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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | JULY 2020 EDITION
Reel Review - Go to the Movies...At Home. 9 Great Christian Movies Streaming Right Now on Netflix
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
How Churches are Planning to Reopen in London An Interview with Seven London Pastors
The New Normal? But what is normal? What will it look like?
Ann Mainse Pens Her Cancer Healing Journey in "Coffee with Him"
Open Doors: Ministry in Closed Countries During COVID-19
Win a Limited Edition of the Open Doors Book: “India Illustrated” AND An Original Work of Art! (CONTEST)
BookMark - The Way of the Brave (BOOK REVIEW)
Witnessing wisely
Funny Signs at a time when Laughter is in Short Supply! (HUMOUR)
Reel Review - My Spy (MOVIE REVIEW)
5 Powerful Prayers for Restoration of a Broken World
Strange Passage of Time
Online Celebration prayer events, worship gatherings



Understandably, not everyone subscribes to Netflix but in these challenging times, you may want to consider it. In Canada the cost is $9.99 per month and you can cancel at any time.

While this will give you access to all of the following Christian movies and many others, Netflix offers a wide variety of award-winning TV shows, movies, and documentaries.

You can watch as much as you want, whenever you want without a single commercial! There's always something new to discover and new TV shows and movies are added every week!

With this list of recommendations, we have included a brief review courtesy of pluggedin. pluggedin is a valuable resource for us at Christian Life in London as they provide a “tell us what you really think” opinion from a Christian perspective of the movies we present each month. When ever considering a movie but are uncertain if it is appropriate, you can always log on to pluggedin and see what they have to say.

GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD

CAST

Lindsay Pulsipher as Amber Hill; Jordin Sparks as Bridgette; LaDainian Tomlinson as Pastor Williams; Andrew W. Walker as Cody Jackson; Robin Givens as Karena Williams; Makenzie Moss as Bree Hill; Kim Delaney as Patti Hill; Gary Grubbs as Joe Carter; Arthur Cartwright as Mike Nelson; Madeline Carroll as Hannah; Patrika Darbo as Rosie

A REVIEW

What happens when the plans you have for your life don’t match reality? Some people blame God, some blame others, some blame themselves.

And for some folks, it’s a mix of all of the above.

Amber Hill lost her heroic husband to an ambush in Afghanistan. Now, two years later, she’s left in Kentucky with the bittersweet memories of his presence and the responsibility of raising her beautiful, eight-year-old girl, Bree, as a widow.

As the former director of a church choir, Amber was known around town for her angelic voice and her love for God. But when her husband lost his life in battle, she lost her faith in the Almighty.

Now the only hope for resurrecting Amber’s detonated dreams lies in an unlikely new romance, Amber’s close connections with a handful of friends and the innocent heart of a remarkably resilient child.

RISEN

CAST

Joseph Fiennes as Clavius; Tom Felton as Lucius; Cliff Curtis as Yeshua; Peter Firth as Pontius Pilate; María Botto as Mary Magdalene; Stewart Scudamore as Peter; Antonio Gil as Joseph of Arimathea; Mish Boyko as John; Selva Rasalingam as James; Stephen Greif as Caiaphas; Frida Cauchi as Mother Mary; Joe Manjón as Bartholomew

MOVIE REVIEW

“I’m yet sticky with filth.”

So the Roman tribune Clavius tells a messenger when he’s summoned to appear before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. No matter, the man says. Pilate summons you. And when a man with the power Pilate wields summons you, obedience is the only option.

“I have a situation,” Pilate tells the tired and dirty Clavius, who’s just returned from a battle in which he and his troops put down yet another insurrection of angry Jews. The “situation” involves the execution of a man named Yeshua, one who claimed to be the Messiah, one who claimed He would rise again in three days after His death.

“I had to crucify him,” Pilate says nonchalantly.

Still, Pilate is anything but nonchalant when it comes to putting down the stubbornly persistent Jewish uprisings. And he is determined to make sure nothing so scandalous as a “resurrection” occurs with Yeshua.

And so Clavius is given the task of making sure Yeshua’s body is put in the tomb … and that it stays there.

But when Yeshua’s body doesn’t stay where it’s supposed to, and two drunken guards don’t want to talk, well, Clavius isn’t happy. And neither is Pilate.

“We must find a body,” Pilate orders his subordinate. “Find the corpse of this cursed Yeshua before it rots.”

Clavius sets off to search, and he does find something. But it most certainly isn’t a corpse.

God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

CAST

David A.R. White as Rev. Dave Hill; John Corbett as Pearce Hill; Benjamin A. Onyango as Rev. Jude; Samantha Boscarino as Keaton; Mike C. Manning as Adam; Shane Harper as Josh Wheaton; Ted McGinley as Thomas Ellsworth; Jennifer Taylor as Meg Harvey; Tatum O'Neal as Barbara Solomon; Gregory Alan Williams as Reverend Roland Dial; Shwayze as Mateo

A REVIEW

Reverend Dave Hill isn’t a fighter. No, he’s naturally a mild-mannered, all-’round nice guy. The kind of guy you’d share your struggles with. The kind of guy who’d listen patiently and offer wise and winsome advice afterward. In other words, he’s exactly the kind of guy you’d want as your pastor.

But when push comes to shove, he won’t back down from a fight either.

As this story opens, Dave continues to fight the legal battle still lingering from God’s Not Dead 2, one in which he’s refused to turn over his sermon transcripts after being ordered by the court to do so. That conviction has landed him in jail, further stoking controversy at Hadleigh University in the town of Hope Springs. Dave’s church, St. James, is on the university’s property. And students are demanding that the church be removed because they see Dave as a dangerous, divisive presence.

“We don’t want you here!” students protest.

After he’s released from jail, Dave tells his good friend Rev. Jude that when his father pastored St. James before him, the doors of the church were open 24 hours a day for anyone seeking refuge or spiritual solace. “Now,” Dave laments, “we hire armed security guards to protect us from the people we’re supposed to be ministering to.” “It’s just fear, David,” Jude tells him. “And it can be overcome. You know this.” Then he adds, “One thing has never changed: God is good, all the time.”

Dave certainly believes that. But when St. James is burned to the ground in an apparent hate crime—taking the life of someone trapped inside—it tests Dave’s faith as never before. Adding insult to injury, Hadleigh University’s board of trustees refuses to rebuild the church. Instead, they seize upon the tragedy as an opportunity to claim the land under eminent domain laws.

Dave Hill may not naturally be a fighter. But now he’s got another fight on his hands. And it’s a battle that will once again affect not only his life, but the lives of many others in Hope Springs—especially a young college student named Keaton who isn’t convinced that God really hears her prayers anymore.

I’M IN LOVE WITH THE CHURCH GIRL

CAST

Jeffrey 'Ja Rule' Atkins as Miles Montego; Adrienne Bailon as Vanessa Leon; Stephen Baldwin as Jason McDaniels; T-Bone as Martin De La Fuente

A REVIEW

Miles Montego’s Saturday nights are always booked. His Sunday mornings? Wide open. Back in the day, when he was one of San Jose’s best known and most feared drug lords, he was always out on the town, making deals, clowning with cronies and enjoying his ill-gotten gains. Even now, he still makes his living on the weekends—producing concerts, enjoying the city and hanging with his posse. So what if his best buds haven’t completely broken with their old lifestyle yet? They’re still good people. They’d do anything for him. Except, maybe, go straight.

As for Miles? He says those drug-dealing days are behind him. Yessirree. He’s as clean as they come. He paid for his Bentley, he’ll tell you. He juggles a mortgage on his California mansion just like any other businessman.

But keeping his nose clean doesn’t mean Miles likes to go to church. He may be straight. But he’s busy on Saturday nights, and he likes to sleep in just as much as the next guy. Then Miles meets Vanessa. She is a morning person—Sunday morning especially—and she lives in the light of that morning all week long. She goes to church, attends a Bible study and works in a faith-based store. She talks the talk and walks the walk and, in spite of it all, Miles finds her irresistible.

She returns the favour by slowly leading Miles back into the influence of the Church. He’s given a Bible with his name engraved on the front. She shuffles him CDs of Christian artists to listen to. She pushes him into even coming to worship services with her—and not just on Christmas and Easter like he’s used to. It’s crazy, he thinks, but he slowly begins to see that God is more than just sitting through sermons and passing the offering plate. Way more.

Not everyone is convinced that Miles’ turn toward the light is legit. Miles’ friends think he’s doing it just to impress his new gal. Vanessa’s mother had always hoped to fix Vanessa up with a good Christian boy, and she’s not convinced Miles is either good enough or Christian enough for her little girl. And the Feds, watching his every move, think it’s a cover for deeper, darker wrongdoing.

People like Miles don’t just turn clean.

Do they?

THE SHACK

CAST

Sam Worthington as Mack Phillips; Octavia Spencer as Papa; Radha Mitchell as Nan Phillips; Megan Charpentier as Kate Phillips; Gage Munroe as Josh Phillips; Amélie Eve as Missy Phillips; Tim McGraw as Willie; Avraham Aviv Alush as Jesus; Sumire Matsubara as Sarayu; Alice Braga as Sophia; Graham Greene as Male Papa

A REVIEW

Mackenzie “Mack” Phillips is a normal guy. He’s married, has three children and lives in a middle-class house in the suburbs. He’s a devoted husband and a caring dad. What’s more, he’s a churchgoing man.

Now, Mack would be the first to tell you that his relationship with God is nowhere close to that of his wife, Nan’s. She has something special going with God that he can’t relate to. She calls Him Papa instead of God, for starters. And it’s not just Nan’s name for the Almighty that’s unusually intimate. She also talks “to God like an old friend.”

As for Mack, well, his relationship with God is decidedly more distant. Still, he occupies a pew on Sundays even if he doesn’t participate much. That oughta count for something, right? And his best friend, Willie, is a faithful follower of Christ, one who has a knack for helping Mack stay in the fight when he’s struggling spiritually.

For all that, though, Mack’s not really a “normal” guy at all, however we might understand that term. He’s got baggage. Lots of baggage.

Mack struggles with memories of his drunk, abusive father beating his mother. When Mack responds to an altar call at church one day as a youth, it’s not to accept Christ, but to tell the pastor how his father beats his mother. That revelation, however, leads to Mack’s dad tying him to a tree, brutally whipping him, and leaving him in a storm all night.

No wonder Mack’s got some father issues he’s still working through. Then comes the tragedy that rocks Mack’s world as an adult.

Mack and his kids are going camping. Nothing unusual about that. Just s’mores, campfire songs and a little canoeing. Until, that is, the two oldest Phillips children, Kate and Josh, have a life-threatening boating accident. And in those few precious minutes of rescue and resuscitation, the unthinkable happens: Mack and Nan’s youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted. Eventually, authorities find Missy’s blood-stained dress at a shack in the vicinity.

But they never find their littlest girl. And so the four remaining members of the Phillips family begin their grieving.

Then one winter day sometime later, Mack discovers an envelope in his mailbox. Strangely, there are no tracks leading to it through the snow. Stranger still is the message inside, inviting Mack to come up to “the shack” where Missy was killed, signed “Papa.”

Whose sick joke is this? Mack wonders. He tries to pin it on Willie, but his friend denies he had anything to do with it. But Willie is willing to go with his friend to the cabin. In fact, they can even use his four-wheel drive to bust through the drifts. And so, Willie faithfully shows up, his Bronco loaded with supplies.

But Mack has another idea: He’s going to the shack alone to solve this mystery—and perhaps deal with his debilitating guilt and his shipwrecked faith—once and for all.

PAUL. APOSTLE OF CHRIST

CAST

James Faulkner as Paul; Jim Caviezel as Luke; Joanne Whalley as Priscilla; John Lynch as Aquila; Olivier Martinez as Mauritius

A REVIEW

No one knew when He was coming back. Not even Jesus Himself: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows,” Jesus said in Matthew, “not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

But by A.D. 67, Jesus’ followers hoped their risen King would hurry things up a little. The flock Jesus had left behind was in desperate straits. A good chunk of Rome had burned down a few years earlier, and Emperor Nero accused this upstart Jewish sect of starting the blaze. Christians were being relentlessly persecuted—beaten or murdered or sent to the Circus, to be torn apart by wild animals. Many of Christianity’s leaders had died already. Those who hadn’t were on the run or in chains, including arguably the most important leader of all.

For years, Paul had crisscrossed the Roman world, preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. He’d written letters of exhortation and rebuke; he’d educated the young Church about God’s inexhaustible love. No one had done more to spread Christianity, other than Christ himself.

But now it seemed as though Paul’s race was just about over. He was locked away in a Roman prison, languishing in seemingly its deepest, darkest cell. Martyrdom was just around the bend. Concerning the day or hour, Paul did not know. But he knew it was coming.

But perhaps Paul’s work isn’t done just yet. Luke, the Greek doctor-turned-Christian-turned-gospel-author, comes to visit his old friend in prison. Perhaps Paul has one more story to tell—the history and acts of the early Church. Perhaps he can encourage Jesus’ followers—followers in desperate need of encouragement and leadership—one last time.

THE STAR

CAST

Voices of Steven Yeun as Boaz the Donkey; Keegan-Michael Key as Dave the Dove; Aidy Bryant as Ruth the Sheep; Zachary Levi as Joseph; Gina Rodriguez as Mary; Christopher Plummer as King Herod; Delilah as Elizabeth; Joel McCrary as Zechariah; Phil Morris as Miller; Kris Kristofferson as Old Donkey; Ving Rhames as Thaddeus the Dog; Gabriel Iglesias as Rufus the Dog; Oprah Winfrey as Deborah the Camel; Tyler Perry as Cyrus the Camel; Tracy Morgan as Felix the Camel; Patricia Heaton as Edith the Cow; Kelly Clarkson as Leah the Horse; Kristin Chenoweth as Abby the Mouse; Anthony Anderson as Zach the Goat; Mariah Carey as Rebecca the Hen; William Townsend as Goat; Joel Osteen as Caspar

A REVIEW

Donkeys don’t dream. Well, not in an aspirational, “follow your dreams” way, at any rate.

But Boaz is no normal donkey. Marching in a circle grinding grain is not Bo’s vision of destiny fulfilled. No, Bo and his friend, Dave the dove, harbor royal aspirations: marching at the vanguard of the king’s caravan.

Bo breaks his bonds and flees his angry owner, but an injury to one hoof keeps him from fleeing far. He soon takes refuge in the courtyard of a young couple named Joseph and Mary. And the tenderhearted, miraculously pregnant young woman tends to Bo’s hurt hoof.

Meanwhile, a dazzling, mysterious star has appeared in the heavens. That blazing object prompts three wise men and their camels—Deborah, Cyrus and Felix—to begin the long journey toward, well, actually, they don’t know quite where. But they’re convinced the celestial sign portends the birth of a king.

Someone else has taken anxious notice of the star too: King Herod. It means something. But he’s not sure what. The unexpected arrival of the three visitors from the East only amplifies his paranoia, especially when they carry on about bringing gifts for a king—a different king than Herod.

Back in Nazareth, the birth of Mary’s baby is now fast approaching, but she and Joseph must take a long trip to Bethlehem for a census ordered by Herod. Little do they realize that their craven ruler has ordered a speechless, ogre-like henchman and his two fearsome dogs to track down the identity of this would-be king … and end his reign before it begins.

Thankfully, Bo makes the perilous journey with them, fulfilling a bigger destiny than he could have guessed in his wildest donkey dreams.

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN

CAST

Jennifer Garner as Christy Beam; Martin Henderson as Kevin Beam; Kylie Rogers as Annabel Beam; Queen Latifah as Angela; Eugenio Derbez as Dr. Nurko; John Carroll Lynch as Pastor Scott

A REVIEW

Lots of kids get sick. And then they get better.

And that’s exactly what happened to Annabel Beam. But how did it happen?

Anna kept throwing up every time she ate. And after multiple medical diagnoses pointing to common ailments—lactose intolerance, acid reflux—doctors realized that Anna’s problem wasn’t common at all. To the contrary, she had a deadly gastrointestinal ailment. And it was incurable, too.

Anna’s ongoing physical anguish and occasional agony made her mom, Christy, hunt harder and harder for some kind of solution. And Christy also had to hunt harder and harder to find what was left of her faith as she grew increasingly angry at the thick-headed Christians around her and the church she used to love.

It’s fair to say that she was none too pleased with the way God was letting her innocent daughter suffer.

It truly can be difficult to feel God’s love when things seem bleak and hopeless, when pain and misery are a regular part of our day. But those can also be the times when we reach out most fervently and sense God’s loving and steady presence in almost overwhelming ways.

Christy and Anna Beam knew both sides of that spiritual experience. And they had to make a choice which they were going to cling to.

The vaunted theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

This is the Beam family’s true story … of everything being a miracle.

ALL SAINTS

CAST

John Corbett as Michael Spurlock; Cara Buono as Aimee Spurlock; Barry Corbin as Forrest; Nelson Lee as Ye Win; David Keith as Boyd

A REVIEW

Pastor Michael Spurlock has a simple job: Clean out the church he’s been assigned to and sell it.

All Saints Episcopal Church is nearly empty on Sunday mornings anyway. You could fit the entire congregation into a selfie. Without much squeezing. So it was really no big deal. Just deliver a few transitional sermons, gently nudge the members into another congregation and … sell the whole kit and caboodle.

There is, however, one teeny, tiny problem: God keeps tapping Michael on the shoulder. The week after Michael and his family show up, several refugees come to church. They’re members of the Karen people group, farmers from Burma who’ve been transplanted to the little town of Smyrna, Tenn., of all places. They don’t speak much English. They’re believers. They’re in obvious need. And every time Michael sees their humble, smiling faces and shakes their roughly calloused hands, his heart goes out to them.

One cool evening while praying about these people, Michael has an epiphany. And a plan seamlessly comes together in his mind.

Instead of selling the church building and its land to make way for some warehouse or car lot, what if he could convince the diocese to let these farmers simply till the land. Why, with this fertile soil they could likely grow a crop that would not only feed their families, but also bring in enough money to pay the church’s mortgage. They could “grow” the church—literally.

The plan is simple. It’s elegant. It’s doable, with determination and hard work, of course. It uses the very group that God has led to Michael’s doorstep. And it helps people. Why, it simply has to be God’s will.

But what if ... it’s not quite that simple?






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