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Interview: Writer/Producer of “Fireproof” - Father of Six - Has Revitalized Thousands of Marriages

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By John-Henry Westen
 
February 20, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Meet Alex Kendrick, a man of unshakeable faith in God, whose incredible success both in filmmaking and publishing can only be described as miraculous.  Alex has six children, the eldest age ten and the sixth due to be born in April.  He and his brother Stephen have no professional training in film and writing and are in full time ministry at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. 
 
The pair’s third film, "Fireproof," starring Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains fame, was the highest-grossing independent film of 2008, with over $33 million in theatre sales, beating out such films as Woody Allen’s "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (starring Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz), and "Milk," starring Sean Penn.
 
That success is all the more stunning considering the film was made with an all-volunteer, 1,200-person cast and crew, drawn mostly from Sherwood Baptist church.  Fireproof is the third major film venture by the church’s volunteer production crew, dubbed Sherwood Pictures.  "Flywheel," produced in 2004, has sold 200,000 DVDs. "Facing the Giants," in 2006, earned $10.1 million at the box office and has sold more than 1.6 million DVDs in 58 countries, in 14 languages.
 
Apart from the films, the Kendrick brothers have produced a book on strengthening marriages, which is currently sitting at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.  The Love Dare book, as it’s called, now has 2.2 million copies in print, and the book itself was a plot device in the film Fireproof.
 
But far more than the box office success, Kendrick cherishes the spectacular results of the book and film in terms of lives touched.  Thousands of emails and testimonials report relationships restored, marriages saved, love recaptured, and divorces dissolved.  The film and book give inspired step by step advice on working to salvage a marriage, even tackling the rampant yet rarely discussed marriage-killer, pornography.
 
LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Alex Kendrick, finding he was more than willing to share the secret of his success - God.  Kendrick, who opened each filming session with prayer, told LifeSiteNews.com that his deep faith came from the example of his parents.
 
"We have a dad and a mom who have really been consistent in their faith," he said.  "My father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1984, had a brief time when he sank into depression and determined that he was going to praise God either way. That you don’t just praise God when He blesses you, you praise Him because He is God.  And that was a lesson that I watched him live out.  And that has a lot to do with the way we make movies today."
 
Kendrick’s second film, "Facing the Giants," has as its theme just that - praising God in good times and bad.
 
"We did not have to deal with any of the common issues in families - drinking, drugs or immoral material. We didn’t have to deal with any of that," said Kendrick.  "My father decided when he was a young man, after seeing those types of things wreck the former generations in my family, he decided he was going to be sold out to the Lord."
 
"Fireproof" deals with eliminating from family life such harmful items or behaviors, including pornography.  The controversial subject was handled in the film for the sake of adults, but in a sensitive fashion so as to leave children virtually oblivious to it. LSN asked Kendrick about taking on that touchy topic.

"Well," he said, "in ministry, you tend to deal with re-occurring problems among your members and even in the community and because of cable television and the internet, men can get away with looking at immoral material by piping it into their homes.  They don’t have to sneak into a store and buy a magazine any more.  ...  As we studied and got counsel from professional counselors and as we studied what it did to marriages and families, we just realized how devastating it is and that pornography has become one of the primary reasons that couples get divorced."
 
The natural question for fans of the films is what’s up next. But in answer to that, Kendrick could only respond with his own version of the cliché"God only knows." But for Kendrick it’s no cliché, it’s just a fact.  "I do not have any pre-conceived notions about what all our movies are going to be about," he said.  He described the process as going through a "season of prayer" where the brothers ask: "God, what would you have us to do." 
 
As to what the brothers are up to now, the Lord, he says, has told them to, "Get your house in order."  With six young children, and his brother’s four, the heavenly advice is sensible.  He explained we are "just pouring into our children and our families and making sure that physically and spiritually we are the healthiest that we can be."
 
Kendrick explained that between him and Stephen, and another brother, they have 15 children.  Asked about his views on large families and contraception, he replied: "You know what, my wife and I have made all of those decisions seeking God’s word and seeking Him in prayer and He has always been very clear. So, for us, He has always lain on our heart what he says in Scripture, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ and ‘The Children are a blessing of the Lord.’ We decided that we wanted a full quiver and it is in His hands.  He says very clearly in Scripture that He is the one that opens and closes the womb and so we have rejoiced in the family that He has given us."
 
Those interested in the book or films are directed to these websites:
http://www.fireproofthemovie.com
http://www.lovedarebook.com



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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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