The Power of One

 

hacksawridge2I once heard a story about a man who went to the beach and as he walked along the way he noticed hundreds of starfish and was so overwhelmed that he started to toss them back into the ocean one by one.  After some time elapsed, a another beach comer came along and noticed what the man was doing with the starfish and asked the gentleman why he was wasting his time tossing the starfish back into the ocean. There are hundreds of starfish and there is no way that you will be able to save all of them. It won’t matter. The man than picked up another starfish and said, it will matter to this one and tossed the starfish into the ocean. This may seem like a small gesture, but there is and cause and effect to every action that we take and we may never know the effects of our actions that we take in life. It mattered to the life of one starfish and that mattered to the man walking on the beach.

Everyone of us faces these same questions in life. Does it really matter what I do. Can I make a difference in my world, my community. Many of us don’t even bother to try and we wander through life without making an impact at all.

Hacksaw Ridge is a TRUE story about a man named Desmond Doss who was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things that were supernatural. Desmond decided to STAND for his convictions and serve his country as a medic in WWII as a conscientious objector. Yes that’s right, he went into battle without a gun and those in his unit questioned Desmond as to what difference could he make? The difference was that he saved not just one, but 75 men from his unit that would have otherwise died. One by one Desmond made a difference. His prayer on the battlefield was “Please Lord, help me get one more.”

Hacksaw Ridge is a powerful film that spoke to me on so many levels, but the one principal that stood out the most is that of obedience. The obedience of one man impacted the lives of 100’s of people for generations to come. You see, Desmond Doss rescued 75 men that would have otherwise perished in battle, Desmond single-handedly evacuated these wounded men from the battlefield behind enemy lines. WOW!  After previewing the film, I wondered where the children, grandchildren and the great grandchildren of the 75 men are today? Do they know what happened and how the course that their lives might have taken a completely different route if it had not been for the obedience on ONE man’s actions – Desmond Doss?

Well, today I discovered a story online about Mark Gamroth and his grandfather was Henry Gamroth. Henry served with Private Doss and Mark describes his grandfathers story from Hacksaw Ridge. “he was struck in a leg by fire and fell about 25 feet off a cliff. Doss, a private first class, crawled to Gamroth, rendered aid and removed him from the area. The whole story is almost so unbelievable; a shocker,” Mark Gamroth said. “I started to think about what Doss did, and without what he does, maybe my grandfather isn’t around, and then the rest of the family isn’t here.“ And think of all those others he saved and their families; what Doss did impacted them as well,” he added. “It’s all so amazing. I can’t wait to see the movie.”  Click here to Read the entire article

So the simple obedience of one man can impact the lives of hundreds of people. There is a cause and effect and YES you can make a difference. The POWER of ONE is real.  Everyday we have a choice to be obedient, to be kind, to be generous and to be selfless. The power of your choices can impact one person and you never know have far reaching your choices will go.

Hacksaw Ridge opens in theaters Friday November 4th. This is a movie that stays with you long after the credits roll. I encourage you do go see the movie, but be ready to be inspired, challenged and reminded of the POWER of ONE and also of the sacrifice’s that were made by the brave men like Desmond Doss in order to secure our FREEDOM.

See you at the movies!  David Almgren

This film is Rated R for the war violence ( not suited for kids at all).

Visit the Hacksaw Ridge web site for more information.

Synopsis : HACKSAW RIDGE is the extraordinary true story of WWII medic Desmond Doss,  who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, miraculously saved 75 men in a matter of hours without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, except the simple prayer he uttered before he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, under constant enemy gunfire and artillery bombardment. Doss’ courage and faith won the admiration of his commanders and fellow soldiers, as he saved the lives of the very men who had persecuted him for refusing to carry a gun. He believed the war was just, but to kill under any circumstance was wrong. Doss was labeled the first conscientious objector (he called himself a “conscientious cooperator” as he volunteered) to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

 

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Lessons Of Grace

graceFrom early on in my adult life I knew deep in my heart that my travels through Life would be a little different from ‘the norm’.  I married later than all of my friends, started a family later, and then was blessed to have a daughter who happens to have Down Syndrome.  We had the name ‘Grace’ picked out years before she came along (it is the meaning of my name) and appropriately it means ‘Gift’.  For that is what Grace has been to our family.  It has indeed been a Journey. Grace is now 15 years old and although we get to experience the tween attitude now, we would not trade her in for anything.

Here are some of the Lessons of Grace that we have learned over the years:

  1. IT IS OKAY TO TALK TO PEOPLE ON THE ELEVATOR OR IN LINE… We all tend to avoid eye contact or just stare straight ahead.  Grace, however, loves to meet everyone and socialize with them.  We have met so many strangers over the years because of her.
  2. WHEN PEOPLE ARE SAD, THEY JUST WANT TO BE HUGGED… She is always concerned when someone is crying or sad and wants to hug and console them. Personally, I have a tough time hugging others and do not always know what to do or say when someone is sad.  Grace is teaching me that it is okay to embrace others more.
  3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY “I’M SORRY” IF YOU HURT ANYONE… There were many times that Grace was the reason why other little girls (usually the emotional ones) would be crying.  She went through a long stage of pulling hair when she was young.  I think she was just fascinated with long, golden hair and would reach out to touch it, causing the owner to pull away in shock and get her hair tugged.  Yet Grace always said “Sorry..” and would then try to hug them tightly.  She did not make many close friends during this stage.LessonsfromGrace#1
  4. PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TOYS… I have been asked multiple times what Grace’s interests or favorite toys are.  It has always been people.  She came out a social butterfly and chats away with anyone she engages with.  However, she has also embarrassed me at times with her strong opinions.  One time someone we met was so excited to get our girls together and Grace took one look at the daughter and said “I don’t like her!” They eventually did become friends, yet that was quite humbling.
  5. SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO STOP AND TAKE A NAP… Anywhere. Anytime.  Enough said.
  6. IF YOU ARE SAD, JUST SAY “I AM HAPPY” AND FORGET ABOUT WHAT WAS UPSETTING YOU… Of my three kids, Grace gets over a foul mood quicker than any of them and flashes a smile to let us know that she is happy again.  If only it was that easy for the rest of us!
  7. IT’S IMPORTANT TO WAKE UP EACH MORNING WITH A SMILE… Grace has always been a morning person and now that she is getting older we hear “what’s next?” a lot.  This is tough when we have no plans or she is not excited about “what’s next”.  Yet, unlike her older brother, she always starts the day in a great mood, ready to conquer the Day.
  8. WE ALL WANT FRIENDS WHO LOVE US AS WE ARE AND DO NOT STARE AT US IF WE MAY BE ‘DIFFERENT’… Being my social bug, Grace has made lots of friends over the years.  Bless the ones who have patiently listened to her passing obsessions (over and over again).  We all just want to have people listen to our hearts, don’t we?
  9. WE NEED MORE OF THE ‘OH, WOW SYNDROME’…That is what I call it when Grace is next to me one second, and then missing the next.  What was so fascinating that caused her to say in her head “Oh, wow!” and then take off after it? This was not always logical and yes, we ‘lost’ her temporarily a few times in stores and in our neighborhood.  Now she at least looks back at me like, “Oh, yeah..I’m supposed to check in with you first”.  I need to look around more and find wonderful things that attract my attention.
  10. TO BE CONTENT IN LIFE IS A GREAT THING… There is a stereotype with these wonderful kids with Down Syndrome. The stereotype is that ‘They are always so happy’.  Always happy?  No.  Content?  Yes.  I long to be content with what is going on in my Life, to embrace each day and each person I encounter and to be content.

Grace has been a wonderful gift and is teaching us about living life with a different perspective as we move forward in our journey in life as a family.

“Grace is a pleasant surprise…Grace is a kind gesture.  Grace is something you did not expect.  Yet Grace is something you would never turn down.”  Max Lucado

Have a grace filled day!

Karis Almgren

Is the Movie Unbroken Broken?

Unbroken-posterA few months ago I was sitting in the theater waiting for the featured film to start. As with any movie these days, there is an onslaught of trailers before the feature actually starts to roll on the screen.  One of the trailers that caught my attention was for a new film called “Unbroken” ( in theaters Christmas Day). The trailer caught my attention, most of all because of the book that chronicles the journey of WWII American Hero Louis Zamperini and how faith in Christ transformed his life.  I will say that after seeing the trailer, “Unbroken” looks like an entertaining and inspirational movie, but is this film worthy of my $12 dollars at the box office?

In order to answer the question, I did a little research and discovered there seems to be some concern about the content in the movie and the absence of key elements to the story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini. According to an article in the Christian Post, Pastor Greg Laurie states that he is disappointed that Director Angelina Jolie chose to leave out the WWII hero’s Christian faith in the upcoming movie. If you have read the book or viewed any of Zamperini’s  interviews, his faith is an important part of the story. Pastor Greg Laurie interviewed Louis Zamperini at the November 10, 2011 Harvest Crusade at Dodger Stadium. In the interview you hear about his amazing life story how he reflects on the importance of faith in Christ in his life.

Click here to view the interview;

I also discovered a few comments from Christian Media critic Ted Baehr.  Here is what Ted stated regarding the film.

“It could be a great movie, but not without the story of his “spiritual release.” Ted Baehr

It sure seems that his conversion is just as important as his physical release from imprisonment.  It’s like saying, which wing of the airplane is more important, the right or the left wing? It’s obvious that both wings are of vital importance. So it seems with this story, the faith elements are vital to the overall story.

So, is the film broken because of the deletion of Zamperini’s faith in Christ and his conversion at a Billy Graham Crusade in San Fransisco?  I also have to ask the question, why did the director leave out this part of the story? Is Hollywood pulling a “Noah” with  “Unbroken” and leaving us to believe that they are staying true to the original storyline? According to the “Unbroken” movie web site, Unbroken is the most inspirational and faith-revitalizing film you’ll see all year.  Is this just Hollywood’s spin to convince the faith audience that they should show up and support this movie regardless of the missing elements that is said to be deleted in the film?  Although Zampareini’s conversion story seems to be left out, there are some references to faith highlighted in the movie trailer, such as a pastor preaching to a young Zamperini: “However dark the light, however dim our hopes, the light will always follow darkness,” the pastor says. But is this enough to cover the bigger faith elements that are said to be missing from the film?

In the end, is Unbroken, broken?  If you are going to see the movie as purely entertainment, then I would say that it is not. If you are going to see the movie that is based upon the book and Zamperini’s complete life story, than I think the movie is broken. You will have to decide if seeing the film is worth your time and money.

At the end of the day, I really want to support this film and I am disappointed that the faith elements seem to have been deleted from the story. Do I feel the movie is worthy of my $12 dollars?   Well, yes I do. Having read the book, I will use it to fill in the complete back story as I watch the movie. Also, understanding that the film is not a conversional story, it will indeed be conversational with multiple lessons to learn about the survival and resilience of a true American hero.


Movie Synopsis;
Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces UNBROKEN, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s (“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”) enormously popular book UNBROKEN brings to the big screen Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit.Starring alongside O’Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac – the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific – Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow POWs who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment, Alex Russell as Zamperini’s brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor Miyavi as the brutal camp.

Stand with Coram Deo Studios

Brad Silverman and Russ Rice of Coram Deo Studios are launching a new film and they are enlisting support from the Christian community. They are attempting to make the boldest Gospel-centered family film ever.  Take a look at the video below to hear more about this new endeavor from Brad and Russ.

Here is a synopsis of the new movie from Coram Deo Studios.

“This touching & poignant family film traces the story of husband, father & author Scott Dempsey who calls himself a Christian, but his life simply doesn’t reflect it. He can talk the talk – but doesn’t walk the walk. That is until Al Watson (a seventy-five-year-old African American who happens to be the Jackie Robinson of NASCAR) befriends Scott’s young family and lives out a loving, Christ-like example before them. Over time, Al presents Scott with the true, Biblical, regenerating gospel of Jesus Christ… then the real journey begins.” The film will go into production early next year and plan for Summer2015 release.

If you would like to know more about this project and to support the movie with your dollars, click on the link below.

click here to find out more information. 

Produce is Coming To Theaters!

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You Never Know Where Hope Grows

This year has been the year filled with movies based upon the Bible. The new year seems to be no different and may even deliver many more faith films than 2014.  There is a new film called “Produce” that is slated for theaters in the Spring of 2015. This is a film that not only entertains, but leaves you inspired. You will appreciate the simple things in life and gain a greater understanding of how to view the world with a little different perspective. Check out the trailer and keep your eyes open for “Produce” the movie.

Grace Unplugged In Theaters October 4th

GU_FacebookCover2Summer has come to an end and Fall is in the air.  This means new school clothes, a new teacher, new friends and many other elements that are indicators that change is in the air.  With the new season also comes a fresh batch of  movies to theaters for families. Grace Unplugged is one of the releases that is Just around the corner and will hit the big screen on Friday October 4th. Family Films had the privilege to preview the film a few times this summer and we wanted to share our thoughts and encourage families to check out Grace Unplugged on opening weekend.

Here is a brief overview of the story:

image17Just 18, Grace Trey aspires to more than singing at her church. So she runs off to Los Angeles and begins to taste the stardom she’s always dreamed of, including a Top-10 song. Will everything she experiences lead her to reject her faith … or rediscover it?

This summer Family Films had the chance to interview Brad Silverman who is the director and writer of Grace Unplugged. We were able to ask Brad a few questions about Grace Unplugged, how a movie can impact culture and how he landed in the film business.

Check out the official movie trailer to Grace Unplugged:

We continue our interview with the Director and writer Brad Silverman regarding the inspiration for Grace Unplugged.

Grace Unplugged is an inspiring story that will cause you to laugh, cry, rejoice and sing. The cast is superb and features Kevin Pollack, James Denton, Shanwee Smith, Jamie Grace, AJ Michalka and an appearance from Chris Tomlin. The soundtrack is off the hook and you  will find yourself singing along and tapping your foot (featuring Colton Dixon, Jamie Grace, Toby Mac, Shawn MacDonald, Luminate, Nine Lashes, AJ Michalka, Josh Wilson and Chris Tomlin). You can download the CD on Itunes now.

It’s refreshing to have a film that is safe for the whole family and delivers an entertaining story that will leave you still thinking about the movie days after you exit the theater.

So mark your calendars to see Grace Unplugged on opening weekend of October 4th.

We’ll see you at the movies!

Dave Almgren- Faith & Family Films

“Grace Unplugged is a powerful depiction of God extending forgiveness and mercy toward us all.” Chris Tomlin

When The Game Stands Tall

 

When The Game Stands Tall

When The Game Stands Tall is in production in New Orleans and is slated to hit theaters in the Fall of 2014 (Sony Affirm Films). I have to say that I am excited to see this movie because of the lead actor (Jim Caviezel) who plays the coach in the movie.  Jim is a good actor and I really have enjoyed his film work over the years. I always remember the movie “Frequency” and loved the story and the father son relationship in Frequency.  Anyway – back to “When The Game Stands Tall.”  As I read the description for the film I am enthusiastic about the film because it is a sports film that in the end is not about sports. Sports is the vehicle that was used by the coach to teach the lessons of life to the high school kids in his care. It’s not about winning – but rather putting forth your best effort. Teaching about values, life and loss. The real stuff that happens in life and the game of footballs help high schooler’s prepare to navigate thru their journey.

So based upon what I see so far . . .

I am marking my calendar to see “When The Game Stands Tall” August 22,  2014!

Here is the Films Description:
When The Game Stands Tall – which tells the true story of legendary De La Salle High School football Coach Bob Ladouceur, (Caviezel), and his assistant coach Terry Eidson, (Chiklis), who took the Concord California Spartans prep team from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003 that shattered all records for consecutive victories in any American sport. Known as “Coach Lad”, Ladouceur had little experience coaching football when he was hired at De La Salle, but through his unyielding focus on character-building, faith, responsibility and commitment, created one of the country’s greatest football dynasties.

Inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame and widely considered the greatest prep football coach of all time, Ladouceur’s spectacular achievements during his 34 years with the De La Salle Spartans include a historic 12-year, 151-game run of consecutive wins, 20 undefeated seasons, seven national titles, five CIF Bowl championships, 17 state championships and 28 CIF North Coast titles. When Ladouceur retired in January 2013, he was the all-time winningest coach in California having amassed one of the highest-winning percentage of any coach (.934 percent) with his 399-25-3 record.

“On the surface, it appears that these players just won a lot of football games, but what makes this story so special is that this is a coach who placed little value on winning, instead focusing his players on giving ‘a perfect effort’ in life,” said producer David Zelon. “Underneath it is a resounding testimonial about how much more kids can achieve when they are challenged with responsibility and commitment.”

Here is a trailer for When The Game Stands Tall:

Home Run The Movie Hits Theaters Today!

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The long awaited release of the new baseball themed movie Home Run hits theaters across the nation today ( check the films web site for theater listings). Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and freedom are apart of America. Well freedom is also the central theme in this new theatrical release from Samuel Goldwyn Films. Home Run takes you on a journey of a man with a bright future, but is haunted by a troubled past. Home Run is a must see film that will entertain and inspire audiences and will also remind us all that there is hope in our  journey of life. There are multitudes who are living life without hope and their addictions have completely overtaken and ruined their lives. My hope is that this movie will not only entertain, but will cause many to look inside and deal with their hurts, habits and hang ups that are keeping many from experiencing FREEDOM!

PLEASE NOTE: The movie is rated PG13 and is for junior high and above. The movie deals with some challenging topics and is not a movie for younger children.

HERE IS A SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE FROM THE HOME RUN WEB SITE:

Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control.

Hoping to save her client’s career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory’s agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can’t wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible.

As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future … and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Based on thousands of true stories, HOME RUN is a powerful reminder that with God, it’s never too late … freedom is possible.

Check out the Home Run Movie trailer and than buy a ticket and go see Home Run this weekend!