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Posted 10/15/14 at 2:26 PM | Marc Newman

The Overnighters: An Unflinching Look at a Broken World

The Overnighters

In the midst of an economy that is no friend to the working man, desperate eyes turn anywhere there is news of work. For many people, one such place is North Dakota, a state positioning itself as the second coming of the gold rush – a black gold rush. Fracking has turned the United States into the OPEC of the West. Towns such as Williston are being overwhelmed by a flood of newcomers who believe that North Dakota is the answer to their prayers. But, as many of them soon learn, the promise does not extend to everyone. And those who arrive with blemished records, arrests, or worse, discover that they have landed in an unwelcoming no man’s land where the local community is closed to them, and friends are hard to find.

The Overnighters is director Jesse Moss’ unflinching look at this broken world. Pastor Jay Reinke, the shepherd of Concordia Lutheran Church, loving husband and father, is determined to step in and bring hope and healing to the depressed and damaged people (primarily men) who come to him looking for shelter, aid, and compassion. But the opening line in this film -- suggesting that Reinke’s public persona and private self are in conflict -- keep the viewer wondering when the entire narrative that the pastor has carefully crafted will come undone. FULL POST

Posted 10/15/14 at 9:10 AM | Phil Cooke

Research on TV Viewing That May Shock You

It’s widely believed that in the digital age, television is dead. But as with many rumors, nothing could be further from the truth. That lesson is supported by recent research from Nielsen Ratings. Plus, you’ll be surprised at who’s watching TV versus spending time online. Here’s some of the findings:

Number of TV channels in the average home in America: 189

Number of channels consistently watched per home: 17

50% of all TV viewing comes from 20% of the audience.

705 minutes – the average time “heavy” viewers watch TV per day.

86% of Americans use their smartphones as a “second screen” while watching TV. But watching TV is their primary behavior.

There’s much more in the report, and here’s a list of Nielsen reports on media and entertainment. My point is that we don’t learn anything from rumor and myth. Understanding behavior is critical to connecting with audiences in the 21st century. FULL POST

Posted 10/14/14 at 10:30 AM | Phil Cooke

How People Discover New TV Shows

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

In the digital age, there’s plenty of controversy about traditional advertising versus digital advertising and social media (not to mention guerrilla advertising.) But a recent survey from HUB Entertainment Research reveals the truth about how people find new TV programs. The results may be surprising:

58% – Traditional Advertising
41% – Word of Mouth
34% – TV Channel Guide
20% – Facebook Post
19% – Editorial Content
11% – Previews
10% – Recommended by Sites and Apps
 6% – Twitter Post
 4% – Other Social Media

In the survey, nearly 60% of viewers aged 16-64 who watch at least 5 hours of TV per week and use social media at least once a month say they started watching a new show because of traditional advertising. And according to Variety Magazine, once viewers become fans of a show, about half will engage with the content on social media, but they don’t make it a habit. FULL POST

Posted 10/12/14 at 8:42 PM | Sunny Shell

Kirk Cameron's 'Saving Christmas' Belittles Christians

On Friday, November 14, 2014 Kirk Cameron's "Saving Christmas" will be opening in select theaters across the country for only two weeks.

This movie is all about making fun of any Christian who doesn't think like or agree with Kirk Cameron and his company. According to Kirk and friends, one of the main purposes of "Saving Christmas" is to dispel the beliefs that most of our traditional Christmas practices e.g., decorating Christmas trees, feasting, mistletoe, gift exchanges, etc., are from pagan origins or fabricated myths about actual people who lived during the fourth-century—namely Saint Nicholas of Lycia, commonly known in the United States as Santa Claus.

"Our focus on December 25 came from the Roman holiday called Saturnalia. This was a pagan observance of the birthday of the unconquered sun. Saturnalia began December 19 each year...Many of our Christmas customs have their origins in Saturnalia, which was marked by feasting, parades, special music, gift giving, lighted candles, and green trees. As Christianity spread through the Roman empire, the pagan holiday was given Christian connotations." FULL POST

Posted 10/10/14 at 6:45 PM | Mark Ellis

Pre-trib rapture contrarian swims against ‘Left Behind’ tide

Steve Wohlberg

By Mark Ellis

While many trek to their local theaters to see the remake of Left Behind starring Nicolas Cage, a growing number of Christians question the basic premise of the film, which involves the rapture of the church before the Great Tribulation, followed by the visible return of Jesus.

“There’s one major problem,” says Steve Wohlberg, author of End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel and the End of the World (Destiny Image), “the Left Behind books and movies reflect a theology I believe has multiple holes.”

Wohlberg recently completed a four-part DVD series based on his End Time Delusions book, which he admits goes against the grain of what many Christians have been taught.

“A careful study of each New Testament text used to support the rapture theory, taken in context, teaches only one return of Jesus Christ at the very end of the age, not a silent coming followed seven years later by a visible one,” Wolhberg asserts. FULL POST

Posted 10/10/14 at 4:43 PM | Austin Andrews

Fight the Current, Biggest Loser Recap by Austin Andrews

Sand meeting the ocean in a violent rage, wave after wave beating its force on the desolate beach. The current, its silent force beneath the surface, fueling the angry outcry of the ocean.

I remember once when I was on a day trip to the beach with some of my buddies from my church. Jonathan Richardson and I went out to go boogie boarding. I had no idea what I was doing, but he had done it before, so we swam out. We weren’t paying too much attention, but we were watching for waves to break around us and we’d try to catch it into shore. Well, wave after wave would form but I wasn’t able to catch any of them. At one point Jonathan looked at the beach and one of the flags he saw signaled that there was a strong riptide.

A riptide is a current, a strong current, that fights to separate us from shore. Currents are tricky, because while you can see the waves break on the beach sand, a current that lies underneath the surface isn’t obvious. You have to know the signs to look for and the weather they take place in. But this unseen, unheard, and barely felt thing can rip you away.

I remember looking up, and seeing Jonathan’s eyes. He knew. He knew we were too far out. He knew that this was not safe and that we needed to make it to shore. FULL POST

Posted 10/10/14 at 2:21 AM | Sylvie Simms

Boating Safety Tips

Heading out for a day on the lake is an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. As you float on the water, you can sit back and relax after a hard week at work, or you can focus on getting active and having some water fun. Unfortunately, that relaxing and fun day on the water can quickly turn into a nightmare when disaster strikes. If you’re planning to head out on your boat, be sure to follow these boating safety tips to help prevent accidents on the water.

In order to help prevent an accident from occurring during your outing, you need to be a smart boater. If you’re unfamiliar with the area and the rules, make it a point to discover what you need to know in order to have a fun and safe time. You’ll also want to make sure your boat is ready for an outing. A great way to do this is to perform regular safety and maintenance checks so you can spot any problems before they start. Safe boaters also make sure they have the equipment needed for an outing. This includes food, supplies, and safety devices that might be needed for the trip.

Once you’re on your boat, remember to stay alert and focused, just like you would on the road. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can increase your chances of getting into an accident, and, if you’re caught, you can face the same charges as you would if operating a vehicle. Encourage your passengers to follow safety procedures, especially young children. By preparing your boat and following these tips, you’re ready to have a fun and safe boating experience! FULL POST

Posted 10/9/14 at 12:15 PM | Brian Wallace

Do You Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is a celebration of German heritage, not just a drinking holiday. Learn more from this infographic.

Posted 10/8/14 at 9:40 AM | Karen Farris

The Dark Side of Online Quizzes

Bing Images

Internet quizzes seem fun. They also populate my Facebook newsfeed. Answer some questions and find out what Classic Rock band you are, or personality type.

I noticed one of my friends had taken an online IQ quiz. I was tempted to do it too, but what if my IQ was lower than I hoped?

But what else is happening as we answer the quiz questions? According to PCWorld.com, these online quizzes are designed to collect data—our data, in ways we might not realize. And then, when we decide to “share” the results, we don’t know where all that information goes. Before it can be shared, we agree to give access to a lot of personal information. Besides sharing our Facebook friend’s list, we are also sharing what our preferences are—everything from music to politics.

The idea behind these quizzes is to collect data and then build analytics. The information we share via quizzes make inferences on our personal buying habits, vacation choices, technology spending, political preferences, and even how we parent our kids. FULL POST

Posted 10/7/14 at 6:37 PM | Erma Byrd

Donnie McClurkin Wins GMA Dove Award

Christian Lantry


Los Angeles, CA (October 7, 2014) – One of gospel music’s beloved talents Donnie McClurkin continues to make his mark in the industry. The 45th Annual GMA Dove Award winners were recently announced during awards ceremony at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville. McClurkin, unable to attend the event because of the Festival of Praise Tour won an award for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year. His Duets album released on RCA Inspiration features performances with Tye Tribbett, Erica and Tina Campbell, Tramaine Hawkins, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Preashea Hilliard, Justin Savage, Marvin Sapp and Israel Houghton.

The GMA Dove Awards was pre-taped and will air Sunday, October 12 on TBN (Trinity Broadcast Network) a global stage that reaches more than 100 million homes in the US and is the world's largest faith-and-family television group, airing a broad range of church and ministry programming. FULL POST

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