SERIES INTRODUCTION

At the Movies is a series we do every year where we explore the Biblical truths we find in Hollywood movies. So, break out the popcorn. It’s going to be an adventure!

  • Share with the group who is the wisest person you know and why?

 


MESSAGE TITLE

The Finest Hours

SERMON GUIDE

Note to Leaders: Watching this video is optional, but it may help give context to people who have not seen the movie or were not able to be at church.

On February 18, 1952, a massive storm splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker’s sinking stern. Engineer Ray Sybert bravely takes charge to organize a strategy for his fellow survivors. With only a few hours before the tanker would sink, the Coast Guard Station tasks Petty Officer First Class Bernie Webber with saving the crew of the SS Pendleton, even though he has little hope that it could actually be done.

Although most of us will never face a situation like this at sea, we all have areas where the storms of life reveal the weakest part of our life, and things begin to break up.

Bernie and his men know that the outcome of their attempted rescue is anything but certain. In fact, at one-point Bernie reminds them of what’s known as the Coast Guard’s unofficial search and rescue motto: “You have to go out, you don’t have to come back.” 

That is the heart of God the Father for everyone whose life is sinking right now. God is mobilizing His people to go out and save them. He sees the pain and the desperation and is attempting to throw a sure lifeline.

Have someone read Psalm 18:16-19.

  • Share a time when you felt overwhelmed by circumstances that were beyond your control. How did you respond?

  • Have you ever offered aid to someone who was being overwhelmed by life? Share what actions you took to offer a rescuing hand.

We read in Psalm 18 that He rescues us because He delights in us. When anyone is willing to risk their lives to rescue someone else, it’s because they see the value in that person. Yet so many people don’t see themselves that way. Many of us fight feelings of being unwanted, feelings of rejection, the belief we are a lost cause. God sees us, loves us so much He sent His only Son to rescue and redeem us.

Have someone read Isaiah 63:9 and Galatians 1:4.

Have someone read Acts 13:36.

In the movie Bernie says, “not on my watch.” Bernie has this inherent sense of duty to the people in that sinking boat, the people in his life.

King David felt the sense of duty and calling to impact his own generation. It was his purpose. I believe that’s the call of God on all of our lives, and I think deep down inside we know it. That once we’re rescued, we now do whatever it takes to rescue others.

For many of us, God has already rescued us, and we all remember that incredible day when He saved us. But now God is challenging us to leave the safety of the shore to be a part of a rescue mission, to take risks relationally, spiritually, financially—to prayerfully to go after people who need a lifeline of hope offered to them.

  • What has been your greatest challenge along these lines? Have you felt inhibited, inadequate, or afraid to step up courageously, taking risks to help others in need?

  • How could you prepare yourself for future challenges when rescue missions inevitably come your way?

The truth is all of us have people in our lives who need rescuing. We have family members, co-workers, friends at school, neighbors, close friends who need to be rescued by the love, hope, and grace of Jesus. 

As followers of Jesus we should never stop searching for lost and hurting people because God never stopped searching for us. We love Him by loving those around us. That’s why our passion at Eastside is to pay the price, risk it all and do everything we can to rescue one more person. Sometimes that means choosing to lay down our personal agendas for God’s agenda.

Have someone read John 15:12-13.

  • Who in your life needs you to pursue them and offer them hope?

  • How can you orient yourself to serving others? How can you strengthen yourself to be more selfless?


APPLICATION

  1. Identify one or two people in your life that need the hope of Jesus.

  2. Pray this week for those people and for God to show you ways of offering them hope. Pray for courage and wisdom, and make time to connect with them via text, phone, or meet for coffee.

PRAYER

Pair off and spend time praying for:

  • Storms and challenges you are facing and the wisdom you need to navigate and overcome them.

  • People in our lives who need someone to be a light, to offer them a lifeline.