If you’ve been going to church for some time, you probably have sung MercyMe’s hit Gospel song, “I Can Only Imagine”, in a worship service. But you probably have never heard of the story behind it, as filmmakers of “I Can Only Imagine” – the movie – will tell you.
On March 6, 2018, I had the rare opportunity of catching an early screening of the amazing testimony that inspired the song. Indeed – you can only imagine!
The film revolves around Bart Millard (J. Michael Finley), the lead singer of MercyMe. Coming off an abusive childhood at the hands of his father, Arthur Millard (Dennis Quaid), Bart spends years struggling to forgive him. Out of this pain, he is inspired to write “I Can Only Imagine”.
Watching Bart’s story unfold on screen brought new life to one of my favourite songs, and I found myself in tears when it made its appearance in the show.
The central theme of the show is transformation, and how true transformation is like metamorphosis – a radical changing from the inside out.
When God transforms us, he isn’t just transforming us but also the people around us.
God is fully in the business of transforming people from the inside out. This is how he always has been, he transformed a barren old man into a father of many nations. He transformed a shepherd boy into Israel’s greatest King. He transformed 11 fumbling men into apostles of the faith. He even transformed a persecutor of the Gospel to one of its greatest teachers.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:26-28)
This transformation is not one that is from the outside in. We can never be transformed by that way because of the hard truth that sin is not just a hard, logical issue but a deep heart issue. If we are not first transformed in our hearts, the transformation we bear is simply a mask that we wear.
God needs to totally replace our heart so that our actions may flow from that new heart.
This was the same inside-out transformation Arthur, the father, goes through. And as Bart chooses to forgive Arthur, he witnessed his relationships, including that with God Himself being radically changed.
When God transforms us, he isn’t just transforming us but also the people around us. Transformation is contagious, as we live radically transformed lives for Christ, we see ourselves being used by God to transform another life.
Without spoiling any more of the movie, I leave you with a quote that stayed in my mind: “(His transformation) set me on this warpath for the Gospel, because if the Gospel can change that dude, the Gospel can change anybody.”
When we decide to let God change us, we are going to see a transformation we can only imagine.
Join our exclusive ticket giveaway from now till March 22, 2018. Just head over to Facebook or Instagram, like our page/account and tell us what you think heaven will be like. The 5 replies with the most likes will win a pair of tickets to the preview screening of “I Can Only Imagine” at Shaw Theatres, Lido.
“I Can Only Imagine” will premiere on March 24, 2018, at the NEX Shaw Theatre in support of Come Celebrate Christmas in Singapore 2018. If you would like more information or are interested in bulk ticket booking (40 pax and above), please drop a message to +65 81185165.