Review: Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story from FishFlix.com

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I’m rather picky about the media my family consumes.  In our home television and movie time is actually pretty rare.  We save TV time for educational shows that align with our studies or for the occasional reward.  Sometimes I like to share classic movies with my children just for some fun family time. Sometimes we really enjoy something that helps us build our Christian faith.  Well done faith-based selections can be a bit tricky to find so I was excited to hear about a company called FishFlix.com.  They sent us  Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story for review.

FishFlix.com is all about quality Christian movies for families.  Not only do they have a selection of children’s movies but they also carry comedies, dramas, historical selections, biographies and more. Perfect for family time or study time. 

john wesley_zpsuzhewumnOur family has a great joy for studying missionaries so Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story was the perfect fit for us.  This DVD is part of a series from the Christian History Institute and is intended for children ages 8-12.  Three of kids ages 4-9 all very much enjoyed watching this film.  They were already familiar with the Torchlighter’s series and were thrilled to have the opportunity to watch another one.  John Wesley is a missionary we hadn’t studied before so they were especially eager to learn about someone new.

The 30 minute video portion starts right out with great drama.  Little John Wesley is saved from his burning home! His family rightly praises God for such kindness as to save their son.  They tell little John that God must have some big plan for his life.  This sets the stage for a life where John Wesley grows up feeling as if he has to prove himself to God and be worthy of his great rescue.

John Wesley spends his life trying to live by rules and be what I think of as the perfect Christian.  He does everything he thinks he is supposed to do and often is met with frustration when his plans don’t turn out right.  He lives with the guilt of his rescue as if he wasn’t good enough to deserve it and his life isn’t turning out to be worth it.  Eventually John Wesley comes to a greater knowledge of what his faith actually means.  He allows God’s grace to fill him and transform his life.  Finally he is following God’s will and truly great things do start to happen.

John begins to share how we are all sinners and in desperate need of God’s grace.  Traditional churches aren’t a big fan of this message and they begin to literally kick him out of their assemblies.  It is then that John Wesley begins preaching in fields and bringing this life changing message to people who have no doubt of their own sins.  Many people begin to receive God’s love and so begins John Wesley’s life long ministry.

This DVD doesn’t stop here.  Once the story is done there is much more to take in.  There is a nearly hour long documentary about John Wesley and the beginning of what was eventually called The Methodist Movement that came out of his ministry.  There are study guides that you can access by inserting the DVD into your computer or by downloading them from the Torchlighter’s website.

A Powerful Resource

This story was just the absolute perfect resource to start a conversation with my children about how it is not through our good works that we are saved.  That we don’t really deserve to be saved because everyone is a sinner but how God loves us so much that covers us in His grace.  We talked about how even if we think we are doing God’s work if we aren’t following His will for our lives not much fruit is likely to come from it.  I love using powerful real life people, Godly people, who like everyone else struggled in some way with their faith and yet God used their lives for His purpose.  I think these lessons are incredibly valuable… and they strengthen my own faith too.

The Study Guide

The Study Guide included on the DVD are a great bonus. It is 25 pages long and includes coloring pages, a design your own coat of arms page, scripture word searches, puzzles, and discussion questions.  I printed some of the page for my children to try out and over all they enjoyed the activities.  They are a nice jumping off point for your own family studies.

The Documentary

The longer documentary of John Wesley’s live and the Methodist movement is certainly geared more toward adults than children. However my older children (ages 7 and 9) still enjoyed it and learned much from it.  They focused a little more on John’s mother Suzanna Wesley.  She has a pretty inspiring story of her own as the mother of 19 children (10 of which survived).  Her spiritual example to her children is something I can aspire to.

Overall

FishFlix.com is an excellent source of Christian media for entertainment and study.  I know I’ll be using them as a resource in the future.  Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story is a high quality DVD that is sure to enhance any study of missionaries.  My children adore the Tourchlighters series and after we watched John Wesley we went and purchased 3 more videos in the series.  They are all fantastic.  

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