Monday, February 19, 2018

Same Kind of Different As Me

Dove Review

“We are all homeless – just workin’ our way home.” These words are aptly spoken by Denver Moore, who enters the film The Same Kind of Different as Me as a very disturbed homeless man, played poignantly by Djimon Hounsou in the true story of Ron and Deborah Hall’s (Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger) journey to personal healing and struggle with physical illness and their effect on the homeless they encounter. The award-deserving performance by Hounsou carries the film; I sat transfixed by almost every word that emanates from this man. His deliberate and powerful voice anchors much of this narrative in the truth it wishes to convey—that of the homeless experience and this black man in particular, who struggled as a sharecropper, living much like a slave, well into the 1950s. His escape from this lifestyle meant a homeless existence, especially after a brush with the law, until he encountered the Halls.
Deborah Hall’s love and charity toward Denver and all the homeless people who come to the Fort Worth Union Gospel Mission is transforming. Moore said; “I never met Miss Debbie—she met me.” Zellweger, indeed, manages to convey a gentle and tender strength, even in the midst of her character’s battle with cancer, by unrelentingly pursuing the most lost and broken in society, as she is urged on by a prophetic dream and an unwavering faith. She cleverly insists that her husband make amends for wrongdoings by serving with her at the mission. He reluctantly agrees, and his transformation ensues, where he is just as changed by those he encounters as they are blessed by his service. The intimate bond he builds with Denver carries them both past the borders of this film into the world at large to raise millions of dollars for the homeless together by telling their story of redemption and grace.
Though a gap exists in the transition from the baseball bat-wielding Moore to the angelic, preaching Moore, God is greatly glorified throughout, as Denver increasingly speaks profundities about lessons learned and grander purposes, even in the midst of suffering, and Debbie quietly blesses everyone in her life, humbly pointing to God’s grace and love as the liberating and healing force. At times the tears in the theater were enough to fill buckets when emotional moments, such as the touching father/son encounter between Earl (played bitingly by Jon Voigt as an ornery alcoholic) and Ron was perfectly modulated.
Though there are a few violent scenes where Denver wields a baseball bat and smashes car windows, and emotional moments associated with infidelity, cancer struggles, and alcohol abuse, this film is overflowing with the message of redemption and hope, as we witness lives transformed and a powerful path created that lead to the One who changes hearts and minds.
We are proud to award this movie the Dove Seal for Ages 12+.


Releases in store tomorrow, February 20, 2018. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Michael W. Smith - A Million Lights

"A Million Lights” was sort of lyrically inspired by my fascination with space. I’ve just been enamored by stars and galaxies and supernovas, the whole deal. I wrote this melody first to “A Million Lights” and I felt like it was a really contagious melody. Kyle Lee got involved in the production side and the writing side and he came up with the beautiful title “A Million Lights” and that’s just kinda what the songs about. When I think about space and I think about the song you know, the heavens declare the glory of God. It’s just mind boggling how big just our universe is and who knows how many more universes there are. It’s just incredible. It’s not hard for me to have a worship experience just walking outside and looking up at the sky. – Michael W. Smith


His CD "A Million Lights" releases in stores tomorrow, February 16, 2018. 

A Million Lights

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Jars of Clay Contiues to Create

When you join a band at 20 years old, you don't think much about what it might mean to still remain together almost 20 years later. To be true, it's nearly impossible to imagine much after your 21st birthday. At the close of 2011, Jars of Clay celebrated its 17th year of creating together. Over 100 songs written, 10 studio records, international touring, and the genesis of a sustained work benefiting our neighbors in Africa, Blood: Water Mission. Is there still soil to turn in this plot of land? I there something urgent, timely, even startling, left yet to create? In early 2012, we turned our chairs towards one another once again, and agreed that whatever grace of time we still had before us, we would spend finding this out. And so we headed Inland. The journey began like many before it. We wrote songs, and more songs, and when we typically would've stopped we kept writing. We wrote close to 50 songs. We had little concern for what we were looking for. We simply showed up and wrote the song that the day required. We believed that along with us, there were others, faithfully showing up and doing the work of preparing for the opportunity to build something truly great. There are the songs for ordinary days - when life is weighty and uncertain, doubt is the necessary partner of faith; where we see mostly through a glass darkly. It is this middle space that we have inhabited over the years. It's where you and I do the gritty work of actually living. The space in between the way the world is, and even underneath the most cynical exteriors - the way we know the world ought to be. - Jars of Clay

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Digital Age Leads Worship

Often, endings are just new beginnings in disguise. As 2012 saw the curtain close on a decade of the David Crowder* Band, long-time band members Mike Dodson (Mike D), Mark Waldrop, Jack Parker and Jeremy Bush (Bwak) sought to write a new chapter in the story by continuing to create, perform and produce music together for the Church. It was out of that desire to keep serving the faithful that The Digital Age was born.

     In this high tech age, they remain grounded by the roots they planted long age at University Baptist Church in the small college town of Waco, Texas near Baylor University campus. The members of the band have been leading worship there in some form since its inception in 1995. It's from there that they are sent out to Church at large, a body they believe is beautiful, diverse and alive - qualities they strive to reflect in the music they create.
     The tracks for Evening:Morning were written in a quasi-conceptual, temporal fashion, moving through the night to the morning. The album is characterized by a sound that is both unique and familiar at the same time. They call it alternative Church music, and they blend modern melodic soundscapes and interesting electronic sounds with reverent and personal lyrics. (description provided by Fair Trade label)
     If you were a fan of what made David Crowder* Band music unique, you will also enjoy the music that The Digital Age creates.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Matthew West - Into the Light

A couple of years ago now Matthew West sent out a request to his fans asking for their stories. He was blown away with the response that he got. There were so many letters and so many heart wrenching, honest stories. The Story of Your Life was the album from those letters. Many of the stories, well pretty much all of them, were stories that dealt with brokenness and the encouragement to the specific pain in life. The encouragement was almost on a survival basis in terms of counseling (I am no concealer but one who has experienced brokenness and the help from others.) It is the immediate response to the painful stories. 

In this new album, Into the Light, by Matthew West, he still uses the letters but there is a distinct change in the feel of the album. This is an album of encouragement of going beyond the survival stage of dealing and moving on toward the healthy living future. The song "Moved by Mercy" is such a song. It is the next song after The Story of Your Life's "Broken Girl." A song that characterizes the album as a whole is the song "Do Something." It is for the listener of these heart wrenching songs. It is a call to action. We can sit back and blame God or others for the pain of this world or we can recognize that God has given us gifts to be his instruments in the world and do something. We can guide people into the healing of the light of God.

"Forgiveness" is a song where a women chose to forgive the man who drunkenly murder her daughter with his car. The story is one of power and doing something showed the grace of God.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review - Group 1 Crew's Fearless

Last fall Group1Crew had some changes within their group. Pablo left the group to spend more time with family. Manny and Blanca continued forward with their music fearlessly. Due to this personnel change Group 1 Crew’s music focused on Manny and Blanca’s strengths.  The song “He said” featuring Chris August is an excellent example. They are true to their hip hop beats while fusing with some contemporary melodies. I think that the fusion is a great idea that works. Fans of tobyMac will greatly enjoy this new Group 1 Crew sound. If you are a fan of their more hip hop dance songs, not to worry they still have some of those songs on this album too.

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of a synthesizer. I agree that it is really fun to use, but I am in some ways really old school purist. That being said, the project has almost two different audiences in mind, the synthesized dance people and the hip hop fused contemporary songs people. You are never bored when listening to the project.

One recommendation the I have for you is when first listening to this new album approach it openly and enjoy the music as what it is and not compare it to how different they had sounded with Pablo. I did not do this the first time and I missed out on some really great new music. I did not make the same mistake twice. I really enjoyed the music the second time through. It is defiantly true when they say that different doesn’t mean less. They are still Group 1 Crew, but different.

Same Kind of Different As Me

Dove Review “We are all homeless – just workin’ our way home.” These words are aptly spoken by Denver Moore, who enters the film The Same...