One of our tech guys got a GoPro camera for Christmas this year and brought it to work. Check out his fancy filming in which he used a time lapse setting to capture the 400+ ladies filling in the auditorium for our annual Women’s Bible Study.
Several decades ago, an Olympian turned soldier survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, journeyed at sea in a small raft for 47 days, and was finally thrown into a Japanese prison camp; a place where he probably should have died of starvation and constant torture.
This man – Louis Zamperini – beat the odds and made it home. His incredible tale of determination, bravery and survival is excellently portrayed in the feature film “Unbroken,” which is in theaters this week.
There’s an interesting challenge when it comes to movies, though. There are only so many minutes to go around and you can’t tell everything about a man’s life in the space allowed, especially someone like Louis who lived through so many incredible experiences.
The name “Unbroken” definitely fits for the hero who returned victoriously from war, but something happened to Louis when he was back in the U.S., something that isn’t shown in the film.
You see, he survived, but Louis was not unbroken when he came home. Rather, by his own admission, he struggled with alcoholism as he attempted to overcome the memories of his experiences. He was inflicted with horrible nightmares of “The Bird,” the brutal guard who mercilessly antagonized and beat him in the prison camp. At one point Louis woke in the middle of the night from a vivid dream to find himself strangling his wife, envisioning her as his captor.
Louis’ world was spiraling out of control, and his marriage and life were falling apart. He was, indeed, broken.
If this was the end of the story, it would likely be a grim one, but something else happened. Jesus Christ grabbed hold of Louis and changed his life forever, for eternity!
In 1949, a young evangelist named Billy Graham – my grandfather – held a Crusade in a tent at the corners of Washington and Hill streets in the city of Los Angeles. Louis’ wife went to one of the meetings and committed her life to Christ. She returned home and told her husband that she was no longer planning to divorce him because of the decision she had just made in following Jesus. She asked him to come with her to hear Billy Graham the next night.
Louis did go to hear my grandfather, and – ultimately – remembered the promise he’d made to God when he was adrift in the ocean, when he promised to serve Him if allowed to survive.
Louis walked forward, committed his life to Christ, and allowed Him to mend the broken pieces of his life. The nightmares and the thirst for alcohol were gone. His marriage was restored. He was even able to forgive “The Bird.”
I never personally met Mr. Zamperini. I wish I had, but he passed away earlier this year. He was to be the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, and – even though he’s gone home to be with Jesus – the parade is still honoring his life and legacy. I’m very humbled to represent my grandfather and his role in Louis’ life on the City of Torrance float, which is dedicated to their hometown hero.
Perhaps you aren’t a war hero. You are likely not an Olympian. In remembering Louis, however, I’d like to ask you – the reader – a question. Is your life broken, like Louis’ was when he returned from war? Are you battling against things that are out of your control, captive to sin and pain? If so, I believe that Jesus can do for you what He did for Louis some 65 years ago. He can set you free, and make you unbroken! I invite you to visit www.PeaceWithGod.net to learn more.
On Christmas day, Dec. 25, 2014 the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association released a half-hour documentary telling the rest of Louis Zamperini’s story, the part that is left untold in the major Hollywood production of “Unbroken.” Watch the program at www.BillyGraham.tv, and order a DVD copy by giving a gift of any amount to the BGEA at www.BillyGraham.org/unbroken.
We recently had three very special days with Cliff Barrows during his 10th annual “Christmas at The Cove with Cliff Barrows and Friends” event.
This year marks the end of his “official” involvement with the event, but as he has always been family and a ministry partner to the Graham family, he is sure to come back for many visits. “We’ll never have another one like this,” Mr. Barrows said.
Click here for a recap of this wonderful celebration.
We look to the new year with anticipation. As the temperatures drop, we welcome you to join us for warm fellowship and Godly teaching.
Check out our schedule for the month of January 2015 below. Click one that interests you for more details and to register.
Ladies, come share the faithfulness of God from the Scriptures and make lasting friendships at the Women’s Bible Studies at The Cove. Both studies are free and newcomers are always welcome!
Registration is required for both studies.
Leadership Training: The Great Commission Practicum January 15-16, 2015
The Great Commission Practicum is a contemporary, kingdom-centered disciple-making initiative designed to partner with mission-minded churches. Small Group leaders from participating churches will leave prepared to equip successive spiritual generations of effective Christian disciple-makers. Early Bird Special: If pre-registered before January 3, 2015 each conference attendee will receive a $30 discount. To register call 1-800-950-2092.
Looking for a place to host your own event at The Cove?
It’s a great destination for your group. Click here for more information.