How loud should those of us who believe in God be... when we want to share our own faith? For a long time I have pondered what is the role of the modern Christian in the world today. Years have gone by since being a part of Every Tribe Entertainment where our ethos was built on Mark 4:11 where Jesus was speaking to his upset and very frustrated disciples. They actually felt Christ may be just beating around the bush verses hitting people over the head with the truth. Let's go there first, because this is an important issue. Should we be silent, should we make noise or should we be subtle?
The chapter in Mark recounts the entire experience in so many ways as the disciples asked the hard question, "Why are you telling so many stories, don't you think it is time to just cut to the chase?" Can't you imagine Christ just smiling and saying, "Wait a minute, do you think this is what people really need and what about those who don't have ears to hear and eyes to see?" He went on to tell the story of the farmer planting seeds and what happens to them in this Parable of the Sower.
Eugene Peterson's Message Version ends by saying in verse 11, "And Jesus was always found telling stories, gently nudging them toward receptive insight." So here is the question of the day,. Do we gently nudge, use subtle and cautious stories so we don't blow people away? Jesus clearly had a philosophy about life, about a way to live where we were different. Yet he also carried a truth, even when at the court before His crucifixion when he told Pilate, you don't have any authority if it were not given to you by my Father. He could be both quiet, ask questions, be bold and authoritative. The reality was he was "all of the above".
For many years I have often felt "preaching in films" was not always the best use of the visual language of film if you were using the art of persuasion to bring people into real truth. In fact, I have used the term "gently nudging" people and felt this was the best approach, but I am changing for many reasons.
Today was part of this surreal change of my heart along with personal discussions with other mentors. Lynn and I attended our second session with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett at Lipscomb University this week and Mark said, "Its time we (Christians) make some noise". The faith based community has been too silent for way too long.
I felt convicted by his powerful words. Maybe I was guilty and had failed and after praying about this very important strategic issue, I wanted to apologize because I do believe Mark is right. He said, "In European television the report shared 21 Christians were beheaded recently.... While in the USA television, the report was that 21 Egyptians were beheaded recently."
Do you see the difference? Its massive and we have to begin to think differently.
This Easter Mark and Roma have a new episodic television series, A.D. which is the Book of Acts based on the BIBLE CONTINUED. This incredibly brilliant set of stories I have personally experienced and I can tell you, get ready to be blown away. After this series, they are doing BEN HUR the movie and shooting in Italy where PASSION OF THE CHRIST was created. The key is they are producing and creating with "excellence". They are not making bad content, but creative films and episodes which ARE changing the world, by making a ton of noise.
NBC is carrying this series. Do you realize this is a game changer? Networks are now open to faith based content and for years, they were never interested. CNN is doing a series In Search of Jesus this Easter and more people are beginning to open up to ask key questions about who He is and more. Why do you think this is happening? I can tell you its because people like Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are getting LOUD! Yes, they are making so much noise and its time all of us start getting louder...who believe.
VERITAS and VERITAS 300 are joining into a partnership of promotions with LIGHTWORKS which is the new production company creating this wonderful series of content, films and programs. We believe this organization is exceptional, world changing filmmakers who have the attention of networks. We are looking at Biblical projects in new ways. Our commitment to making a film about Jesus in Jim Gromer's work JESUS THE LAST SUPPER continues to be high on our priority list! This is no accident, its time to make noise and we need you to pray, to seek His face, to ask for His blessing on what we are doing.
VERITAS MISSION FILMS will have the chance to share at Village Baptist Church on Easter Sunday with Dr. Jimmy Kinnard so we need you to remember us in prayer. We have many of the VERITAS 300 who have prayer requests and we ask you continue to pray for ALL the requests. Ask the Lord to touch the churches, the staff members and the congregations where they gather. Please ask the Lord to help them through the health challenges of so many, the mourning of those who have lost close loved ones and more. Your prayers matter and we as a prayer team are just committed to the needs of our online family.
Lastly, please pray for the financing of our projects. Truly, God alone owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We are people who believe in His provision. This is the only way we desire to be financed. Since we are called by God to do what we are doing as media missionaries, we are always needing your prayerful support. God has an incredible plan for us all and join us as we get ready to become more "noisy" for Him!
I love you all more than I can say,
There are so many ways we can serve God, but there is no way better than understanding the power of His word, the Bible can really live in our lives. This week, I have gained a new appreciation for God's word by talking about the new National Bible Museum scheduled to open in 2017 on the National Mall. This museum is a tribute to God's word from Genesis to Revelation and is intended to draw people from all over the world brought to you by the Green family and partners.
Perhaps the museum has many wonderful attributes, but the BEST is that it features the chronology of how we got the word of God from the writers to the scribes, to the printing presses to the modern day language which became not just the book of the month, but the book of the Ages. The idea of doing this museum was birthed when I was the working with Every Tribe Entertainment as the Greens had been dreaming about ways they could focus people's attention on the Bible. They were already involved in funding Bible Translations and Bible related activities.
Mart Green had a great concept for Bible promotions to be created much like the GOT MILK CAMPAIGN called THIS BOOK IS ALIVE and our team went to the International Forum of Bible Agencies for the purpose of talking about promoting God's word in a more realistic way, It was so easy to see, I had met a family who loved the Bible and wanted to talk more about it because Bible ownership was strong, but readership was down.
Before Mart, David Green the founder of Hobby Lobby had a unique and wonderful idea to use full page ads in newspapers on Christmas and Easter for the purpose of telling the story that the Bible is still a powerful and relevant book. Finally Steve launched the ultimate vision of the Bible Museum with our dear friend Johnny Shipman. Johnny passed away a couple years ago and gave me the idea to call our film company VERITAS and was an antiquities expert and Bible expert. I had the blessed fortune to be one of seven preachers who preached his funeral and his legacy is still going to make a difference in this museum's history.
When you see a spark in someone's mind like David Green, grow into a concept Mart had with Every Tribe and Bearing Fruit Entertainment, followed up by the vision of Steve Green to create a National Museum grow into an inferno of beauty, you never forget how you got to watch such great men dream. I am so blessed to have been around so many wonderful dreamers, visionaries and leaders who wanted to impact culture.
The National Bible Museum has a church relations department and I want to do everything we can do to support this incredible museum of faith. People are seeing the power of what this historical legacy really is. One thing I can tell you is this, Steve Green is one of the finest men I have ever known. I have talked about him on FB this week because I was so thankful to see this great event taking place and his wife Jackie being written about in the Washington Post. I am going to recommend that ALL of the VERITAS 300 members begin praying for this museum. Its one of the greatest ways our prayers can make a lasting difference.
The other day Dad dropped me off at the OKC Airport and I was traveling to another destination and he called me when I had just arrived at the gate telling me about how beautiful the new Hobby Lobby Headquarters are being finished due to the new construction. He was so thankful that God was blessing the company but he was twice as excited when he heard about the new Bible Museum! This is something we must share more about!
My son and daughter in law are putting their lives into this historic event, so please join me in praying for the National Bible Museum in its grand opening in 2017. Lets rally our prayer support and get behind a grand place where Jesus can be talked about, His story told and the power of His message impact our culture through God's Word. What I like about this museum is that the family believes God's word stands on its own. This is a place for believers and non believers to visit because its about one book. The book which truly changed our world yesterday, today and forever.
I've been curious about how the medical community would see my "healing" which took place a little over two weeks ago. If you just joined us, you need to know I was handicapped for 16 unable to walk due to vertigo from a stroke which broke into 12 areas surrounding the base of my brain.
So this week, I visited the Neurology Clinic at Centennial Hospital in downtown Nashville. The journey has been quite incredulous since being able to walk over the past two weeks now from a miraculous healing spearheaded by Michael and Stormie Omartian, our neighbors and friends. Its been a fascinating medical process so my clinic visit is chronicled for your prayerful consideration.
Yes, I do believe in miracles even though I had despair which haunted me during my dark season too. I feel the details are important to hear for so many reasons so please allow me to share the specifics. A medical perspective is designed to share a prognosis with the patient of the illness and forecast the future, but what happens when you have been healed? I can you the prognosis is nothing like what you would expect....
Yes, I was nervous walking into the Neurology office this week on Monday because from the last time I saw Dr. Adrian Valdivia, things were dramatically different. You can follow my chronicles of despair, my call to action for a miracle and actually "being healed" in my blogs. However, even I did not realize what was about to happen to see if scientists would agree there was definitely a healing. After all, so many people believe science and the real supernatural are not hand in hand. This would be how it went down for me...
When I arrived at the Neurology clinic this past Monday morning, I was met by the receptionist with a surprised look on her face due to previous stroke encounters, she didn't expect me to stroll into the office and up to the counter at all.
She knew I had been a stroke victim just a few hours ago, but did not expect me to come walking in the door, rather pushed would be a better term. She said, “Mr McAfee?” and I answered “Yes ma'am”. She then said, "Do you need anyone to fill out the health application for new patients form?". Obviously she didn’t expect my first meeting with the Neuroscience practice to be with someone looking healthy. I told her I had been healed and she said, “Wow, you are definitely rare and have a seat”.
Moments later, I was taken back where the doctor's nurse began to question me with the same kind of bewildered appearance, which seemed liked skepticism. Through the process, it was clear, she was equally confused as to the new medical status. Myriads of questions began around my health situation after taking the vitals. My blood pressure had been high since the stroke so we focused on this area and on pulse and breathing.
It was clear I needed to share with her why I was better. Do you know how difficult it is to tell someone you have been healed? If you have been healed its really not hard at all! So I went into the whole story of asking the VERITAS 300 to be part of my prayer support. Even though V300 was never foundational built to pray for my simple request, God had shown off by giving me friends and family who truly believed in everything we are doing and what we are about as media missionaries.
She finally began to smile and saw my heart of real enthusiasm toward this experience. When she smiled and understood my passion her countenance changed. After this, she began to ask me the specific details of January 24, 2015 and the visit by Michael and Stormie Omartian to our home. She was fascinated at the results and was in wonder at how the prayer of an hour held such power. She asked the normal question about medicine and if there was anything I had done differently, but there wasn't. No changes but God Himself being used in my life.
Dr. Maria Dongus was Dr. Valdivia's partner from the Phillippines who took the office visits for Dr. Adrian Valdivia. Dr. Valdivia was from the middle East and was one of the most intelligent doctors I had ever met. I will never forget when I left the hospital he asked me if we could hug and I knew this man was different. Would Dr. Dongus have the same great bedside manner? If they were partners, I already had confidence in her. When she came in, she shared the nurse had already briefed her on what had transpired. Most importantly she wanted to take me through a series of tests to answer the questions she had in her mind.
I was asked to do a number of hand gestures, eyes following a finger, pointing to my ears and nose, moving my hands, legs, heels, walking and more. She wanted to know what my balance was like and was concerned I would not be able to do them, strangely I was able to do all of them perfectly. This is what happens by the way when God shows off in your life.
Our primary objective for meeting was with my current health status of where we are and what is the prognosis for the future. She shared for the first time the reason for the critical nature of my brain injury to be addressed. What I found out finally made sense to my family. There were some serious issues because of the cerebellum being strategically located close to some structural areas of the brain. These areas of the brain would control, breathing, heart and more. If anything could possibly go wrong, this is why the NICU was the place the doctors wanted to keep me in my stay at the hospital, not because of room availability as we had been told earlier.
When I was moved from Williamson County, Dr. Kem had made it very obvious the hospital there did not have a Neurology specialist on call due to financial constraints. He shared why he would want his family member to have an expert who fully understood the serious nature of my industry to counsel me, which is why I was rushed by ambulance to Centennial Hospital HCA. I was so very thankful in retrospect of Dr. Kem's observations and also knowing Dr. Britt would have taken care of me if I had been in Oklahoma City where I was from.
She said I did not need any Physical Therapy and there was no reason to do another MRI, because it would still show where the clots have embedded and there is no fear of those stroke areas impacting my future health. Its only another stroke which is why we are watching my health at this time closely. She explained in detail about the blood, how build up or pressure blocks the veins and why this could happen again. It turned out that a "stroke" was just like the word, it happens and you only have a few hours to hopefully get the blood which has clotted to be addressed by clot busting meds. She said bad cholesterol can contribute to this so I needed to watch my food intake, eat healthy vegetables, fruit and protein. Be very moderate on sweets and no fried foods were encouraged. These were all expected and excellent medical counsel.
The questions had still remained which bothered her. Why did a fifty six year old male in relatively good health have this stroke in the first place? However, she did say I had some issues which were foundational to the process. There were mitigating factors like the hole in my heart, bad cholesterol, family background and more that played into the factors, but none were conclusive. The heart was the only known existing problem (outside of family health) because the report showed my veins were pretty good and the blood was fine. It turned out that the viles of blood which had been taken during my critical stay were positive and so, other medical elements were part of the discussion.
She encouraged me to get back with my family doctor to work on my high blood pressure and I knew Dr. Daniel McGinley in Tennessee or even Dr. Wade McCoy in Oklahoma could take care of me. During the course of the ER visit and the hospital stay, they all wanted my blood pressure to be a little higher than normal, but now they wanted it to come back to normal and do whatever is necessary for this to happen, so she wrote my doctor to adjust accordingly. Later we started working on getting this corrected. I was very curious as to what she was thinking of the healing most importantly.
When I told the nurse who had come in earlier about the Omartians and my “miracle” she had immediately began to write everything down. Would the doctor have the opportunity to consider my healing as a logical explanation, or would she cast it off? I was intrigued at how a medical scientist in neurology would respond.
Dr. Dongus nodded her head politely and said, “Kevin, there is no other explanation but you have had a miracle and there is no evidence which communicates differently”. She went on to say, “Medically we have heard of these stories but we just don’t have cases like this in our office”.
Just fifteen minutes earlier, the nurse told me she had never seen a case like mine in the healing arena either and what a huge confirmation that what had happened was not a figment of my imagination. I told them I had privately written to the VERITAS 300 the night before my miracle happened to pray and I believed God would heal me, not in part, but 100%. Nobody in the medical office could explain why, but everyone agreed, this was the opposite of normal. As I considered what had happened, there were elements I began to put in place which began to make even more spiritual sense to me.
She told me if I felt another stroke was coming on, since I now know what to expect, to get to a medical doctor within 3 hours and get some clot busting medications. My father in law reminded me today I should even consider wearing a bracelet or a necklace. My mind went to this week remembering what Christine Johanson's mother Yun had told me. She was from Korea and she said, "In the name of Jesus Kevin, you will never have another stroke". Then Pastor Clint Thomas at the same luncheon told me the same thing, "It was never God's plan, but a scheme of the enemy" which is what I kept hearing over and over from my friends.
She shared why this stroke could be called the widow maker for two reasons. First, it was because of the location of the cerebellum and my stroke placement and the second was because the first hours after a stroke so often can determine based on treatment and God, if you will live or die. It is not something you can wait to fix, but you have to be treated immediately with clot busting medicine in order to expect to live a healthy life. The serious nature of what this entire episode meant, set in to my heart and I was somewhat overwhelmed.
When my blood all came back positive, I was reminded what Dr. Britt shared with me. “Kevin, your blood will come back normal and you will have a healthy life”. Those words were embedded in my heart and I would hang on to them as long as God gave me breath, because ultimately, He alone gave me the strength to get through this.
People wrote hundreds of letters, pastors had their churches send PrayerGrams, circles of people in cell groups, on Wednesday night prayer meetings, at dinner tables and with friends had prayed, prayed and prayed. Each of these all come together in a beautiful way signifying the real power of focused prayer. The more I think about what God has done, the more I realize how powerful prayer really is.
Who are you praying for right now? Do you have prayer needs? We have been receiving many prayer letters sent to us at VERITAS and we are actively praying. Every time a prayer request comes in, when we open your letter we immediately pray for people's request. Many of you have job, school and career situations and we are praying. Some of you are praying for your pastor and leaders? Some of you need prayer for friends who are facing enormous mountains in your life, we are praying. Some of you are on sports teams and we are praying for your safety, the coaches, your parents and more. Some of you have unspoken requests and we are praying.
Thank you for praying for us and for making miracles happen in our lives. I'm so very excited to be sharing on Easter Sunday this year at the Village Baptist Church in Oklahoma City in both services in the morning. Write it down, if you are anywhere near Oklahoma City, would you please join us!!! Pray for Jimmy Kinnaird and for this great church as one of our VERITAS 300 churches as he will be preaching on the Resurrection of Christ and having a healing prayer for those looking for a miracle! (I love these kind of Baptist events don't you?)
Its time for you....to have a medical miracle. Pray and believe and we are with you!
I love you all,
When a tragedy happens and triumph is part of the "end result", doors will begin to open. Have you ever thought about the "why question" when you have to go through trials and tribulations in what you go through, but then when you realize the power of hindsight being 20-20 everything in the rear view mirror gets more clear. You can see and understand from a different perspective the "why" of life. This is where I live now.
In the past two Sundays and one Wednesday night, I have been given the opportunity to share in churches and public gatherings what transpired in my life on January 24. If you don't know the story, please read my earlier blogs. Just today, I prayed with a Senior Adult woman named Barbara who is truly concerned for their health of her family and we discussed miracles. Would you pray with Barbara and I for three miracles she has requested for health and the last being a disable friend who is in a wheelchair. I remember what Larry Jones told me a few days ago how miracles are all different and each one is so very unique. I was asked to pray over a grandmother whose son was in a horrible snow boarding accident for healing. There have been people's lives who have been changed and now, miracles are being talked about more, even from this old Baptist I have seen the miraculous.
Let me be honest with you, I am a broken man and so often in the past two weeks have asked God, "Why did you choose to do this and heal me". There is a darkness inside me just like there is one inside of you which would have seemed to have been the blockade to healing, but instead there was grace and mercy. I was not a man who deserved to be changed forever, but somehow...I was.
Did you know He can use you, even when you don't feel like you are worthy? Do you know God values you more than you ever dreamed possible because He created you, created me and all of us together. I had a man in my life who was an enemy and when faced with an unsure future, I wrote him and asked forgiveness because I didn't want to see my Maker and have bitterness inside of me. God can use our weaknesses and as Ray Sanders told me, "He never wastes a pain".
Do you remember the movie about a race horse who seemed a little broken and the wise old trainer who said, "You shouldn't throw something away, just because it needs to be fixed up a little". True words of wisdom still ring into my heart as I think about what it means to be broken.
A greater question for all of us is, "When things go wrong, how can we turn what is lemons, into lemonade if we don't have the right spirit?" The answer is, "We can't, but He can.". This is why its so important to understand the source of a spiritual attack, which is the enemy. We have to understand that real power comes from God, not the enemy. Yes, there is a time when you can call upon the power of God to heal you, to heal a family member, a friend and in your belief, you can know He is in control. The enemy is about sickness, disease and infirmities.
Many times I have shared about my experience producing the movie BEYOND THE GATES OF SPLENDOR, the feature length documentary about the Waodani Indian Tribe in South America. Our feature film I executive produced was called END OF THE SPEAR. The story was compelling, but not until our film team became a real part of the story as it is still being written, did I fully understand what it meant when God is in control and we are not.
For weeks the team had been shooting in the jungle and it was time to say goodbye to the tribal leaders and one man who had become so dear to my heart. They called him grandfather Mincaye and he came to us and hugged me in a way I will never forget. In his Wao tongue through the translation of one of the Saint family members, he said, "If Wangongi (God) sees it well, I will see you again.". This man of the jungle really knew and understood the power of God knowing what is best, what is right and who holds the timing of it all. We couldn't decide about the future, but God could. When I flew out of the jungle with Steven Curtis Chapman, the Every Tribe team and film crew, I wept. I thought about the insight this native South American who had shared when he knew, even more than me, it was God who would put us back together again, only if "He saw it well".
So there is a jungle each of us are in and you and I face it every single day. It is a hazardous trail of every kind of thorn, bush and thicket along with dangerous wildlife which seeks to kill us on the journey. The jungle is getting worse and the enemy hates you more than ever for even reading blogs about faith. You could be spending your time doing so many things, but yet you are stopping to understand about truth and learning a lesson from a genius tribal elder in a jungle who never even went to school. The Bible says, "A fool becomes wise who knows Him". God has a greater plan and its our job to prayerfully seek out the truth and I am so thankful Mincaye knew the real truth.
Doors will open for you, but you must be available and ready to go. For the first time in my life people want to hear what happened to me. It's not about me, its about Him and what He did. Its always about this and we must recognize as we surrender to His will, as we pray in faith believing, our worlds will change in a huge way. Whatever you are facing, no matter how many canopies are in your jungle, how dark it has made the trail, God is the light which can light your way and be a lamp unto your feet and a light in your path.
My family would tell you I did not handle the situation with my own limited handicapped lifestyle very well. There were so many limitations to my life. I heard someone say the other day, "The doctor said you will never walk again" and I corrected them and said, "No, the doctors said my vertigo was so bad, it debilitated me into such a compromised lifestyle that I only had a 50% chance of recovering...for something". I want you to know, you will be misunderstood, misquoted and even "spun" when miracles happen, but stay true to truth. Let people know what really happened so you can stand before your Lord and hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant".
Ordinary people can sometimes experience extra-ordinary circumstances. There is nothing wrong with being an ordinary person. God is leading us now, He is lighting our path and helping us know what direction we are to face. We don't listen to men, we listen to Him, to His word and we walk in His steps. It's never been harder to be a man of God, than right now. It has never been more serious than right now, doing what God wants me to do. My partners, my film colleagues and my community is aligning with His message for this time.
Entertainment in the Greek means to "distract or divert one's attention", so its easy to get distracted. There are many roads you can take, but I believe VERITAS has never been more on the "right road" as a film company than we are today. Today is the day of salvation. The year is 5775 and it is the Shmiti year before the year of Jubilee which starts in September according to the Jewish Calendar. This IS a huge year of prophetic warnings against our own administration, our own government, our stock market futures/status and where we are, but if we sow into the seeds for our local church, if we sow into ministries who help Israel and are part of the DNA of change for Yeshua, then God will bless His land and His people just like it spoke about in Jeremiah. Are you doing this now?
Maybe you think you are too young, too old, too disabled or too unknown to do something for Him. Wrong. You are the exact person He wants to use. Don't you ever give up believing God has a great plan for you and a tapestry to show you the way for His glory. Ron DiCianni is my new partner and he has a company where he has painted almost 100 original paintings for God. He is the most talented Biblical artist in America today in my humble opinion. You have seen his work on the covers of books for Frank Peretti, Chuck Swindoll and more. Our companies are coming together to use the visual language of the arts to impact culture, we believe we are not too old, not too unhealthy and are standing on the right foundation to make a difference for Him. Two men in their fifties and sixties are believing for a miracle again, so why can't you believe for God for your miracle, for your new doors and more.
What will be the doors which open for you in the future? What steps will you take to make huge enormous dreams happen? Don't you think for one minute God is through with you, because He is not. Don't you talk yourself into believing lies which could claim you are not important, because you are.
Thank you for praying each week, for believing every day and reading your Bible. God will bless you in this. Use your social media platforms like a ministry. Love people and give them hope and do this in agape love. Be faithful in your supporting a local church as God blesses you by being faithful in the small things so He can bless in the big. See what doors will open and be thankful for each one of them....
I love you,
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.