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This morning, a few members from my church’s youth group went to see the new movie Courageous, a film about fatherhood by Sherwood Pictures, a film production company that gained recent fame with their movies Facing the Giants and Fireproof. From the movie’s website:

Honor Begins at Home

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.

In my personal opinion, this movie dragged a bit in the beginning and didn’t lock in my interest. However, near the middle of the film, the plot begin taking on a very surprising and interesting turn, and as the film progressed with more laughs and tears, I found myself hooked to the screen and engaged in the emotional appeal radiating from the characters.

Courageous had a very important message, and it delivered it poignantly and with multiple layers of truth and hope. The plot was very well paced, though to me the alternating emotional scenes (comedy and tragedy) switched too often. I found myself laughing one second, crying another, and in yet another laughing again. However, the comedy was hilarious yet clean and very well woven into the storyline, as were the sadder scenes. The soundtrack was very very relevant, and reached out where words and acting could not. I found myself going home, hopping online, and looking up the songs as soon as possible.

The characters fulfilled their role to their fullest potential, the acting scenes were not cheesy (as opposed to the fake firefighting scenes in Fireproof), and the story was moving, touching, and inspirational. It is a movie with a message to fathers, and I would definitely recommend this movie to everyone: it speaks to not only to fathers, but also to soon-to-be fathers, married men, engaged men, young men, mothers, wives, etc. There is a character for every person to relate to, which makes this movie even more moving.

I would say to round up a group of fathers or peers, or families or your peers to go see the movie this week. Help support the Christian film industry by helping the film’s opening week a smashing success.  🙂

Courageous is rated PG-13 for drugs and violence, and yes, some scenes may be mature for children. But honestly, the movie is  appropriate for anyone above the age of 10, relatively speaking.

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I’ve never read Radical, David Platt’s bestselling prequel to Radical Together. However, I’m going to get a copy as soon as possible.

In Radical Together, Platt encourages his readers to forget the American Dream and other useless pursuits and to embrace a passion for spreading the Gospel all over the world through unity among believers, churches, and organizations. As radical as it may seem, Platt is building on an age-old concept that without unity, nothing happens. But with unity, even miracles can come into existence.

What I liked about this book is its variety of resources. Combining stories, facts, inspiration, and his own personal testimonies and examples, Platt weaves a practical book that can be used to disciple people into this visionary world movement. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s willing to get real and get radical. 🙂

I received a free e-copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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Most men struggle with purity. Whether it be manifested through thoughts or actions, lust is a powerful temptation that destroys and dominates many lives. In fact, modern society is currently being overtaken by a whirlwind of immoral media of all sorts. Pornography is widely available; just one click away on the Internet. Women dress in the most immodest clothing imaginable.

What are single Christian men to do in such a dirty world? Being the authors of the ever-popular Every Man series, Steve Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, along with Mike Yorkey, have come up with a discussion guide to be used as a companion to their popular titles Every Man’s Battle and Every Young Man’s Battle. While Every Single Man’s Battle draws its excerpts from Every Man’s Battle, both books are useful while you go through this guide. It is written especially for those unmarried, divorced, or widowed men who want to seek out guidelines for celibacy and purity. As such, this book gives practical tips on overcoming lust, pornography, and masturbation, as well as staying away from unhealthy relationships and staying celibate.

I have personally found each of the aforementioned three titles useful in my war against immorality. This guide opened my eyes to key truths in the word that I can practically apply into my life and live out in purity. A must read for sure.

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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There’s no doubt about the fact that music artists strongly impact young people of all ages today. Their music, their history, and their philosphies are eagerly taken on by many people who look up to these artists as role models. Even among Contemporary Christian Music bands, artists continue to influence youth culture like no other media.

Delirious? is one very well known Christian band. And the autobiography of the lead singer, Martin Smith, is a definite must-read. Not only does this book tell you about the beginnings of the popular music group, but it also discusses Smith’s personal life and walk in his faith.

Rarely do you see musicians who live a morally upright life. Most have songs and lyrics contianing foul language and inappropriate topics. It’s nice to sit back and read about a different kind of band. One that brings glory not to themsleves, but to someone much Greater.

I highly recommend Delirious: My Journey with the Band, a Growing Family, and an Army of Historymakers by Martin Smith and Craig Borlase to anyone who wants an encouraging, inspiring read. =) 

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The Grandfathers

The Grandfathers, a film that is a member of the series about Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and other missionaries killed by the indigenous groups they were ministering too, is a powerful film that everyone should watch. It is about Jesse Saint, the grandson of the murdered Nate Saint, who struggles to deal with the memory of such a famous grandfather as well as his death.

The film follows Jesse as he travels to Ecuador and befriends one of the tribesmen involved in his grandfather’s death. He is then able to learn more about and confront his family’s past, and start anew in his own destiny.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to learn about the extent of forgiveness and God’s love.

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What does it really mean to take up your cross and follow Christ? What does it mean to be actual doers of the word instead of merely listeners?

In the Take Action Bible, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, you can read about people who have followed Christ’s command to obey His word all over the world. Included with each short story are several devotional questions to help you reflect on how these people obeyed God. It is a blessing to flip through these stories while reading your Bible.

This Bible includes:

  • 48 full-color pages
  • 15 real-life stories show how to take action with God’s Word
  • 52 Take Action ideas
  • Personal Take Action note pages
  • New King James Version® (NKJV) UltraSlim Bible text
  • Translation and text notes
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Concordance
  • Bible reading plan

Perhaps the only complaint I have about this Bible is its quality. It;s one of those Bibles you’d give away in bulks, much like paperback books. I believe it can be a bit sturdier for more years of use, but it’s pretty nice in design and binding as is.

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If there is any book that every college or college-bound student should read, it’s Thriving at College by Alex Chediak. This thick book isn’t fat because of big text; it’s fat because it needs to house all the profound wisdom, advice, stories, examples, and discussion questions found between its covers.

The moment I opened my package to pull out my copy, I was surprised at its length. I wondered why it would be so long, until I looked at the table of contents. Then it all seemed logical that all this information requires a large volume. Alex takes the reader step by step through the college process, from choosing a major to planning your social life, and of course all the technicalities in between. He offers scriptural guidance, testimonies, stories, examples, and anecdotes to prove his point: that college can be the best four years of your life, if you so choose to make it that way. It is also the best time to keep your faith, contrary to the horrifying rising rates of Christians leaving their faith in college. It teaches you not only to survive, but also to thrive. Now that’s one big attribute that makes it stand out from all those other “college survival” books.

Endorsed by many well-known authors such as Alex & Brett Harris (Do Hard Things), Jerry Bridges (The Pursuit of Holiness), Tedd Tripp (Shepherding a Child’s Heart), and Randy Alcorn (Heaven), this book deserves all the acclaim and praise it did. I’m already recommending this books to a few high school seniors I know, and strongly encouraging them to get a copy. And of course, if you are also a high school senior or a college student, you should buy or borrow a copy as soon as possible. Thriving at College is just too awesome a resource (and blessing!) to miss.

Click on the picture to buy Thriving at College from Amazon.com when it comes out on April 15, 2011!

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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