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Category Archives: Media

Discussions about Christian and secular media

Every Life is Beautiful

The movie opens with the following scene:  A young woman steps on stage.  As she delivers her lines in the performance, she become delirious. She collapses to the floor and her family rushes to her side to help.  We then see the young woman and her parents meeting with a doctor.  The test results all point to one source for her physical and emotion problems – her difficult childbirth.  Then, a secret is revealed…

From that point forward, I was on the edge of my seat and could hardly stop crying.

Every life is beautiful.”  This is the main theme and tagline of the movie October Baby, a very powerful movie with a very relevant and life-changing message that Brenda and I just watched.  This movie’s plot follows the journey of a young woman named Hannah, who through some unusual circumstances discovers that her life “is a lie.”  Hannah goes on a quest to discover her identity but instead finds that she needs something much more valuable.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is mature enough for its theme.  Whether you can personally relate to the circumstances that these characters portray, I recommend this movie for its following messages:

  • the value of a human life, no matter how small or young;
  • learning to relinquish control and trust God again;
  • the command to forgive others just as God has forgiven us through Christ (see Colossians 3:13);
  • healing and forgiveness are available regardless of our past mistakes.

These messages are delivered in a very power and tasteful way.  The production quality and acting are very good.  The move is rated PG-13 due to its mature theme.  The language is clean and there are no sexual innuendoes or gratuitous violence.

You can watch the movie trailer below:

You can also visit the following links for much more:

Every Life is Beautiful

October Baby

I at least urge you to consider the messages that are reinforced through this movie.  Do you believe that every life is beautiful?  Do you believe that God is ready and willing to forgive you, no matter what you’ve done in the past?

If you have seen the movie, please feel free to share your thoughts below.

 

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A Courageous Calling

I think that I have a new favorite movie and it may be very difficult to top this one.

This week, some sort of stomach virus made its way through our family.  Therefore, we had a lot of “down” time to rest and recuperate.  With some free time, I was looking forward to the opportunity to watch the movie that I have wanted to see ever since I became aware that it was in production – Courageous.  This movie became available on DVD on January 17.  This past Friday night, after putting the children to bed, Brenda and I settled in for a date night ;-).

Just a quick background – Courageous is the fourth movie produced by Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church based in Albany, GA.  Courageous was first released to a limited number of theaters on September 30 and had the highest per-theater gross of any movie during that week.  The production quality of this film is excellent and far exceeds their previous three films.  For a previous post about this movie, click here.

The main characters in the movie are five men (four of which are police officers) struggling in different ways with the challenges of fatherhood.  One is distant from his oldest son; one is unforgiving of the father who abandoned him; one is divorced and only sees his son on a limited basis; one has a daughter that does not know he exists; and one struggles with finding a stable job to provide for his family.  A tragedy spurs one of the fathers to discover for himself what the Bible says about fatherhood.  After understanding God’s call to fathers, he challenges himself and the other fathers to commit to God’s call in leading their families to love and serve the Lord.  In order to not “spoil” the movie for you, I will refrain from any further plot details.

One other quick note – I strongly caution parents to watch this movie first before deciding to allow your younger children to view it (it is rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content).  The acting and content are presented tastefully, but the action scenes and a gang initiation scene are very intense and may disturb younger viewers.  After viewing the movie for yourself, you may decide that your children can watch it while skipping over three or four scenes.

I have not been impacted by a movie in quite the way that Courageous has impacted me.  This is a deeply personal story for me (again I don’t want to give away too much if you haven’t seen it yet).  I cried many times through the movie and wept as the ending credits rolled.  If you watch the movie and are a husband and father, you may be strongly challenged and motivated to invest your time and efforts in instilling eternal values in your children and unselfishly loving your wife.  You may be motivated to appreciate every moment that you have with your children because you don’t know when the last moment may arrive.  You may seek reconciliation with others who have hurt you.  You may be convicted to walk with integrity and expose any hidden sins in your life.  Most of all, I hope that you think seriously about where you stand with God.  The last scene will present you with a challenge to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you to be a responsible man and father.  As I talk to other men who have seen the movie, they respond that they have been profoundly impacted through it.

There are Courageous Living Bible Study groups developing based on this movie.  There is even one group meeting at a local church in our area.  This church is sponsoring a showing of the movie at our local high school on February 4 with the intention of afterwards developing follow-up small groups (click here for more information).  I am patiently waiting to see how men may respond this call, hoping and praying that the Lord’s Spirit moves in our hearts.  I am humbled and hopeful that we can play some small role here in our valley and be able to share how the death of our son Isaac has impacted us to draw our hearts closer to God and share His Gospel with others.

A friend told me that when he saw this movie that he was reminded of our son Isaac many times.  I think I now understand what he meant after watching this movie.  There will be one overarching and obvious reason if you see the movie.  Another and unexpected reason for me is that the actor who plays Dylan (the main character’s son) physically resembles what I imagine Isaac may have looked like in another five years or so.

I understand that Courageous is only a movie and that men may respond based on emotions and not the conviction of God.  But I pray that will not be the case.  This is more than just a movie for entertainment’s sake.  The producers have used this movie to call men of God to say “I will” resolve to follow God and love my wife and children and refuse to let them fall.  There are even resources developed to challenge and equip the small group and individual.  Obviously, this commitment would be fruitless without the leading of the Lord and I pray for a fire to be ignited in our hearts.  Are you willing to make that resolution and join me in saying “I will”?

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Jos 24:15, emphasis mine)

If you have seen and been impacted the movie Courageous, please feel free to share any comments below.

Seeking to be courageous by the Holy Spirit’s strength,

Andy

 
 

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Seasons of the Heart

Over the last several years, we developed a Christmas Eve tradition of watching a movie called Seasons of the Heart.  The movie’s plot follows Jed and Martha Richards after they have settled in Oregon in 1862.  Along the wagon train, their two young daughters died suddenly and quickly from cholera.  The movie begins with the pastor delivering to them an orphaned boy named Daniel to care for.  Even though it is late summer or early fall at the start of the movie, winter has settled into Martha’s heart as she has shut out God, her husband and now Daniel.  Martha does not love or understand the spirited young boy, especially when she compares him to her two daughters.  As Christmas approaches, Martha’s heart is truly revealed as she declares that she does not want to celebrate Jesus’ birthday since he has done nothing for them.  Then, on Christmas Eve, a new season dawns in Martha’s heart after an unexpected encounter with Daniel.

How do we live during the winter season?  We usually hunker down in our homes, trying to keep the outside cold from invading our warm homes.  Yet, a winter season of the heart appears to be the opposite – the coldness in our hearts can prevent the outside warmth from coming in.  So how do we open the door to allow the warmth into our hearts?  Is it a matter of perspective?  Does God still love us when we don’t feel it?  Is God with us when we feel all alone?  Is God still in control when life’s circumstances appear to be random and happenstance?  I believe the answer to these last three questions is “Yes!” because His Word says:

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deu 31:6)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb 13:5-6).

So, I pray along with Job that in my desire to understand and explain my circumstances that I do not narrow God down to the image that I think He should be:

Then Job answered the LORD, and said, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. [God said] ‘Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?’ therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. [God said] ‘Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.’ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6, [explanatory and quotation marks added by me])

What season is your heart in?  Sometimes, I feel like winter in mine and sometimes I get a glimpse of spring.  I believe my focus can determine my season.  When I focus on God, His Word and His promises, then it feels like spring.  When I focus on my circumstances and lack of human understanding, then it feels like winter.  And some days I just wake up and feel one way or the other for no apparent reason.

I recommend Seasons of the Heart as a family friendly movie.  I especially recommend it to anyone who is grieving, especially the death of a child.  There is no sex, violence or inappropriate language.  The scenes mainly consist of dialogue between the characters.  If you would like to read more about the movie, click here.

Blessings,

Andy

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Grief, Media, Spiritual and Emotional

 

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Come To The Well – A Review

You may have gathered from some of the other posts that I enjoy listening to Casting Crowns.  I find the lyrics of their songs to be God-honoring, challenging, convicting and encouraging.  I can relate to several of them on a personal level, both from my present and past (American Dream, Praise You In This Storm, Slow Fade, Jesus Hold Me Now/Prodigal).  Perhaps my favorite song was and is Voice Of Truth from their debut album.  This was Come To The Wella personal song that we related to our son Isaac both before and after his death.  As we watched him face his giants of allergy and asthma ailments with such courage, that song seemed to play in the background of his life.  That is the reason that we chose it as one of the songs in the video created for his funeral and memorial services.

This fall, Casting Crowns released their fifth studio album titled Come To The Well.  After listening to it several times, my opinion is that this is their best musical and lyrical offering thus far.  Most of the musical content may be adaptable to a “popular” audience, noting that there are two “harder-edged” (by adult contemporary standards :-)) songs:  Courageous and My Own Worst Enemy.  I will review each song individually for its lyrical and thematic content.  Please note that these descriptions represent my interpretations of the meaning of each song.

  1. Courageous – This is the title song to the movie of the same name.  It is a call to men to get off the sidelines and be the active spiritual leaders of their families, calling them to stand “on their knees with lifted hands”.  From a personal level, this is a great challenge for me to do consistently day after day.
  2. City On The Hill – A sad account of the state of the church, where we allow our minor and often God-given differences to divide rather than work together for God’s glory.  Thus, our light is fading rather than shining bright to a searching world.
  3. Jesus, Friend Of Sinners – Often in our enthusiasm, convictions and perhaps self-righteous indignation, we cut down and condemn others rather than trying to reach their hearts as Jesus Christ did.  As a result, the world sees what we are against more than what we are for.  Dear Jesus, “open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers”.
  4. Already There – In our journey with the Lord, we often can’t understand our present circumstances or see where our path is headed.  However, the One who is the beginning and the end has orchestrated a good and masterful plan for His children through the chaos of this life.
  5. The Well – Jesus is our source of living water, as he explained to the woman at the well in Samaria.  How often do we try to satisfy the longings of our soul with things of this world that cannot ultimately satisfy.  Are we digging broken cisterns that can’t hold water?
  6. Spirit Wind – A song about Ezekiel’s vision of the Spirit bringing life to the valley of dry bones and how our spiritually dry churches are in need of a refreshing filling of the Holy Spirit, if we truly desire Him.
  7. Just Another Birthday – On her 16th birthday, a girl longs to see and hear from her father, but he does not show.  By her 19th birthday, she has still not heard from him and she has given herself away to another man, who only uses her.   Alone and pregnant, she cries out to Jesus for help, begging for a father.  At 21, she marvels at her little girl who is the gift from her heavenly Father to break the chains and draw her to Him.  This song reminds us fathers how important it is for us to be there for our daughters.
  8. Wedding Day – One of the two songs on this album that brings me to or near to tears every time.  A moving song about the wedding supper of the The Lamb and His bride, who does not realize how beautiful she really is clothed in His righteousness.  Absolutely beautiful…
  9. Angel – A song that Mark Hall wrote about his wife Melanie and how she has always been an “angel” to him ever since he met her outside their church when he was in the fifth grade.  Brenda dear – I am truly blessed to have you as my “angel”.
  10. My Own Worst Enemy – A “rocker” about our old man (our flesh) who, even though he is crucified with Christ, often wants to resurrect himself and remind us of our past and tempt us to indulge in our sinful lusts.  Only Jesus can rescue us from ourselves.  As Christians, we must daily choose to walk after the Spirit and not feed the flesh, believing that our old man is dead and gone and we are a new creation.
  11. Face Down – How often do we want to say or do something to impress God?  After we’ve exhausted ourselves, we find ourselves where we should have been all along – face down, humbled and broken at His feet.
  12. So Far To Find You – This is my second tear-jerker song.  This is a deeply personal song to me because it is about – adoption (perhaps sometime I will write about my blessed experience being a child of adoption).  Mark Hall and Steven Curtis Chapman write from their independent experiences of travelling to China to adopt their daughters, and how these girls can be slow to warm up to daddy.  The dad in the song struggles to reach his daughter’s heart because she seems to be resisting his love.  Then the dad has a revelation of how, just like his daughter resists him, he is resisting and running from God’s love.  The parallel is then revealed of how, just like the dad travelled so far to adopt his daughter, God travelled so far from heaven’s throne to the rugged cross to adopt me as his child.

If you are interested in a collection of songs that will challenge and convict you and at the same time lead you to praise God, then I highly recommend to you Casting Crowns’ Come To The Well.  I hope that you are blessed if you listen to it.

All praise and glory to God,

Andy

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Media

 

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Courageous Movie Writer/Producer Stephen Kendrick Discusses New Christian Film | Video | TheBlaze.com

This is a thorough article summarizing the movies produced by Sherwood Pictures.  I’m hoping to see “Courageous” soon 😉

Courageous Movie Writer/Producer Stephen Kendrick Discusses New Christian Film | Video | TheBlaze.com.

You can also read my previous post about this movie here:

Courageous Trailer

 

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Courageous Trailer

Below is the trailer for the upcoming movie “Courageous” from Sherwood Pictures (the makers of “Fireproof”, “Facing the Giants” and “Flywheel”).  I was looking forward to this movie before, but even more so now given our recent circumstances.  As you may discern from the preview, we may be able to relate to this a little more closely now given our recent tragedy (“A tragedy that will awaken them – to a greater calling”).

Seeking to honor my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ,

Andy

Below is a music video for a new song from Casting Crowns based on the movie.

 

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