Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Footprints

Beyond the Mask 

If you haven't gotten your ticket yet to this incredible Christian action-adventure movie, make sure to get it today!  The premiere is April 6th but depending on where you live, you'll find showings at other dates as well.  Please note that NO tickets will be sold at the theater - tickets can ONLY be purchased online.  Make sure to go see this amazing movie and support wholesome, godly entertainment that is high quality!

120 Disciples Turned the World Upside-Down

Leah Good, author of Counted Worthy, shares an encouraging article on her Teens Interceding for Orphans site.  She writes, "Now add God into the mix. Image 120 people working, not to advance a business, but to advance a kingdom, a purpose, a cause. And not working alone, but working with and for an all powerful, all knowing God. Ordinary people with an extraordinary hope and purpose. That’s the group that inhabited the upper room, and they shook the world."  Click here to read the rest!

Rejoicing because He lives!
Joanna, Krista, Megan, Emily & Victoria

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Cross and the Humble

 photo humble_zps6js3vu0n.jpg

Humility. It's a confusing issue. The Bible is very clear that God hates pride and loves humility, but for the past few years I've struggled to grasp what, exactly, this elusive character quality is. And I think I've finally learned a few things about it.

Turning our gaze to the cross is the most effective way to kill pride. There is no room for the arrogant at the foot of the cross; and no room for me to be conceited when I see God crushing His Son for me.

I once read in a magazine one of those "true story" things where a girl wrote in and shared how she had received a life-saving transplant at the age of five. The man who saved her life became her hero, and even though he himself died in 9/11 as a firefighter, saving others' lives, she wrote that she tries to live her life to make him proud he saved it.

We ought to have a similar attitude, when we realize (which we never fully can) what God has rescued us from. Not to make Him proud, but out of our huge debt of love. We want to obey Him because of what He has done for us; we serve Him because we love Him.

And the essence of humility is keeping the eyes of our hearts fixated on the cross. Humility, in practical matters, does not mean trying to undermine our talents - when someone praises us, or we make the team or are recognized for something we really do well, humility is not putting ourselves down and saying, "Thanks, but I'm really not all that great." That's false pride. If you are talented, you are talented. But humility is knowing where the talent comes from. It's acknowledging that while you may be great at something, the greatness is not inherently in you, because everything you are and have is from God.

It's hard, because I know I at least like glory for myself. (That sounds really terrible in black and white, doesn't it?) And is suspect I'm not alone. CJ Mahaney reminds us how horrible that pride really is with his definition, "Competing in my heart for sovereignty with God." Ouch. When we give ourselves glory that should go to God, that is precisely what we are doing. Pastor Steve Brown quips on that issue that, "You think the Trinity should be expanded to include you!"

So the answer is we're never going to stop learning about and working towards humility. But only God can change our hearts; and the more we focus on His great love and redemption, the less there is room for pride and the more we will give Him the glory that belongs to Him. And that's humility.

(For more on this topic, I cannot recommend CJ Mahaney's book "Humility: True Greatness" highly enough!)

-- from the archives

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Movie Review: Beyond the Mask

Title: Beyond the Mask

Rating (1=lowest, 5=highest): 5+

Company: Burns Family Studios

Produced by:  Aaron Burns

Directed by: Chad Burns 

Script by:  Paul McCusker (Adventures in Odyssey), Stephen Kendrick (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous), and Brennan Smith.

Actors:  Andrew Cheney (Seasons of Gray), Kara Killmer (Chicago Fire), John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones) 

Synopsis:  The leading mercenary for the British East India Company, Will Reynolds has just been double-crossed and now is on the run in the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of the woman with whom he's never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte - as well as Ben Franklin - while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions. Coming to theaters Spring, 2015, Beyond the Mask is a revolutionary new family film that brings history to life in a faith-filled adventure celebrating grace, liberty, and the true freedom that can only be found in Christ. (source: Beyond the Mask)

 (Picture courtesy of Beyond the Mask)

Rating: PG

Language:  No foul language is used in this film.

Endorsements:  Focus on the Family, Stephen Kendrick (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous), Dr. Jeff Myers with Summit Ministries, Dr. Del Tackett with Focus on the Family's Truth Project, HSLDA, and more.

The Good:  There's so much good to say about Beyond the Mask that I know I can't say it all (plus, I don't want to give out any spoilers!).  There's a bit of everything in Beyond the Mask that every good movie needs - humor, a good message, action and adventure, history, romance and a fabulous soundtrack (one that I'm itching to get my hands on as soon as it's released!).  A winner in my book.  You can be sure I've been talking a lot about this movie these days, especially since I had the privilege of pre-screening it recently, and can't wait until it hits the big screens in April!

The Bad:  I couldn't find anything bad in Beyond the Mask.  The script, the acting, the film quality, the message - it's all there in top, Hollywood quality form - except it's better than Hollywood because it has a message of redemption and identity in Christ that is so needed in our day and age!

The Spiritual: The whole movie is a message of redemption and identity - both of which Will Reynolds discovers can only come from Christ.  The Gospel is clearly shown but isn't preachy or in your face.  Instead, the movie takes the viewer along for the ride and lets the message flow with the story.  Very beautifully and tastefully done and theologically sound.

(Picture courtesy of Beyond the Mask)

The Verdict:  Go see Beyond the Mask in theaters!  I wholeheartedly recommend this incredible movie and feel that people of all ages and walks of life will not only enjoy it, but also be impacted by it.  May God use Beyond the Mask mightily in our nation!

How You Can Help:  First, buy tickets (see below)!  Second, share the trailer and the website of Beyond the Mask via your blog, website, facebook, twitter, Google+, email and so forth.  We need more amazing, high-quality movies like Beyond the Mask with a message that the world needs to hear.  Please join us and share on social media to spread the word!
Tickets:  Because Burns Family Studios is releasing Beyond the Mask on a theater-on-demand-basis, tickets can ONLY be purchased on their website in advance.  The next two weeks are crucial as to whether theaters across the country and in all 50 states will get the minimum tickets (65 on average) reserved ahead of time and be guaranteed to show the movie.

NO tickets will be sold at the theater.  Please get your ticket today and help prove to Hollywood that wholesome, godly, family friendly movies with Christian values are in demand.

Be sure to watch the amazing trailer below and then purchase your tickets today!