I woke up this morning and began my typical morning run through while drinking coffee and fighting with our dogs (spoiler alert: I lost and he still puked from drinking and eating way too fast) and found myself watching a video of Chris Pratt accepting a "Generations Award" At the MTV Movie Awards from last night.
When I was a young teenager and all through High School, I remember I would watch MTV like it was going out of style (second spoiler alert: It was, and I believe, now is) and the MTV Movie Awards, along with its counter-part the MTV Music Video Awards, were almost as important as watching the Super Bowl.
As it became less exciting it moved to more sexual and agenda driven, and eventually it just wasn't that important anymore. I would say some of it happened as I matured and thought the music began to sound like garbage (get off my lawn kids!) but the reality was it held no value for me any longer. I would suffer through most of it for the sake of student ministry (Student Pastors: you need to watch it so you know what your students are talking about the next day) but mostly now its another event that passes without my caring, and the sun comes up the next day.
Last night however a speech happened that I hope the world will begin to listen to. Between our new Space Force (not a joke) and the bipartisan fight over if children being removed from their families is evil or not (also, sadly, not a joke) our universe continues to need hope, and being that in our own pride and arrogance we've seen people place Jesus to the side, many conversations are dead in the water because the idea that hope would come from the creator of said universe apparently isn't good enough for some people.
This is where a star like Pratt builds the bridge. Pratt shared his "9 Rules for the Next Generation" and although some were meant to make us laugh (which I for sure did), there were a few that brought some applause out loud and provided encouragement to my heart. Here's the list, unedited outside of one point that im sure is great advice but its long and not pertinent to our discussion:
1. Breathe, if you don't you'll suffocate.
2. You have a soul, be careful with it.
3. Don't be a turd. If you're strong, be a protector, and if you're smart be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons, don't wield them against the weak. That makes you a bully.
4. When giving a dog medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger. They won't even know they're eating medicine.
5. Doesn't matter what it is, earn it. A good deed? Reach out to someone in pain, be of service. It feels good and it's good for your soul.
6. God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do.
7. If you have to poop at a party, but you're embarrassed, just do what I do (which he then explains in great detail) Just trust me.
8. Learn to pray. It's easy, and it's so good for your soul.
9. Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you you're perfect just the way you are, you're not. You are imperfect. You always will be. But, there is a powerful force that made you that way, and if you're willing to accept that, you will have grace. Grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy, grace was paid for by somebody else's blood. Do not forget it. Don't take it for granted.
The Gospel, on MTV, in Prime Time.
Although I wonder if some of the language where you could easily substitute Jesus may have been edited, the fact remains that Pratt taking the moment he had to share these pertinent things in the midst of a world that consistently is ripping itself in two is a thing of beauty and hope.
Pratt's call to the next generation is actually a call to us as well. I wanted to take his 9 rules and apply it to the church. What Pratt spoke needs to be said, so without further ado, here's the edit:
1. Breathe. It'll be ok. Don't give up. You need to keep breathing because you'll survive everything else, so just keep breathing. God will continue to work this out for you.
2. You have a soul, and you need to be aware of it. Everything you do has repercussions, and after this world, when your days are done, the decision you've made about your soul will eternally matter, so make it, and make it now.
3. You are called to use every gift God has given you to help, serve, love, and care for others. Use your gift to make the world a better place, and to make much of Jesus. When we use those same gifts for our own gain and at the cost of others, we are missing the point completely, and we become, as he said, bullies.
4. Dogs are awesome. They are smart. They are also really good at spitting out medicine after eating all of the peanut butter off of them. Nothing is as frustrating as seeing your dog, who needs medicine, spit out a shiny white pill without any of the PB you put on it earlier, and then smiling at you...thanking you for the peanut butter. Do not grow weary when those around you treat the Gospel much the same. It's just your job to continue to serve them and do whats best for them.
5. SERVE! We have a ton of options for you. It is not only a command of God to serve and care for those who need it, especially the widow and the orphan, but it also will give you so much blessing in your own life. Don't miss that!
6. God is absolutely real, and He absolutely adores you. He calls you His 'beloved' because He created you and adores you and wants relationship with you more than anything.
7. I don't have much for this one, other than to say this is some solid advice.
8. Learn to pray. It is easy, and it is good for you, and it absolutely does give you a connective line to your creator. He hears you. He cares for you. In Acts, Jesus is speaking to Ananias and says to him to find Saul of Tarsus, and that at that moment, Saul was praying. Know that God hears your prayers, and they are valuable to Him!
9. Nobody is perfect, except for Jesus, and He doesn't hold you guilty, because He paid the price you couldn't for your lack of perfection. Now, live in that hope.
Pratt didn't just give instructions for a generation, He gave instructions for HOPE. A hope that doesn't fail, and that when applied, gives us more than we could every begin to understand. See you Sunday.