Recently I heard someone say, "I don't go to any movies where I don't feel somewhat inspired or hopeful at the end". What a beautiful perspective to share, a desire to use entertainment as a tool providing inspiration and hope. This is really special to me because so many films today do not aspire toward this end. In fact, the opposite is so often the case where the filmmakers desire to be on the edge, graphic and even grotesque.
We forgot about people in how they live, the struggles they have, the obstacles which they overcome and the joy they need in their lives. Sure entertainment can be dark and you have to juxtapose light with darkness, but this is NOT what presses my button. I really like finding films which inspire people. McFarland, Little Boy and Selma as of recent films, but Moneyball, Twelve Years A Slave, Home Run, God's Not Dead and even Heaven Is For Real.
People in the industry who aspire to make films reaching people's hearts make me smile.
So many people ask, "How can I get into film?" I believe in education. I have served on several college boards and being on the film advisory board of Lipscomb University is an honor. A group of us had a dream to begin a new college for the Master's Level Students in Nashville and Vice President Mark McFerrin and Dean Mike Fernandez recruited me to be a part of this wonderful group.
Once you are in the educational realm, you must study your craft, hone your skills within the specific areas of the artistic realms and push yourself toward excellence. You can bloom where you are planted. Being in Hollywood is a plus, but there are many burgeoning entertainment hubs which are being birthed all over the world. In England, India, Japan, France and beyond. The world has become quite a bit smaller.
Then I am very high on private lessons for acting, directing, understanding theater, exploring story, researching great films, writing, etc. Truly, there are so many different jobs in the film industry you can be a plumber, an electrician, a painter, a computer specialist and even medicine. Its an amazing industry and worth taking the time to fully explore all of the aspects of an ever changing segment of culture.
One thing I have learned about film is that "timing" is everything. There are times when we push, times when we pull and then times when we learn to "let go and let God" do it all. The Lord has such perfect plans for all of us and we have to stop and listen to His voice too. This means in the film industry we must plan, be diligent, operate with full integrity, work hard and then....wait.
When the doors do open for you in film, they are not just barely cracked open, but they can open wide because you know it is not about you, it's all about HIM! God has the perfect timing if you are willing to allow Him to be at the center of your decision making and the focal point as you understand the voice whispering in your ears. If you are working your plan and keeping an ear to His voice, you have to have both in your life.
In the Bible it says in Psalms, "God will whisper into your ears". Isn't that amazing? Have you ever thought of the real power of God's voice? The Bible is a book which gives us promises and when God promises you something, there is a real power in a promise. To listen, you have to be quiet for sure. I'm not very good at being quiet either.
Ever since I was young, I felt God's call on my life to be in motion pictures. It didn't happen fast, but it sometimes can take a long time to arrive at a destination or a dream. I have dear friends like Casey Bond who was in Money Ball and was the relief pitcher whose "faith" was an inspiration to the film. Casey had been with the Giants organization in professional baseball and almost immediately went from pro sports into film. This was a case of real movement with God. So from going slow to fast, is all found in the economy of God.
What I have learned is when His call is on your life, don't settle for anything less than what you believe to be "God's voice" and connect with spiritual friends who you trust completely for their insight, along with reading your scriptures. There are so many ways you can lose focus, get distracted and move from your ultimate goal, but if you laser in on your gifts, educate yourself to be equipped and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your lives, you will find winning combinations.
This week, I am praying God shows off in your life. I am praying you will learn to hear His voice even more. I pray the movie which has been placed in your heart, becomes even bigger than you ever dreamed.
I love you,
PS Thank you for praying for all of the prayer requests we talk about on our Facebook Page on the VERITAS MISSION FILMS GROUP. We continue to have weekly requests. Prayers are counting and we will continue to pray for all your requests. Thank you for praying for ours too.
In fact, the only thing that is consistent is in this world is change. Last night a group of us were talking about sports and how in athletics, you are dealing with failure. Baseball is a game of failure. To be one of the greatest hitters in the world, you can strike out 7 of ten times. Isn't that amazing? In shooting, if you can get to 40% you might have had a good night. The reality is this, change happens and all of it isn't good.
How do you deal with failure? What do you do when you lose your job? How do you handle when your marriage collapses? How do you go through the tragedies which come your way and change happens?
In talking to Robert Funk, one of the leading people in the world on losing jobs, he shared that Express Personnel Services deals with people when they are in the worst situation, giving them hope, helping find a future and more. It began as a ministry. Reaching out to people without security is not just a "thing to do", but its essential.
In this past week, I've had some huge conversations with people who are going through change and frankly, it's not even close to a "good change". What is the really answer and how can all of us cope with our futures when there are so many influences which can impact our emotions?
Christi Craddock of HIS TRUTH TRANSFORMS INTERNATIONAL talks a lot about how we can let our emotions take the place of what we need the most, Jesus. Isn't this a powerful word, to stop and think that through all the change going on around us, the real answer seems so simple, it's a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the reliance upon Him and Him alone to be our security. We either believe Jesus can, or we take on ALL OF OUR CHANGE ourselves and fight it personally.
If you do this, you will lose. If you try to fix your own problems and don't focus on the God of the universe, you will not succeed. So many people are not willing to take the risk of "surrender" to Him. They take all their problems and carry them around on their backs holding on to the very issues Christ says, "Let go, let me have your problems, let me take care of the change".
This is way more than philosophy or psycho babble talk, this is the real thing. Only when you stop to realize your relationship with Christ is not a "thing", but EVERYTHING will you begin to know a different kind of a journey in the one true God. No matter where and how bad you journey, how much change you combat and how alone you feel, when you surrender, you will see the power of His resurrection.
Personally, I fight pride a lot and "giving up" my problems to surrender to Jesus Christ is not easy for me. If I were to give myself a grade with ten being best and one being the worst, I often think I am close to a 2. Do you understand why we need a Savior so much? Our emotions can rule us, they can truly become our own God and they will hurt us and cause great pain.
Years ago I was fired by a group of people whom I thought had my "security" at hand, but in reality they didn't. They were completely different. The more I saw how my security was not in their bankroll, the most I saw how God sees the sparrow when it falls, He can see me.
God sees you. He knows you. He made you and He knew your change was coming.
There were no surprises when you went into that meeting last week. There were no flags, parades and banners that needed to be shown to heaven. Do you understand the power of omnipotence? I don't, but I do know this. Whenever I get to feeling I can't handle my situation anymore and the change is too great, I think of a man who handled the situations of life and death with such a courage, it changed me.
Change is not coming, it's already knocking on your doorstep. Just know He loves you, He knows and go to Him more, let Him help you. Stop and take some time to listen, breathe and remember His unending love.
I love you,
Normally, I don't share both on FB what I write down when it's time to blog on VMFA, but today, I wanted to do so in part because I believe the lesson is worth sharing in both places. The reality of the world we live in evolves and changes every day as we all seek to improve. Some of you know, I have lost 115 pounds so its important we talk about health, physical health and believe it or not...it relates to social media too.
Many different elements come into our lives both physically, emotionally and spiritually. So, I want to take some time to talk to you about overall physical health and well being. I have been doing some research and found some pretty astounding facts about living well, eating healthy and being in good physical condition. Much of what I focus on this site is about spiritual or even emotional trauma, but I want to talk about your physical condition.
At some point, not today I will share with you what I did personally to lose the weight but this is not my focus today, my focus is start at a place that seemingly doesn't make much sense, but I hope you will understand when I am done why I am suggesting there can be a positive power in staying connected through social media.
On Facebook I have talked about how damaging smoking can be to your health, how addictive behaviors, over eating and other bad habits can hurt you. Vitamin supplements for me are not just an "add on" to my life, but a real necessity, so in order to live well, include physical exercise and believe in good rest each night, I want to talk about your overall well being and look at health for a moment. Social media can also, if improperly used negatively impact your life. If you spend time "trolling" for women, "trolling" for me, chatting with people you shouldn't be connecting with, then this is destructive and horrible. I have done this in the past and its a one way ticket to nowhere.
Some people thing great health relies on good water, better vegetables, organic food, etc. These are all important, but they are not the key to long life, but rather it is love, connectivity, support and relationships. DID YOU GET WHAT WAS JUST SAID? Is it any wonder in the Bible it talks about "faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love" so do you think this is an accident? Nope, not at all, it is VERITAS. Its that little phone in your pocket which is changing the world, in some ways for the better.
Can we use social media to be painful, addictive, hurt others, hurt ourselves, absolutely. There are many dangers of pornography, dangers of wrong relationships and more, but there are also redeeming, supportive, loving kinds of ways you can recognize being "connected" can be healthy. The bottom line is you have to do what you believe is right, what is best for your emotional and personal health. At the end of the day, I do believe LOVE and the support of being connective in a "community" is vital. This is why our family started a LIFEGROUP to connect to others!
So here is what I found out that I shared on FB, just for your eyes to see. (I included a deeper thought here.)
There was a huge impactful study of a small town in Pennsylvania in the 1960's baffled doctors, scientists and researchers. They were living longer, more healthy and were defying the odds of healthcare. They found out that the town was founded by a group of Italian immigrants that came through Ellis Island and all settled in this town. By creating an environment of love, support and helping one another, they were healthier, happier and were defying odds.
God in His wisdom believed so much in community, there is even a Trinity in the very make up of our Creator I have chosen to believe in. In fact, in Christianity its called a God head, three entities in one. This is not polytheistic but monotheistic with all being integrated into one. It's the most fascinating of all explanations. In the Word of God, it was His LOVE, which was the beginning of community and this "trinity" symbolizes something very important for us all to learn. This was just one more example of loving one other, helping each other and more.
In the small town in Pennsylvania, when a child needed a bigger room in the village, the whole village showed up. When a road was needed, the whole town showed up to build the road. Each member of this wonderful Italian community would see a need, and help join in to fill the need. The group began to operate and work together as a community and there was more joy, more enthusiasm, more happiness.
This week, I saw a post on FB and it was from Steven Jobs and it said, "If you want to know who your real friends are, start a business and see who is supporting you.". Wow, what a telling sign to see if others are interested? I used to love getting my phone call from Johnny Shipman asking me, "How are things going Kevin, not just personally, but professionally too?" What a champion and love in my life. I am so thankful for great men of God who call to check on me and I need to do a better job to call and check on them.
Social media can become one of the most powerful positive weapons if you choose to make it work for you, verses against you. This little object you carry around, the very phone in your pocket and the computer we type with today connects us more than ever to others. Obesity is going down, people ARE getting healthier because of "connectivity". This was an astounding fact to me. So my question to you is, how are you dealing with this?
For many years, I resisted going into this internet culture was scary and thanks to Lisa Johnson I joined Facebook, began to use the web to network, began to become aware of the needs of so many. I found out when past friends were having a difficult time, when prayer was being needed and more. From this wonderful discovery and the ministry of Dr. Heng Lim I began a non profit, Veritas Mission Film Association. In this small cottage ministry, we are praying for people in a way we have never prayed.
This week, Jack Thompson was in the hospital with fluid on his lungs, we prayed and he was released. A dear friend is struggling with lung cancer from smoking twenty five years ago and we are praying. Another friend called and asked us to pray for her cancer and her eyesight is improving. We are not in a race to see how many people can be impacted by healing, but that is not the point. The point is... WE BELIEVE IT CAN HAPPEN.
Sometimes, its hard to believe in something when you haven't experienced it yourself. However, when you get to that point in life and you need a miracle and something DOES happen, you change. There is no accident in using social media because being connected to others is a positive thing. Anybody that says, "I just don't want to do this kind of thing", I feel sorry for them. They in reality are saying, "I don't want to be connected". Its easy to feel that way isn't it?
Over the past eight years I have been in and around social media, I have been so arrested and inspired by people from my past. There are many I wish I could write about that have deeply touched my life, you know who you are. THANK YOU, thank you for reaching out to an old friend who was blind, but now I see.
Here is what is strange. I have endeared friends from every walk of life. People who others might consider unloveable, not pretty enough, not wealthy enough, not "something" enough and guess what, I don't care. Through social media I have been able to change the way everyone is viewed, look from a different perspective and realize the value God has given every single person.
God has blessed by through the encouragement of others. Old business partners have reached out, new businesses are being birthed because of the love of others, doors of new business relationships are coming to fruition and I am connected to the most wonderful encouragers in the world.
When I first started on social media, I did not use the instrument wisely. in fact, I was in depression, using it as an escape, trying to fill a void in my life and wrongly understanding how it could be used for good. If you are in this place, just stop and consider the alternative. Use social media for accountability, use the instrument for positive. Don't try to be a prophet by being "accusatory", negative and destructive. Instead, take the instrument and be a blessing to the "least of these", make something wonderful out of what might be considered "scary".
Don't do this for recognition or approval, but for the right "heart reason". I have learned how to be loved from my new family. They have been completely unconditional in their love to me. Having the best kind of relationships with those close have meant the world to me. Remember to go to them today, in truth and let them know how much they are loved by you. Help them, get into their lives and see how joyful your life will be. Yes, you will live longer, but you will even live with more joy, be healed and believe in miracles now more than ever.
I love you,
When you and I begin to consider how we communicate with God, how our lives reflect His love and how the fruits of our labors bring transformation in people's lives, then prayer becomes even more powerful than any weapon on earth. Praying to God as we communicate with Him, yet living out of fellowship with Him is like talking to a concrete wall. It's present, but there is no listening because we have completely betrayed everything that stands before us for our own "will and desire".
The power of prayer can be enhanced when you begin to serve God in a new way, in a believing way and you see the true essence of God through your prayers. Its way more than magical and far into the supernatural when God's love begins to completely flow from your heart, soul, mind and spirit. This does not mean we reach a level of true perfection, but more a real level of total surrender.
So do you surrender your "everything" to the Lord? Are you willing to take what is on your heart, mind, soul, body and spirit and release this to a Heavenly Father who loves you so much He sent His son for your life? This is a very private question and it relates only to you. If you were to go on social media and ask on FB these questions, you would find the majority of the world has no idea what you are talking about.
In fact, those who "believe" are often skeptical of His real power in the first place. Its because they have a temporal faith or an intellectual assent. Its when you find people who really pray for God's will to be done is when everything is different.
This past week, I went to see Jack Thompson in the hospital. He is a young 92 and it was his first visit to any hospital in his life. They were draining water from his lungs and he is currently waiting for an answer. My dear friend, Dr. Matthew Britt is treating him now. Jack told Dad and I something important when he said, "I am not praying for healing, but I am praying for God's will to be done". He went on to say how he believes in healing, but he didn't want to outlive what he felt God might want.
Here is a man so "surrendered" to the Lord, he didn't want to appear selfish, even when it meant the existence of his own life. I had never heard anyone be so bold about their faith in total surrender to God. I love Jack so much and his entire life he has followed the Lord which is why I have admired him so much. Therefore, his words are important to my heart.
When I stop to think of people like him, I am drawn to men of purity, men surrendered, men who I consider to be very holy and champions in our faith. Ron DiCianni, Rick Thompson, Norman Behymer, John Kyle, Wendell Estep, Mark Hartman, Claude Thomas, Steven Curtis Chapman, Randy Smith, Matthew McAfee, James Barnett, Randy Sugg, Clint Thomas, Mark Chironna, Rabbi Landry, Paul Marcellino, David Pierce, Darrel Campbell, Mark Johnson, Mark Thomas, Dr. Heng Lim, Steve Green, Stan Moser, Roland Lundy, Loren Balmen, Matthew Britt, John Huff, Mike Hall, Jerry Wells, Bob Hoffman and there are so many people I have grown to believe in because the fruit in their lives are so impactful.
These men are men of prayer, some of them very broken, but God has raised them up and they know the power of prayer, and they work to live it every day, "behind the scenes" and not in front of the crowd, but on their knees. They are men I count on because of their commitment. Equally, there are many women of prayer whom I have grown to admire in ways because of their faith.
There are many women I believe in who embody the power of prayer like Gigi Graham, Beth Moore, Julie Clifford, Anna Kay Thompson, Megan Marcellino, Christy Landry, Cecelia Norman, Pam Pierce, Laura Jones Watts, Stephanie Musser, Kelli Hoffman, Laurel Hascamp and the list goes on and on.
Probably the woman who impacts me most when it comes to prayer is Stormie Omartian. When I saw her at the music concert a few days before my healing, she carried such a presence of "Christ" in her, that I knew if she and her husband could come pray over my affliction, a miracle might happen as a result of her prayer. I do believe through every struggle of life, we have to find people who "believe" and will truly make prayer a priority.
Wayne Watson years ago wrote a song entitled, WHEN GOD'S PEOPLE PRAY and it touched my heart so deeply. The words encouraged us to ask for prayer, to promote prayer and to be completely arrested by the reality of what happens when people do pray. Sometimes in worship, we find ourselves praying, but it is often difficult to set aside a time during the day to pray.
As part of the VERITAS 300 along with reading a character trait every single week, we simply ask for a prayer to be spoken on behalf of our ministry. It requires time, a real commitment and a belief prayer will work. We see all the time in scripture when God's people had to "wait" on His voice. Praying is not only asking God for something, but listening for what He has to say. The dialogue is not easy when there is no audible voice. What makes it even more challenging is the ability to discern truth.
There are many ways to know God's will and I have shared these before. However, the inner witness of the spirit can be a blessing and a "danger" because the heart is basically wicked. So when we pray, we have to begin by totally surrendering our lives to His will and pray believing.
So when you feel the world is tumbling around you, when the health crisis consumes you, when you are angry and looking for answers, when your faith is challenged and when you are lonely, depressed and hurting, go to Him!
Herein, is the power of prayer and the results directly correlate with warriors who pray in truth!
I love you,
I'm not sure why we try to put our "best face forward" all the time to impress people we really don't even know, but I am for one, guilty. It seems the "impression" and what people think of ourselves...often can rule our behavior. We fall into a trap of self inflicted wounding when we go there and it can be dangerous and very detrimental to our sanity and overall well being. Herein is our problem, we are "fallen" because we have this nature which wars against truth. It is an evil where we can either listen to its voice or command it to go away. It's part of our own understanding and our problem.
Many people think if you say, "Go away bad thoughts and negative behavior, and never come here again" it will solve the problem, but it doesn't. The reason is because we are all in desperate need of help, but we just don't want to admit our own chronic weaknesses. Our reality is that we live in an emotional and spiritual war and if you are not living in one, you are not facing a truism. Its like burying our head in the sand so we don't see the storm coming. We even pretend there isn't a storm, avoid conflict and posture ourselves all the while a raging F-5 is just above the ground, and we still don't understand.
When we hear the words, "Lean not into our own understanding" its hard to swallow because we think we can overcome just about everything, within ourselves. Its like a huge soup or special "God brew" we concoct believing we can just put in our favorite ingredients and ignore the rest of the truth, but it doesn't work that way. We want to segment certain sins because of political correctness or how we "feel". The reality is that our emotions can end up ruling our behavior and becoming our God. YIKES! Do you see how dangerous this is?
There is a way to live which seems right to us, but it is truly the absolute wrong direction in this journey of life. If we try to go to the "higher level" and to another realm, then we can be called mystic, strange or some other weirdo word to devalue our own beliefs. Our understanding can quickly become suspect if we don't understand what is REALLY happening to our hearts and lives.
As a person who specializes in sin, I need you to know something. I"M A PRO! It is really embarrassing to say that too. I so want to be this spiritual giant to the world, when in reality, I will war every day in my own heart and mind. Sin comes way too easy for me, it has all my life, even when I have thrown myself on the floor in prayer and have continued to ask God for help knowing I need Him. I am so thankful He always hears me and you know what, He has always helped me too.
Having lunch with a dear friend this week, we both agreed at how easy it is to "fall". One minute we can be on top of the world and the next, in the mire of discontent and rage. Why does this happen so often, even when things are seemingly going down a path of good? It doesn't matter how old you are, how young you are, where you have come from, what part of the world you live in or your education. In fact, sometimes education can be the nemesis for your own belief system and values. You can get so smart you talk yourself right out of the truth.
This is way better war, battle or even story than any movie can ever be written about, the juxtaposition of mortal man against the spiritual battles of all Heaven. However, a book was written years ago from an unlikely man who lived in the mountains located in the far North West part of the USA. His life was almost recluse and he had this impression of life which was incredibly profound, so he wrote a novel about it. This novel was huge. The man's name is Frank Peretti and he wrote a best selling book called THIS PRESENT DARKNESS. It was a book about spiritual warfare and how we have "beings" around us all the time who are literally at war over our hearts, minds and spirits.
If you ever read this book, you will know how scary it is because it is so realistic, but supernatural. Does that make sense? This would be a phenomenal movie, but unfortunately the movie rights were immediately bought up years ago over this book. They were sold, sold again, sold again and sold again. Going through many hands like Amy Grant, Pat Boone, Warner Brothers, etc the chain of title started bogging down as if there was a supernatural barrier which prohibited going to the next step. The movie however will never be made. The reason is simple. The chain of title and the entire project is so messed up in corporate quagmire, committed funds which are lost forever and more, it won't be made. However, I have another theory. The reason this movie is being "held up" from being made is because it directly makes the enemy mad and so, the spiritual warfare is huge.
If you are having a TON of internal problems, fighting with the enemy, feeling the attacks of sickness and even unto death around you, there is a real good reason it's happening. You matter and what you think, what you believe and even what you are going to do with the rest of your life, matters. You might be at a war you have no idea is raging, but let me tell you this...its out there and its bigger than you think.
Here is what you can do. First, commit your life to God and then begin to have a real relationship with Him. Talk to Him every day. Then realize you are in a battle and be prepared, brace yourself and know it's not going to be easy at all. Next, find a community of people where you can go hear God's word shared every week. This will not be the solution, but it will be part of a community experience you need. Lastly, really get into His word, the Holy Bible. Find out what God is speaking to your heart and listen closer than you ever have before.
Wow, it all sounds so easy, but it isn't. Thank you for taking the time in your schedule to read these blogs. I am praying somehow, some way there are people out there who understand our "sin problem" and take it as seriously as I do. My sins are limited to pride of life, lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes. Other than those three, I am nearly perfect, except for one problem. Those three cover the entire gamut of being a sinner. They embody horrible and ugly elements in each of us, so just know...God has a better plan for you.
Remember, whoever finds God, finds life.
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.