Each Global Prayer Digest begins with a missionary biography. This month we read about William Carey, a self-taught shoemaker who launched the modern missions movement and translated the Bible into multiple languages (among other things). If this brief overview of Carey's life inspires you, just wait until you meet him in Core F!
History shows us that God uses regular people to change the world. I love that Sonlight's programs emphasize this fact by including so many biographies in the Core packages. We can gain real heroes in people who followed God wherever He led them. We can be encouraged that God uses all types, and has given us unique skills and opportunities to expand His kingdom. May we boldly step into the roles God has called us fill, and rely on His strength to do more through us than we could ever accomplish on our own.
This theme is pretty heavy for me right now because I finished watching Machine Gun Preacher last night. This R-rated movie--primarily for tons of language and intense violence--tells the story of Sam Childers. I hadn't heard of him, but since I have friends here at Sonlight from Sudan, I was aware of some of the atrocities going on over there. It's crazy. I was moved by the film because it shows how God can use a very flawed man to do good. Redemption. That's not something I see Hollywood get right very often. Come to think of it, Christian films don't get that right much ether. And if God can transform and use Sam, He can do something with me as well. May I have the faith to follow Him.
The most negative reviews of the film tend to have a similar thread: The story is unbelievable, overly Christian, promotes a "white-man" savior complex, and degrades the people of Sudan. One comment went so far as to say, "Seems so cliche', even though, apparently, this is what is happening, if we are to believe the film."
One woman in my prayer group is worried about her family back home because people bring the children poisoned water in the hopes of killing more of them. And that's just one example. The film, while brutal, doesn't tell the half of it. Be warned: If you decide to tackle Machine Gun Preacher, it is certainly not cleaned up. You will encounter inappropriate content, difficult questions, examples of bad theology fueled by frustration, and a glimpse of what giving everything we have to God's call can do to our lives.
One more theme echoed from a post earlier this week: To do good in the world, we often need funds. William Carey took a factory job to support himself. Sam Childers sold his business. If God gives us wealth, may we be wise in how we use it to expand His kingdom.
As you homeschool your children, encourage them to follow God wherever He leads. Give them heroes. Discuss hard topics. And remember that God has also given you a great opportunity: He has enabled you to raise up the next generation of people willing and ready to follow Him and change the world!
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester