November 2008

Could one movie … one book … and one church really make a difference?

Could that difference impact your marriage … and mine?

Stephen and Alex Kendrick, directors of the movie Fireproof and authors of the 40-day devotional The Love Dare would answer a resounding “Yes!”

In 2002, Sherwood Baptist Church Pastor Michael Catt challenged his congregation to reach the world from Albany, Georgia. That led to the production of the Kendrick brothers’ first movie Flywheel, which was followed by Facing the Giants.

As they prepared to produce another film, church members prayed for months. “And this was our prayer,” Alex says, “‘God, give us a plot that would impact culture so that a movement would start that would please You.’”

“I was jogging around the block one day,” Alex says, “And the Lord says, ‘Go after marriage.’ … And then He gave me this concept of a young husband who is about to get divorced whose father challenges him to what’s called a love dare, which is a 40-day period of applying biblical principles of love.”

What is love?

That inspiration formed the basis for Fireproof. While being interviewed on FamilyLife Today, Alex Kendrick said: “When we were writing the movie, it became crystal clear: Love is not based on the one that’s being loved as much as it is based on the one doing the loving. … You love because you choose to, not because you think they deserve it.”

Stephen and Alex wrote The Love Dare to accompany the film. As they were working on the book they were reminded that loving requires death to self. They studied 1 Corinthians 13. “I can’t be rude, I can’t be impatient,” Stephen says. “I can’t be jealous and selfish and all of those things, and so our wives were like, ‘Okay, this is really good, now you’re going to need to apply it in your own marriages.’”

Stephen describes the process as self-surgery. “We’re looking at what 1 Corinthians 13 says, what Ephesians 5 says, what the Psalms say—everything we could find in Scripture—about a relationship and about love. When you start writing it down, you realize, My goodness, I thought our marriage was good. I’m still way off the mark.

The Kendrick brothers began day one of their book with these words:

Love works. It is life’s most powerful motivator and has far greater depth and meaning than most people realize. It always does what is best for others and can empower us to face the greatest of problems. We are born with a lifelong thirst for love. Our hearts desperately need it like our lungs need oxygen. Love changes our motivation for living. Relationships become meaningful with it. No marriage is successful without it.

Impacting millions

Fireproof (which opened on September 26, 2008) was not only number four in box office sales that first weekend, but also was one of the top 13 movies for eight weeks. With a production budget of $500,000, it has now exceeded $33 million in the box office.

More than 4 million people saw Fireproof in movie theaters and many more in DVD.  In the first few weeks after it opened more than 2,000 stories were been posted by moviegoers on the film’s website.  The following are just two examples of the difference the movie and book are making in countless lives and marriages.

My husband and I pretty much took each other for granted. There was not much spark in our marriage. We recently went to see FIREPROOF.  I also got The Love Dare, and I am on Day 14 right now. Our marriage has totally changed these last two weeks. I feel like we are newlyweds again, and I am actually excited to get home in the evenings to spend time with my husband. God is definitely working on us, and it is so exciting! An alive marriage is so much better than complacency!    —Vickie

Powerful is the one word I can think of to describe this movie. My wife and I have been married for 14 years and have had a number of struggles. One year ago, this movie was my life, and some aspects still are. I was ready to leave my marriage because of where I was at in my life. I became very selfish again, and yet a small part of me kept telling me to hold on. I know today that voice was God. It was very hard for me to watch this movie, but it also gave me so much hope for a better marriage. My wife deserves so much better than what I have given in my life. I am going to do The Love Dare, and we are talking about doing the couple’s study together. Thank you so much for this movie. As a firefighter myself, I definitely worked harder saving others rather than taking care of fires at home.   —Shane

The secret to a successful marriage

In the movie, Fireproof, Caleb and Catherine Holt learn the secret to making their marriage succeed—the unconditional love of Jesus Christ at its center. Millions of husbands and wives are also learning this as they watch FIREPROOF and read The Love Dare.

“God is in the business of resurrecting dead things,” Alex says. “… when you turn to Him, using God’s love as a resource, you can love in ways you never thought possible.”

God is using Fireproof, The Love Dare, and Sherwood Baptist Church to change marriages around the world.

When Christ is at the center of any relationship, there is always hope for a better tomorrow.

After all, “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

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