Books & Movies
Books That Changed My Life
You might be interested in how they were used of God to make this kind of impact so I write about that in the Comment section.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Billy Graham, Word Pub 1978
Comment: God used this book to help me see what He was doing in me. This helped prevent me from becoming a “religious” Christian. (Rules based)
PRAYER AND PRAYING MEN
E.M.Bounds, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Mi.
Comment: Any book on prayer by Bounds will do two things to you. 1. It will inspire you to pray with great examples of praying people and the impact of prayer. 2. It will overwhelm you with guilt and shame if you let it, because my (or our) prayer efforts are puny in comparison to the saints of yester year. So, read Bounds, but only let him inspire you.
HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT BEING RELIGIOUS
This is a commentary on the book of Romans.
Comment: This book developed a love in my heart for theology. (The study of God and His Word) In this book I learned about the role of God’s law, the rule of Grace and the freedom I can enjoy in the Holy Spirit
Comment: This book helped make sense of my frustration with the church and church people. I knew God was at work all around this world, and I had limited myself to a very small view of the church. This book opened my eyes to see new ways God wants His kingdom to be established. In 2006 I was privileged to meet George and talk about these issues and concerns. I am grateful to him for giving me permission to quote him extensively in GRACE RIVER LIVING.
FAILURE: THE BACK DOOR TO SUCCESS
Erwin Lutzer, Moody Press 1975
Comment: This book saved my attitude. I had fallen victim to worldly success thinking, and in this book I witnessed true success from God’s view point and began to welcome struggle and failure more readily. This recognition has mad me much more effective, sympathetic and enthusiastic about ministry.
THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE
Watchman Nee, 1957, CLC Christian Literature Crusade
Comment: this little treasure helped me for the first time to understand that Jesus was alive in me. He introduced me to this “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)
SEASONS OF LIFE
Charles R. Swindoll, Multnomah Press
Comment: This jewel of a book is filled with great illustrations and stories that helped me understand how God works. A very practical book, that is choked full of humor. Swindoll is a joy to me, His commentary on Philippians called LAUGH AGAIN, is a must read, and a spirit lifter. His book GRACE AWAKENING was a very helpful book that helped me confront legalism in my life and the church I pastured at the time. Be careful there are joy killers on the loose!
VICTORY OVER THE DARKNESS
Neil T Anderson
Comment: I have had the joy of personally talking with Dr. Anderson, and found out from him that these biblical principles have delivered people from oppression and demonic torment even in deepest parts of Africa. He was the first to help me see that behavior flows out of identity (how one views ones self) and reckon that Jesus Christ is my life. This is probably the single most life-changing book I have ever read outside of the Bible. (My SECURING YOUR IDENTITY series owes much to the ground breaking work from VICTORY. Thanks Neil!)
UNDERSTANDING THE MALE TEMPERMENT
Tim LaHaye Revell 1977
Comment: By studying the temperaments and personalities God has helped me understand my wiring and helped me relax and be myself. These insights are one of the major reasons I have been able to help others find peace with God and self in counseling.
HUDSON TAYLORS SPIRITUAL SECRET
Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Press
Comment: Hudson Taylor was a great missionary statesman to China. He didn’t go and ask the Chinese to be like him he “became all things to all men that he might save them” 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, Just like Jesus incarnated (took on flesh) Himself to reach us, Hudson acclimated himself to the people of China. But, the secret I takeaway from this humble missionary is the exchanged life. He came to life “Christ in him”; to me this is the unblockable goal God wants us to have for our lives.
WILD AT HEART
John Eldredge, Nelson Pub. 2001
Comment: How John discovered these amazing insights I do not know, but rarely have I read a book where I gasp and say: “I get it”! Our son Zachary wanted a motorcycle in the worst way, and since I had one when I was his age I wanted him to have the joy of acceleration too, but I wasn’t going to help him get a bike we could share until he read WILD AT HEART, and came to understand his own heart and why he wanted freedom so badly. Needless to say it was a rather quick read and one of the smartest things I have ever done. Men, we need to know why we love adrenaline, freedom and adventure!
STRAIGHT TALK TO MEN AND THEIR WIVES
Dr. James Dobson, Wordbooks 1980
Comment: Practical life coaching from a man I really respect.
Bob Buford, Zondervan 1994
Comment: Amazing insights that will help me to finish well. At half Time in a football game the great coaches can make adjustments that help their team turn the game around. This is a book I need to regularly review since I am at half time.
MAN IN THE MIRROR
Patrick Morley, Zondervan, Grand Rapids Michigan
Comment: This book is a grand slam, I don’t know how Patrick Morley captured my attention like he did, but he knocked the ball out of the park. He exposes the real issues in a man’s life and what I appreciated the most are his insights into identity. This is one of those books I would like to write someday.
Alan Loy McGinnis
Comment: This book saved my youth ministry early on. McGinnis helped me learn how to be a friend, how to listen, how to love and understand. One of the most practical books I have ever read. If you have a copy send it to me, mine has walked away and I need to review it. Thanks.
ORDERING YOUR PRIVATE WORLD
Gordon McDonald, Thomas Nelson
Comment: Pastor McDonald opens up his life a bit and shares some of his moral failure; in the part about drivenness I became aware of my tendency this way.
DISCIPLES AND MADE NOT BORN
Walter A Henrichsen, Victor Books, Wheaton Ill, 1974
Comment: This book grabbed my attention right from the first chapter with THE KIND OF PERSON GOD USES: and states the person who has adopted as his objective in life the same objective God sets forth in the scriptures, He is willing to pay any price to have God’s will fulfilled in his life, A love for the Word of God, A servant heart, no confidence in the flesh, he does not have an independent spirit, He has a love for people, He does not allow himself to become trapped in bitterness, He has learned to discipline his life. This book then goes into the cost of discipleship and how to train men and ends with an emphasis on multiplication. These principles have been some of my guiding principles and I will always thank God for the day it was placed in my hands.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
A. W. Tozer, Harper Collins
Comment: this book has enlarged my view of God and helped me respect Him as my Holy God.
THE GREEN LETTER, PRINCIPLES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Miles J Stanford, Back to the Bible, Lincoln Nebraska
Comment: This book has given me a perspective on the spiritual growth process. Probably some of my “Spiritual Photosynthesis” comes from these ideas. Remember when God makes a squash He takes six months when He makes an Oak tree He takes a hundred years. This emphasis on the processes of God has been helpful.
THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM
Robert Coleman Revell Old Tappan, New Jersey 1963
Comment: One of the most practical ministry books I have ever read, and I use these principles every day. Coleman studied not just what Jesus said, but what He did and labeled them association, consecration, selection, impartation, delegation. etc. have helped me see what Jesus was up to and what I need to be about when I am making disciples and trying to impact this world.
EXPERIENCING GOD, KNOWING AND DOING THE WILL OF GOD
Henry T. Blackaby & Claude V. King
Comment: This is the most practical spiritual growth work book I have ever used. I caused me to really look at what God is doing all around me and then it challenged me to join god in what He is doing, and not just go and do my own thing. This is why I have taken a couple of years to write, God has been leading in this effort, and now I see Him at work in my speaking and counseling again. This book helps make sense of life and encourages us to believe that God is at work in us and all around us.
EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, & MORE EVIDENCE THAT DEMANS A VERDICT
Josh McDowell, Nelson & Here’s Life Publishers Inc. 1979 San Bernardino Ca.
Comment: This is a research book that imparted to me a love for apologetics (defending the faith). In it Josh reveals archeology, historical and scientific evidences that support the Bible and the deity of Jesus and His resurrection. This book has given lots of people courage to speak up for Jesus and to take a stand for the gospel, I know it has me.
MORE THAT A CARPENTER
Josh McDowell, Tyndale House 1977
Comment: This golden little book is one of the most helpful tools ever made to help people see who Jesus is and why we need Him to be our Lord and Savior. It is little and really transferable. I love Josh for the practical ways he reaches out. I am also privileged to have been invited by his team (along with a hundred other youth workers) to help develop the WHY WAIT campaign to embolden young people to resist the sexual onslaught our culture and our flesh tease us with. While working with Josh I saw how he used collaboration to make an impact. Josh is a true role model for me. I endeavor to read everything he writes.
KNOW WHAT AND WHY YOU BELIEVE
Paul Little, Victor Books, Wheaton Ill. 1970.
Comment: As a new and growing Christian my mother bought this book for me and I am glad she did. I knew God was at work in my life, but I really didn’t know what or why I believed, this book was a huge help. Paul was one of those servants who also died young, but he didn’t die with his music still in him, I am grateful for this little power pack he left behind.
DESIRING GOD; MEDITATIONS OF A CHRISTIAN HEDONIST
John Piper, Multnomah, Portland Ore.
Comment: God has been faithful to put books in front of me right when I needed them. At the time I read this book I was on the verge of becoming legalistic (rules based) as a youth Pastor I could have become a real kill-joy and put the youth on a religion course. But then God had Piper tell me about the joy of being in God’s presence. And that the chief end of man should not read in the Westminster Confession “to glorify God and enjoy Him” but rather to glorify God by enjoying Him.” This truth has made a grace difference in my life. And all the people who know me have Piper’s great book to thank for it. In fact I now believe that every good gift from God was given for our enjoyment. Shoot, God made chocolate, coffee and sex, He is a hedonist. So, Enjoy Him. Read Psalm 16:11
PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH & PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
by Rick Warren, Zondervan
Comment: What can I say? Rick Warren is just an incredibly gifted man with the passion to serve God and help people. His Purpose’s for church and life are solidly coherent and an excellent foundation for ministry. I don’t think they are theologically undergirded enough but you can back up most everything he says with scriptures. No wonder these books have helped millions of people and even whole countries. Some countries are becoming Purpose Driven, how cool is that?
Bob George, Harvest House, 1990
Comment: I will forever be grateful to Bob George and by God’s grace I was given the opportunity to tell him so. My uncle Jay Nugent was discipled by Bob George by daily listening to His PEOPLE TO PEOPLE radio program where he constantly told Jay about the blessings of living Christ in you. I can hear Bob say now: “We come to Jesus for what we need most, dead people need life.” This is a very helpful book that will help people grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
THE WONDERFUL SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
Charles Stanley, Thomas Nelson 1990
Comment: If you ever get the chance to hear Dr. Stanley preach do it! He is one of the finest Bible preachers I have ever heard and his emphasis is always on the grace of God. This book breathed life into me and let me see that my life was wonderful because I can enjoy every moment being Spirit-filled.
WE WOULD SEE JESUS; DISCOVERING GOD’S PROVISION FOR YOU IN CHRIST
Roy and Revel Hession CLC Publications, Fort Washington Pa.
Also: CALVARY ROAD
Comment: This is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read regarding the blessing of Christ in me. Very few books lift up Jesus like this one does, some of these ideas strongly support the GRACE RIVER LIVING discipleship model God helped me put together. This book was given to me by Jack and Pat Welch a very godly couple who knew I would love Hession, they know him personally and testify about his authenticity.
If you can get your hands on this book, you will be secured in your identity in God.
HOW PEOPLE GROW & BOUNDARIES
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Zondervan, Grand Rapids Mi. 2001
Comment: These books offer practical insights in to how we grow spiritually. Their understanding of counseling is extremely helpful. The book BOUNDARIES, is also a must read for people who desire to help people grow. These two books I will refer to often in my counseling.
YOU’RE SOMEONE SPECIAL
Dr. Bruce Narramore, Zondervan, Grand Rapids Michigan 1978
Comment: Before I read this book I honestly didn’t know that is was ok to love myself. This book gave me biblical foundations for self-acceptance, and a healthy understanding of humility and ego. I have often referred back to these basics and have never forgotten that value is determined by the price that was paid. Narramore got me thinking about the love God has for us that inspired Jesus to make such a costly sacrifice. The themes in this book are probably some of the most helpful I have used in the helping people business I so enjoy.
THE VANISHING CONSCIENCE
John E. MacArthur Jr., Word Publishing 1994
Comment: I consider John MacAthur to be the finest bible teacher in America. I believe he can be trusted, does great research and has a strong understanding of God’s character and our needs. With that said, this book deals with sin, shame and guilt like it needs to be dealt with. He gives us solid teaching on the renewing of the mind and shows the benefits of a good conscience. I have used this book as a spring board into POWER IN YOUR HAND where I try to clearly illustrate what happens to callous, wound or sear our conscience. Paul told Timothy that: “the goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (I Timothy 1:5) This is truly a noble goal for any Bible teacher, sadly to many of us have neglected helping people develop a good conscience. This is why I poured my heart into POWER IN YOUR HAND. I hope it helps you and the entire body of Christ enjoy the benefits of a good conscience.
Biographies That Changed My Life:
THEY CALL ME COACH
John R. Wooden
Comment: This book is worth it all just for a good look at his PYRAMID OF SUCCESS. This pyramid is founded upon industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation and enthusiasm and it goes up from there all the way into poise, confidence and competitive greatness. The supporting features of this pyramid include faith, honesty and sincerity. It really is a set of spiritual building blocks. When I was on the basketball team at Kearney State a serendipity of sorts happened to me. I as usual stayed late to work on my game when Coach Gerry Hueser invited me to join him for a dinner meeting with coach Wooden at a local motel. To witness this mans love for his players, and hear him tell the stories I knew why this UCLA coach would be regarded as the most loved and respected coach of all time. Then we went to hear him speak at a convocation at the school. I will never forget this wonderful heaven sent evening with this Christian man who had naturally integrated Christian principles into his whole life even his marriage. I now know why they call him coach!
MORE THAN WINNING
Comment: One of the greatest privileges of my life was growing up under the tutelage of Tom Osborne. I have only met him a few times but did have the privilege of connecting him with then Colorado football coach Bill McCartney. Even though Nebraska and Colorado at times had a bitter rivalry, these coaches had nothing but respect and appreciation for each others spirituality and godly influence. Most every day in the Nebraska newspapers I would turn to the sports pages where I got to learn some great life lessons from the decisions and principles that guided Coach Tom Osborne. The greatest spiritual lesson I learned from this man was that even though he is one of the winningest college football coaches of all time, he never talked about winning with his players. He emphasized the process of improvement and doing your best. He encouraged his players to become better people and better teammates and winning took care of itself and it sure did. I enjoyed many conference and national championships because of his leadership. Little did I know it at the time that these principles on the process would save me from the worldly “success at all costs and right now” demands that are placed on ministers. This biblical philosophy of life has given me a grace with people that have taken the pressure off. We can’t control the results, but we can join God in the process.
HENREITTA MEARS: AND HOW SHE DID IT
This story of this single woman is very inspirational. She headed up the Christian Education Department at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, and developed some very exciting and impacting ministries from this vantage point. Both Billy Graham and Bill Bright (BGEA, Campus Crusade) credit her for imparting vision into their lives and ministries. Out of her garage she built Gospel Light Press and gave the church around the world great Bible based curriculum. She loved raising up young preachers and as one was ready to preach their first sermon, she would take these men out and buy them their first preacher’s suit. Her life has inspired me to raise up preachers, and to reach out to everyone. In her home she could host kings and queens and yet the people off the street could come in for dinner. Nothing gave her more satisfaction than watching young people sign their names to a large book that resembled the “Book of Life” when they made decisions for Jesus at a camp or outreach event. Dear God give us more people like Henrietta.
BILLY GRAHAM, EVANGELIST TO THE WORLD
By John Pollock. Harper and Row Publications;
Comment: This book inspired me to adopt a worldview like Billy’s and to believe God to impact the whole world like Billy has. It also answered the question why has God chosen to use Billy Graham; the answer Pollack gives is that in Billy God has found a man He can trust. I endeavor to be that kind of a man. To me Billy’s impact wasn’t just because of his preaching it was because of his evangelism training. In 1983 Karen and I enjoyed his School of Evangelism during the Tacoma Washington Crusades. The things I learned have helped me share the Words of life ever since. What I remember most about Billy was the great team and warm camaraderie he enjoyed with singer George Beverley Shea and platform leader Cliff Barrows.
BORN AGAIN: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THE WHITE HOUSE HATCHET MAN?
Charles W. Colson. Conservative Press
Comment: In the middle 70’s President Richard Nixon because of his own insecurities allowed the break-in of the Democratic Party office in the Watergate Hotel. This was then followed up by a cover up attempt and ultimately the impeachment of the president. Our culture grew even more cynical of leadership but in the midst of the struggle God reached out to one of the conspirators, namely Charles Colson. Charles was known as a brilliant and tenacious confidant to the president, and in the midst of this scandal God reached Him. A few years after this incident I was able to represent Kearney State College at a national leadership conference in Stillwater Oklahoma where I got to meet Charles Colson and hear first ear his story. As Jesus said: “You can tell a good tree by the fruit it produces” (Matthew 7:16, John 15), at the time of this conference many of my professors said this is just another jailhouse conversion so I went to decide for myself. At this conference I was impressed with the Godly humility and sorrow and his willingness to go the way of the cross even into prison. Since this experience Charles has been a leader in prison ministries and developed Prison Fellowship. The impact of this outreach has been dramatic. And Charles continues to use his brilliant mind and godly soul to write great books and commentary. When you have opportunity to read him, dig in, as this is a regenerated and righteous man.
DAWS: THE STORY OF DAWSON TROTMAN FOUNDER OF THE NAVIGATORS
by Betty Lee Skinner
Comment: “Pork is going to preach” it is hard to imagine such a godly man as Dawson being called Pork, but he was. Dawson caught a vision from God to pray for military men and women all over the world and he wanted to have outposts of ministry to meet their spiritual needs at every port and base. The first thing I got from the study of this life is the importance of prayer. The second thing I got was the value of the Word of God. Dawson taught people to put God’s word to memory and he told great stories emphasizing the value of this discipline. The third thing that changed my life is the Navigator Wheel illustration, this picture of the spokes of prayer, Bible study, Witnessing, Fellowship and Service has been a guiding and balancing reference for me. Lastly I was inspired and struck at how a great leader can die young. Daw’s drowned while trying to save another from drowning. Yet at his funeral Billy Graham preached (Daw’s built great follow-up strategies and materials for Billy) and lives were saved. What a great legacy. Living in Colorado Springs with the home base of the Navigators at the Glen Erie Castle I have enjoyed living under the influence of Daw’s. Now with my friend Doug Nuenke as their president I hope to be able to serve this great ministry in the future, with the passion of “Pork”.
NO COMPROMISE: THE LIFE STORY OF KEITH GREEN
By Melody Green and David Hazard
Comment: In the late 70’s I was introduced to the music of Keith Green and I am the better for it. His love for Jesus and passion for lost souls has strongly inspired my life. He sang a song called ASLEEP IN THE LIGHT a song that rebuked the church for not being more intentional about soul winning. His love for Jesus and his humility about his own sin has encouraged me to live transparently. People would come to hear his music and then get preached at, he had a tendency of laying it on heavy. But there are also memories of Keith doing a concert and revival fires breaking out, I am one of those flames. Even though I never got to hear Keith in person, I can’t wait to get to heaven and sing along with Keith. Keith is also one of those men of God who died to soon in a plane crash, yet like seed his influence lives on. This book will also inspire you to be a great giver; Keith has a habit of giving his music away. Ever wondered where I got that idea?
FULLY ARMED: THE RON GUSTAFSON STORY
Comment: many of you know that as a youth I was trying to establish my identity as a basketball player. I became known as the ace bench warmer that is as far as I got in basketball. But my love for the game and for athletics has never waned. When I became a youth and college pastor in Kearney Nebraska where I had been on the freshman team in college, I ventured over to the arena during the college tryout days and saw this “one armed” phenom named Gus. Gus lost his arm at the shoulder and had his leg crushed during a farm accident as a boy. I started praying for Gus and he impressed everyone, with his great play, Gus was a great shooter and a valuable team player. One day I noticed he was gone; I missed him, and then later found him playing pickup games with the old guys. I matched up with him. I took him on and competed with him in some thrilling and exhausting basketball games. Come to find out, Gus had also found his identity in basketball and when he got cut from the team he tried to wash away his failure with booze. As Gus tells the story, he says: “I bloodied his lip and then asked him out to lunch where I led him to Jesus.” What a great day this was, and graciously God and Gus included me in this redemption story. Gus has gone on to live as a godly man, a true inspiration, and he integrates his faith into his marriage and family life. This story will always be special for me because God allowed me a role in it. Gus tells me that his life story will be soon made into a movie; I wonder who will play me? They just better be able to shoot the ball. Gus helped me turn around a youth and college ministry. His never say die attitude, and positive outlook rubbed off on all the kids. I am grateful to God for real life stories like this one, it always makes me think about the next transformation story and the role I get to play!
OUT OF THE FURY: THE INCREDIBLE ODYSSEY OF ELIEZER URBACH
as told to Edith S. Weigland
Comment: I have seen the tattoo put on him by the Nazis in the concentration camps of WWII. Eliezer is one of the most delightful people I have ever met. I believe He grew up as a Jew in Poland, yet his family was torn apart by the war and Jew hate. This is an incredible story of exile to Siberia, prison, freedom and immigration to the USA. In the middle of this story Eliezer tells how he was converted to Jesus. I got to know him from my friend and mentor Coach Dan Stavely who always thought it was good to have Eliezer tell his story to the athletes at the University of Colorado. I was then privileged to drive him around to a couple of churches and youth groups. I never tired of seeing Eliezer pick up a ram’s horn and teach about the shoofar (the trumpet of God) and instruct us to train our ears to hear this trumpet blast as this will be the sound that will hearken our hearts for the Lord’s return. From Eliezer I learned about the price we must pay if we sincerely desire to see the lost save. In spite of persecution Eleizer had the joy of the Lord. From him I learned about persecution and about how precious the Jews are to God. I was also introduced to our spiritual relationship with Israel because of this book. It is exciting to have God introduce us to authentic people, this man is a treasure! Then he would blow the Ram’s horn and our hearts were thrilled.
MOODY: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT OF THE PACESETTER IN MODERN MASS EVANGELISM
J.C. Pollock (The MacMillan Company, New York)
Comment: Dwight Limon Moody was reported to have said to a crowd of dignitaries in London: “don’t think that God don’t love you because He do.” The best English he did not possess but he did deliver the good news like few others have. This intro in England sparked a great evangelistic campaign. To Moody know Jesus was real and personal. And he loved introducing people to the God who really loved them. At this point in time people had become religious and were used to a hell fire message. But D.L. made the message real. Legend has it that Moody wasn’t accepted everywhere (I can relate) and not allowed to do ministry in a particular church so he developed a children’s Sunday School program on the streets of Chicago. This outreach was so successful that then president Abraham Lincoln visited to witness its impact. From Moody I learn to be myself, and to be fervent. Even though Moody was a bit of a country boy who came off a bit uneducated he founded a school that bears his name and thousands upon thousands of young people have received a great education because of his influence. Some of the best ministry training I have ever received was at the Moody Bible institute where I received Son life youth ministry training one very cold January near Lake Michigan.
JOHN WESLEY: HIS LIFE AND THEOLOGY
Robert G. Tuttle Jr. (Zondervan)
Comment: John Wesley was a preacher even before he was a “born again” Christian. After he read Martin Luther’s Preface to the Book of Romans and then Wesley reported that “his heart was strangely warmed” only then did his life and ministry have real spiritual power. I am very much indebted to John and Charles Wesley (Loved His Hymns, OH FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING, and AND CAN IT BE, and hundreds more) I grew up in a Methodist Church in Grand Island Nebraska. Their emphasis on holy living is what I needed and what is needed today. The Methodists were so named because of their methods. Wesley was a very disciplined leader and required his preachers to even fast once a week. When he developed his Holy Club they had strict accountability. I wish I knew the exact spirit of this group, but I do believe they enjoy much freedom in Christ. When John was kicked out of the Church of England (This is disputed but my heroes were all kicked out of something) he said: “the world will be my pulpit (or parish)” and he took his ministry to the streets and confronted the alcohol and work abuse in England and with great open air preaching he sat his heart aflame and people came to watch him burn. He wanted men to only fear God and to hate sin and if we lived this way he believed we would change the world. I agree with him. Politically I often ask myself what would Ronald Reagan do, ministry wise I hope to ask myself more often what would Wesley do!
FOXES BOOK OF ENGLISH MARTYRS
Hilda Noel Schroetter
Comment: It will do your heart good to read about these great Saints who died for their faith. Read their last and dying words, and then be thankful. This book is worth a periodic review just for perspective. Tertullian a church father of the 1st or second century said: “the blood of Martyrs is seed”
Movies That Impacted My Life:
To make this list I simply thought about the movies I have often referred back to, quoted or enjoyed re thinking. All of these thought provoking movies have inspired a spiritual change in my life. Look for the specific impact each inspired.
Written by Patch Adams and Maureen Mylander
A 1998 Comedy/Drama based on the true story of Patch Adams struggle with medical school, guilt and his passion to help people in the healing process.
This Movie starred Robin Williams who in my opinion was genius in his role of Patch. Robin came alive with the red suction device on his nose and acted like a clown. This movie was worth it all just seeing the children begin to smile and to get involved with the laughter is cathartic.
This movie has a couple of spiritual implications for me. First of all seeing Patch struggle with his passion to help people and being forced by the institution to draw within the lines made life very difficult for him, especially when he saw how his unconventional approaches (the use of humor, personal touch, outdoors, and interaction) to medicine actually helped people to recover more quickly. Patch realized that to really help people you couldn’t just fix a physical problem you needed to deal with the whole person (body, soul and spirit).
This movie rocked my world and encouraged me to go with some of my unconventional teaching methods which ultimately got me fired. I see Jesus as being rather unconventional by the way He ministers. He taught in parables and allowed people to be real with Him. Think of it, He healed a man born blind by spitting and making mud cake and touching his eyes. I think church needs to be a lot less clinical and sterile and more like Jesus and Patch Adams. I know that in our culture we now worship scientists and Doctors yet Jesus came to us as a carpenter and as a common man who was unconventional. Because of His approach He too was rejected but His life and His death has brought healing to the whole world. We desperately need to look again at what Jesus did and how He did it, and not just read His words which are the truth; His lifestyle also has a healing touch to it.
THE KARATE KID
1984 Film Directed by John G Auildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen.
Starred Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue.
The story is a classic a bunch of bullies vs. that lone underdog. But, in this case young Daniel La Russo has a coach who really knows his stuff. Mr. Miyagi uses great wisdom to come alongside Daniel who is the new kid in town and has a hard time getting accepted. Not only does Daniel have it rough, he collides with some rough-neck kids who are finding their identity in being the bully karate club guys. These guys see themselves a rough, tough, and cool. They want the girls and the acclaim, and kicking sand in the face of skinny little Daniel makes them feel big. Mr. Miyagi has insights as to what is going on and he discovers that your Daniel is trying to learn Karate from a book. Mr. Miyagi just happens to be an expert at the Martial Arts, and he begins to help Daniel.
Daniel struggles to learn Karate from Miyagi because he thinks that all he wants done is his fence painted, his cars waxed and his deck floor sanded. But, soon it all comes together for Daniel. And while watching this movie some things came together for me spiritually. I soon realized that Miyagi was using the same steps in helping Daniel that Jesus used to train His disciples.
From this movie I was able to develop the KARATE KID SCHOOL OF DISCIPLESHIP, based on Robert E. Coleman’s THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM. In this book Coleman studied not just what Jesus said but what he did and broke it down into 8 easy to understand steps. The chapters in this book are Selection, Association, Consecration, Impartation, Demonstration, Delegation, Supervision, and Reproduction. It was brilliant how this movie showed off Jesus style of making disciples. And because of this rather creative insight I have had the joy of teaching hundreds of young people how to change their world in a way far more powerful and victorious than Miyagi did with Daniel. Watch this show for inspiration and for insights into making disciples.
FOLLOW ME BOYS
1966 Walt Disney Pictures
Based on the book GOD AND MY COUNTRY by, MacKinlay Kantor
This Movie stars Fred MacMurray as Lem Siddons and Kurt Russell as Whitey.
The movie has a heart touching plot. Lem has decided to give up life on the road as a jazz musician and chose to settle in the little Midwestern town of Hickory. Lem has eyes for Vida Downey the pretty bank teller and to impress her he starts a Boy Scout troop. Soon the couple is married, and after awhile they remain childless and heartbroken. Everyone who watches this movie just knows that they would be the best parents ever, so some how they are inspired to adopt Whitey (played by Kurt Russell).
Whitey is an abandoned kid since his alcoholic dad has recently died and he has many identity and security issues to deal with. As a troubled kid growing up in an alcoholic home I could really identify with this character. I know what I am about to say will seem weird but I really believe God was speaking to me in this movie, even before I knew Jesus as my personal Savior.
As I sat there I believe I was given a vision for my life, a vision of caring for the misfits and discarded people in our world. This has been a truism for me and a mark of my ministry. For some reason God has given me a special gift with young guys who don’t seem to fit in. When BE-LIGHT comes out you will be inspired by the chapter MISFITS AND DISCARDS.
SOUND OF MUSIC
1965 Musical Film by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
The Film was directed by Robert Wise and it starred Julie Andrews.
This inspirational movie is the story of the Von Trapp family singers and Maria who was played by Julie Andrews. To me the setting and the music were both majestic, I just loved Julie Andrews voice. As the story played out Maria seemed to have had some failure studying to become a nun at the local Abbey. So she ended up being sent to this home to be the governess to try and manage the seven Von Trapp children.
The father was a widower and a ridged Naval Commander who seemed to be making little officers out of his children. He even ruled them with his whistle and with strict military principles. Though Maria had a place for discipline she also wanted the children to experience joy. So she introduces them to singing beautiful spirit-lifting songs like: “Edelweiss”, “My favorite Things”, “Climb Every Mountain”, “Do-Re-Mi”, and the theme song “The Sound of Music.” This musical score gets everyone singing and puts everyone’s heart into the story. But, the Captain wasn’t pleased with hearing his children sing.
This musical is situated in the majestic mountains of Austria during the time of Adolf Hitler’s German Third Reich. The Captain is put between some rocks and some hard places and has to make some tough decisions regarding his family. He has seen the evil intentions of Hitler and soon his distaste will find him out. Soon his family will have to flee for their lives. And at the same time he finds himself falling in love with Maria, the woman who got his children singing and got them to wear costumes made out of curtains. Love has a way of changing men and this driven captain is in for a very interesting experience.
In serendipity of sorts the children become the Von Trapp family singers and are invited to sing in important places, this becomes a convenient way of escape for this family. This movie is filled with love, suspense, and spirit lifting music. But the spiritual purpose for this musical was to help me see the great evil in the world. It showed me how evil needs to be confronted on all levels both personally and corporately. The Nazi party went unchecked for way to long and millions were needlessly killed because few had the moral authority and the courage to confront not only Hitler but the church leaders in Germany. This movie helped to set my moral compass and show me the political influences a spiritual leader ought to have in his sphere of influence.
2003 A Biographical Picture about the life of Martin Luther
This film takes us back to the 16th century in Germany and shows us the spiritual struggle Martin had in becoming a monk. Joseph Fiennes did a fine job portraying Luther and got us to feel the inner turmoil in his belief system. Luther was taught to believe by both his family background and his church background that God as a vengeful God and Martin was scarred of Him.
While studying Martin was blessed to have access to the Holy Scriptures and to mentors who knew God personally. One of them encouraged Martin to look unto Jesus and I take that as an invitation to a friendship. This Reformation story is really a story about Martin discovering a personal relationship with God made possible by the authority of the Word of God. Martin’s heart and mind was transformed by the reality of God’s grace towards sinners, and his heart took hold of the role faith is to play in our coming to God. Martin discovered that by faith in the grace of God, God loved him and that he could love God.
Martin was held captive to the Word of God and his studies led him to write out 95 theses (issues) he wanted to discuss with the church leaders. I do not believe that Martin wanted to start a bloody revolution or be known as the reformer he came to be known as but he saw and believed things that would change both the world and the church forever.
He wanted to reintroduce the church leaders to the supremacy of the Word, and clarify God’s means of salvation thru Grace alone and by Faith alone. So he asked for a healthy debate but what he got was rebukes and sternly asked to renounce his findings. Throughout my personal ministry in churches, in a Christian school and in community I have often found myself trying to help religious leaders come to understand this same message and I too have found this to be a very costly endeavor. I join with Luther in saying my conscience is bound to the Word of God. This movie is not for the luke- warm believer. This movie will make the important points of the gospel come alive in your life, if not you will see yourself as a mean streaked religious person.
CHARIOTS OF FIRE
1981 Written by Colin Wellend and directed by Hugh Hudson.
This true story was based on British athletes as they prepared for the 1924 Summer Olympics.
This classic story contrasts Englishman Harold Abrahams played by Ben Cross who is a Jew and the “Flying Scotsman” Eric Lidell played by Ian Charleson who is a Christian man. This story is about running and living, both of these men were under great pressure to win, but there is more to the story than just winning.
Abrahams has many ugly anti-Semitic attitudes he must face both on and off the track. While Liddell sees his running as a simple way to glorify God and get the good-news about Jesus out to the world. Both of these men face opposition about their faith and their mission in life. This riveting story captivates the listener because in it we see the complexity of faith and life. It is true that behavior flows out of identity and how we view ourselves will show up in our behaviors. This show is a powerful find your identity in Jesus show.
While attending this show I had a very unusual experience, an experience where I know that I disobeyed God. At the conclusion of the show the people were spellbound by the movie and I know the Good Lord wanted me to stand up and give a simple gospel presentation and invitation to receive Jesus as Savior. I didn’t obey this holy urging, and have since promised God that I will take every opportunity He gives me to bring His light to people.
2008 Alex and Stephen Kindrick
Produced by their home church in Albany Georgia, the Sherwood Baptist congregation. This church body served as most of the actors and extras in the movie. A very inspiring achievement for a guy who believes the local Church represents Jesus to the world. Way to go church!
This is a story about a firefighter named Caleb who was played by Kirk Cameron, and his wife Catherine played by Erin Bethea. Caleb is a worldly guy who has his heart set on a new boat and fills his free time and his mind with porn off of the internet. Catherine gets fed up with Caleb’s selfish lifestyle and for not pulling his weight around the house. This marriage is under fire because of these attitudes and their failure to love and serve each other.
Caleb’s parents reach out to Caleb and encourage him not to give up hope and to take a 40 day “love dare”. Come to find out this 40 day adventure was the strategy that saved their marriage and Caleb comes to appreciate his parents and especially his mother because of this enlightening bit of history.
Consequently this love dare takes all the faith Caleb has, but it soon takes hold of him and love wins out. Catherine just about throws everything away and gives herself to another man. This movie is real life stuff filled with good humor and gives hope in a not to cheesy way.
This is a helpful ministry tool for me because it clearly shows how sins can dominate a life and bring it down just as a fire can knockdown a building. But, what I like about this movie is how it shows off God’s grace and His process of redeeming lives and relationships. This movie shows off both the horizontal (people to people) and the vertical cross beams (God to people) and demonstrates how our relationships can be worked out through the cross. I really did like the role the cross played in this movie.
Subtitled: “Some people just don’t belong”
1980 American Comedy, Written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney.
Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Michael O’keefe, Bill Murray and the Gopher.
Lot’s of memorable quotes like: “Cinderella Story”, “at least I have that going for me”, “it’s in the hole”, “Here gopher” etc.
Spiritual insights: There is a scene of Bishop Pickering playing golf in a dark and windy storm, yet he plays an unbelievable round of golf featuring amazing shots. As a Pastor I have often played my best golf by myself and I often think of this scene and I always laugh. I do think I garnered some of my “Clergy-Man Clam” comedy insights from this collared Luther Bishop.
This show is filled with a plethora of “identity issues” as the entire “Bushwood Country Club” membership is made up of great posers. It makes fun of everyone and it has many story lines. I have been known to fill three sermons into one. This is a laugh a minute comedy, with Rodney Dangerfield being in fine form and making incredible spoofs of Ted Night’s character (Judge Smalls). I think I will watch it again I could use a good laugh.