Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Grace of God; A STORY of EASTER TRADITIONS (Review)

Grace is defined as God’s kindness towards us even when we don’t deserve it. 

The most beautiful example of grace is God sending his son Jesus to die in our place.  He completely and freely paid for our entrance to Heaven  INSPITE of the sin in our lives.  He was and continues to be kind to us even though we don’t deserve it.

Why is it then, when He provides such a deeply personal and compelling example, that grace is so tough for us to give and receive in our relationships with friends and family?

I think the key lies in being vulnerable enough to do two things:

  1. admit our own failures
  2. appreciate the need for and extent of God’s grace in our own lives.

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The film Grace Of God: A STORY of EASTER TRADITIONS allows us to quietly watch as God weaves grace into a hurting congregation after $30,000 goes missing.  Unable to locate the missing money on their own, and hoping to avoid a public scandal, the church staff hires a private investigator.  The unsuspected thief, as well as the cynical private investigator, both find grace in the end.  And it comes, largely, because so many people are willing to become vulnerable and admit their own failings.

This was definitely a different kind of film. It wasn’t overtly about Easter.  And it wasn’t so much entertaining or what I would call a fun family film.  Instead, it played out kind of like a courtroom drama as the investigator worked his way through interviews with everyone who had access to the church safe.

The film provides an opportunity for each of us to examine our own heart.  I found it convicting in a number of ways.  Although the person who took the money was definitely guilty of stealing, (and of unbelievably bad judgment) we were reminded that we have ALL stolen in various ways.  We ALL fail in different ways.  And we are ALL in need of grace from both God and others.
  
Watching this film would be a great springboard into a small-group study or discussion of integrity and grace.

Here are a few details about the film:

  • Released on DVD March 24, 2015
  • 99 Minutes // Genre: Family, Inspirational // Rating:  NR
  • John Ratzenberger (not a main character), Julia Parker, Vincent Duvall, Erin Bethea Kelsey Sanders, and Lorenzo Lamas
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"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Fun 2015

Easter Collage 2

Last week, a family friend graciously offered to bring Mom out to Indiana.  Mom used to babysit him when he was little and the two of us grew up like siblings.  It was fun to catch up with him.  And it is WONDERFUL to have Mom staying with us again!

I can’t remember the last time we celebrated Easter together.  So it was really special. 

Saturday, my youngest son had his first soccer game of the season.  My oldest son and his girlfriend came along to cheer and we all froze together on the sidelines.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I need to get my car stocked back up with hats, gloves, scarves, and sleeping bags. 

When we got home, we made tacos, watched the basket ball game, and decorated Easter Eggs.

This year, I decided to blow eggs out and use permanent markers to color on them.  I had blown out a dozen or more before the soccer game.  So they were all dry and ready to go.

I have to say, this was the most fun we’ve had decorating eggs in a long time.  We each grabbed an egg and sat around the coffee table in the living room, watching the game while we colored, talked, and ate jelly beans. 

My Dad’s mom introduced us to the process of blowing out eggs when I was little.  All I remember is my cheeks hurting from blowing and blowing!  Lol!  But it wasn’t bad at all this time. 

I had my son do the blowing!!  Live and learn. Smile

Then Sunday after church, we had a traditional ham dinner with Mom and went for a walk in the evening.  The spring flowers are just beautiful!  spring flowersMy son went to his girlfriend’s house.  So we may or may not have texted him a picture staged to show my Mom raiding his Easter Basket.  Ha!

What did your family do this year to celebrate Easter?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Family Movie Night Giveaway: 23 BLAST

For the last 6 months, my middle son has been having some health issues that, depending on what we find, could potentially spell the end to his athletic dreams.  Soccer is pretty much his world. 

After every medical test, we brace ourselves for the results.  So far, we have no answers.  That’s good.  We’ve tested for some pretty serious stuff.  And bad.  Because, well, we have no explanations for the pain he is experiencing.

So it’s understandable that when he saw this DVD sitting on the coffee table, he took one look at the back and groaned.  “Did you get this for me to watch?”

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“No.”

He shot me a disbelieving look.

I held up my hand.  “Seriously. I didn’t.  The trailer just looked really good.”

“Yeah.  Well.  It looks like there’s a pretty strong parallel between this and me…and that would be something you would do.” 

True.

But I honestly hadn’t thought about the parallel.

We invited a few friends over and had ourselves a movie night. 

23 BLAST is loosely based on the real life story of Travis Freeman, a teenage football star who loses his sight as a result of an infection.  Travis (played by Mark Hapka) must find the courage to carry on with his life.  It’s an inspiring story about overcoming obstacles and chasing your dreams. 

The beginning of the film was a bit sketchy and I thought I might lose my teenagers to the game system in the other room.  The dialogue left out important details that would have been helpful in understanding what was going on.  And the acting was questionable (as teens like to say), especially the hospital scenes with the doctor and his parents.

But my guys (and guests) hung in there and I’m glad they did.  Because the rest of the movie was really good!  Everyone (even all three boys) said it was a great movie!  It was funny, and touching, and totally inspiring.  And the life lessons in the mix were perfect for what my son may have to face.  I love it when God works like that!

I especially appreciated the extra features which told more about the real life characters on which the movie was based.  Travis Freeman goes on to become a pastor.  :)

I highly recommend this film!  

The rating is PG13 because of a scene where Travis’ best friend Jerry is seen drinking on school grounds.  But it is brief, and portrayed as the bad choice that it is. 

For a chance to win your own copy of this DVD film, please leave a comment below.  I will draw a winner from the comments on Friday, February 6, 2015.  Good luck!!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”