Sermon by Pastor Bryan Stamper, Sr., Ph.D., Pastor Bryan Stamper, Jr. and Mark Marsden on June 30, 2012.
The movie, “Hunger Games” recently made millions on the book and at the theaters. For those of you who have not seen it yet, it is about the heroine, Katnis Everdeen, a teenage hunter by trade, in the 12th colony of Panem. She bravely takes her younger sister’s place and volunteers to participate as one of the tributes for her colony as one of the 24 teenage tributes sent to fight to the death until only one remains. This is done to entertain the extremely wealthy and watched by them on large video screens in a humongous arena; in contrast, the colonies are extremely poor and join in the games in hope to win and to provide food for their colony.
Just as Joseph was sold into slavery, what Satan meant for evil, God turned to good. Jonathan, his friend and son of the King, refused to “play the game.” Abraham did not fight Lot for pastureland, but let Lot decide where he would go to establish his lineage. They refused to play the world’s “game.” God makes it so that in crisis, “we shine like a star in the heavens.” In a journey of maturing, Solomon in a diatom (list of achievements) considers it all as “chasing after the wind.” Also, in the world’s Olympic Games, even if you win a silver or bronze medal, you are considered a loser.
Under the oppressive government of Panem, just like in the events in the Bible above, there is an eternal theme throughout the movie–one of hope. The President of Panem states, “a little hope is good, a lot of hope is dangerous. The only thing stronger than fear is hope.”
“Jesus went against the grain (games) and talked with women, gentiles, lepers, prostitutes; he crossed the line! He refused to live in a “soap bubble.””
To play the way Jesus did and not live in a “soap bubble,” consider the following:
1. Who has God put on your heart? Pray for them, go out of your way and meet them on the road, share with them lovingly both financially and the Word of God and introduce them to Jesus and tell them who He is to them.
2. Clothe yourself with Jesus! Stay in His word, in prayer and in His service: “Listen, Follow, Love.”
3. Tell all about the Kingdom and what it holds for all you know!
4. Show the Father’s love (John 3:16, 17). When Abraham Lincoln had a slave girl, he told her she was free. She said, “I don’t want to be free”; he told her she was free to go wherever she wanted to go. She replied, “Then I think I want to go with you.”
The heroine, Katnis Everdeen, finds a way to completely “turn things upside down and cause new problems for Panem’s wealthy! See the movie to see how “Hunger Games” ends up!