A Message From God

December 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Book and Movie Reviews

Written By Retha McPherson

Review By Donald James Parker

Retha McPherson thought she had it all. Then fate stepped in and showed her that she had been mistaken. Her twelve year old son, Aldo, was critically injured in a car accident. The grieving mother discovered that her walk with Jesus had been superficial, even though she had been a devout Christian. The ingredient she had been missing was intimacy with her Heavenly Father and with Jesus. During the time when her son struggled to survive, Retha established that rock solid relationship that was lacking and contagiously gave it away to her husband. And when the boy recovered from his coma, he had stories to tell of his visit in Heaven. Included was a message that he was to tell everyone that Jesus was coming again soon. Of course, a skeptic would quickly point out that a brain-damaged person is not a reliable witness. The mitigating factor is that the boy awoke and was able to quote scripture copiously. Before the accident, he had been a normal kid who paid attention to boy things and not God things. The instruction from the Lord that came down, they were to write a book about the whole experience and share it with others. And this paperback is the culmination of that commission from the Lord. I think God is pleased with the result.

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Out of the Depths of Sexual Sin

December 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Book and Movie Reviews

Written By Steve Gallagher

Reviewed By Donald James Parker

In 2006 I heard the small still voice tell me to “go after the sexual revolution.” I was not quite sure how to do that, so I went searching for knowledge and wisdom on the subject. My pastor suggested that Steve Gallagher was the guy with the knowledge. I perused his list of several books. This one deals more with Steve’s journey to obey God and develop deep spiritual roots enabling him to lead a ministry than exploring sexual issues. The fact that the previous reviews on Amazon were only three stars argued against it as well. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I chose this book. It must have been a God thing. This works more than exceeded my expectations.

This book is great for women as well as men. This will give them vital insight into their husband’s temptations and potential failures. In addition to fulfilling his physical needs, a wife needs to bolster her husband’s capacity to resist the enemy and encourage him in his Christian commitment. Wives need to stay strong in the Lord in order to stand firm when the storms of life come. The first gut reaction when a spouse falls to temptation is to seek divorce, but that is exactly what the enemy desires. The best thing the couple can do is to be frank and open and to pray fervently together so when temptation comes, it can be brought to light and defeated. Temptation, like mold and mildew grows in the darkness. I’m convinced that sexual temptation is the number one weapon in the enemy’s arsenal. Another one is pride, something that Steve Gallagher is very familiar with. Spiritual pride may be the most dangerous flavor of the sin. God had to break him before his human pride was conquered. This book shines the spotlight on both of these strategies of the devil.

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Book Review: Finding My Heavenly Father

Written by Jeff Reuter
Reviewed by Donald James Parker –

Does a book have to be extremely well written to be of worth? I think not. I would not classify this work as a masterpiece of extraordinary quality. In fact the prose displayed is much closer to average, run of the mill, and mediocre. It was not written to provide the readers with exercise in mental and lingual gymnastics and help stave off diminution in mental prowess. It was not penned with the goal of bringing shock and awe to your reading experience. You won’t need your thesaurus or dictionary to probe into the meaning of multisyllabic words. The author intended it to be a reflection of himself, down to earth and unpretentious, a prophet called to deliver a message of substance without any hype. How appropriate that I penned, well keyboarded, these words on Christmas Eve, the night we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus in a humble stable to two very down-to-earth parents.  God has a way of using the little things and little people in life.

This first person non-fiction narrative tackles a fairly complex message and reduces it to simple language to help people grasp the concept that God is alive and working through His people. The journey of the author is a beautiful demonstration of how a life yielded to the Savior pays rich dividends, not necessarily financial, but always in the area of character and true contentment. The author could have ended up like many of his friends, living a life seeking pleasure and creature comforts and enjoying stunted growth as a child of the King. God must have planted a seed of dissatisfaction in his soul long ago. Nothing that he did brought him lasting joy-until he encountered his heavenly father. That dissatisfaction was like a grain of sand inside an oyster. The irritation of that sand produced a beautiful pearl of great price.

The trek started out with an earthly father who needed to enroll in Remedial Fatherhood 101. That class would have been filled by men of the World War II generation who seemed to lack the ability to demonstrate love. As a result, a whole generation of sons and daughters grew up with a sketchy concept of a loving Heavenly Father. Ironically Jeff had been a disciple of Jesus Christ for many years before he discovered the Father’s love. Playing church, even as an active participant in the roles of Sunday School teacher and pastor had not filled him with satisfaction. His heart ached for something more. He found that he had a God-sized hole that only God could fill. And after that he discovered a God of power and might that not only loves His children, but blesses them richly when they come to Him in faith. The Bible says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. This is Jeff Reuter’s witnessing of the great work done in his life by a loving Creator. This is material that can help others overcome as well.

We as humans seem to always be on a journey of discovering. We’re always trying to find a spouse, a job, the perfect house; you fill in the blank here. Some of us are always trying to find a good movie to watch or a book to read. I truly believe that as Christians the excellence of either is directly proportionate to the closeness it brings us to our Creator and how it teaches us to follow the commandments that have been etched in stone, and hopefully in our hearts.  Perhaps reading about Jeff’s journey will inspire you to take a higher path and to elevate your search for meaningfulness beyond typical human trivial pursuits. I recommend this book for that reason. Just don’t compare the verbiage with Shakespeare.

Movie Review: Journey to Paradise

By Donald James Parker –

A few months ago I was assigned to review a novel by Robin Shope for The Christian Pulse. After reading three of her books to decide which one to review, I chose The Valentine Edition. A short time later, the announcement was trumpeted on Facebook that one of her other books, The Christmas Edition, had been selected to be made into a movie by Salty Earth Pictures out of Wisconsin. I was looking forward to seeing this unique romantic plot brought to life on the screen, and on Christmas day I got the opportunity to watch this flick, which was renamed Journey to Paradise.

On Christmas Eve, I had gone to watch the newest Narnia movie. The shock and awe cinematography and special effects in that film were still indelibly etched in my memory banks the next day as I beheld the obviously small budget film from Salty Earth. It was impossible not to make a comparison between the senses scintillating scenes in The Dawn Treader with the plain Jane look of Journey to Paradise as the opening scene unfolded on the main street of the small community of Paradise. My heart sank because I didn’t want this movie to be a clunker.

The action then flashed back a week into the past, and the story began to share with the viewers the events that led up to the dramatic conflict that director and screen writer Steven Zambo used to try to grab people’s attention in the opening. It was toward the end of the movie that the present and the past merged at the onscreen fight between the antagonists. At that point the story moved on to catharsis and resolution, as all happy endings must. The movie followed the book quite closely, though it deviated sharply in one aspect. The original story took place at a small local newspaper, whereas the film version upgraded the Collins’ family business to a small television station named Paradise Seven. That change did not detract from the story. The mystery concerning the identity and motive of Joe McNamara, who didn’t just coincidentally drop into the TV studio to win a job and the heart of the owner’s daughter, was not only preserved but enhanced by strategic scenes of flashback and use of a DVD player.

Like the cinematography, the acting was a notch below the typical fare from Hollywood. This is something to be expected since the entire budget for this film is probably lower than the salary paid to a single middle tier star for one movie. Overall the ambience reminded me of a soap opera or perhaps a television show from the fifties. The absence of major conflict in this movie gave it a feel of Leave It to Beaver. One member of the cast did stand out to me. Matt Koester as the boy wonder was excellent. His boyish good looks and ability to ooze passion and compassion reminded me of one of my favorites, Jim Caviezel. The rest of the cast grew on me as the movie progressed.

Hollywood movies normally have a bigger than life feeling to them. The acting typically exaggerates real life. Watching a movie where the characters seem like everyday family and friends might seem a bit on the boring side. We usually want to escape from our daily mundane existence to something bigger and more exciting. This story didn’t provide that escape from real life. Perhaps that is a good thing. We sometimes consider our own lives bereft of excitement and of little significance. We muddle through life with the mistaken notion that life is comprised of many meaningless moments with a few blockbuster events thrown in. Somehow we miss the fact that in the small challenges we face every day to fight the good fight and run the good race lies the essence of life. In addition many fail to perceive that without God in the equation, the pursuits of the common man are indeed trivial.

As a lover of small communities and a big advocate of family owned businesses, I found that the threat of a big city chain putting Paradise Seven out of business in this flick heightened the stakes. Also I’m always a sucker for a good romance, and this story fit the bill. This was not just a sanitized fluffy love story where profanity and sex are conspicuous by their absence.  This movie contains a Christian message which was not kept subliminal. There was not a lot of mention of Christ, but the small segments that bring the gospel and the Bible to light emphasized nicely the importance of embracing Jesus Christ. A couple of scenes showcased the Bible as a prominent focal point.

So despite a less than auspicious opening and only a modicum of conflict, the ingredient which characteristically makes a movie memorable, this movie burrowed its way into my heart. In comparing this flick to The Dawn Treader, I found that I liked these movies about equally but in different ways. Journey to Paradise is definitely a movie suitable for family viewing, though modern kids may have trouble getting into it. In my heart I would wish that movies like this would help turn back the clock and return our society to a kinder and gentler time when themes of true love and family prevailed. But I’m convinced that will never happen. Instead movie studios like Salty Earth are needed to help shine a light into the darkness that threatens to engulf our world. These types of movies will be instrumental in taking the gospel to all nations on Earth and then the end will come.

Visit the Salty Earth website at www.saltyearthpictures.org where you can buy a copy of this movie.

About the reviewer: Donald James Parker is a novelist and computer programmer who resides in Tennessee.  Check out his website at www.donaldjamesparker.com

Feature Interview with David A.R. White

April 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

Interviewed By Donald James Parker

David Andrew Roy White is an American actor, screenwriter and producer.  He is a co-founder of Pure Flix Entertainment, a distribution and production company. David moved to Los Angeles, California at the age of 19. Six months after his arrival in Los Angeles, he was given the role of Andrew Phillpot, the best friend of Burt Reynolds’ son, in the CBS television series titled, Evening Shade. In addition to his role in Evening Shade, David had guest appearances in shows such as Coach, Saved by the Bell, Sisters, and Melrose Place.

White has acted in films such as The Visitation, an adaption of the novel by author Frank Peretti, Bells of Innocense with actor Chuck Norris, and Mercy Streets where he was nominated for The Movie Guide Awards’ Best Actor.

Although White was an associate producer in the film End of the Harvest,The Moment After, was the first film that White produced; not only did he produce the film he also played the role of Adam Riley in the film. He has produced other films such as The Visitation, The Wager, and Hidden Secrets.

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