Though this post is directed mainly at those who are against viewing the recent film, ‘The Shack’, it is really for all Christ followers and those who want to make the name of Jesus famous.
Whether you want to admit it or not (which I don’t know why you wouldn’t since it’s an INCREDIBLE thing), God is using ‘The Shack’ to open up many hearts and minds to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many want to nitpick on the fact that salvation is not overtly mentioned in the film (which I will speak more about in a minute) but that’s okay because that’s where you come in!
The Great Commission given to us by Jesus before He left this earth in Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
What an opportunity!!! This is a time when hearts are being open to the Holy Spirit and people are reflecting upon their own lives, pain, struggles, and unforgiveness. Don’t believe me? A quick scan of comments on “The Shack” Facebook page, or even comments on my last blog post My response to Christians who are boycotting ‘The Shack’ film. will show you testimony after testimony of how this movie and film has opened people to the healing powers and love of Jesus Christ! Below are testimonies shared with me from my last blog:
“We just lost our nephew in November, he was a newlywed of 10 months. This movie helped me so much deal with the pain. I had been asking God the same questions Mack asked Papa. (God) The movie is such a blessing and God has and will use it.” — Kenyon P.
“As a Christian, yes I know God loves me but his book helped me wrap my head around just how much He loves us. It gave me a truer feeling of closeness to God. He wants us to talk and spend time with Him just as we would our mother, father, or our grandparents. Reading the book helped me understand that.” — Diane S.
“I walked away from this movie with an even greater understanding of God the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. It is the best illustration of them and the love they have for EVERY CHILD….. It actually brought up where I have judged some people in my life and truly led me to repentance. I am forgiven and I have forgiven. I know all of this already but this movie truly inspires us to know God more and to see others as God sees them. It gives us a glimpse and illustration of how He sees US….” — Teri
Lastly, this testimony blessed my soul sooo much:
“I saw this movie with some moms from my small group and a couple of their kiddos. After the movie, a man sitting in front of us stood and called out to the crowd that was leaving the theater. He asked for prayer for his daughter who was there who had a brain tumor. I honestly thought people were ignoring him and leaving as a few gathered and prayed over his little girl. As the prayer ended I turned and saw that the entire theater had turned around and every person was laying hands on another all the way to this precious child. It was the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed. The movie was amazing but our ending in theater 15 was so full of His love.” — Angela
Countless more people have sent me emails and messages letting me know how they knew little about God, but this STORY taught them about who God is and that He wants a relationship with us… something they didn’t know before! Many of these people were suicidal and/or experiencing tremendous loss. They didn’t know who or what to run to, BUT God surrounded them with His spirit and led them to Him.
Just think about it…. how amazing is that?! When is the last time you left a theater and felt CHANGED, CONVICTED, FORGIVEN, and most of all left feeling the LOVE of Jesus Christ?
As you can see, God is indeed opening hearts and minds through this film, so ask yourselves: How can God use me?
We often pray for revival, but don’t seek and pursue opportunities when they’re right in front of our faces! So here’s what you (we) can do:
1. This is an ample time to PRAY for these people.
Pray that God would heal their wounds, bring forgiveness into their hearts for themselves, those they’ve wronged, and most importantly, those who have wronged them. Whether the other person has asked for forgiveness or not, there is a supernatural peace and freedom that comes when we forgive others (or at least begin the process) as Christ has so graciously, undeservingly, and lovingly forgiven us…time and time again. We don’t have to carry that burden anymore!
Pray that the Holy Spirit would guide them into ALL truth! Look, friend, if you can’t trust that God is big enough to reveal truth to someone whose heart is open, searching, and/or yearning for Him, then you don’t serve the same big, AMAZING God that I serve. Pray and trust God to finish the work that He has started in these people! Pray there would be no confusion and that they would come to know that Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes to the father, except through Him.
Last night in my bedroom, I was specifically covering each and every person who was seeing ‘The Shack’ in prayer and was praying that God would continue to move in their hearts and show them the truth. Make that your prayer for these people.
2. Reach out and build relationships!
Did you see an unsaved Facebook friend of yours just went to see ‘The Shack’ and was completely moved by it? Ask them to coffee and see what their takeaway was! Do they have any questions? Would they like for you to pray with and believe with them on something? This may be a great time for you to share the love of Christ with them and what God has done in your life. Maybe you can help impart Biblical truth to them and help them get plugged in with a healthy, loving, Bible -believing church!
3. See the movie, if you feel led, and TAKE PEOPLE WITH YOU!
Let me be clear in saying, I am not telling you that you SHOULD go see this movie, as one commenter accused me of. If you feel led, go. If you do not, don’t, however, I do encourage you to see and acknowledge that the Lord is using this film for His glory in many lives around the globe, so please don’t be one to spread falsehoods about it, especially if you have not personally seen the movie.
When I went to see the film, I felt the Holy Spirit in the theater so strongly. He was wrecking hearts and bringing healing to so many. It was incredible what God was doing. Some have made comments against me the past few days calling it an “emotional experience” or saying I “must not really know God if this movie touched me”…. Let me tell you something friend. Never underestimate the power of ONE moment in the presence of God. And never put God in a box and say He can’t or won’t use an allegorical, Hollywood film to do it! What better way for God to work in those who don’t yet know Him than through the entertainment arena where so many people flock to who are hurt and searching for the void that is in their hearts?
I’ve had many Christians comment to me “People can get everything they need to know from the Word of God, HE is enough.” Amen, He certainly is! But what about the people who don’t know that? What about the many who don’t even know that the void they are feeling in their hearts is for Jesus Christ to fill? Many weren’t raised to have a relationship with Jesus and don’t know that the Word is where we turn to for guidance and love and everything we have need of! They just don’t yet know. Is it possible God orchestrated their steps to go to a movie theater to see a film that shows them how much God loves them? Is it possible He is doing something in a different way than we think He would, could, or should do something?
I don’t want to keep repeating things from my last blog, but please hear me when I say, this film is not the gospel and this film is not an allegory of the entire Bible. Rather, realize that this book and now film has a specific intent to show the characteristics of the nature of our father God, son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to hurting people via an allegory. As I mentioned earlier, Young isn’t trying to re-write the Bible or lead Mack to salvation- Mack knows about salvation already and is in the church. But He’s hurt and lost in His grief. This allegory has the intent to show the love of our father and how He’s a good father to swoop in, meet us where we are at and know that despite everything, GOD is GOOD! And that it’s ok to be angry and ask questions! We are human and God knows we are fallible, so He loves us enough to show us grace and meet us where we are. Are there key elements of salvation and the fundamentals of Christianity missing in this story….? Sure. Again, look at Young’s intent. He wasn’t trying to put everything in the Bible in the film, but rather focus on several specific elements of God. Does this story open the door for someone to see God in a loving way they maybe never have before vs. the angry, fire and brimstone God they maybe have heard about and turned away from in the past? Absolutely. Again, trust that God and the Holy Spirit is good enough and big enough to guide these people into all truth. Believe me when I say, if this film was blasphemous as many “Christian” movies have been in the past, I WOULD NOT be promoting it!!!
Let me get a little personal here for a minute, guys. Is that okay? Please see my heart in this. I come from a Christian background, born and raised, where we went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Tuesday night, and often visited churches other days of the week. Often times my family would travel and sing at different churches who had asked us to come and would share a word God had put on our hearts. When I grew up and continued growing in my relationship with God, He began to convict me of sometimes having a “religious spirit” and being judgmental of others. Of not showing grace in times where I needed to… Ouch. I began to realize that so many of the people I grew up around were so quick to tell you everything you were going to hell for and made it seem like God was always mad at you or ready to smite you with fiery darts if you messed up.Every new type of Christian music was wrong, most everything was a sin, and it was immodest if you wore pants to church. How could you ever be “good” enough?
That’s not the gospel. A lot of these things I now realize were coming from a “religious spirit”… but you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! I am grateful for my upbringing and the reverence that I was taught towards the Lord and that our God is a holy God. But He’s also the lover of our souls. And He calls us friend. And He’s able and just to forgive us, show us grace and compassion.
What does the Bible say leads us to repentance? The WRATH of God? The anger of God? The discipline of God? No, guys. The Bible says in one of my favorite verses in the whole world, that God’s kindness leads us to repentance. Romans 2:4 (NLT) tells us, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Oh, how many times in my life has the sweet, beautiful kindness of God drawn me back to Him and to love Him even deeper. So many times, when I knew I didn’t deserve the Lord’s grace, was I quick to repent and change my ways when I realized the kindness of my Jesus and that while I was sinning, He still loved me, still pursued me, and sometimes didn’t allow the consequences I knew I deserved. God spoke to my heart just the other day and said, “Crystal, does your kindness towards others reflect Me, and lead people to Me, and so lead them to repentance?” I know sometimes it has not. But I want it to!
So we must check ourselves, guys. We must check our hearts for a “religious spirit” and a judgmental attitude. Honestly, we will be no good to anyone we are trying to share Jesus with if we have a judgmental attitude and a “Pharisee-like” mind that’s spoken of in the Bible- something Jesus despised. Matthew 23 speaks all about this. I challenge you to read it and ask the Lord to reveal anything to you that may be wrong in your heart. A couple of scriptures from this chapter are below and may be hard to read, but it’s the Word.
Matt. 23:13: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
Matthew 23:23-24: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
May we not strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. May we use wisdom in the words we say to our unchurched friends and those we see hurting. Words ON and OFF the internet. And above all, instead of looking for ways to be against something, let’s ask God how He can use us during this time. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Let’s not wrestle against each other, but together, let’s make the name of Jesus famous and kick the devil in the teeth! God is moving in hearts and lives and the devil is not happy. God bless you my friends and may you feel the love and presence of Jesus each and every day.