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It’s been nearly a decade since author William P. Young’s novel, The Shack, was published, selling over a million copies within the space of a year and going on to be one of the most influential pieces of Christian fiction ever produced.

There’s a good reason why The Shack went from self-published unknown to selling over 15 million copies between 2007 and 2011: through the novel, Young taps into the collective desire for a truly loving God in a time when many have become disillusioned with organized religion.

Now, on March 3rd, The Shack is finding new life on the big screen with its theatrical debut, starring Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw.

We were lucky enough to have a chat with lead actor Sam Worthington, who portrayed the character of Mack Phillips, a man who, after the death of his young daughter, spirals into a deep depression and begins to question his faith in a good and loving God. Worthington, who was changed by his experience with The Shack, reveals insights that shed light on the depth and power of the film.

Here’s what he had to say on what led him—an action hero of Avatar and Terminator fame—to the role.

“To be honest, I read the script and I can’t really tell you why I said I wanted to do it. I had a visceral reaction to the script. Normally you pick a part because of the other actors involved or there was something you needed to say in the story, but I just had a feeling about it. I called the producers and said, ‘I don’t know what it is, but this thing really got me, and I’d love to do the film.’”

When we pressed a little about what drew Worthington to the script, he revealed something that millions of readers have been saying since the book’s release: the story gave him something he needed.

“I think maybe there’s something in it of those arguments that I’ve had with the world—I think maybe it was something about this man’s emotional journey, where I went, ‘Well, I’ve been a frustrated guy. I’ve built my own Shack. I’ve got to learn to forgive.’ I don’t know—those kinds of things really echoed with me. Film making is problem solving, and these are great problems to try and solve.”

The Shack is a parable for the anger and frustration and grief and guilt that we carry and are burdened by. We build these things in our lives, and we don’t have the tools to get out of them. If the movie and the book can give you those tools and give you those lessons, that’s a very interesting message to get across. So I think that’s what I was discovering as well: what are the tools, then? How do you move through forgiveness? How do you get to the other side and gain some clarity in your life?”

That’s the thing about the Bible, as well, you know. The Bible is stories, and out of these stories you gain insight into, alright, how can I parallel that with my life, and how do I use that to make me a better person, and use the lessons they’re teaching to make me a better person? So The Shack had that same kind of effect for me.”

The film, despite its emotional content, is no stranger to humor—the surreal weirdness of seeing God making biscuits in the kitchen will put a smile on audience members’ faces. When we asked Worthington what it was like to act out a nice country dinner with the God of the universe, he had this to say.

“That’s the weirdest thing, you know. I would tell my friends what I was doing, that I’m doing a movie where a guy who spends the weekend with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And you could see my mates looking at me like I’d lost my mind, not only in what I was saying, but just in the fact that I was going to do a movie like that.

The way it works, though, is that the scenes aren’t reverential—the scenes are done on a grounded level—almost two friends—that gives the film an element of truth, and out of that the arguments get a bit more gravity. So if you look at when people pray, you’re looking at God sometimes as the closest friend and only friend you’ve got left, so it’s not like it’s too overwhelming. I said that if we approach it that way, if Octavia approaches it in a grounded way, these arguments and messages will resonate more.”

It is in that very ordinary-ness that the film is most powerful. This isn’t a story of God speaking out of fire and thunder. This isn’t a grand narrative of His plans for humanity. This is a simple story of one man spending time with his Papa, something to which anyone, secular or Christian, can relate.

Worthington concluded with what he hopes people will take away from the film.

“I think it’s a hopeful film. That’s the main thing. I don’t have a nihilist view of the world—I want movies to kind of stay with you when you leave the cinema a lot longer than just crossing the lobby, and maybe promote conversation.”

And, indeed, the film is set to do just that. In addition to Worthington, we also had the pleasure of catching up with the author of The Shack, himself, William P. Young. A cheerful and and intelligent man who simply goes by Paul, his insights into his work were profound. But he had one thing to say that encapsulated the purpose of his book like nothing else.

“I grew up a modern Evangelical fundamentalist preacher’s kid, and [the purpose of the novel] was to say ‘Look, you know, I don’t want you to try to have a relationship with the God I grew up with. But let me write, as best I know how, the character and nature of the God who actually showed up and healed my heart.”

And that’s it. That’s why The Shack has changed so many lives, and will continue to change more when it reaches entirely new audiences on March 3rd. Whatever your beliefs, this film has something to offer–the very real and very grounded struggles of the protagonist will feel familiar to many, and the tools and lessons provided by the story of The Shack might just be what you need to help you through the most difficult and confusing questions life has to offer.

Hannah Rhodes (Danielle Campbell) lost her father Gentry Rhodes (Luke Perry) from a heart attack. She is faced with one of the biggest decisions of her life to save her family’s beloved horse ranch after her father accumulated debt. She has a choice to sell the ranch or pay $100,000 dollars to a man named Darden to keep the property in the film “Race to Win.”

She will need more than courage to press on–she will need to win a local horse race as her entire family legacy is at stake. With an upcoming barrel racing competition on the horizon, she entered with the hopes that she can be the family’s miracle.

But can she do it in 30 days?

Well, if she can overcome the evil Darden, who plots against her, she can. Darden will stop at nothing to get his money and the ranch, including hiring a vet to drug the horse she would be riding.

Although her father left the earth, he was still guiding his daughter. With the love and support from her family and visits from her dad, she realizes that she can make a difference.

The movie is about facing your fears, something we all can relate to and something the entire family can enjoy together. We are told in Deuteronomy 31:6 to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” This Scripture easily ties into the film.

The film was given the Seal of Approval from The Dove Foundation and also stars Aiden Flowers (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ), Candice Michele Barley (The Hollow), Thomas Francis Murphy (LBJ, Free State of Jones) and Amy Brassette (True Detective).

“Race to Win” will be available on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment. To learn more about the film, please visit www.anchorbayentertainment.com.

Holding-Heart_credit-Shutterstock.comFebruary 14th.  This date will either make us giddy with anticipation or remind individuals that it’s another year of riding solo. But what if you don’t fall into those two camps? What if you are recently out of a relationship and Valentine’s Day is just hanging over your head as a reminder that what you just had, you now don’t. You’re not only mourning the end of relationship, but it feels like this day has come to mock you. It can feel like a slap in the face or a punch in the gut. Here are some tips to get through this day of love if you are freshly out of a relationship.

Get Together with Your Tribe

Your friends probably already know what you’re going through. Having a team of supporters around can be a great distraction, or support if you want to talk about it. Order a pizza, get some drinks, turn on Netflix, buy a box of chocolate and finish the whole thing. Revel in an evening full of the love of friendship, and be reminded that there is something outside of romantic love to live for. You have a whole life full of Valentine Day’s ahead of you.

Ride it Solo

You might still need to be alone and take time to grieve the loss of a relationship. According to Psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig,  The part of the brain devoted to the breakup has thousands of neural circuits devoted to this person, so it takes the brain some time to realize, come to terms with and ultimately recover from the harsh reality that this person is no longer there; hence, the reason why we feel this profound pain. If you need to process your pain, it might be best to spend a night alone. If you need a solo cry to a Nicholas Sparks movie or need to journal things out, devote your evening to activities that help you process your heart ache.

Treat it as a Normal Day

Don’t fall into the commercialization of Valentine’s Day. Some couples see right through this day as a marketing scheme to make millions of Americans spend money they don’t have and stress about unnecessary details. This day is full of unrealistic expectations, for both men and women. Many people just go about this day as normal. If you do too, you’re not alone.

Go Get Active

If being inside all night makes you feel trapped with your thoughts, go get active. A lot of people exercise to process emotions. This is a win-win. You will feel better after you burn a sweat and you are taking care of yourself.  You can get a group of single friends together and make it a fun active hang-out session. This is also a win-win. The group members are not alone on a night that is often a time of feeling lonely. A game of ultimate Frisbee is fun, grab some bikes and hit a trail, or simply go on a walk.

Valentine’s Day will pass. But your heartache and feelings will still take time to process. Try not to get too hung up on a day of love. If you are freshly out of a relationship, only you know what you will need on February 14th, so make sure you do what you need to take care of your emotional needs.

Written by Savannah Lawson

It is customary for the White House to invite and to celebrate a team’s victory at the Super Bowl.

The invitations were sent, but don’t expect everyone from Super Bowl LI to show up.

According to reports, five New England Patriots players will not be showing up to meet President Donald Trump.

“I just don’t feel welcome into that house,” running back LeGarrette Blount offered.

Blount spoke on the Rich Eisen Show and explained that he was wasn’t comfortable with visiting President Donald Trump.

Teammate and defensive lineman Chris Long also joined the conscientious objector’s list.

“Planned on skipping, hadn’t been asked. Don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not *joining* anyone. My call,” Long Tweeted.

Tight end Martellus Bennett, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive back Devin McCourty will not be making the trip.

During a postgame interview, Blount already made the decision to not attend the meeting with Trump after defeating the Atlanta Falcons.

“I’m not going to go,” he said.

When Bennet was asked about his reasons. He responded that “People know how I feel about it” and to follow him on Twitter for his thoughts. “America was built on inclusiveness not exclusiveness,” he Tweeted in January. “I don’t support the guy that’s in the house.”

Of course, he was talking about Trump.

Players are asked to guard what they say in public. Bennett said he has to take his guard down to elicit change.
“I feel like a lot of players throughout every situation, I mean, they have chances to really impact the community with things that they say, ” he told the Detriot Free Press.

“So many people are looking for encouragement, for examples, for a chance to promote change. But for a lot of guys, it comes down to the dollar — what this brand or what this company may say, or how I’m going to look if I speak out. I think the biggest thing is stepping out on that plank because they feel like they feel like they will get crucified if they do speak up on different topics.”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a friend of Trump and has not commented on his players’ decision.

Rather, he said he wants to enjoy this time and how lucky they are to win another Super Bowl title.

“I’m so privileged to be here in this hall and in the Super Bowl city. There’s times and places to talk politics,” he said.

Other players like running back James White was reportedly undecided if he was going to attend the event at the White House.

“I’ll wait ’til the time comes and decide then,” he told SiriusXM NFL Radio.