Hillsong: Let Hope Rise (Movie Review)

I’ve listened to a lot of Hillsong United music, especially through my teenager years and early 20’s (which unfortunately was quite a long time ago) so I was quite excited for a chance to check out this movie.

Well, the excitement didn’t last long. The movie starts at a slow pace, leaving you unsure of where it is heading. Time goes on, and, it’s still plodding, not really going anyways, not really saying too much, and I soon found myself wishing it were over. There’s just not much substance here, and the biggest drama is near the end of the movie the band is about to perform a huge concert and they haven’t finished writing the one song they need to play. If that sounds like a bad plot, it’s because it is. I’m not sure that having a plot was even really attempted

The movie just kind of dabbles here and there. There’s some reminiscing talk from the founding pastor of Hillsong, a bit of a look into the private family lives of some of the band, quite a bit of focus on how much the band loves Jesus, and a lot of the movie is spent with live footage from concerts and filling space playing some of their big songs.

Unfortunately I’m not sure what the purpose of this movie was. It doesn’t teach you much about how Hillsong grew from tiny to massive, it doesn’t give you many tips on how to grow a church, or how to have a great worship band, it doesn’t teach you a whole lot about the band members themselves, it doesn’t give you much of an inside look at how the band operates, it doesn’t teach you much about God or the Gospel, and it doesn’t give you a great live worship experience.

As unoriginal as it sounds, a live concert movie would’ve been better than this.  This is just too many different things cut and pasted together into one disjointed, boring piece.  It’s not a great way to experience their music, and it’s not a great way to learn about Hillsong’s history, their music, their people, or their methods. In my opinion, it just lacks much relevant content, and that’s pretty disappointing.

I received complimentary tickets to see this movie courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications.

2/5 Paper Movement Stars

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise (Movie Review)

Jesus Called – He Wants His Church Back (Book Review)

This book sports a title that is easy to agree with, but with a title like this stating things are wrong, you might expect a lot of negativity about what a terrible state the church of today is in. But it’s a really solid, positive, uplifting read. Ray writes with a humility and grace. He makes profound, insightful statements.

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What I really appreciate about this book is that is something that you can (and should) personalize to your own personal walk with Jesus. This isn’t a book bashing the church as an organization, or bashing Christians as a whole. You can read this book and if you apply it, you will become a better Christian, and help make your church better.

This book covers a wide variety of topics while not feeling scattered, but rather thorough.

Highly recommended read for Christians, whether they love their church or not. There is a lot of convicting content that’s straight to the point.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of BookLook Bloggers.

Jesus Called – He Wants His Church Back (Book Review)

Miracles from Heaven – Movie Review

The story in this movie really sucked me in and I was moved. So I’d have to say that this movie works. I fully entered into the story. As a father to 2 young children what the family was going through felt like something I care about because having your kids go through a horrible disease is almost unthinkable. I don’t consider myself a movie buff by any stretch of the imagination but I thought the acting was very well done, especially the little girl who was the main character. The camera work is good, and the script is solid. I’ve read other reviewer’s suggestions about improvements that could’ve been done to this movie, and while possibly valid, this movie is centred around a true story so I would tend to be more forgiving for the sake of staying true to the actual happenings. It does not feel like a cheesy, poorly executed Christian movie. I finished watching it thinking about the fragility of life and a gratitude for my family’s health.

The story is fairly dark, but they did a good job on inserting light-hearted moments – you have to love the doctor with the Elmo tie who’s there to brighten everybody’s day. It’s definitely not the type of movie I’d generally choose to watch because I don’t enjoy watching suffering and it hits me pretty hard, but I think it is good for myself to do from time to time.

And as for the actual happenings themselves, it’s pretty crazy, and the miracle is such a God thing – Him working in the craziest ways you would not dream up! The fact that the miracle seemingly happened though/as a result of such a traumatic and scary experience isn’t what I would expect. Definitely more worthwhile than so many movies out there!

Great job!

4/5 Paper Movement Stars.

I was able to screen this movie courtesy of Martin-Graf Communications.

 

Miracles from Heaven – Movie Review

It’s Not What You Think – Jefferson Bethke (Book Review)

This is a worthwhile read. You can learn more about the Bible, as well as God and yourself. Bethke tackles numerous different subjects (as seen in the chapter titles) that Christians have had wrong ideas about. The title of the book is an umberella for him to talk about a wide variety of subjects compliled into one book.There perhaps isn’t a lot of cohesiveness between some of the different subject matters as it jumps from a topic like ‘where is the kingdom of God’ to the significance of eating at a table, but that being said, each chapter has good thoughts so a bit of randomness is forgivable .

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The book is well written and enjoyable, but I didn’t have any problem setting it down, and it actually took me a long period of time to get it completed, for what that’s worth to you.

Bethke’s writing style includes a lot of talking about the Bible, sharing wisdom from other authors, and he has some stories from his own life (and he’s willing to talk about his shortcomings).

If you’re an underlining/highlighting kind of reader you shouldn’t have any problem finding things that you want to take note of. There are quite of bit of good nuggets here for you.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

It’s Not What You Think – Jefferson Bethke (Book Review)

Book Review – Dairy of a Jackwagon (Tim Hawkins)

Dairy of a Jackwagon is a great read if you love sarcastic humour – this book is full of it. You will also likely find this book funnier if you have seen Tim performing. If you can get a visual of Tim telling the joke and what expressions he might be using I think you’ll be more likely to find the jokes funny.

I’m not overly familiar with Tim Hawkins, although I have seen many of his videos. I definitely recognized some of the jokes, so if you’ve seen every Hawkins video out there you will probably run into a ton of duplicate content.

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Tim’s humour is clean, and with typical funnyman creativity that makes you (or at least me) curious as to what all goes through his head throughout a day. He has a gift at seeing the funny in the everyday things. He also has some good insights into Christianity and Christians, although they definitely don’t feel like the focus of the book, and even when they are there Tim isn’t forceful about it. It’s a very light read. You can definitely read this book in small chunks and be able to pick it up much later without really missing anything as the book doesn’t have an underlying plot – it moves around from topic to topic.

There are definitely some great humour in here, I tried reading this in bed one night, it did not help me fall asleep, I was laughing out loud. While not all the book is over the top funny there were numerous jokes that had me LOL’ing and I just had to share with my wife.

As others have said, video or live is the preferred method of experiencing Tim Hawkins, but the book is still a great experience for readers with a sarcastic sense of humour, or die hard fans. There is also a audiobook version of this book, read by Tim himself. I haven’t heard it, but I’m sure that’d be fantastic.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of Booklook Bloggers and the publisher.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

Book Review – Dairy of a Jackwagon (Tim Hawkins)

90 Minutes in Heaven – Movie Review

Fixated on the “Fixator”

One would expect a movie about a person going to heaven for 90 minutes to include death. What one would probably not expect is a dark, intense movie filled mostly with horrible suffering and negativity. I saw another reviewer who thought that the movie should be called “90 days of Recovery, 90 Seconds of Heaven. That’s a pretty good call.

I can appreciate the effort to display the seriousness of Don’s injuries from a serious car crash, and it’s fine to convey to us that his injuries were very painful. However, with a title that seems intended to draw people to the theatres who are interested in learning about a man’s experience with Heaven it seems disappointing that Don’s Heaven experience plays second fiddle to the pain he went through while recovering, namely because of the fixator the doctors used to save his leg.

This movie needs some comic relief. I think they may have attempted that with a Redneck Wack-Job Attorney that Eva hired. However, his part is just ridiculous, and if he’s supposed to be funny the attempted humour is poorly placed since he is there to try and help Eva, and it seems like he’s likely to leave her worse off.

Overall I thought the acting was very good, the camera work is great – the issue for me and my wife was the storyline. The pace is very slow though, and the movie feels way too long. Don’s accident is shown twice, it seems for no good reason – maybe just to inject a bit of excitement into an otherwise dark film. The movie doesn’t really have a climax.

Some call this an inspirational film but to me it was just way too heavy and depressing. You will likely spend a lot of time pitying Don and his wife, and not a whole lot of time in awe of Jesus.

I realize this is based on a true story, but the fact is that for a skeptic this film offers little proof or descriptions of Heaven, as there isn’t much more to what Don shares than meeting loved ones who are happy to see him.

If you’re interesting in seeing the film, check it out. You may enjoy it. You also may spend a lot of time squirming in your seat waiting for it to be over.

I received complementary tickets to see this movie courtesy of Martin-Graf Communications.

2/5 Stars

90 Minutes in Heaven – Movie Review

What Keeps You Up at Night? -Pete Wilson – Book Review

A Good Read for Sleepers and Non-Sleepers Alike

I expected this book to have a fairly narrow purpose, namely addressing things that worry us and how to deal with them. Being fairly young, and having had a fairly non-tumultous life thus far, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s just a good overall read for the believer on how to do life well – whether you’re going through a valley or not. And of course, valleys will come. There’s likely a lot of great advice in this book for you whether you feel your life is going great, or about to come off the rails.

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Pete has a way of writing things in an encouraging, but not over-the-top manner. Early in the book Wilson writes: “One of the things I hope to convince you of in this book is that the object is not learning to fear less; it’s learning to trust God more.” I think that statement is a great way to summarize Pete’s heartbeat behind this book. In a lot of ways What Keeps You Up at Night is a book about God, not us. And that’s what makes it so good and worthwhile reading. There’s a lot of meat and truth in here.

The content is Biblical and excellent, and the presentation was well written, including stories and illustrations with a great personality behind it. The book doesn’t get the 5th star as I didn’t find the book as engaging to me as I would’ve liked. It’s good, just not 5 star fantastic. It’s still a very great book to get your hands on, whether you’re a worrier or not. You might just have to take it slow as you work your way through it.

I received a complementary review copy of this work courtesy of the publisher and the BookLook Blogging Program.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

What Keeps You Up at Night? -Pete Wilson – Book Review