Because of Grácia: A Film and Faith Conversation Guide

Because of Grácia: A Film and Faith Conversation Guide

by Chris Friesen, Michelle Simes

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Overview

Because of Grácia: A Film and Faith Conversation Guide by Chris Friesen, Michelle Simes

The Because of Grácia Film and Faith Conversation Guide is a different kind of resource from most movie discussion guides, and it's different from most bible studies. It's a 45-day experience to spark conversations on the challenges students face every day as Christians. Based on the themes of Because of Grácia, each week's conversation has info on group activities and then follows up with five days of devotional reflections for a student and his or her conversation partner. Topics and conversations include:

1. Practicing Friendship

  • Why Do We Fall in Love?
  • What About Our Bodies?
  • How Do You Grow True Friendship?

2. Choosing life

  • Why Am I Here?
  • What Should I Do?
  • How Can I Help?

3. Voicing Faith

  • Why Do We Hide?
  • What Is a Witness?
  • Will Anyone Listen?

These Because of Grácia conversations will help students know how to handle the life-altering choices they face everyday-- friendships and relationships, dating and falling in love, how to choose life and support those facing teen pregnancy, and how to confidently voice your faith and beliefs in public. So let this film and faith conversation be a part of their faith journey, and get real with these real-life questions on God, friendship, and love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947297029
Publisher: Dexterity Collective
Publication date: 08/15/2017
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

A teacher and pastor by profession and a songwriter and storyteller on the side, Chris Friesen holds a master’s degree in theology from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary at Fresno Pacific University and has worked for years in youth, young adult, and children’s ministry, from the Canadian boreal forest to the inner city. He resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on the Canadian prairies, where he makes music with his wife and six children in the Friesen Family Band.

Michelle Simes is a Special Education teacher and homeschool mom who is married to Tom, the writer and director of the award-winning film Because Of Grácia. Michelle has written pro-life and youth curriculum material for schools and churches, and she has worked in ministry to teens and young adults around the areas of chastity and sanctity of life issues. She currently resides in the heartland of Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Michelle and Tom have been blessed with thirty three years of marriage and four beautiful children ages 16-26.

Read an Excerpt

Group Session

Theme I

PRACTICING FRIENDSHIP

Conversation 1: Why Do We Fall in Love?

Created for Relationship

Is it a good thing that human beings fall in love with each other? Why is relationship, attraction, and romantic love such a tricky area of life? How could those relationships be easier? Today we look at Chase Morgan’s awkward crush on a new student and the oldest male-female relationship known to humankind.

REEL TO REAL

1. Chase falling for Grace

  • How can you tell Chase is falling for Grace? What effect is she having on him?

    Why are we drawn to certain people? Is it a simple thing or a complicated thing?

    Why is it so hard for Chase to take the initiative to get to know Grace? What is the “pressure” he’s feeling? What is he afraid of?


2. The phone call

  • Can you relate to Chase’s experience in this situation? Is it true to life?

    Is awkwardness and nervousness with someone we’re attracted to more of a guy thing or more a girl thing? Do girls show nervousness in different ways than guys do?

    What do we want most from someone we admire?


3. What came of it

  • Do Chase and Grace feel the same way about each other?

    Why isn’t Grace afraid to ask Chase to meet up somewhere?

    How is Chase feeling after the phone call?


ENGAGE THE WORD

After you examine Genesis 2:4–25 as a group, consider the questions below.

  • Why isn’t it good to be alone?

    Wasn’t it enough for Adam to have God as a friend?


  • What does it say about God that he recognizes Adam’s need for companionship with someone similar to Adam?

    What do you think it means that woman was “taken out of man”?

    Does this story explain why we fall in love?


Paired Sessions: Week 1

WEEK 1: WHY DO WE FALL IN LOVE?

Day 1: Longing for God

In the movie clips at the first group session, we saw Chase Morgan meet a new classmate and have his world turned upside-down. “I can’t stop thinking about her,” he tells his favorite teacher, Mr. Brady.

Chase’s nervousness illustrates the way men and women, guys and girls, long for each other in this world. It’s not a flaw of creation that we have such a longing. Rather, it’s a good feature that God purposely built into the very nature of things.

We also heard in the first group session how humanity’s turning from God created a break that makes companionship between men and women—and all people—more difficult. We still need each other as we did at the start of creation, but now we also distrust each other and hide our true selves. Selfishness and sin have made us less able to meet others’ needs and others less able to meet ours.

Even worse, in our estrangement from God, we may begin to look to other human beings for ultimate fulfillment—not realizing our deepest relational need is actually for sSomeone divine.

What a mess! But many longing souls since Adam and Eve have realized the true nature of their need and reached for God first.

Read the Word

Read through these verses from Psalm 63 twice with your conversation partner, taking turns. The first time through, read the text quietly sitting side by side. The second time, sit facing each other as far apart as the room will allow and read as loudly as necessary to be able to hear each other.

You, God, are my God,

earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you,

my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land

where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary

and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,

my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live,

and in your name I will lift up my hands.

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;

with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;

I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help,

I sing in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 63:1–7

Talk It Over

Discuss the following questions with your conversation partner. If you like, write down your ideas as you go.

  • What words and phrases in this psalm could apply to a human relationship?


  • How is loving God similar to loving a human being?


  • How is loving God different from loving a human being?


Listen Up

What is the most “romantic” worship song you’ve ever heard? In other words, what song expresses love for Jesus or God in a way that sounds the like the love between a man and a woman? Find a version of the song on YouTube and share the link with your conversation partner.

Think It Over

Is there any problem with expressing love to God and Jesus in this way? Are we confusing two different kinds of relationship? Or are we linking two kinds of relationship that are deeply linked in reality?

The more you read the Bible—a long love story about God and people—the more you may find the second answer to be true. The God who has created us for relationship often nudges us to consider our relationship with him through the lens of human love. Prophets like Zephaniah speak of God’s loving delight in his people (Zephaniah 3:17). Jesus and the church are compared to husband and wife (Ephesians 5). Jesus’s ultimate union with his people will be celebrated like a wedding banquet (Revelation 19).

Beginning a love relationship with God and satisfying our deepest relational need is one of the best steps we can take toward discovering fulfilling love relationships with one another. As Chase says later in the movie, “Jesus took this dead heart of nature and made it so much more alive.”

Pray It Forward

Choose a sentence from Psalm 63 to use as a closing prayer for this first session with your conversation partner. Write the sentence down and carry it with you in your mind as a “background prayer” for the rest of the day.

WEEK 1: WHY DO WE FALL IN LOVE?

Day 2: Just Gotta Get Near You

When you’re falling in love with someone, you want to be near them as much as possible. You find ways to make that happen. Remember Chase peering over the top of a book in the library or watching Grácia in class out of the corner of his eye? Maybe you arrange to be in that person’s group, or sit next to that person on the bus, or whatever—just as long as you can be as physically close to them as possible. You also want that person to see and know and admire you in return.

This is how God expressed his love for human beings too. God’s version of “falling in love” with us—though there was never a time he didn’t love us—was to “fall” right down to earth in the flesh. When God came near us in Jesus, his Son, he got as close to human beings as possible. He became what we are so he could know everything about us and see the world through our eyes. At the same time, he gave us the opportunity to really know him. He poured all of himself into Jesus, putting his personality and character on display right before our eyes.

Read the Word

These sentences from the Bible describe how God’s love brought him near us. Take turns reading them with your conversation partner.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.

John 3:16

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.

Hebrews 1:3

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.

Colossians 2:9

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things.

Colossians 1:19–20

“If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him . . . Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”

John 14:7, 9

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

1 John 4:9

Play It Over

Play a short game of charades based on these verses. The object is to get your partner to name the scripture you’re thinking of by wordlessly acting out a portion of the verse.

Talk It Over

  • When you like somebody, how do you behave around them?


  • How do you try to “get yourself noticed”?


  • Do you think it’s appropriate to say that God was “showing off” to humanity in Jesus? Why or why not?


  • What is something specific Jesus has demonstrated to you about what God is like?


Ask a Mentor

Pose this question to a married adult you trust: “When you first started noticing your future husbandwife or wifehusband, was there anything special you did to get his or her attention?”

Pray It Forward

Dear God, thank you for your love that has reached so far without ever giving up. I ask you today to open my eyes and heart to know you more.

Love, _________________________

WEEK 1: WHY DO WE FALL IN LOVE?

Day 3: Closer Still

Not only did God find a way to get near us in Jesus, but also he found a way to get inside us. Sometimes we talk about wanting to get inside someone’s head. God wanted to get inside our hearts—that is, into our center, the innermost place of our thinking-feeling-loving-and-choosing.

At some time or another in your life, perhaps when you were a child, you may have heard about “inviting Jesus into your heart.” You may even have done so. Where does that phrase word-picture come from? What does it really mean for Jesus to enter and take up residence in a person’s heart?

Read the Word

Listen to this prayer written by the apostle Paul. Choose one person to read and let the other person listen with their eyes closed. Then switch places and read it again.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14–19

Dream It Up

Get two sheets of paper and some pens. Imagine you are an artist and that you have travelled to a place where people speak and write a language you don’t know. You have been asked to paint them a picture of these verses from Ephesians. Make a quick, rough plan for your painting on the paper you have. Set a timer for 3–5 minutes while both you and your conversation partner take a shot at it. Don’t worry how “good” it looks: Remember, it’s just a plan. When you’re done, show each other your sketches and compare them with the scripture passage. (If you’re on the phone and can’t see your partner, hang on to your plan until you see each other next.)

Talk It Over

  • When you invite Jesus to live in your heart, what does he do in there?


  • Is there any particular word or phrase in this passage that surprises you? Which one?


Think It Over

When the New Testament talks about relationship with God through Jesus, it doesn’t only mention him living in us. It also speaks of us living in him. In other words, our relationship with Jesus works in both directions. Being a Christian means that Christ is in us (Colossians 1:27), and it is also means we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). One time, Jesus wrapped it all together. He said: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20).

  • If you are a Christian, which way of thinking about it makes more sense to you: you living in Christ, or Christ living in you?


  • If you are not a Christian, what questions do you have about living with Christ?


When Jesus lives inside us, there is a new connection between our hearts and his. The Holy Spirit, the presence of Jesus within us, changes our hearts to be like his, makes our hearts feel what his does, and helps us relate to Gd in the same way Jesus does—as a beloved child.

As Chase says in his spoken-word poem to his class, “It’s this beautiful silver piano chord between me and my Lord, and it’s making the most beautiful melody that the world has ever heard. And it’s a melody that Jesus offers the entire world.”

Pray It Forward

If you have never done so, you could ask Jesus today, even right now, to make his home in your heart.

WEEK 1: WHY DO WE FALL IN LOVE?

Day 4: Relationship Is Who God Is

God did not create the world for some unknown reason and then decide he might as well be loving toward it. God pursues relationship with his creation because that is the essence of who he is. Considering God’s oneness as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we might even say that God is relationship.

Does that sound weird? It shouldn’t. It’s only a minor paraphrase of the language of the Bible itself, which says, “God is love.” Because we are made in God’s image, we too pursue relationship and love.

The book of 1 John makes this point powerfully. John says that because of God’s essential relational character, we actually come to know him by loving others.

Read the Word

Read these verses out loud with your conversation partner:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:7–8

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:11–12

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:19

Relationship is so important—and not only the special relationship between male and female, but all kinds of relationship, including love for friends, and family, church, and world.

Talk It Over

  • What statement do you find most remarkable in these verses from 1 John?


  • Do John’s words stir up any questions for you?


  • How might our Christian lives and communities be different if we took these words completely seriously?


MEME-orize It

Choose one phrase or sentence from these verses and use it as a caption forto an image you find. Share your resulting meme with your conversation partner.

Try It Out

Back in Genesis, God said it wasn’t good for his image-bearer to be alone. Keep watch this week for someone at your school or elsewhere who is alone on a regular basis. Start talking to that person.

Pray It Forward

God, here is an area of my life where I probably have more to learn about “loving one another”:

As I learn to love more, help me to know you as well. In Jesus’s name, amen.

WEEK 1: WHY DO WE FALL IN LOVE?

Day 5: God Cares How We Relate

What we’ve been learning about the importance of love and relationship to God leads to a warning: If we begin to harm others in relationships, we immediately begin to distance ourselves from God. That’s what Cain found out back in Genesis 4, when he killed his brother Abel, which is documented in Genesis 4..

Read the Word

Here’s how the writer of 1 John expresses the problem. Read the passage aloud twice.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:20–21

Talk It Over

  • What other words could you substitute into this passage in place of the words brother and sister? Think of at least three and write them here.


Read the Word

And here’s how Jesus expresses it:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

Matthew 5:23–24

Talk It Over

  • What is Jesus saying about God?


  • Why does God care so much about our relationships with each other?


Think It Over

There are some loose ends of relationship in Because of Grácia. At the end of the film, a few people have broken relationships with one another (for example, Bobbi and Jesse, Chase and Josie). Can anything be done to repair those situations?

Pray It Forward

Pray for someone in your life whom you might have hard feelings toward or who might have hard feelings toward you. Ask God to make a way for reconciliation to take place.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

A Message from the Stars of Because of Grácia

Introduction

Theme I: Practicing Friendship

Conversation 1: Why Do We Fall in Love?

Created for Relationship

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 1

Conversation 2: What About Our Bodies?

God’s Design for Sexuality

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 2

Conversation 3: How Do You Grow True Friendship?

Healthy Dating 101

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 3

Theme II: Choosing Life

Conversation 1: Why Am I Here?

How Our Worldview Shapes Our Choices

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 4

Conversation 2: What Should I Do?

Facing the Crisis of Unexpected Pregnancy

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 5

Conversation 3: How Can I Help?

Supporting Others in Choosing Life

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 6

Theme III: Voicing Faith

Conversation 1: Why Do We Hide?

The Dynamics of Undercover Christianity

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 7

Conversation 2: What Is a Witness?

Telling Our Stories as Christians

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 8

Conversation 3: Will Anyone Listen?

Representing the Faith to a Hostile World

Group Session

Paired Sessions: Week 9

About the Authors

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