Harvard and Yale Graduate Courtney B. Vance Realized he Needed the Lord (Gospel Light Minute #219)

He is an actor who is respected amongst his colleagues and praised as one of the best in the entertainment industry. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts and later attended Yale School of Drama to earn his Master of Fine Arts. He is notable for his roles in the feature films “Hamburger Hill” and “The Hunt for Red October,” the television series “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” in which he played Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver, and “The People v. O. J. Simpson,” in which he played Johnnie Cochran. For the latter, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. He guest starred on the TNT series “The Closer as Chief Tommy Delk” from 2010–11. In 2013, he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role in “Lucky Guy.”

Along with being an actor, he is a dedicated husband to actress Angela Bassett; a father to twins, son Slater Josiah Vance and daughter Bronwyn Golden Vance; and a contributor to society. Faith plays a big role in his life. When he was cast as Reverend Henry Biggs in “The Preacher’s Wife,” he felt an overwhelming need to get in touch with his faith. He said: “I knew I wasn’t going to get into that role without coming to the Lord. I had been trying to do that my whole life. My family was raised in the church and then we stopped going to church when I was about nine or ten – so I was on that search. I didn’t really understand how much I needed my faith until I got married. Two become one – it’s a mystery and I needed help and to know how to do it.” Through counseling, service, and scripture, he gave his life to the Lord and got baptized at a historic Harlem, New York, church.

When asked how faith played a role in his acting journey, he said: “The difficult thing is viewing things from God’s eyes. From his perspective a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. So I have learned to look at the pauses in between, God is working something out and for me not to worry about it and for me to continue work. Just like a farmer is not standing over his seedlings waiting for them to grow. He is busy getting things done, preparing for that time when it’s time to harvest because when it’s time to harvest and you’re not prepared then you’re in trouble. It’s all about preparation and perceived blessings. I’m just trying to be prepared.”

To excel in having a relationship with God, he said: “[God] is asking us to let Him in and if we let Him in, He will give us the desires of our heart and ‘open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing we don’t have room enough to receive.’ That’s ours; that’s the promise.”

His name is Courtney B. Vance.

Actor David Oyelowo says “Being a Christian Has Been Invaluable”; ‘Voice of God’ has Guided him Throughout his Life (Gospel Light Minute #179)

David Oyelowo
David Oyelowo

He is a British-Nigerian actor who is known for several movie roles. He won a scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and finished his training in 1998. He played supporting roles in the films “The Last King of Scotland”, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, “Jack Reacher”, “Middle of Nowhere”, “The Paperboy”, and “Lincoln”. He also earned high praise for portraying Louis Gaines in “The Butler”. His TV roles include, “Spooks”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, and “Star Wars: Rebels.” He stars as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the biographical drama film “Selma”, for which he received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama.

In an interview with the Telegraph UK, he is described as having an unwaveringness about him which can be ascribed to his Christian faith. He said, “my faith is a very visceral, conversational one that bleeds into everything. I was brought up as a Baptist. By 16 I was ready to leave church behind. It was a time when my hormones were raging and I was nursing a nice rebellious streak. I decided to try a different church for three months and God turned up in a dramatic way. From then on my behaviour and decisions have been driven by my faith.

As a devout Christian, he often prays on film sets. For the movie “Selma”, he said he heard a voice tell him that he would play the role of Martin Luther King, Jr. In an interview with The L.A. Times, he said, “I knew that voice [of God], because it was the same voice that told me to marry my wife, the same voice that told me to give names to my children before they were even conceived. This is how God has spoken to me in the past. And it’s what kept me going even though directors at the time didn’t want me.”

He said further, “I think it’s vital to have something outside your acting to keep you rooted in the real world, and help you fill the vacuum. If you have nothing else, it can be unhealthy. For me being a Christian has been invaluable: it simply means acting isn’t the centre of my life.”

His name is David Oyelowo. Continue reading “Actor David Oyelowo says “Being a Christian Has Been Invaluable”; ‘Voice of God’ has Guided him Throughout his Life (Gospel Light Minute #179)”

Movie Director Brad Silverman on Coming to Christ from a Jewish Background and Why his Faith is Now his Priority (Gospel Light Minute #176)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/225031-movie-director-brad-silverman-on-coming-to-christ-from-a-jewish-background-and-why-his-faith-is-now-his-priority-gospel-light-minute-176.mp3]
Brad Silverman
Brad Silverman

He is a writer and movie director. He is best known for the films, “Grace Unplugged”, “No Greater Love”, and “It Really Happened: The Flight of the Apollo 11”. He is staff writer/director and vice president of production for Coram Deo Studios, Inc.

In an interview with MOVIEGUIDE, he spoke of how he came to Jesus Christ and why he makes movies that glorify God. He said of his faith journey, “I was in my early to mid-20s. I’m of Jewish background. A dear friend just started dialoguing with me about, really at that time, the Jewish roots of the Scriptures, which, ironically, was very foreign to me. I really didn’t know the origins of the Scriptures were of such Jewish influence. Over the next three, four years, as our friendship grew, the Lord just broke me. Or I should say this: He allowed me to sort of achieve the effects of me running the show, and I just ran myself right into a brick wall. So, I came to faith in Christ, and just walked away from the entertainment industry for about a decade. My career was actually just starting to go somewhere as a writer/director and I walked away for about a decade. I wanted to go into full time ministry, and thought that’s where the Lord was taking me until about four or five years ago, when I felt Him calling me to start making movies again.”

When asked how God sustained him once he returned to the film industry, he said, “When I got back into the film business, I had nothing to lose. If you told me today, ‘You can never make movies again’ if it meant compromising what I believe to be honoring to God, the answer is no. I walk away. So we did a film a few years back, and then did “Grace Unplugged”, and it was sort of like I’d rather not make movies than make movies that I feel dishonor God and the Scriptures.”

He went further to say, “If I may speak boldly, [the Bible says] ‘seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and then all the other things will come.’ You can edit this out if you don’t like it, but my priority is the Lord, and everything transfers from that. Everything stems from that, and that’s my focus. I’m not ashamed of the Gospel, and I know that that may limit certain opportunities I have, but so be it. I just have to be true to who I am and who the Lord has made me to be.”

His name is Brad Silverman. Continue reading “Movie Director Brad Silverman on Coming to Christ from a Jewish Background and Why his Faith is Now his Priority (Gospel Light Minute #176)”

GLMX #222: Wayne Brady, Don’t Kill Yourself because of Depression Like Robin Williams Did; Let Me Introduce You to the Doctor Who Has Never Lost a Case

Wayne Brady
Wayne Brady

Wayne Brady is one of the most successful men in show-business today. He is an actor, talk show host, singer, and television personality. He has won two Daytime Emmy Awards and one Primetime Emmy Award. He has appeared in numerous movies and television shows and has hosted his own daytime talk show. He is currently the host of the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” making big money, of course.

Despite his success, fame and money, he recently revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that he suffers from depression. He said that he hit rock bottom this past June on his 42nd birthday. He recalled, “I was there by myself, in my bedroom, and I had a complete breakdown … Just go ahead and imagine for yourself a brother in his underwear, in his room, crying…”

He described his ongoing struggle saying, “Having a bad day is one thing, having a bad week is another, having a bad life… You don’t want to move; you can’t move in the darkness. You’re like, ‘I am just going to sit right here and… wallow in this. As much as it hurts, I am going to sit right here because this is what I deserve… I am that horrible of a person.'”

Wayne Brady said that this struggle with depression is like a vicious cycle that one can’t get out of. He said that constantly giving in to negative thoughts “starts this cycle where you tell yourself these lies … and those lies become true to you. So, you stick to your own truth you’ve set up. ‘If I am this bad, then why should any of this matter?’ I feel at that point, you end up wanting to stop the pain.”

Brady said he was able to identify with Robin Williams, the beloved comedian who recently committed suicide. He said Williams “made all these people feel great. And at the same time, he had this sense of low self-worth, of belonging, of loneliness, of pain that all the money in the world can’t cure, all the accolades and awards, and all the love from people all over the world…all that love could still not stop that man from saying, I am in so much pain.”

Millions of people around the world — rich and poor, famous and not-so-famous — suffer from depression. According to recent statistics from the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression around the world. And 15% of people who suffer from clinical depression end up committing suicide.

While people get depressed for various reasons, one of the most common reasons is that of searching for a life of fulfillment in something that cannot possibly provide that fulfillment. Many who are looking for fulfillment and satisfaction in life turn to, fame, sex, money, drugs, success, privilege, and material possessions. Outwardly, they seem to have it all, but, many of them, if they are honest, like Wayne Brady, they will admit that deep down inside, they are lonely, confused, restless, frustrated, unfulfilled, and afraid.

The truth of the matter is, no matter how smart, intelligent, gifted, funny, rich, or good-looking someone is, they cannot make it through life on their own. They will always feel as if something is missing, and they will go through life without hope, peace, and assurance.

There is only one source that offers that kind of peace and assurance, and His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only Person who can permanently deliver Wayne Brady from his struggle with depression. If you struggle with depression — and even if you don’t — Jesus Christ can deliver you from it as well. Continue reading “GLMX #222: Wayne Brady, Don’t Kill Yourself because of Depression Like Robin Williams Did; Let Me Introduce You to the Doctor Who Has Never Lost a Case”

Terri Cadiente: How she ‘Experienced the Lord’s Grace and Peace Out of a Dark Lifestyle’ (Gospel Light Minute #165)

Terri Cadiente
Terri Cadiente

She is a stuntwoman, jet-ski world record holder, life coach, wife, and mother. She has appeared in several movies including: “Evan Almighty”, “Titanic”, and “Waterworld”. She also worked on the hit TV series, “24”, for which she won the 2008 Screen Actor’s Guild award for “Best Stunt Ensemble.”

Growing up in a broken home, her perception of life and who she was, was tainted by feelings of being unloved, alcoholism, and abuse. After high school, she became a drug addict and fought that battle for over seven years. Her drug use led her to get involved in an argument with her boyfriend that almost led to her death. After she was released from the hospital she went to church that following Sunday and that is when her life began to turn around.

In an interview with CBN, she said, “I accepted the Lord in my heart and I believed that it was true, because I had just had this experience. When you are living such a dark lifestyle and you do experience the Lord’s grace and peace for the first time, it’s different. Something changes. The relationship I first thought of is ‘God is so far away, how could He have time for me’ to the relationship that I understand now is that He is very interested in me. He’s invested a lot in everyone of us. That was the amazing part.”

She went on to say, “To be a Christian in Hollywood, the cool part of it is there is no compromise. Because I kneel and bow to the Father, I don’t have to kneel and bow to man in the sense of I just know who I am. It’s really important that you know who you are when you step into Hollywood or there’s a cookie cutter that comes on you, and it will shape you.”

Her name is Terri Cadiente.

Disney Animator, Mark Henn, is Grateful that God has Blessed him to Live Out his Boyhood Dream (Gospel Light Minute #140)

Mark Henn
Mark Henn

He is one of the longest continuously employed artists at Disney. In over 30 years, his contributions to animation have included several leading Disney characters, mostly heroines. His work includes: Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin,” Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” Ariel in “Little Mermaid,” Young Simba in “The Lion King” and Mulan in “Mulan”. He was also the animator of the 2007 film “Enchanted”, and he directed the award-winning short film, “John Henry.” Additionally, he was the supervising animator of Princess Tiana in Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.” He has been nominated for an Annie award four times: three times for Character Animation for “The Lion King,” “Mulan,” and “Winnie the Pooh,” and once for Short Animated Film Direction for “John Henry.” Recently, he served as one of the lead animators, overseeing the development of all of the characters on the Oscar-winning film “Frozen”.

Emily Belz of World Magazine says that he is a Christian. In an interview, she asked him, “How does your faith play into your work, into character development and storytelling?” He said, “It’s a global impact as well as day-to-day and scene-to-scene. I’m very blessed. … This has been my boyhood dream to be a Disney animator. I’ve seen a lot of change and a lot of ups and downs. I was almost fired at one point. God has been incredibly gracious to allow me to be here, and I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be… God has gotten me through many a tough day and tough scene and tough production schedule. It’s nice to work for a company where the basic values we want to put across in our films are right in line with my faith.”

His name is Mark Henn.

The Faith of Paul Walker: “Who Couldn’t Believe There’s a God?” (Gospel Light Minute #127)

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

He was a famous American actor. He gained fame in 1999 for his role in the film “Varsity Blues”. He is perhaps best known, however, for playing Brian O’Conner in “The Fast and Furious” film series. His other films include: Eight Below, Joy Ride, and Takers. His television credits include: Highway to Heaven. Touched by an Angel, and Shark Week, among others.

Before his untimely death on November 30, 2013, he spoke of his conversion from Mormonism to Christianity in an interview with USA Today. Although he was raised as a member of the Mormon church, he attended Sun Valley’s Village Christian School as a teenager, and later in life became a Christian. He said, “I’m a Christian now. The thing that drove me crazy growing up was how everyone works at fault-finding with different religions. The people I don’t understand are atheists. I go surfing and snowboarding and I’m always around nature. I look at everything and think, ‘Who couldn’t believe there’s a God? Is all this a mistake?’ It just blows me away.” He was on his way to attend an event for the typhoon victims in the Philippines hosted by his charity, Reach Out WorldWide, when he passed from this life into the next.

His name is Paul Walker.

Philip Anschutz: Bringing the Message of Christ Into Everyday Life (Gospel Light Minute #106)

[audio http://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/101877-philip-anschutz-bringing-the-message-of-christ-into-everyday-life-gospel-light-minute-106.mp3]
Philip Anschutz
Philip Anschutz

He is the owner of Walden Media, a children’s movie production and publishing company. He is also an entrepreneur, having bought out his father’s drilling company in 1961 and working it to earn large returns. He has invested in stocks, real estate and railroads, as well as entertainment companies, multiple sports organizations including the the Los Angeles Lakers, and major venues including the Staples Center. Forbes ranks him as the 38th richest person in the U.S. with an estimated net worth of $10 billion as of 2013. As the owner of Walden Media, he invests in family-friendly, faith-based films such as The Chronicles of Narnia series, Amazing Grace, and Charlotte’s Web among many others. He says that he expects all movies produced by Walden Media to be “entertaining, but also to be life affirming and to carry a moral message.”

Although he prefers to largely stay out of the limelight, he is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He has championed numerous social and political causes including standing up for traditional marriage and creationism. He uses his money to fund a number of conservative and Christian organizations including: Institute for American Values, Colorado for Family Values, and The Foundation for a Better Life. He and his wife were named the winners of the 2009 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. Part of the reason why he started Walden Media is because he was troubled by Hollywood’s infatuation with sex, vulgar language, and violence. He said, “My wife and I now have a number of grandchildren who are growing up surrounded by products of this culture. So four or five years ago I decided to stop cursing the darkness.”

Douglas Gresham, a minister who lives in Ireland and the stepson of C.S. Lewis said of him, “I admire him for bringing Christianity into the mainstream of everyday life as something that’s quite acceptable and normal. Movies are a good vehicle for that.” His name is Philip Anschutz.

Meagan Good Keeps her Eyes on God and Uses her Acting Gift to Glorify Him (Gospel Light Minute #87)

[audio http://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/78862-meagan-good-keeps-her-eyes-on-god-and-uses-her-acting-gift-to-glorify-him-gospel-light-minute-87.mp3]
Meagan Good
Meagan Good

She is a star television and movie actress who began her career at four years old. She has appeared in numerous commercials, television shows, music videos, and major movies. She was cast in her first film, the 1995 hit “Friday”, at age thirteen. At age fifteen, her performance in the critically acclaimed 1997 film “Eve’s Bayou”, earned her her first NAACP Image Award nomination.

Since then, her film appearances include: Roll Bounce, Waist Deep, Stomp the Yard, Jumping the Broom, and Think Like a Man among many others. She currently stars in the lead role of the new NBC TV drama series “Deception.” One of the things that stands out in the show is that in the midst of all that “deception”, her character wears a cross around her neck. I believe that she does this to be a witness for Jesus Christ. And may I say with all due respect to her husband and without fear of successful contradiction, she is one of the most beautiful women in the world.

Although she was not raised in the church, she says that she is a Christian and that she will not do roles that she feels might disappoint God. She said in an interview, over the years, “I have learned that I need to really keep my eyes on the prize which is God and not worry so much about what other people think of me. And if I keep my eyes on the prize, people will think what they need to think of me, good or bad.”

Regarding the roles she plays, she said, “I think that, for me, it’s about portraying a character creatively and artistically as an actress. I believe that God has gifted me as an actress and intends for me to use that gift, but He also intends for me to use it to glorify him. So, if I’m playing the most perfect, religious girl, then nobody gets anything out of it. It’s like being a Christian and only hanging out in church. When I play a character, I try not to judge her because ultimately it’s about where she ends up and what she learns from the journey, no matter what happens along the journey. Does she become a better person?”

She reads her Bible “every day without fail” and is determined to continue growing in her faith. Married to a Hollywood movie executive who is also a preacher, she said that she is happy to have “a partner who shares the same heart for God that I have, who walks down the same road as I, and who wants the same things in life that I do. I’m also happy that I found someone who understands what I do for a living, and wants to use that as a tool to help glorify God….It’s just a blessing now that people are listening as I try to share the love of God and empower young women.” Her name is Meagan Good.

Ralph Winter: Keeping His Eyes on God in Hollywood (Gospel Light Minute #76)

[audio http://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/63449-ralph-winter-keeping-his-eyes-on-god-in-hollywood-gospel-light-minute-76.mp3]
Ralph Winter
Ralph Winter

He is best known as the producer of such blockbusters as the “X-Men” trilogy, “The Planet of the Apes,” and “The Fantastic Four.” He also played a role in bringing “Star Trek” to the silver screen and has produced films such as “Left Behind,” “Thr3e,” and “The Visitation.” His films have collectively grossed over $2 billion.

As a young man, he worked in youth ministry and considered becoming a pastor. He also produced short films for mission trips and Vacation Bible School, as well as acted in several plays and musicals. However, a job opening at Paramount Pictures set him on the path to success in Hollywood. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has also helped along such film schools as the Veracity Project and Biola University, and has lectured at Regent College in Vancouver.

When he is not working on location, he routinely teaches at Christian conferences and is involved with more than one ministry dedicated to furthering the communication between Hollywood and the religious community. As a devout Presbyterian, he has turned down producing movies that don’t promote positive values. He says of his role as a Christian in the movie industry: “I have been placed in this job for a purpose, and I am just trying to make great movies and keep my eyes on God. I don’t deserve any praise….It is definitely all God’s hand that I get to do this. And who knows how long this will last? He may choose someone else.” His name is Ralph Winter.