Idol Chatter

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells of the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri, the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

Check out the official trailer now.

kirk cousins

Keith Allison/

Kirk Cousins has been in talks with the Redskins for almost two years, discussing and negotiating terms of a contract. Washington offered Cousins a long-term deal which included $53 million in guarantees, however Cousins turned down the offer.

Cousins has elected to pay out the 2017 on a one-year deal. While speaking at Liberty University’s convocation, Cousin explained he made the choice because he believes it was God’s plan for him.

“I prayed about it and said, ‘Lord, what do you want to do?’ I just didn’t feel at peace about signing a long-term contract. I think the Lord communicates with us in many ways, and one of those ways is through His peace. And I just didn’t feel at peace.”

“And I do believe that the Lord, at least in my life, likes to use one-year contracts and not long-term contracts. He likes to take me to the edge of the Red Sea and have me see there is water in front of me, there are mountains on either side, and there are Egyptians chasing me from behind. And He wants me to sit there for a moment and go, ‘God, You better show up.’ And then He parts the Red Sea and He’s done that time and again in my life, on the football field and off the football field.”

Cousins is openly a man of faith and felt his calling was not to commit to Washington for the long haul. At least this seems to be his mindset right now, and this has been a strategy he has used in the past.

Going year to year in terms of contracts can be risky, but the choices have made Cousins rich. He made a little over $19.9 million in 2016 to be the league’s highest-paid quarterback. He retained the title in 2017 as well. Cousins finished the 2016 season as the third-highest rated quarterback in the league. We will see where God leads him to once the 2017 NFL season concludes.

Watch Cousins’ full speech below.

Pastor Greg Laurie is a motorcycle fanatic and lover of leather jackets. He’s also a fan of movie icon Steve McQueen. In his book, The Salvation of an American Icon, Laurie partnered with a McQueen expert (Marshall Terrill) and together they share the untold story of the Hollywood legend’s troubled upbringing and how he gave his life to Christ in his final days. McQueen was complicated and lived a life in the fast lane which included sex, drugs and breaking the law. He reportedly interviewed women for films that didn’t exist and had sex with groupies on set. Professionally McQueen was a horror to work with and reportedly had temper tantrums over scripts, lines and even jeans. Actor James Garner lived below him and McQueen urinated out the window onto Garner’s balcony every night for the heck of it.

McQueen was a bad boy alright, but his life took a detour in his final moments where he committed his life to Christ. Laurie discovered this in 2016 and wanted to find if the rumors were true–and they were. McQueen died as a born-again Christian in 1980 at the age of 50.

Pastor Leonard DeWitt was the pastor who led McQueen to Christ as Laurie shared in the autobiography. “I said, ‘Each one of us is different. But God has a tailor-made plan for each of us,'” DeWitt recalled. “And he grinned and said, ‘You want to know if I am born again, don’t you?’ And then he said, ‘Remember the Sunday that you invited people that wanted to receive Christ. When you gave that invitation, he said that is when I accepted Christ.'” DeWitt asked McQueen if he had accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. He told DeWitt he felt convicted by the Spirit and came forward. “When you invited people to pray with you to receive Christ, I prayed. So yes, I’m a born-again Christian.”

According to the book, the Rev. Billy Graham met with McQueen before he flew to Mexico for surgery in November 1980.

“I know they had a lengthy meeting where they talked in depth about a lot of things in Steve’s life,” Laurie said. “Billy was really impacted by Steve and felt his conversion was genuine because all Steve wanted to talk about was his faith.”

McQueen was growing spiritually as a Christian for about 6 months said, Laurie. He was meeting with DeWitt for an hour each week for intense Bible study. “He knew he had a great platform to reach people and was thinking about what he could do with it, but wanted to grow spiritually first and then he wasn’t feeling well. He went for a checkup in the hospital and found out he was in the final stages of cancer. They told him to get his affairs in order.”

In typical McQueen fashion, he rebelled against what he was told by doctors and sought unorthodox treatment after being told his heart couldn’t take chemo treatment. He checked into a small Juarez clinic under the assumed name of “Sam Shepard.” McQueen however, knew he might not survive so he requested to meet Graham. They met and spent a lot of time together and they talked about the Lord. When McQueen forgot his Bible, Graham offered it to him. It’s inscribed: “To my friend Steve McQueen: May God bless you and keep you.” Graham added the Scripture found in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

McQueen’s surgery was successful and the tumors they removed out of his body were the size of softballs. The doctor collapsed from exhaustion from the surgery.  McQueen survived surgery but died in the recovery room after experiencing a heart attack.

When they pulled the sheet back from his body, they found him clutching the Bible Graham had given him. “This Bible was obviously very precious to him,” added Laurie. “And his faith was very real to him.

During McQueen’s last meetings with Pastor DeWitt, he said, “My only regret in life was that I was not able to tell others about what Jesus Christ did for me.”

The takeaway from McQueen’s story is we are not too far gone to be reached by God. We look at people and think they have everything in the world to make them happy. Sometimes the people who have it all are the most unhappy. They realize those things don’t deliver them peace. McQueen had fame, women, money and people doing his bidding. Yet, this was never enough to fill the gaping hole felt in his heart until he obtained contentment in Christ.

In a joint effort between Erwin Brothers Entertainment and Laurie, a documentary on the “King of Cool” will be released on Sept. 28 through Fathom Events.

Producer and director Jon Erwin said, “This film will be a one-night, nationwide cinematic event that will invade hundreds, perhaps a thousand theaters this fall. And most importantly, it will create an opportunity for Pastor Greg to use the story of how Steve McQueen found redemption and hope, and offer that same gospel message to the live theater audience.”

McQueen starred in “The Great Escape (1963),” “Papillon (1973),” “The Sand Pebbles (1966),” “Hell Is for Heroes (1962),” “The Blob (1958),” and “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

“McQueen was the highest-paid actor of his era,” said Laurie. “He was the epitome of ‘cool’ yet few people know that late in his life.”

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princess-dianaDiana, Princess of Wales, was famous for her beauty, sense of fashion, and her transition as a young 20-year-old into a determined, savvy women after marrying into the royal family. However it was Diana’s reputation for working endlessly on behalf of charitable causes that has kept her in the hearts of people around the world since her early passing due to a car accident on August 31, 1997.

She was in a unique position to help, not just because of status and fame. Diana had a passion for giving not because it was a tradition of the royal family, but instead because she had a sincere desire to help others. Diana, who suffered tremendously with bulimia, depression and anxiety in the years after she married Prince Charles, was able to empathize well with others who were suffering.

Princess Diana often reached out to the outcasts of society and did so fearlessly and with compassion. She was led to work with victims of HIV, AIDS and leprosy and was the first member of the royal family to touch a person suffering with HIV/AIDS without gloves. At the time, it was believed the disease could be transmitted through touch. Princess Diana demonstrated that she cared by taking patients hands during difficult times. The gesture went on to become a global sensation, and changed how people thought about the disease.

“I think the biggest disease this world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved,” she said in an interview with BBC in 1995. “I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day,for a month-I’m very happy to do that and I want to do that.”

In her lifetime, Princess Diana helped over 100 charities. Two decades after Princess Diana’s untimely death, her sons are continuing to carry on her passion for giving.

Princes Harry and William and William’s wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, all have come together in their philanthropic efforts. Prince Harry is currently a patron of the Halo Trust, the world’s largest humanitarian min clearance organization, which Princess Diana also worked with during her time on earth.

Prince William is patron of Centrepoint, a homeless hostel to which Diana brought her sons for visits when they were children. Princess Diana spent time instilling the importance of helping others in her two boys. “I want them to have an understanding of people’s emotions, people’s insecurities, people’s distress and people’s hopes and dreams,” she said of her sons.

It’s evident that Princess Diana go through to her boys. The princes’ have embraced a transparency about giving back that has never been seen from the royal family before. In July 2016, Prince Harry was tested for HIV in a live video broadcast in an effort to destigmatize the disease. The video was said to be a groundbreaking moment by HIV charities.

In addition, Prince William became the first member to appear on the cover of a gay publication following the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In the issue, William was quoted saying, “No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason. You should be proud of the person  you are, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Continuing their mother’s legacy, William and Harry along with Kate have spearheaded the charity Heads Together, which focuses on opening up the conversation about mental health. Princess Diana was very open about her struggles with mental health and become the first person in the royal family to be openly tearful, which gave her sons the courage to do the same. This year, Harry broke the royal family’s code of silence and opened up about his personal life, stating he suffered mentally following his mother’s death.

In 2012, the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry absorbed the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. This fund, established in 1997, was meant to further Diana’s mission of helping the outcasts of society and “unfashionable” causes. So far, 47,000 people around the world have recieved the Diana Award, presented to young people aiming to improve the lives of others. There is a whole new generation of people who are carrying on her work to change the world for the better.

Dana once said,”Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” She could never have predicted how her sons and their loved ones would come to embody this sentiment as passionately as she did. But today, they continue to live out her legacy and provide help to those who need it most.