Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Grace Card DVD


In this newly released movie, Mac McDonald's young son is killed by a reckless driver that is trying to escape the police.  In an effort to help "bring justice" to the world, Mac becomes a police officer himself, but his anger and guilt drive him at the same time it is eating him up and destroying his marriage and relationship with his other son.

Sam Wright is a bivocational pastor who's main income is from his work as a police officer.  He is doing well on the force, even getting a promotion, but wonders why God has him there instead of in full-time ministry.

These two men are forced together as partners... In a moment of tragedy, can they overcome their differences and the dislike for one another that separates them?   Sam's grandfather shared the sentiment below with him, can it help Sam to bridge the gap and help heal the wounds that Mac is suffering from?

This was a good movie of grace and forgiveness.  It would be good for teen and adult audiences and hopefully would stimulate some conversations about showing grace to those around us and especially to those who have hurt us.  There are also four Bible studies available in PDF format here: The Grace Card Bible Studies (you may have to scroll down a little).  The movie is PG-13 for violence and thematic elements.  There are some racist comments made by Mac. There is some violence that we mostly do not see, but can hear.  There are no curse words, but the N***** word is cut short on the first syllable, letting us know what Mac was going to say.  There is also some drug/alcohol related scenes, but they are not promoting the use of either.  I would say that this is an appropriate for teens, possibly mature pre-teens, but not for younger children or anyone who is very sensitive to violence.  You can check out more info about the content here:  Be prepared with tissues!  I cried several times during the movie.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Women of Faith in Review...

This was my 10th or 11th Women of Faith Event to attend, and they changed it up this year.  So, I am kind of struggling with how I feel about the WOF Conf in general.

As a whole, it was a awesome experience.  The music is upbeat and uplifting if a little loud at times.  I think the music is geared more toward the younger crowd.  I am coming up on 40 and it was little much for me at times, but for the most part I LOVED it!! We brought some "older ladies" with us and I have a feeling that they didn't love the music, but my teen daughter couldn't get enough of it!  Natalie Grant and Mary Mary were the main music guests and they were amazing, but again their music was not for everyone.

The drama section of the conference was not what it has been in past.  I felt like this year didn't have as much as past years and I felt like it was more serious in content.  Nicole Johnson, dramatist/speaker/writer, presented several "skits." I can't remember the name of the first one, but I am pretty sure that I had seen it before.  The second one was this one:

While there was no "new" drama, I was blown away when Nicole actually SPOKE to us.  Usually, she just does drama, but this weekend she shared about her own life and the brokenness she experienced from early childhood into adulthood and then how God has worked in her life and brought healing.  He has made something beautiful from something that seemed so ugly, trash to treasure!  What a blessing and uplifting message to share with women from all over that have experienced brokenness and a feeling of trash/uselessness in their own lives.

The main speakers were a little different this year.  In past years there were 4 or 5 main women that sat on "the porch" and each one brought a message... or a different take on the theme of the event. Sheila Walsh, Patsy Clairmont, Barbara Johnson (now deceased), Luci Swindoll, Marilyn Meberg and Thelma Wells have been the speakers in the past, but this year we had Sheila and Luci.  From what I've heard Patsy and Marilyn are doing the "west coast" events while Sheila and Luci do the east coast.  Maybe they will swap next year. The good thing about this separation was that Sheila and Luci were able to get in the word and share more from their own personal experiences.  It's like we got to know them better instead of the just seeing the small snippet or glimpse of their lives.  We also had Lisa Harper and Angie Smith who shared with us.  I would love to KNOW Lisa Harper personally!  She was hilarious and engaging and just beautiful inside and out.  I really "enjoyed" her take on the woman who was caught in adultery and the breaking down of that part of Scripture.  I will be looking for more from her!  Angie Smith is an online blogger, mother of many and wife to Todd Smith, singer for the Christian music group- Selah.  Not only is she a beautiful woman, but she is funny, real and God-believing woman of faith.  You can go to her blog, Bring the Rain, to find out more about her... I am just so glad she came and shared at Women of Faith.

So, I will say, I really enjoyed the conference.  I enjoyed hearing more in depth from Sheila and Luci.  I enjoyed meeting Lisa and Angie... I would love to have lunch with them!  I was a little distracted by the change, but otherwise it was a blessing beyond belief.  It was an awesome chance to get away from the mundane of everyday and to bond with women from all around my region who are going through similar things and experiencing the same emotions and life happenings that I am experiencing.  I also needed to hear some things and be reminded of some things that I heard this weekend.  

    "Peace is not the absence of pain, it is the presence of Christ." Sheila Walsh

Do I recommend the Women of Faith Conference-- YES!!  No matter your age (well, 15 or so and older), I think you will get something from WOF.  If you don't like loud music, bring ear plugs.  If you can't sit long... that's okay because you can do lots of walking/standing if you so desire.  What should you bring?  
      ~ A heart that is ready to hear what God is going to say to you.
      ~ Tissues, because you will probably cry.  You also might laugh until you cry.  
      ~ A friend... you will definitely what to experience this with someone.
      ~  If you have an iPhone/iPod/iPad that you can read the Bible on or take notes, that would be good.               
          But you really need the lighting if you plan to do either... otherwise, it is too dark to read along or 
          take notes.

As soon as you are able, check out Women of Faith.  Pray about taking a group of women from your church or neighborhood.  Plan a weekend with the girls and get ready to see God move!!


Women of Faith Imagine Conference

Thursday afternoon, I left with 9 other women from our church and headed to the nearest Women of Faith conference.  It was 11:30pm before the lights went out in our room... not from just getting there, but from the excitement of what was to come.  Of course, it probably had a little something to do with the fact that I was in a room with two teen girls, one of which was my oldest daughter.  
Friday, we got up at 6:30am, showered, dressed and ate breakfast.  When all the group was ready, we hit the sidewalks and walked the “couple of blocks” to the arena.   When we arrived at the arena, women were wound in zigzag lines from the door to the road and around the corner waiting to get in!  Fortunately, some nice women were out handing out a copy of a free book to all the women!  At 9a.m. the doors opened and women just poured in to the arena.  We found  pretty good seats for all of us and settled in to hear what God would say to us.  

Sheila Walsh & me


First, the Women of Faith Worship Team led us in praising God and just worshipping together as one body.  Some of the songs were familiar some were not, but it was beautiful to hear almost 8000 women singing their praises to God!!  Then, Mary Graham, opened up with a welcome and some announcements and then welcomed Steve Arterburn to speak.  Steve is the founder of WOF... it was amazing to hear the struggles and triumphs he's been through since the beginning of WOF.  What shocked me was when he shared that just the year before, he had scheduled a conference that had a grand total of 30ish in attendance.  Epic Fail.  Thank GOD that Steve didn't give up!!  After that Sheila Walsh shared with us.  What insight and depth she has as a woman of God!!  She shared more of her own story interspersed with Scripture and humor.  And then she sang.  Wow, what a voice!  After a short break, there was a Q&A time with Sheila and Steve where members of the audience were able to ask their questions and get some answers.   Next, we heard from Natalie Grant.  Again, an amazing performer with lots of energy and heart.  Honestly, I can't remember exactly how the conference went (as far as the timeline, schedule of speakers/musicians, etc), but I know there was so much to take in... so much to just absorb. Friday we went from 9a.m. to 10p.m. with several small breaks and two larger meal breaks.  The day was full of laughter and tears and wow...just an amazing time of WOMEN being themselves and sharing with each other.    Saturday we had several of the same speakers plus a few more including, Lisa Harper, Angie Smith, Laura Story and Mary Mary shared their music with us.
Me, Lisa Harper & Elizabeth
I want to share some pics of our time there... then I will tell you how I FEEL about the WOF conference as a whole.
Laura Story

Natalie Grant
Luci Swindoll
Lisa Harper
Sheila Walsh

Sign language available for the  hearing impaired.
So, the pictures never like to cooperate with me... somehow they end up in the wrong place. But you get the gist of them.  WOF always has provisions for the hearing impaired and is handicap accessible...  I saw many people in wheelchairs, on crutches, etc there at the conference.  They also make a nursing room(s) available to mothers who have young babies that are nursing...saw tons of babies there as well.