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Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

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Something You Can Use This Week: Using Voyage of the Dawn Treader Clips to Talk about Temptation-a Brand New Movie Clip Discussion

5 Stars
The Cronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
(20th Century Fox, 2010)

Main Point: We need to overcome temptation because we cannot live our lives according to God's purpose if we keep giving in to temptation.

The Movie Clip: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, brings siblings Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, back to Narnia with their cousin Eustace. While there, they accompany Caspian, now king, on a voyage upon The Dawn Treader, to find the seven lords who were banished when Caspian's evil uncle stole the throne.

This small group discussion requires two video clips to be played. In the first one, we see the heroic group being warned about the dangers of Dark Island by Coriakin. It is a place of unchecked evil that will test them in the most powerful ways preying on their personal weaknesses.

The second video clip shows Edmund on Deathwater Island at the magical pond that turns to gold anything and everything dipped into it. Since riches, fame, power, and honor have always been at the forefront of Edmund's heart, it is the temptation of money that he must overcome.

Introducing the FIRST Clip: We usually just show one clip for our small group discussions, but tonight, I want to show you two. If you've seen The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, you know the importance of this first scene I'm about to show you. In it, our heroic group is being warned by the mysterious Coriakin that severe temptations and horrible dangers await them on their journey, especially on Dark Island. Coriakin explains that Dark Island makes a person's darkest dreams and greatest weaknesses come true, and that to be successful at destroying evil, they must first face the evil inside them. Let's take a look.

Video One: The Warning About Dark Island
(This clip is available for free from

Dawn trader

Movie Reviews & Quick Q's: A Movie to Watch and One to Skip-Our Two Cents on Soul Surfer and Paul

Two movies you might want to know about in the theatres.... including discussion questions that you can use to get kids talking about what they saw!

Soul Surfer

This film comes to the theatre this Friday. Our take? Good wholesome film provoking good discussion... worth seeing, but a little on the cheesy side. Here's Matt Furby's review:

Okay, let's be realistic. Soul Surfer is another Christian movie from Sony Pictures' faith-based division (home of Fireproof and Facing the Giants). Here's the bottom line: if you like those movies, you'll like this movie a lot. Actually, Soul Surfer is an improvement, but we're still living out the stigma of cheesy Christian movies. Good morals, great video clips to start life discussions with, and plenty of reason for the secular world to call us cheesy.

And please, if my words above just offended you, please keep reading. I'm not bashing Christianity or even faith based films. Bethany is an amazing girl and her story is powerful. I wish that Christians could just put together a film better than the way I order my pizza-with extra cheese.

Soul Surfer is the true story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, and her amazing recovery and determination to surf competitively after losing her arm in a shark attack. The movie makes it very clear that it was Bethany's-along with her family's-faith that kept her focused and determined to make something out of a terrible situation. Even with one arm, Bethany doesn't just start surfing again, but becomes a highly recognized professional surfer.

The problem with Soul Surfer isn't that it's faith-based. In fact, the writing itself is pretty decent. The two main problems with the film are the poor special effects and the acting (Lorraine Nicholson must have a faith-based agent-oh snap!). Of course, special effects aren't supposed to be the key ingredient in a movie about a girl overcoming great obstacles in her life, but let's face it. When you've got some amazing footage of the ocean and waves (beautiful shooting from underwater by the way), and then cut to a shot of the clearly superimposed face of AnnaShophia Robb (playing Bethany) on another surfer's body, it's just bad. It only takes a little lack in quality to remove you from the beauty of a film. There are several times throughout the movie where it's clear that they've used computers to edit out one of Bethany's arms. It's subtle, but there.

The acting is hit and miss....

Matt Furby Matt Furby coined the name "Furby" before the fuzzy little toy. He's a creative writer, consistently contributing ideas and writing curriculum for our website here at "Furby" is an incredible communicator speaking at camps and youth events across the country. He currently is a youth pastor in Southern California where he lives with his wife and son.

Soul Surfer

This film has been in the theatres a couple weeks now and is a big draw to teenagers. Our take? One of the most offensive and irresponsible films of the decade. Here's Jonathan McKee's review:

I haven't been this offended since Ricky Gervais' film, The Invention of Lying.

I was sooooooooooooooooo disappointed with this film. Let me just start by reminding many of you that I am not only a film geek, I'm kinda a nerd at times. If I could afford one of those really cool storm trooper costumes, I'd wear it regularly around the house just for fun. My son and I regularly quote movies together, often quoting Star Wars and other science fiction classics. Like I said-"nerd."

So that being said, I had high expectations from this film from the previews. It looked hilarious, it looked like it was going to spoof numerous films, and the icing on the cake-it was co-written by Simon Pegg, who I really enjoy.

My hesitations, however, were the fact that the film was R for language and some sexual references (an understatement), Seth Rogan was in it (he seems to be attracted to raunchy material), and it was directed by the Superbad's Greg Mottala.

Okay... putting all those hesitations in black and white does seem to bellow, "Jonathan, how did you not know that this film would dip into the bowels of inappropriateness, selling out for a cheap laugh?!!"

Two words: Simon Pegg.

I really have enjoyed some of Simon's earlier works (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc.) and I thought this would be the same creatively funny caliber. Unfortunately, Paul focused its efforts more on the offensive.

The film started well with a really creative premise. Two nerds from England (Pegg and Frost) travel the U.S. on a pilgrimage that starting at ComicCon and journeyed dot to dot through America's UFO heartland. Their road trip is interrupted by a foul mouthed, smoking, drinking, atheist alien named Paul (Rogan).

Here's where the film got tricky. Paul was cool. Despite his many vices, he was a fun, likable character running from corrupt government leaders that wanted to dissect him. Their adventures were hilarious, filled with classic movie quotes and homages, and cameos from guys like Steven Spielberg himself. It was difficult not to love these moments.

But then, as the story develops, the audience is taken on a journey where everything bad is made to look good, and everything good is portrayed as ridiculous.

The first hint of this was when they meet a quirky Christian named Ruth Buggs (Wiig). Ruth has pictures of Jesus on the wall and is portrayed as sheltered, uptight and naïve. When she discovers that Paul and the nerds don't believe in God, she tries to argue with them. "The world is 4,000 years old and can only be the product of intelligent design!" Paul simply responds, "That's horsesh**! Paul uses his powers to show her the supposed truth about the world and Ruth realizes that God was just a hoax. Feeling ripped off, Ruth starts cursing profusely, smoking weed and asks one of the guys if he would "fornicate" with her.

For the rest of the movie, Christianity is made to look ridiculous...

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of numerous youth ministry books including the brand new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the award winning book Do They Run When They See You Coming? He speaks and trains at camps, conferences, and events across North America, and provides free resources for youth workers internationally on his website, and

Youth Culture Window: Drugs and Alcohol-Still Popular with Teens Thanks to Media

Drugs and Alcohol
Still Popular with Teens Thanks to Media
An article from David R. Smith at

From Animal House to the days that were Dazed and Confused, all the way through the Pineapple Express, young people have a storied past with drugs and alcohol. I seeing a connection between control substances and Hollywood?

Good News or Bad News?
We've addressed teens' use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the past, but new research is always coming out on this important subject. For example, in some of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) latest research, they found that 41.8% of high school students had used alcohol within the past month in 2009. That same stat was 50.8% in 1991.

So...we're moving in the right direction, right?

On some accounts, yes. But the CDC also claims that more young people drink alcohol every month than smoke cigarettes or use any illegal drug. Further, they found...

  • that 6.6 million young people reported binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks within two hours).
  • that alcohol is involved in more than 4,600 deaths of persons under 21 each year.
It looks like there's plenty of work left to do when it comes to teens' use of drugs and alcohol.

Is Joe Camel to Blame?
Adults who parented during the 80's and 90's will remember the debate over Joe Camel, the cartoon character who sold billions of dollars worth of cigarettes for the brand that gave him his name. Back then – the days following Ronald Reagan's "war on drugs" – adults wondered about the connection between media and risky teen behavior, specifically, the use of controlled substances.

It looks like nothing's changed in the past 20 years.

Research from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America shows that more than one-third of parents are concerned that TV (38%), computers (37%) and video games (33%) make it harder for them to communicate with their media-saturated teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Many of the same parents blamed their communication woes about substance abuse on newer forms of media like texting (27%), Facebook (25%) and Twitter (19%), as well.

Many parents are worried about media's message to their kids. And parents should be worried...

David R. Smith David R. Smith is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year, Ministry By Teenagers. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.


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