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Passion, romance and sacrifice collide with vampires, forbidden love and temptation in the eagerly awaited teen flick Twilight, based on Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling book. Not since the dawn of the Harry Potter movies has a teen-book-turned-movie generated so much pre-release buzz.

For those who’ve remained oblivious to this intriguing vampire phenom, it takes a little explaining…and even then, you might still be left scratching your head. But here’s the Horror Romance backstory.

Boy meets girl. Love blossoms. Simple enough, right? But wait…the boy, Edward, is a 108-year-old vampire (frozen at the age of 17) who finds himself madly attracted to his newly arrived 17-year-old classmate, Bella. You think your love life is filled with high drama?? I’m betting it doesn’t hold a candle to this. This forbidden love requires Edward and Bella’s willingness to embrace a complicated future, if there’s to be any hope of surviving the multitude of mega cross-species obstacles. This goes way beyond Arwyn and Aragorn’s elf/man sacrifices or Superman and Lois Lane’s Kryptonic/human challenges. This involves a totally different level of commitment, like Edward not giving in to his desire to drink Bella’s blood and Bella’s willingness to relinquish her human soul to become a vampire.
What’s the big appeal with this curious, quirky best-selling story line? Much of it has to do with these two characters’ willingness to sacrifice all for each other. Bella wants to give herself to Edward, no matter the costs, while it’s Edward who puts the brakes on her choices because they’ll hurt her. He wants to do the right thing by her, regardless the cost to him. And in the end, that’s what real love is truly all about. Sacrificial giving that goes beyond our own interest and looks out for the interests of others.

The Apostle Paul has some insights for us about generously giving of ourselves to others, regardless of whether there are romantic feelings involved or not. In Philippians 2: 3-8 he tells us:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross (The Message).

Now that’s sacrificial love. Setting aside the glories of heaven, Jesus bore the worst the world has to offer – the sins of all mankind, and extended to us totally undeserved grace and mercy through His death on the cross. That incredible gift of forgiveness is news that should burst forth in our lives and our words and overflow to those around us.

So try using the buzz that’s swirling from Twilight to turn the conversation toward the real sacrificial love of Jesus. Here are some specific ideas to help you move the conversation toward God-talk:

  • Who in the movie Twilight shows aspects of true love? How? Why do you think that?
  • Does Twilight shine a spotlight on how to make principled, difficult moral choices? Or does it glorify the pursuit of romantic passion at all costs?
  • The movie depicts numerous battles with temptation. What do you do with temptation? Share from Matthew 4 how Jesus used Scripture to fight against the Evil One’s efforts to tempt Him.
  • Have you ever experienced sacrificial love that puts others’ interests above your own? Have you ever given it? If so, share from your experiences how it made you feel.
  • Ask your friends if they know that Jesus’ love for humankind is the ultimate example of sacrificial love. Share from Philippians 2:5-8.

While the Horror Romance movie genre may be entertaining, the reality of Jesus’ sacred romance with humanity is life-changing. The unconditional love of God awaits anyone who’s willing to entrust their hearts and lives to Jesus. Get the word out.

Jane Dratz serves as Editor for Dare 2 Share Ministries International (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.

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Have you or your friends picked up the hefty new novel of The Twilight Series – Breaking Dawn? The series, with sales topping 8 million books, has blazed its own unique trail through the teen world in the eclectic genre of Horror/Thriller/Romance and Sci-Fi. The mysterious thriller that launched the popular series reads like a young adult love story. The plot line unfolded as a result of author Stephanie Meyer’s vivid dream. In six months time, she wrote, edited and published her first novel ever – Twilight – and has intrigued readers worldwide ever since.

The new girl at school, 17 year-old Isabella (“Bella” for short), finds herself powerfully attracted to an intriguingly gorgeous boy at her new school. The boy’s name is Edward and he can’t help but be dangerously drawn to the sweet, innocent blood running through Bella because…he is a vampire. Edward and Bella soon find themselves falling madly in love with each other, despite the obvious barriers. Fortunately for Bella, Edward is part of a reformed group of vampires who has sworn off human blood and only drinks animal blood instead. Even so, Edward has to exercise extreme self-control when in the presence of Bella, because he is not only attracted to her romantically, but also lustfully desires a taste of her pure, innocent blood.

This unusual romance saga is pumped full of the push and pull of a desire for true love and the sexual tension that fuels the romance. And in that respect there are some striking similarities to the real world teens find themselves confronted with every day, surrounded by a culture that is saturated with sexual connotations, innuendos, and a warped view of human sexuality, yet longing for true love and respect. The temptation to view others as sexual ‘objects’ is everywhere: as you are waiting in line at the checkout line, you have magazines adorned with barely-clothed woman and men; driving down the street, massive billboard hang above your head advertising something by way of sexual implication; in movies we watch as characters fulfill their lustful desires in a sexual experience; in songs, we listen to the lustful lyrics and then repeat them as we go through our day; you can’t even walk down the hall at school without having to dodge the flying hormones as they whiz by. Let’s face it. We live in a sex-saturated culture. And still we long for true love deep down inside.

So as Christians, how do we handle the push and pull of sex that permeates our own lives, and our social networks? Well, here’s what God has to say on His blueprint for sexuality.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. (Colossians 3:5).

You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God. Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God’s concerns, and he will take care of them. We’ve warned you about this before. God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful–as beautiful on the inside as the outside. (1 Thess. 4:2-7).

Every human, Christians and non-Christians alike, have struggled with lust in one form or another. But as God’s Word says, sexual lust destroys both our relationships and our self-esteem. Lust only devalues the person and objectifies them. Each of us has been created in His image and deserves to be treated in a respectful and honoring way. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to come along side us and be our strength in time of our weakness. We need His help in fleeing lustful temptations (2 Timothy 2:2).

While we may not fall for a vampire, we can likely identify with Edward and Bella’s struggle with how to handle the desire for true love and the sexual tension in their relationship. So use the popular Twilight series as a springboard in conversation with your friends to talk about God’s plan for our lives! Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • If your friends have read Twilight, ask them who in the books they think show true love. How? Why?
  • Ask your friends how they would define lust. Listen, and then share what God’s perspective of lust is.
  • If it seems appropriate, consider asking your friends how they deal with sexual temptation (lust, pornography, premarital sex, masturbation).
  • Explain how our Heavenly Father wants to protect us from later harm by giving us His blue print for sexuality.
  • Share how Jesus came to this earth and died and then rose again so we can have His strength and power here on earth to overcome the struggles of this world.

Real and lasting self-control can only come from the Holy Spirit’s divine guidance. So, step out with His power and share with your friends how they too can step into God’s loving direction for dealing with the challenges of this dimension of life.


Jeannae Flageolle serves as a writer for Dare 2 Share Ministries International (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.

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