October 31, 2017 marks a monumental moment for the church and the world. It was on that day 500 years ago that Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses to door at Wittenberg. This is typically noted as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It was a moment that sparked a movement that continues to influence not only the Christian faith but also daily life.
To celebrate, I am planning to do a whole month of worship and preaching around Martin Luther. They are not perfect or in their final form, and I am sure the will take a little different shape by the time October comes around, but I thought I would offer them to others as a starting point for celebrating this important date.
You can click HERE or the picture below for the document. Please adapt it and use it, and I would love to hear what you do with it.
I collect prayers and quotes for use before I preach and lead worship. Here are two great ones I found recently:
May the great and gracious Spirit, who is the only illumination of darkness, light up my mind whilst I attempt, in a brief and hurried manner, to speak from this text. —Charles Spurgeon
Dear God, through Your beloved Son You have said that those who hear Your Word are blessed. How much more fitting it would be for us to bless You, praise, thank and laud You unceasingly, O eternal and merciful Father, with glad hearts, that You show Yourself so friendly—indeed, so like a father—to us poor little worms, that You speak to us about the greatest and highest of subjects—eternal life. Nevertheless, You don’t stop there, enticing and wooing us to hear Your Word through Your Son. He says: “Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it.” As if You couldn’t get by without our ears—we, who are dust and ashes! Many thousand times more do we need Your Word. O, how unspeakably great is Your goodness and patience! On the other hand, woe! Woe! over the ingratitude and colorblindness of those who not only don’t want to hear Your Word, but even stubbornly despise, persecute, and blaspheme it. Amen. —Martin Luther
I love good movies, so for this blog post I thought I might share my 5 favorite movies with pastors as key characters. There are plenty of movies with pastors and clergy type characters that I may blog about later, but here are my favorites.
> Keys to the Kingdom- This is a classic. Gregory Peck portrays a priest who does not follow along with the status quo very well. He ends up as a missionary to China. He goes through a lot there but ends up serving and doing a lot of good. I especially love the struggle that the priest goes through over his ministry. He has not become popular or won many souls. He returns to Scotland at the end of his life and lives in obscurity. But he does have an impact on the community in China and that is enough for him. Outstanding!
> Pale Rider- Clint Eastwood plays a priest comes into a gold mining town. Through his kindness and hard work he begins to offer hope and life to this run down group of prospectors. But this hope also begins to tick off the political powers in the area. As the movie goes on, it becomes clear from his cool nerves and excellent fighting skills that this drifter was not always a priest. I love the idea of being a priest and a gunfighter, but more than that I love the way this priest brings hope to the daily lives of so many.
> The Mission- This movie centers around Robert Deniro who is a very rough slave trader. The man has an encounter with God and gives his life to serving a mission with a priest played by Jeremy Irons. The story of the slave trader’s redemption is slowly overtaken by the struggle of the politics of the day. The missionary work was tied to colonization to a point that the political powers feel they can control the mission.
> Martin Luther- This old black and white movie of Martin Luther is so good. I have always found Luther’s story interesting and compelling. This movie shows the historical facts and the social and political background of Luther’s story. I don’t think many people have seen this one, but I love it.
> Luther- This is a recent edition of Luther’s story. It does a good job with the story, but its strength is the human element of Luther’s story. It portrays Luther’s struggles, dangers, and ultimate resolve in a way that moves me every time I watch it.
What are your favorite films or shows with pastors or priests in them?