Posted 2/1/16 at 1:26 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis and Robert Ashcraft
When Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton walked away relatively unscathed from a horrible accident that rolled his truck in December 2014, he offered praise to God.
“Somebody had His good hands on me,” Newton told reporters. “One plus one always equals two. I’m looking at this truck. I’m looking at this accident, and I’m like dude, one plus one ain’t equaling two, because I’m looking at this truck, and I’m like, somebody is supposed to be dead. Me being a religious person, God is good. I’m lucky to be standing in front of you today.”
Newton, arguably the NFL’s greatest player of 2015-16 and a Super Bowl contender, is on top of the world. Passing for 400 yards in his debut game in 2012, he bested Peyton Manning’s passing record of 280 yards in Manning’s first regular season game. This year, the Panthers are 15-1. His dual threat capabilities crushed the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 in the NFC finals. FULL POST
Posted 1/26/16 at 12:08 PM | Karen Kramer
Fox Television’s new show Lucifer is as deceptive as Satan himself. It’s almost as if Lux (his nickname, which in Latin means light) is “nice”. The whole thing starts when Satan decides to leave his lair in hell and take a vacation in Los Angeles—a fitting location for the nightclub Lux decides to operate.
But as Bible-reading folks know, Lucifer is a deceiver. When a woman customer tells him that she fears Satan has her soul, he replies, “The devil isn’t that interested in your soul.” Anyone watching the show might just believe that. Lux goes on to tell her that God doesn’t care about her mess.
Lucifer appears to genuinely care for others. He fights crime with a police detective, and during the first episode encourages another troubled woman not to waste her talent and her life.
As one show reviewer noted, Lucifer is like “your charming high school friend.” FULL POST
Posted 1/14/16 at 10:56 AM | Brian Wallace
Posted 1/11/16 at 7:46 PM | Karen Kramer
Network TV once again serves up blasphemy as comedy. With ample portions of disgusting jokes and expletives, Angel From Hell airs Thursday evenings at 9:30 pm on CBS. While Christians in other parts of the world have become deadly targets, American Christians are the target for cheap jokes.
In this series, the angel from hell enjoys cussing in front of children, “hiding” alcohol in children’s clothing—and then “finding” it much to the delight of the kids. The angel can’t seem to be without her flask of alcohol—and the scenes do their best to mock Christianity.
One Million Moms has a solid track record of informing television sponsors that there is strength in numbers. Christians don’t need to be mocked, and we certainly know that God won’t be. Capital One is a main sponsor of this deplorable show. Capital One management needs to know that shows like this won’t be financially supported. Click here to send your email complaint.
Posted 12/22/15 at 10:25 AM | Brian Wallace
Posted 12/14/15 at 11:16 AM | Karen Kramer
Television producers chose a sassy group of “teachers” to slice and dice the integrity of the teaching profession. Teachers will premiere on January 13th on TV Land. If the previews are any indication, the vulgar subject matter should alarm parents and concern all those who desire not to denigrate hard working and underpaid professional teachers.
Even though the story line centers around six elementary teachers, there are discussions with students, parents, and co-workers about sex, lying, sleeping around, and using weekends for romantic interludes. As schools across our nation face greater challenges, do we need to be entertained by a show designed to cast teachers in such a disrespectful way?
A generation ago, television programs about teachers most often reflected the passion, commitment, and desire to help students succeed. Obviously, TV Land’s Teachers think sex sells no matter who pays the cost. Shows glorifying sex, drugs, and seedy scenarios will only further desensitize viewers. One Million Moms has a petition to urge TV Land Network to drop this show before it hits the airwaves.
Posted 12/5/15 at 11:00 AM | Jack Wellman
Here are what I believe five of the greatest sports movies with a Christian theme in them.
Facing the Giants
Facing the Giants might be one of the greatest sports movies with or without a Christian theme, although this movie certainly does have a Christian influence in it. There is a definite faith-based theme in this movie and with the lyrics of Casting Crowns and Third Day and four other artists’ included in the soundtrack proving this point, Coach Grant Taylor has always had a losing season in football with the Shiloh Eagles and this year, it only got worse. Coach Taylor now faced pressure from the school and he faced trouble at home. It’s only when some stranger enters his life that his faith is renewed and he comes up with a plan to make his players believe that God can help them turn their season around. That’s exactly what happens. They begin to believe…and believe in one another too. That’s when the greatest challenge of all comes. FULL POST
Posted 12/4/15 at 2:01 PM | Audra Jennings
Guest Article by Bob Smithouser
Hi, my name’s Bob, and I’m a terrible gift-wrapper.
Every Christmas, as we prepare to celebrate God’s perfectly wrapped gift to us, it’s been the same, sad story: My creases aren’t tight. There’s tape everywhere. And any present lacking natural 90-degree angles is guaranteed to have unsightly wrinkles and bulges. I’m a holiday hack. And it’s been 11 months since my last failed attempt at curling ribbon.
For years I tried to hide my incompetence by packing everything into shoeboxes first. That worked until the Christmas my young daughter peeled back cheerful reindeer paper to find her new stuffed animal crammed, face down in a Nike box. She thought it was dead because it couldn’t breathe. A little mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and everything was fine, but I needed a new way to conceal my severe gift-wrapping impairment. My response was the “Frankenpresent.”
This frugal accident from the mid-2000s remains a family tradition to this day. The idea arose because I hate wasting paper. It bothered me to throw away those little strips and squares barely big enough to cover an iTunes gift card. One year I gathered enough scraps from various sheets and rolls to wrap a DVD—a patchwork monstrosity that looked like it had lumbered out of a mad scientist’s laboratory. It was intentionally awful. The kids loved it! Now it’s a seasonal source of pride to be the one who receives Dad’s Frankenpresent.
Hooray for Digital Gifts
A more modern parenting challenge involves packaging “digital” Christmas gifts for our kids. Downloads. Online subscriptions. On the plus side, those of us with severe wrapsy (I’ve been told naming my illness is the first step toward conquering it) are thrilled anytime we can put away the paper and dispense with those tape dispensers. No crooked corners. No sloppy seams. No public ridicule.
Indeed a digital gift, such as a yearlong membership to Focus on the Family’s popular Odyssey Adventure Club, already saves me a trip to the mall. Just a few clicks on oaclub.org and my whole family is hooked up to over 800 audio dramas and enough fun activities to make my kids forget all about the Disney Channel. But because the process of ordering subscriptions like this is so easy, a lot rides on the presentation of such a gift. Once again, a little creativity is in order. The key elements are anticipation and surprise:
• Send children on a treasure hunt.
In lieu of tearing open a pitifully wrapped present, my kiddos enjoy the chance to follow a series of clues or riddles to their digital prize. Give it a try. Put the first clue in a greeting card. Let it direct the child to a mysterious slip of paper in the sugar bowl, in the microwave, or under their pillow. Anticipation builds as the string of clues continues. Six or seven should be plenty. Otherwise, cries of “Are we there yet?” will make Christmas morning feel like a road trip across New Mexico. But have fun. Make your clues rhyme. Use pictures. Be sure to put your computer or mobile device at the end of the trail, where the push of a button will bring their gift to life.
• Hide characters or logos in your tree.
When our daughter became old enough to have a Facebook page, we created a decoration out of the social network’s logo and hung it on our tree. Christmas morning we told her to search for a new ornament. Finding her name spelled out alongside that icon was like a rite of passage. Likewise, cutting out images of friendly Adventures in Odyssey characters (you can find them online) and hiding them in the tree is a great way for your children to discover that they are now part of a safe, spiritually rich, global community in the Odyssey Adventure Club.
Do you constantly find yourself cutting giftwrap too small, then trying to cover the bare spots with ribbons and bows? Join the club. Let’s face it, not everyone has what it takes to score points with a perfect wrapping job. But if those of us suffering from chronic wrapsywill creatively embrace our limitations and choose God-honoring gifts our kids love, it can be a very merry Christmas.
Bob Smithouser has served at Focus on the Family for nearly 25 years and spent the majority of that time pioneering and expanding the media review ministry of Plugged In — including 16 years as editor of its award-winning magazine and four as host of the popular podcast. A columnist, speaker, author and proud dad, Smithouser has also co-hosted the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast since 2006. His love for Odyssey and teaching children about Jesus led him to accept his current position, producer of the Odyssey Adventure Club.
Posted 12/3/15 at 4:26 PM | Todd Friel
From Chapter 8 of “Judge Not.” Available at www.wretched.tv
Listen to many of today’s hit worship songs and you will notice a lot of fiery references. Why? Because Charismatics love the word “fire” and Charismatic groups like Hillsong, Vineyard, and Jesus Culture are the most powerful influences in contemporary Christian worship music.
The Bible typically defines fire as actual fire or a symbol of judgment. Either way, you do NOT want God’s fire to fall on you.
Charismatics seem to use the term “fire” to describe a warm, passionate feeling about God. If Jesus Culture gets their wish, they will either be scorched by flames or judged by God. But that doesn’t stop Jesus Culture from asking God for lots of fire.
You will also notice that fiery Jesus Culture music has romantic undertones to it. Here is their romantic flamer “Fire Never Sleeps.”
I see that hope is coming so pull me from the ashes, ignite my soul Please, burn away the darkness cause love is like a furnace where Your fire never sleeps Burn oh my soul; set me on fire Burn oh my soul; light up the fire Burn oh my soul FULL POST
Posted 12/3/15 at 4:14 PM | Audra Jennings
What’s on your children’s Christmas wish list? As excited as they might be about that new toy, as every parent knows, the thrill of the gift will eventually wear off. Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey have created the perfect gift for those who want to give their children or grandchildren a present that will provide year-round fun with eternal impact.
The Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) offers families 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) episodes in a safe online environment where children can explore and learn.Christmas really is the perfect time to tap into your children’s imagination while infusing faith and fun into their day . . . and every day of the year.
To celebrate the holidays this year, the OAC is offering free content for everyone, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts and Christmas stocking stuffer cards.
Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
In keeping with AIO’s rich heritage of teaching children about biblical principles — such as the importance of giving — a portion of each OAC membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations. Here are a couple of examples of what has been accomplished through Odyssey Adventure Club members:
The Odyssey Adventure Club wants to reach beyond fleeting entertainment this Christmas, partnering with parents in helping their kids grow deep in faith and find their place in God’s story.