Daily Archives: April 2, 2012

a song for Holy Week

“Empty” Jesus Revealed Music Video by Dan Haseltine and Matt Hammitt from Vision Video on Vimeo.


Film in this video came from “Jesus Revealed.”

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I asked this question of you a couple or three weeks ago: What are you grateful for?

Last Thursday and Friday I sent an email to people who are on a special email list. Occasionally I ask these people to pray for urgent matters regarding our lives and work. Last week, I asked them to pray that God would provide us with enough funding to cover our organizational expenses (we were pretty low on funds). People prayed (I know ‘cuz I heard from some of them) and this morning I learned that God indeed answered those prayers in several very cool ways from a couple of unexpected places (not that I had an expectation).

In that email, I told my praying friends that I would be thankful no matter what we received. But then, it’s really a blessing to go to God and have prayers answered in a very specific way. I rejoice in His provision. Yes, yes… I know… I know that there are many, many (perhaps you) people who have not had important prayers answered and that is frustrating, isn’t it? (I have a half dozen of you in mind right now).

Believe me, there are things I have prayed a long time for. There are things that we need, wish for and desperately want that just do not come to fruition. There are things that I have prayed for and wanted for a very long time. For these things, I have learned one main thing: it is better to pray and wait. In the pray-and-wait mode, God can really work on my heart (I can’t, that’s for sure). I too have lost loved ones, lost employment, done without and been broke and felt alone. But when I pray, God is there. I have found that many, many times. And that is why when my (our) prayers are answered, it is particularly sweet. It has not always been that way.

I want you to know that getting to this place of peace on the journey has not been a cakewalk. It has only come as I have made time for an ever-deepening relationship with God. Each morning (and consciously through the day) I practice being thankful. I need to do this because I have learned that as I practice gratitude, God works on my heart and helps me be even more thankful. I have learned that God builds my faith in Him as I practice being grateful. I start with thanking Him for my beating heart and breathing lungs and then I work my way outward in gratitude to include you dear reader (by the way, thanks for reading).

This spiritual practice of gratitude has, as time has gone by, enabled me to not only be grateful for the things that are easy to be grateful but also for things and situations that are hard to be thankful for. 

On today’s occasion, I am thankful that God had it worked out that JUST enough funding came in today that all our bills are paid and I could get paid. God is good, but then, guess what, if I don’t get paid next month, God will still be good. I know this to be true and am cultivating gratitude in myself to try to always remember that, and I hope that you will as well.

If you would like to be on one of those prayer email lists email us at prayer@ceokids.org and I will add you and let you know from time to time about prayer needs and if you would like to get involved in financially supporting supporting our work, click here.

By the way, I am VERY thankful for YOU dear reader! 

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to be sure, honor in Hungary

Yesterday I bemoaned the fact that there was yet more bad news in Hungary… click here to see my wailing and The Economist’s reporting (I wail, they report… nice). And a couple of hours ago I read that honor has been lived out after all… the president resigned, in disgrace, but he’s gone… more details from The Economist HERE.

Now, as you read, there was an outcry for Mr. Rubber Stamp to step down since his refusal to resign on Friday and his spot on the International Olympic Committee is in jeopardy, but to me, this is good news. At least he had the will to hear the bell toll and get the heck out of office. I am glad… but that is not all the good news from Budapest, culture is raved about too!!! In the very same publication (The Economist), though in a different place, culture in Budapest is lauded in the midst of political … uh… um… upheaval, there is a fresh article about the arts in Budapest … CLICK HERE to read so good news!

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opening the curtains on Jesus

It’s been said by 17 billion people on every social networking platform in the universe that most/many Christian videos are cheesy. Whoa, that’s strong. What the heck does cheesy even mean?

I asked a smart, well educated international type (who is an American Christian and gets the arts) what ‘cheesy’ means. He said “the quality is below what we would expect from the professional world” or even, that which is “exaggerated”. Okay, I get that. So, a few weeks ago, when I was asked to watch and review part of a British (Christian) video series, I was concerned. The subject is Jesus. Is this series “cheesy”? THAT is an important question.

The download (of disc 1) I watched was “Encountering The Authentic Jesus” which has three episodes:

Jesus. the Hero (14:30 min. + credits)

Jesus. the Revolutionary (<11 min. + credits)

Jesus. the Underdog ( <14 min. + credits) 26.34 40.22

Prior to viewing, I read what J.R. Briggs, whose opinion I often value, said about this series: “…the Jesus Revealed videos are legit and are something I’m excited about,…” READ J.R.’s thoughtful and thorough review HERE… Indeed, if you don’t follow his blog, you should.

Back to the cheesy question, IF I understand “cheesy”, this series, in my opinion, is not.

J.R. mentioned Rob Bell’s “Nooma” series which I have used widely and I don’t think they are considered “cheesy”. So, if Nooma is a standard for professionalism (non-cheesy?), this series gets really close. I found the scenery and acting to be compelling. I think I like Bell’s series best when he has the scenes acted out and he is the voice over. “Jesus Revealed” is put together and taught by Andy Frost, and, in my opinion, Frost is on camera a bit too much. Especially when they had such authentic (as far as I can tell) sets and actors to work with. This is a good teaching series and I get the need to be clear about the teaching, but I’d rather not seen Frost quite so much.

A further concern I have is accent. I think I can usually understand an English accent most of the time. However, Frost is not the clearest speaker I’ve heard. I’m really sorry if this comes off as judgmental (after all I’m a guy with a southern drawl so I understand what it means to not always be understood, but I’ve asked to write a review) but I see Frost’s accent as a small drawback. Why does this matter? Well, for adults, I think they would get used to his speech pattern quickly and it would not be a problem at all. But for the less mature (teens and some collegians)? Well, let’s put it this way, after 16 years working with both groups I KNOW how hyper-critical younger folks can be. Sadly, they sometimes turn off the message because of surface stuff. So be warned, this could be one of those times. I really hope I’m wrong.

I biggest reason I hope I’m wrong about kids turning this off is because the content is excellent. The presentation is thoughtful, passionate and (to use a terribly overused word…) authentic. I found the acting and the sets to be really helpful, and for me, visuals are important. I really liked these three episodes and I intend to use them. There are several main positives that I see:

1. The presentation of the story of Jesus is accurate.

2. From a practical perspective, the ability to download is better for overseas use which I really care about) and allows one to view on a tablet for small group use as well as other computer based uses which is superior to being tied to a DVD.

3. The episodes are easily split into short segments that can stand alone! Thus a single segment can be used as a really good visual illustration of a lesson for someone to ask the group important questions. Indeed, Frost’s teaching includes questions that he poses with passion.

4. Frost’s presentation is passionate without getting to the point of being ‘preachy.’

So, I hope you will check it out. Here’s the website where you can see the trailer CLICK HERE to see for yourself. If you would like to see more extensive previews look HERE.

BOTTOM LINE: I do endorse this material (though remember, I’ve only seen disc 1) and I plan to use and suggest its use to people I work with. For me, its a resource that I will make good use of. I think that this material and thoughtful questions may be used by God to open the curtains and reveal Jesus to some people.


Here are additional resources for you to consider:

Interview with Frost

Check out this new song that uses film from the series.

“Empty” Jesus Revealed Music Video by Dan Haseltine and Matt Hammitt from Vision Video on Vimeo.




Filed under culture, seeking understanding