JANUARY MEDIA PICKS

MOVIE: What Would Jesus Do?

1h 33min 2010 -Rated G

A moving and thought-provoking story about a group of Americans – a singer, a newspaper editor, a pastor & a real estate mogul who vow to walk “in the steps of Jesus.” Every day and every decision becomes a turning point in their lives as they must ask themselves: “What Would Jesus Do?”

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Director: Thomas Makowski

Starring: John Schneider, Maxine Bahns, Adam Gregory

 

BOOK: Jesus Always: Following God’s Direction (from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling series)

This is the Bible study series I will be teaching for the next few months. It’s a great study for individuals as well as small groups. There’s a lot of thought-provoking questions accompanying a passage of scripture each week and the devotions feel like the Lord is speaking directly to your soul.

 

MUSIC: I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary by the Gaither Vocal Band

I grew up listening to the Gaithers and hearing their music is literally like a balm to my soul. It either brings up memories of listening to a record on the stereo system in my childhood home, singing along to the eight-track in my Mema’s car, or hearing it play softly in the background of her Christian bookstore. All great memories (and a wonderful reminder of what a blessed upbringing I had).

These days this particular song holds another special memory, one I know I’ll carry in my heart with the rest. This is one of my husband’s favorite solos and I hear him playing his guitar and singing it often while I’m on my computer working. I always sing along- it’s so powerful you just can’t help but join.

“And I’ll believe WHATEVER the cost…”

This song is the epitome of having a FAITH UNFADED!

 

December Media Picks

Once again it is time to select my recommendations for the best Christian song, movie, and book of the month. I like to draw upon the wide vast of media that moved me as a child as well as those I’ve discovered in my adult walk with Christ.

This month will be a mixture of the two.

We will start with “my song” from childhood. If you ask a child today what HIS song is, you might get something like Old Town Road or Let it Go. Perhaps the lyrics to Shake It Off provide a mantra crutch for tough times.

For me, however, there was one song that whipped me into jubilant frenzy: The Savior is Waiting. I’ll be honest- I’m not sure why. If I saw that we would be singing it in the service in the church bulletin, it was like Christmas morning and my birthday rolled into one.

I really can’t explain it.

All I can figure is that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, knew that by burying that song deep within me as a child, He would be able to use it to draw me to Him down the road when hymns were no longer in my heart.

The song always draws me right into His Bosom, no matter where I am.

In my early adult life, I discovered the book The Gospel According to Peanuts written in the 1960s by Robert L. Short. Short interpreted certain themes and conversations in Peanuts as consistent with parts of Christian theology, and used them as illustrations in his lectures on the Gospel. The parallelisms are interesting, especially as an avid Charlie Brown fan.

I read the comic strip occasionally but I faithfully watched every Peanuts special that came on television. I also had several of those book and album sets where you read along with the audio version of the story on a vinyl record. I loved all the characters; I can’t remember having a favorite. Maybe Charlie Brown.

As an adult, I definitely see myself in Lucy which is ironic since I always thought Lucy was annoying and bossy. Hmmm….

The movie I’ve chosen for this month is one I watched a couple of years ago, part of an incredible set of modern-day biblical tales. This one, Amazing Love, is about the story of Hosea.

Some friends of ours recently watched it and loved the message as well.

On a small youth group retreat, Pastor Stuart senses that something is amiss with the group of kids he is responsible for.  A new non-Christian girl is among them, and her presence is causing divisions among the Christian teens.  He decides to try to get through to them by telling them his creative and family-friendly rendering of the Biblical story of Hosea and his tenuous relationship with his wife Gomer.  Ultimately, each person must decide how they are going to respond and to show God’s unconditional love for all people.

It is a great Christian movie, especially if your knowledge of Hosea consisted solely of where it is found in the Old Testament, such as mine was!

 

November Picks

This month’s MEDIA PICKS are all about Jeremy Camp, who I knew little about before now. And what a shame that was! He is incredible.

I had the opportunity to see an advance screening of his movie I Still Believe, from the same producers who made the story of Bart Millard’s life in I Can Only Imagine. It is every bit as powerful.

The movie trailer…

(Bonus: I’m a HUGE Britt Robertson fan from her short-lived series Life Unexpected.)

based on the 2013 book…

16184837

 

named for the hit song…

 

about still believing in God after the death of a loved one.

I’ve been there, I know. You can run toward Him or away from Him.

Always choose toward Him.

I’ve always told people that the death of my daughter is the single hardest thing I’ve been through in my entire life. And trust me, I’ve been through A LOT. But there is something so unnatural about the death of a child that it just cuts through your heart.

Tomorrow I will attend the funeral of a dear friend’s grandson. The baby was my Kacey’s age, had barely begun to live when the Lord called him home.

I know all the wrong things not to say but what about the right things TO say? How do you come up with words that will comfort at a time when someone’s world has been torn in two?

My daughter has been gone for over 25 years and there’s still a seismic shift in my life, a chasm in which all events fall before or after her death. It is the emboldened marker in the timeline of my life.

Grief is no respector of persons; it affects us all at some point in our lives. Some find comfort in their faith while others question it. Some even fall from their faith, not understanding a God who would allow such things to happen.

I can’t tell them why this happened. I WON’T tell them the baby is in a better place (yes, it’s true but that statement infuriated me more than any other when well-meaning people tried to comfort me) or that God needed him more than they do (#2 on my list of things you don’t tell a grieving mother).

I will tell them that I understand. And I’m here.

And like Jeremy Camp said, I still believe….