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Recommendations to the Presidential Candidates

It appears Mitt Romney has virtually won the GOP race for the nomination. Therefore, it’s time to focus on the race between him and President Obama for 2012. From now until November, I’ll occasionally write about the candidates from a media perspective, so I’ll start here with a couple of recommendations. This isn’t about ideology, it’s about perception and how the candidates engage the media. Here’s one bit of advice each could use: read more

Sanford Pastors Unite in Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Sanford, Fla., pastors stood united on Friday morning in front of Holy Cross Episcopal Church to declare unity among local clergy.

More than 20 pastors crossed ethnic and denominational lines in a pledge to work side-by-side to bring healing and reconciliation to the community in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.

“We call not on our city but on our state and our nation to work toward reconciliation,” said Rory Harris, pastor of Holy Cross Episcopal Church. “There are certain things we need to deal with. There is work to be done. We have to get past this and move forward.” read more

'The Muppets': These Are the Characters You Loved As A Kid


by Alan Mowbray

The Muppets have not seen the big screen since 1999's Muppets from Space, so Jim Henson's lovable creatures were long overdue to return to the cineplex.

In The Muppets, a fan named Walter (voiced by Peter Linz, It's A Big Big World) is on a backlot tour at the old Muppet Studios while on vacation in Los Angeles with his brother, Gary (Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother), and Mary, Gary's girlfriend (Amy Adams, Julie & Julia).

No longer in business, the Muppets have all moved on—scattering to the ends of the earth to pursue their dreams, leaving the studio to slowly rot in disrepair. After sneaking off during the tour to take a closer, unauthorized look at Kermit the Frog's former office, Walter is almost discovered by ornery, disagreeable old Muppet characters Stadtler and Waldorf as they conduct the surreptitious presale of Muppet Studios to oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper, The Bourne Supremacy) who, unbeknownst to them, has discovered oil under the property and plans to tear the studio to the ground and drill.

After Walter informs Gary and Mary of the plot, they decide to go find Kermit and tell him of the impending sale. Kermit decides that if they can put on one more show and raise $10 million, they could make enough money to save Muppet Studios. All they have to do is round up the rest of the Muppets. The Great Gonzo is the CEO of Gonzo's Royal Flush, where they make toilets. Fozzie Bear performs in a Reno casino with a group of Muppet impersonators called the Moopets. Animal works at a celeb anger management center. On the other side of the pond, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor for Vogue Paris a la The Devil Wears Prada.

Can they pull together a show in time to save the old theater? Hilarity ensues. We've all grown up with The Muppet Show or its reruns. We know what to expect. This is classic Muppets, and it doesn't disappoint. Yes, the humor is corny. Yes, there are Muppets flying through the air, crashing into things, explosions, comic fighting and general goofiness. If you're looking for serious, you won't find a drop of it anywhere in this tale. read more

'The Adventures of Tintin' Offers Thrills, Spills and Fun


by Alan Mowbray

Are you thirsty for a little adventure? How about a mysterious sunken ship? Maybe being kidnapped and loaded on to a freighter bound for ...? Want to attempt to refuel a single-engine airplane in-flight? From a bottle? And, even better—pirates.

If you answered yes, The Adventures of Tintin is your ticket. Based on a series of Belgian comic books from the 1940s, the story, set primarily in Europe, centers on Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell, King Kong), a young journalist famous for solving crimes.

The movie begins with Tintin—his trusty and amusingly perceptive dog, Snowy, at his side—perusing a local outdoor marketplace, where he spies a stunningly detailed model of an old three-masted ship set for sale. He haggles the price, pays for the man-of-war model and takes possession. Within seconds of purchase, a man with an unscrupulous look about him named Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig—the current James Bond) appears—offering a large sum in exchange. Tintin refuses the offer, setting him up for an adventure of intrigue, danger and treasure.

From the start, Tintin pulls you in with its seemingly non-stop action. As the starting credits roll, you are entertained by little animated snippets of Tintin and Snowy in some of their comic book adventures. These are fun, but when the show really starts, you forget all about the credits.

Initially, my brain had some difficulty with the incredibly detailed animation that director Stephen Spielberg was throwing at me. The Adventures of Tintin is Spielberg's first stab at motion-capture filmmaking, and with "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson working with him as second-unit director and producer, the film elevates the high-tech technique to a new level.

Reminiscent of the motion-capture treatment of The Polar Express, The Adventures of Tintin is a visual buffet of detail and realism with just enough tweaks to let you know it's not truly real. I actually missed some of the initial dialogue because I was concentrating so hard on the incredible realism before me on my living room screen. I actually had to start the DVD over to catch what I missed.

With a hint of Indiana Jones in its DNA, The Adventures of Tintin is a fun, fast-paced flick that any kid will enjoy, although some of the lines are above his or her head. You can tell that although the film garners a PG rating—for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking—it's really geared toward the teen and above crowd in the same way that Bugs Bunny jokes mean one thing to a kid and something totally different to an adult.

The Adventures of Tintin features a very strong moral, redemptive message with clear and allegorical Christian content, including references to St. John the Evangelist, light bringing truth and good defeating evil. Bonus features: Along with the DVD and digital and UltraViolet copies, the two-disc set includes a 90-minute, 11-part making-of documentary.

Content Watch: The Adventures of Tintin features some mild language and scenes of stealing by a pickpocket. Capt. Haddock (Andy Serkis, "Lord of the Rings" series) is a drunk, so there is a lot of situations where his alcoholism causes problems. His drinking is never glamorized, although it does drive some of the comedy. In fact, Tintin attempts several times to help him get sober. There is an obvious lesson on how alcohol can ruin a life.

Alan Mowbray is a husband, father of two children and technical writer for an Orlando, Fla., area software company. Visit his blog by clicking here. read more

'Man vs. Wild Game'—Survival of the Funnest


by Eric Tiansay

Out of all the survival reality shows, Man vs. Wild—the Discovery Channel television series featuring Edward "Bear" Grylls—is my favorite.

I especially like Man vs. Wild because Bear, with his cool British accent, engaging personality and clever demonstrations with survival techniques when faced with nature's extremes, is a committed Christian.

Although Bear was recently let go from Man vs. Wild, that's a story for another time, my two older boys (10-year-old Alex and 9-year-old Andrew) and I still enjoy the show and the Man vs. Wild Game on the Wii.

The game offers in a role play-style adventure, which requires puzzle-solving tasks throughout five expeditions—stranding players in expansive areas of virtual wilderness and challenging them to make it out alive. The action begins when a player, as Bear, is dropped into extreme conditions and forced to demonstrate indigenous survival techniques such as escaping quicksand in the desert, exploring dangerous jungles, traversing ravines in the mountains and navigating some of the world's most treacherous waters. read more

'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close'—A Powerful 9/11 Drama


by Eric Tiansay

I was disappointed when I missed Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close at the cineplex this winter, so I was eager to catch it on DVD.

Based on Jonathan Safran Foer's acclaimed 2006 best-selling novel of the same title, the movie tells the story of a 11-year-old boy Oskar (Thomas Horn) who lost his jeweler father, Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks), during what he calls "The Worst Day"—the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, although it failed to win, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a powerful drama that extols the bond between a father and son, family and forgiveness. A year after his dad died in the World Trade Center, Oskar, who has problems socializing and had been tested for Asperger's Syndrome, is determined to continue his vital connection to the man who playfully pushed him into confronting his wildest fears.

While looking through his father's closet one day, Oskar finds a small envelope marked "Black," with a key in it. Oskar decides the key must belong to someone named Black, and he starts a methodical search for the right person. "If there was a key, there was a lock," Oskar surmises. "If there was a name, there was a person."

His quest is an attempt to maintain his father's memory of his father, and to participate in the sort of mysterious search that his dad sometimes sent Oskar. "If you don't tell me what I'm looking for, then how will I ever be right?" Oskar asks his father. Thomas responds: "Well, another way of looking at it is how will you ever be wrong?" read more

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You Are More Than a Conqueror

So many Christians today complain about being victims. Wouldn't you rather be a victor?

Are you hurting? If you are, you know that physical, emotional or mental pain can make life very unpleasant. I learned this fact firsthand: I was sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused from the time I can remember until I left home at the age of 18. Shortly after, I was married—and during the next five years I experienced further rejection, abandonment, betrayal, and finally, divorce.

I know what it is to be a victim. But I have learned from experience and the Word of God that we can have victory over pain instead of being the victims of it. I also know that we can increase or decrease the intensity of our pain by the way we handle it. read more

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Help! My Prayer Group Has Gone Flaky!

Corporate prayer loses its effectiveness when intercessors get off track. Here's how you can stay in the flow of the Holy Spirit.

As I walked down the corridor toward the large prayer room, several women rushed past me in a panic. They had been praying with more than 50 intercessors from various denominations for pastors in the United States. Eager to find out what was happening, I hurried into the room.

An unbelievable sight met my eyes. Lying on the floor in the middle of the room was a woman intercessor, curled up in a fetal position and groaning as though she were being tortured. Crouched over her was a male intercessor, who was stroking her hair and speaking words of encouragement. read more

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Help! My Husband Is an Intercessor!

Most women would be happy to have a praying husband. But what if the sounds of intense intercession keep you awake night after night?

"Could you come down out of the heavenlies long enough to give me a hand with this dirty laundry?"

Have you ever uttered those words in your home? Some wives have trouble pulling their husbands away from the TV set. Others struggle to keep them from bringing work home from the office. But a growing number of women these days are asking: "How do I deal with my husband, the intercessor?" read more

This Is How We Overcome

In the power of the living Christ upon the throne we can stand as victors in the face of all the hosts of darkness. But you must never allow yourself to look at the enemy so as to blot out your clear consciousness of the person of the victorious Christ (see Eph. 1:17-23).

God raised Jesus from the dead and lifted Him right through the plane of the power of the air to the place above “principality and power” (Eph. 1:21). He made Him to sit at His right hand, and “He put all things under His feet” (v. 22).

Furthermore, “[God] gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (v. 23). Therefore, Christ is above all rule and authority and dominion and power. He is absolute and complete Conqueror. read more

Is God Opposing You?

That opposition in your life may be coming from God, not the enemy. Watch Beth Moore discuss how to tell the difference.

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How to Handle Criticism

First Corinthians 4:3-4 says: "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me."

This message is a word that is relevant for anybody who has difficulty in handling criticism. Maybe you know what it is to be criticized. Maybe you have had enough. Maybe it was by parents, and others are still doing it even though you have grown up. Maybe you know what it is to live with a nagging sibling or parent who is always putting you down. Maybe it is your husband criticizing you. Maybe somebody at the office. Perhaps somebody at university, in college, maybe a friend. Maybe a Christian with some stature criticized you, and because of who it is, you take it seriously. Whatever the situation, Paul shows us how to handle it.

Many of us just fall apart when somebody criticizes us or sits in judgment on anything we have done. We just cannot handle it. But Paul was not afraid; he was unintimidated. read more

'War Horse'—A Wonderful, Sentimental and Thrilling Ride

by Alan Mowbray

As a movie buff, there are certain films that I consider traditional, yearly family must-sees—age and maturity permitting: Easter (The Passion of The Christ); Christmas (The Nativity Story,The Polar Express, Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story); Memorial Day (Glory and North and South); and Veterans Day (Tora! Tora! Tora!, Saving Private Ryan and now I'm adding War Horse to the list).

Based on the Tony award-winning Broadway play and set against the sweeping canvas of World War I, War Horse tells the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and his young trainer, Albert (Jeremy Irvine). When they're forced apart by war, we follow Joey's extraordinary journey as he changes and inspires the lives of everyone he meets.

Some would say it's a formula movie designed to hold your heart for two-plus hours using every sort of cliche imaginable. Yeah, maybe ... fine. But it's also an fantastic story directed by the master Steven Spielberg and paired with a terrific score by another master himself, John Williams. I say it's a masterpiece that you get to watch with your kids. read more

Feedback

“Supernatural faith is the key­ ... the kind God provides through His Spirit and with words of encouragement.”

—Michelle Dyett-Welcome

 

Sowing Into Marriages

I loved the article “How Much Have You Invested in Your Marriage” (by Iris Delgado, February). So many people want to reap the benefits of a healthy marriage without tilling the ground and sowing the seed. The steps outlined are practical yet doable! There are so many problems in marriages and high divorce rates; people need practical, Bible-inspired ways to keep their marriage together.

KarlaShavon McEwen, via Facebook

 

A Powerful Testimony

I had never heard of Riva Tims before the February issue. Her testimony is an awesome story of integrity, perseverance and forgiveness—qualities lacking in today’s world. She chose to take the high road even with all the verbal and emotional attacks against her. What a shining example of Christ’s commands for us to forgive and to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” I pray that God will increase her anointing and bless her in a mighty way.

Ginger Howell, Houston

 

Wow! I can feel for Riva Tims—I also went through a divorce and experienced a broken heart. I was involved in local ministry, and it was very difficult to stand in a place of leadership and yet watch my own world crumble. It’s sad to see that this is where the enemy is attacking our families in the church today. 

Susan Blanc, Pensacola, Fla.

 

I enjoyed the February issue very much, especially Riva Tims’ testimony. I didn’t know much about her, so it was awesome to hear how God has pulled her through tough times. God is so amazing and He is good! He is for us not against us! 

Danielle Hall, Orlando, Fla.

 

Supernatural Faith

Lee Grady’s “A Word for the Weary” (February) was a timely word of encouragement. Supernatural faith is the key—it isn’t the faith we can muster for ourselves, but the kind that God provides through His Spirit and with words of encouragement. This was a powerful reminder of how we overcome and accomplish the tasks assigned to us. With this type of faith, all things are possible. 

Michelle Dyett-Welcome Far Rockaway, N.Y. read more

Holy Ghost Smackdown!

When a pushy preacher shoved me to the floor, I got a sore neck—and an education

We see obvious evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work whenever sinners are converted, backsliders repent, bodies are healed or self-centered believers are broken by God. I love it when the Lord shows up in church gatherings. But I don’t appreciate it when people fabricate spiritual manifestations to prove God is using them. 

A few years ago a popular charismatic preacher spoke at a meeting I attended at a church in Orlando, Fla. After his message he asked all ordained ministers to run to the platform so he could lay hands on them. Immediately this man’s beefy bodyguards began grabbing people, dragging them onto the stage and holding them in place until the evangelist could pray for everyone. 

I felt queasy about this spectacle. It resembled a charismatic version of World Wrestling Entertainment: Lots of smacking noises, falling bodies and cheers from the excited crowd. (We Christians seem to love a good show, even if it is staged!) read more

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From Death to Life

Easter took on an entirely new meaning after the sudden death of my 25-year-old son

Six of us piled into our Suburban early on Easter morning. We were silent. I felt empty.

After what seemed like a long road trip, we finally arrived at the local cemetery where the body of my 25-year-old son, Nathan, was buried. He had unexpectedly died in a rock-climbing fall, just one day after we buried my husband’s father.

We slowly made the dreaded walk to Nathan’s grave. A year earlier, no one would have ever thought that this would be our first activity on our next Easter. read more

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Foolishness and a Change of Strategy

Christians must adopt a new “kingdom” plan to see our nation through its current leadership crisis

It doesn’t take a prophet to point out that our nation is in trouble and that the trouble we’re facing won’t go away anytime soon. The body of Christ must prepare to stand in the midst of it to exert influence for the kingdom of God, and the clock is ticking.

At virtually every crisis point in the United States’ history God has provided great men to lead the nation so that we’ve come out the other side victorious and ready to build on what has been won. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt ... the list goes on of men who helped set the stage for the unprecedented level of prosperity and influence the U.S. has enjoyed since 1945. Clearly, God has favored us. 

We haven’t always lived out the full implications of the godly values our founding fathers articulated and that we claimed to believe in. Neither have we always been a moral people by such a basic standard as the Ten Commandments. We did, however, always acknowledge God and His place in our nation at both cultural and governmental levels. read more

He Changed His World Through Journalism

Honoring the legacy of Robert Walker, a true pioneer of Christian publishing

For more than three decades I’ve been trying to motivate people to “radically change their world.” (A year ago the company I lead adopted that wording as our corporate motto.)

One of my mentors is an example of someone who radically changed his world—and he was doing it long before I was born. He used journalism in his generation as I am today. His name was Robert Walker and he was born 100 years ago this April 30.

If you’ve read this magazine for long, you know we’ve written about him numerous times—most recently when he passed away in 2008. He was best known for founding Christian Life magazine, which merged with Charisma in 1986. read more

The Language of a Rock

What I learned about Easter by the Sea of Galilee ... from a stone

Every rock is a spiritual lesson waiting to be learned when you’re in Israel. Or so it seemed that way when I went there for the first time a couple of years ago.

Any believer who’s traveled around the Holy Land and traced the footsteps of Jesus knows the deep, almost inexplicable awakening that explodes inside you when, while touching the same land Jesus touched, the thought crosses your mind: This is where my Savior was. I’m actually standing where the God of the universe stood!

It happened countless times during my visit. Everywhere I went the surroundings seemed to whisper their Christ-brushed history like a flag flapping in the wind. read more

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Teaching Beyond Words

{jcomments on}Joyce Meyer has built a global teaching ministry that now reaches two-thirds of the world every day. Yet her greatest legacy may be the massive outreach ministry she leads—and that few know about.


If you know Joyce Meyer, you know her voice—her strong, guttural delivery commands attention. If you’ve followed her teaching, you probably know her testimony of being sexually abused as a child and how God turned her mess into His message. And you may have seen her “What about me?” robot impression, heard her stories of returning grocery carts and been challenged by her candid transparency. Yet even among those who faithfully tune in to her daily Enjoying Everyday Life broadcast, many are unaware of just how far this fiery Fenton, Mo., Bible teacher’s reach extends when the recording lights turn off. 

On the surface, it’s hard to imagine how Joyce’s ministry could expand more. Just a few months shy of 69 years old, she’s already authored more than 90 books, including many New York Times best-sellers. Her TV and radio broadcasts span the globe, reaching a staggering potential audience of 4.5 billion with the gospel—that’s two-thirds of the world—every day. What began more than 36 years ago as a simple Bible study has grown into a ministry that today employs almost 900 people around the world.

But since the beginning, Joyce has always considered her ministry vision to be twofold. “The call on my life is to teach,” she says confidently, adding that her central focus in teaching has always been “to help people mature and grow up so they can have what Jesus died to give them.” read more

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