Lauren Daigle Garners "Top Christian Album" Award

Lauren Daigle, Centricity Music artist, took home “Top Christian Album” How Can It Be at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards held at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas. Facing competition from fellow artists TobyMac (This Is Not A Test), Joey + Rory (Hymns That Are Important To Us), Chris Tomlin (Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship), and Hillsong United (Empires), Daigle was also nominated for “Top Christian Artist” along with Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Chris Tomlin, and the winners, Hillsong United.

“Music is changing my life more and more each day,” says Daigle. “I'm recognizing the value in being able to communicate through a language that every human on the planet can experience in some form. It's such an honor to see the response of those who have listened and connected with the sounds. Seeing this transfer of communication is priceless. Thank you, Billboard, for allowing the opportunity!”

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Midnight Special film review

This review is by Jacob Kindberg, a film director known for Sing Over Me, a documentary about worship, identity, and the transformative power of the Gospel.

With “Midnight Special” internationally renowned indie director Jeff Nichols makes his first foray into the Sci-fi genre, and for the most part it is a groundbreaking success. The film is smart, unpredictable, and thrilling, but its emotional resonance is hindered by its obscurity and a fumbled third act. With strong performances across the board, a taut script, and incredible visuals, it is a good film that might have been great.

Nichols regular Michael Shannon turns in a typically stellar turn as Roy, the father of Alton, a young boy with mysterious powers played by Jaeden Lieberher. The story follows father and son as they run from multiple groups interested in the child’s unique abilities, including a religious cult and the federal government. Rounding out the incredible cast is Adam Driver, who plays an NSA specialist, Joel Edgerton, a childhood friend of Roy who helps the duo flee, and Kirsten Dunst, Alton’s mother.

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Learning about God from my Son: Create vs. Copy

My two year old son Justice is really into cars and trucks lately. He can race his cars around the living room floor at what I am certain he imagines is lightening speed. "Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!"

Like all kids, his imagination is so alive and active, I’m pretty sure he has enough energy to run a marathon. He's constantly exploring and seeking newness and adventure. And I love to watch him play and figure stuff out. He's curious and not afraid to try new things. Seeing his desire to learn causes me to want to show him more, teach him more, encourage him more and ultimately create space for him to flourish into the daring, dangerous, compassionate man I pray he becomes.

Because I know, and so do you, creativity and imagination tend to get shoved down and left behind as we grow up and go about our day-to-day lives with domestic duties, job responsibilities, family care, friendships and so on. We lose the excitement of imagination and the energy to dream of what could be. Some would argue creativity and imagination are for children. How many of us have thought of ourselves as a dollar short in the creativity bank? I certainly have!

In his third book release, titled, Create vs. Copy, author Ken Wytsma rekindles the creative flame we were all created with. In his own words, Ken says, "this book is meant to encourage you about the good news of your God-given creative capacity and how to harness it to take charge of your life, flourish, succeed, and find innovative and exciting ways to navigate the circumstances of life.”

Did you catch the part about "God-given creative capacity"? If we have God-given creative capacity, then we have God-given creative capacity! Having an active imagination and being creative isn't set aside for energetic toddlers and kids. Likewise, being creative isn't just for artists.

In the first half of the book, Wytsma draws attention to the creative attribute of God. He is creative. God creates. It’s who He is. And because God creates and He created us in His image, we too are creative. Wytsma puts it this way, "I like to say that when we're being creative, it's as if we're taking the image of God in us out for a walk."

You are creative! You were born a creator. "Creativity is a human trait." If you are the person who has said, "I don't have a creative bone in my body", I completely get it and this is good news for us!

We’re not just talking creating art here. Being creative runs so much deeper than paint strokes on canvass. Being creative means fully recognizing issues or problems around us, dreaming up ways to correct the issue and then innovating to change the issue. This is huge!

“Embracing creativity is about leaning into who we are as children of a creative God, whose Spirit and power move in our lives as we respond to Him and endeavor to make space for life.”

Which leads me to the second half of Create vs. Copy where Wystma provides practical application on practising creativity via awakening the child like creativity we all innately inherited from our Creator God.

It’s important to keep our imaginations active. Authors and story tellers such as C.S. Lewis understood this and ran with it.

“Imagination not only helps us see more clearly what is, but what should be.”

You don’t have to go far to see, to know and to experience the brokenness of the world.  Things are clearly not what they should be.

As the redeemed and healed body of the Church, the followers of Jesus, we can live lives that reflect the what should be; even in the midst of the what is. Jesus taught us how to live in the what should be by how he treated people and by the illustrations he taught through the parable stories.

Our God-given creativity allows us to recognize the broken pieces of the universe and our imaginations help us dream up what should be. So we ought to create, to try new things, to move into some form of action in an attempt to take steps towards a dream made reality in our spheres of influence.

“Creativity makes space for life to flourish.”

“Our creativity most closely approximates God’s creativity when our ultimate purposes align with his.” I love this!

Prayer, wise counsel, and a supportive, encouraging network help us then innovate and bring our dreams into reality. Here is where change takes place and we step into the life God intended for us. And it’s never just for us. God uses each of us to share His love with those around us.

For 7 or so years now I’ve had an idea floating around my head. I’ve learned, collected a lot of information and feel compelled to write. Yet, it was only recently I began actually writing. I felt ill equipped and unprepared, yet the idea and the desire to just get it out and write has only grown.  As my pastor told me, “Carrie, this is either your thing, or it’s the thing you have to do to get to your thing.” So I’m writing more. Guys, I’m being creative! I’m intentionally creating space to write. I’m blocking out chunks of time to write. I’m just going for it. I also have a few trusted friends helping with it and a lot of pray around it.

And I have no idea what or how what I’m writing may be used. But that’s the exciting part. The unknown. With God, nothing is impossible! So my friends, create, create, create! It’s you are. It’s what you were made for! Create space for others to flourish and you will too.

Create vs. Copy releases tomorrow (March 1). Grab your copy today on Amazon. My hope for you is that you flourish into all of who God created you to be! Check out the book trailer too.

New Book: Create vs. Copy

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible for your brain to explode with all the thoughts you have swirling around in there? Between to-do lists, grocery lists, work calendars, personal calendars, church calendars, domestic duties, monitoring social media notifications, emails, texts, don’t you sometimes want to turn it all off, sit in a big comfy chair with a steaming hot cup of coffee in absolutely silence? I certainly do!

As a wife, a mom of a hilarious and very active 2 year old boy, a full-time working professional in a demanding and fast-paced industry, an active participant in my local church and a friend to others, I often get the feeling I’m coming up short, falling behind and totally unprepared for all I have before me.

The Religion of Star Wars

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Peter Jones, executive director of truthXchange, a ministry that exists to recognize and respond to the rising tide of neopaganism. Click here for the full article.

With the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, those who believe in the one true God have an opportunity to engage the culture with the truth about the timeless spiritual struggle that exists in the world.

I believe there are good reasons for viewing this film. We can certainly respect its artistic and entertainment value. Galactic battle scenes and human drama are entertaining. But also, by seeing this movie, Christians can sharpen their understanding of both contemporary culture and their appreciation of the Christian faith, allowing them to see in antithetical clarity both the Christian message and the message of Star Wars in order to present the gospel in a fresh way for our time.

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In the Heart of the Sea

Oscar winner Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) directs the action adventure “In the Heart of the Sea,” based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling book about the dramatic true journey of the Essex.

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby- Dick. But that told only half the story. “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

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Glory Days: Q&A with Max Lucado

“Glory Days” is Max Lucado’s newest work and follows Israel’s move from the wilderness into the Promised Land. Using the book of Joshua, Lucado shows the successful leadership of Joshua and how we can apply the Israelite’s wilderness journey to help us enter our own Promised Land and the glory days God has for us now.

Q: First off, tell us what you mean by "glory days."

It’s a reference to the Glory Days of Israel. On the time line of your Bible, it’s a seven year era that glistens between the difficult days of Exodus and the dark age of the judges. Moses had just died, and the Hebrews were beginning their fifth decade as Bedouin in the badlands. And sometime around 1400 BC, God spoke, Joshua listened, and the Glory Days began. The Jordan River opened up. The Jericho walls fell down. The sun stood still, and the kings of Canaan were forced into early retirement. Evil was booted and hope rebooted. By the end of the campaign, the homeless wanderers became hope-filled homesteaders. A nation of shepherds began to quarry a future out of the Canaanite hills. They built farms, villages, and vineyards. The accomplishments were massive. 

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The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard

I’ve always been a pen and paper kind of writer. I buy yellow pads by the box and black gel pens 24 at a time at Costco. Whether I’m working on a book or a blog, my ideas and first drafts go from pen to pad. I don’t use a keyboard until I’m on my way to a final draft.

I use to think I was an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy using old school tools, while cooler and hipper writers used keyboards and touch pads to create books and such from start to finish.  Then I ran across some research that suggests ideas flow better and your ability to retain content improves when you write the old fashioned way.

That’s not to say someone with terrible ideas can come up with great ones when they write with a pen and paper. But if you have great ideas to begin and want to express them in the best way possible, you’ll struggle more if you use a keyboard exclusively.

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God's Not Dead 2

(Los Angeles, CA) Pure Flix, the largest independent faith film studio, just wrapped production for God’s Not Dead 2: He’s Surely Alive. This film is the highly anticipated follow-up to the immensely successful God’s Not Dead, which grossed over $60 million last year at the box office. God’s Not Dead 2 features a star-studded cast that includes: Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey), Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas), David A. R. White (God’s Not Dead), Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Sadie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Robin Givens (Head of The Class), Fred Thompson (Law & Order), Maria Canals-Barrera (Cristela), with Pat Boone and Ray Wise (Robocop).

Other returning cast favorites include: Trisha LaFache (Amy Ryan), Benjamin Onyango (Reverend Jude), Paul Kwo (Martin Yip), and Newsboys (Michael Tait, Duncan Phillips, Jeff Frankenstein, and Jody Davis).
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Lee Strobel on Grace (Part 2)

The Case for Grace Is bestselling author Lee Strobel's most personal and, arguably, his most powerful book to date. In it he shares his personal transformation alongside seven real-life tales of men and women whose lives have been transformed by God's grace.

In a telephone interview with the editors of ConversantLife.com, Lee shared how the stories he chose for the book reflect his own lifelong quest for grace.

Did your own experiences with God’s grace help you choose the kind of people you wanted to interview, so you could show the different shades of grace?

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