“I don’t have to ask who will lead my family. I will! I don’t have ask who will teach my son to love God. I will! I don’t have to ask who will protect and nurture my wife and my children. I will, I will, I will!!”
That’s my paraphrase of the final lines delivered in the upcoming movie “Courageous.” Officer Adam Mitchell stands in the pulpit of his home church on Father’s Day as he delivers this challenge with his hand raised. It was a powerful moment that not only brought a tear to my eyes (for about the twentieth time in the movie) but also motivated me to want to stand up with my hand raised chanting along with him “I will, I will, I will!”
Last week Courtney and I were invited to watch an advanced screening of the new movie by Sherwood Pictures, the makers of Facing the Giants and Fireproof. Courageous tells the story of four law enforcement officers in Albany, GA who are challenged to be better fathers…and it was fantastic. In my opinion, it was the best offering from them so far on all accounts…production, acting, script, etc. Without spoiling anything, here is what I loved most about the movie.
The movie starts out with an action packed scene that has you on the edge of your seat! I was pleasantly surprised to discover this was just the beginning. At several points in the film there were scenes that were real to life for a policeman, and added suspense while raising your heart rate! Since this movie is clearly geared towards men, I was glad to see this element present…and done so well!
I’m not a professional movie critic…I’m a geeky pastor. But for what it’s worth, I was impressed with the writing. There were scenes in the movie that had Courtney and I laughing so hard, we wiped tears away! The funny parts were very funny. But the emotional parts (and there are a lot of them in the film) were also well executed.
Part of the story line involves gang members. Think about the difficulties this brought to writing the Script! The gang members had to seem real, but this a family film!! This was accomplished so well that I didn’t even notice the problem until Courtney pointed it out later. I believed these guys were in gangs…but never heard anything I would be concerned my children would hear.
What Sherwood does with these movies is mind-blowing. The majority of their cast comes from their church. Imagine if YOUR church decided to make a movie. It’s a safe bet that the Oscar folks wouldn’t be calling anyone in your cast anytime soon! For Fireproof, they used Kirk Cameron and there was a noticeable difference in ability. He was fantastic. But he’s not in this film and no other “big name” actors volunteered their time either. Having said that, Alex Kendrick was very believable…and there were some that were even stronger. Make no mistake…I didn’t leave thinking “That guy deserves an academy award!” But I did leave impressed with how much they have improved in this area.
This is why they make films. Not for academy awards….not for critical acclaim. But they want to communicate a message that will change lives! One that will bring God more glory…and this is why I’m a big supporter. Fireproof impacted marriages with a godly view of love and forgiveness. Courageous will challenge fathers be more than “an OK dad.” They will leave wanting to be courageous leaders of their homes!
What’s fantastic about these films is that they include elements that can be used in the local church! With the release of Fireproof, they also launched “The Love Dare.” The book was designed to have a direct impact on marriages as it gave practical ideas of how a spouse could show love to his/her mate. The ideas are based on biblical principles…and the book was built into the film! From a pastoral perspective, it was very natural to challenge couples to do the “Love Dare.” With Courageous comes the “Father’s Covenant”…and let me say I’m eager to challenge our men with this! It will be a very natural follow-up to watching the movie and if we do it how they did in the movie, it will have accountability built in! The Kendrick brothers are pastors…and this geeky pastor appreciates the thought they put into these practical elements!
Clear Gospel Presentation
As Christians, the gospel should always be our primary motivation. It is THE story of stories and the one most impacting to us. When Christians movies fail to clearly present the gospel, I feel utterly frustrated. What a missed opportunity!! That is one of the main reasons I have become fans of Sherwood Pictures. With each movie, they are more and more bold about sharing the wonderful story of Jesus’ death on our behalf! Of all the movies they have put out so far, Courageous has the most clear gospel presentation. There is a scene where one of the men shares his faith with his young partner and challenges him to believe. It was realistic, exceedinly clear, and very well done.
Courtney and I were, at the time, sitting in a room with a group of law enforcement officers…some who knew Christ and some who didn’t. I was filled with joy in the fact that these men heard the greatest story! In September, millions will hear it as they see the movie. Undoubtedly, God will use this to save some…and that is what it is all about.
I am eager for the impact that Courageous will have on our world. Father’s will be challenged, the gospel will be presented, and we’ll all enjoy the ride!
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