Monday, July 9, 2012

Moneyball and The Bible

My church just launched a new series which will last for four weeks.  We began the series this past weekend.  It's called "At The Movies".  In a nutshell, over these four weeks, the messages will each pertain to a specific movie.  The content of the message will be about the biblical truths that can be pulled from each movie.

The church is pretty amazing and creative when it comes to sets, bulletins, and so on.  If you are a traditional church go-er, it might come across as "different" or unusual or maybe even wrong, but I think this is going to be an interesting series.  In the bulletin last week and this week, they had these little movie "tickets" which announced the movie they would be dealing with the following weekend.  No, you don't need tickets for admission.  It's just a cool way to announce what's coming up.



Week #1: Moneyball

So, no, we did not actually watch the movie in church.  A few clips were shown during the service to illustrate the key points.  Here's the thing.  When my dad was visiting a few weeks or so ago, Ron decided to pick up a movie at the Redbox for all of us to watch.  He came home with Moneyball.






Source: imdb.com via Sarah on Pinterest

I have to say that when he showed me his selection, I was somewhat less than enthused.  I had no interest in watching this movie.  It appealed to me not at all.  I told them to enjoy the movie - I was not going to watch it.  So, a couple weeks ago our church started previewing the upcoming new series "At The Movies" and wouldn't you know it, one of the movies in that promo video was Moneyball.  Great. Obviously if I want to get the most out of the message, I needed to watch the movie, right?  So I got the dvd from Netflix and watched it on Saturday afternoon.  I have to say, my first instincts on the movie were pretty good.  I was so bored.  I did not enjoy the movie.  I don't care if it was nominated for Oscars or not.  I didn't like it.  Mind you, I'm pretty sleep deprived from the past week, so maybe that was clouding my judgment.  Despite the fact that I didn't love the movie, I could see how some biblical truths could be pulled from it.

The message yesterday was pretty good, I have to say.  It really didn't matter what I thought about the movie - I knew the message would be good regardless.  They always are.  In the quickest movie synopsis I can manage, you have the Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane {played by Brad Pitt}.  He's struggling to put together a winning team on a very low budget.  They've cut players and have to replace them.  He enlists the help of another guy who comes up with a system for drafting players that will create the best possible outcome for the team.  They wind up going on a 20 game winning streak.  Beane winds up being offered the GM position for the Boston Red Sox, which he turns down.  He would have been the highest paid GM in all of sports had he accepted.  A couple years later, the Sox would win the World Series after applying this system of drafting to their team.  Yeah, that was exciting.

There were a few main points that our pastor took from this.  But here's the biggest one:

Perseverance

He spoke about how we "have to look outside of yourself for a solution" and "we have to be willing to look ridiculous...to stand alone."  In this movie {and actually in real life}, Beane could have given up.  He could have yielded to the pressures of others in the management office to draft based on the old way of doing things and hope for a great outcome.  He could have just not cared enough about the team to do anything - to try to figure out a new way of doing things for the betterment of the team.

James 1:2-4 {NIV} says:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So how do we react during times of trouble?  How do we face our problems?  Our trials?  Things happen in life, whether it's in our personal lives or in our work lives.  Issues will come up which will test our patience, test or willingness to press on, and even test our faith.  How much of our trials are we trusting God with?  Do we go to Him for answers?  Where are we seeking our answers?  Are we looking within ourselves or to others?  To Him?

Our main pastor always says that God is at work on a solution before we even know there is a problem.  He's got it.  We just need to trust Him with it when the problem arises and know that He has a solution.  We must stand strong in our faith in Him.  You absolutely do not know what God has in store for you at the other side of the problem you are facing.  In our message, the pastor said that "What if your perseverance will ensure you experience all God has for you?"  You just don't know what you will experience or learn through the process of going through your trial.  And in the end "what if the problems you are facing plus your perseverance through them is the equation God wants to use to change "the game" forever?"  What if Beane hadn't persevered through is trials?  The face of baseball was changed because of his determination and willingness to see things through. Your outcome may not change the face of anything on a national scale, but your outcome could change the game for you personally or perhaps your entire family or your own place of work.  You just never know unless you are willing to try!

The other point I liked from this message was this: "Trust God with the outcome, even if it doesn't look like you expected."  Often the answers to our problems do not come in the form we expected or even hoped for.  God knows what is in our best interests, though.  He has our back.  This different outcome is not His way of throwing you a curve ball only to sit back and laugh at you as you struggle yet again.  No, He knows which outcomes will lead to the full life that He has planned for us.

Just persevere!

{Next week...The Social Network}
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