Christianity

Overcome: A DVD Review

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A Wisenquest film

When I first saw this on Netflix, I thought I hadn’t seen it before, but as I started watching this I’m thinking to myself: “This looks familiar.” I realized after a few minutes into the movie that I had seen this a few years back on either TBN or JCTV. Of course you’re probably wondering “So then what did you think of it?”, well I honestly didn’t remember what I had thought of the film when I first saw it so I had to watch the entire thing over again to see what I thought of everything in Overcome.

Overcome is a self-described film which is a modernized version of Saul’s conversion and transformation into the Apostle Paul. Colton is a bad boy who enjoys hanging out with the wrong crowd, encourages others to do evil through peer pressure, steals from his work and sister, and is just a downright bully to everyone around him. One day after a friend and he were getting drunk at a party, they decide to drive home when they get into an auto accident. Colton’s friend has a few scratches, but Colton is nearly killed because of their foolishness and only through his parent’s prayers God spares his life. The other driver is a girl who is aspiring to become a tennis champion, but her leg is now broken thanks to Colton’s misconduct. Colton, hearing of how he nearly died, gets the wake up call he needed and decides to turn over a new leaf. Colton regrets what he did and wants to start being a good kid, but that journey is hard and difficult; especially when he confronts his former gang.

Overcome is a movie that has a very nice concept, but the way they wrote this plotline I felt they ought to have made this into a TV series rather than a movie. I feel this would have made a much better idea for a TV Series, because of the incomplete ending the movie has as well as the concept of Colton wanting to make amends with people; could have been a Christian version of “My Name is Earl.” Since this was just a movie though, I couldn’t help but feel things turned around too quickly and ended too conveniently. The acting was ok, but could have been better at times. The inspirational themes were ok, but again they could have expanded on things better theologically; again if this were to have been made into a TV series I feel it would have been presented more effectively. After watching this, I could see why I didn’t remember everything…

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

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Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes

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By Kent and Barbara Hughes

Family is a word and concept talked about a lot in our society, but the idea of Family isn’t something people necessarily put enough practice or importance into as often as they should. Now I am desiring become a father in the near future, and because of that desire I want to prepare myself for that role in multiple ways. I picked up this book at my local Christian bookstore, because I want to learn how to be a great Dad, when the time comes, and I need any advice/suggestions to be ones which will glorify God. I wanted to see if the Hughes Family had some great, biblically based tips for readers like me.

Disciplines of a Godly Family is a sequel/expansion to Disciplines of a Godly Man, which was written by Kent Hughes, and Disciplines of a Godly Woman, which was written by Barbara Hughes. Together they share various details and suggestions on building/maintaining a great family. Some of the ideas they share are ones which they personally practiced together as a family, and others are ideas which they feel they should have used more often or used more effectively. The tips and advice shared within this book range from vacations, manners, discipline, food, education, character, Holidays, bonding activities, and many other important topics.

Obviously, Disciplines of a Godly Family did not address EVERYTHING, but what I did read was very good. It’s no surprise that some of the stuff The Hughes talk about are worth tweaking, but like they say in the book ” each family is unique“. Although certain details are going to be limited due to income or physical ability, much of the suggestions and advice I believe are reachable goals. I especially like how they emphasize the importance of reading; it is a dying trait in our society… (unless it’s a book which has recently become a movie) I like how they admit that no family is perfect, and that they don’t expect the reader to practice everything they talk about, because it shows honesty and consideration; they certainly had some hard times too and let readers know they will too. After reading Disciplines of a Godly Family not only do I plan to read this a second time, this time a loud with the wife, but also heavily encourage you to buy this today if you’re also desiring to start a family soon.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Monumental: A DVD Review

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A Documentary by Kirk Cameron

I loved Kirk Cameron in the movie Fireproof. I also like watching Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s program The Way of the Master. I especially like hearing and reading about history, in fact it was my best subject while I was still in school. My friend Adam shared with me a link to this movie’s website and was like “hey we should watch this sometime” so when this finally came to DVD I couldn’t resist picking up a copy. I had to check it out, because what I’ve heard from Mr. Cameron has been great in the past, the primary topic of this documentary appeared to be early American History, and I just simply wanted to see if this would be something I’d like to share with friends.

Monumental is a documentary, hosted and produced by Kirk Cameron, which addresses how our world is today by taking viewers back in time. Essentially Mr. Cameron opens the movie by saying in short: “Regardless of whether you’re conservative or liberal, most of you are willing to admit things aren’t as good as they used to be. Instead of looking for someone or some law to make things great again, why don’t we look at how the United States of America became great in the first place!” Because of this summarized thought, Kirk travels to different locations in Europe and the US to speak with various historical experts, like David Barton, who give an important history lesson on what inspired people like the Pilgrims to come to the New World. What was much of Europe like at the time? Who were the Pilgrims? Why did they want to leave England? What did they go through in order to get on the May Flower? What did they go through while on the May Flower? What did they go through after they arrived? And what do they have in common with the founding fathers? All these questions are given detailed answers and more…

I really enjoyed watching Monumental. I feel the way Kirk Cameron and others deliver this project is in a way where not just Christians, but people of multiple walks of life can appreciate it; or at least should appreciate it. I felt this was well detailed and addressed certain historical aspects I was not taught within the public school I attended. The message Monumental leaves viewers is true and essential. One of my favorite parts of the movie was when they spoke about the National Monument to the Forefathers. Really the only people I feel won’t like this film are either those who are of the radical left, or those who are “militant” Atheists; I’d like to think even some moderate Atheists would like watching this movie. Excellently delivered, and I give this a strong recommendation!

Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars.

Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey

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published by Waterbrook Multnomah.

This particular subject really hits hard in a personal way. I struggled with lust since I was a teen, and at times it still haunts me… As this lust was apart of my life I would grow to despise it mentally, though certainly enjoy it physically; this was even before I became a Christian. When I got saved, I ESPECIALLY knew dabbling in lust and pornography was wrong, and through various  efforts sought to turn away from it. For a time I had heard about this book, but for some reason I never picked it up until recently. I wanted to read this, because I heard so many good things about it. I also wanted to read this, because of my personal encounter with sexual sin; where at times I’d win and lose battles against it…

Every Man’s Battle is a book which touches on just that, a sin which every man ought to be battling: Lust. Fred and others expose not only how ugly sexual sin is for single and married men, but also for children, fathers, and even pastors and youth leaders too. This goes deep and even a little graphic into some of the thoughts/experiences men have andor are capable of having. Since Fred and others are speaking of an enemy worth fighting against, they also give readers a battle strategy too.

Some reading bits of Every Man’s Battle might say: “There is no way some of these anecdotes are real” , but as a man who has struggled with sexual sin I can testify what they wrote is easily relatable. Indeed I have had moments where lust has plagued my thoughts, but Fred and the others expanded this issue further than I expected. I strongly agree with most of what they say in this book, and feel if one pursues the game plan they set for the reader most will be able to overcome this monster.  I like the strong use of scripture, since God needs to be man’s greatest ally in this fight, and I also liked the workbook included too. Of course, one thing I questioned was when they said slow dancing was a form of foreplay; I say this depending on what they define as “slow dancing”. Otherwise I feel this is an essential book!

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

The Magic Man in the Sky by Pastor Carl Gallups

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by Pastor Carl Gallups

I don’t remember when I first found out about Pastor Carl Gallups or the PPSimmons YouTube Ministry, but since I did I’ve been a fan; I’ve even had the privilege of interviewing him personally several times. When he told me about a book he was in the process of writing I was further intrigued. Now some might say: “Well what makes your review trustworthy then?” and in short my answer to that is: “look at my record.” I love reading Christian books and watching Christian movies, but I’m not afraid to say when someone does a poor job; Randy Alcorn is one example. (Good review, bad review) The question you’re probably wondering at this point is of course: “do you think Carl did a bad job with this book project?”

The Magic Man in the Sky is a book which questions the idea of evolution being “settled science”, and also questions the sometimes unspoken accusation that only uneducated fools would question evolution’s validity. Pastor Gallups’ intent for this project is to show evolution is not settled science. He goes over some of the things Atheists/Agnostics profess as the truth is actually false, not just because of Biblical scripture he sources but also because of various/proven scientific facts. The Magic man in the Sky addresses inaccuracies and inconsistencies within the theory of Evolution, and it also is a book which desires to encourage Christians not to question their faith just because they are attacked for it.

The Magic Man in the Sky, is a book which is exactly as the tag line says: “Effectively Defending the Christian Faith.” As someone who has been verbally attacked for my faith in God, I can definitely say this is a beneficial book for all Christian readers. This book’s school of thought reminds me of the detailed works from people like Answers in Genesis, who profess the Word of God as truth while also providing scientific facts to back up their claims. This is not the “miracle” book which will make all deniers of God say “I’m wrong”, but it is certainly a book which ought to be essential for any Christian’s library; after all the only real miracle book is The Bible. This is well thought out and well researched.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Smitty: A DVD Review

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A Phase 4 Film

Recently a dog I grew up with passed away… Though before I graduated high school I grew allergic to him, Obie was a good dog and my family and I loved him. Keeping this in mind, I felt it was good to finally write the review to this particular movie I saw before Obie passed on. Smitty is a story about a boy and his dog, though there are certainly more details to this story too.

Smitty is about a boy named Ben who hangs out with the wrong crowd. He participates in vandalizing a Chinese Restaurant and is betrayed by the hoodlums he’s hanging with when they lock him inside the restaurant’s freezer. Ben is arrested and the court tells Ben and his mother “you have a choice. Ben can spend three years in Juvenile Detention or three months with his grandfather.” Ben’s mother, who has a flawed relationship with her father, reluctantly prefers her son to be with his grandfather; whom he’ll be meeting for the first time. While living on his grandfather’s farm, Ben is forced to adjust from city to country life and must learn how to be a real man. One friend Ben makes along the way is a farm dog recently acquired by his grandfather.

Smitty is hilarious. I found this movie pretty funny, especially the first few interactions with Ben and his grandpa. I felt the story itself was very good, because it had a good balance of humor along with suspense and inspiration. The acting was very good; part of this is due to the veteran actors apart of the cast.  I think this is a great story for the whole family and give this a strong recommendation, though to be warned there is a little swearing in Smitty, but the context of it is only to show Ben’s lack of discipline early in the story.

TCP Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Princess and the Popstar: A VeggieTales DVD Review

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A VeggieTales movie

I’m going to be very honest… When I first heard the title to this movie, I was a bit uneasy about this one. Now I am certainly a fan of VeggieTales, but when I heard there was going to be a story about a Popstar I was a little uneasy. I figured this, because mainstream music has made the idea of being a popstar into something idolistic and much of it outside of Christianity in my opinion is sinful; though not all music is sinful of course but that discussion is for another day. Nevertheless out of journalistic integrity and simply curiosity, I bought Princess and the Popstar and was hoping VeggieTales wasn’t going to encourage children the wrong message. Good thing you can’t judge a book by its cover!

Princess and the Popstar is a modified version of the classic Charles Dickens book: The Prince and the Pauper. In this version of the tale, it concerns two girls: one who is a country girl named Princess, and the other who is a popstar named Vanna Banana (even though she’s not a banana, although I think the name is just poking fun at Hannah Montana). Both girls see something about each other that is different from how their lives currently operate and they both agree to themselves one day at the park, “let’s trade places, we’ll have it so much better there”. But do they really think the grass is greener once they’ve crossed the fence…? And were their lives really as terrible as they originally imagined?

Now Princess and the Popstar is definitely targeted for girls primarily, but I really liked this and feel this is also good for the whole family. This story shows children they need to appreciate what they have instead of envying what they don’t have, because maybe what they have is better than what they’re imagine they’re not having. I really, really like what Princess’ mom says to Vanna Banana as she’s putting her to sleep in particular; I practically cried at the thought of how sweet it sounded. One interesting thing to note is that I never would have guessed Pepper was played by Logan White; she does a really good job at modifying her voice.  I also thought the silly song Astonishing Wigs was really hilarious sounding especially because of Archibald singing it; who is VeggieTales’ Mr. Proper so it was surprisingly funny. The girl who sings as Vanna Banana, Moriah Peters, is very good and I hope she becomes a successful Christian artist. I’m glad I was wrong with my assumption, because this was a great story and had a great message.

TCP Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.