When John Smith crashed through the ice on a frozen lake near St. Louis, he was trapped for 15 minutes, and after he was rescued he had no pulse for 43 minutes. The ER physician called his mother in so she could say her final goodbye. She prayed instead and that’s when a miracle happened…John came back to life.
John Smith was probably like a lot of the boys in your eighth grade class. He played basketball. He played video games. He hung out with his friends. Although he was abandoned as a baby in Guatemala, he was adopted into a loving Christian family in Missouri.
January 19th, 2015 started out as just an ordinary Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. To celebrate the day off of school, John and his two friends (both named Josh) decided to play on a frozen lake. After taking a selfie and running around… CRACK! The ice wasn’t as thick as they thought. Suddenly, the three boys found themselves in a cold lake with no means of escape.
When the emergency team responded, they found one Josh had managed to pull himself out of the water, and the other Josh was treading while trying to keep hold of an ice sheet. But John was nowhere to be seen. Since he had sunk underwater long before the rescuers arrived, they were prepared for the worst. As fireman Tommy Shine searched through the water, he heard a voice say “Go back!” He retraced the area he’d just searched and, sure enough, found John. Tommy Shine later tried to figure out who called out to him to go back, but no one on his team had said anything during that time. It was divine guidance that could have only come from God. Especially unusual since Tommy didn’t even believe in God!
It was a miraculous rescue, but it was only the start to a chain of miracles. The lifeless John had been submerged for 15 minutes- no breathing, no pulse. Yet the rescue team still did everything they could as they transported him to the hospital. He was considered dead for an hour by the time Joyce, his mom, was able to see him. After crying loudly, she shouted, “Holy Spirit…breathe life back into my son!”
No one expected John to make a full recovery. He was unlikely to even make it through the night, and if he did, he would have severe brain damage. But sixteen days and two hospitals later, John headed home as the healthy boy he’d always been. Prayer does work, and miracles do happen.
As you’ll see in the movie, God wasn’t present only in John’s hospital room. His story made waves around his community. The classmates at his school gathered for prayer, and people came to his church to do the same. The prayer vigils were just as important as the prayers spoken at his bedside.
Do you know someone that needs prayer right now? It doesn’t necessarily have to be for a life-threatening issue; God hears all prayers and knows that each request is important to us. Take a break from reading- yes, right now!- and pray for a family member, friend, or someone in your community.
Need an idea for something to pray about? How about that Breakthrough would change lives! Here are a few other things you can do to help with that:
You can reserve your ticket right now! If your local theater doesn’t have showtimes for Breakthrough, ask what it would take to get the movie to your town.
Bring some people to see the movie in theaters. You can get discounts on group tickets, so this may be something you want to coordinate with your church, youth ministry, or other group.
Even non-Christian friends might be interested to see the movie for its cast of stars or basketball player-turned-producer Stephen Curry. Invite some people to the movies and then pick a restaurant, coffee shop, or ice cream parlor near the theater to chat afterward.
Visit breakthroughmovie.com to find out more about the movie. You can also access some “share tools”, that include printable prayer cards as well as images you can post on your social media.
Allow the message of the movie to affect your life. And keep on praying.
Earlier this year, I came up with an idea I thought would revolutionize Christian television production. Along the same vein of The Office and Parks and Recreation, we needed to shine a light on the world of ministry through a mockumentary of those front-line workers. I created characters, ministry jobs, and early versions of a script. Unfortunately, while writing is my forte, I do not have an in with anyone working in Hollywood.
Little did I know that, around the same time, a new mockumentary-style Christian series was in the works. I admit it might even be better than my show idea. Hitting the Breaks premiered last month. I watched it on Pure Flix and am hyped to tell you about it.
In case you forget why this mostly-normal Christian family ended up in an anything-but-normal Colorado Rockies town, just listen to the theme song. The title sequence begins with the opening sequence of Cars 3. (That’s also the same scene as the final race of the first Cars movie, but I digress…) Without giving away too much of the setup of the show (or the Pixar Cars franchise), there’s an accident on the racetrack. This forces driver Randy into a midlife crisis of early retirement and moving his family cross-country to his recently inherited hotel, which is where we first meet them in the pilot episode.
The Wilcox family walks into The Serenity Inn, their new home in Colorado. Oh no! What happened to the Wi-fi and cell service? I guess it lacks those features to make what otherwise looks like a just-built hotel set seem old and dilapidated. They never get those services, so I guess they won’t be able to read this review. Or watch their own show.
When it comes to the topic of finances, this modern-day Petticoat Junction is mysterious . Why did Randy’s father die and leave his estate conveniently at the same time that Randy also flirted with death and needed a place to move to? Why is Randy concerned about money when he has free housing and presumably a professional athlete’s savings account? How can a hotel that never has a paying guest afford to keep on a maid? (Although this does explain why she never does any work- there’s no one to clean up after!) How can Randy quickly get hooked up with an endorsement deal when he wants several thousand dollars, but can’t drop a hundred bucks to replace a falling-apart floor rug that everyone complains about? And the most mysterious of all: why are Christian films notoriously low-budget, but Hitting the Breaks is actually a good show?
Speaking of Christianity, this is an original series created by and available exclusively through the Christian entertainment company, Pure Flix. But don’t expect the characters to awkwardly pause the story line to give their testimony. Instead you’ll see the Wilcox family and some of their friends living out their life with Christ through Bible studies, church events, reading, and prayer. For them, Christianity isn’t a separate part of their lives that they focus on for two minutes but ignore the remainder of the episode. It’s how they live their whole lives. That’s a good takeaway for all of us.
But although there are mysteries and faith themes, Hitting the Breaksis a comedy. You’ll be reminded of that every four seconds when the laugh track goes off. Sometimes it gets so cheesy that you’ll want to grab tortilla chips and make some nachos. The characters even acknowledge this a handful of times while breaking the fourth wall.
Randy Wilcox is played by that ever-present actor in nearly every Christian movie, David A.R. White. Instead of his typical portrayal of a pastor or an Amish man, David branches out in this show as a retired race car driver. The word “retired” might be a bit harsh, since he’s only middle-aged with daughters still in school. But what can you do if you have a family full of women who convince you that your line of work might be dangerous after your last race ended in smoke and shambles?
Coincidentally, I was also in a car crash shortly before Hitting the Breakspremiered. (I’m not a race car driver; I just share the road with people who think that a red light means “keep going!”) I even got the same lingering injury as Randy: a shoulder in so much pain that I couldn’t raise my arm. But since Randy’s arm was instantly cured by falling off a roof, I am definitely jumping off a building now. If anything goes wrong, I’ll just send my hospital bill to the production company. (Not everything you see on TV is meant to be impressionable, kids!)
Charlie Wilcox is Randy’s wife. Actress Andrea Logan White is also the real-life wife of David A.R. White. In Christian film world, that means it’s okay for the couple to share a bed unlike the sitcom couples of the 50s, and kiss each other without pulling Kirk Cameron’s stand-in stunt from Fireproof. Yay for realism!
Delancey Wilcox is the oldest daughter of Randy and Charlie. Since she’s a teen, the writers gave her typical teen traits like being obsessed with boys and shampoo. Wait, shampoo? Is that a legit obsession? I started working on this teen magazine (that you should subscribe to) as I was aging out of my own teen years. All this time I guess I forgot to include a much-desired magazine section dedicated to shampoo. If you’re a teen girl with a shampoo obsession, please leave a comment at the end of this post. I need your help with an upcoming article.
Darcy Wilcox is basically a female version of Brick Heck from ABC’s The Middle. Book brainiac, youngest child, remembers everything, socially awkward… you get the picture. I almost expected her to repeat words in a whisper. Maybe they’re saving that for season two.
Other Characters abound in this Rocky Mountain town. A fan favorite is Sky, a vegan-restaurant-owning/ motorcycle-riding/ friends-with-everyone twentysomething who knows the rest of the townsfolk are unusual without realizing that she’s a different kind of offbeat as well. The bumbling cop Bernie makes Barney Fife look like a SWAT Team agent. Then there are two old guys who continually wear bunny costumes. It’s weird how quickly you get used to that.
Let’s not forget the special guest stars! There’s Alyson Stoner, and Morgan Fairchild, and Carrot Top, and IS THAT TIM TEBOW? LET’S FREAK OUT LIKE EVERY CHARACTER DID IN THE SEASON FINALE!
Joking aside for a moment, you probably know that there are fewer and fewer sitcoms airing that the whole family can enjoy. Two of the three family-friendly shows I alluded to above (The Andy Griffith Show and Petticoat Junction, which also has episodes available to stream on Pure Flix) were first filmed in black and white. The other mention, The Middle, is in its final season as television networks turn to edgier shows with more shock value. I’m glad that Pure Flix is stepping up to fill this widening gap. We need more shows that are funny, entertaining, and hold to God-honoring, family-friendly values.
Have you ever gazed longingly at the engagement rings in a jewelry store? That’s where we meet Grace, a twentysomething farmgirl over the moon about getting married. True, her boyfriend hasn’t even proposed yet, but it’s just a matter of time, right? When he visits her on college break, she gets a surprise. It’s a ring… on another girl’s finger!
Heartbroken, Grace experiments with new relationships, starting with Jared. But when their differences in values makes dating each other miserable, Grace decides to approach romance in a new way. She has a lot to learn before getting that longed-after princess cut!
“Princess Cut” busts a lot of the misconceptions that are believed about dating and romantic relationships. Do you have to get physical with your boyfriend? How involved should your parents get? Is there an appropriate amount of flirting? What qualities should you be looking for in a mate?
Remember that this movie shows just one example of a God-honoring relationship. Since everyone’s circumstance is different, “Princess Cut” isn’t a how-to guide or a list of dos and don’ts. However, it can still point you in the right direction of thinking about how you can form your own personal guidelines.
Aside from the main moral of purity, a major subplot point expresses the value of hard work and seeking God in all you do. When the family’s combine breaks, everyone pitches in to pick the fields by hand. After a successful harvest season, they give the glory to God by hosting an outreach community event.
When Grace decides that there must be more to God-honoring romance than what she’s experienced in the past, she checks out a pile of books to learn more. During her marathon of a reading session, she takes notes, highlighting things she finds important in a relationship. Do you think that something like this might help you prayerfully figure out your own dating rules and what you’re looking for in a future husband?
The soybean analogy that Grace’s dad introduces in the movie could be a great reminder in your own life. Sometimes we try to get a harvest before we even plant the seeds. We may be planting seeds right now for qualities such as patience, communication, and romance. They may not come to fruition right away, but that doesn’t mean we should quit working on them, just like you wouldn’t quit watering a plant that is still growing. You can remember this when you’re working towards just about anything.
Points of Concern
There was only one scene that caused enough concern that it may affect viewers. Grace receives a suggestion to try professional counseling. Although she’s apprehensive, she nervously goes anyway. Within the first few minutes, her counselor gives poor advice about premarital relationships, which causes Grace to walk out. For those who have never visited a counselor, know that this was a very atypical experience. Most counselors are in fact helpful in navigating a variety of life situations. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to go to counseling for yourself, whether it’s for for relationship concerns or any other reason.
A later scene involves two young men fighting over a love interest. The one that ultimately wins her affection is the one that tries to be a peacemaker despite the violent attacks. The fight quickly subsides when her father steps in.
Though it’s not clear, Grace at times seems more excited about getting a princess cut ring than she is for the relationship that comes with it. However, the movie is clear that, whether single or in a relationship, valuing others is more important than valuing objects.
I often get tired of watching romance movies, or really any movie that has a romantic subplot. But I actually liked “Princess Cut”. It wasn’t unrealistic. It didn’t have inappropriate sexual content. It wasn’t even preachy. Instead, it inspired me to seek God for conviction in relationships, and not just in the romantic sense. Family members, friends, and yes, even boys, are all relationships that play a major role in your life. But through them we should seek our most important relationship of all: the one with our loving Savior. Girlz 4 Christ was provided with a PureFlix membership in order to view this movie. Opinions expressed are our own and were not swayed by payment. You can get a FREE month of PureFlix too just by clicking here!