(Universal Pictures, 2007)
Main Point of Discussion:
When we choose to obey God and His will for our lives, we will face persecution- but when we do God blesses us and shows us who our true friends are.
The Movie Clip:
“Persecution at the Ark”
is a hilarious movie with several usable discussion clips. This story is about Evan (who we met first in Bruce Almighty
), now leaving his job as a TV news anchorman in Buffalo, NY to become the newly elected congressman in Washington D.C. Evan’s campaign promise and slogan was to “Change the World.” Although he had his own plans to accomplish that, God (Morgan Freeman) shows up, and Evan is given the task of building an ark, just like Noah. (You can read more about this film in our movie review on this page
The clip we are using is later in the film when Evan faces the media and the crowd as the predicted time for the flood arrives.
Introducing the Clip:
Today I want to show you a clip from the movie, Evan Almighty. Many of you have seen this hilarious film about an ordinary guy named Evan, played by Steve Carell, who is instructed by God to build an ark. I’m going to show you a clip towards the end of the film when Evan is facing the ridicule of the media and the crowds watching. His family had already doubted Evan earlier in the film. But now watch how they respond in comparison to the crowd- especially his kids.
Let’s take a look.
BEGIN CLIP AT THE BEGINNING OF CHAPTER 16 at 1 hour, 10 minutes and 58 seconds or this clip is available to download and purchase from WingClips. (Although the clip available from WingClips ends just short of Evans sons' line about sticking with his father whatever he says, so you may want to read those lines to your group or have small group leaders do so if using this version.)
The clip begins as Evan is pleading with the crowd to board the ark regardless of the fact that it is a beautiful day with blue skies.
Evan: (yelling to the crowd) People! The flood is imminent! Board the ark! Save yourselves.
END CLIP AT 1 hour 14 minutes and 25 seconds.
Man from Crowd: Get down you fool!
Evan: (yelling to the crowd) Listen to me! The time has come!
Woman from Crowd: No Captain Ahab! Your time has come!
(the crowd laughs)
Man from Crowd: Yeah Baxter! The weather’s 70 and sunny with a chance of crazy!
(the crowd begins to laugh more, but then everyone hears rumbling)
Evan: (yelling to the crowd) Do you hear that? The rains are upon us!
Evan’s son: Dad, I don’t think that’s the rains.
(A construction crew rumbles in with a big wrecking ball to destroy the ark. Congressman Long arrives and tries to talk Evan down from the boat. Evan doesn’t budge. Congressman Long orders the boat destroyed.)
Policeman: (in bullhorn) Evacuate immediately! You have three minutes!
(Evan’s wife Joan and their three kids approach Evan.)
Joan: Honey. We have to go. They’re going to destroy the boat.
Evan: No. It can’t end this way. (yelling to God) Is it too much to ask for a little precipitation?!!
Joan: Honey, maybe God didn’t mean a literal flood. Maybe he meant a flood of knowledge or emotion or awareness.
Evan: If that’s true, I am going to be so pissed!
Police Man: (still yelling in the bullhorn) Get off the boat now or you will be removed by force.
(Evan’s wife continues to try to reason with Evan, but the kids don’t budge.)
Evan’s oldest son: Dad, whatever you say, I’m with you.
Evan’s middle son: Yeah, me too.
Evan’s youngest son: Yeah, me too. But can we keep some of the animals? I like the alpaca. He spits.
This scene really connects us with what the real Noah might have felt like when he was building the Ark. Because people thought he was crazy or a religious fanatic, they chose to ridicule him rather than try and understand. What’s really interesting is that God led his family back to support Evan after they had initially given up.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we begin, tell everyone your name and what animal (s) you wish God wouldn’t have allowed on the Ark (i.e. cats, snakes, etc.)
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: How would you respond if God asked you to do something that seemed crazy?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Do you think God still asks people to do ‘crazy’ things? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: In the scene we just saw, the crowd reacts negatively to what they didn’t believe or understand. What are some elements of the Christian life that also fall into that category? (i.e. prayer, faith, going to church, etc.)
Read the following passage:
Matthew 5:10-12 (NLT)
ASK A FEW: How could being a Christ follower bring persecution?
ASK A FEW: How can we find happiness in the midst of persecution?
ASK A FEW: What kind of blessings come out of being ridiculed for being a Christian?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What ‘blessings’ came out of Evan’s persecution?
ASK A FEW: How does mocking and ridicule from unbelievers connect us with Jesus?
ASK A FEW: In the clip we saw, Evan’s family encouraged him in the midst of persecution. How can we as a Christian family help each other?
ASK A FEW: If you knew you would face persecution this week for bringing God up in a conversation, would you still do it? Why or why not?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: How does the upside of persecution (i.e. Kingdom of heaven, blessings from God etc.) outweigh the negative (ridicule, lies, etc.)
Tonight we’ve been discussing the whole area of persecution when we choose to follow God’s will. The bottom line is that if we strive to live like Jesus and follow His will, we should expect some kind of persecution. The good news is that when we are persecuted, God blesses us, and we also discover who is really willing to walk ‘side by side’ with us. When you look at persecution from that perspective, it makes it much easier to take the ridicule and mocking. The other big issue to consider is whether or not the persecution we face comes from following God, or just being a jerk. Many times Christians set up persecution for themselves that has nothing to do with following Jesus, that’s why we need to constantly evaluate our testimony.
Close in Prayer – (give invitation)
Right now I want everyone to close their eyes and think about themselves and not those around you. If you are sitting here and you’re thinking, “I’ve never been persecuted for following Christ because I’ve never followed Him before.”
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
If you’d like that relationship with God, tell Him. Ask Him to forgive your sins. If you’re willing to truly trust in Him, tell Him that you’re ready to face whatever may happen because it’s totally worth it.
There may also be Christians here who have never been persecuted because they’ve never stood up for the name of Christ. If this is you, tonight you can decide to follow Jesus at the next level, even if it means ridicule and lies, because you desire God’s blessings and a deeper relationship with other Christians.
Written by Lane Palmer