Christmas is over, and we're swiftly approaching January, the most boring month of the year. (Sorry, January.) While I love the fresh possibility of a new year, I'm as affected as the next person by the post-Christmas let-down. I've learned to combat this by getting some fun events on my calendar, and in my humble opinion January's cold weather and dark days naturally lend themselves to girls movie nights! Chatting with friends, munching on hearty snacks, cozy-ing up with a soft blanket, and getting lost in a good movie--my soul needs these things.
Because I'm a believer in Jesus, I love the idea of watching a movie that will inspire my faith, but frankly the Christian movie scene hasn't always delivered--or at least not without an extra layer of cheese. I'm happy to report, though, that I believe that trend is changing! In the past few years I've seen several new faith films that I loved because they managed to weave together powerful stories, humor, and motivation for my own journey. The four I'm presenting to you today will both entertain and encourage you, and they'll spark fabulous discussion between you and your girlfriends--perfect for your next movie night.
I've given you a brief synopsis of each movie, some reasons why I love it, and some talking points for you and your friends. Click on the movie title to watch a trailer on IMDb. Here we go!
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Synopsis: A little girl contracts a serious illness, which causes a crisis of faith in her family. An accident incites a miracle, which influences the girl, her family, and community.
Why I Love It: It affirms both that God sometimes does big, crazy miracles and that small miracles happen every day, making the viewer want to look for miracles and be a part of other peoples' miracles. Jennifer Garner is fantastic as the girl's mom, and in her character we see a real person struggling with legitimate doubts and fears. The movie in no way condemns her for this battle but instead shows how her faith became stronger because of it. Queen Latifah makes a welcome, funny appearance. And this movie is based on a true story! At the end of the film one can see footage of the Beam family whose story inspired the movie.
Talking Points: What kind of miracles--big or small--have you experienced in your life? In what ways could you facilitate a miracle for someone else?
2. War Room
Synopsis: A family living the American dream is actually falling apart behind closed doors. Through an unlikely friendship with a stubborn older woman, wife and mom Elizabeth begins to battle in prayer for her family.
Why I Love It: The tagline for this movie says it all: "Prayer is a powerful weapon." The viewer gets to watch the connection between Elizabeth's prayers for her husband and what's unfolding in his life. This is so compelling because we don't have the perspective of an omniscient observer in our own lives; often we have to wait for visible answers to our prayers, and sometimes we never see the fruit of our prayers! This movie causes me to ask the question, what might be happening that I can't see in response to my prayers, and what might I miss out on if I don't pray? Priscilla Shirer plays the main character in this movie, and Beth Moore makes a guest appearance--two Bible teachers I love!
Talking Points: How have you seen God answer your prayers in the past? What creative ideas do you have to create your own "war room" or to integrate prayer into your life in a new way?
3. The Shack
Synopsis: A man suffers a terrible tragedy and then receives a note in his mailbox from God inviting him to meet Him at the shack where the horrible event took place. His encounter there changes his life.
Why I Love It: This movie explores some extremely difficult questions, such as "What is God really like?", and "Why does God allow pain?" It has received a good deal of criticism for insufficiently answering these questions according to the broad teaching of Scripture. I agree with that assessment, but I disagree that there's nothing of value here. On the contrary, if you're willing to think outside the box, this film's unique but imperfect portrayal of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will make you want to lean in, open your Bible, and get to know the true living God better for yourself. Also in this movie is a potent reminder that God hurts when we hurt.
Talking Points: What circumstance has sent your life and faith into a tailspin? If you could meet with God face-to-face, what do you think He would say to you about that circumstance?
Synopsis: A journalist attempts to disprove the existence of God. Meanwhile his wife becomes a Christian. The evidence he uncovers through his research and the new faith of his wife take him on a journey he never imagined.
Why I Love It: This movie, too, is based on a true story. It acknowledges some of peoples' most common hurdles to believing God, such as the apparent impossibility of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, and it presents some of the historical proof for the Jesus story of the Bible. To me this movie serves as a reminder that God is able to meet anyone where they are, whether their barrier is intellectual, emotional, or otherwise. I also like the glimpse into the life of a woman who has recently become a believer and is now facing the reality that her husband doesn't share her faith. The young but tenacious faith with which she prays for him is empowering!
Talking Points: What obstacles have you or those close to you encountered to believing in the story of Jesus as told in the Bible? How can you support a loved one who might be struggling with a matter of faith?
I hope that one or more of these films piqued your interest. Now all you need is a group text to your girls and a box of microwave popcorn. Have fun!
Did you watch one of these movies with your girlfriends? Let me know how it went!