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Blockbuster: “Wonder”

WONDER

Blockbuster Lessons from the Movies

July 27-28, 2019

(LOH Golf shy of 20K raised)  1st Scene shown

Today I get to share with you some lessons from this movie, Wonder.  It debuted at the ending of 2017 and is not a traditional blockbuster movie like Lion King, Aladdin, Captain Marvel, “The Arrangers: End Game” Avengers, that broken box office ticket sale records in 2019.  But it’s a feel good wholesome movie that I give a big thumbs up to see and discuss in families, especially if you have elementary school/middle schoolers in your home.  How many of you have seen it?  

WONDER is a heartwarming story of August Pullman.  As you see, born with facial differences that, up until now, has deterred him from going to regular school, especially at that awkward age of a fifth grader, where his family, his new classmates, and the community all struggle to learn compassion, acceptance, and kindness.  Through Wonder, we glean God truths to be Wonder-filled people standing out no matter our differences by choosing not to be bitter, but better, and be amazingly kind to those around us, with the help of, as we’ll learn today, balcony people, who God places in our lives.  

A side note, why am I giving this message?  On a scale of 1-10, Pastor Mike and Mark are 10s in watching movies on the silver screen, I’m a negative 2.  I rarely go to the movies.  For whatever reason, I fall asleep at the movies.  My son has had to elbow me to wake me up in Star Wars.  That’s why they knew it would be hard pressed for me to see Lion King, Aladdin or the Avengers. I must confess I’ve not seen them yet.  But this is a gotta watch movie.  It’s a great anti-bullying movie, about showing kindness, especially to those around us that may be a little different around us, and that includes all us as we all are a little different.  

And as professing Christians, we too should be different.  Maybe we don’t look too different from others, although some may argue that (joke), but our values are strange to those who don’t know Jesus.  Peter says it this way.  

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from fleshly desires, which war against your soul.”)  Here are some lessons:

1. When Given the Choice Between Being Right or Being Kind, Choose Kind

Another word you can write is Benevolence (The fill in the blanks are all Bs today)

The scene you just saw is on the first day of class.  Mr. Brown, the teacher, begins by introducing to them precepts, principles, rules, guidelines of life.  And this is one that he introduces to the class.  That frames the whole movie.  

It’s obvious, Auggie is different, and that’s true and a RIGHT observation.  But, being Kind no matter our differences is always the BEST CHOICE.  

With more and more vehicles on the road and driving on Oahu is getting harder especially at rush hour and now even the weekends, I wanted to check how kind we are while driving.  TAKE ASSESSMENT:

After the Assessment:  For those who did well, we are gonna make you a NHCO bumper sticker.  For the rest of you, “No”

Did you know that when we said yes to Jesus, the HS, mysteriously and amazingly, entered our lives and has given us this bank of character to tap into, one of which is kindness!  Really!  Let’s read

Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness. Through these he gave us the very great and precious promises. With these gifts you can share in God’s nature, and the world will not ruin you with its evil desires. Because you have these blessings, do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge; and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and are growing, they will help you to be useful and productive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 

(2 Peter 1:3 – 8 NCV).

v. 5 Underline Add these things to your lives:  Because God has deposited his empowering spirit into lives, we can ask God to add to our lives those qualities.  How many of you need to add more faith, more goodness, knowledge, self-control, kindness.  How about the ones sitting next to you?  

Getting back to Wonder, Auggie struggles to experience kindness from his fellow classmates.  He feels isolated, he feels the stares, he knows no one wants to touch him thinking they’d get the plague and be like him.  Kids can be so innocently mean!  He has a whole cafeteria table to himself as no one wants to sit with him or no one wants to be seen with him.  

Have you ever felt like this?  I have?  So I feel so much for Auggie.

It was in 3rd grade when I had like many kids, strep throat.  I’m sure many of you have had strep throat, but mine wasn’t treated well evidently, and I developed rheumatic fever, joint pains, and my dr. was concerned as he didn’t want it to develop into rheumatic heart and damage my heart, so for my entire 3rd grade yr.  I was restricted from physical activity.  For some of you, you’d be happy, not PE, no dodgeball at recess, no sports!  But for me it was death!  And some of my classmates, stayed away from me.  I sat on the bench in my uniform at baseball.  I don’t like sitting on the bench.  

I thank God that my heart wasn’t affected as I look at back at all the relationships I have now because of playing sports.  But more so, I know what it’s like to be a little different from others and have compassion.  How about you?  

There will be people around us that God places in our lives that are a little different, maybe not physically like Auggie, but in their personality, their background, their skin color, the way they talk, the way they think, and we have choke chances, opportunities to express kindness!  

Being kind takes being intentional!  Can you say intentional, focused?  We gotta ask God how to add more kindness to our lives?  Maybe it’s in a form of an action, or some kind words. (Ike Beautification is a kind act)

In Wonder, people show kindness in small yet huge ways to Auggie.  Summer, decides to sit next to Auggie, Jack Well befriends Auggie, and of course, his mom and dad are the most kind to Auggie.  Our next lesson is…

2. Choose to be Better not Bitter 

Watch this scene 2 where Auggie is feeling so bummed out and he could easily become bitter over something bad that happened to him.  And how he chose to be better not bitter.  

With the help of his sister, Auggie didn’t allow those negative voices, stop him from enjoying going trick-o-treating.  

When the going gets tough, the tough, get going!  Auggie kept going! 

Let’s learn from our savior, the one who can empower us to have that extraordinary spirit when faced with potentially bitter producing moments.

Let’s read what Peter says about Jesus.  

Jesus never got even.  He chose to be better, greater!  He entrusted himself to his heavenly daddy to take care of him.  

People insulted Christ, but he did not insult them in return. Christ suffered, but he did not threaten. He let God, the One who judges rightly, take care of him (1 Peter 2:23 NCV).  

And this is what the writer of Hebrews says about bitterness:  Let’s read

Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many (Hebrews 12:15 TPT).

We can choose to live in bitterness, hold onto hurts, and that hurt may have happened years ago, but you still hold onto the pain today, anger, frustration, offense from that hurt like it was yesterday!  And it’s producing bitterness.  Notice, that we can help others not to miss out on God’s grace, another way of saying this is God’s amazing kindness to us.  As we experience that amazing grace, we can extend that kindness, undeserved kindness to another person!  Does that make sense?  We all have been recipients of God’s amazing kindness, now we have the power to extend that to others and not allow bitterness to take root in our lives.  

Last lesson, 

3. Live as a Balcony Person  

Auggie is truly amazing!  But he also had some truly amazing balcony people in his life.  What is a balcony person?  I didn’t coin this myself, Joyce Landorf Heatherley, did in her book Balcony people.

balcony person is someone who is hanging over the rail of a balcony cheering you on, encouraging you, and letting you know that they believe in you. They see the bigger picture, and in the midst of us stuck in the miry clay, in the muck of discouragement, hopelessness, they call you out and speak life into you.  We all need these people!  

All too often though, we hear the Basement people try to drown you in their basement. They are critical of you.  We all have basement bums around us who want us drag us down, Cellar dwellers, who speak death over us!  Don’t listen to their voices!  Above all that negativity, hear those Balcony people cheering us to rise up!  We all need these balcony people, don’t we. Who are those people in your lives?  

Watch this scene 3 of this perfect balcony person speak life into Auggie.  

We so need people like Auggie’s mom to speak life into us!  You’re a wonder!  Turn to the person next to you and in all sincerity, tell how amazing they are!  Now did that take much effort?  Surely we don’t always do amazing things, but what we do wrong, at times, shouldn’t label us.  If God calls you amazing, you’re amazing!  Believe that!  Let’s read:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).

You heard this, if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything.  

I tell you this today: if you have nothing good to say, especially to someone, ask God for the words to build up that person.  Choose to be a life-giver with your words!, not a life-taker.  Speak life into those around us.  

These are some biblical precepts:

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Proverbs 16:24 NLT).

What you say can mean life or death.  Those who speak with care will be rewarded (Proverbs 18:21 NCV)

Let’s choose to speak life not death over people.  In fact, be intentional today, who can I be a balcony person for today!  

You gotta watch this scene 4 of Auggie’s mom speaking life into Auggie

You are not Ugly Scene (2:12)

You know who speaks life over us!  God does that all the time and you can be reminded of that in his love letter to you.  

(Open the bible and breathe life through the word):  You are precious and honored in my sight and I love, you are a masterpiece, you are forgiven, not forsaken, you’re my beloved son, lovely daughter, you are royalty cuz you are co-heir with Jesus, you are a prince, and princess of me, the most high.  I planned you out before the creation of the world.  You’re not an oops, you’re GOOPs (God’s Outstanding Orchestrated People) put together to make sweet sounding music to the word.  

God speaks life into our lives, like Auggies mom, all the time.  We just gotta believe what those balcony people say about us.  

Can I show you one of my favorite scenes 5 of the movie (2:11)

We all need Jack Wells in our lives who would go to battle for us!  Was what he did, right?  No!  Was his heart good! We gotta love the principal.  Who is he like?  God

Was what Christ did for us right?  To die for us?  No, we deserved to die for not being right, righteous, in God’s eyes.  But Jesus went to battle for us.  He was struck, beat up for us.  He took on the punishment we should have experienced.  And God the father allowed that.  Why?  Do you know why? God so wants us to know and experience his kindness!  Yes, balcony people are needed, but we need Jesus all the more!  And when we experience his kindness, we too, can be the GOOPs (Gods Outstanding Orchestrated People of Kindness for the world to see to attract people to Jesus.  Would you agree?  Let’s stand!

Respond:  

Pray through how to end the message.  

 

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