Mel Gibson is the director of The Passion of the Christ, a famous movie which documents the life and the death of Jesus in a very real and authentic way. His most recent movie being Hacksaw Ridge, a WWII movie realised in 2016, which documents the life of a man named Desmond Doss. Ross saved countless lives during WWII, all without ever holding a weapon, a decision which he made based off his faith. These two movies both display and highlight God’s grace, his enormous love and the fact that all those who are weary, who are burdened, who need strength and courage can come to him and receive it.
Mel Gibson’s life hasn’t been all glitz and glamor being a Hollywood movie star and director. He went through a period of time during his adulthood where he struggled with drugs and alcohol, was caught and arrested for drink driving and struggled with controlling his emotions. Despite the addictions and the darkness Mel Gibson experienced he found comfort in his faith. The development of the movie The Passion came out of Gibson’s intense fascination with the Bible, especially around the teachings of Jesus. In making the movie Gibson wanted to portray a highly realistic representation of what the lead up to Jesus death really looked like and the sheer magnitude of his sacrifice for humanity. The result being an awe-inspiring, gritty, raw and extremely authentic portray of Jesus life, death and resurrection.
There is no doubt that Mel Gibsons life has been messy and dark at times yet God reached down and pulled his son back to him with his love and grace and now Gibson is producing movies that shine Gods love and his light to the world. God can use the most unexpected people to speak and to show his love into a broken world, Mel Gibson is an example of this.
Hollywood Hard man Sylvester Stallone most iconic role as an actor was playing Rocky Balboa in eight movies.
Rocky is depicted as an 'everyman' who started out by going the distance and overcoming obstacles that had occurred in his life and career as a profession boxer.
Listen to how God reconnects with Sylvester, through Sylvester's acting and playing the character Rocky.
I think we all have those moments in life, like Sylvester said of himself, that we like to take the reigns of life for our self. And what I mean by that is that we say, 'I've got this, I can do it myself.' I am not speaking about learning and growing up and using that phrase as we would to parents when we can tie our shoe laces ourselves or can set up the TV to movie mode, "Dad, I can do it myself." I think Sylvester means the deeper sense where we actually dismiss people out of our life, believe that we know best and DO NOT WANT HELP, I DON'T NEED YOU, BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT'S BEST FOR ME...
Do you know what I mean!
Sylvester had years of this, 12, (didn't he say?). Where he was a famous actor, director, writer, living in Hollywood where he thought he had made it, all by himself. But all the way through the Rocky movies God was there tapping him, nudging him that He was still there, present. Sylvester's words (and I am paraphrasing) were, I had to stop kidding myself and realize that God was with me all these years and I had to humble myself, like Rocky did in the movies and Thank God, that He is God.
Another insightful point was brought through the character of Rocky. There is a time where we have heard a bit or a lot of the Jesus story where we need to just do it! We need to act out love, the actual heart of the Gospel message. Let me be clear, so often we think that we need to spend years reading and learning and spending more time with God (which is all good), but to the detriment of loving what he loves. Your neighbour, your enemy, the lost, widowed, orphan, downcast, sad, hurting, being happy with those who are happy, bringing people together.
I think in this time, right now both elements are so, so key. God is so present and we need to act it out to others. And the great thing is, and it's played out in all Rocky movies is that God uses US and OUR talents! Even if that is boxing, art, craft, music, sport, academics, food, kind words or a hug.
Our second testimony comes from Pro Surfer Bethany Hamilton and can be found from the ‘iamsecond.com’ website.
For me, the phrase ‘I am second’ has a merged role.
Firstly, as a follower of Jesus, I acknowledge that He comes first in my life and not me. He is my Lord, and his ways are good and lead to living life in its fullest (John 10:10). I want to live life in all its fullness and I wish this for others too. When reading the stories of Jesus it makes sense then, that He heals what is sick, mends what is broken and goes to those who are lost, right? Not only that, Jesus helps you and me understand the big and small things of life, how to Love God, Love others (live alongside) and Love the world we walk and swim on.
Secondly, the phrase ‘I am second’ leads me to this Bible verse. It is where Jesus says:
“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
One good image of this is where Jesus is found washing his disciples feet in John 13:1-17. Jesus the Lord of heaven and earth came to serve, lowly and humble and not expect to be waited on (like at a king in a castle or at a fine restaurant). He came to serve others.
If Jesus served others, and I follow Jesus and so desperately want others to have life to the full as well, it means that I too must take up the posture of serving. Servanthood, as it is known, is a dying artform in two ways,
‘I am second’ is a profound phrase. Listen, I do not do this to make Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit happy with me, I do it because I follow the King who gives life, and I want others to experience the life that he gives.
This rest of the week, look for opportunities to serve…
Host a dinner party while you are at home.
Quickly make everyone’s bed when they are not watching.
Wash up some dishes so it allows your parents sometime together.
Think of a board game to play with the family, instead of plodding around bored at home. ‘Safely’ go to the shops with Mum or Dad or pack away the groceries.
Read to your brother or sister, or come up with a crazy game that might be too young for you but you know will help create fun and life in your house!
I AM SECOND