July 31, 2008


No, this entry will not be a topic for parents to help them prevent their children from burning down the homestead. What I'll be chatting about is the upcoming movie from the makers of Facing the Giants. This is a Christian film with a Christian message and one that is so needed in today's dark society where marriage (the main topic of this movie) is treated like nothing more than a fond friendship that's picked up and put down with little thought.

I originally heard about this movie back in November of '07 when I reported it on my News Headline site. I was very excited given what the directors, producers and screenwriters were talking about back then. And I'm even MORE excited now after learning more, watching the trailer and listening to interviews of the main star, Kirk Cameron (I will dedicate future posts to Kirk regarding his salvation, his wife and family, their involvement in Camp Firefly, his involvement in The Way of the Master evangelism, TV show and radio program, as well as his recent autobiography which I finished a few weeks ago). I mean, I loved Facing the Giants and although it was a bit "corny" in places, it had a very good story and was suitable for the entire family. How often does that come along?

And while the budget for Facing the Giants was limited to $100K, Fireproof is much better looking and has a more professional polish since they had a budget of $500K! The movie has been show several times to select audiences and it started with a screening at the SBC Pastor's Convention this past June. They actually started this convention a half-day early so that they could watch the film, then get together to discuss how they could support it in their churches!

At the helm of the project are the Kendrick brothers, Alex and Stephen. When asked why they were doing this movie, they replied:
"The foundation of marriage has been attacked, devalued and redefined by many in our culture," he said. "It is our desire to tell a story that would allow the audience to relate to common marital issues, and then to take them down a path toward understanding principles for unconditioned love through the roles of husband and wife. Our hope would be that after viewing the film, couples and singles hoping to marry would be challenged and exhorted to pursue God-honoring relationships that reinforce the foundations of marriage in light of a relationship with Jesus Christ. We want people to realize that fireproof does not mean the absence of fire, but the ability to withstand it."
As far as support from the religious sphere, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Focus on the Family and FamilyLife are backing the film and urging people to go see it.

One little tidbit I found funny when listening to an interview with Kirk about the film and which he also discusses in his autobiography regards a scene near the end of the movie. In this scene he and his movie wife are to share a passionate kiss but Kirk admitted to the Kendrick brothers that he simply could not do this. The solution? They flew in Kirk's real wife, put a wig on her to make her look more like the movie wife and dimmed the lights so they could film the scene using Kirk and his real wife! Gotta love a man of integrity and faithfulness!

Here are a few older articles that give some background info:
Kirk Cameron Joins Movie-Making Church for 3rd Film

'Giants' Makers Working On New Movie
Here are the articles that came out at the SBC Pastor's Convention:
Pastors' Conference: Prepare For Revival

'Fireproof' Set To Be 'Giant' In Theaters
Here are a set of the most recent articles put out by the Baptist Press:
Makers Of 'Facing The Giants' Tackle Marriage In 'Fireproof'

'Fireproof' Offers Churches Unique Chance

Kendrick Brothers On Track For Another Hit

Volunteers Called Backbone Of 'Fireproof'
Here are two reviews:
'Fireproof' A Big League Film

Tim Challies
Last but not least are the two official movie websites. The first is where you'll find a very good trailer (large size, great audio) and the second, according to the makers, "provides information about marriage-strengthening resources scheduled to be released simultaneously with the Fireproof DVD in January 2009."
Fireproof movie website

Fireproof My Marriage website
So, please, spend some time reading these articles, watch the trailer to get a glimpse of what's in store and then start talking to everyone you know! As one person associated with the film put it:
"The opening weekend is the key and is so critical," Catt said. "Unfortunately, we live in a society with movies where it's market driven and box-office driven. Sept. 26 is huge. That opening weekend determines how it spreads. We had a great opening weekend with Facing the Giants, and so it spread to other cities. We started in 400 theaters and ended up in over 1,000, and a lot of that was based on what happened the first weekend, because it let people know this is a legitimate film. The key to that was churches, the key to that was pastors standing up in their pulpits and saying, 'We gripe about Hollywood. Here's something positive. It's a film we can go to and support.'"
Get your pastor, elders, deacons, church family, friends and coworkers excited about this movie. Pass along some links and have them view the trailer. Then think about spending some time in prayer for God to be glorified through this and help those lost in darkness either directly through the film, its web site or by using us as we take the plunge to talk about this movie and why it's so important to bring our faith in God to the table.


July 29, 2008

Two Headlines

In my headline scrounging today, two stuck out especially so.

The first gives us an idea of how fast we are falling in regards to the sanctity of life and where it's likely to go in the next decade or two:
Oregon Offers Terminal Patients Doctor-Assisted Suicide Instead of Medical Care
And no, it is not April Fool's nor is this some type of urban legend. A similar headline came out of Oregon about a month ago and this makes things even more grave. This is here, today, in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We must hang our heads in shame.

What immediately came to my mind was this passage from Proverbs 8:
"And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death." [Pro 8:32-36 ESV]
The second article is also a great source of pride for all of us North Carolinians. Nothing like the State putting our hard-earned tax dollars to good use:
No. Carolina Funds Movie With Child Rape Scene
Make sure you read the entire article to understand this isn't the first time NC has funded such wholesome family entertainment.

This movie made all the Christian headlines a while back when it was learned that Dakota was doing these scenes herself (not using an older "stunt" double) and neither she nor her parents had any problem with it. All in the name of "artistic expression." And I would have to imagine that these parents also wouldn't mind allowing Dakota see another recent film from the Sundance Film Festival which celebrates bestiality in an effort to promote sympathy about the real life struggles of a man who loved his horse (I kid you not).

What will it take for God's people to stand up and speak the truth? How long are we willing to just sit on the sidelines with our heads buried in the sand, hoping that perverse and dark things won't effect our little part of the country? What good and righteous things will be around for our children and their children to enjoy? It is time for God's people to be doers of His Word and not just hearers only. We need to be reading and meditating on His Word daily, putting it into practice, giving a reason for the hope that lies within, preaching, teaching and defending the one and only truth which can change people's lives and thereby alter the course of a nation. And we need to do it simply because we were created by Him to fulfill our chief duty in life which is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.

America, America, God shed His light on thee...

Free Book

OK, here's one for all you cheapskates out there. It's an easy way to land a coupon to get John MacArthur's next devotional book for free! It will be available in September and is titled "Daily Readings from the Life of Christ."
Free Book Offer!
Many thanks to Tim Challies for making this offer known!

July 28, 2008

What's America's Idol?

No, I'm not talking about the Fox TV show. I'm talking about the idol that most of America has come to worship instead of the one, true God. Some recent articles I came across for my news headline web site help to bring this issue into focus:
Economy's Stuck, But Business Is Booming At Therapists' Offices

Woman Kills Herself Before Foreclosure

Foreclosures' Financial Strains Take Toll On Kids
And, of course, the solution is never a return to the God of the Bible which can help us put this life into perspective, but it's always a fix created by mankind itself. Somehow our evolved intelligence continues to think that since we got ourselves into this, we should be able to get ourselves out of it. A mad hamster running on the treadmill of life and getting nowhere fast (except maybe to exhaustion and hopelessness).
"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. " [Mt 6:24 ESV]
That's where we, the true followers of Christ and partakers of God's kingdom on Earth, need to step in.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. [Ecc 12:13 ESV]
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." [Mt 5:14-16 ESV]
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants R14 for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [2Co 4:5-6 ESV]
The more I think about it, the more I have come to agree with many commentators on today's life in America and what we like to call Christianity. We are, by far, the richest nation in the world. And this immediately brings to mind Jesus' warning:
And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." [Mt 19:23-24 ESV]

July 24, 2008

Obama, Obama He's [Not] Our Man!

My third post and I'm already stirring up controversy! I would have to say in my defense that I would consider this more of being a dutiful watchman on the wall than trying to stir up trouble.

Keeping up with all of the daily news for my Christian news web site, I get to see just about everything that's going on in the world. And you'd have to be pretty daft not to know what's going on now that we're in full swing for the upcoming presidential elections.

In one corner is the Democratic Obama and in the other, the Republican McCain. Where's Huckabee when you need him?

Now, I surely don't cast my vote for the next President based on how good a Christian they are. If I did that then I likely wouldn't be able to vote for any of them. There are many skills and attributes that need to be weighed before a decision can be made. But seeing as how one of the candidates is trying to pass himself off as a devout Christian who also happens to be Biblically illiterate, this gives me reason to pause (the little clues are how he has managed to mangle Scripture the few times he's dared to quote it and his attitude that all "moral" people will be allowed into heaven regardless of whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist). What I see is a man who is SEVERELY lacking in morale character when it comes to things which I think true Christians should be paying attention to. Then I have a good idea of who I will NOT be voting for rather than who I will be.

Searching through the press articles I've archived over the past year, Mr. Obama has made it VERY CLEAR that he is 100% for abortion, he's FULLY behind the GLBT movement, he REFUSES to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman and, like his former Democratic opposition Mrs. Clinton, has LITTLE REGARD for the sanctity of life.

Here is a man who, under the guise of "defending a woman's reproductive rights" is proud to have been given a 100% rating by NARAL:

"I was proud to get Planned Parenthood's endorsement [July 9], but I have to say that when you look who's got a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood, and you've got another candidate [McCain] with a zero percent rating from Planned Parenthood, then it's not really a nail-biter [in deciding whom to support]," he said to laughter.
Not only has he voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion multiple times, he's also shown his true depravity by actively opposing the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. This was to be a little piece of legislation which would help babies who manage to survive a botched abortion and are born alive. But instead of treating such babies and rushing them to a hospital for emergency care, they are simply thrown into garbage buckets to die of exposure or are left to drown in toilets. How sweet. Thank you for showing us your true colors, Mr. Obama. May the one true God of creation have mercy on your eternal soul.

This is also the man who has said that if one of his daughters were to get "accidentally" pregnant, he would want them to have the option of "terminating the pregnancy" instead of "being punished with a baby." Now there's a father figure and male role model. Don't punish a girl, just take a life instead. Besides, it's just a piece of tissue.

Mr. Obama is also very chummy with the homosexual movement. He actively supports homosexuality and has promised to pass pro-homosexual legislation if elected.

What follows are just a few of the articles I've compiled which help to display Mr. Obama's "Christian" character for all to see. Please, take some time to educate yourself on his positions. Then spend some time in prayer to see if this man has the type of character you want to be running and representing the United States of America.

Obama Tells Group He'll 'Never Back Down' In His Support Of Legal Abortion

Barack Obama: Fact vs. Rhetoric on Abortion

Obama Makes Promise To Planned Parenthood

Faith Group Condemns Obama For 'Punished With A Baby' Quote

The Audacity Of Death

Obama Promises 'Gays' 'Strongest Possible Bill'

Obama: If Elected I Will Use The Bully Pulpit For Gay Community

Obama's Statement On Pride 2008!

Obama Tells Debate Audience He Regrets Schiavo Vote

Obama Calls Vote To Help Terri Schiavo Biggest Mistake

Obama To Say Iraq War Is Dangerous Distraction

Michelle Obama's Insult To Stay-at-Home Moms

If you have a half-hour to listen to an archived radio broadcast on the web, please take the time to listen to Dr. Dobson and Dr. R. Albert Mohler (one of my modern-day heroes) talk about Obama (mostly) and McCain on a recent episode of Dobson's radio program, Focus on the Family Action.

What will America be if Obama gets elected? An Obamanation. Funny and terribly sad all at the same time.

UPDATE: Just ran across this article which fits right into my theme.

July 23, 2008

Do Hard Things

I've just finished reading the book "Do Hard Things" by Alex & Brett Harris. And I can't recommend it enough! If you are a pastor, youth pastor, teenager, parent of a teenager or one soon to be, GET THIS BOOK! And don't just take my word for it! This book is endorsed by John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, C.J. Mahaney, Chuck Colson, Randy Alcorn, Ron Luce, Ted Slater and many others. It's written by the twin brothers of Josh Harris, pastor and author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and "Stop Dating the Church."

The book is subtitled "
A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations" and is designed to get teenagers dreaming, planning, and then doing great things for God. They start the book off by addressing the myth of adolescence. At one point in time, those just entering into puberty were starting to be considered as adults. Women could get married shortly thereafter and men were eligible for service in the armed forces. Around this time some would even head off to colleges or universities. All of this was designed to groom what we call teenagers (a term they say did not enter the English language until 1948) for adulthood. It got them to thinking, planning and acting like adults. But in today's society, teenagers are often considered to be the riff-raff of society who have nothing better to do than hang out, avoid responsibility and get into trouble. The result is that society expects nothing more of them and this destroys the formative years when what they will be as adults is largely cast in stone.

The authors tell of the events that started their own impetus to do hard things (which they have called The Rebelution), how it turned into a web site, a nationwide phenomenon and now a book deal. They lay out a plan for what teenagers need to be doing to think ahead in life, to dream big about serving God and then laying the foundation for doing things that they never thought possible. And it's all done to satisfy God's will in their lives which glorifies Him as well. They also tell the stories of several teenagers who have done absolutely incredible things (like speaking to crowds of thousands and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for missions projects, etc.). They are doing things that they would have never thought possible thanks to the prompting and guidance of Alex and Brett.

It truly is inspiring to read, even as an adult. I can't imagine what it would do to teenagers who are just beginning to think ahead and decide what they are going to do and where they are going to go. I wish I would have had this book many years ago. But even as an adult, it's never too late to do hard things for God!

Their web site is also an online community designed to share these success stories and provide forums for people to link up, help each other, encourage each other and continue to create and do hard things.

The book even contains an Appendix which gives the Gospel message although I must say they are a little vague on some of the details (which is surprising since they were inspired by Mark Dever). But they do finish up the book fabulously by ending their acknowledgements with this:

To our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This book is for You and only because of You. Time and time again we have watched You orchestrate events in ways beyond what we could have ever imagined. We deserve Your wrath -- and yet You freely give us grace. Soli Deo Gloria!


And don't be worried about readability. It's written by teenagers for teenagers. It is entertaining, inspiring and to read some of these stories, it is just incredible to see what God is doing today in the lives of some brave teenagers who have caught the spirit of this movement and stepped forward to serve God and do hard things!

For a professional take, check out Tim Challies' review over at The Discerning Read web site.
They've also recently appeared on Way of the Master Radio (MP3 - jump to 8:00 minutes) and CNN (just to name a few).

This Oughta Be A Lulu

Where to begin... I'm probably the last person on this planet to be blogging. Married, children, work, church, etc. So where am I going to find the time to now blog? I guess I'll just worry about that later as it doesn't seem to be stopping anyone else!

For starters, the name. Anyone who has seen me blog will know I previously went under the guise of 'Richpo the Magnificent.' Richpo comes from my college days. It was something that someone came up for adding the suffix 'po' to the end of our names (do not ask me why nor how it has still stuck for so many years and no, I was not the one who came up with it). And since 'Rich the Magnificent' didn't sound enough like a clown, I used Richpo.

It began with the four of us who shared a town house in our last two years of college. Three of us were computer engineers and the odd man out was a microelectronics engineer. So I guess the 'po' thing was our cliquish way of male bonding. It worked pretty well except for our one roommate named Al. When addressed as 'Alpo' he would either respond with "Yo!" (when in a good mood) or "I am NOT dog food!" (when in a foul mood).

As for the 'Magnificent' part, well, anyone who knows me well knows that I am anything but magnificent so I was just having fun with words. I am about as plain, boring and conservative as you get. In fact some might say even dull (I believe my wife thinks of me as "dependable.") That's the way I like things and therefor explains the way I am so just deal with it the best you can. But now that my family is in a new church and the people there don't know me very well (count your blessings), I figured I'd better change the 'Magnificent' to 'Unmagnificent' for now. Once they know me better (God help them to retain their sanity) I might change it back.

Overall I'm not very interesting. What I like is kind of summed up by viewing my Profile page for my blogger ID. You can read up on me there if, for some reason, you mange to somehow sink to that level of boredom. A big passion in my life is keeping up with what's going on in the world and how it all relates to what God has given us in His Word. I maintain a "web site" that posts daily news summaries to issues I feel are important to Christians. It is made available to friends, family and various Christian ministries to help them in their work as they see fit. While I will post on things as I come across them, I figure that most of what gets put here will be a reflection of the news items I run across that I feel deserve extra mention and/or discussion.

Theologically speaking I am conservative as well. Some who are more liberal minded might even label me "fundamentalist." Whatever. If you know the teachings of men like John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, J.C. Ryle, etc. then you will know where I'm coming from. In short, I would classify myself as Reformed evangelical. To know anything else, simply read all of Grudem's Systematic Theology and you'll know right where I'm at (except for Grudem's non-cessationist view that I simply can't swallow ;-).

Since I plan to use this blog as a Christian platform for 1) turning the spotlight on issues that I feel deserve attention and, 2) discussing topics to help ensure that all of us are approaching them in thought, word and deed from the viewpoint of God's Word, it ought to at the very least cut down on the number of e-mails I tend to send out which probably bother my friends and family to no end (I believe most of them wish I would crawl back under my rock and leave them to live in their world viewed through rose-colored glasses! And sometimes I'm surprised that one of them hasn't reported me for alleged spamming ;-)

Are we perfect? Certainly not. Should we want to be perfect (in the sight of our Lord and Savior)? Most definitely! Hopefully we'll have some great discussions, learn something about God and each other along the way which, I hope, shall help us all keep our feet on the path which brings glory to our God and prepares us to enjoy Him forever.

Let the experiment begin! And, of course, Soli Deo Gloria!!!