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FIRST-PERSON: Courageous: a movie, a movement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — I had the opportunity to view the movie “Courageous” a few times before it opened in theaters across the country. I was not alone in sensing that this movie was special, that it might very well become the beginning of a movement to restore and bring health to millions of families.

The movie premiered last weekend. I waited with anticipation to hear early results and feedback. My expectations were greatly exceeded.

I kept looking at my smart phone as news of the movie came by nearly hourly emails. By the time the weekend concluded, I saw results that were nothing less than the blessings of God:

— Courageous was the No. 4 movie in the country, though it opened against other movies that had almost three times as many screens.

— It was the No. 1 new movie of the weekend.

— More than one million people saw Courageous opening weekend.

— Total box-office earnings were $9 million, $2.2 million more than “Fireproof” on opening weekend.

— Thanks to the amazing turnout, Courageous will run in every opening theater again this weekend.

The numerical results are impressive. But, even more, I am praying for a greater promise. I am praying that God will do a great work in the lives of those who viewed the movie.

Some of the reports I am hearing already are incredibly encouraging. Here are some of my specific prayers for those who have and will view the movie.

— I pray that many will follow Christ as a result of the clear Gospel message of Courageous.

— I pray that men will accept the God-given responsibility to be the spiritual leaders of their families.

— I pray that broken and damaged marriages will be restored.

— I pray that church leaders will use the message of this movie to help strengthen the families in their congregation and their communities.

— I pray that men will be courageous in their stand for their families.

— I pray that many will see that God can use tragedy for His glory and greater good.

— I pray, above all, that God will be glorified in every aspect of this movie and all the resources connected to it.

More than 31 years ago, I sat in a church sanctuary on a Sunday evening and watched a reel-to-reel video presentation by a new and upcoming Christian leader named James Dobson. The presentation was called “Focus on the Family.” It had a tremendous impact on my life. The timing could not have been better. My first son, Sam, would be born the next month.

During that video, I prayed that God would use me to be the kind of father and husband who would honor Him.

I was not alone in that prayer and commitment. I would later learn that many men prayed a similar prayer.

A movement was born.

Now, over three decades later, I am convinced that God will use yet another media presentation to change lives and impact families. Courageous is indeed a great movie. But, even more, it could very well prove to be the beginning of a movement. And that movement will have a tremendous impact on husbands, fathers, wives and mothers.

I am no longer the father of three young boys. I am the father of three grown men who are fathers themselves. In this second half of my life, I pray again that I will be used of God to honor Him as a husband, a father and, now, a grandfather.

And the movie Courageous reminded me just how important that commitment is.

Let the movement begin!
Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. This column first appeared at ThomRainer.com.

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  • Thom Rainer