The War Within on Amazon Prime

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With an Amazon Prime membership, you can now watch our latest movie The War Within for FREE!!! Please help us out and support by watching on Amazon Instant Video. If you have seen it, it’s a great movie to watch over and over to soak in the biblical truth! If you haven’t seen it, here is your chance to watch it for free.  Leave a review and share it with your friends. Help us get the word out and continue to see God move in the hearts of those who watch the film.

WATCH IT NOW by clicking here:   http://amzn.to/2qwShLt

 

Check out The War Within Facebook Page, Brett Varvel’s Facebook Page, and Gary Varvel’s Facebook and Twitter Pages for the latest content.

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Varvel Christmas Letter 2014

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“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

~Job 1:21

As usual before I sit down to write out the yearly Christmas letter, I read the previous year’s letter. The 2013 year was a very exciting year with the completion and premiere of The War Within. This year would only be better with the release of the DVD.  We were ecstatic with the news of a baby boy to arrive in May. At the beginning of 2014, I never would have imagined what this year would bring forth. It still had unknowns, but it looked like it would be another accomplished year.  However, God had a completely different plan than what we had in mind. He had to take away some things to teach us the cost of following Him. He gives AND he takes away.

We started the 2014 year without a consistent income. Due to insufficient funds, House of Grace Films could no longer support Brett financially. However, Brett’s freelance wedding business, Timeless Pictures, was still thriving by God’s grace. Throughout the year, Brett filmed and edited several weddings and corporate videos to meet our financial needs.  The first half of the year I continued to work for Peru Community Schools as their Wellness Advisor/Nutritionist.  However, they lost their wellness grant for the 2014-15 school year and had to let me go.   The last few months of the year we started to become desperate and pulled money from our 6-month emergency fund that we had saved away when Brett and I were both working full-time before Kherington was born.  The Lord provided this money for us 3 years ago for such a time as this!  Even though the Lord took away Brett’s steady paycheck and my supplemental income, He provided the exact amount of money we needed to live by the end of the year.

The Lord revealed our pride in our comfortable living and dependance on money to sustain us. I hated using the emergency fund because it was our “security blanket.” We were prideful that we had that money saved away, and now that it is almost gone we have learned that money does not provide any security. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; He alone is Jehovah-Jireh! “The Lord will provide!”

Even though Brett was not receiving a paycheck from House of Grace Films, it did not mean he could drop all responsibilities. He juggled working to provide through freelance and to continue the work of The War Within.  Brett and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio.  This was The War Within’s first national appearance, and by the grace of God, we came home with 4 awards: Best Feature Film, Best Trailer, Best Gospel Presentation, and the Audience Choice Award.

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Then the day finally came on August 19th: The War Within was released on DVD!  After 5 years, we had a copy in our hands. So many lessons were learned through this process. You can read more on my perspective of a filmmaker’s wife here and here.  We continue to pray that more people will purchase The War Within so that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be spread in a society of unchurched homes.

Shortly after our visit to San Antonio for the film festival, we received the news that Damon had duodenal atresia. When you have a perfectly healthy pregnancy, delivery, and newborn for your first pregnancy, you desire nothing else for all subsequent pregnancies. However, here the Lord took away our sense of control. If you have not already, you can read the rest of Damon’s story here.  May 9th is when the Lord gave us our sweet Damon Emanuel. Even though he had a rough start to life, he is a very happy and healthy baby as if he never had surgery. He is eating solid foods, and of course he decided to learn to crawl while the Christmas tree is up! He has been our reminder this year of Emanuel: “God is with us.”

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Kherington turned 3 in October, and has loved being a big sister. Even before we brought Damon home, she was always excited to go to the “hostible,” even though she only saw him once his entire 3 week stay. She plays with him and is constantly making him laugh. Sometimes she loves him a little too much though!  To add to the stressful year, Kherington definitely pulled out all the “terrible-two” toddler tricks!  The Lord has been humbling us as parents; we cannot raise our children as God commanded apart from His grace on a daily basis.  She is a smart and strong-willed little girl, but we are praying that God will someday use her strong-willed personality to stand up for Truth in this immoral world.

Stress can definitely take a toll on marriages. Brett and I had our moments of disagreement, but again, by God’s grace, we have grown stronger in our marriage because of the trials we faced this year. Brett and I celebrated our 6th year anniversary in July.

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Now, we look forward to the 2015 year.  I have stopped planning my life, because it usually doesn’t turn out as planned!  But we have hope, because God’s plans are always better than anything we could imagine for our lives.  We are praising the Lord for the recent news that Brett will be back on salary for House of Grace Films on January 1st for at least 6 months.  After much praying and raging his own war within the past few months, Brett knows without a doubt that his calling in life is to use the most powerful medium of this age, movies, to share the most powerful message, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Recently the Lord reminded Brett of this passage found in Luke 9: As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’… Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’ ” 

The Lord had to strip away our pride, sense of control, comfort, and security in the things of the world. We were willing to follow Him, BUT as long as we were comfortable and had a place to lay our heads. However, we cannot truly follow Jesus Christ unless we put everything down, don’t look back, and accept His call for us no matter the cost. And the call is to become missionaries. No, we are not physically going to Africa or China, but staying in America to visually tell the Truth of Christ through films, and praying that these films spread throughout the world.  Pray for us as we endeavor to ask individuals and churches to financially support us to accomplish this mission.

We have faith that the Lord will give and take away as He sees fit in the 2015 year.  We have seen God’s sovereignty on our family this 2014 year and how everything that has happened is setting the stage for a bigger plan.  Whatever happens this year, we will say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Brett, Christina, Kherington, and Damon

From the Perspective of a Filmmaker’s Wife – Part 1

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Brett barged through our apartment door slightly out of breath. “I had a vision,” he tells me.

Hmmm. Like Paul had a vision of Jesus on his way to Damascus? I thought.  Brett was coming back from dropping off a Redbox DVD at Walmart before 9pm, which was located next to our apartment complex.

I guess Jesus can reveal himself to us anywhere.

“Ok.” I said instead of revealing my thoughts.  When Brett has his “creative juices” flowing, as he likes to call them, it’s better for me to sit back and listen.

“When I was running to Walmart, I had a vision of Heart running down a hallway.  And then Emotion levitating in the air!”

“Ok.”   Brett has that slight smile and look on his face when I know his right brain is racing a million miles a second. His eyes are wide and he looks at me aching for approval for his creative idea.

He had just recently finished editing The Board, and he was on to the next idea.

I let his “creative juices” flow freely, and now over 5 years later, I’m sitting in front of the TV watching the character Memory, instead of Heart, running down the hallway of the soul, opening the door of Mind’s Theater, and lo and behold, Emotion levitating in the air screaming.

For those who do not know what I’m talking about (although I’m pretty sure you do if you have been paying any attention to our lives the past few years), this is a scene from The War Within.  And now (finally) it’s finished and you can purchase your copy here!

For those who have been paying attention to the production of The War Within, you may be asking, “What took so long?”  Yeah, I know.  Why did it take so long to get here?  Well, for all the reasons it’s taken 4 years from the first draft of the script to the final copy of the DVD in our hands, it sure has been a learning experience.  This was our first endeavor creating a feature film, and the Lord wanted to not only teach us about faith, but also all the do’s and dont’s of starting a non-profit film company, House of Grace Films, and producing a film.

Brett could probably list a thousand lessons that he has learned as Executive Director of HG Films and being the writer, director, producer, editor, AND actor of The War Within, but I thought I’d sit down and write some lessons from my perspective. You know…the WIFE of an Executive Director and director, producer….etc…


Obedience: “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E…Obedience is the very best way to know that you believe! “

It was only a couple weeks before we were married when Brett got a job. He applied for several jobs: a TV station in Illinois? Door closed. A video editing company in Fishers, Indiana? Door closed. A biblical church in Jacksonville, Florida? Door closed. A mega church in Texas? Door closed. The Indianapolis Star as a photo editor?  Door open – at least part way, since it was only a part-time position.  Brett had all this talent as a filmmaker, yet he was working part-time editing pictures.  Why Lord? And of course to widen the blow to his ego, his wife, me of course, was the main provider. Not the way we had in mind starting our marriage.   And THEN, after about six months he was let go because they couldn’t afford the part-time employees.  Again, why Lord?

Well, because God then opened the door so wide that in the next 20 months he was able to start House of Grace Films. During that time, Brett and his dad started the writing process of The War Within.  If we were in Jacksonville, Florida (which was a high possibility) or in Illinois, or if he had a full-time position somewhere, anywhere, HG Films may not exist and The War Within may not have happened by now.

From the moment Brett finished The Board, he knew his mission in this life: to preach the gospel through filmmaking. During those first couple years, we had more questions than answers. There was no money to start a film company and not a lot of knowledge, but God told Brett this is what His will was for him, so he obeyed.  Brett could have fervently looked for a job anywhere in the country after he was let go from The Indianapolis Star, but he didn’t. He actually started his personal business, Timeless Pictures, filming weddings to make some money. But other than that, we had peace that God had us right were he wanted us. Even if that meant I was the main provider, and we didn’t have a lot of money to buy big toys, big houses, big cars, big adventures like our American culture says we must have to be happy. (In fact, we paid off all our debt – $18,000 from my school loans – by the time Brett started House of Grace Films. I believe this was possible by God’s grace and because we were obedient to God).

Brett was obedient to God’s calling and as a result lives are changing by the power of the Gospel through his films.  Are you being obedient to the mission God has called you to do on this earth?


Faith:  “Mind, where is your faith?”

This is a line that Heart asks Mind in the film. And it’s a question our own hearts should be asking.  Where’s your faith? What’s your faith in?  government? a president? our military? money? a great career? your spouse? your obedient kids? None of these things would have helped us get to where we are today.  All of those things are like a vapor. Here and then gone.  But God is eternal. He’s the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He’s the one who helped us raise over half a million dollars to make this film. He is who Brett and I had to get on our knees and cry out to when we had no idea what we were doing.

I’ve heard Brett and his dad talking recently about how if someone told them at the very beginning all that would have happened to get the film completed, they probably would have given up from the start. There was no way they could raise $500,000…get all the hundreds of people to volunteer…work all those hours upon hours…

This is why God doesn’t tell us everything we are going to go through ahead of time when He asks us to do something. Many of us would say, “No way, God.” Like Jonah did when God asked him to preach repentance to the city of Ninevah. And you probably know the story… Jonah got swallowed up by a fish and was spat out 3 days later.  No, thank you. Maybe it is best we don’t know and we immediately obey God’s calling.

As I said above, Brett has been called to preach the gospel through filmmaking. He had no idea what he was doing at first, and that’s why we had to have faith that God would work everything out for His good and His glory. And 4 years later, we are starting to see the fruit of our faith and obedience to God.

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Spring Break in San Antonio

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Brett and I were able to get away for a long weekend in San Antonio, Texas in March.  Brett has been once, but I had never been to the city. San Antonio is beautiful! We got some Texas warmth and a break from the Indiana freezing winter.

Before I get to the main reason we went to San Antonio, here are some pics of us visiting the Alamo. It was a good review in history, and I must confess it made me want to go brush up on some American history!

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Since I’ve been craving meat this entire pregnancy…We had a date night at

Fogo de Chao.

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We went to San Antonio to attend the Christian Worldview Film Festival.  It was the first year of this particular film festival, and The War Within was selected as one of the feature films.  The film was shown 3 times. Here is Brett answering questions at one of the showings.

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After each of the showings, Brett probably answered questions for at least 10-15 minutes, and then people came up to us afterwards to continue asking more questions and complimenting the film.

Brett had the great opportunity to meet our Sales Agent for the War Within: Rich Christiano. He’s a very successful Christian filmmaker who shares our passion: reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are very blessed to have him a part of this project.

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We were eligible for 4 awards at this film festival.  Brett kept telling me not to get my hopes up so I wouldn’t be disappointed if we didn’t win anything. However as I sat there before the ceremony started, I thought and prayed, “Surely, Lord, we will win at least 1?!”

There were a total of 13 awards presented. The Best Trailer award was the third award handed out. And sure enough, The War Within won it!  If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, see it here.

Then we sat off to the side as the rest of the awards were handed out.  The last 3 awards were Best Feature Film, Best Gospel Presentation, and Audience Choice Award.  And yes, as you may already know, The War Within won all three.

CWFF 2 CWFFWe were humbled by all 4 awards.  In our opinion, the best award we received was the Gospel Presentation award. That means that the gospel was clear, and that was our goal when making the film.  I must say, we were a little embarrassed to have received all 4 awards, especially the last 3 in a row. Yet, when we walked to the platform for the 4th time for the Audience Choice Award, the audience gave us a standing ovation.  But all praise and glory goes to God!!!  They were standing for Him and what He has done through our willingness to follow and obey His leading.

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The entire trip was overwhelming, to say the least. The response was so positive and encouraging; we walked away speechless and in awe of God’s goodness and confirmation that we are following His will.  We were also thankful to have met so many people. What moved us the most was those who asked us to pray with them because the film touched them in some way.  One teenager wanted to pray with Brett because he felt like he was Michael in the film; his relationship with Christ was more of the Mind rather the Heart.  A woman came to me in tears asking me to pray for her husband who after 20 years of pastoring, has walked away from Jesus and her family.

This is why Brett and I are involved in this ministry of Christian filmmaking: to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to change hearts towards Him.  And this is only the beginning!  We continue to pray and wait on the Lord’s timing as we begin the process of marketing and distribution. If you haven’t already, “Like” our page on Facebook: The War Within Movie or follow us on Twitter: @TWWmovie.          You will receive updates on distribution, how you can get a screening at your church this Summer, and when and where you can buy the movie when it is released (probably Fall 2014)!

Pray with us please.  And if you feel led to give to the project financially, go to the House of Grace Films website for more information.

Oh, and we had to purchase a bag to fit all our awards for the plane trip back!

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A kid was so excited about the film that he went home and made Lego men out of the 6 soul members in the film!

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(Conscience, Heart, Will, Memory, Mind, Emotion)

To see what my friend Megan’s up to this Spring, check her blog out at Meg’s Five.

Varvelicious Begins

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Welcome to Varvelicious.  My name is Christina and I am married to my wonderful husband, Brett.  We’ve been married for 5 years now, yet together as a couple for 11 years. Yes, high school sweethearts going strong!  We currently have one daughter, Kherington Mae (2), and another child on the way due in May 2014!  We live in Indianapolis, making Brett an IU basketball fan (insert puke here from me…the Purdue graduate), and of course committed Colts fans (while still rooting for Peyton Manning…except when Broncos play Colts)!

I am a Stay-at-Home Mom and wouldn’t change it. Do we make sacrifices to do so? You bet. Still wouldn’t change it.  While “Mommy” may be one of my most important and time-consuming roles, I am also a Registered Dietitian (RD), passionate about nutrition and helping people glorify God through eating.  I currently am the Nutritionist/Wellness Advisor for the Peru Community School Corporation in Peru, Indiana. I love this job because it is very part-time (I control my hours) and can do most of it from home (working before Kherington wakes up in the morning or during nap time).

I’ll tell you a little about Brett since I’ll be posting a lot on what he does. He is the Executive Director of House of Grace Films, Inc., a non-profit organization. House of Grace Films is dedicated to producing biblically based films with excellence to further the Great Commission. More on this in posts to come. Lots of big things happening!  Until then, check out the website and/or Facebook page.

Well, I could keep going, but I guess you will have to continue to come back to check out what’s happening in the Varvelicious household. (Sign up to receive email updates on the left).

Will I have a theme in this blog? Probably not. Our life is random as we “run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  And a very creative writer once said, “You write what you know.”  So that’s my theme; I’ll write about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, my family, and my passions, because that’s what I know best.