Written by DeWayne Hamby
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 09:03 AM EDT
Illusionist Harris III stars in the new autobiographical dramatic documentary Entangled: For Everything, There Is a Key... (793573209986, $14.99), releasing Nov. 19. The Destiny Image Films release integrates Harris’ personal story with scenes from his live show.
Is Entangled a movie or a documentary?
People have been asking us for years at our shows. People come up and ask if they can see a full show, hear the message, because what we do is so unique. So we set out to make a live show DVD. But then we thought, “Let’s make it more creative, and this old Vaudeville style theater rented out, and do big illusions, such as the water tank escape and sawing the lady in half. The story we tell throughout the show—we thought it would be fun to make a film that goes along with it, so we kept writing this little screenplay and we ended up making a full film and combined it with a live film. You’re watching a movie and it fades to the show—it goes back and forth through the entire film—to tell one story. It’s kind of unique. No one’s really done anything like that as far as we know.
What do you say when someone asks what an illusion has to do with the faith message?
It’s a common question. With the water-torture illusion, I could do an entire show with a message-based approach to it. I believe I use the greatest tool in the world to teach people how they are deceived. People are tricked into believing lies about themselves, and they affect our decision-making processes. All these things in the Bible tell us to live our life not by what we see or feel. I can’t think of a better tool other than the art form of magic and illusion as a way to teach people that seeing is not believing.
What is your story, which is portrayed in the movie?
I was doing megachurch shows, corporate events and doing pretty well. A few months later, we found ourselves in other countries. We realized we were deceived and tricked into believing all these lies about success. When I started digging, I discovered the process of how I was deceived, how I was tricked by the world. It is the art of misdirection. All of these principles of misdirection are universal. The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. As illusionists, we temporarily blind the audience by taking away their senses and the way they think. I teach people how they are deceived and how they can spot lies in their lives and how the truth sets them free. The story in the film, my personal testimony, is shared throughout the live show. It’s about this magician who was deceived in the world and it almost cost him his life—and how the truth can set us free.
Do you reveal your secrets?
I prefer not to give away the actual secrets of how the illusions work. I show the audience how something works and in the process of showing them, I fool them again to keep everyone on the edge of their seats, to keep them guessing. Sometimes I do tricks where the audience can clearly see what’s going on, but I get a volunteer on stage who doesn’t. The situation where the audience can see it, but someone else can’t see it, and he’s completely baffled and amazed. It’s a powerful moment for the audience to realize that.
You did a Kickstarter campaign to finish the project and raised $26,000. How did that happen?
We knew what we needed to get the movie done. It was like a football game, and you’re at the 10-yard line and it’s almost done, but we needed another $20,000 to get the ball to the finish line. We matched our goal and raised more than $6,000 extra. It was humbling to be a part of it and realize there were that many people out there to get behind the project.
How do you feel about the finished product?
We are getting some positive feedback about how the gospel is presented. It’s not super confrontational or cheesy. I just did it the way I’ve been doing it for years. Before you know it, you’re listening to the gospel. I believe we succeeded at our goal in making something that’s high quality and professional. It has been reaching a broader audience, and some super-critical people are saying, “This is well done.” Christian families can sit down with their neighbors and watch it and have conversations about the gospel. That’s awesome.
Written by Production
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 08:57 AM EDT
November musical offerings run the gamut from history to heavy metal
StowTown Records (Provident Distribution)
As one of the pioneering groups in Southern gospel music, the Cathedrals have had a rich legacy of songs and voices, including some late legendary singers. Family Reunion is a tribute to the group and features not only some of the group’s most popular alumni, including Ernie Haase, Danny Funderburk, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell and Scott Fowler, but also the voices of George Younce, Glen Payne and Roger Bennett digitally mixed into new studio songs.
Songs on the project include “Can He, Could He, Would He,” featuring Mark Trammell; “Search Me, O God,” featuring George Younce and Glen Payne; “Champion of Love,” featuring Gerald Wolfe; and new radio single “We’ll Work.” The project will debut at a two-day Cathedrals event in Fort Worth, Texas.
To order, call 800-333-900 or visit www.thep.com.
No More Hell To Pay
Capitol Christian Music Group (Capitol Christian Distribution)
Christian heavy metal band Stryper returns with a new project of original songs, No More Hell To Pay. Dubbed by producer and frontman Michael Sweet as the “heaviest record,” the album is a sequel to the group’s popular breakout album, To Hell With the Devil, which released in 1986. That album provided the group’s first video to hit MTV, “Calling on You.”
Songs on the new release include “Saved by Love,” “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Water Into Wine,” “Marching Into Battle” and the title track.
“Every song has a hooky guitar riff,” Sweet said. “Everything is in minor keys, so it’s a little darker sounding and a little tougher.”
Along with Sweet, the group comprises Oz Fox, Tim Gaines and Robert Sweet. Stryper has sold more than 10 million units and was the first band to have two songs in MTV’s Top 10 simultaneously.
To order No More Hell To Pay, contact Capitol Christian Music Distribution at 800-251-3052 or visit www.capitolchristiandistribution.com.
Nothing Is Impossible
Shout Praises Kids
Integrity Music (Provident)
The newest release in Integrity Music’s Shout Praises Kids line, Nothing Is Impossible features Australia’s Planetshakers Kids performing high-energy yet age-appropriate worship for children.
The album features Planetshakers songs such as “You Are Good,” “Healer,” “Put Your Hands Up,” “I Call You Jesus,” ”Great Is Your Love,” “Get Up,” The Anthem (Full Song),” “Limitless” and the title track.
To order Nothing Is Impossible, call 800-333-900 or visit www.thep.com.
eOne Music (eOne Distribution)
Worship artist William McDowell, ASCAP Award winner and Dove and Stellar Award nominee, releases Withholding Nothing, a live double-disc praise celebration, this month. Known for hits such as “I Won’t Go Back” and “I Give Myself Away,” McDowell enlists the help of friends such as Steve Crawford and Da’dra Greathouse, Danny Gokey and Nicole Binion for a two-hour worship experience with more than 30 tracks. Songs include “Expecting,” “Through Christ,” “We Will Prevail,” “I Surrender All” and “I Wanna Go Deeper (Show Me Your Face).”
To order, visit us.eonedistribution.com.
Written by DeWayne Hamby
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 08:55 AM EDT
Bridgestone Media Group releases The Rev this month. The film stars John Carmen as rock-and-roll-styled evangelist Johnny Starr who takes his mother and red Cadillac to pastor a small church in upstate New York. Throughout the of the film, Starr uses his preaching to awaken the congregation while trying to save Jubilation Hall from being taken over by a local megachurch pastor. The inspirational “dramedy” features an original score by John Ellison.
Michelle McKinney Hammond leads the study on pursuing dreams and choices in Joseph: Waiting on God’s Timing, Living in God’s Plan ($26.99), releasing next month from Zondervan. Hammond examines the dreams that the Old Testament figure had and the events that seemed to derail his life. In the study, viewers will discover how relationships affect their destinies, how to unite their desires with God’s purposes and how to walk faithfully with God while waiting on His timing. A study guide will be sold separately.
Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom’s story is related to children through the new animated feature The Corrie ten Boom Story ($14.99) in the “Torchlighters” series. The 30-minute film from Vision Video recalls the Hiding Place author’s account of saving a baby and other Jews during the Holocaust. The release includes a leader’s guide and student handouts in PDF and English and Spanish subtitles and languages.
Written by DeWayne Hamby
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 08:49 AM EDT
‘Surrendered’ filmed in Atlanta
A husband and father discovers that in order to keep his family together, he must first surrender himself to God’s plan in Surrendered: The Story of Jay Harding (857533003295, $14.99), to be released Nov. 5 from PureFlix Entertainment.
Surrendered is the story of Jay Harding (Jay McIntyre), a man on the verge of losing everything he loves in an attempt to be the man he thinks his family needs. Even though Jay views himself as a generous, loving and selfless man, he soon learns that everyone around him sees him as greedy, manipulative and selfish. His marriage is failing; his children need discipline; and his friends try to help him through his struggles.
By focusing all of his energy and efforts on that dream, Jay begins to lose sight of the things that really matter in life. With his finances failing, his marriage on the rocks and a sudden tragedy threatening to send him into a downward spiral, Jay soon realizes that the only way to keep his family together is to trust that God will guide them through the darkness and instill them with the strength to endure—even when it seems as if all hope is lost.
With Christmas quickly approaching and in a sweeping attempt to redeem himself, Jay launches out on a quest to purchase a dream home as a present for his family. With this ultimate gift as his sole focus, he pushes himself to make it happen no matter the cost to himself and to those around him. But with the tragic loss of his daughter, the pain of a broken marriage and the devastation of financial ruin, Jay is forced to make the biggest decision of his life, the choice to surrender.
Surrendered was produced by the Church at Chapel Hill in Douglasville, Ga., with a budget of around $15,000. It was written, directed and edited by Brett Divine and filmed in the Atlanta area featuring volunteers from the church.
To order, contact Capitol Christian Distribution at 800-251-3052 or visit www.capitolchristiandistribution.com.
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 08:36 AM EDT
ASK THE AUTHOR: Greg Garrett
LATEST PROJECT: The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story, written with Brennan Manning (9780310339007, $15.99, Nov. 5).
How would you summarize the story of The Prodigal?
The Prodigal is a contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son with megachurch pastor Jack Chisholm as our character who is cast out because of his very public indiscretions and taken in by his estranged father. Our story focuses on what happens after the parable concludes, where the hard work of living into and accepting grace and forgiveness take place. Back home in the small Texas town in which he grew up, Jack struggles to take responsibility for what he’s done to his church, his family and himself, and struggles to find a more authentic way to live and believe. Can he become someone who does what is right not because the camera is on him, but because it’s the right thing to do?
Why was it important to bring this novel into being?
This novel exists because Brennan Manning wanted to leave behind a story that exemplified the radical grace of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of the Father, Brennan’s beloved “Abba.” Beyond those most important things, the book is about how we believe, how we live and how we love and treat those who should be closest to us. It’s a book about faith—but also about the daily walk of faith.
How did you meet your co-author, the now-late Brennan Manning?
Both of us are represented by Alive Communications, and our agents “introduced” us and asked if I would consider being the novelist helping to retell the prodigal parable as Brennan’s final book.
How did your collaboration work?
Brennan and I passed things back and forth through our agents. We fleshed out the story Brennan wanted to tell, and then I took on the task of translating that blueprint into a building you could walk around in, decorated with all things Brennan. The book incorporates a lot of his teaching, and it became apparent early that we needed a surrogate Brennan in there to deliver those lines convincingly. That character turned into Father Frank.
Why did you decide to base one of the characters—Francis Xavier Malone—after your co-author?
It became clear, trying to solve the practical problem of bringing Brennan’s teachings about grace, love and forgiveness into a work of fiction that some character would have to say the things that Brennan says so beautifully in his nonfiction. That person had to be a moral center—and would need to be someone who liked to talk, so it wouldn’t seem odd for him to be delivering wisdom! Father Frank wasn’t Brennan’s idea—he was too modest for that—but was the right solution to a number of problems.
How is this novel related to The Ragamuffin Gospel?
We thought of The Prodigal as a sequel to The Ragamuffin Gospel, retelling those teachings in the form of a novel.
ECPA Fiction Top 10
1. The Secret Keeper, Beverly Lewis (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
2. The Harbinger, Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine/Charisma House Book Group)
3. The Tattered Quilt, Wanda E. Brunstetter (Barbour Publishing)
4. Trapped, Irene Hannon (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)
5. Secrets Over Sweet Tea, Denise Hildreth Jones (Tyndale House Publishers)
6. The Miner’s Lady, Tracie Peterson (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
7. All in Good Time, Maureen Lang (Tyndale)
8. Wings of Glass, Gina Holmes (Tyndale)
9. Wake the Dawn, Lauraine Snelling (FaithWords)
10. Vanished, Hannon (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)
The ECPA list is compiled from sales of Christian books in hundreds of Christian retail outlets nationwide, collected using Pubtrack Christian (www.ptchristian.com). Best-sellers are for the four-week cycle ending Sept. 14, 2013. All rights reserved. © 2013 ECPA. www.ecpa.org.
New Fiction in December
- Stranger Things, Erin Healy (Thomas Nelson)
- Tempest’s Course, Lynette Sowell (Abingdon Press)
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 08:28 AM EDT
Latest project: A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? (9781414389486, $19.99, Tyndale House Publishers).
You write of Christendom, civil religion and Christianity. What are the differences between them? Christendom is a cultural religion that borrows much of the narrative, moral framework and vocabulary of Christianity. … Civil religion is the institutionalized version of Christendom [in which] the government appropriates ethics to enforce quasi-Christian behavior. Everyone assumes everyone else is a Christian without ever learning what Christianity is all about. The result, as
Kierkegaard observed, is that “Christendom has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it.” … True Christianity is a faith that must be professed, practiced and possessed: To profess faith means to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and proclaim this faith to others in hopes that they, too, will turn from sin and trust in Jesus alone for salvation. To practice faith means to live a new life of worship patterned after Jesus and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to continually repent of sin, obey Scripture, fellowship with other believers, serve in love and partake in the sacraments such as Communion and baptism. To possess faith means that God has implanted the life of Jesus in you.
What leads you to believe that Christendom in America is dead? The nail in the coffin for Christendom in America was President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony, which included representatives from numerous faith traditions to witness the event, with one glaring omission. The evangelical Christian, pastor Louie Giglio, was dumped without apology. When evangelicals can’t even land a token appearance at an event orchestrated to reflect the various facets of American society, it’s clear that Christian clout has reached its expiration date and been pulled off the shelf. I’m not exactly mourning the loss of Christendom ... but Christian faith is not just losing its market share. Christendom and civil religion have confused the substance of Christian faith to the point where it is losing its salvation message. I don’t care about preserving Christendom. My concern is the gospel of Jesus Christ, humanity’s one and only hope.
What are you urging believers to do? Stand firm and stay on mission. When sins become civil rights, there is a temptation for Christians to keep our mouths shut and turn what is supposed to be a public faith into a private faith, but we are commanded to not be ashamed of the gospel. We may feel social pressure to accept the new norms, or at least approach sensitive issues in a way that attempts to make the truth palatable and socially acceptable. But the world has enough politicians; it needs more prophets. We can’t expect that we’ll be more palatable and socially acceptable than Jesus was. He was the only sinless human being who ever lived. He did nothing wrong and everything right. He articulated the gospel perfectly, obeyed God flawlessly, loved people completely and yet still died bloody. Jesus’ opponents compared him to the devil and then killed him. With all of our shortcomings and failures, we can’t expect to fare much better. … For Christians, this is our opportunity! Not our tragedy but our opportunity. Not an end but a beginning. Not the worst thing that could have happened, but the biggest opportunity we’ve been given. For what? To bear witness. We have a message of help, healing and hope: Jesus Christ is alive. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus makes life, death, suffering and persecution meaningful. … Christendom may have died, but in that death there is a real opportunity for a resurgence of biblically faithful, personally humble, evangelistically fruitful, missional Christianity. I am calling Christians to stand firm and stay on mission with Jesus: evangelize, give, serve and enjoy new life filled with the power, hope and love we have through the Holy Spirit.