I think that I have a new favorite movie and it may be very difficult to top this one.
This week, some sort of stomach virus made its way through our family. Therefore, we had a lot of “down” time to rest and recuperate. With some free time, I was looking forward to the opportunity to watch the movie that I have wanted to see ever since I became aware that it was in production – Courageous. This movie became available on DVD on January 17. This past Friday night, after putting the children to bed, Brenda and I settled in for a date night ;-).
Just a quick background – Courageous is the fourth movie produced by Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church based in Albany, GA. Courageous was first released to a limited number of theaters on September 30 and had the highest per-theater gross of any movie during that week. The production quality of this film is excellent and far exceeds their previous three films. For a previous post about this movie, click here.
The main characters in the movie are five men (four of which are police officers) struggling in different ways with the challenges of fatherhood. One is distant from his oldest son; one is unforgiving of the father who abandoned him; one is divorced and only sees his son on a limited basis; one has a daughter that does not know he exists; and one struggles with finding a stable job to provide for his family. A tragedy spurs one of the fathers to discover for himself what the Bible says about fatherhood. After understanding God’s call to fathers, he challenges himself and the other fathers to commit to God’s call in leading their families to love and serve the Lord. In order to not “spoil” the movie for you, I will refrain from any further plot details.
One other quick note – I strongly caution parents to watch this movie first before deciding to allow your younger children to view it (it is rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content). The acting and content are presented tastefully, but the action scenes and a gang initiation scene are very intense and may disturb younger viewers. After viewing the movie for yourself, you may decide that your children can watch it while skipping over three or four scenes.
I have not been impacted by a movie in quite the way that Courageous has impacted me. This is a deeply personal story for me (again I don’t want to give away too much if you haven’t seen it yet). I cried many times through the movie and wept as the ending credits rolled. If you watch the movie and are a husband and father, you may be strongly challenged and motivated to invest your time and efforts in instilling eternal values in your children and unselfishly loving your wife. You may be motivated to appreciate every moment that you have with your children because you don’t know when the last moment may arrive. You may seek reconciliation with others who have hurt you. You may be convicted to walk with integrity and expose any hidden sins in your life. Most of all, I hope that you think seriously about where you stand with God. The last scene will present you with a challenge to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you to be a responsible man and father. As I talk to other men who have seen the movie, they respond that they have been profoundly impacted through it.
There are Courageous Living Bible Study groups developing based on this movie. There is even one group meeting at a local church in our area. This church is sponsoring a showing of the movie at our local high school on February 4 with the intention of afterwards developing follow-up small groups (click here for more information). I am patiently waiting to see how men may respond this call, hoping and praying that the Lord’s Spirit moves in our hearts. I am humbled and hopeful that we can play some small role here in our valley and be able to share how the death of our son Isaac has impacted us to draw our hearts closer to God and share His Gospel with others.
A friend told me that when he saw this movie that he was reminded of our son Isaac many times. I think I now understand what he meant after watching this movie. There will be one overarching and obvious reason if you see the movie. Another and unexpected reason for me is that the actor who plays Dylan (the main character’s son) physically resembles what I imagine Isaac may have looked like in another five years or so.
I understand that Courageous is only a movie and that men may respond based on emotions and not the conviction of God. But I pray that will not be the case. This is more than just a movie for entertainment’s sake. The producers have used this movie to call men of God to say “I will” resolve to follow God and love my wife and children and refuse to let them fall. There are even resources developed to challenge and equip the small group and individual. Obviously, this commitment would be fruitless without the leading of the Lord and I pray for a fire to be ignited in our hearts. Are you willing to make that resolution and join me in saying “I will”?
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Jos 24:15, emphasis mine)
If you have seen and been impacted the movie Courageous, please feel free to share any comments below.
Seeking to be courageous by the Holy Spirit’s strength,