RITE OF PASSAGE: “Fireproof”
In my 10-plus years of writing this column, I have never recommended a single movie to my readers. I will change that . . . today. Recently, I had the privilege of being among the first to see the movie “Fireproof.” I belong to a wonderful organization called the Marriage CoMission, founded by the Cathey Family of the Chic-fil-A Corporation. The Catheys have put this amazing group of people and ministries into place so we can work together to help strengthen families.
Not long ago, I got a phone call. Some of my contacts from the Marriage CoMission wanted to know if I would like to see the uncut version of a pro-marriage movie. It was so new that the sound track had only been added the day before. They brought the movie to my house, where I sat and watched this amazing story.
Allow me to share a little background. So often, we Christians complain that there is “nothing decent to watch.” Many complain but few actually . . . do something. But Michael Catt, the Senior Pastor of Sherwood Church, has a vision to “reach the world from Albany, Ga.” Making that happen, of course, requires real creativity.
Fortunately, the church’s pastoral staff includes a pair of brothers with a lifelong dream of making movies. The result? Sherwood Pictures, the church’s unique filmmaking ministry. With volunteers including a group of students, the church worked together to make the movie “Facing the Giants.” Recently, this runaway success has been shown in such unlikely venues as planes shuttling tourists to the Middle East.
Soon, Sherwood Pictures will release “Fireproof.” This movie takes the production quality and storyline of “Facing the Giants” to a whole new level. It follows the life and marriage of a firefighter. Since I have served as a chaplain for the Tulsa Fire Department, I know a little about the firefighter’s world. First of all, firefighters are a very close-knit group. They literally eat, sleep and risk their lives together as a family. They are so committed to each other that they have a slogan, “Never leave your partner behind.” The main character of “Fireproof” applies that to his firefighting buddies, but not to his marriage. Because of this, he and his wife find themselves on the verge of divorce-just like many couples today.
This movie is an incredibly moving story about the way God can turn the heart of a couple back toward His original plan. I would love to share its many twists and turns, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. I think everyone should see this movie, from the youth department right up to the “On to Glory” class. Most of today’s young people have not seen practical models of Christian principles applied to marriage. Young couples like my wife and me can always use a shot in the arm to remind us what marriage is all about. And senior adults, it won’t hurt you to take your young bride to a movie, buy her some popcorn and then hold her hand while watching the show. I assure you, you won’t go to Hell because of these activities. In fact, while you have her there, you might even surprise her by leaning over and planting a big kiss on her lips. She just might surprise you . . . right back.
Today, we see the enemy’s attacks on the family happening all around us-inside and outside the church. “Fireproof” is a great outreach tool. Bring an unchurched couple to see the movie with you. Have your church buy blocks of seats. Buy your pastor and his wife a ticket. In other words, do whatever it takes to mobilize everyone you know to see this movie!
I don’t know of a single couple whose marriage couldn’t benefit from this movie’s biblical teaching. In fact, the movie took me back to the day when I first saw the Billy Graham movie, “The Restless One.” I was just 14 years old when it was released, but our small church took a group to see it. We eagerly watched the story of a young man, his life spinning out of control. The show ended with him sitting in a Billy Graham crusade. As Graham gave one of his simple but elegant invitations to “Just come and receive Christ,” the young man went forward. I invite you to join a host of others and me to see “Fireproof” beginning Sept. 26 at a theater near you. For more information, go to www.fireproofthemovie.com.