Friday, January 13, 2012

Faithful Fridays ~ Food for the Senses

Hi everyone!  Happy Friday!  Today, I want to encourage you guys with some suggestions of good, wholesome, Christian family movies.  It seems like it is so hard to find good ones from the stuff that Hollywood dishes out!  But we're beginning to see more and more awesome movies that are not put out by Hollywood, but are put out by small production companies and even churches!  But before you roll your eyes and dismiss the idea with a "Churches can't make movies" kind of response, please read on!  :)

I started Faithful Fridays so that Christians could have one designated day a week (although I don't think they should keep it to just one day) to share something about their Faith--a prayer request, answered prayer, Bible verse, something God's laid on your heart, etc. To participate in Faithful Fridays, just grab the button above for your post along with a link to my blog somewhere in your post, too. After you've published your post, please come let me know in your comment that you participated and leave me a link to your blog. I'd love to come read your post!

My mama participates on her blog, Country Girl at Home...
Ms. Retha participates on her blog, Retha's Rambles...
Ms. Patty participates on her blog, Blessings Beyond...
And Rachel participates on her blog, Stand In Don't Fit Out.
What we see, what we hear, and what we read about, is ultimately going to be what we think about, and what we think about is ultimately going to be what we do.
So, if we want to keep our actions godly, what do we do?  We find good, wholesome food for the senses.  Movies.  Books.  Music.
This week, I want to share with you some great movies that we've watched recently.  These are the kinds of movies that need to be seen by Christians all over the world to show the world (and Hollywood) that this is what we want!
First of all, Courageous.

Courageous will come out on DVD on January 17th, 2012.  Some of you might have seen it in theaters and pre-bought it.  My brother and his girlfriend did that for my daddy.  About the movie:

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.

While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.

When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?

Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.

Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.

I have to say that Courageous is one of the best movies I have ever seen.  Really.  The only movies that could even compete with it are To Save a Life, Flywheel, and maybe Soul Surfer (see below for all three).  Flywheel is made by the same church!  It was their first movie.  Sherwood Church has really improved their movie quality and the actors and actresses have, too!  And to prove to you just how great of a movie Courageous is, I saw it 3 times!  I saw it first with my parents and then begged my grandparents to take me to see it (and that, my pop said, was his movie for about the next 10 years--they don't go to the movies much!  :P).  And then, when we were at our cabin getaway with my friend Christina, we went out to the little two-theater cinema there and saw it!  I balled like a baby the first time I saw it.  I'm not one to cry much in movies, but the tears were pouring at some points!  But don't get the wrong idea--this isn't a sad movie. 

With Courageous, one minute you're crying, the next minute you're laughing like crazy, and the next you're at the edge of the seat as the officers (dads) head off to catch a criminal.  If I could use 3 words to describe this movie, they would be encouraging, convicting, and inspiring.  Encouraging, because for one thing it's encouraging and refreshing to see godly, biblical movies like this one for the whole family.  It's convicting and inspiring because that's the essence of the movie--to call fathers up all over the world to a higher standard of fathering--raising up godly children for this next generation!

Courageous is rated PG-13 but has no foul language or anything unacceptable.  I think this rating is for the minor violence and drug references (they're cops).  You can visit the movie's website HERE.

Also from Sherwood Films is Facing the Giants.

This one came out in 2006...and may be one of my favorite movies by Sherwood besides Courageous.  About the movie:

An action-packed drama about a Christian high school football coach who uses his undying faith to battle the giants of fear and failure. In six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never led his Shiloh Eagles to a winning season. After learning that he and his wife Brooke face infertility, Grant discovers that a group of fathers are secretly organizing to have him dismissed as head coach. Devastated by his circumstances, he cries out to God in desperation. When Grant receives a message from an unexpected visitor, he searches for a stronger purpose for his football team. He dares to challenge his players to believe God for the impossible on and off the field. When faced with unbelievable odds, the Eagles must step up to their greatest test of strength and courage. What transpires is a dynamic story of the fight between faith and fear.

I love this quote from the movie:

Facing the Giants has so many things that so many people can relate to--disappointment, failure, not being able to have kids.  Facing the Giants is rated PG. 

And the third movie from Sherwood Pictures that I want to share with you is Flywheel.  Flywheel was the first movie that Sherwood Church made.  The quality in picture and acting isn't as great as in the other movies, but still--the movie is awesome!  Flywheel came out in 2003.  About the movie:

Weary of the masks he wears and the lies he tells, an unscrupulous used car salesman resolves to win back his wife, become a better role model for his son, and stop ripping off his unsuspecting customers in the inspirational feature directorial debut of Facing the Giants director Alex Kendrick. Jay Austin (Kendrik) is the kind of used car salesman that customers fears most - dishonest, manipulative, and constantly smiling as he sends another lemon driving off the lot. Eventually Austin's deceptive ways catch up with him, prompting him to take serious stock of his life from the ground up. Now, as Austin begins working to get his classic convertible back on the road, the repairs he performs under the hood begin to reflect the personal transformation that he is going through at home and at work. Determined to turn his life around for good this time, Austin soon finds out just how good things can get when he begins applying the teachings of Jesus Christ to everyday life.

(Synopsis written by Jason Buchanan, Rovi)

I got Flywheel for Christmas.  We love this movie!  Every aspect of Jay Austin's life is failing--his relationship with Jesus (if he has one), his relationship with his wife, his relationship with his son, and even the car lot he owns.  But God impresses upon his heart and changes him and Jay Austin sets out to right everyone he's wronged--Jesus, his wife, his son--and the customers he has ripped off.  And that's where it gets fun.  :)

The Grace Card was also made by a church--a church in a city not far from us.  And this movie has the greatest quality--I had no clue that it was made by a church until I watched the behind the scenes features!  About the movie:

Everything can change in an instant ... and take a lifetime to unravel.

When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and just about everyone else.

Mac's rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he's partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.

Mac's home life is as frightening as anything he encounters on the streets of Memphis. Money is tight and emotions run high as he constantly argues with his wife and his surviving son Blake, who is hanging with the wrong crowd and in danger of flunking out of school.

Sam Wright also never expected to be a police officer. He has a calling—to be a minister like his Grandpa George. But leading a small, start-up church doesn't always put enough food on the table for a young family, so Sam doubles as a police officer. With his new promotion to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate.

Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it's impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one?

Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God's grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD ... and never underestimate the power of God's love.

The Grace Card stars Michael Joiner, Michael Higgenbottom, and Louis Gossett Jr. 
This movie shows how God's grace and foregiveness can help us with things like hurt, racism, tragedy, and loss.  You can visit the movie's website HERE.
To Save a Life is another favorite. 
Every tween/teen that is 12 or 13 and up should see this movie.  They really should.  And honestly, so should every adult!  Because it shows so sincerely what teens today are dealing with and what they will come across in kids their age--and how they can deal with it...with Jesus Christ!
I will warn you that it is rated PG-13 because of some language and a "cutting scene" and a "bedroom scene" that are both very short and okay for tweens/teens if a parent is watching the movie with them.  Parental guidance is really great when watching this movie not only for these parts but because a parent can add words along the way that will help the tween/teen understand and apply it better to their life.  There is a kit for groups, congregations, and youth groups that includes the "church version" that shortens these scenes even more and has less language--only what is needed for the story line and there is one minor word that is important to the story line.  However, when you buy it on DVD and not with the group kid, you get the "theatrical version".  You can read more about that below.
You can see the review and the follow-up review that my mama wrote HERE and HERE.
I beg you though, please don't let this scare you off--this movie needs to be seen!  Here's what's written about the movie:
Addressing the real-life challenges of teens and choices they face, To Save a Life dares to ask, “What’s your life going to be about?” Its powerful message speaks to those who desire to develop a life lived deliberately for Christ.

To Save a Life has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America "due to mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images, and sexuality." Unfortunately, teens today are hurting and facing challenges like never before—we see it in our own youth groups and local schools. (So does the film's writer, Jim Britts, who is an experienced youth worker.) Because of that, To Save a Life doesn't shy away from tough topics. It deals with social divisions, school violence, cutting, suicide, teen pregnancy and divorce–not in a graphic way, but in a way authentic to too many teens' real lives. And it points to a way out of these problems through following God's path and reaching out to others. Ultimately, it asks the question "What's my life going to be about?" and dares teens to answer with boldness, honesty, and open-handedness.

To Save a Life is teens' story, told in their voice with their music. Unfortunately, teens today are hurting and facing challenges like never before. This movie takes a realistic view of teen life and addresses themes of acceptance, choices, consequences, hurt, and love. It also deals with critical issues such as social divisions, school violence, cutting, suicide, underage drinking, teen pregnancy and divorce. The movie shows in practical, authentic ways how every action has ripple-effect on others. That's why we're working to make To Save a Life more than just a movie. The movie demonstrates the power of reaching out to students who are hurting. We want to see every teen have the opportunity to address these issues in a safe environment like a group study and recognize that his or her choices and actions can bring hope and love into a world of pain.

From my understanding, there are two versions, the “theatrical” and the “church”. Here’s what it has to say about that:

A few pastors felt that some families may be concerned with seeing certain content in To Save a Life at a church. With a desire to keep the reality of the film without sacrificing the story, we've developed a version of the movie with a decreased amount of bad language, a shortened bedroom scene and removal of more than half of the cutting scene.

The party scenes have been left as is and some bad language remains, but only where it was absolutely necessary for the story line or where editing it out would have created a noticeable gap in the flow of the movie.

Synopsis: When his childhood friend’s life ends in tragedy, Jake Taylor decides to use his influence as big man on the campus to make sure that it never happens again. Crossing social barriers, he befriends a loner, Johnny Garcia. When Johnny’s life quickly spirals out of control, will Jake have what it takes to stop him from the same tragic fate?

Like I said--everyone needs to see this movie!  You can visit the movie's website HERE.

And we love the movie Soul Surfer
You have probably heard the story of surfer Bethany Hamilton.  When Bethany was just 13 (less than a year older than me), she lost her arm in a tragic shark accident.  But, she--with her faith in Jesus Christ, as she proclaims often--conquered fear and the odds and everything else that was against her and began surfing again and using her now national platform to make a difference in the world under the name of Jesus!  More about the Bethany's story:
It came, literally, out of the blue.

I had no warning at all; not even the slightest hint of danger on the horizon. The waves were small and inconsistent, and I was just kind of rolling along with them, relaxing on my board with my left arm dangling in the cool water. I remember thinking, "I hope the surf picks up soon..."
That's all it took: a split second. I felt a lot of pressure and a couple of lightning fast tugs. Then I watched in shock as the water around me turned bright red. Somehow, I stayed calm. My left arm was gone almost to the armpit, along with a huge crescent-shaped chunk of my red, white and blue surfboard...
I remember most clearly what the Kauai paramedic said to me in the ambulance: He spoke softly and held my hand as we were pulling out of the beach parking lot. He whispered in my ear, "God will never leave you or forsake you." He was right.

I believe in God. Nobody made me believe; I don't think you can or should try to force someone to believe something. And even though my parents taught me stuff about God and read Bible stories to me from as early as I can remember... it was my choice to become a believer in Him. The way I see it, putting our faith in God is something that each person has to come to on his or her own. It's your own personal relationship with Him; a bond that's as unique as a fingerprint.

And about the movie:

SOUL SURFER is the inspiring true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her sheer determination and unwavering faith. The film features an all-star cast, including AnnaSophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid.  In the wake of this life-changing event that took her arm and nearly her life, Bethany's feisty determination and steadfast beliefs spur her toward an adventurous comeback that gives her the grit to turn her loss into a gift for others.

You can visit Bethany Hamilton's website HERE.


I hope you all have a great Friday!  My cousin, Trey, and his wife Shauna are coming down here today to spend some time for their anniversary.


Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...


These truly are movies that I feel good about watching. Courageous is just awesome. Can't say enough good about it. That's what our society needs more of!

Thanks for the reviews and for Faithful Fridays! Of course, I am participating!

I love you! 10!


Blessed Beyond said...

Awww, sweetie! YOu are such an inspiration! I wish more young people were like you! Thank you for the reviews. And I am back to blogging and did a Faithful Friday post today. Have a great weekend!

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