Month: April 2017

Meet the screenwriter of The Case for Christ Movie

Our special guest is Brian Bird, a 30-year veteran of the Hollywood film and television business. He is the co-producer and screenwriter of the hit Christian film The Case for Christ, a movie about the life of Lee Strobel. Brian Bird’s mission as a writer, producer and media professional is to create high-caliber life-affirming, uplifting entertainment projects.

Brian is co-founder and partner with Michael Landon, Jr., of Believe Pictures, specializing in life-and-faith-affirming films and television. His most recent writing and executive-producing credits include the 2015 Paramount feature films, “Captive,” “The Ultimate Life” (2013) for 20th Century Fox, along with the TV film, “Beverly Lewis’ The Reckoning” for the Hallmark Channel (2015). Additionally, he serves as executive producer and head writer of the Hallmark original series, “When Calls the Heart,” (2014-15). Prior to that, he wrote and produced “Beverly Lewis’ The Confession” (2013) and “The Shunning” (2011), both for Hallmark; “Gametime” for NBC (2011); “Not Easily Broken” (2009), adapted from the novel by T.D. Jakes, for Sony/Screen Gems; “Saving Sarah Cain” (2008) and Francine Rivers’ “The Last Sin Eater” (2007) for 20th Century Fox.

In addition to “Captive,” the untold true story of 2005’s Atlanta hostage crisis, he is adapting and producing “The Boy From Baby House 10,” based on the internationally acclaimed true story and book, in partnership with Footprint Films, and “The Nazarene,” a 6-hour mini-series on the life of Christ. Between 1998-2003, Bird served as co-executive producer and writer on the final five seasons on the series “Touched by an Angel.” His TV series writing and producing credits include more than 250 episodes of “When Calls the Heart,” “Touched By an Angel,” ‘Evening Shade,” “Step by Step” and “The Family Man,” as well as pilots for ABC, NBC and Showtime.

Bird’s other film credits include the Morgan Freeman-directed “Bopha!” (1993) for Paramount Pictures, the Hallmark Hall of Fame drama “Captive Heart” (1996), and “Call Me Claus,” the highest rated cable film of 2003 for TNT. He has also written screen adaptations of “In Silence” for Paramount Pictures, “Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation” for TNT, “Before Time Runs Out” for Fox, “The Deaths of Sybil Bolton” for CBS and “A Dirty Business” for HBO. He graduated with a degree in journalism from California State University at Fullerton in 1980. Prior to his work in Hollywood, Bird was a staff reporter for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and then served as Director of Public Relations for World Vision. During that time, he also wrote widely in the Christian press, including news and cover stories for Christianity Today magazine.

His blog is a vibrant, creative exchange serving thousands of new screenwriters on the art of story and the craft of screen writing with free tools, tips and training. As a longtime member of Saddleback Church, Brian has also served Pastor Rick Warren in a variety of media consulting roles. Brian’s best productions to date are his five children with his wife, Patty, of 34 years. Visit his website at

Discovering your blind spots to reach your ministry potential

Our special guest is Dr. Terry Linhart, author of the book The Self-Aware Leader: Discovering Your Blind Spots to Reach Your Ministry Potential.

You’ve studied what you think you need to know before entering a career in ministry. Is there anything that is more important than knowing about hermeneutics, homiletics, theology, exegesis, and everything else you have likely learned in seminary and church ministry so far? Yes, there is. How well do you know yourself? You need to build your ministry career on the right foundation of an objective understanding of self. If you don’t comprehend your strengths and weaknesses, then you won’t be fully prepared to enter the crucible of ministry. Serving as a pastor is one of the toughest calls there is. But it can also be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding, especially if you have taken the time to examine both your gifts and vulnerabilities. The church needs leaders who have the clear-eyed courage to pursue the hardest part of the ministry journey: seeing yourself. The Self-Aware Leader will help you to do just that.

Dr. Terry Linheart is also a speaker, consultant, and professor of Christian ministries at Bethel College in South Bend, Indiana. For over twenty-five years, Terry has led and taught about topics related to Christian ministry and organizational oversight. His youth ministry experience includes eight years in parachurch ministry with Youth for Christ and seven years as youth pastor at Hope Missionary Church in Bluffton, Indiana. He has taught at Asbury Theological Seminary, North Park University, Huntington College, Taylor University, and Alliance Graduate School in Quezon City, Philippines.

You can visit his website and

How to have God conversations with others

Our special guest is Dr. Tim Muehlhoff, co-author of the book God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith. Our beliefs are challenged from many directions. Every day it seems more difficult to explain to our friends, families and neighbors what we believe and why. When our ideas and arguments fail to persuade them, what then? Is there another approach we can take?

In The God Conversation veteran apologists and communicators J. P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff say that often the best way to win over others is with a good story. Stories have the ability to get behind our preconceptions and defenses. They can connect both emotionally and intellectually, appealing to the whole person rather than just to the mind. How do we defend belief in a good God in the face of terrorist attacks or natural disasters? What can we say to show we are not arrogant to believe that Jesus is the only way with so many sincere people following other world religions? What if they think we are naive to say Jesus actually rose from the dead? And when they seem confident in their right to choose their own ethical stances, how can we help them appreciate the value of a universal standard of right and wrong found in the Bible?

The authors offer a wealth of penetrating illustrations, examples and quotes that respond to these issues and more. In these pages they enhance the logic and evidence found in other books defending the faith, with things that your friends, relatives or coworkers will ponder long after a conversation is over. Here is sound, empathetic coaching for those of us who long to communicate our faith more effectively.

A Christian exploration of the Qur’an

Our special guest is Mark Anderson, author of The Qur’an in Context: A Christian Exploration. For most Westerners, the Qur’an is a deeply foreign book. Christians who venture within this sacred scripture of Islam encounter a world where echoes of biblical figures and themes resound. But the Qur’an speaks in accents and forms that defy our expectations. For it captures an oral recitation of an open-ended drama, one rooted in seventh-century Arabia. Its context of people, events and ideas strikes us not only as poetically allusive but as enigmatic. And yet the Qur’an and its contested interpretations scroll in shadowed text between the headlines of our daily news.

In The Qur’an in Context Mark Anderson offers a gateway into the original world and worldview of the Qur’an. With keen attention to the Qur’an’s character, reception and theology, he opens up a hermeneutical space for Christians and others to engage its fabric of religious claims. The Qur’an’s theology, anthropology, soteriology, spirituality as well as its portrayal of Jesus are all carefully examined. Finally, the Qur’an’s claim to be the Bible’s sequel is probed and evaluated.

Forthright in Christian conviction and yet sympathetically open to dialogue, The Qur’an in Context is a reliable guide for those who want to explore the holy book of Islam in its varied facets.