Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is a comedy about faith and forgiveness. Gavin Stone (Brett Dalton) had international fame as a child star, but his career faded as his party life style got out of control. When his latest escapade, while visiting his hometown, lands him before a judge who demands he does community service at a local mega- church, Gavin must also stay with his estranged father (Neil Flynn). 

Discovering that the church is planning their annual Passion Play, he thinks he is a shoo-in for the starring role of Jesus. Assuring Pastor Allan Richardson (D.B. Sweeney) that he only stumbled, but is definitely a Christian---a requirement for all castmembers. Convincing the director---the pastor's daughter (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes) is more difficult, but she agrees to give him a chance. As Gavin struggles to make sense of the play, he discovers that the most important role of his life is far from Hollywood.





My Review: I confess that "fish out of water" stories almost always appeal to me, and The Resurrection of Gavin Stone certainly lives up to my hopes. The relationships with Gavin's dad and with Kelly are powerful as trust builds hesitantly, but Gavin's new trio of friends (Shawn Michaels, Tim Frank, and Patrick Gagnon) are hysterical as they help each other in unfamiliar territory. And, the scene with Torry Martin as a radio host is very funny. I have watched the movie several times and still laugh at the same things each time...and am impacted with a fresh look at familiar scripture. The scene with the "rich, young ruler" (Liam Matthews) is particularly poignant. Director Dallas Jenkins and writer Andrea Gyertson Nasfell, along with an excellent cast and crew produced a film that has roots in truth, great comedic timing, heart-tugging moments, and appealing to a wide audience.

Important Links:
ResurrectionofGavinStonemovie.com

Resurrection of Gavin Stone on IMDb
Resurrection of Gavin Stone on Facebook
Twitter: @GavinStoneMovie
Hashtag: #GavinStoneMovie

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is already available on Digital HD and will be on
 Blu-Ray™ and DVD on May 2, 2017! I highly recommend it!

GIVEAWAY: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Icon Media Group is offering one of my readers a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack! Enter on my blog by May 4, 2017 to have your name placed in a random drawing. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Seven-Mile Miracle by Steven Furtick

The final words of Jesus as He was dying on the Cross are a spiritual journey for us to explore. In Seven-Mile Miracle, Pastor Steven Furtick uses the words of Forgiveness, Salvation, Relationship, Abandonment, Distress, Triumph, and Reunion as 7 mile markers we can use in our relationship with God. Furtick says that we are more than Believers - people with faith in Jesus, more than Disciples - pupils who learn from Jesus, but also Followers of Christ. These words are an opportunity to follow Jesus closer than ever as we move forward.
Pastor Furtick has a writing style that is very captivating. Scripture, personal anecdotes, and other stories are used to bolster what he is trying to convey, and it is laid out simply so that anyone, no matter if they are on the first steps of their spiritual journey or have traveled the path for decades, can understand what he is explaining. The story that stood out the most for me in this book was the 2 followers who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It's just one of those I have read numerous times, but became more vivid to me as I read the book.

As with any book concerning spiritual growth, you will want to compare it with God Word. When doing a quick turn-around for a review, there is not as much time. But I did get a lot out of it and found it a good reminder of the significance of the words spoken on Good Friday. There is much to be learned as we travel a spiritual path and we should all pause to remember what we have learned along the journey. Seven-Mile Miracle is a good companion book to read as you reflect on the final words of Jesus and dig deeper into your Bible.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no cost to myself from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Steven Furtick is the bestselling author of Sun Stand Still, Greater, Crash the Chatterbox, and (Un)Qualified. He is also the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church, based in Charlotte NC, which since its founding in 2006 has grown to multiple locations across several states. He preaches around the world and holds the Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Steven and his wife, Holly, have three children and live near Charlotte, North Carolina.


SKID

Blissfully unaware that Atlantica Flight 1945 from Atlanta to Amsterdam is about to make aviation history, First Officer Danny McSweeney (Dustin McKamie)focuses his energies on navigating the turbulent personalities of an eccentric female captain (Cindy Hanska), a co-pilot (Brett Bower) with a talent for tactless comments and conspiracy theories, and a lead flight attendant (Laurie Cummings) with an out-sized  attitude that definitely exceeds the limits for carry-on baggage. On the other side of the cockpit door, the unscheduled in-flight entertainment includes a potbellied pig, a jittery diamond courier (Sean Gutteridge), and the recently jilted Lucy Meredith (Torey Byrne), whose personal mantra of "What Would Oprah Do?" will be challenged by the sudden appearance of her ex and his new traveling partner. On her left sits Hank Hazard (Will Crown, whose unusually polite but constant requests-prompted by his covert role as a spy for the airline-test the limits of the crew's customer service. But as Lucy and the rest of the crew discover, Hank's odd behavior is linked to a quiet faith that may play a key role in the fate of everyone on board. Especially when an unexpected traveler (Rob Gallavan) sets this already bumpy flight on a course toward the unfriendly skies. 



My Review: More than just the obvious setting similarities, Skid, directed by (Ryan Staples Scott, is reminiscent of "Airplane." The cast of quirky characters means a movie whose sole intent was to have fun and make the audience laugh. I was a bit disappointed that there was not more of the faith element I was expecting, but that was not how it was presented. The writer, Rene Gutteridge, is one of my favorite Christian authors and I love the characters she creates; she definitely kept me equally amused in the movie. I thought all of the actors were very good in their roles. Of course, I am always delighted to see Torry Martin in anything! I also enjoyed Tarah Sparks as potbellied pig owner, Anna Sue Givens. Bottom line, this movie is more in the slapstick comedy genre, so grab the popcorn, settle down on the couch, and enjoy the laughter. Sometimes you just need to suspend reality, relax, and have fun! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Champion

In the supercharged world of dirt track racing, a single mistake causes the lives of two men to change forever. One must fight for his family, the other must fight to forgive.

Dirt track racer Sean Weathers was at the top of his game...an unstoppable career, scores of fans, and an adoring daughter. When a rivalry with another racer turns personal, the ego that propelled him to success causes a tragedy, sending his life into a tailspin.

Jack Reed was attempting to make up for past mistakes. He had prospered as a businessman but failed as a family man. In a sudden turn of events, his chances for reconciliation are ripped from his grasp.
Sean and Jack's lives collide, and an unexpected bond forms between them. Working through a painful journey of healing together, they each learn about second chances and the true freedom only forgiveness can offer. 
(from the website)

Champion will be opening in select theaters May 19th. You have a great opportunity to plan ahead and take your group, organization, or community by bringing Champion to your local theater. Perhaps your church or school could buy out a show time to see as a group or as part of an outreach. Get information on how to do this at moviegrouptickets.com/champion.




My Review: I must confess that I was very pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed this movie. I agreed to watch it in advance since many family members love racing and I thought it may be a movie several of them would enjoy. Fantastic performances by the actors! Andrew Cheney (Beyond the Mask) as Sean Weathers and Gary Graham (Renegades, Star Trek: Enterprise) as Jack Reed are amazing in their roles of two flawed men who have made mistakes, but need each other as they each deal with grief and guilt. Faith Renee Kennedy is phenomenal is her role as Gracie and I expect to see much more of her. Who doesn't love Robert Amaya? This is not one of his more comical roles, but his trademark humor is a part of the film. Cameron ArnettIsaiah StrattonPortia Cue....and, honestly, all of the actors were wonderful. This is the first film that Judd Brannon has directed, and he did very well. Writers Missy Reedy and Sarah Inabnit put together a fascinating film that centered on forgiveness, but used fatherhood, friendship, and foster care as elements in a richly developed story.

There were a few moments where things seemed a bit rushed or I would think, "But what about....?" as I watched, but it kept my attention and I don't remember rolling my eyes or deeply sighing in frustration either. Those are good signs for me. By all means, bring this film to your nearest theater if it is not scheduled already. It has a powerful message in an interesting story and there are several aspects that will lead to a good discussion. I definitely recommend Champion!


LINKS:


ChampionTheMovie.com


Champion the movie on Facebook


Follow @ChampionMovie on Twitter


Follow championthemovie on Instagram


Champion on IMDb


THANK YOU to Icon Media Group for giving me the opportunity to review CHAMPION. An honest review was all required and all opinions in this review are my own.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No Easy Jesus - Jason Mitchell

No Easy Jesus by Jason Mitchell speaks on something that many Christians keep secret. That is the fact that believing in Jesus has left us feeling disappointed or disillusioned. Basically, it is because we tend to become lukewarm and take the path of least resistance. It's not because Jesus has failed any of us, but because we have failed to honestly follow Him...especially when it is uncomfortable to do so. Making the tough choices, rather than the popular ones, brings us out of our comfort zone but it will also bring us right in the center of God's will. 

Some of us stop at belief and are content with the knowledge that our salvation is secure. But there is more available! To continue growing in faith, actively follow Jesus...and become more like Him. This is not by doing things on your own, but by becoming more deeply rooted in Him and following His example. This is the basic concept of No Easy Jesus. Mitchell expounds upon the idea of doing more than just filling ourselves with more of Jesus, but of actually living a more abundant life by pouring our lives into others.

Through a series of personal stories from his own life, and others, Mitchell encourages the reader to step out in faith and obedience. It gave me much to think about and I believe it will touch the lives of many others who have become stagnant or superficial in their faith. This is a book I will read more than once and encourage others to read.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blogging Network. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Is Genesis History? DVD

IS GENESIS HISTORY? is a documentary that explores the Biblical creation story, as well as a global flood, Adam and Eve, and a myriad of other stories to be found in book of Genesis. features over a dozen scientists and scholars explaining how the world intersects with Genesis. From rock layers to fossils to lions to stars, the film shines new light on our origins, Dr. Del Tackett, creator of “The Truth Project,” serves as your guide—hiking through canyons, climbing up mountains, and diving below the sea— as he interviews several scients in an exploration of two competing views … one compelling truth.

Go to the official website: IsGenesisHistory.com for much more:


  • Educational resources
  • Scientists interviewed
  • Film location sites
  • Videos and photos
  • Downloads
  • YouVersion companion study available online or via YouVersion (The Bible) app
My Review: I have seen the film and found it to be quite interesting. Keep in mind that documentaries are not my favorite and many topics in science fail to keep my interest. My [adult] children, on the other hand, have always loved that format and I have no doubt they would find this fascinating. The scenery was gorgeous and the scientists who were interviewed gave reasonable explanations for their beliefs. And, I did love that it covered a wide variety of topics. I lack the knowledge to argue with anyone who disagrees, but I found their examples to be logical. I do believe in the Biblical version of creation and have never been convinced otherwise. No doubt this would be an excellent resource for churches, homeschoolers, or for personal interest. 
The film had several Special Events screenings in theaters but is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray! You can also purchase it on the website.

GIVEAWAY: Thanks to LEV3L Digital, I can offer 1 DVD copy to the winner of a random drawing. Contact me, preferably in a blog comment, by April 30, 2017. 

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