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Posts tagged ‘Soul Surfer’

‘God’s Not Dead’ Movie Features ‘Duck Dynasty’ Stars.

Duck Dynasty
Duck Dynasty

Duck Dynasty is coming to the big screen next year.

Two stars of the popular A&E television series Duck Dynasty will make their big screen debut in the spring of 2014. Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie, are featured in the new movie God’s Not Dead.

God’s Not Dead is a new Christian movie about faith and the lengths one young man will go to defend his belief in God.

The movie stars Kevin Sorbo from Soul Surfer and the TV series Hercules and Andromeda and Shane Harper of High School Musical 2 and features a concert appearance by Christian “superband” Newsboys. It also stars Dean Cain of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

The Robertson family has been making waves this year with their larger-than-life personalities, influencing everything from politics to wine-making. Vance McAllister recently won a Congressional seatthanks to the support and endorsement of the Duck Dynasty family, and the multimillionaire duck call makers are putting their mark on the wine business by teaming up with Napa Valley wine producer Trinchero Family Estates.

The Duck Dynasty brand is also a big hit at America’s largest retailer, Wal-MartDuck Dynasty T-shirts are best-sellers in the men’s, boys’, and women’s departments.

The Robertson family has also extended the Duck Dynasty brand into book sales. Willie Robertson’s book, The Duck Commander Family, sold more than 1 million copies on, and Si Robertson’s new book, Si-Cology, is No. 1 in the outdoor recreation and hunting categories at Amazon.

The Robertson family’s hit reality TV showDuck Dynasty, broke cable records late this summer with its season premiere, bringing in more than 11.8 million viewers.




‘Soul Surfer’ Bethany Hamilton Inspires Liberty Student Who Lost Hand.

Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton shared her testimony with Liberty University students and relayed to them the importance of overcoming obstacles with Christ by their side Wednesday.

Bethany Hamilton, professional surfer, author and shark attack survivor, shared her testimony with students and relayed to them the importance of overcoming obstacles with Christ by their side during Liberty University Convocation on Wednesday.

Hamilton, who is from Hawaii, has surfed since she was a toddler. She began surfing competitively when she was 8. She was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kaui’s North Shore at age 13. Hamilton lost her left arm as a result.

Through determination and faith in God, she was able to return to professional surfing. Hamilton has since won several national championships and written several books. Her autobiography, Soul Surfer, was made into a major motion picture in 2011.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. introduced Hamilton as a “source of inspiration” to millions of people around the world.

“Her story of faith, determination, and hope has captivated the attention of the national and international press,” he says. “That film (Soul Surfer) was one of the things that inspired us to start the Cinematic Arts, Zaki Gordon Center here. It showed us that Christian films could be done in high quality.”

Hamilton shared her personal testimony with students, explaining how she coped with life after the attack.

“As I grew up with one arm and relearned how to surf, God taught me that He can take the hard times that I went through and turn them into something beautiful,” she said. “I think that He can do that for each and every one of you. He can take what you have been through and use it for good if you are willing to share what He has done for you.”

She also relayed to students the importance of living for God and using their passions to learn to overcome obstacles in life.

“It has been 10 years since I have lost my arm, and I would never take back anything I have gone through. I would never take back losing my arm because I know God allowed me to go through something like this to be able to come and share with you the message of hope in Him,” Hamilton said.

She reminded students that even though obstacles and trials may seem too difficult to bear, God is always working in the midst of them.

“I look back on my life now and I am just in awe that God can take a little girl from a tiny island in Hawaii and use my story all over the world to reach so many people,” she said.

She recalled a trip she took to Thailand shortly after a tsunami devastated the country in 2004. While there she was able to minister to locals and help them overcome their fear of the ocean. She even got to take a group of children surfing.

Along with her influence as a professional athlete, Hamilton has been able to touch a large number of people with her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, which supports sharks attack survivors and amputees.

Carley Cottingham, a Liberty senior, spent her fall break in San Diego, Calif., at the “Beautifully Flawed” retreat hosted by Hamilton. The retreat was for young women who have gone through the tragedy of losing a limb.

When Cottingham was 17, she lost her right hand due to blood clots caused by an extra rib disorder she was born with.

“It has been four years since I have lost my hand, and I have never once cried about it or been upset and mad at God because He allowed it to happen for a reason,” Cottingham said. “He knew I could handle life this way and would put a positive spin on it.”

After losing her hand, Cottingham subscribed to Hamilton’s foundation and began receiving emails and updates. She was able to apply and eventually be accepted for the retreat.

While there, Cottingham connected with girls who have gone through similar trials. She was also able to converse and surf with Hamilton.

“Being able to relate to girls who had gone through something similar as me was incredible,” said Cottingham, who joined Hamilton after Convocation as she toured campus. “Bethany Hamilton is an inspiration to me and so many other amputees, and I am grateful I have found a friend in her.”


Politician Rick Santorum Heads Faith-Based Film Company.

Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum (Facebook)

Former U.S. senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has a new gig these days. And as the CEO of EchoLight Studios—a faith-based, family film production company—he plans to make a big impact quickly on his new industry.

The announcement of Santorum’s new position came last weekend on FNC’s “The Huckabee Show.”

“This is the right place and right time, and I’ve jumped in with both feet,” says Santorum, who has spent the past year helping EchoLight grow as a company. “I often say that culture is upstream from politics. I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values.”

EchoLight’s upcoming first theatrical venture, The Redemption of Henry Myers, is slated for a fall 2013 release. Meanwhile, EchoLight’s second theatrical film is based on the inspiring story of Illinois basketball player Eric “Hoovey” Elliott, stars Patrick Warburton and Lauren Holly and is directed by Soul Surfer’s Sean McNamara. It is in post-production and set for release in 2014.

Santorum has high expectations for blowing open a burgeoning entertainment category.

“Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market,” he says. “And the keys are great content and economic success, using money from all over to build out the industry and distribute an authentic product truthful to the faith in people’s lives.”

EchoLight’s commitment to new filmmakers already boasts impressive numbers:

  • A $250,000 commitment to produce and distribute a new work by the winner of the short film category in the 2013 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
  • A multiyear, multimillion-dollar agreement to produce films from Liberty University’s cinematic arts program, with production wrapped on the first film from that effort.
  • Up to $1 million pledged to produce and distribute a new work from the best film category winner in this year’s 168 Film Project.

EchoLight has a full pipeline of films with established directors and a growing cadre of “faith and family” stars as committed as the directors and producers.

“We’re in a position with potential to transform the industry,” Santorum says. “EchoLight is a wide door into movie excellence and to more of it—which is why we’re also helping to cultivate young filmmakers in the faith community, helping them develop cinema that, in many, many ways, can go further and do more.”



Back from Death’s Door: ‘Hoovey’ a Must-See Movie.

Eric 'Hoovey' Elliott
Eric ‘Hoovey’ Elliott’s story and his miraculous comeback are now the subject of a new movie. (CBN News)

Eric “Hoovey” Elliott was a young boy with a very promising basketball career until a potentially fatal illness threatened to take it all.

His story and his miraculous comeback are now the subject of a new movie now called Hoovey. Once again Sean McNamara, director of Soul Surfer, brings a story of triumph to the big screen.

In the film, when 16-year-old “Hoovey” of Normal, Ill., collapses on the basketball court, doctors discover a life-threatening brain tumor that could derail all of his hopes and dreams. After high-risk surgery he must relearn life’s fundamentals: walking, reading, even seeing clearly.

Actor Cody Linley plays the title role.

“I always wanted to be in an underdog story and I feel like this is the ultimate underdog sports movie,” the 23-year-old actor said.

Linley went on to say that “doing these types of things where I’m walking with a cane, it made me really humble and want to ask a lot of questions and understand his struggle and his way of overcoming it.”

A Modern-Day Job
Hoovey’s “real life” parents, Jeff and Ruth Elliott, say they could relate well to the biblical story of Job. During the time Hoovey was sick their daughter also got very sick, Ruth lost her job and soon after medical bills threatened to undo everything the couple had worked a lifetime to build. Like in Job, even well-meaning Christian friends accused them of not being “right” with God.

“You must have terrible sin in your life and you’re being punished for that,” Jeff Elliott recalls “friends” saying to them.

“These were Christian friends that we go to church with that came to us and said you must have some unresolved sin,” Ruth added.

With his family’s love and tenacity, as well as his relentless determination to get back on the court, Hoovey surprised everyone, even his parents.

“I believed he would make it back. I didn’t think he’d make it back to the level that he did,” Jeff said.

“I remember looking out the window and thinking what have we inspired him to do,” Ruth recalled. “But against all odds (he made a comeback),” she said.

Rebounding from Death’s Door
Wanting to inspire others, Jeff wrote a book about his son’s amazing comeback called Rebounding From Death’s DoorAfter being rejected by more than 100 publishers, he self-published but didn’t sell many copies.

Five years later, Jeff and Ruth got a call out of the blue that someone wanted to make a movie about their story.

“It’s pretty amazing how it’s all coming together … so many times it looked like it wasn’t going to happen but when I gave up, He took over,” Jeff said.

CBN News Anchor Wendy Griffith arrived on the set the day they were filming a dramatic car accident scene. Actor Patrick Warburton, of Seinfeld and Family Guy fame, plays Hoovey’s father, firefighter Jeff Elliott.

He said it was inspiring to have Jeff, who is one of the extras, on the set.

“Yeah it was fun. At the end of takes I can go, ‘Is that how you would’ve done it? I did it differently, let’s imagine that’s how you would do it,'” Warburton joked.

He also said his mother is very happy he’s in a faith-based movie for a change.

“She was thrilled. She’s part of the contingency that’s trying to get ‘Family Guy’ off the air. How does that work?” he said.

Actress Lauren Holly, a well-known face from movies and television and real life mother of three boys, plays Hoovey’s mother, Ruth.

“When I read the script I cried more than once and I really just wanted to be a part of it and now that I’ve gotten to know Ruth, we’re going to be friends forever,” Holly said.

The ‘Real Life’ Hoovey
With God’s help and his family’s love, the real life Hoovey learned to read again, dribble, and not only play basketball again, but went on to receive a scholarship to play college ball, where he scored 30 points and a winning shot in a regional game.

“I realized I was so close to not having this life and every day is a gift from God. You really need to cherish it, just love on your wife, love on your kids, that’s what I’m trying to do,” the real Eric “Hoovey” Elliot said.

Hoovey, a story of faith, love, and a family’s resolve to trust God and not give up comes to theaters sometime next year.


Sorbo Keeps Rolling in Faith-Based Film Movement.

Kevin Sorbo(BGEA)

Kevin Sorbo never stops.

The actor known to most as Hercules, the world’s most-watched TV show, is seemingly everywhere these days.

He’s appeared in more than 30 movies and TV series in the past five years, including the 2011 hit Soul Surfer.

This past fall he released his memoir, True Strength, where he talks about suffering from three secret strokes and an aneurysm in September 1997.

He is also nominated for a Grace Award at Movie Guide’s 20th Annual Faith & Value Awards on Feb. 10, while Soul Surfer is being honored as one of the 10 Best Films for Family Audiences.

But Sorbo isn’t about to slow down. Not hardly.

The 53-year-old keeps cranking out movies, with at least 10 currently in the postproduction, filming or development stages, including several in the faith-based genre.

After playing a lead role in the Christian film What If with John Ratzenberger in 2010, and then saving the Bethany Hamilton character’s life after a shark bite in last year’s Soul Surfer, Sorbo has filmed starring roles in yet-to-be-released faith-based features Abel’s Field and The Persecuted.

Playing a character loosely based on Billy Graham, Sorbo takes on the role of an evangelist-turned–fugitive as a man suffering for his faith in The Persecuted, a rare Christian suspense/thriller.

His emergence in faith films, however, is no coincidence. Sorbo is a committed Christian, who looks for ways to impact others for Christ through his acting abilities.

His personal walk started as a young teen.

1973 Minneapolis/St. Paul Crusade
It’s been nearly four decades since that night in the Twin Cities, but Kevin Sorbo can quickly recall many details.

“It was a full moon that night, I remember it vividly,” Sorbo said. “There must have been 50,000 or 60,000 or maybe 100,000 people.”

Sorbo, who grew up in nearby Mound, Minn., home of the Tonka trucks, was in seventh grade when he first heard Rev. Billy Graham preach live at a Crusade.

Graham’s preaching impacted the young teen.

“When he said ‘If you would like to come up (to receive Christ), we have people who can talk to you,’ a buddy of mine and I went up,” Sorbo recalls. “We prayed and we talked. It was a very significant time in my life.”

Growing up in what he called “a very religious household,” Sorbo had been struggling with what a relationship with God looked like.

“We had a very fire-and-brimstone pastor,” Sorbo said. “I was about 12 when I asked my mom one time on the way home ‘Is God angry with us?’

“He made it sound like if you breathe you’ll go to hell. But when you look at the New Testament, at His Son Jesus, He was a much mellower guy.”

Sorbo will be the first to admit he’s become more mellow and found greater compassion after his 1997 health scare and the grueling three-year recovery. His journey has also led him to a more intimate prayer life, regardless of his circumstances.

“It doesn’t really matter how you talk to God as long as you’re honest with Him,” Sorbo said. “In my own prayers, there are days I get on my knees and there are other days I talk to him in my car.”

For Sorbo, it’s about a relationship, not a ritual.

“I don’t think you have to fold your hands,” he said. “I think there’s a nice ceremony with that and I do that as well, but just talk to Him.

“You can be in a supermarket and trying to decide what bacon to get and something pops in your mind and you say ‘God, I really want you to help my friend Mark.’ It’s a prayer if it comes from your heart.”

Abel’s Field
In a tiny town called Thrall, Texas, where the only place to buy groceries is “The Store,” which is really just a glorified gas station convenience shop, the director of Abel’s Field found the ideal location for his high school football-based movie.

He also found the ideal lead actor. Sorbo plays the role of Abel, a groundskeeper with a sordid past who becomes a mentor and finds redemption.

Abel’s Field is actually two stories,” Sorbo said. “Abel is a guy who’s had a tormented life and been on the road, basically from town to town.

“The other part of the story is the story of Seth, whose mother has died of cancer, his father has disappeared and he has to work two jobs to take care of his twin sisters.”

The uplifting script caught Sorbo’s attention for its inspirational message, something that’s often missing in Hollywood.

Particularly appealing was Abel’s story of redemption.

“I think, for Abel’s character, he just stumbled upon a church one day and he started to listen to the music. The doors were open on a hot summer day and he slowly worked his way in,” Sorbo said. “He was probably totally afraid to walk through the door, but once those doors were open for him, he did find God.”

The mentoring facet of Abel’s Field is something that’s near to Sorbo’s heart. His after-school program, A World Fit For Kids, has helped achieve a 94 percent graduation rate in a Los Angeles area that averages 49 percent.

“It’s a mentoring story,” Sorbo said of the Abel’s Field plot, “but it’s interesting—you would think Abel would be the mentor to Seth, but he’s just as equally a mentor to me. And we both sort of find redemption through this friendship.”

While still unconfirmed, Abel’s Field is looking at a fall 2012 release date.

Used with permission of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

By Trevor Freeze.

Soul Surfing II: When Loss is Gain.

waves crashing

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11, NLT

When Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark attack, derailing her plans to be a professional surfer, she went to her youth counselor, Sarah Hill, and asked, “How can losing my arm be part of God‘s plan for my life?”

Sarah replied, “I don’t know, Bethany.

I do know that God’s plan for His children is good.”

Then she gave Bethany this Bible verse, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.

“They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Of course, God redeemed His plans for Bethany.

He turned her scar into a star.

He turned her hurt into a halo.

In fact, her loss – losing her arm – opened multiple doors for her to speak and share her story throughout the world.

Today her name is a household name. And the movie theaters have been packed, recently, with young people to see her story, “Soul Surfer,” in which she reads this Bible verse aloud!

Have you suffered a loss?.

Have you asked the same question as Bethany, “How could this loss be part of God’s plan for my life?

It might not be part of His plan – but His plan will always prevail – regardless of any loss.

Trust God to use your loss for His gain.

Trust Him to turn your scar into a star.

Trust Him to turn your hurt into a halo.

He can and He will.

      *                       *                      *


 Lord, forgive me for complaining about my loss.

Yes, it hurt.

Yes, it was painful.

But, You never left me.

I trust that You will use this loss for good in Your plan for my life.

I might not see how today, but You will do it.

You will turn my loss into gain.

I believe it! Amen.

*                       *                      *   

What loss have you suffered recently? How can God use this loss as gain?

Written by Sheila Schuller Coleman.

Soul Surfing I: When Loss Grows Faith.

waves crashing

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

One Sunday morning in the Crystal Cathedral not too long ago, I had the honor to meet and speak briefly with Bethany Hamilton.

She’s the young woman who lost her entire left arm when it was bitten off by a 14-foot long tiger shark while she was surfing not far from her home in Hawaii.

She lost 60% of her blood supply by the time she finally arrived at a hospital.

At the time of her attack, she was 13 years old and ranked as one of the top amateur female surfers in the world.

She had just been contracted to become a professional.

The story of her faith-filled recovery from this horrifying shark attack is so compelling that a full-length motion picture, “Soul Surfer,” opened nationwide this past spring.

Sheila and I have seen it…and we encourage you to see it, too.

In the movie, Bethany’s father is shown sitting at her hospital bedside reading his Bible, while she sleeps.

When she awakens, she asks him, “Dad, will I ever be able to surf again?”

He replies, “I can do all things…”

And she finishes the sentence by saying, “…through Christ who strengthens me.”

I’ve admired talented surfers since my early teens.

At 61 years old now, I’m still fascinated to see men and women who can speed across and maneuver skillfully on the surface of a sparkling mound of rapidly moving water.

Bethany surfs waves of all sizes, large and small.

The larger a wave, the faster it moves, so, paddling fast enough to catch it in the first place is a demanding art in itself.

I was curious about this, so I asked her, “How do you paddle fast enough with one arm and hand to catch the wave?”

“No big deal,” she said. “I just catch the wave slightly later, closer to its breaking point when speed’s not as critical.”

She said, “No big deal.”

But, I know that this fraction of a moment, as the wave crests, makes the front surface of the wave much steeper… meaning that Bethany has to more quickly push herself up to her feet (using only one hand instead of two) at a much more precarious and near-vertical position than any “normal” surfer would ever want to.

It means that by her conditioning her senses and instincts to adapt to her new body, her skills have honed themselves sharper than ever necessary before.

Today, Bethany is one of the top-ranked professional women surfers in the world.

She gives credit and praise to God for her success.

Because of the events of her accident, she’s a beacon everywhere she goes – an attention magnet – and she proclaims her faith in God at all times to all people.

Because of her inspiring triumph of seemingly overwhelming adversity, her testimony of God’s power is getting more attention than it ever would have BEFORE or without the attack.

She truly “turned her scar into a star”* and will remain, for the rest of her life.

an individual surfing for souls for God’s great Kingdom.

      *                       *                      *


Lord God, you’ve used countless persons throughout the ages to spread Your message of love.

Use me.

I want to be used by You.

You speak; tell me how, tell me when…and I’ll listen.

I want to help save souls for YOU, whatever the cost. Amen.

*                       *                      *   


How has God used you…or, how does God want to use you…on this earth to positively change lives?.

Do you see adversities as a help or a hindrance to do so?.

Written by Jim Coleman.

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