Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Movie Review for Woodlawn, the Film you Don't Want to Miss

After watching the faith-based film “Woodlawn,” My first response was “Wow!” I have never seen a clearer presentation of the Gospel in a film that will also appeal to nonbelievers.

We often like a film, not because of its intrinsic quality but because of the message it brings to nonbelievers. That's not what you’ll see when you watch “Woodlawn.” It provides an inspiring story that will thrill your heart and challenge you AND nonbelievers at the same time.

This is the true story of Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama that was experiencing racial tensions in 1973 because of new integration policies that bused blacks into a formerly all- white high school. The 500 African American students didn’t want to be there, and the white students certainly didn’t want them there.

As you can imagine, racial tensions invaded every facet of the campus, especially the lackluster football team. But at one point a “motivational speaker” challenged the team to let Jesus get rid of the hate and anger and follow Him instead. To the surprise of the administration, the whole team made a commitment to follow Jesus that day and thus began to work together instead of against each other.

As Woodlawn played as a unit, they demonstrated to their community that the “love of Christ” made a difference at their school when racial tension was infecting the rest of Birmingham. Their school led to spiritual renewal at other high schools in Birmingham and eventually throughout the whole community. Woodlawn learned that there was more to life then winning football games.

This film mainly follows the life of Tony Nathan, the star running back for Woodlawn who went on to become one of the first African American football players at the University of Alabama.  Nathan then went on to fulfill his dream as a star running back for the Miami Dolphins for nine years.

Don’t be misled; this is not a simple story about football. It is a story about hope, inspiration, commitment, and faith in Jesus. You don’t always win when you do the right thing, but it is always right to do the right thing.

Yes, I was pleased with the clear Gospel presentation, but just as important for me was the quality production with a story line that will appeal to believers and non-believers alike. The acting is professional with stars such as Sean Astin, Jon Voight, and Nic Bishop with a solid supporting cast. The story is believable and interesting, offering a spiritual message that is spot on. 

I left the film asking, “Why don't they make more movies like this?”  I expect it to get good "word of mouth,” so don’t be afraid to invite your non-believing friends. You won’t be embarrassed. And you probably will come away with a foundation for some interesting conversations.

Watch the movie trailers #1 here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRQaEJv9qIk 

and trailer # here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_tq-NbPuaI

Spread the word and share this review and the trailers on your social media. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Story of Jesus in the Stars

Video review by Al Menconi September 25, 2015

What if I told you that God created the Zodiac for our benefit? I haven’t gone “liberal” nor am I spiritually off base. But I have just watched Story in the Stars, a video documentary by Joe Amaral, author, speaker, and amateur astronomer.

This fascinating film uses biblical, historical and scientific knowledge to reveal how each constellation of the Zodiac actually points us back to Jesus, and that the message of salvation is written in the stars for all of mankind to see.

There are 48 signs, or constellations in the sky and every major civilization not only has the same figures, but the same names. At one time, each culture understood these figures to be symbolic in nature, to serve as signs, to point them to a coming Redeemer!  But over time, people began to worship the stars instead of the creator of the stars.

The Bible says in Genesis 1:14: “And God said, ‘Let there be lights (sun, moon and stars) in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.’” The Hebrew calendar uses the sun, moon, and stars to properly line up their feasts and festivals.

In Job 38:31 and 32, God explains to Job that the signs of the Zodiac were made by God and He brings them out in their season.  Read Job 38 and you will wonder why you didn’t see this before. Story In The Stars has convinced me that each of the twelve zodiacs were created and positioned by God to point us back to Jesus, and the message of salvation for all of mankind to see.  This video explains the purpose of each sign. 

This documentary is not only eye-opening for Christians, but also for people who need to know the truth about horoscopes and astrology.

I'm convinced that Story In The Stars needs to be seen and understood by every Christian in the world and should be taught in every Bible class and science class at every Christian school in the world. This isn’t just an interesting documentary, it is a biblical way to understand what has been right in front of our eyes for thousands of years.  It's another evidence that our Bible is the Word of God.  Even the stars proclaim its truth. 

You may order your download, DVD, and/or book at www.StoryInTheStars.com or on Amazon.

Watch the official trailer here: https://youtu.be/XDEMa8Lm0cI

Let me know what you think about this here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Do We Need To Watch That Trash??


The following is my response to a friend who asked me why I recommended the MTV Video Music Awards for the past couple of years.  He couldn't understand why he NEEDED to watch that “trash” when all he had to do was read the information on the web?  He was also concerned about the fathers who struggle with porn subjecting their eyes to the skimpy outfits most of the performers wore. 



MY RESPONSE:



Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to express your concern.  Please let me try to respond.

I’ve been recommending that parents watch the MTV Video Music Awards (The VMAs) since 2003, to help parents learn and experience the culture that influences their children so deeply.



It’s more than just watching trash. You are right that there are many ways parents can learn which artist or program their kids watch and listen to, but there is no better way to experience the depravity of the entertainment culture that is teaching our children these values. 



Sometimes I, too, am unable to watch the complete program and nearly every year I literally cry for our children and our nation. It breaks my heart and disturbs my soul to see the depths of depravity the entertainment industry teaches our children. To be honest, it usually takes me a full day or two of listening to worship music to keep me from becoming depressed by the “culture” that I just experienced.



Youth culture is not our culture!  I meant what I said in my letter to parents, "we may live in the United States of America, but our children live in the United States of Entertainment.”  I believe we live in different societies than our children - even if we live in the same house! The 2004 Super Bowl illustrates this dichotomy. 



The Super Bowl committee wanted to attract the youth market so they invited MTV to produce the halftime show. What could go wrong? MTV brought a bigger audience, but that was also the year Janet Jackson had her “wardrobe malfunction” and exposed her breast on TV.  The parents were shocked and offended, but the youth didn’t think it was a big deal. Why? This was the first time most parents were exposed (literally) to the culture that their children experience daily and have gotten used to seeing everyday. By the way, nearly every Super Bowl halftime show since has featured a MTV type of extravaganza, but parents no longer complain because we’ve slowly gotten used to it.  And most of us haven’t even noticed the change.



(I sincerely believe that empty values have enveloped our whole society.  And I believe I can prove through Scripture that America really is the “Whore of Babylon” that is prophesied in the “last days.” And I sincerely believe our nation is rapidly being entertained to death.  But this is a digression from my response to you, so I will be writing a blog on this topic in a future newsletter.)



I don’t want parents to ever just accept the mind pollution that our nation has become addicted to.  And a good way to actually shock them into reality is to “experience” this depraved value system by watching the VMAs.  Why?  Because our children are in a completely different society, with a different language, customs, and very different values.  If parents are ever going to learn to communicate with their children, to reach their children with Truth of the Gospel, they MUST first fully understand this “foreign culture”.



For example, suppose you were to lead a team of men on a mission trip to Uganda. What would you do to prepare?  First, you would bring in an expert on Uganda to help familiarize your team with Ugandan society. The idea is not just to help your team avoid social faux pas (which is definitely important!) but to help your team to understand their culture, customs, and values.



Understanding their society would give you a “heart” for the people, then when you see and understand Ugandan culture your heart would probably be broken and you would begin to see Ugandans in a different perspective and with a new and an unconditional love.  When you “visit” another society with a humble heart and love, then those people will more likely listen to your message.



The same holds true for parents “visiting” their children’s culture in today’s society. You can hide your children for a while.  Or you may say your children never watch nor have they ever watched MTV, but MTV is the society that tells them what is “cool” and socially acceptable if they watch MTV or not.  In effect, MTV is writing the constitution for the society of the United States of Entertainment.  And if the parent hasn’t taught them how to think biblically, who knows how they will think when the parent isn’t looking over their shoulder?



Of course, I believe Christian parents should always use caution.  Of course, I believe parents should pray that God would open their hearts, eyes, and minds to the needs of their children. Of course parents should commit their heart and mind to the Lord, and ask for His wisdom and protection before watching the VMAs.



But I also believe that Christian parents can learn by experiencing the VMAs.  Watch with a pen and notebook to take notes.  One caveat. Some men who struggle with pornography may have a difficult time watching the VMAs and shouldn’t subject their mind to this or any type of activity outside of marriage that may be sexually stimulating.



I’m not above being tempted with sexual sin, but in the thirty plus years I have been studying this topic and the 20 years or so that I have been watching the VMAs I don’t see the performers as someone to be envied and desired.  All I see is a generation that has bought into the LIE, dancing on the road to Hell and like a pied piper leading our children to join them. And that breaks my heart!

And that’s exactly why my ministry is dedicated to helping parents and leaders deal with the issue of entertainment from a biblical perspective. As you know, entertainment is a key weapon in the battle for our minds and for our families.  We must get involved with our children and help them see “their world” from a biblical perspective. We can’t accomplish this from a distance.  

I hope my emails, suggestions, or this letter doesn’t offend you. I write this in love.  I never discount criticism and it always causes me to look inward.  This time, I am very confident this is what God would have me do.  



Your friend always,

Al