On July 15, 2016 Netflix released the series Stranger Things. This show gained immediate popularity as 14.07 million adults (18-49) viewed the American science fiction-horror web television series in the first 35 days. Season 2, which was released in October of 2017, gained even more momentum when 15.8 million people watched the show within the first 3 days! With the third season expected to be released within the next 5-8 months, Stranger Things is the most popular streaming show in the world.
The premise is simple yet complex. The show takes place in the early 1980s and set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. From the beginning we discover a group of friends who find themselves embarking on a journey that transcends any imagination. Midway through the first season we are introduced to an alternate dimension, the Upside Down. This parallel reality threatens the livelihood of the world as we know it. A creature (Demogorgon) is released into the community of Hawkins with the presumable goal of eventually invading the entire earth as the Upside Down spreads toxic biological matter in every corner it touches.
The truth is, as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, the premise of Stranger Things is not too far fetched. In the book of Acts, Paul and Silas entered the city of Thessalonica. They preached and ministered for a short time and many devout Greeks surrendered their lives to Christ (Acts 17.4, NKJV). This upset many in the community and they dragged one of the church’s leaders before the city authorities and claimed, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too,” (Acts 17.6).
Paul and Silas had a reputation for making people uncomfortable. But isn’t that what the Gospel does? It convicts us of our sins. Shows us our faults. Brings light where there is darkness. The beauty of the Gospel is that in the midst of our remorse and guilt, we find comfort. We experience grace. We are shown mercy. We discover truth. Jesus said, “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save it,” (John 12.47, ESV).
Much like the Upside Down. There is a being trying to devour the world (1 Peter 5.8). The devil would like nothing better than to discourage you, tempt you, lure you, and keep you from experiencing the love of God.
We live in a day and time where truth is relative. Mercy is weakness. Grace is cheap. Just about everything that the Bible teaches is contrary to what the world considers as acceptable. But as believers of Jesus Christ, we are called to a higher standard of living. We are to live this life now, as an example to others, as we show them what heaven looks like! This is what I call the Upside Down. So how then does a follower of Jesus live in the Upside Down? We must cultivate Upside Down Faith!
I don’t have all the answers. But my goal for this blog is to be an encouragement to fellow followers of Jesus Christ. This blog will address hot topics, sports, entertainment, family, and church life; all through the scope of Scripture. It was the famed Greek-scholar, Johann A. Bengel who said, “Apply yourself wholly to the Scriptures, and apply the Scriptures wholly to yourself.” My prayer is that we become a people devoted to God’s Word and His will above anything else.
I look forward to living life with you and hearing from you as we try to navigate the wild waters and rolling valleys of the Upside Down.