Next Steps

Hi guys,

Just wanted to keep you in the loop about how things are progressing with the film. I recently finished the 6th draft of the script (thanks again to all those who gave input!!) and a 34-page investor packet with info about the film and sample budgets. And last Thursday we were blessed with an amazing opportunity to meet with DeVon Franklin, an exec at Fox. (DeVon produced “Miracles from Heaven” last year, and also recently published a NYT Best-selling book called “The Wait.”) Of course we went into the meeting hoping for funding, but DeVon advised us to keep the film an independent production so we could stay true to the message, and not worry about a big studio watering it down. He said to focus on telling the story God put on our hearts, and that his door is open and he’s happy to help us in any way he can. Which is HUGE for us.

Exec Producer Marilyn Beaubien will be traveling to Texas in August to meet with a potential investor, so please keep that meeting in your prayers. In the meantime we’re exploring other options for funding as well. Faith is the name of the game!

There are so many ways God continues to show us his hand is on the project. I had a fun moment last week when I realized something about one of the characters in the film. Every main character is based (with permission) on the true story of someone I know. But there is one completely fictional character that I created from scratch. Well, last week I found out that the actor I plan to cast in that role actually has the exact backstory of that character! So it’s almost like I wrote the role for this actor without even knowing it was their story!! (As a side note, down the road I’m hoping to produce a documentary alongside the film that features interviews with each person the characters are based on. I think it’d be a great way to show that the stories portrayed in the film are completely true-to-life, and show how God worked in each one of these individual’s lives.)

Appreciate the continued prayers as we work hard to bring in the funding!

Blessings,

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Fox plaza

Time to get real

Hi friends,

Welp, I’m just gonna go ahead and get real in this newsletter, so if some personal sharing makes you squeamish, this might be a good one to skip. 😉
Sometimes I write a newsletter to keep ya’ll updated, and other times words start coming into my head unsolicited, almost faster than I can write them down, and I feel compelled to share. That’s the case with this one.

Without further ado:

In November I set aside 3 full weeks to write another draft of “Your Love Is Strong,” and those 3 weeks will certainly go down as a milestone moment in my life.

Over the last half of 2016, I collected feedback from people who’d read the script, and one note in particular caught my attention. It was something to the effect of, “I don’t feel like God really shows up much in this story. And it seems like the good people don’t end up very happy, and the people who disobey God are better off.”

That really troubled me because quickly I realized the reason: That had been my own perception. So that’s what I had unconsciously infused into the story. I didn’t feel like God had shown up for me in certain areas of my life. I didn’t feel like I was better off for my obedience.

As the time approached where I would need to begin writing the next draft of the script, I was really concerned about it and I went to God. I told him he was gonna have to do something really big with me because I couldn’t write from a place I wasn’t at. I couldn’t infuse hope and faith into the script if I didn’t possess it. I couldn’t tell people healing was possible for them if I hadn’t been healed myself. I couldn’t tell people to trust him if I didn’t trust him in these areas of my life.

I knew that somewhere deep down there was a rift in my relationship with God, and I couldn’t fully put my finger on what it was.

I got to go with Elizabeth (producer) to her home in Wisconsin in October. We were at an especially powerful prayer session at her church… I could tell God’s presence was there because I had chills going up and down my spine. It was in that atmosphere that I got alone with God and asked him — “What is this wall between us that I’m sensing?” The reply was instantaneous. “You’re still not willing to say I’m enough for you.”

I knew it was true. He had said that exact same thing to me in 2013 during a prayer retreat. Fast forward 4 years, and I knew I still had a deep-seated anger toward God for the way certain things had gone down in my life, and a deeply rooted cynicism that I couldn’t fix.

Up until that point I had resisted, saying to myself, “It’s impossible. No human can achieve perfect completion in God. I need these circumstances to change.” But this time, instead of fighting it like I had for the past 4 years, I started repenting. I started telling him, “Forgive me. You’re more than enough for me, God.”  Whether I felt it or not. I sort of knew there was no other choice for me but to submit this time. No magical change in circumstance would fix the festering wound in my heart.

The day came when I had to start the next draft. I had like 20 people praying for me. I asked God to just show me what to do. And Day 1 he blew my mind with this massive epiphany: “This movie is about sexual purity, yes. But that’s secondary. People don’t know me intimately, and if they did, if I was enough for them, the purity thing would fix itself.”

I started having ideas so fast my pen could barely keep up. I rewrote the first half of the movie. During that first week of re-outlining, his presence was so strong, I was crying every single day while he was showing me how to fix the script and simultaneously dealing with my own heart and healing me in the process. In those hours where I could feel his presence so strong — all cliches aside — I got to experience what it’s like for him to truly be enough. I got to know what its like to flow in the fullness of your calling, like Eric Liddell from Chariots of Fire — “When I run, I feel his pleasure.” To be caught up in the joy of his presence, and to have all other desires pale in comparison.

For the first time in almost a decade I was telling Jesus I loved him and actually feeling it and meaning it. I was on fire. I was seeing so clearly how wired for intimacy we really are, and how this lack of real, deep connection with God was at the root of all our relationship woes — from premarital sex, promiscuity and bad marriages to porn addiction, adultery and sex addiction, to infatuation, codependency and serial dating and all the rest. And how thoroughly this lie has crept into the Christian young adult mind — that it’s impossible to stay pure sexually. That God is far, and it’s impossible to know his will in the matter. That anyone who claims to know is a self-righteous fake. That the Bible doesn’t really say anything about premarital sex.

(Incidentally this is also the reason so many Millennials are leaving the church: They’re not connecting on a spirit level with living, breathing Almighty God. So why play the church game?)

And here comes Disclaimer #2. Some of you will be able to hear this next bit; some of you won’t.

In the 4 months leading up to the trailer shoot in August, I was experiencing demonic attacks in the middle of the night, almost every other week. (If you’re curious about what that looks/ feels like, I’ve discovered you can find an exact description in many books on spiritual warfare, including “I Give You Authority” by Dr. Charles Kraft, page 186.)

I will say this: it wasn’t fun. But what’s really most disturbing about all that crazy demon stuff is the number of Christians who don’t really think that crap is real. Whatever you choose to believe about it, every single attack over the 4-month period stopped as soon as I could get the word “Jesus” out of my mouth. (Incidentally I don’t think it would’ve helped if I’d called on Buddha, Muhammed, or Joel Osteen. 😉 I believe all of that was meant to discourage me from doing the film. But in August, my pastor came to anoint the house and tell that junk to get out… and I haven’t had a single experience since.

If you know me you know I’m not a quitter, and I will work at something for 10 years if that’s what it takes. But between the demonic attacks and all kinds of other attacks in my personal life, I reached a point this fall where I had to seriously ask – Is it worth it? But my pastor and his wife helped me see how those kinds of spiritual attacks are a pretty strong signal you’re doing something that’s a threat to Satan’s agenda, and you might as well take it as confirmation that God is about to do something big.

I share all this to show you what’s really at stake here, and what the behind-the-scenes battle really looks like when we step into our calling to do something big for God’s kingdom. I’ve gotten a ton of flack for doing this movie. “You can’t always do passion projects, get a real job.” “You just have a moral ax to grind.” “You’re just mad at all the people out there having sex.” (That one made me laugh!) Friends slowly backing out of my life. People spreading rumors about the film having a super negative agenda. (Those ones didn’t.)

But please hear my heart and real burden for this film. What hurts my heart is that we can never be the Body of Christ the way God designed if we don’t get the sex thing under control. Our spiritual authority and ability to minister are so dependent upon our intimacy with God, the indwelling of his Spirit, true transformation and overcoming, and the ability to demonstrate fullness of life in these areas. As I’ve watched my own [Christian] friends struggle with depression, anxiety, rape accusations, unwanted pregnancies, restraining orders, divorces, child custody battles, suicidal thoughts and STIs as a result of their sexual indiscretions, I’ve become convinced we’ve thrown the door wide open to Satan by the casual way we treat sex. I can hardly think of a better way for Satan to immobilize the church than to attack us sexually. We’re too busy tending our broken hearts and playing victim in the circumstances we created to model the abundant life, much less spend time reaching out to a hurting world in a way that has any real impact.

Most people instantly assume a film about “purity” comes from a judgey place of wanting to lambast all the sinners out there. But what it’s really about is celebrating the very REAL POWER to overcome! There’s freedom from whatever bondage you’re in (and now I can say that with confidence), whether it’s fear, doubt, discontentment, depression, porn addiction, sex addiction, fear of abandonment, fear of commitment, or whatever else. Now I know what its like to stand in the presence of God and feel all insecurities and fears, ego, and even physical pain fade away in the power of his presence.

This film isn’t just about purity. It’s about Revival. And perhaps now you can understand just how much I crave your prayers.

The film’s purpose is not just to put out a message about purity, but to empower the church. Do we recall that time Jesus prayed we would have the same connection to the Father that he did? And how the same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us? (John 17 & Eph 1.) Do we take it seriously that Christ passed his authority on to his disciples and said we would do the same things he did, and greater? (John 14.) Do we ignore that because we’re afraid of it or because we’ve never seen it modeled? And how can we continue Jesus’ radical work if we’re trapped in bondage to sin, lacking any real connection to the Holy Spirit, having “a form of godliness but denying its power?” (2 Tim 3.)

“How can a movie do all that?” you ask. Simple answer, it can’t. But the Holy Spirit’s anointing on it can. And we have all kinds of ideas for how to  make the film useful in church ministry.

The project has come so far since I quit my job in 2015, and stepped out in faith to write the first draft. The script is still far from perfect but I trust his continued guidance. I still have many hardships in my circumstances, but I’m more spiritually full than I’ve ever been in my life. My church just completed 21 days of prayer & fasting, and I can’t wait to see what God is about to do. I give y’all full permission to slap me upside the head if I so much as act surprised when the funding comes in. 😀 (Tears allowed.)

Special thanks to the people who have held me up, you know who you are. And to our donors who continue to keep this ministry afloat during the precarious development phase…

Love, Joy, Peace,

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There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” 1 Cor 6:16-17 MSG

All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 1 Cor 6:18 NIV

 

Behind-the-scenes Sneak Peek

Hi guys!

Had to write you about the latest way God blessed us. About 4 weeks ago I met a composer named Dan Brown. A mutual friend randomly emailed us and said hey, you guys should meet up. So we did, and it turns out Dan is a huge supporter of what we’re trying to do with “Your Love Is Strong.” I wasn’t even looking for a composer, but it occurred to me that I would need some original music for the credits of the trailer. Dan agreed to do it, and 4 weeks later we have an absolutely beautiful piece of music and my mind is blown yet again.
Here’s a little sneak peek for you – Dan describing all the layers of audio that went into creating the score… followed by the song itself. All I asked him to do was come up with some simple background guitar stuff, and instead he grabbed 2 violinists and a cellist and came up with this. Having a really beautiful original piece of music for the credits definitely qualifies as “more than I could have asked or imagined” . . . and I can ask/ imagine quite a lot!

The last several weeks I’ve been wrestling with some fairly intense burnout, but seeing yet another example of how extravagantly God is blessing the project really lifted my head and gave me strength to keep pushing through to the finish line. We’re working on color correction now and I hope to be able to share the finished cut with you all soon!

Blessings,

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That’s a Wrap!

Hey all,

We wrapped up filming of the Your Love Is Strong promo trailer last week, and I think we’re still on a bit of a high. 🙂 Talk about more than we could have asked or imagined. The footage looks great, but on top of that it’s pretty hard to deny that someone upstairs was really in charge. Any film shoot is a logistical nightmare, coordinating 30+ people to be at multiple locations at specific times, staying within union regulations, parking and feeding everyone, and in the meantime trying to function at max creativity within all those parameters… all on about 4 hours of sleep per night. Honestly it’s a miracle any film gets made. There were definitely moments on this shoot when David George (DP) and I were out of ideas and had less than enough time to get the shots we needed, and my brain was functioning at about 10% capacity, but somehow a tweaked camera angle later we had what we needed and it looked amazing. We managed to stay on schedule every day, which is an incredible feat in and of itself.

God blessed the project in so many ways, I think we’re left feeling a little freaked out! 🙂 2 weeks before the shoot, our budget took an unexpected 40% leap skywards. I said a prayer, made a phone call, and 15 minutes later my jaw was on the floor and the money was pledged. We had some really brilliant professionals working on this shoot for a fraction of the pay they deserve. A licensed drone operator donated his drone and his time. Tiffen donated a steadicam — we’re still trying to figure out why they did that. Thanks to our incredible camera operator Bryan Fowler, we got to shoot on the lovely Arri Amira. Most of our meals were donated. I still remember asking associate producer Tiffany Thomas for her help during preproduction. I couldn’t offer her anything but her response was, “This is God’s work and that’s my job.” Pastor Michael Kelly from Mt. Rubidoux SDA church, Stew Harty from Loma Linda University Church and 1st AD Theo Brown also played huge roles in making all of this happen.

We had an unexpected special appearance by Michael Lewis and his parents. Michael has cerebral palsy; I met him at church 7 years ago. There was one particular praise service back in 2009 when I was so touched by the look of pure joy on Michael’s face. I can still remember thinking to myself, “Someday I have to try to capture that moment in a movie.” Well as it turns out, one of our cast members Randy Morgan is now Michael’s caregiver. Randy offhandedly mentioned to me that he would be bringing Michael to set on Day 3 of the shoot. I instantly remembered that moment 7 years ago… and asked Randy if there was any chance we could put Michael in the film. The rest is history. 🙂

It’s crazy to think about all the things that have led up to this moment. Feels like a lot of things in my life are coming full circle and it makes for a very exciting, emotional, joyful, stressful and all-around crazy season. There’s nothing like seeing God at work.

We want to thank our amazing cast and dream-team-of-a-crew for making this a reality. And thanks to each one of you for the prayers, encouragement, support, and feedback. The journey is only beginning; in the next several weeks we’ll edit the trailer, do another draft of the feature script, and get ready to pitch to investors. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, not forgetting the purpose of it all — to help foster a healthy dialogue about sex and purity in the church; to empower young adults to make healthy choices that will lead to lasting relationships.

We’ll send out the trailer in a few weeks, but in the meantime here are a few behind the scenes pics by Tanya Musgrave. Enjoy!

Blessings,
Melody, Elizabeth, and Marilyn

Make his praise glorious
Psalm 66

Gearing up for the Trailer shoot

Hey guys!! So many exciting things going on over here! Producers Marilyn Beaubien and Elizabeth Nelsen and I are gearing up for our promo shoot which is scheduled for the last week of July. Sometimes called a “proof of concept,” the promo is basically a glorified movie trailer that we’ll use to reach out to investors and potential partners. I am just blown away by God’s provision, and I don’t think it’s too far off the mark to say that just about every door we’ve knocked on has opened wide. A church media ministry donated our entire equipment package. Many crew members have volunteered their time. A friend from church just gave me a greenscreen. God blessed me with some extra production work last month so I’d have a little more moolah to kick into the budget. It’s just been unreal how people have rallied around the project.

We have a wonderful cast forming, including Eddie Kaulukukui and Maddy Curley as our leads. (You’ve seen them before on the concept poster.) We’re still holding auditions and will be finishing up our casting sessions on June 12.

I’m continuing to solicit feedback on the feature script, and I’ve been blessed to get some input from organizations and individuals who will use the film in their ministries. I think this is where the film can have the most impact – when used in religious communities to start an open, healthy and empowering (rather than fear or shame driven) dialogue about what sexual purity looks like for unmarried young adults living in this culture, and what it can do for their long-term health and the success of their future relationships. One person even said they wished the movie was already out because they would already be using it in their ministry — as you can imagine that made my day.

In the meantime, things are starting to get crazy as we gear up for our upcoming shoot. If you want to get involved, there are all kinds of ways you can do that!

Audition – We’re still looking for an African American female age 20 – 25, and a white male age 17 – 21.
Volunteer – If you’re looking for on-set experience, we need PAs. We also need volunteer help with auditions and location scouting and a myriad of other tasks in the month of June.
Extras – If you want to be IN the film there are tons of scenes that need background performers.
Homes to film in – Various scenes need to be shot in homes and apartments. Let us know if you’re in the LA area and would let us film in (or in front of) your home.
Places to stay – We have a few crew members coming from out of town who will need places to stay for 4 or 5 days.
Donate – We’re still raising the last $1000 of the budget, so if you’d like to contribute you can make a tax-deductible donation at www.yourloveisstrong.com. (For large donations, please make checks out to Frank Wilson Ministries and contact me for address.)
Food – Contact us if you’d like to donate a meal for the cast and crew.

Most of all I ask for your prayers. “Unless the Lord builds a house they labor in vain who build it,” and we all know we we can’t accomplish anything apart from God’s Spirit going ahead of us and preparing hearts. Please pray many lives will be touched, many marriages saved, and much heartache prevented. Pray for a successful shoot and for provision of every resource we still need. And for my sanity. Yeah, pray for my sanity. 😉

Blessings,

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New title & exciting news!

Hey guys! Lots has happened in the few weeks, not the least of which being my recent move back to LA!! It’s so amazing to finally be home after [what I can hardly believe has been] 6 years of nomadery, from Tennessee to Ohio to Loma Linda and back. It’s been grand, but I’m so glad to be home getting resettled and doing what I really love most.

First piece of news—I’m excited to share the film’s real name, which is not actually “PURE” but “YOUR LOVE IS STRONG.” The title “Pure” came out of conversations with a potential investor who was interested in making classically Evangelical faith-based films, but as we’ve continued to hone in on our target market of young-adult Christians in the millennial age range, “Your Love Is Strong” has become the leading option. Not to mention, I like it better. 😉 These things are always subject to change, but for now that’s what we’re calling it. (If you have strong opinions on the subject I want to hear them!)

Secondly, we’re gearing up to shoot a promo trailer this summer!! Shout out to all the amazingly talented people who have already signed on for this; you know who you are! 🙂 If you’re in the LA area and want to be involved, please let me know. Actors, stay tuned for casting calls…

Right then, back to work. God has been opening doors right and left and I am just so, so excited. 🙂 Please continue to keep the project in your prayers, remembering the words of the esteemed Ozzy Chambers: “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”

Blessings,

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Faithfulness

Hey ya’ll,

Shorter newsletter this time around (PTL, right?). But I had to take a minute to do some praising. I quit my job in May, 2015 (after much careful prayer and deliberation, I’ll note) to make time to write the script, trusting God to provide month by month. Welp, I just took a job in LA so starting March 1 I’ll be back in the land of regular paychecks. But I wanted to share that from May 2015 – Feb 2016, God provided just enough income every month and I was never late on a bill.

Does this mean I was never stressed? Nope. That it was easy? No. Did I get tired of eating lentils? YES. But every time I would feel the temptation to stay up late at night frantically trawling Craigslist for work, God would put this question to me: “Are you doing this from faith or fear?” So I would stop right there and wait. And something would always come in. I didn’t have to go scrounging for work because the work came to me.

Between those gigs and your generous help, I made it!! The script is ready and Marilyn can now take it and run with it.

God is faithful.

For the next few months it will be more market research, polishing the script, helping Marilyn with the budget, etc. I know it will continue to be a challenge to make time to push the movie forward while working another job, so please pray for me. Your charitable contributions from this point on will pay for professional help with the market research, business plan, & box office projections. If you feel led to donate you can do so at www.puremovie.org.

Praising God for his faithful provision and thanking you for your prayers, encouragement, and support!!

Blessings,

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 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28 – 30 MSG

Doesn’t God have better things to worry about than sex?

I sat on the edge of my bed and tried to quiet my mind. There had been tons of flirting going on for several weeks now, but still nothing concrete enough to show me he had intentions. I had been warned about this guy, but still, I couldn’t help it: I was crazy about him. I was filled with frustration, confusion and worry because I didn’t want to get into something that would only end up hurting me.

I spent some time in total silence, asking God to direct my thoughts and give me some sort of guidance.

One single phrase popped into my mind: “I am not a God of confusion, but of peace.”

Instantly, I knew what this meant. I knew I had zero peace in the situation; that the whole thing was fraught with ambiguity, frustration and fear, and this was no foundation for a God-breathed romance. You’d think I would have heeded the warning. But instead, I flirted with the danger for nearly another year. Then the relationship ended in a fiery, flaming disaster and killed what had been a very meaningful friendship up to that point.

You’d think I would have learned from that experience. But a year later, another man walked into my life, whom I shall call Steve.

Steve was attractive to me in every possible way. He was brilliant, ambitious, spiritual, and had biceps bigger than my head. He unequivocally supported my career goals and pushed me to dream even bigger. He challenged me to grow spiritually and get more involved serving the community. He would talk about all the various ministries he wanted to start, and the difference we could make together as a couple. And when he prayed, I would practically swoon.

I was raised with the traditional view of “no sex before marriage,” but I didn’t really need much convincing. Seeing how much heartache premature sexual activity had brought into friends’ lives, and how much it blinded them from making good choices about long-term compatibility, I saw the wisdom in it. I was rock solid on this one. I communicated that standard to Steve early on in our relationship, and he respected it, although he didn’t particularly embrace that standard himself. He would sometimes ask me, “Doesn’t God have better things to worry about?”

Still, he respected me. Things got serious very quickly, and I was pretty sure this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Until he broke up with me. Because I wouldn’t sleep with him.

I saw it coming, but it didn’t lessen the impact. One evening he told me he didn’t plan on getting married anytime in the next few years, and he wasn’t going to wait that long.

That night, for the first time in my life, I questioned whether abstinence till marriage was really all that important to God. What if this one technicality prevented me from being with the guy I was meant to be with? I went home and pored over books and articles till the early hours of the morning. It would take a long time to share all that I read that night, but suffice it to say—by 2 am, I knew in my gut what God was asking of me.

One week after the breakup, I found out from mutual friends that Steve had been dating someone else simultaneously, and that when he was gone on “business trips” he was actually spending the night at his ex-wife’s house.

Though I could now see what this seemingly arbitrary standard had protected me from, I was bitterly angry at God. In the months of heartache that followed, I asked God “Why?” Why did you allow such a thing? Why didn’t you warn me? Why didn’t you answer my continual pleas for guidance? I stayed faithful to you, so why did you remove your hand of protection and let me walk blindly into such a devastating situation?

I probably spent another year and a half feeling broken, rejected, generally insecure, and spiritually off.

Until one night in February of 2013. As I lay awake asking God to heal me, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. With such gentleness, he showed me that he had warned me…“I am not a God of confusion, but of peace.”
That he had cautioned me…“How can you be yoked to someone who doesn’t share your deeply-held convictions?

Up until that point, I had blamed Steve and the previous guy as well. They had severely mistreated me, wronged me; they had ruined my life. JERKS. But now with such tenderness, God showed me so clearly that he’d put a check in my spirit, and I’d ignored it in both cases. I had chosen to be in those unhealthy situations. I wanted so badly to be in those relationships that I had chosen those men over God. This was, plain and simple, idolatry.

I lay there as one epiphany after another smote me. And lucky for me, I was actually low enough to listen this time around. Instead of getting defensive and arguing with God, I thanked him over and over. That night I asked for forgiveness, and promised God that with his help I would never put a man before him again.

When I was five years old, my mom and dad sat down with me and asked if I wanted to invite Jesus into my heart. I said yes, and they led me in that most simple and foundational of prayers. It is one of my earliest childhood memories. From that time forward, I had such an intimate connection with God and active prayer life, even as a kid. That sense of intimacy, pure love for God and awe for his beauty continued into my adulthood. I spoke to him and he spoke back. I could honestly say I was deeply in love with God, and nothing thrilled me more than to see him at work in my life.

But during that two year period when I was disobeying his Spirit, that all changed. I couldn’t hear him. I kept asking why he was so silent. If I uttered the words “I love you, Lord,” in a song at church, it was with a strange hesitancy. “Why won’t you answer me?! Why won’t you give me that intuition about these situations like you used to? Why won’t you speak to me like you used to?”

This particular night in February as I repented of loving a man more than I loved God, that sense of intimacy returned almost instantly. It was like the lines of communication flew open again. And as time went on I started to fall back in love with God as I saw how, far from depriving me of what I wanted most, he was showing me the path back to health and God-inspired romance.

This all points to one of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn in my adult Christian life, and that is this: When we say God isn’t answering our prayers, it’s often because he’s saying something we’re not willing to hear. There is a fog that comes from disobedience; it clouds our judgment and leads us to question not only God’s goodness, but his existence as well.

I kept tabs on Steve via mutual friends, and watched as he spiraled into depression and through his sexual irresponsibility continued to wreak havoc in his own life and that of many, many women. I’m still haunted by the irony of his question—”Doesn’t God have better things to worry about?”

I still have to work to keep relationships from turning into an idol in my life. It’s a daily discipline to keep God first, to love and cherish and pursue him above all else. And to trust him with this all-important area of my life. Writing this story is just one sinner’s attempt to grapple with the terrifying and devastating yet enthralling and glorious discovery of a God who demands nothing less than our absolute devotion. That kind of submission goes far beyond keeping ourselves physically pure, to keeping ourselves devoted to God above every other earthly desire.

One night after working a particularly draining 18-hour day, I remember thinking to myself how awesome it would be just to have someone around to give me a hug and tell me they were proud of me. I remember asking God if he could really be “enough” for me, the way all the songs suggest. It was as if he whispered back—”Will you let me?”

I decided I should read a quick chapter in Psalms before I went to bed, but as I sat down my Bible fell open to Isaiah 54 and my eye went straight to verse 5:

“For your Maker is your husband—
The Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
The Lord will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young, only to be rejected’ says your God.
‘For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you.”

This is the living, breathing, terrifyingly intimate God we serve.

N E W S 

EP Marilyn Beaubien and I begin work on the budget this month. The script just became a semi-finalist in the KAIROS competition for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays! Many, many thanks for your support and prayers! Please continue to pray that this project will help train churches to empower young adults to make mature, Godly, healthy relationship choices.

Blessings,

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Aslan is on the move

Hi guys! I’m excited to share how things are progressing with the film! I just finished another draft of the script, and that version is now going out to young adults in our target market (as well as youth pastors and ministry leaders) so we can take their comments and concerns into account as we move forward with the project. Big shout out to Pastor Bryan Sands, who is publishing a book called “Everyone Loves Sex: So Why Wait?” Bryan has given me some very helpful feedback throughout the writing process — thanks Bryan!

Executive Producer Marilyn Beaubien is beginning to feel out our options for funding. We’ll be meeting first thing in January to write the budget and get that ball rolling! I’m excited!

Also I’m beginning to send the script out to potential collaborators and partners, so I would appreciate your prayers that God will bring the right team together to make this movie truly impactful.

M I R A C L E S

As the process unfolds, I’m often reminded of the miraculous ways God led during the filming of “Marbles with Thoreau,” a short film I directed back in 2008.  I remember having to make the decision to greenlight the project about 3 months prior to production. At that time, we only had $2,000 of the $10,000 needed for filming. But I had to make a commitment and lock in the dates with the Film department at Southern Adventist University, which was supplying the equipment package and student crew. I remember praying for a full week about the decision… and finally deciding that yes, this was something God wanted us to move forward with. And that if he was leading, he would provide the resources to make it happen.

We greenlit the project. And I’ll never forget watching the last $5000 come in about 2 weeks before the shoot. And then upgrading from the Panasonic HVX-400 to the RED ONE camera 2 days before the shoot, because someone rented it to us for an unbelievable rate at the last minute. Oh my gosh, now we need hard drives to dump the footage… Best Buy donated them. Thunderstorms were forecast for our first day of shooting and throughout the week, which would have been devastating for a film with 100% exterior scenes and no cover sets. We prayed. It rained all night. But by our 6am call time on Day 1, it was 100% sunny, and clear the rest of the day. The only time it rained all week was during the gloomy scenes when it actually improved the story.

I remember the general feeling on set. No one could deny miracles were happening right and left. The 1st AD came over to me and said “Somebody up there really likes us.” Of course, at that point we couldn’t foresee what God had up his sleeve for post-production — A completely original score recorded by a 50-piece orchestra at almost no cost. Audio remastered on a Disney sound stage (the $10K per hour fee was waived). A Crystal Heart Award at the Heartland Film Festival.

He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

I consider that little film to be a microcosm for every project I participate in for the rest of my life. Stepping out in faith and watching God move in mighty ways that no one can deny: I believe that process in and of itself is missional. People recognize something special is happening, and their faith is strengthened as they watch God move.

As we get the ball rolling with “PURE,” it gives me chills when I see similar patterns already happening. I can’t wait to give him all the glory and all the praise for what he’s about to do.

P R A Y E R   R E Q U E S T S

– For spiritual protection.
– For my busted hard drive with the investor packets on it… turns out it’s gonna cost $1200 to extract the data. Ouch.
– Funding from sources who resonate with the mission of the project.

T H A N K   Y O U S

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to read the script and give feedback! Also, collectively you’ve donated over $800 to the project in the last 6 months. That money goes such a long way toward getting packets printed, scripts registered, trips to LA payed for, and keeping food on the table during the writing phase while I don’t have much of an income. This isn’t a cliche – I could not do this without you.

New Dawn Christian Village – Thank you for giving me the love and encouragement I needed to move forward with this, and for celebrating the values that are the basis of the entire project and so close to God’s heart.

If you want to support the project, you can make a tax-deductible donation at www.puremovie.org.

Let’s make a movie…

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