Category Archives: Christian movies

I Can Only Imagine

Standard

I just finished watching the movie, I Can Only Imagine.  I don’t think it’s an accident that the next adult Sunday School lesson I’ll be teaching is from the book of Romans and titled “The Transformed Life.” God does that to me all the time! Bart Miller’s story is one of transformation, redemption, forgiveness, hope and most of all music.  His father was abusive and angry, his mother left, and for young Bart, music anchored him, lifted him up, and gave him a dream.  I won’t say more, because you should see this film for yourself.  You’ve probably heard the song, but it’s worth another listen:

 

Advertisements

Entertaining Angels– Movie Review

Standard

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Hebrews 13:2

The other night my husband and I watched the movie, Entertaining Angels:  The Dorothy Day Story.  If you don’t know anything about Dorothy Day, I can only say that learning more about her will challenge you to a more radical kind of Christian love (agape).

As a young woman, Dorothy was not a Christian, but she was always concerned with social justice.  She converted to Catholicism after bearing a child out of wedlock.  Returning to work as a journalist, she felt called to do more than simply write about the plight of the poor — she wanted to do something.  Encouraged by her friend, Peter Moran, she started the Catholic Worker Movement which published a newspaper and established “hospitality houses”  to minister to the physical needs of the homeless and hungry.  Dorothy (and her young daughter) lived with the poor and shared their lives.  Later in life she was jailed multiple times for protesting war and nuclear armament. Some have called her “the American Mother Theresa.”

Dorothy took the words of Jesus literally.  She tried to live her life as He did.  This made many people, even fellow Christians, uncomfortable.  She lived her faith.  She welcomed and loved people most of us would find undeserving and unlovable.  Was it easy?  No.  The movie depicted her frustration, anger and loneliness. Why did she continue?  She felt it was God’s call to her.  What is His call to you?

Change My Heart

Standard

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

We tend to think of the heart as the seat of the emotions, but in Bible times, it meant something a little different.  The heart was considered a person’s very essence.  The heart revealed who the person really was; the core of their being.  And guess what?  Every one of us is cursed with a sin-sick heart.  Often we try to deceive ourselves, insisting that we are basically good, but the apostle John tells us,

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”1 John 1:8

Lee Strobel was a stubborn man.  In the movie, The Case For Christ, we see just how far he was willing to go to convince himself and others that God did not exist.  He prided himself on his intelligence and objectivity.  He researched diligently; he consulted the best experts in the field.  He hardened his heart.  He wanted to rebel.

Every day, Lee’s wife, a new Christian, prayed this scripture for him:

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

She begged God to change Lee’s heart and her prayers were answered.  Only God can soften hearts.  Only God can make bad men and women good.   He loves us, forgives us and saves us.  Has He changed your heart?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful for Others –Hebrews Chapter 12

Standard

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before us, looking to Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1

Have you ever heard a Christian talk about their ‘life verse’?  Well, this one from Hebrews is mine.  To me, this verse and this whole chapter is about persevering in the Christian walk.  How do we do that?  By keeping our focus on Jesus, and being inspired and encouraged by the example of other faithful Christians.

In the last chapter, we heard about all the great people of the past, who endured trials for their faith, even before the promises of God were fully revealed.  It’s been called “the hall of fame of faith.” This hall of fame is not yet complete.  Now we’re the ones running the race while the host that went before cheers us on.  Sometimes we’ll get tired;  sometimes God will discipline us;  sometimes sin will trip us up.  We need to keep going, with the help of Christ and our fellow believers.

Who’s in your faithful “hall of fame”?  Your parents?  Your pastor?  Your childhood Sunday School teachers?  Your spouse?  A friend?  Write down your list, and then say a prayer of thanks for those who have molded and shaped you, and helped you to keep going.

What Stands Out?-Hebrews Chapter 5

Standard

“For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.  He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.  Because of this, he is obligated to sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people.  And no on takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, as Aaron was.” Hebrews 5:1-4

Maybe it’s because I’m a pastor’s wife, or maybe because this month we are studying the church, but the verses above stand out to me in Chapter 5.  Of course, the chapter goes on to tell us that Jesus has become our high priest, and he is both the perfect priest and the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Still, here on earth we also have earthly priests, the ministers who serve our congregations. The AFLC calls them “servant pastors.”  Hopefully our pastors try to set a good example, to point us toward Jesus, to teach us and lead us. This is not an easy job, but one they have been called by God to do.  However, they are NOT perfect.  Setting them on a pedestal will lead to disillusionment and disappointment.

Pastors sin and need to repent everyday, just like we do. Sometimes they feel discouraged. Sometimes they feel alone. Sometimes they need understanding and support. Sometimes they need forgiveness. They always need prayer and encouragement.  There is an old saying, “if you want a better preacher, pray for the one you have.”

So, I hope on reading these verses, you will remember your Pastor, the Elders and other leaders of your congregation and do something to let them know you appreciate the work they do for God and for you.  They are God’s gift to your church.

God loves you and so do I!

 

A Story of Forgiveness

Standard

corrie ten boom - the ultimate forgiveness story_thumb

The story of Corrie ten Boom has been told countless times through the years.  Yet, even today, it remains one of the most beloved stories of forgiveness this world has ever known.  During World War II, she and her family saved Jews from being sent off to concentration camps by hiding them in a room at the top of their home.  When Nazi officers learned what was going on, the house was raided and Corrie was sent to a prison, political concentration camp, and finally a death camp.  But, miraculously, she survived.

As you can imagine, there were many moments of hardship that Corrie had to overcome even after the war ended.  One such moment was at a church where she saw a former SS man who guarded her in the concentration camp. As the man approached her to shake her hand, everything in her reminded her of the horrid pain this man had brought upon her. And even though Corrie often spoke of the need to forgive others, she knew she couldn’t forgive this man in her own strength. God had to do it through her. Corrie writes, “When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.” God gave Corrie the strength to forgive and love the man when she could not.

Perhaps you’ve never had to deal with such heavy forgiveness in your life as Corrie ten Boom has, but there are many times in life when we will have to both forgive and be forgiven.  Below are four things to keep in mind when you forgive someone.

1. Realize everyone has to be forgiven.  It will save you a lot of trouble to understand early on that we all will make mistakes and need forgiveness at some point.

2. Forgiveness isn’t earned.  Grace is undeserved favor that no one can earn.  Therefore, forgiveness should be given with no expectations in return and no strings attached.

3. Don’t bring it up again.  Sometimes people forgive like they’re burying the hatchet but keeping the handle uncovered in case they need to use it again.  This only prolongs the conflict.

4. Make the decision and your heart will catch up.  If you wait to “feel ready” to forgive, it’s never going to happen.  Rather, you must make the decision to forgive and soon enough your heart will catch up.

Is there someone you need forgive right now?  Take courage from Corrie ten Boom:  “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred.  It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”

Read more about Corrie’s life in her books: The Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord.  The Hiding Place was also made into a movie.

Dead Man Walking

Standard

I remember watching this film years ago and then reading the book by Sister Helen Prejean.  It is a wonderful depiction of Christian forgiveness and empathy for a person many would consider unforgivable. The movie is pretty graphic, but I would definitely recommend the book.  Her statement that none of us would want to be remembered by the worst thing we had ever done is a challenging thought.

 

Dead Man Walking

In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun, started corresponding with a death row inmate in Angola Prison in Louisiana. The experience changed the direction of her ministry and propelled her into activism against the death penalty. Tim Robbins has taken material from her book Dead Man Walking and reshaped it into one of the most inspiring and positive portraits of Christian ministry ever put on film. Susan Saradon won an Academy Award for her luminous portrait of Sister Helen Prejean.

Dead Man Walking (1995) presents a rounded and riveting look at the life and work of this nun who demonstrates the spiritual practices of listening, forgiveness, and compassion with a death row prisoner and with the parents of his victims. This unforgettable film exposes the cruelty of death by lethal injection and offers instead an alternate path based on love. It also shows that hate is the worst prison of all.

This film runs 122 minutes and is rated R for a depiction of rape and murder. For a review of the film and a plot synopsis, click here.

The War Room – it’s all about prayer

Standard

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6

I had heard about this movie through the local Christian Radio station and I was intrigued.  It sounded like a movie I’d like to watch.  Now, me saying this is strange as there isn’t a lot of movies out that I really want to see.  I don’t even watch TV.  I’m more a book person.

I did get this movie and watched it soon after I got it.  It is so very good.  It is all about prayer, and it certainly isn’t boring as you would first think.  The one of the main characters is an older lady who has learned to go into her “room” to pray for others.  This room was a walk-in closet so it wasn’t big or elaborate.  She meets a younger woman through listing of her home for sale.  Now this younger woman is trying to balance work and family and is now having some marital problems.  So the older woman starts to counsel the younger on the power of prayer.  If I give you any more of this story I’ll have to make the title of this blog “Spoiler Alert!” so I’m just going to say that the story will captivate you will all the wonderful things that happen because of the power of prayer.

I wanted to watch this movie because I felt that my prayer life was, not bad, but not great either.  It’s hard to find time to get away and pray.  I feel that when you pray you should really try to connect with the Lord and when I feel that I’m not connecting is when I have a tendency to not pray as much.  But now I realize that I should keep it up.

I am a person that prays off and on all day.  I’ll hear something on the radio and I’ll raise a prayer for those people or if I’m struck by a beautiful day I’ll raise a prayer of thanks.  I might be paying bills and pray that the Lord will meet our needs.  I’ll hear or see someone and I’ll pray for them on the spot.  All of this is silent prayer or as I like to call it “Heart Prayer”.  The only problem with this kind of prayer is that you don’t have any quiet or meditation.

In response to seeing this movie I’m trying to find time, usually in the evening, to sit and think about my day and write in a journal.  I write my prayer concerns in there too.  I’m new to journaling so I hope to keep this up.

Does anyone else out there struggle with these concerns?  Have you found your own solutions?  Let me know!  I’d love to hear some suggestions.