My kids like getting curricula and books in the mail as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, but they get really excited when we get something like a DVD to review. It seems more like fun than work, and, of course, they never get tired of hearing, "We need to watch this video for school today." So, as you can imagine, they were pleased when a package from FishFlix.com arrived at our door. They were even happier when they opened the package and found a video about the things of God.
Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story is a 30-minute video that briefly touches on the life of the great preacher. It starts in 1708, when his home is engulfed in flames. The majority of the family escapes, but young John gets trapped inside. As the flames and smoke begin to overtake him, he is rescued. His mother tells him that he is a "brand plucked from the fire" (Zechariah 3:2) and that God must have something special planned for him.
John spent the next many years involved in the things of God. He even traveled to America to preach about God, but returned to England after a year and half with no converts and feeling like a failure.
Once home, he visited his brother Charles. It was then that he saw a vast difference in his brother. Charles told him that he had been saved and explained the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. John rejected the difference. How could he, a clergyman, not know God? He reluctantly attended a Bible study, and there accepted the truth of the Gospel.
He determined that God saved him from that fire as a child so he could preach to sinners in need of a Saviour. He and Charles began preaching in churches all over, and each time, the people rejected, throwing them out of the church. In the midst of discouragement, he received an invitation from George Whitfield to "preach in an open field."
He immediately began preaching not in the churches, but to the poor on the streets. The miners in their filthy rags understood about needing a Saviour. People were receptive and many trusted Christ. Not everyone was pleased though. The story goes on to show a little orphan boy who falls and breaks his leg. With no money for medical care, the would be left to suffer. A man offers to pay for the needed help if another man, the boy's friend George, leads a mob to kill John.
In the end, it wasn't only the boy who needed help, but George, as well. He accepts Christ and takes the boy to the Wesleys and their friends to get the help he needs.
In conclusion, the video sums up John's life by mentioning how he and Charles started soup kitchens, schools, and orphanages and provided children with medical care and education. They preached about needing your sins forgiven. In turn, they began the Methodist movement.
As soon as the end credits began to play, my 9-year-old asked, "It's over already?" He had enjoyed the storyline so much that he was disappointed that it ended so quickly. The video (part of the Torchlighters series) was easy to follow and the cartoon characters kept my kids attention. They would have happily sat and watched a full-length movie about the life of John Wesley. When I mentioned that I was getting ready to write my review, my 7-year-old daughter replied, "I'll tell you what I think about it. I just love it. I love it because it's about God." And what more do you need than that?
"Do all the good you can,
In all the ways you can,
To all the souls you can,
In every place you can,
With all the zeal you can,
As long as ever you can."
~ John Wesley ~
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