Movie Based Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching

Movie Based Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching

by Craig Brian Larson, Andrew Zahn

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Movies have become the stories of our culture. People love to discuss favorite movies and actors, and this interest can help you communicate God’s Word with power—if you have exciting, movie-based illustrations at your fingertips. Now the editors of have gathered the best movie-based illustrations, the scenes that convey biblical


Movies have become the stories of our culture. People love to discuss favorite movies and actors, and this interest can help you communicate God’s Word with power—if you have exciting, movie-based illustrations at your fingertips. Now the editors of have gathered the best movie-based illustrations, the scenes that convey biblical truth convincingly. This collection contains 101 complete illustrations straight from popular movies your listeners can relate to. Each illustration is easy to use—you don’t even have to be familiar with the movie to share the truth it portrays. ·Complete index includes multiple keywords and relevant Scripture passages for easy selection. ·Each illustration provides plot summary and detailed description of the scene—you can tell the story well even if you haven’t seen the movie. ·Exact begin and end times are given for each illustration if you wish to show the video clip. ·Each illustration gives background information on the movie—year created, MPAA rating, and more. This handy, to-the-point resource will help you add dramatic muscle to your sermons and lessons. Engage your listeners’ imaginations through the power of movies—and drive biblical truths home to their hearts.

Product Details

Publication date:
Movie-Based IllustrationsSeries Series
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching

101 Clip to Show or Tell
By Craig Brian Larson and Andrew Zahn


Copyright © 2003 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0310248329

Chapter One


Toy Story

Topic: Belonging to God

Texts: Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 44:5; Romans 8:14-17

Keywords: Acceptance; Attitudes and Emotions; Family of God; Fatherhood of God; Identity in Christ; Meaning of Life; Self-Worth; Significance

In Disney's animated movie Toy Story, Woody (a plush toy cow-boy) confronts Buzz Lightyear (a toy astronaut) with the fact that he is only an action figure and not really a space hero. Early in the movie Woody shouts, "You're not a space ranger! You're an action figure-a child's plaything."

Only after failing to fly does Buzz realize the truth of Woody's statement. Grief-stricken and disillusioned, Buzz hangs his head in resignation, declaring, "I'm just a stupid, little, insignificant toy."

Woody later seeks to comfort his friend by underscoring the love of the boy who owns them both. "You must not be thinking clearly. Look, over in that house there's a kid who thinks you're the greatest, and it's not because you're a space ranger; it's because you're his."

As Buzz lifts his foot, he sees a label affixed to the bottom of his little shoe. There in black permanent ink is the name of the little boy to whom he belongs. Seeing the image of his owner, Buzz breaks into a smile and takes on a new determination.

Elapsed time: Measured from the beginning of the
opening credit, this scene begins at 00:56:54 and
goes to 00:59:31.

Content: Rated G

Citation: Toy Story (Disney, 1995), written by Joel Cohen,
Alec Sokolow, Andrew Stanton, and Joss Whedon (from
an original story by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew
Stanton, and Joe Ranft), directed by John Lasseter

submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois


Hope Floats

Topic: Devastation of Adultery

Texts: Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18;
2 Samuel 11-12; Proverbs 6:27-29;
Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 5:27-28;
Matthew 19:4-9; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16; Hebrews 13:4

Keywords: Adultery; Betrayal; Children; Commitment; Faithfulness; Family; Fatherhood; Fathers; Happiness; Marriage; Men; Rejection; Selfishness; Sex; Sin; Ten Commandments; Unfaithfulness; Vows; Women

The 1998 movie Hope Floats is the tale of a woman struggling to recover from her husband's infidelity. It shows how she and her child cope with the problems caused by the breakup of their family.

The mother, Birdie Pruitt (played by Sandra Bullock), thinks she's going to receive a makeover on a national TV talk show, only to discover that the real purpose of the program is to uncover her husband's affair with her best friend. Horrified, Birdie returns to her small-town Texas home and tries to pull life back together for herself and her daughter. While there, she faces considerable obstacles and the potential rebirth of an old high school romance.

Toward the end of the movie, Birdie and her husband are arguing loudly in front of their daughter about the pain, deceit, and anger his adultery has caused. She tells him, "I would have stayed with you forever. I would have turned myself inside out for you!" But Bill won't hear it. He says he's finally found happiness for himself, and he's going to take it.

Finally, Birdie tells him to leave since she's got the best part of him anyway, namely, their daughter, Bernice. Bill turns to go and is pursued by Bernice down the stairs and out to the car. She calls out, "I'm coming with you, Daddy!" but her dad keeps walking to the car. The girl, terrified of losing her father, tries to get in the car with him, begging, "Daddy, I need you!"-but he refuses her.

He says sternly, "I promise to come back for you, but I am starting a new life with Connie now."

As she screams and sobs, his raised voice has an empty ring to it, as he keeps repeating, "I promise, I promise, I promise." With that he drives off, leaving Bernice completely devastated, wailing until her mom comes and lifts her up into her arms.

This clip captures the heart of what God tries to spare us from when he says, "You shall not commit adultery."

Elapsed time: The scene from the beginning of the
argument until the car drives off lasts four and one-half
minutes; it begins about one hour and forty minutes
into the movie.

Content: Rated PG-13 for two vulgar jokes and mild profanity

Citation: Hope Floats (20th Century Fox, 1998), written
by Steven Rogers, directed by Forest Whitaker

submitted by Bill White, Paramount, California


Excerpted from Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching by Craig Brian Larson and Andrew Zahn Copyright © 2003 by Zondervan
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Craig Brian Larson is chief editor for Christianity Today's, an online journal and illustration service. He also pastors a church in Chicago, Illinois. His books include Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers; Preaching That Connects; and The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching. He and his family live in the Chicago suburbs.

Andrew Zahn is assistant editor of Leadership Journal and Formerly he was a pastor in the Evangelical Free Church of America.

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