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Wednesday, May 20, 2015


We got to try a cool movie to incorporate into our school put out by

We got to choose from a list of available titles.  We chose this one called Torchlighters:  The Story of John Wesley. is probably self explanatory for most Christians.  Christian fish know?!?   But, in case you haven't had your coffee yet this morning, it is a website that has Christian movie titles (flix) available that you can watch just for fun, or incorporate into your studies.

They have all sorts of different titles available, like wholesome romances like When Calls the Heart to Tim Hawkins comedy DVDs to nature and creation DVDs.

(I was also secretly excited to try out this company because is are based in Mora, Minnesota, which is just up the road a bit from where I grew up.  I still remember the day we drove to the Ford dealership in Mora to buy my dad's red and white striped pick up truck.)

The John Wesley movie was part of the Torchlighters series which are movies designed for kids ages 8-12 and tells the stories of men and women throughout history that have served God.

We were interested in the John Wesley story because I was raised a United Methodist and the kids and I are currently members of a United Methodist church.  We knew that John Wesley founded our denomination, but didn't know much else about him.  When we first started attending this church, my older kids went through confirmation and part of that was a weekend in St. Simon's Island - Epworth by the Sea area where there are statues of him preaching.

The only other thing we knew was that a quote from John Wesley was painted on the walls in the youth room at church.

But, that was really all we knew about him.  Oh, and his brother Charles wrote some of the hymns we sing.  That is pretty much it.

So, we were all kind of interested to see what we could learn about him in the quick 30 minutes-ish movie.

So, A-man, S-girl, V-girl and I sat down to watch the movie together.  I had an uncomfortable feeling for about the first half of the movie though.  John was shown a a child almost dying in the fire and being saved at the last minute.  His mom says that God saved him from the fire, like a "brand plucked from the burning" because He has a special plan for John's life.  (No pressure or anything, John!)  The movie them moves into John's adulthood where he is shown trying to preach and convert people and, honestly, he was sort of a jerk.  Pompous and pious and just trying to convert people to pay God back for saving him in a fire when he was little.

In my head I was thinking...this is sending the total wrong message!  You don't just continue to shove the gospel down people's throats.  You don't just try to be a good person.  You don't just try to be good enough to earn God's approval.

I was uncomfortable, but I kept my thoughts to myself as we watched the movie.

Good thing I did, because John had an epiphany and a change of heart/attitude and starts trying to preach and teach in a new way.  However, the existing churches wanted nothing to do with him...or the way he was saying that they were all sinners (gasp!).  There were even scenes of him being physically removed from churches and told not to come back!

This brings John Wesley to the point where he once again questions whether he has gotten things all wrong....again...and if he wasn't really listening to God.  But, he meets someone who changes his life and how he preaches from that point on...and it is actually somebody that wants to kill him.  Yup, I said kill him.  (Dum....duh....dum....or however you type that dramatic, inside your head music...)

All of this drama and excitement in a 30 minute, animated kids movie!  It really had a good message about not just being able to rely on yourself and be a good person to get in God's good graces and buy a place into heaven.  It talks about everyone being a sinner.  Everyone needing God's freely given grace.  Everyone having a purpose on earth.  And, about everyone doing good....not just to be good enough for God, but because it is the right thing to do...and it let's God use us.

I am watching the bonus documentary on the DVD about John Wesley on my own. (I think I really would have liked John Wesley's plucky mother quite well.)
Overall, I was super happy with the John Wesley story and it gave the kids and I lots of things to talk about afterwards, including how even though John was doing good and seemingly right things, he wasn't allowing himself to do things in a way that God wanted....with the people that God wanted him, he wasn't really doing much good....even though the stuff he was doing was good.  Lots of good discussion opportunities for the kids and I!

For us, it was especially meaningful because of our background as Methodists.  I am even going to suggest this movie to our Sunday School director and our Youth Leader for the students to watch.  In addition to the bonus documentary on John Wesley, there was also PDF study guides with questions and activities, so that could easily be used in this type of setting.   But, really I can see the whole Torchlighters series being good to show the different people of faith and how they came to truly be doing and saying what God intended for their lives!

If we hadn't gotten the John Wesley Story to review....I wanted to watch these two:


The John Wesley movie is available for $9.99 along with many, many other titles from If you spend $35, you get free shipping too!  You can get a 10% discount on your order, if you sign up for their free newsletter.

The TOS review crew got lots of other "flix" to choose from, so see what they thought of their selections.