Unless you were in a coma, you’re aware that Super Bowl LIII was held here in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. My wife and I were invited to an event downtown and since the weather was good and we’d been blessed with one of the rarest treasures of Super Bowl week . . . a parking spot, we decided to stroll around awhile. As we turned down the main street of things, there was a host of preachers like the one pictured above. Always standing on something to create a kind of pulpit, always the same message. “God wants you to be saved.” “Repent!” “Turn from your sinful ways . . . God doesn’t want you to go to hell!” I didn’t see a single person stop to listen. Not one. People reluctantly took the gospel tracts only to toss them in the next trash can they saw.
But inside a nearby theater, we watched Run the Race, a new movie, arriving in theaters this weekend (February 22nd). The movie follows two brothers, living in poverty with only one parent (and he’s abandoned them for alcohol), their hope for a better life rides on athletics and college scholarships.
I’m not going to spoil the plot, but I’ll tell you I’ve never seen a more realistic or less hokey faith-based flick. Does the main character find salvation? Yes, but in a wholly realistic way. Unlike most neat and tidy Christian films, here none of the main character’s doubts or questions are answered. Instead, he cries out in desperation, finding peace even without getting what he wants. It’s a story with a good ending, but it’s not “make Jesus your choice and get a Rolls Royce!” It isn’t one of those soapy, sappy, Jesus films either. It’s gritty. It’s painful. And it’s beautiful, all at the same time.
If we’re going to communicate the Gospel to the next generation, it’s not going to be standing on pedestals in parks preaching at the top of our voices. It’s going to be done as Jesus did it . . . through stories. Stories our kids and other young people can see themselves and their friends in. It can be our own stories, told around the dinner table, over coffee, or in a mentoring group. And also, through fictional or dramatized stories that convey the love of Jesus, of which Run the Race is of the best I’ve seen.
To see the trailer, find a theater near you, or buy advance tickets, go to runtheracemovie.com.
Challenge: Consider how you can communicate God’s love through stories. Invite someone to go see the movie with you and offer to buy them a coffee afterward and share one of your stories.