Courageous – Movie Review

In 2007 while browsing through a Christian bookstore I found a movie that touched my life.  The movie was Facing the Giants.  I resisted the movie at first because it is a football movie, and being a geek means I am not really much of a sports fan.  But I gave the movie a chance, and I am glad I did, that movie touched my life and encouraged me to put God first once again in my life.

Sherwood Pictures, the group that created the movie, just came out with another movie this month in theaters called Courageous: Honor Begins at Home.

The Message

The message of the movie is an important one.  It focuses on the man’s responsibility to his children and wife, and how important that relationship is.  The men in the movie are like any of us, imperfect fathers from all walks of life.  Men who suck at being a father and men who are doing a good enough job.  The men get to a point in their life where they decide “good enough” is not really good enough, and they seek to change.

Stephen Kendrick, one of the movie’s producers stated the mission they have for the movie during an interview.  He said “We want to challenge men to forgive their dads, their dads wounded them, or provided poor example for them. And them seek God as their father and then step up to spiritual leadership. We can change the world if we can get dads to step up and disciple and lead this next generation.”

Story Elements

The story is very engaging and emotional for all audiences.  There is action, humor, tragedy, and redemption.  The characters are very believable and the actors are good.  Despite the fact that this movie is made by a church congregation, it has all the elements and look of a Hollywood blockbuster, but with a strong Christian message.

I went to the movie during a weekday so there were not a lot of people there, maybe a dozen or so sitting all around me.  Throughout the movie, in every direction, were people laughing, and even sobbing.  (I was too, but don’t tell anybody)  That tells me the entire audience really engaged and connected with characters and the story in a deeply emotional way.

Go see it!

Courageous, I would say, is an epic film.  You need to see it.  The message given make this far exceed any entertainment available today.  It will encourage families to take a more courageous stand in their family, even if it is not easy.  It will encourage men to want to do the right thing in their marriages and with their children, and will show them how it is possible.

And while you are at it, go see Sherwood Picture’s other movies available on DVD.  Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof.

Courageous, the book

After seeing the movie, get the book.  There are two books, The Resolution for Men, and a companion book The Resolution for Women.  I have The Resolution for Men at home sitting at the top of my book pile, so I will be reading it soon.  As soon as I finish it I will write a review for you guys.  However, based on the quality of Biblical work Sherwood puts out I would say you do not need to wait for my review to get the book and read it.

If anybody has read The Resolution for Women, please write a small review and send it to us.  Email it to Info@EternalTruthMinistry.com.

What are your thoughts?

Have you seen the movie yet?  What are your thoughts?  Post a comment below telling me how this movie has impacted you and your family!

Radical book review

Radical: Taking back your faith from the American Dream

Radical is one of the toughest, most challenging books I have read in a long time. The book is fairly short, only about 200 pages, but in those pages you will be challenged like never before.

David Platt, the author, challenges its readers to look at their lives and see if they are living their life in radical obedience to Jesus, or if we are too distracted by our pursuists of the American dream to really give obedience to Christ any serious thought.

In my first book, Radical, I explored how the biblical gospel affects individual Christian lives. Simply put, in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need, gospel-believing, God-exalting men and women do not have time to waste their lives pursuing a Christian spin on the American dream.

David Platt compares his life starting out as a pastor of a mega church with pastors of underground churches in Asia just a few weeks earlier which starts him on his journey to see if he really is following and obeying Jesus.

But as a new pastor comparing the images around me that day with the pictures still fresh in my mind of brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, I could not help but think that somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christanity is actually about abandoning ourselves.

At the end of this book is a one-year challenge. What you learn in this book will challenge your faith and your way of life, but hopefully through reading it you will decide to forsake the American dream for the sake of the gospel.

This is a Must Read for every Christian.

myPrayPal

App Name: myPrayPal
Price: Free
Platform: iPhone, iPad

As I promised in my review of Prayer List, I will give a review of the free prayer list app called MyPrayPal. Even though I personally like Prayer List better, myPrayPal has a lot of nice features that make it worth considering. To begin I will explain some of it’s shortcomings in my mind.

Cannot specified an answered prayer
The app has a button you can press to mark a prayer as answered which removes it from your main prayer list, but there no text field to enter how the prayer was answered. This may make it harder in the future if you want to look back on how God answered your prayers.

user interface
The user interface is just okay, but several things you try to do just do not work like you would expect an iPad or iPhone app to work. There are several actions, such as assigning a category where after you finish you expect the setting to hide but it doesn’t, because there is a save button for every setting that is placed at the top of the app. This may not be a problem for iPhone users but when viewing it on the larger screen of the iPad it can be easy to miss.

Design
The look of the app is very plain. This may not matter to most of you but to me if I am going to use an app daily it has to be pleasing to use. Along the lines of design the whole app looks like it is made for the iPhone first and iPad users just get a larger version of it. Sometimes while using this on my iPad the display looks like it reverts to an iPhone screen size.

Lack of settings
This app has absolutely no settings besides setting a pin. This is a good thing if you are looking for an extremely simple app, but if you are one who likes to customize your experience with an app this is a negative.

Categories
The way this app does categories is slightly off from normal. For one you cannot have something not be in a category or search for “uncategorized”. Also the category called “all” acts just like any other category except you cannot edit it. A prayer can be assigned to the “all” category which is a bit odd.

Now that I have mentioned what I do not like about the app let’s talk about what I do like about it.

Free
The main thing to like about this app is that it is free. It is awesome to see developers create software for the community without expecting profit in return. Although I am sure if there were a small fee for this app the developer could spend more time to support the app to make improvements quicker.

Last prayed for
My favorite feature is that this app keeps track of how long it has been since you have prayed for a certain prayer request. Prayer requests that have not been prayed for in a while are moved to the top of the list and it tells you how long it has been since you prayed for that request. There is a “pray” button you press to mark a prayer request as prayed for. Although a down side is that when you hit the button you are taken to a loading screen for 5 to 10 seconds before being returned to your list.

Pin protected
You can you a 4 digit pin to protect your list. Even though this is not as a full password like Prayer List has it gets the job done easily enough.

Reminders
A nice feature of this app is that you can setup push notification reminders for different prayer requests. You choose the time of the reminder and if you want it to be daily or on a certain day of the week. After the reminder goes off a red number badge appears on the app icon and stays until you hit the “pray. Button on the prayer request with the reminder.

Sharing
Prayer list allows you to hit a button to send your prayer to someone via email, but myPrayPal let’s you email, text message, tweet, or publish to facebook.

preloaded with categories
The final feature I like about this app which is kind of minor is that when you start it for the first time it already has several categories for you to use, making it easier to start adding prayer requests right away.

There you have it. My thorough review of two different prayer apps for the iPhone and iPad. Which app do you use, and why do you like it?

Prayer List

App Name: Prayer List
Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad & iPhone

I use my iPad for pretty much everything, from reading my Bible to checking Facebook to writing articles for ETM. My goal lately has been to have a serious prayer life, so I started the search for an iPad app. I could just use any of the text editors, but I wanted something a little more specialized. I ended up finding two decent prayer apps. The first is called “Prayer List” and costs $1.99, the other is called myPraypal and is free. I liked Prayer List more so it will be the subject of this week’s Media Monday article. Tune in next week for a review of myPraypal.

Prayer List lets you enter a subject for your prayers as well as the full text. This makes a clean one line list when viewing a list of the prayers. You can also assign any prayer to a category and have the main window show just one category or all categories. You can mark prayers as answered as well as put a comment of how they were answered. One thing that makes this app nice is you can leave a prayer marked unanswered while still filling in the answered comments. This is useful for ongoing prayers which are being answered slowly over time. Once a prayer has been answered it is removed from the active list and moved to an answered list and the date answered is also recorded for future reference.

There are no default categories so you have to set some up when you start the app, but this is easy to do. The entire application works pretty much like you have come to expect ipad apps to work which makes the learning curve for this app very small.

Prayer List has the added advantage of being password protected, and not with just a 4 digit pin; full passwords are accepted. Another nice feature of this app is you can have backgrounds which make the app pleasing to the eye. You can adjust the contrast or turn the text white to make sure the text works with the background you are using. When viewing any prayer request you can press the envelope button at the bottom to email the prayer request to someone to help get others to pray with you.

One really nice feature of this app is sorting. They have various sorting methods, alphabetical, or date added, but my favorite is manual sorting. How I use it is to drag what I just prayed for to the bottom of the list so I have at the top of the list things I have not prayed for in a while. This allows me to make sure I cover everything in prayer.

You may say a prayer list is a bad thing because it just makes you go through prayer like a check list and not praying from your heart. I admit I fell into that trap a couple of times this week, but more often than that I just used this app to start me off in what to pray for and I prayed as the spirit led. When I was done I then went back to the app and put things that I prayed for on the bottom and then I prayed for the top thing and the spirit led from there. Or you can just pray for one category at a time.

The beauty of this app is that you can use it however you want to encourage and remind you to pray and it looks beautiful at the same time.