Have you ever had someone say something about you that wasn't true? How did you react and what process did you use to "right the wrong"? Did you become complacent? Did you retaliate with equal venom? What systems internally do you use when things are out of synchronization? What happens if someone is half right and maybe there is something inside you that is true, but you have been entangled?
In every person's life, there are times when others will for whatever reason, not believe you, challenge you, come against you, become negative, try to assassinate your character or even destroy you out of anger. When these times happen, people can be wrongfully accused, judged and even falsely represented to the greater world. It may be warranted and it may not be. What we have to ask ourselves is this, how is our conduct, our character, our conviction driving our own lifestyle.
I will never forget when a high school friend of mine whom I love dearly was indicted by a federal court system with over 75 counts of fraud, perjury, racketeering and his father, a former County Commissioner was equally charged. On the front cover of the Daily Oklahoman a picture of both of them being being taken off to jail spelled one thing, GUILTY. What happened could not have been farther from the truth.
When I went to the trial, the judge said, "There is no evidence to prove any of these things are right, these are wrongs which have been miscommunicated on every front". They were found not guilty. The father died during this season and the son spent the rest of his life with a wrongful stain on him. Why? Because someone chose to do something wrong that was never right.
Jim Craddock was a hero of mine. His non profit ministry SCOPE was wrongfully taken from his as a founder and this was "his ministry" but a board of directors decided they wanted him out. James Dobson was wrongfully terminated from FOCUS ON THE FAMILY and when I was with him on his program FAMILY TALK, I talked with him off the record hearing his story. It made me sad when I found out the "whole story".
Jesus was wrongfully accused and killed for his devotion to the Father. So if you get accused, wrongfully judged and more, just know you are probably in "good company". Why is it that we somehow think life has to be perfect and this huge standard put before us to create guilt and shame is the only way to restitution? It's not. We are saved by grace and through the gift of eternal life in Him alone. Sounding so easy, we have such a hard time accepting it sometime.
So are we people who listen to half truths and has our world become so corrupt that we can't see the forest for the trees? Many great men and women have had things in their lives stripped from them and if it were possible, I would pray a different outcome for them, but whatever their lot, they have been taught to say, "It is well, with my soul" .
Naturally when someone comes against us, we react and ma get defensive. It's a nature in us to protect our own name, to rise above the wrongful fray and transfer negative feelings to the offender. This may be the case for you if you have people who betray you, and it may be the opposite. Some of you may get accused falsely, wrongfully judged and have to wear a stain on your life that is not warranted.
We have all heard the scripture, "Revenge is mine saith the Lord" and we are told as children to not make our revenge our highest priority. Yet, in movies and film revenge is one of the primary motives for watching a great movie. Filmmakers for decades have used this ethos of revenge to be part of making films which people love to see, the story of the underdog overcoming odds and getting even. Besides, its the frontier so Westerns love this theme.
I will use my favorite Western, TOMBSTONE as one of my all time favorite films as an example. Mr. Charlton Heston played a small role in the film and is one of the great actors of all time. When I think of great actors who have gone before us like Mr. Heston, you can't go far to think even about TEN COMMANDMENTS and the Biblical motive of the Pharaoh who wanted revenge and eventually lost the battles due to pride and evil in his own life.
During life's hardest storms we have to be willing to see the pride in our own life and resist the temptation of allowing revenge to over take us. We have to learn to let go and let God. Yes, there are times when we take a stand when corruption comes in, when a wrongful accusation robs, steals and destroys. Learning the balance of all these areas is key to a balanced life.
So what about the times when you are falsely accused, wrongfully judged and the stain on your reputation is just not right. When you can, I do believe it is always worth setting the record straight but only when appropriate. God takes care of the little things, He will take care of your reputation. Live your life and hold your head up high, don't go into grocery stores worried about what others think or if you will run into someone different than you. Love them, love your enemies and realize God has a great plan for your life.
Remember that revenge is a dying theme. Getting even is not your job. God has you in the palm of His hands and so when we let go and let God, we find peace. Remember as pastor Craig shares each week, whoever finds God, finds life.
Many of you do not know the amazing story of a small man from West Africa, Sam Oni. We met a couple years ago when I was visiting Mercer University on my normal annual trek to our men's basketball retreat with my basketball team. The head men's Coach Bob Hoffman really wanted me to meet this man and hear more about his story. Bob had taken his team to hear him speak with Don Abernathy and President Underwood in a moving ceremony of how civil rights had come so far at Mercer a few years ago. It was the 50th anniversary celebration of a major break through.
In the heart of Atlanta we met and had a long private talk at a local neighborhood coffee shop and this kind man told me his story, the story of a life lived during one of the most historic seasons of all in the South, the early nineteen sixties, especially 1963. He shared how through the testimony and faith of a missionary who was sent to his country, he was encouraged to attend college there. Churches in the South were always obliging to fund missionary efforts, but they were not expecting to happen what happened. When a man would decide to come to America for school, a man of a different color.
Sam decided to apply at Mercer University and was miraculously accepted as the first black student in an all white school. He was paired with one of the star athletes at the time and the center of the basketball team Don accepted him into his life as the first mixed race roommate. However, the trials were about to begin for Sam and Don and the picture to be painted was full of trials, disappointments, threats and more.
There were high hopes in Sam's heart to attend church, because he felt he could find people who would love him and welcome him with open arms. The local college church pastor even took the time and came by and shared with him how thankful he was accepted at Mercer, but he would not be welcomed to worship at their church his first Sunday. Sam was amazed and Don could not believe what had just happened.
This was the beginning of a warring season in Civil Rights history when Martin Luther King was taking a strong stand for Civil Rights, when Billy Graham warned Martin to not go "into the streets" because of fear of assassination. Yet, Mr. King knew this was his lot and destiny if anything was going to be completed, victories won and beyond. What an amazing time when just a few months after Sam arrived, the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The hope of the future for America as a young black man even at a Christian school was vastly diminishing with fury.
During these tumultuous times, Sam's mother back in Africa then unexpectedly died and there were many times when Sam was rejected, persecuted and it was clear, maybe he should just turn and go back home. Sam didn't and through his resolve and the courage he forged, paved a powerful way for a college today to flourish with over half of its students in the minority. Sam stood the test, but not without grain pain and torment.
This last week was a hard week for me personally as I faced surgery on Monday from an incisional hernia which needed repair, much worse than I had realized. It was a traumatic event in my life and in my recovery, who do you think called to find out how I was doing? It was Sam Oni, this wonderful man from Ghana who called to encourage me. He had been conspiring with Lynn to come to Nashville to spend time with me since my stroke. His plans had included taking a bus from Georgia and coming to spend time with me. He has been more than a friend.
Sam is my brother and I love him. He loves me too. We have a sacred bond and when I am with him, I am inspired to join the same march Martin Luther King started and join hands with these great men of faith, not to rebel for the purpose of killing, but to stand for the purpose of peace. Sam changed my world, just like I was changed when I met William Mwizerwa from Legacy Mission Village and heard this story which Randy Hartley and I came together to make our documentary feature we funded, THROUGH THE VALLEY.
God is going to open up a door for Sam's story to be told and it requires finances. It won't be from anyone on Facebook or people who will read this blog, so I want you each to pray for Sam and for VERITAS MISSION FILMS that God would allow us to share his story. Before Jesus The Last Supper was donated by Jim Gromer and when I had just met Eddie DeGarmo again about HERO, we began talking about how we could make this story so powerful.
VERITAS MISSION FILMS is going to eventually create a feature documentary about this man and tell the truth possibly even associating with feeding children in other parts of the world. Along with this documentary, we dream to tell the story of Dr. Heng Lim from Cambodia who at nine years old began saving his family from the Killing Fields! Stories like this move my heart and it is for these stories, I was born. We have many films we need to make and these are important stories of truth.
You have heard me speak of Rockhead Johnson from the Compton Crips who took a stand of courage to help at risk kids have a chance in the street gang violence of LA. I have been sharing the additional story of LORD HAVE MERCER how the Mercer Bears had enough fortitude to go against Goliath beating Duke in the NCAA tournament two years ago. These are the stories of greatness where normal people were used in extra ordinary ways. The power of story telling in truth based documentaries is huge and God will provide all we need to make these great films.
Thank you for praying for these people, for lifting up their amazing stories, for believing in their impact and joining the VERITAS 300 to lift these up to the Lord. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not yet seen and we are believing in faith, these amazing stories will be told. During this time of medical recovery for me personally, I just want to thank each of you for all you are doing to remain consistent in praying. Many organizations need what we can bring and we believe God is going before us in the best way.
May God use YOU this week in every way possible. May your testimony and your life inspire others, encourage others who are down and lift them toward the throne of grace. Use your gifts and just see how God shows off for you in ways you never dreamed possible. He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He still sees what you need and when you need it. He still cares for your soul and unconditionally sent His Son to die so that you can have eternal life. These promises are huge.
When I see Sam, I see Jesus. I pray this would be your testimony too.
PS As some of you know who have been praying, my film THE SAMARITAN has come back home to VERITAS and we are working on the details with the non profit who owns the picture in Houston, Texas. Please pray for us as we seek to complete this epic story.
Its been a tough week for my Dad, family and sister. Karen, who is the next youngest in age in our family, has done such a wonderful job of sorting out moving all the items of clothing from Mother's closet respecting her passing three months ago. Like many families who go through the mourning process, we who have been party to these kinds of activities know the pain in sorting out private and public items, considering who might need them, going to goodwill when appropriate and beyond. Many treasures have been uncovered in the process.
For every person who has been a caregiver to a parent, it means not only caring for them when they are alive, but also carrying out some of the remedial tasks where nobody gives them credit after they are gone. Karen would absolutely be upset to take credit for anything, but in reality she works behind the scenes to care for my father and be that loyal daughter to my mother in this fashion. Almost in a real humility and respect she silently is, by bearing the fruit of Christ with her life, being a servant I admire so much.
In the meantime, the family has been talking a lot about my mother's passing lately. Dad and I went to lunch this week again and he said, "Kevin I have found something in your mother's items which she stored in her closet in a private collection which I believe is a treasure. In fact, I have brought it with me and I know your mother would have wanted you to have it.". He handed me a tiny little book across the table where we were eating and smiled.
Dad's new found "treasure" he was giving me had the name, SOUL WINNERS NEW TESTAMENT on the front. This was a Bible I had long forgotten with a special inscription inside the front cover. In the hand writing of a fourth grader, I had written my name, the date of February 27, 1967 and the name of Reverend Jack Thompson who was being credited for my baptism day. Inside the Bible were underlined passages from J. Harold Smith when he preached his famous message God's Three Deadlines. There were passages where Jimmy Hoffman had preached and underlines, passages where my first pastors had ministered to me as a boy. Dad found my tiny treasure and tears were in his eyes.
My mother all these years kept this "treasure" for me and it was like I was supernaturally with Mom again, could see her smiling face as she surprised me with a family heirloom of Christian heritage I had long forgotten. She wanted to remind me of my own salvation and day of my baptism of how I accepted all of God's Word in my life and how I had followed Jesus Christ in scriptural baptism as a boy. What an amazing feeling this was to relive.
These were days long forgotten, but not for my mother who had prayed I would come to know Christ as my Savior and Lord and wanted to ensure I had a physical memory of this moment. It was like she took a picture to remind me and it was in the form of this tiny treasure. This was even more a treasure to her, far more important than the clothes, the stuff and the material possessions we often cling on to so tightly, was a SOUL WINNERS NEW TESTAMENT. Dad finding this item and sharing it with me almost stunned me with the reality of my own faith at an early age.
When you get away from God during the times of rebellion in your life, sometimes its hard to remember how precious He is. When you find something which takes you back to days gone by, and you begin to remember the sweetness of your faith, there is a newfound love you have for God, for the things of God and more. What a beautiful memory which has stirred in my heart since this treasure hunt began after mother left this earth.
In having lunch with a dear young seventy two year old friend, I asked some questions. Why is that as we get older, we still have pride of life, lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and how come we don't grow past these basic sins which cover ALL our sins? Why is that when we love our Lord, we still fight this side of us which always wants to rebel? I really believe it would be so nice if we could just transition into holiness. These were my perplexing issues after remembering the sweet sweet song of salvation played in my heart as a boy.
In being reminded what things are right, what things are true, why this little New Testament is so important, an epiphany came over me once again my friend reminded me of what I knew in my heart. God's word is the answer to why we fall and keep falling, even when we don't want to fall. Beginning new, starting life over is a daily process called sanctification and this is being "honed" and going through the very "fire" of life's small and greatest storms". No longer do you have to pretend to be perfect, no longer do you have to act like you are holy, you just begin to read the very little book and like my friend said, "That little book is the answer to all those questions".
What I love about the Bible, is that no other book ever written equals its power. No book ever conceived comes any where close to the truths contained. No other writer has captured a way to live, more appropriate and more clear than this book. It's not the book of the month, a club's proposal for a best seller, this IS the book of the AGES! The Bible is for all time, for all people, for every language.
This week a man decided he would have a law suit against the Bible because he didn't like what it said about the way he chose to live. Wow, the next thing you will know is that those in prison will start filling lawsuits because they went to jail based on what scripture might have said about their actions and they were receiving the consequences to their sentencing. Surely this would be the best way to discredit any authority at all.
So here is my bottom line of how I feel to God every single day.... "Dear Lord. Jail me today again because I am chieftain among sinners. I agree with the Apostle Paul and acknowledge I have not arrived and am forever under construction. Thank you for loving me PAST all my wrong doings and helping me to not devalue myself, beat myself up or feel rejected. I am so amazed I can transfer all the times I missed the mark and lay them at your feet and be cleaned by your love. You make me feel loved in ways I never dreamed possible. This is your grace Father and in your son's name, I am humbled and thank you."
Our treasure IS the word of God, the same love found in this tiny little book. My hope is in a scripture which I believe to be all true. My love of the red letters where Jesus spoke are a guiding light in my heart are the constant red reminders of purity. (These red letters in old Bibles were the red letters found in the tiny book book which reminded me of the words of Jesus.
When I see Jesus talking about loving all people, even those who are opposed to His word, I once again realize how far I need to personally go, to follow Him more. How its not my place to judge that man who is suing the Bible, but to love him and pray for him that one day, maybe he will see just because you call something sin, doesn't mean you are not loved. My own sin pales in comparison to the perfect walk of God's son who loved all, so much He was willing to come and die a cruel death and more powerfully be raised from the dead in a supernatural resurrection.
Who would have thought a little pocket New Testament would mean so much? I believe God's Word will always humble me, take me to my knees, cause me to remember my need for Him in my life and inspire me to keep walking even when I get tired.
Whenever I leave this world to a new life in heaven, I am praying the fruit of my spiritual journey will only illuminate truth of a Christian heritage found in tiny treasures. Thank you Mother for keeping this treasure for me and when I see you again, I will forever remember the words found in this tiny book of my childhood. I promise to try and memorize as much as I can, because I understand it's the ONLY thing I will take with me to see you.
If you don't have a tiny treasure, please write me and i will send you a Bible. If you have a phone mobile app, our church created the YOU VERSION BIBLE and you can download it free. There are plans you can select which will help you learn how to study, learn and apply these truths to your life too.
This coming Sunday at our church online, you can join us in our annual series AT THE MOVIES. As a filmmaker, I am always tickled to be a member of a church which uses the visual language of film in modern motion pictures to tell stories of truth. Creatively, like Paul who said, "I have become all things to all people that I might save some", we use stories which illuminate Biblical truths from the most modern family and action movies made.
If you are interested in watching AT THE MOVIES anytime Saturday or Sunday over the upcoming weeks in July, you can go online at www.lifechurch.tv and watch online some of the most fun ways to learn about God and the tiny treasure I shared about today.
Remember, God loves you and so do I!
July 4 2015 I am reminded of all the amazing citizen patriots who gave their lives for this nation. I am thankful for all the branches of the Armed Forces who have stood on the wall, gone on to foreign soil, protected our safety, our homes and our freedoms and I am most thankful we have been a nation committed to patriotism.
Many times our films are at the very core "patriotic" and this is probably because of our family being raised on patriotism. When I ran for Student Council President at Putnam City West, the Patriots, my symbol was the American Eagle for the campaign. I believed in freedom and was moved and inspired by the statesman who could walk on the Democrat and the Republican side of the aisle with nobility, integrity and promoting freedom.
Coming from a family divided in politics, I learned to listen to both sides of the aisle, but the people I listened to the most, were those fighting men and women who were willing to die for their nation. I guess I wish every President would have to serve in our Armed Forces, to just know what it means to stand on the line for the freedoms of our nation.
Many generals whom I have loved dearly would never run for political office, like Stormin Norman Schwarskopf whom I deeply admired. So many great Americans who have served our nation, sacrificed with their lives and limbs have inspired me.
When we made LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE, I asked if Oliver North would consult with our company to ensure we had the "soldier" scenes right. We recruited three generals to be "of counsel" and found patriots like Ed Pulido who had given part of his leg in service to our nation. We met men like Ed Beesley who had both his legs gone, we met Tony Orlando who was a real advocate and we also connected with amazing patriots across the board.
My favorite screening was with the Purple Heart Veterans in Branson, Missouri. I will never forget being around these amazing soldiers. In fact, I am honored to have been a part of this movie for this reason, a film called LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE. Marshall Teague played the leading role with everything he had. He gave it all and when we met, I was so thankful he had been perfectly cast by Darrel Campbell and the entire team.
Darrel had lost his uncle in the war and he used his inspiration for the writing of the film. Over and over again, we saw American Patriots being a part of this great dream. I absolutely loved being around the heroes who had served our nation.
Marshall got us with Chuck Norris, who was another amazing patriot who lost his brother in Viet Nam. Wow, the sacrifice just kept going and going. These patriots moved my heart and I will forever salute these wonderful soldiers. Thank you men and women, patriots who served our nation. We are thankful for you and remember you.
I love America and I love the men and women who have made it possible.
In Honor of Those Who Have Gone Before Us,
We have had many prayer requests and want to mention them to you all and thank you Veritas 300 for praying. I don't think there is a more powerful weapon on the planet when it comes to prayer. So please remember these important prayer requests:
Please pray for Curt Landry Media as we seek to complete the ILLUMINATIONS series, the illustrations for Rabbi's important words.
Pray for Kevin as we go into the television networks and industry in helping us find the right network partners as we prayerfully consider our future.
Pray for funding for all the VERITAS films not just for productions, but for marketing.
Pray for House of David, the total ministry and for the impact on the children of Jerusalem as we seed into the land where the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob called His holy people.
Pray for Christi Craddock for energy and enthusiasm as she strategizes for the future, as she markets Jim's amazing devotionals.
Pray for each of us as we move into our weekly or monthly Bible Studies that God would reveal Himself to us and we would further understand the bond of community, getting involved in our local church fellowships.
Pray for the new born babies which are so many, but we will use Clint Thomas and his new baby to remind us of new life we have through the miracle of child birth.
Pray for Randall Christy, for him to have energy to do everything God has on his plate moving into the future, including the GREAT PASSION PLAY.
Pray for John Kyle and the Louisiana Baptist Convention as they continue to use ministry spots to impact the world for Jesus. We believe God is going to do something great with these ministry spots.
Pray for Dr. Heng Lim and his ministry to the families in Cambodia and beyond.
Pray for William Mwizerwa in his work with Legacy Mission Village and for funding for our WINGS project and in their ministries to families all over Africa with Randy Hartley and the precious ministry partners in this group.
Pray for health for Stacy, Tom, Denise, Stephanie, David, Mark, Cheryl, Bruce, Lisa, and especially for families who are facing cancer, health crisis and more.
Pray for those who are suffering from mourning like the families of Barbara Sharp, Bob Barry Junior, Elton Childers, Tony Conrady, Joe Cocker, Elisabeth Elliott and more.
Pray for Rick Stanley, for his ministry and for the words he shares as he preaches in churches across America.
Pray for the National Bible Museum and for all aspects as it relates to telling people the story of God's word in DC.
Pray for the summer camps, the youth camps where people will have an opportunity to know Jesus.
Pray for our Veritas 300 prayer team members who are going through financial crisis, looking for employment, suffering from divorce and broken lives.
Thank you all for remembering these important people, our Veritas churches who prayerfully support what we are doing and beyond. May the Lord bless you this week in a HUGE way.
In His Service Together!
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.