSG
Writer G. K. Chesterton once wrote, "It may be that [God] has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."
Horton Hears a Who (believing in the unbelievable)
“I say!” murmured Horton. “I’ve never heard tell of a small speck of dust that is able to yell...”
Horton the elephant, Horton Hears a Who
"The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, " 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
Jesus in Luke 8:10, NIV
“I think you’re a fool!” laughed the sour kangaroo. And the young kangaroo in her pouch said, “Me too!” You’re the biggest blame fool in the Jungle of Nool!”
The unbelieving Kangaroo, Horton Hears a Who
“A person’s a person no matter how small...”
Horton the elephant
God's Hope for Ugly Ducklings
In children's stories, we can see more of God's story. In the Ugly Duckling, we can see his how deep God's love goes and how there are no ordinary people.
"A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy."
Matthew 8:2-3, NIV
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV
"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."
C. S. Lewis