31 May 2013 AmandaMorad

What’s Next?

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Regent University - Hollywood streetToday we took our last walk through the Miracle Mile, down Wilshire Blvd., into the Los Angeles Film Studies Center.

It was bittersweet. Most were ready to pack it in and go home to spouses, children, significant others, or just their own beds, while others were already making plans to return.

Conversations about what’s next have been stirring as we approach the end of our trip. Our questions to speakers have gotten more specific and we’re hanging back after class to chat not about the ins and outs of writing TV, but how to move to L.A.; what churches to try; what neighborhoods to avoid; what it’s like having kids here; all to start building to the ultimate question: Can I do this? Read more

30 May 2013 AmandaMorad

Warner Bros. …Not Brothers

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Regent University - Warner Bros.As the trip comes to a close and we begin to feel the true weight of exhaustion, we put aside the yawns for one more day to visit Warner Bros. studios.

We got the “unofficial” tour of the familiar lot from Katherine Gaffney, Regent’s newest faculty spouse. Katherine (and Sean between stints in the office) took us through all the soundstages and back lot areas, amused as we geeked out over ER and Gilmore Girls trivia (Personally, I just about melted at the door of Luke’s Diner, currently transformed into a set dress shop). Read more

29 May 2013 TracyRuckman

Public Speaking, Anyone?

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Regent University - student speakingAlmost more than Biology (I did say almost), I dreaded taking the COMM 110 course – or Public Speaking 101 as it’s known in some colleges. I am not, nor have I ever been, a public speaker. Yet on occasion, I’ve had to do that very thing. And in my career, it is becoming necessary to do it more frequently. Read more

28 May 2013 SeretaCollington

Academic vs. Spiritual

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Regent University - chapelOne of the biggest challenges that any seminary student faces is balancing the academic and the spiritual. When we are learning about God’s Word and the history and the foundation in which the Word was developed, we can easily forget the spiritual. One of my most difficult classes at Regent University was Hermeneutics; I never really thought that what philosophy believes is important to the way in which I interpret the Bible. Yet later in the class, I realized that we are just using the opinion of highly regarded historians to help with the interpretation of the Bible, but we are also using the Holy Spirit. How can we know the difference? How can we balance the two? For me, I have learned to:

  1. Trust the Holy Spirit first by praying before I study anything!
  2. Ask myself why I am studying the material; this way I do not put the academic emphasis in the wrong place.
  3. Continue to pray and ask God for wisdom and understanding throughout my studies.
  4. Know what I believe in and stick to it.
  5. Remind myself that this is not about me, it is about God. I am learning how to use different resources to do what He has called me to do.

I pray that anyone who is going through seminary remember that God is the ultimate wisdom and understanding that we need. In addition, our Bible is the only book we can know about God; textbooks are just additional resources that should never replace your Bible. As I continue to learn to balance the academic and the spiritual in seminary, I can only trust God and His words. Yet, I still want to be able to trust Him in textbooks too.

I have realized that, though textbooks are crucial to our learning, we do not have to agree with everything the books say. If there is something against our belief or something that seem farfetched, then we must examine what we are reading. God did not inspire every author, and not every textbook is error free. Ultimately, it all comes down to trusting God, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us, and reading each book critically.

 

22 May 2013 RyanArmes

Two Small Swords

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Regent University - stormAs I write this, this week has been extremely difficult for the residents of Oklahoma. A large tornado wreaked devastation, injury, and death without much forewarning. Having grown up in the Mid-West, I have witnessed two tornadoes and I know the feeling of helplessness is somewhat overwhelming when one is within eye-sight. There is not much the residents of Oklahoma could have done in preparation except perhaps to build a storm-shelter, and even then that does not give full assurance of protection.

As they recover, I hope and pray there is much healing and outpouring of God’s love and mercy on those affected. I hope that the Church will take the lead in providing for those in need as God has called us to do. Tragedy as a result of natural disaster is nothing new. We can pick up the Bible and read about numerous accounts of earthquakes, pestilences, and famine on the righteous and unrighteous–a direct result of living in a fallen world. There is hope for all of us, though, and that hope is found in the birth, life, ministry, sacrifice, resurrection, and eventual return of Jesus Christ. For those who know Him, these tribulations will someday become a forgotten memory.

The tragedy in Oklahoma stirs in my heart Luke 22: 35-38 where Jesus tells His disciples in verse 36, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.” I’ve read several commentaries on this verse, and done my own study and here is what I take away from it: “As we go to proclaim the gospel, we should go with a lean self-sufficiency and the understanding that difficulty will come.” I believe that Jesus is saying to be prepared spiritually and physically.

For one to sell his coat and purchase a sword means giving up something that is very important (a coat to keep you warm) for something that is of even higher value (a sword that may keep you alive in dire circumstances). There is obviously a hot-button political angle to this verse in which a “sword” could mean a modern firearm, and, perhaps it does encompass that, but I believe Jesus is talking big-picture here.

The disciples respond in verse 38: “Lord, look, here are two swords.’  And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’” There are two scholarly perspectives on Jesus’ words, “It is enough”. One is that, “Two swords are enough” (small swords to be more accurate), and the other is that “It is enough of this conversation.” I believe He means both.

Jesus obviously allows the disciples to keep the swords, because Peter draws one on the high priest’s servant when the soldiers come to arrest Jesus. But Jesus immediately tells Peter after he slices off the servant’s ear, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matt 26:52). There is an important lesson of healthy tension between the spiritual and physical in these passages.

Regent teaches a healthy view of spiritual and physical self-sufficiency. One of my very first assigned readings was Discipling the Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures by author Darrow L. Miller. . Miller explains how a theistic worldview (“The belief or system of belief in one God; sees the universe as ultimately personal”) differs from the worldviews of animism (“A set of metaphysical assumptions that see the world as ultimately spiritual, in which the physical world is animated by spirits or gods”) and secularism (“A system that sees the world as ultimately physical and limited, controlled by the blind operations of impersonal natural laws, time, and chance”) (1998, p. 285, 292).

As Christians, we are neither limited nor controlled by the spiritual or physical world, apart from God; but we face trials and tribulations in each realm. However, we are completely free and empowered in our relationship with the one true God through Jesus Christ. In this relationship, we are able to be completely self-sufficient in how we operate in this world. We are given a healthy worldview that encompasses both the spiritual and the physical. It is in realizing and understanding this that we can securely go forth and successfully preach the gospel to all nations.

References:

Miller, D. (1998). Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures. Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing.

21 May 2013 TracyRuckman

Comfort Zone or Danger Zone?

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Regent University - danger zoneHave you ever been asked to step outside of your comfort zone, or do you regularly do it without a second thought?

For the past several years, I’ve lived the life of a hermit. I work and go to school from home (home-based small business), and we even do home church. My husband and I haven’t traveled much since 2009 when my husband was laid off. Home has become my comfort zone.

At the end of 2012, the Lord impressed upon me that my time of being a homebody was coming to an end for a season. I knew that the year of 2013 would be full of travel, and I tried to accept it.So I’m trying.

This year, I’ve been invited to several conferences already. The first conference was in March; I met with writers and critiqued manuscripts. It was great, and I enjoyed meeting several friends I’ve known for years but had never met in person. Read more

20 May 2013 JennaEdwards

Out of the Abundance of the Heart, the Mouth Speaks!

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Regent University - graduati“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

In the past few months, I have really been thinking about God’s creation. We are created so intricately. Each bone is placed so specifically, every artery is formed to perfection from the moment we are conceived.

Our brains are capable of thinking, forming ideas, and responding to other people. Isn’t it fascinating that God is still forming us? He places our passions and desires within us. Then, even when our physical bodies mess up, God showers the same bodies, minds, and souls with grace, mercy, and love. Read more

20 May 2013 AmandaMorad

Get Tough

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Let’s be real here. This is probably some of the hardest creative work most of us have ever done. The photos, tweets and Facebook posts make it look so sunny and fun, and don’t get me wrong, it certainly has. But it has also been incredibly challenging.

Regent University - Hair

This pretty much sums it up.

The schedule is packed; we’re working collaboratively, being taught by some of the best, and toughest, writers in the business, consuming coffee by the pound, keeping late hours, walking everywhere we go, and soaking in all we can.

Sound exhausting? It is.

But something keeps us going. What centers us in Christ as we give 110% to every single moment? Our spiritual community.

Regent University - Bel Air Prayer

Students prayed with intercessors at Bel Air Presbyterian Church last weekend

We’ve laughed and cried and prayed together. We’ve helped encourage each other in our work and wrestle with the tough questions of living the Christian life in this industry. We’ve had two students face really difficult situations back home while they’ve been here. We’ve argued over the use of capitalization in action lines and learned not to take criticism personally. And through it all, we’ve grown together in Christ.

Each day before the classes and the writer’s room begin, a student on the team leads a chapter from the devotion book “Getting Through the First Draft of Your Life” by scriptwriter Kris Young. In it, Kris unpacks the writer’s life: the discipline, the rejection, the isolation, the success, all of it. Over 40 chapters, he draws out a spiritual philosophy for writers: One that we’ve all gained from tremendously.

Regent University - Klein Devotion

Student Jacob Klein leads the team in a daily devotion.

Kris came and spoke to us this week about the hunger In ‘n Out Burgers can’t fill. “Movies and religion feed the same hunger of the heart,” he said. “The hungry heart drives most of what humans do in their waking hours.”

As storytellers, that puts great responsibility in our hands to feed hungry hearts with the work that we produce. Kris encouraged us to consider the weight of that carefully and to allow that knowledge to make our stories better.

Regent University - Kris Young

Kris Young speaks to students.

I could write a small book unpacking his two-hour lecture alone, but suffice it to say, we were all challenged to connect our writing life and our spiritual life so tightly that the two cannot be identified separately. And that’s what we’ve been practicing every day in L.A.

“Being” a writer is different than “doing” the act of writing. Over this trip, as our creative and spiritual worlds have found more overlap than ever, each member of our team is closer to finding the intersection of their talent and their calling. That’s not an easy journey to take, as we’re discovering. But it’s made easier when you fight it out with others facing the same thing.

Home and the “next step” are only a few days away, but while we’re here, come what may, we’re in it together.

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Amanda Morad is blogging from Los Angeles as she participates in the Regent Hollywood Experience, a  two-week total immersion experience in the professional world of Hollywood television.

17 May 2013 AmandaMorad

Breaking Bread with Television Greatness

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In the 1995 rom-com While You Were Sleeping, Michael Rispoli plays a creep of a neighbor to Sandra Bullock’s character Lucy. One night on the stairs of their walkup, he invites her to the Ice Capades, curling his lip as he says, “I know a guy.”

Here in Hollywood, everybody knows a guy. If they’re smart, they know a lot of guys…and gals. A theme that keeps emerging from this trip is the power of relationships in this business. Nobody gets anywhere without them. I lost count of the instances where one of our speakers credited a piece of their story to someone else saying, “this guy I go to church with,” or “this other mom at my kid’s preschool,” or “a neighbor of mine…” It’s all about good relationships.

Regent has fostered some pretty amazing ones out here, like our lunch host yesterday at CBS Studio Center, Michael Klausman, president of CBS Studio Center & Senior VP of Operations, CBS Television City.

We toured the grounds with Joe Soukup, Vice President and General Manager of Studio Center, and stood in on a hot set of Entertainment Tonight between visiting the currently dormant set of Parks and Recreation and strolling down New York Street where the city scenes of Seinfeld were shot. It was absolutely surreal.

During lunch, Klausman encouraged us, as all good leaders do, to “be bold.” Former Regent video blogger Hope Ammen did just that and is now interning at CBS Studio Center this summer. “You gotta take the initiative to get started in this business,” he said. “You also have to be willing to start in the mail room.”

That, we can do.

Here’s just a snapshot of our trip to CBS Studio Center:

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Amanda Morad is blogging from Los Angeles as she participates in the Regent Hollywood Experience, a  two-week total immersion experience in the professional world of Hollywood television.

16 May 2013 EileenPark

A Glimpse of Kansas City

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Summer is here and I am headed back home to Kansas City! Check out my travels from Spring Break to get a taste of my hometown. In this video, I visited the International House of Prayer and a local market. Best of all, I was able to spend lots of quality time with my family!