Sunday, April 15, 2018

When Faith Catches Fire

When Faith Catches Fire by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Dr. Robert Crosby is the story of the passionate fires of worship flaring among Latino and Hispanic churches worldwide. Discover how you can experience a more dynamic walk with God! Sharing compelling insights and personal stories, Rodriguez and Crosby will help you become immersed in the Spirit; transform your friendships, family, and community; and embrace unity amidst diversity in the church.

My review: The book is well written and has some stories and statistics I fully agree with...especially the reminders that ALL Hispanics and Latinos do not think alike or vote alike. I have never understood why the myth of "Group Think" continues to be popular among journalists and analytical "experts." Much of the information, especially stories of Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr., was things I already knew, too. Although I was VERY struck by the statement that many of the White churches were more concerned with handing out hope and the Black churches cared more about help. I am not sure I entirely agree with the statement, but I do believe that we need a combination of both help and hope.

To be fair, I am not exposed much to the Hispanic community, so I am unaware of any bridge being built to inspire the Church by Hispanics and Latinos. According to the book:
 At the core of this dramatic shift is a call to embrace a more soulful, passionate faith. In this powerful book, Christians will gain valuable insights on how to:
  •  Fully experience the joy of God and the passion of His Spirit.
  • Develop a true sense of unity amidst diversity in the body of Christ.
  • Make an eternal impact on their families, communities, and the world.
I have heard Samuel Rodriguez preach 2 or 3 times and am always inspired and revitalized by what the Holy Spirit is doing through him and the message he has. However, I struggled to get through both this book, and another that I read. His fire and passion do not translate into the written word as well for me...but I still recommend him based on what I hear. It was another perspective to look at when trying to see what the Church needs to be doing today, but I did not entirely catch the vision...at least to the point of disregarding all other views.

I received a copy of the book at no cost to myself from Blogging For Books.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

I Can Only Imagine

The story behind the song that went beyond the Christian music charts into the mainstream and brought the group, MercyMe, into prominence in Christian music. The movie is based on the life of musician Bart Millard and the experiences that lead to the writing of the song. Obviously, the film can only touch on a few highlights of his life and career, and J Michael Finley strikes the right note, not only with his amazing musical gift but as an actor portraying Bart Millard. The stand-out for me was Dennis Quaid. I have always been a fan and his performance as an abusive father was outstanding. "I Can Only Imagine" is a film that shows that forgiveness and redemption are always possible and the movie and song tell of the hope many believe in today. There were both tears and laughter from the audience of the sold-out screening I attended and I heard many positive comments. The Erwin Brothers step up their game with each film they make. Congratulations to cast and crew for a job well done.

Faithful Workouts with Michelle Spadafora

Faithful Workouts was started in 2009 when Michelle Spadafora felt God calling her to bring God into all aspects of her life. The goal was to invite others to a place where they could get healthier physically, spiritually, and emotionally in a caring environment with others on the same journey to encourage one another. 

The major difference betweem Faithful Workouts and other fitness plans is that God is the center of all. Keeping it simple is also stressed. There are simple menus and recipes available, and the workouts can all be done in the privacy and comfort of your own home. The purpose is for good health. 



The benefits of signing up to join Faithful Workouts is access to ✓ 200 Online Workouts for every fitness level
✓ Menu plans, grocery lists, cookbook and videos  (gluten free , dairy free, vegetarian options!)
✓ Faith & Fitness Calendar to make getting healthy simple!
✓ A forum to keep you inspired, connected & accountable
✓ Podcasts so you can take us with you on your walk, bike, or run

Faithful Workout website

Faithful Workouts - Facebook 
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Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Daddy Is In Heaven

My Daddy is in Heaven 
is the story of Becca (Jenn Gotzon Chandler), Adam (Lane Garrison) and their 5-year-old daughter Acie (Riley St John). They lived a life full of joy as they worked together on their farm, but their perfect family is torn apart when Adam is tragically killed in an ATV accident on the night of their annual Inependence Day celebration. Adam's death caused Becca's worl to spin out of control as she struggled to make sense of WHY her husband died.

Unable to cope with life without Adam, Becca leaves Acie with her grandfather Rick (Corbin Bernsen), and goes for an extended visit with her former classmate, June (Jill Morrison). Due to her shattered faith, Becca's anger with God soon has her rebellioslyslipping into the "Party Girl" lifestyle that June leads. All comes to a climax when Becca is arrested for Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct, causing her to realize that she needed to return to her child and her father. Deciding to accompany her friend, June and Becca board a bus only to encounter an unexpected event that has a profound impact on the lives of both women as they journey home.


My Daddy's in Heaven is directed by Waymon Boone and written by Boone, Joseph Nasser, and Noelle Nelson. Other actors in the film include Lorenzo Lamas, TC Stallings, Lee Benton, AJ Knight and Jim E Chandler. The movie will be available on DVD and Digital March 13th at Walmart, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU and On-Demand via local cable providers.

REVIEW: To clear possible confusion, I want to say that this film is very loosely based on the book, My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus by Rebecca Crownover. The book was an explanation to her very young daughter trying to help her understand her father's death. The first names and death are the same, but the movie is a story of a young woman coming to grips with the death of her husband and feeling abandoned by God.

The downsides were some of the storylines were a bit hurried although that could have been with editing rather than writing. I also would have liked to have had a few more minutes to get to know Adam and a bit of backstory. I wasn't crazy about all of the characters, but each was in the story for a reason.

Beyond the nitpicking above, I loved the movie. I have been in a similar situation as many of the roles played and the actors breathed life into characters I could identify with as part of my life. My story is not identical to Becca's, but I have been a young mother who felt abandoned by God and went through a period of anger, bitterness, and rebellion. Jenn Gotzon was brilliant as Becca! She made me laugh, she made me cry, and she skillfully portrayed a woman whose world had been overturned to a point she was spinning out of control. I could feel the many emotions as Becca struggled to hide the pain and look for a new normal while both running from and grasping the past.

The chemistry between Jenn Gotzon Chandler and Jill Morrison (June) was tangible and seemed as natural as breathing. June was one of my favorite characters and Jill played the role with a charm and passion that was irresistible. Of course, Corbin Bernson and Lorenzo Lamas gave amazing performances. Rick (Corbin) had a rock solid dependability that masked his inner fears and vulnerability. TC Stallings had a small but pivotal role that touched me as deeply as it did the movie characters. And, Jim Chandler (Jenn Gotzon's husband) was low-key but very charming as Nick; it was a delight to see Jim and Jenn together.


Despite a few discrepancies here and there, I have to give Daddy Is In Heaven 5 stars. The casting of the major roles (and some minor) was excellent and the story of hope and healing after a terrible loss is sure to transform lives. Broken lives and shattered dreams may cause us to stumble for a while but God is always standing by to welcome us back home.

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DISCLAIMER: The film publicist, Lovell-Fairchild, provided me with a screener for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own
.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mama was Baptist, but...

It was the Winter of 1963...and I had a really bad cough. The doctor told my mother to make a mixture of honey, lemon juice, and WHISKEY! 😮 She was instructed to give me a spoonful as needed until the cough was gone. My mother was distraught! Her only daughter's health was of utmost importance...but, BUT----we were Baptists!! How was she to follow Dr.'s orders?

Fortunately, our neighbor, Lucy, had a working knowledge of whiskey... and needed a ride (since she was no longer allowed to drive). Mom parked as near to the road as possible outside the closest liquor store (Ms Lucy was able to share directions), and cowered down in the front seat, cautioning me to lie still in the back seat. She further instructed me that should anyone approach us we were to tell them that the car broke down. Apparently, lying was a lesser sin than being parked outside a liquor store!
 
That memory stayed with me. I admit to drinking alcohol a few times in the years ahead, but I was 26 years old before I ever walked into a liquor store...and that was only because I needed milk for my kids and nothing else was open early on a Sunday morning. And that's the truth! Not all of my mama's instructions followed me throughout my life, but on the other hand, I am now 62 years old and have never been in a POOL HALL!




Today I have another cold. I have some honey, and I have some lemon juice. I even have teaspoons. Of course, no whiskey; Mama would be so proud. LOL!  But, this reminds me of another song...



 

Come to think of it, the only times I have been around my mom's family and alcohol, it involved teaspoons: homemade cough syrup, my grandmother's attempt to drink a little wine before eating to relax muscles making her get strangled (2 spoonfuls and she claimed she was too dizzy to continue), and a bizarre Thanksgiving that involved tasting a bottle of home-made wine that someone gave my aunt. Each of the adults (who were willing) tasted a spoonful and quoted Scripture about wine and/or drunkenness. They were quite knowledgeable about this topic and Scripture! Of course, I was never handed a spoon or offered a chance to try it. After all, I was a child---only 36 years old!
 

#MamaWasBaptist #ILoveMyFamily

Friday, March 9, 2018

Paul, Apostle of Christ

PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is the story of two men. Luke (Jim Caviezel), as a friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul (James Faulkner), who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians, and does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest ways possible. Before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church.

Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He has survived so much—floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure—yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world. (Website)



Love is the only way. This film covers the life of Paul as he transforms from Saul the persecutor to Paul the persecuted after a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. One of the major influences on the world in history, Paul continues to make an impact today. His story gives hope to those who expect no mercy or redemption and we are able to gain a more visible insight into the courageousness to follow Christ...no matter the cost.

I highly recommend you watch all of the videos connected with the film that are on the Paul playlist on YouTube. Writer/Director Andrew Hyatt, Rich Peluso (Executive VP of Affirm Films), and several of the actors share more about the making of the film in these videos.

GIVEAWAY: You can win TWO (2) tickets to see Paul, Apostle of Christ!! The film opens nationwide on March 23, 2018. Simply respond on my blog or in comments on this post with #Paulmovie to be entered. The drawing ends at 3:00P CDT on March 19, 2018. Residents of USA only.



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Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Star

The Star, an animated heart-warming tale of faith and friendship, is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital. Featuring the vocal talents of Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Patricia Heaton, Kristen Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Oprah Winfrey, Tracey Morgan, and Tyler Perry, the film is a delight to young, old, and everyone in-between. Children will be delighted with the brightly drawn, loveable animals (*Word of Caution: There are a couple of scary dogs, so film is rated PG.) and older kids (and adults) will enjoy the humor. The music is outstanding! The soundtrack includes the Golden Globe® nominated (Best Original Song) "The Star" by Mariah Carey and Marc Shaiman. Writers Carlos Kotkin and Simon Moore, plus director Timothy Reckart are to be commended for this story of the birth of Christ as told through the animals.


Sony Pictures Animation's story of a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.






THE STAR is filled with more than an hour of engaging bonus materials including the “Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends,” a dance along to “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World, plus a collection of fun lyric videos, “how-to” crafts videos and much more! Additionally, there is an awesome LIVE Guided Bible Study with Star Executive Producer DeVon Franklin that is “interactive and super engaging." Follow the instructions to get inspired! TheStarMovie. This feature works through Messenger on Facebook.
*Digital extras only available on iTunes Extras and VUDU Extras.



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Buy Now and Bonus Features
The Star Official Site

Star Facebook
Star Instagram
Star Twitter


No giveaway this time, but thanks to #FlyBy for sending additional info for me to use in this review. I did see #TheStar in theaters and can highly recommend it!




ABOUT SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES ANIMATION
Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated and family entertainment for audiences around the world.  The studio is following its worldwide comedy hitsthe record-breaking monster comedies Hotel Transylvania and Hotel Transylvania 2, the hybrid live action/animated blockbusters The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2, and the mouth-watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movieswith the fully animated reboot Smurfs: The Lost Village available on digital and Blu-ray now; a surprising and comic take at the secret world inside our phones with The Emoji Movie now on Digital HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD; the inspirational The Star currently in theaters.  Next will be Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation from director Genndy Tartakovsky in July 2018; and the groundbreaking animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse from the minds of Chris Miller and Phil Lord in December 2018The studio, in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed feature filmsthe CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas; and the Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventureThe Pirates! Band of MisfitsIn 2007, Surf's Up also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film; a sequel entitled Surfs Up 2: WaveMania is now available on digital and DVD.  The division, whose first feature film Open Season led to a very successful movie franchise including the brand new Open Season: Scared Silly now available on digital, DVD and Blu-ray, was founded in 2002.  Sony Pictures Animation is a division of the Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group.
·        Website: http://www.sonypicturesanimation.com/
·        Twitter: http://twitter.com/sonyanimation
·        Tumblr: http://sonyanimation.tumblr.com/
 
ABOUT AFFIRM FILMS
AFFIRM Films produces, acquires and markets films that inspire, uplift and entertain audiences around the world. Since releasing its first theatrical film-The Kendrick Brothers’ drama, Facing the Giants in 2007, AFFIRM Films has released numerous quality faith-based films including Soul Surfer, based on the inspirational true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton; When the Game Stands Tall, the sports drama inspired by the story of the De La Salle Spartans; War Room, which hit #1 on the domestic box office chart; Risen, which followed the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer; and was the faith-based marketing partner with Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures for their films Miracles from Heaven and the #2 faith-based film of all time, Heaven Is for Real. AFFIRM Films also released All Saints