Facing the Giants’ Star Speaks in Chapel

Challenging OBU students to determine if their spiritual lives reflect wholeheartedness or half-heartedness, "Facing the Giants" star Jason McLeod and minister Jay Flynt spoke during OBU's weekly chapel service Wednesday, Oct. 27.

The speakers represented Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., and its related ministry, Sherwood Pictures, which produced such movies as "Fireproof" in 2008 and "Facing the Giants" in 2006. Flynt serves as associate pastor for sports and recreation at Sherwood.

Listen now [MP3]

The chapel service featured clips from the movie, "Facing the Giants," to introduce students to the film. In the movie, McLeod portrayed Brock Kelley, the defensive captain for the Eagles and the most influential player on the team. However, his half-heartedness on the field and apathy in the classroom permeated through the ranks of the team. The coach works to inspire Brock to have a positive influence on his teammates.

In real life, while the movie was being filmed and produced, McLeod was a football player at Georgia Southern University. He said although he grew up in a Christian home and expressed his faith at a young age, God showed him through the movie that he was living his life half-heartedly. He faced questions such as "What is my purpose?" and "Where do I find fulfillment?"

McLeod referred to the Scripture Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men." He said God used the verse to cause him to reflect if he was living for his own gain, rather than for God.

In the movie, everything turns out like roses, Flynt said -- but real life is not like that. He pointed out there may be students in the audience facing the divorce of their parents; or who struggle with alcohol, drugs or internet temptations; or who, in other ways, have no hope, no joy and no contentment in life. He said students can fool everyone in their lives, but they cannot fool God.

McLeod said he was in his dorm room when he realized he was missing the "real factor" as a Christian -- a personal, growing relationship with God. He said he did not know what being "real" with God would be like, but he wanted to find out. He felt like God was telling him to leave football and pursue ministry, and although he was reluctant to do something hard, he was willing to obey God.

He said he discovered through reading Luke 5 that even Jesus' disciples had to choose to obey him and to respect him. McLeod said it can be scary to surrender to God, but that is where contentment in life is found.

Flynt challenged the students to answer four life questions before the end of the day: If not now, when? If not me, then who? If not here, then where? If not through prayer, then how?

"If today was it for you, do you honestly, truly know you have the Lord Jesus inside your heart?" Flynt asked. "Because if you don't, you're working, you're succeeding, you're pressing all in vain."

In 2003, Sherwood Pictures premiered its first full length motion picture, "Flywheel," in three theaters in south Georgia. It aired on numerous Christian television networks around the world including TBN, Family Net, INSP, Faith TV and Cornerstone TV, and has sold approximately 200,000 DVDs to date. The movie resulted in thousands of letters, e-mails and phone calls from viewers.

In 2006, Sherwood produced its second feature, "Facing the Giants," which was picked up by Provident Films (a Sony company) and released Sept. 29, 2006, in 441 theaters nationwide. The movie expanded to include 1,010 theaters by the end of its 17-week run. Over 1.5 million DVDs were sold in 56 countries and 13 languages. To date, almost 7,000 decisions for Christ have been reported.

Sherwood's third movie, "Fireproof," was released nationwide in more than 800 theaters on Sept. 26, 2008. "The Love Dare," written by Alex and Stephen Kendrick and featured in the film, has topped The New York Times Best Seller Paperback Advice list.

Sherwood recently finished filming its fourth movie, "Courageous," which is currently in post-production.

For more information on each of the movies, click on the following titles: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous.