Idol Chatter

I Can Only ImagineMercyMe’s hit song ‘I Can Only Imagine’ has inspired millions of hearts all over the world since its release in 1999. Incredibly, the song was written in mere minutes by MercyMe lead singer, Bart Millard. Now the popular song is coming to the big screen with viewers getting a close look at the true story behind the song.

Stop and grab some tissues.

Although he found faith at a young age, life wasn’t easy for Bart. He leaned into an active imagination and his love of music as escapes from a troubled home life. As he grew older, Bart turned to football in hopes of somehow connecting with his abusive father.

“I lived with my father, who was abusive, and it wasn’t until he came out with cancer my freshman year of high school that his life turned around,” Millard said. “He kind of fell in love with Christ and he went from the monster of the guy to the guy I wanted to be like when I grew up.”

Millard lived with his mother at first. But, after his mother decided to move out of town with her third husband, Millard and his older brother moved in with their dad when Millard was in third grade.
At first, spankings were only a few pops on the bottom. But punishment became longer and more intense. As a boy, Millard endured three or four beatings a week. Millard, only 8 or 9 at the time was terrified.

One particular abusive episode stood out to him. His father ambushed him and grabbed the boy with one arm, wailing away with the other with a growing rage he had never seen before.
“He beat me like a dog on a leash,” Millard said. “When I made eye contact with him, I thought: He’s going to kill me.”

After that, Bart missed two days of school – it hurt too much for him to put on clothes.

Millard often felt like his dad was taking out anger and frustration that had nothing to do with his children’s behavior. But something happened that Bart could have never forecasted.

His father had a complete transformation of heart as a result of accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Bart’s father often fell asleep reading the Bible, no longer deriding his son’s involvement in church, even shocking his son one night by asking him, ‘Can I pray for you?’ This sent Bart’s faith into overdrive.

‘If the Gospel could change that guy,’ Millard figured, “the Gospel could change anybody.”
Millard and his father became friends, chatting for two hours each night as the teen administered a treatment through his dad’s IV. They talked about what would happen after he died, who Millard should or shouldn’t be dating, among other things.

Eventually the physical scars faded and Bart found peace with his father shortly before he died.
It was faith that saved their family, Bart said.

It was his father’s death that launched Millard’s musical success. ‘I Can Only Imagine’ was a song Bart wrote about his father dying.

When his father passed in 1991, Bart got mad at God.

“I finally got the dad I wanted, and he left.”

At the gravesite, Bart’s grandmother, a woman of faith said, ‘I can only imagine what Bub’s seeing now.’

The phrase really resonated with him so much so that he became obsessed with the phrase, writing it everywhere he could until he finally put words to songwriting paper. And the rest was history.
The film stars award-winning actor Dennis Quaid (‘The Day After Tomorrow,’ ‘The Rookie,’ ‘Soul Surfer’) as Bart’s father; Oscar winner Cloris Leachman as Bart’s grandmother (“The Iron Giant”); platinum-selling country music legend Trace Adkins as Bart’s manager and will introduce Broadway’s J. Michael Finley (‘Les Miserables’) as Bart’s father.

Quaid explained that the movie highlights the power of a changed heart. “It’s very uplifting, about how can really have a complete change in one’s heart and how much you can move the earth with that,” he said.

Members of MercyMe are also thrilled about the release of the upcoming faith-based film. Bart shared that this project has been in the making for years.

“I was first approached over five years ago. No turning back now,” Bart said.

“I Can Only Imagine” is in theaters March 16th.



God’s Word has transformative power.

As the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament begins this week, the coach of the number one seed, the University of Virginia, says biblical principles have played a major role in getting them to this point.

They are headed to the NCAA as the number one seed for the third time in the last five years under UVA Cavaliers men’s head basketball coach, Tony Bennett. He shared that faith plays a major role in how he coaches:

“My faith – that defines me. That’s what gives me my meaning and purpose and how I try to treat people with my life,” Bennett said. “I make so many mistakes. The fact that I know I’m forgiven is probably the greatest joy that I have, but that is significant. That is the bedrock of my life and therefore the foundation of why I coach and how I coach, how I try to treat people and my perspective on the whole thing.”

According to CBN News, Bennett uses five biblically-based pillars to teach his players lessons that will be of help to them both on and off the basketball court. They are life lessons and are very specific to basketball in ways you wouldn’t think, Bennett said.

These include humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness.

“I really am thankful that we have a program that is building things of value that are basketball-oriented but life-oriented and family-oriented and career-oriented,” he continued.

Another big factor that has played a role in their success? They are taught character before anything else, Roger Cheeks, the athletic director at Regent University told CBN News.

“If you are willing to work with athletes and enhance their character, then wins will come,” Cheeks said.

Cheeks also shared that Bennett is using his platform to share a message about the about the body of Christ.

“It is interesting being a Christina and understanding the body of Christ. Everybody on the team may not have the same level of experience, but when you put them together something happens,” he said. “No matter what the sport is, the mindset will be to honor the weakest player, more than the strongest player.”

He believes Bennett teaches the biblical message of honor in addition to the five biblical principles previously listed.

“[Honor] is what gives Tony a great motivational platform for his players. He treats each player as if they are the number one player,” Cheeks said. “The Bible tells us we celebrate the weakest in the body rather than the strongest in the body.”

The Cavaliers beat the North Carolina Tarheels, 71-63, in the ACC championship and will be challenging the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. However, team is not resting on its successes alone.

“Everybody’s capable in this tournament. That’s just how it is,” Bennett told the Washington Post. “To get a one seed is, I guess, a reward for a heck of a regular season and then postseason games in the conference tournament, but then you get your seeding, and then it starts over.”

The UVA Cavaliers will play their first March Madness game on Sunday against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Joybeharpic“The View” host Joy Behar finally apologized for equating faith with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and psychosis. Behar’s offensive remarks were made weeks ago on an episode of “The View” when she mocked Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith. Behar ridiculed Pence for saying that he talks to Jesus. This turn of phrase is common among Christians, but Behar used it as a source of mockery. “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” Behar said “That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

Christians across the nation were outraged. The Media Research Center launched a campaign to hold Behar accountable for spreading “anti-Christian bigotry,” and offended believers took to social media in droves. Over 30,000 people also called ABC in response to Behar’s comments, and more than 6,000 people began putting pressure on the show’s advertisers.  Behar and “The View,” however, refused to apologize claiming that the remarks were just jokes.

Christians, however, did not find the “joke” funny. Media Research Center President Brent Bozell wrote an open letter calling for an apology and said, “I am sure the advertisers of ‘The View’ will be just as appalled as I am about the anti-Christian remarks made on the show.”

Vice President Pence spoke out against the episode as well. “To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong,” Pence said. “It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.” When the subject came up during an interview with Fox News, Pence stated that the remarks were an insult to Christians everywhere. “To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong,” said Pence. “And it’s an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith.”

Shareholders shared Pence and Bozell’s opinions. In a meeting with investors, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the Behar’s remarks. “What do you say to the tens of millions of Christians, and President Trump supporters, that your networks have so blatantly offended and ascribed hateful labels?” shareholder Justin Danhof asked Iger directly. “Specifically, do you think, like Mrs. Hostin and Mrs. Behar, that the Christian faith is akin to a dangerous mental illness?”

With the pressure mounting, Behar finally offered a public apology on “The View.” She had apologized to Pence over a private phone call, but the Vice President continued to push for an apology to all Christians. On Tuesday, March 12, 2018, Behar said, “I think Vice President Pence is right. I was raised to respect everyone’s religious faith. I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said.”

Some Christians feel her apology was too little, too late, but others feel that it is best to forgive and forget. Which opinion will come to dominate is still unclear.


Pierre-Yves Beaudouin

Women have made incredible achievements in sports over the decades, but one group of women is reaffirming the belief that females can be incredible athletes. Through the rough patches, these girls persevered, worked hard, and stayed dedicated to the team. They didn’t lose their focus and pushed through to make the UConn Women’s Basketball team one to be reckoned with.

Seniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams both have proven to be an all-star athletes for the team. Nurse is in the top 10 on UConn’s career charts in games started and Williams is in the top 10 in rebounds and steals figure to be among the list of their accomplishments. Statistics, while impressive, only scratch the surface of what the women have really contributed to the program.

The duo has helped UConn set NCAA Division I women’s basketball records for longest overall winning streak, longest regular-season streak and most consecutive true road wins with a relentless style of play at both ends of the court. They’ve also done the work off the court as Nurse is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and Williams a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award recognizing excellence on the court, in the classroom and in the community.

The pair has also been an inspiration for the girls below them.

“We have been on this journey together, they are the ones who really help you because the class above you, it is fresh in their mind,” UConn junior forward Napheesa Collier said. “When we were freshmen, they had just gone through that, they talk to us about how to get through the best way and they have been people we have looked up to.

The Huskies won their fifth consecutive AAC championship Tuesday with a 70-54 victory over South Florida at Mohegan Sun Arena. They will head into the NCAA Tournament with a perfect record for the ninth time, with championships in six of those previous eight seasons. UConn is 140-1 in games Williams has played, so there is a chance she could tie former UConn All-Americans Moriah Jefferson and Maya Moore for the Division I women’s record of 150 victories by a player. The task of being a class to carry on the Huskies’ winning ways following the graduation of All-Americans Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck could be their legacy. They could become just the fourth class in UConn and NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to win 150 games.

“It is not just you having a good year, it is you not letting down the 30 years before,” said Williams. “You never want to be that team where that tradition ends, that reign, the empire kind of falls so that is kind of what is on our shoulders.”

The team is taking their success with humility, and understand that they have to continue to work hard to get their desired results. So how do the Huskies continue to have such extended success? Head Coach Geno Auriemma highlighted two key aspects: Putting in extra work and playing selfless basketball. Many coaches will say that but few can extract it from players, and none are doing it with great players like Auriemma and his staff.

“If you just want to be average do average work. If you want to be a little bit above average you do a little more work,” he said. “If you want to get A’s in basketball then you have to do stuff other people aren’t willing to do, especially if you have the talent like we do.”