Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
“God Stories: The Series,” Volume One is the intriguing debut DVD of series that promises to share powerful encounters with God, who touches us every single day, if we are willing to pay attention to His moving.
At some point in our youth, we are sure to have had someone say that God is living in all things. He is in the beautiful mountains, the graceful trees, the babbling brook, the sweet green grass, for He has breathed life into all things. When we are older we sometimes forget this or pass it off as a quaint tale of childhood. We may even mock and say “Oh sure, is God in my coffee cup or my bathtub?” Perhaps in the loss of our youth we have also lost touch with what God has wanted from us all along. To have the open wonder of a little child when it comes to His miraculous love (Matthew 18:3 “…And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”).
Unless we see all that God has to offer in a pure, natural, non-judgmental light as a trusting child, we may not see the light at all. As a people set apart we must remain open to what God is saying to us. He may not speak to you out of the clouds in a thunderous voice. He may not choose to answer your desires by the time clock between 9 and 5. God may not be contain Himself to only Sundays at church. He is so anxious to give every good gift to us, that He may speak to us in the precious whisper of a child. He might choose to blare at us through the rock and roll on the radio. He may even take us down several different paths in our lives that seem to be unconnected events to bring us out on the other side in exactly the right place. God is a God of miracles. God is alive. God interacts with man.
While driving a co-worker home one February day in 2003, camera operator and production worker Trent Reynolds became gripped with despair and fear. After dropping his friend off, Trent began to pray. He saw pictures of people from all walks of life telling their stories of how God had moved in their lives. Trent recalls, “The dark depression that had engulfed me in the car completely lifted. I kept seeing people telling me their God stories, and felt hope, life and truth bubbling up inside of me. I knew I had to share what I had just experienced.”
Starting from that first “God Story” of Trent’s, he says that thousands are being catalogued and/or recorded to share on video. These “God Stories” DVDs promise to provoke and inspire individuals around the world to a deeper faith in God. Says Reynolds, “My heart and vision is to share the stories of God interacting with His people, giving hope to the hopeless.”
The video’s format is modern, using split screen and graphics, making the viewer feel a part of the story with no boring moments. These renditions are likely to captivate believers and non-believers alike.
Volume One begins with a five minute opening introduction, setting the stage for interviews to come. As a little child wonders through a hard time in his life, we are asked to contemplate how we may have wished upon stars and hoped for something better. Yet, after all is said and done, it seems everything is the same. We may often feel lost like this little child.
As children we start out with hopes and dreams. We’ve all had people we’ve looked up to and loved and may have watched as they plunged deeper into grief and despair. We can try to be strong for those we love, but in the end most of us know that we can’t even save ourselves, let alone those lost and hurting loved ones. The hard truth is, those human beings we’ve counted on are not always there for us. So we go on dreaming of a place beyond, where we are special—to a place where we are loved—a place where we are not forgotten—a place where no one gets hurt and there are no tears. Some give up, lamenting “why bother—why hope?” In giving up, people may believe this is just the way life is… but what if they are wrong?
What if there is an all powerful being who looks out for us? What if this being stepped in and interacted with us and became an every day part of our lives? GOD STORIES invites you to consider God, and consider the possibility that He is there for us, sometimes even when we turn our backs on Him—hearing and caring.
“God Stories: The Series,” Volume One, contains five inspiring stories chosen for their emotional impact. Christian Spotlight is not in a position to research the veracity of these stories in any depth, so we cannot vouch for their accuracy. In this review, I will simply take them at face value. Christian Spotlight’s brief research does indicate one common thread between each story—an association with Vineyard churches. The film was produced by “GS Productions” in partnership with Friends Langley Vineyard church (Langley, Canada) where the video’s Director is employed. Interviewee Ruth Rousu is a pastor at Harvest Vineyard Christian Fellowship (Edmonton). Interviewee Graham Cooke is a popular speaker among Vineyard churches. The Vineyard churches are a Pentecostal/charismatic denomination associated with John Wimber; however, the Vineyard movement is never mentioned in the DVD, nor on the packaging.
The mix of testimonies include Abbotsford prophetic school director Murray Duek who shares his “Jonah Moment” of doubt, and how God moved him into a desperately needed living place just in time, after he had given up on God (He will never leave you or forsake you —Hebrews 13:4-6).
International Charismatic speaker and author Graham Cooke shares his experience of receiving a telephone call from a Satanist who cursed him. Cooke prayed for this unknown soul, and later discovered that the man had met “Jesus in the Fire” and was saved along with 23 other satanists (All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and I will by no means cast out - John 6:37).
Andy Harrington, Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Youth for Christ, shares an experience where he may have been protected by an “Angel in a Taxi Cab” half way around the world (I will lie down in peace… for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety —Psalm 4:8).
An inner city pastor (Harvest Vineyard Christian Fellowship), Ruth Rousu tells the story of her protracted illness, and how she found herself facing death and then was blessed with a “Death Bed Healing” (Come near to God and He will come near to you —James 4:7-8).
Homemaker and piano teacher Laura Rowden reports that she was suddenly given the miraculous ability to speak at length in a specific dialect of Chinese in order to witness to an exchange student on an airplane at a moment of great need in the young woman’s life. (Acts 2:3-5—And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.) Mrs. Rowden indicates that she does not know what she said in Chinese. The student, however, appears to have understood her perfectly and was amazed at her ability.
As a Christian and reviewer, my prayer is that the producers of this series will always be very careful to include a rigorous filtering process to weed out those who would fabricate stories and tear down the credibility of true God stories.
“God Stories: The Series” is not rated, but would most definitely be a G. There is no vulgar language or adult subject matter. I give it an “A” for UPLIFTING. I am looking forward to Volume Two!
The director’s plan to collect and share “God Stories” is reminiscent of the goal of the holocaust-related Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, in that the Web site promises to eventually contain hundreds, perhaps thousands, of heart changing testimonials. I hope to see many more testimonies from people of all areas, all incomes, all ethnic groups, to show how wonderfully diverse God’s love is and how great His power.
Violence: None / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
For more information, see the series’ official Web site: www.godstories.ca
See list of Relevant Issues.
Editor’s Note: “God Stories: The Series” is not to be confused with the evangelism and chronological Bible storytelling film “GOD’S STORY” produced by Dorothy Miller and distributed by ChristianAnswers.Net. Also, please understand that the reviewer’s rating of the “God Stories: The Series” DVD would change dramatically if it were shown that any of the stories are not factual or a work of God—which is crucial to this video’s value. Beware that Christian Spotlight cannot vouch for the video’s accuracy. As always, the opinions expressed in Christian Spotlight reviews are those of the reviewers themselves (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network. While our staff certainly believes in God’s power to perform miracles, and we enjoyed the encouraging nature of the video and do not question the filmmakers’ sincerity, we are uncertain enough about the content that we have decided to decline making this video available through ChristianAnswers.Net.