Category Archives: Christianity

Fireproof Movie Trailer

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Fireproof the Movie has been promoted in two prior blog entries of mine: Fireproof Movie and Fireproof Movie Details

Fireproof Movie News

I just got some more super exciting news in the Fireproof Movie Newsletter subscription. Thought I would share this with you:

The booking of theaters for the September 26-28 opening weekend of FIREPROOF continues at full force. There are now nearly 550 theaters confirmed, with another 200 theaters or more to be added before the movie opens.

In addition, theaters that are part of the Regal Entertainment Group—Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres, and Edwards Theatres—have posted their opening week show times on Fandango.

That means you can purchase tickets online today for opening weekend if the movie is opening at a Regal theater near you. Check out the link below to Fandango … and be sure to buy tickets for your friends as well!

See where FIREPROOF will be opening
Check out FIREPROOF tickets on Fandango

 

Fireproof Movie Trailer

In case you missed the YouTube trailer I posted previously, check out the Fireproof Movie Trailer:

I will say it again, I can’t be more excited about this movie. Don’t know if I have ever promoted someone else’s stuff as hard as I am this. I just really think this is going to start a lot of conversations with couples about their marriage.

Getting Robbed in a Foreign Country

I have a former employee at my current church who quit working for us to go on a one-year round the world missions excursion on a bare bones budget. Read his commentary on this trip blog.

The crazy news is that he was robbed at gunpoint in Johannesburg last night and all his possessions were taken. If you can send a few extra dollars his way, instructions are below on how to do it. Here is his story on the robbery:

Hello Friends,

James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

I am writing to tell about my experience last night. We have been working in Malawi with Harvest international ministries (HIM) for the past two weeks. Him is a ministry that plants churches in southern Africa and we were working with them in northern Malawi. God has been teaching and growing us there, and we have learned a lot about the history of Slavery, Islam, and Christianity in the region. Our teams have been able to share the gospel and help the Malawians in showing the Jesus film in the local Chichewa language. After they show the movie many people accept Christ and then a church is planted in that village. This month of ministry has been the best yet and I know the devil is trying (but failed) to steal our joy.

We arrived here in Johannesburg last night and were getting ready to leave for India on Friday and Saturday.

Then the unimaginable happened – we were robbed.

I was talking with a friend on another team here in the lobby area of the hostel when 4 gunmen busted in to the hostel saying that this is an armed robbery. At first I didn’t think this was serious, but it soon came to be. One man pointed a gun at my face and cocked it. We were all escorted into the billiard room / bar area and forced to lay face down on the ground. The gunmen said to give them all of our phones and other valuables. They also searched a lot of peoples pockets while we lay on the ground. They said that if we moved they would shoot us and it was a very intense situation. There is a dog that is here and it was barking and the gunmen would yell at it to shut up.

I was getting ready for the dog to get shot but it never was. The girls on our team were even more terrified because when the gunmen went into their room they asked for phones and money. When they said they didn’t have any phones the gunmen were like, “We will have to shoot someone then.” They then cocked their gun to prove the point. No one was shot though.

After about 15 minutes of laying on the ground the robbers left and everyone got up. A lot of the girls were obviously disturbed and we all pulled together. When it was happening we were on the floor praying. And I know God was with us. He always is. Psalm 139 says “Where can I go from your Spirit?” It’s true God is with us always. This robbery was not a surprise to Him and knew it would strengthen us in Him.

I had a lot stolen. My Bible, journal, laptop, camera, iPod, external hard drive, U.S. passport, foreign cash and a lot of other stuff that was in my backpack. They just took my backpack with everything in it. I am sad to lose the stuff, especially my hard drive because I have all the digital pictures I have ever taken since 2000 and all the ones from this year. Luckily they did not take my wallet, just all the cash in it. It was on my bed and they just grabbed the cash out of it. If anyone would like to help me out I would greatly appreciate it and your prayers would be great too for my entire squad. There are others on my team who lost this much and some even more. At least I still have some clothes, albeit a little dirty, but they had theirs taken.

I was able to get my passport replaced today praise God and I will be able to get my India visa tomorrow.

If you would like to send any money, please send checks made out to my father David who will deposit the money for me. If you are going to send any please e-mail me too. Please though, only send money if God leads you to.

David Crouch
4793 Suzette Ave NW
Massillon, OH 44647

Thank you for keeping up with me and supporting me this year. I appreciate you all and can’t wait to see you again. Stuff in life doesn’t matter much so I just want to say that I love you all. Stuff is replaceable but people aren’t. I could have been killed last night, but I have been blessed with life and am going to run after the prize even harder.

Love,
Kelton

Fireproof Movie Details

A long while ago, I blogged about the Fireproof Movie. I got this today in a newsletter about Fireproof the Movie:

Churches Focusing on Fireproofing Marriages
As with every movie that is released theatrically this year, FIREPROOF aims to entertain audiences. Unlike any other movie this year, FIREPROOF will provide ministry opportunities for churches to help strengthen marriages in their community. You can find great church resources at FireproofmyMarriage.com.

In addition, churches will be able to host a “Fireproof My Marriage” seminar on November 1. This Church Communication Network simulcast features Sherwood Senior Pastor Michael Catt, FIREPROOF co-writers Stephen and Alex Kendrick, and marriage experts Gary Smalley and Dr. Les Parrott, among others.

http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/takeaction/ has some information about what you can do to promote the movie. We are 72 days out from the launch of the movie. I really believe it will do well!

Tidbits of Wisdom from a 50-Year-Old

I had the distinct privilege of hanging out with one of my Florida buddies for his birthday last night. He celebrated his birthday in the morning as he does every year with a no-hands front-flip.

Kevin Conklin is unique both in that he looks 40 instead of 50, and that he is in better shape than most people I know under 30. A former college wrestler in a light weight class, Kevin is still ferocious and determined. 

Kevin has been kind enough to work with me on discovering some of the warped views I have on who God is and how he relates to me. Our friendship is just beginning, but I trust the guy because he lived in his car at the beach for a few weeks to reconnect with God.

So last night at his birthday party, he had been asked to write down some of the wisdom he has gained in all those years. Here are a few tidbits that hit home for me I asked permission from him to share:

  • Pray, don’t talk about prayer or study about it – pray!
  • Be sure to learn a new hobby every couple years – it’s fun and stimulating and keeps you humble but good at a lot of things.
  • [Jesus] is truly faithful and loves you more deeply than anyone. There are no shortcuts to this relationship. Tend to it, nurture it and keep it creative.
  • Guard your heart! He is the source of your strength and peace.
  • Love deeply again and again no matter how much it hurts when it doesn’t work out, being lonely and regretful is no way to live.
  • Trials are your friends, for they truly forge your character. You have what it takes and you should embrace these trials as gifts, not hassles or as some form of punishment. They make you stronger, more real, teach you the best lessons…
  • Attitude and effort are two things you have control over, the rest you really don’t.
  • Make memories, you must be spontaneous and intentional … otherwise you will become a spectator, regretful and for sure boring.
  • Live today, don’t hold tightly to yesterday and don’t bank on tomorrow, we have this moment, right now. What will you do with it?
  • Create a life counsel for yourself. People who love you most, know you best, want the best for you and are willing to speak the truth in love to you.
  • Believe the best in people first and then let their life determine the rest.

John Piper on Prosperity Gospel

Was doing a little catching up on my friends blogs and ran across a two month old post from my old college roomie Dave, which who imbedded the following GodTube presentation with audio of John Piper. Be warned it is pretty moving.

I was introduced to Piper at the first Passion Conference back in the 90’s and have been hooked ever since. Sure he gets a little extreme in the death example in this snippet, but it challenges me to realize I have so much more room to grow in my faith. Thanks Dave for the heads up.
 

Settling In In West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida is a fantastic place to begin my next phase in ministry. Settling in at this church has been easy, and the staff has been more than welcoming. For me, as expected, it has been easy. Ashley on the other hand has had to deal with keeping the kids for long periods of time with little relief as I spend long hours meeting everyone, putting out some fires, and finishing up a 6 month launch of LifeFaithFusion.com For her so far, it has been what she feared. That will change.

In spite of this, we are settling in. Every day I come home and boxes are magically unpacked. We are finding places to dry-clean our clothes, buy food, and send Fedex packages. The kids have a bigger smile on their face every day. We can go swimming every night. Last week we went to the beach and watched 30 surfers fight over the right place in the wave. We saw a storm roll in fast and chase us all to our cars in less than 10 minutes. This is an adventure no doubt, and your prayers and support are coveted. It will take some time it seems for this to be our normal, but we are starting to get our bearings.

We went to a prayer service last night that had 1500+ people. Just a regular old Wednesday night here. It’s refreshing to see people passionate about prayer and hearing stories of Jesus doing His deal. I was encouraged that the head pastor of this 12,000 person church regularly calls members and staff who are going through a difficult time. He has managed to maintain his pastoral care duties while running this giga-church. I have worked for smarter, more theological, more focused big-time leaders, but never have I worked for a significant leader so passionate about sharing Jesus and doing life with those he leads. He is a servant of the multitudes, and while he doesn’t get everything right he is pushing us all to better model Christ in everything we do.

Fallen But Not Forgotten

In the decision to move to Florida to work for Christ Fellowship, I had to deal with some feelings of unworthiness that I had not faced in a long time. When God tees up a sweet shot for you, it is sometimes tough to think you are the right person to take the swing. In my case, I felt unworthy because of my falleness. I am very familiar these days with my weakness because it rears its head daily in my life in the little things. You know, parenting, finances, relationships, and work. So in the midst of working out if the move to Florida was right for us, I just felt this overwhelming fear that God could not possibly use me for a work as significant as what seems to await me in West Palm Beach.

During the week I was thinking these things, Christ Fellowships #2 guy delivered a message (view the video) which put me at ease. The first ten minutes are especially worthy of your time, as he walks through the great men of Hebrews and recounts their fallen sides. It’s a brilliant reminder that just because we are fallen doesn’t mean the Lord has forgotten us. Jesus still has a plan for each of us that takes into account our screw-ups and disabilities. We still need to pray every morning for God to have His way with us, but we can have a confidence that Jesus does not forget us when he is ready to do a work. Just because we are fallen does not mean we are forgotten.

A New Job and Neighborhood

Word is starting to get out a bit that I have resigned my position with Stonebriar Community Church this week and accepted a position with the 30th largest church in the US. We wanted to let all of you know this as early in the process as possible, but also had some details to work out before I could make things official. I have been away from consistent blogging for awhile so that I could get this life decision made.

Where is this?

Christ Fellowship in West Palm Beach, Florida offered me a CIO type role that was just too awesome to not consider. After a rapid, yet extensive interview process, Ashley and I came to the same conclusion as Christ Fellowship that God had created an amazing fit between what they need in a technology leader and what God has made me to do. I will initially manage a department of 6-8 folks doing everything from programming to helpdesk to data warehousing. The team is pretty junior, but very talented none the less. Really a good group to be able to mentor.

What will you be doing, exactly?

For some of the more technology challenged readers, I will try to boil this down for you. I will manage a team of people who keep the email working, the files storing, the computers healthy, the data safe, the website updated, the member contact information reportable, the videos playing, the telephones working, etc.

In addition to these regular Church IT duties, I will be helping the church navigate the technology waters to a place of understanding how technology can be leveraged to improve the way they do the Christian life together. Whether this is through a better website that connects people with each other, systems that help improve the discipleship of church members, or an intranet for better communication within the staff, the goal of the position will be to partner with the other executives to champion technology projects that are sponsored internally. I am a change agent for technology within a church who already loves change and technology. What could be more fun?

Are You Moving?

Well yes we are. Believe it or not, God’s call on our life in this case was so strong it is making us give up our Texas residence. Leaving our friends, family, and this great State of Texas (Long live the Republic) were about the only downsides of this ministry move. We are seriously grieving moving to the beach. Some of our friends are just laughing in our pitiful faces and saying, “There are a lot worse places to serve the Lord. It could be Africa or a Peanut Farm!” Thank you Jesus it isn’t both! And they are right, West Palm Beach is about the most affluent place you can be a church worker. Living in constant good weather and around nice things shouldn’t be such a pain. We just love what we have here. We are comfortable. We are fully supported.
Some scripture came to mind in this that haunted us a bit:

Mathew 16: 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

Mark 1: 16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17“Come, follow me,” Jesus said. 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

When is this happening?

My last day of work at Stonebriar is August 10th and my first day of work with Christ Fellowship is August 13th. I will work remotely for three weeks. We will move over Labor Day weekend, with my first day on site being September 3rd. “There is a lot left to do” is an understatement of understatements.

With this having happened this week, I have heaps more to say about this, but it will have to wait cause I am out of time for today. We’ll write more soon.

Family Values – Obedience

As we wait on our family values list to be created by interested participants, we thought we would kick things off with the family value “obedience“. Obedience is an important value because it deals with a child’s’ physical safety and their understanding of God. There are times when the consequences of disobedience are not just inconvenient, but deadly. Sin is death, yes, but so can be an untimely sprint across the parking lot.

If we aren’t careful with the way we describe and enforce obedience, we can become rule-focused rather than character-focused. The kids could have a hard time connecting obedience to anything other than the removal of privileges or an appropriately-delivered spanking. Beaver Cleaver getting “yelled at” comes to mind.

The Obedience We Want

What we want to see is the child understanding that a heart of obedience extends and honors relationship. Obedience is not something we always do blindly, but when there exists a relationship with love, this can also be a part of the equation. A “leap of faith” can be an obedient response to God asking us to do something that doesn’t make complete sense. And there will be times that obeying daddy isn’t completely understood.

None the less, obedience is critical to safety and our understanding that God has not compelled himself to remove consequences when we do not obey him. The old testament and the new testament provide plenty of examples of God allowing someone to experience destruction as a result of their disobedience. We do reap what we sow, don’t we?

Defining Obedience

One of the most obedient set of children we have ever seen are the kids of J.J. Barto. I believe his kids respond out of their love for the parents and a whole understanding of the definition and value of obedience. I can tell you first hand, his kids stop what they are doing and come running with any call of their name. They don’t have to be asked more than once. J.J. and Charlotte don’t remember exactly where they found this, but their whole family can recite it at any moment:

Obedience is doing what has been asked or ordered all the way, right away, with a good attitude.

J.J. affirmed this definition works in a recent email to us:

This has held up very well for us over the past 5 1/2 years with both our children and us.

Family Value Modeling

And that brings up a good clarifying point. What is required of our children should be required of us as well, right? If we want the kids to live out these family values, we must submit our own selves to them and model them. We need to be faithful to obey God and defer our preference to those who love us (our spouse, our teachers, our mentors) in front of our children. While this deferment isn’t exactly obedience, it shows our own willingness to submit ourselves to others gladly.

Over the last month we have been using a variant of the definition J.J. provided. Our definition for the girls has been:

“To obey means to do the right thing, the first time, with a good attitude.”

Our idea was to abstract out the “asked or ordered” portion such that there is an understanding that Biblical truths, government laws, and complementary family values must be obeyed even without an explicit ask. We also wanted to include an aspect of our belief that there is absolute truth/right. Now that we look at it though, it seems we have dropped the “all the way” portion. Complete obedience is indeed a critical component of obeying.

Another variant of these same definitions that our friend Reagan Swank mentioned once could be the original (source yet unknown but it sounds like Babywise): “Obey all the way, right away, and with a happy heart”.

The “happy heart” part might be a little unrealistic? When we obey God, it isn’t always bringing glad tidings and with a smile on our face. As we said above, the hearts condition is critical to obedience, but I am not sure it can be instituted or enforced.

What About Your Obedience?

What about you. How are you defining and talking about obedience within your family? Should obedience be a family value? It is up to every parent to implement the obedience process with those who are caretakers of their kids, but what works for you? Can you think of a time where the value of obedience was made clear to you through specific language, a metaphor, or an event?

Discovering Family Values

With our recent time in the hospital came some moments of down-time that really made me wonder what I value. In fact, not only what I value, but what we as a family value. Ashley and I had spent much time considering the question and verbalizing to one another what we believe and what we want to instill in our children. But are we getting through to the little ones with our family values? Are we taking every opportunity to model them for our kids?

The Problem with Family Values

Family values don’t seem to stick as well as they used to. All around are families who seem divided about what they believe. Even within Ashley and my extended family, we don’t see broad agreement about how to raise children and what the children’s character should be. “Family rules” have no basis when there is not an articulated set of values that provide the foundation. Getting uncles and grandmothers and babysitters to enforce the family values is even harder when they are not easily conveyed or transferred.

Family Values Permanence

So I began to ponder the opportunity of putting some of these values down in writing. It seemed like an imposing task. Family values, in many ways, are about the character we want and the character God has. They are tough concepts to wrestle with, but even tougher to put into language a child can understand. So, I began making a list of the family values Ashley and I have discussed that would be possible candidates to put in writing.

Always one who would rather not reinvent the wheel, it occurred to me maybe some other families had already walked this road and I could adapt what they had written. As I talked with five great men to which I am no peer, none of them had written down their family values. They all had them. They all deeply desired to imbed them within their families. None of them had written them down. Thinking five are better than one, I talked with my wife about taking our family values discussion to the internet and including our family and friends. She reluctantly agreed.

Family Values Proposal

Family values should take on a unique and personal flare for each individual family. The implementation is unique and thus the final set of values should be unique. But the core values are similar, and I propose that we work on this project together, using the comment system on this site as our discussion method. We’ll take a value at a time and discuss it thoroughly. Comments on each value will close after two weeks. Each family can then take what is useful and discard the rest. Together we are much wiser, no? So, please, help us all by sharing your perspective. Ponder these things alongside us. Pray through it with us. Blog about it if you have a blog. Ask your parents and advisers what they think.

Who is Invited to the Discussion?

Anyone holding a evangelical Christian world-view. That is the short answer. This isn’t a forum for crafting new beliefs or debating political agendas. This is about honing in on the core of a given family value and finding a way to articulate it in a solid, timeless way that our kids can adopt. Ashley and I are inviting all of our family to contribute. After all, if they are going to live with the family values we chose, they should have a healthy opportunity to debate them. Feel free to invite your family to this discussion as well. We’ll all learn from one another. This is the invite we are sending out in a few moments:

Family and Friends,

Ashley and I are putting our family values into writing. As we shared with others our desire to solidify our values in terms our children can understand, it seems many families have yet to do this. Most everyone indicates it is a worthwhile endeavor and that they would do well to have their family values written out as well.

Since the values Ashley and I choose for our immediate family impact our relationships with you all, as well as the way we will ask that you interact with our children, we want to invite you to participate in the drafting of these. You are also free to use this discussion as a starting point for putting your own family values in writing.

We’ll be considering each value on our blog and request your participation as you are able. Read and comment on the values related discussions here: http://www.ashleyandjason.com/ Thanks in advance for your partnering with us in creating something that will help us develop character in ourselves and our children.

Warmest regards,

Ashley and Jason Reynolds

Family Values Resources

No, it has not eluded us there are heaps of resources out there on “Family Values”. Books galore. Programs explored. Our approach here is not a rejection of those resources. We may borrow from the Proverbs, books, videos, wives tales, or from other copyrighted works. Everything is fair game since this is for personal use. In fact, the process we will follow on the blog is a bit like the bonus projects that accompany Family Life’s Raising Children of Faith. When you do use or reference other resources, I would ask that you cite the reference.

List-o-Family Value

After talking with Dave about this project, he agreed to jump in and provide his list of family values worth consideration. So I have merged his list with my own. Add your own values in the comments. Ashley and I will post a compiled list and trim it back for these discussions:

  • Accountability
  • Cleanliness
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Contentment
  • Conviction
  • Cooperation
  • Courage
  • Determination
  • Discipline
  • Endurance
  • Fairness
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Friendship
  • Generosity
  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Honor
  • Hope
  • Humility
  • Individuality
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Learning
  • Love
  • Loyal
  • Morally Pure
  • Obedience
  • Openness
  • Patience
  • Peace
  • Personal Excellence
  • Resourcefulness
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Safety First
  • Self-Control
  • Selflessness
  • Service
  • Trust
  • Uniqueness
  • Wisdom