No Need for a Machete Through This Jungle

Where do I begin?

It began in high school.
I had a small part to play in a community film project. A youth anti-tobacco campaign. We were spoofing the popular The X-Files TV series and I played the part of an informant, assisting the special agents on assignment against Big Tobacco.

I was bitten by the bug.
I wanted to “be in film.”
As a writer. Or a director. Someone who could control the story. I would produce stories that shed the Light of the Gospel to darkened hearts of men.

But that was high school. My dreams went bust.
In college I majored in Creative Writing and did not go to film school. Close, but no cigar, as they say. Instead I heard a still small voice: “You won’t have to machete your way through this jungle. Trust in Me.”

There were many false starts and promises. Plenty of opportunities to forsake the commandment to “have no other gods before Me,” and instead place my dreams in the hands of another besides God.

Rare internship opportunities at a Christian film studio in Hollywood. After that, another internship at a major film studio in Hollywood. Secular. Bigger. Better. More potential to “make it big.”

All the while, was I forgetting His words, “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted, and whoever exalts himself will be humbled”?

In the end I returned to my original course. The one I had been inspired to take when I was a sixth-grader: To become a youth pastor.

I graduated college. Started seminary. Turned in applications to local churches.
I was slowly letting go of the False Promises of “making it big in Hollywood.” Instead, I was reclaiming my right as a child of the One who was born in a manger. Jesus peeled away the desirous things in my life that would only serve to distract me and drew my attention back to Him.

Painful as it was, I surrendered. I let go of the many machetes. And I held His Hands and allowed myself to be led by the One who had been through this Jungle called Life On Earth, two-thousand years ahead of me.

That’s when I saw…a website. It read:

“Marchiano Ministries…an exclusive agreement with IBS…to bring to film The Gospel According to John in the NIV…”

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I had first been introduced to Marchiano Ministries when I was in high school, watching an infomercial about the film Matthew. I waited and waited for the prices to go down. I collected and collected what little allowance money I got. By the time I got a hold of the movie, it was already the late 1990’s and a new video format became available—the DVD. In the intervening time until I could afford to get Matthew, I picked up Bruce’s [Bruce Marchiano, the actor who portrayed Jesus in the film Matthew] book In the Footsteps of Jesus and soaked in the testimonies on set. Soaked in the love of Jesus so deeply experienced by this actor/missionary.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. John was finally coming to film.
I got so excited, I quickly drew up a kind of poster for John that I thought would look great on the MarchMin website to promote the new film project. I emaled it to MarchMin.

Wonder of wonders, a few days later I actually got a response from someone named Sharon, saying they really liked the poster and were interested in possibly using it.

We kept corresponding over email, as I was sending in different versions of the initial poster design, making adjustments per Sharon’s request.

Then, a strange, unbelievable email came from Sharon: “Can you send me your phone number, Bruce would like to meet with you.”

I met Bruce at a small family restaurant in Burbank, CA on a Saturday afternoon in mid-November of 2005. During our long 4-hour conversation about all things Jesus and all things Ministry and all things Film and all things The Salvation Of Souls, I heard a whisper of a reminder in my heart:

“You won’t have to machete your way through this jungle…just surrender your dreams to Me and I will bring you through into Kingdom adventure after Kingdom adventure…that you might glorify Me…You have waited for a John film from MarchMin for nearly 10 years. So has Bruce. This is a moment I have arranged. I planted a dream in your heart you couldn’t fathom, so you never even asked Me for it in prayer. But, this is a moment I have arranged. Ten years I had Bruce carry this burden to bring The Gospel According to John to film. Ten years it took for you, my child, to grow in faith. To deepen in your trust in Me. To come to a place of surrender where I could use you.”

And He still speaks.
After that first Saturday meeting, the next day, a Sunday, I preached in front of a group of thirty middle-schoolers. I am their pastor today.

This Journey With Jesus continues.

Jim Elliot, the missionary to an Amazon tribe, once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Maybe this is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Our journey into the heart of the Savior deepens as we pray and as we labor with the Holy Spirit to bring John to the screen and Jesus into the hearts of many.

This “John Blog” will chronicle that journey. If Jesus ever ran for President, I wonder what His campaign slogan would have been? Can I take a wild guess? “Pick Up Your Cross And Follow Me!”

Follow our progress, as I share our Journey-with-Jesus stories on Making The Film: The Official Blog for The Gospel According to John.


LN said...

I guess someone has to be first...soo..I never cease to be amazed at how our Lord works...I am so sure that there are so many others out "there" in whom God has placed His vision for John.I know that from the first time I saw Matthew,I knew there had to be a John.I am so happy to see this coming to pass.BLESSINGS !!!LN

Melanie said...

What a nice surprise to find an email from MarchMin leading me to this blog. I am so excited to see John finally come to film! The moment I saw "Matthew", I knew "John" had to be next. I look forward to coming here and checking out the progress. What a privilege to give and pray for such a project as this! God bless.

Karen said...

His faithfulness is PERFECT!

Anonymous said...

This is great! Thanks for the work you put into this Blogg! I am very excited and more encouraged now to see how the Lord is working in people. It's just great to see how God works in so many people round the world! Keep us posted re other things we can do MarchMin! Bless you all for your obedience and faith!

Jen K.Blue said...

I am very excited to hear about John. I have to tell you, Matthew touched my heart and yet I know that JOHN will reach aspects and depths of my soul that I didn't know existed!
Marchiano Ministries is so awesome. I love reading about John, about their work, about their faithfullness.
Also, I think I need to add that I'm not a real...well gaggy sort. Meaning I don't relate to people who go off screaming and yelling on stage or whatever (I am not knocking it really, if it feels right to you than go for it!!). I am passionate about my faith and I am very choosy about who I give my regard (and if it's a ministry my financial support) to because if it seems a little to "fake" or as I said "gaggy" or over the top, then it's not about Jesus at all. It's not about souls or His love and if I'm going to support it or look to it, it HAS to be about HIM and HIS will and HIS love and HIM HIM HIM!!
Well, let me tell you, Marchiano Ministries has my vote 100% HANDS DOWN because no one keeps it real like Bruce and his team. I love reading updates on their work and how the Lord is doing amazing things. When I am able I don't hesitate for one second to send some financial support their way because I KNOW they are honest and genuine to his will. If you don't believe me, check out Bruce's website or the website for John yourselves and you will see what I mean. It's different. It's real and it's worthwhile.
I'm a tough cookie, a real hard sell...believe me when I say if you haven't checked it out yet, then do so now, your life will change...not because Marchiano Ministries is so fantastic (well, they are too...) but because they are so faithful, that you can go there and say "WOW! the LORD is fantastic!". www.brucemarchiano.com (the link to JOHN is on the homepage!)
I can't wait for JOHN to be done, my heart thumps like crazy and my soul sings with joy. Thank you Bruce and everyone at MarchMin for answering His call and following His will! ((((HUGS))))).
Jennifer in Canada

Anonymous said...

It's pretty amazing how He brings people together, isn't it? And it's going to be so neat to see what happens next, here on the blog! For some time now I've joined in on the excitement of waiting to see "John" come to fruition. Ronald my friend, I for one look forward to reading alot more from you! Be blessed! ~ Kris in Wa.

follower said...

What an awesome new opportunity to share in the "joy of the journey" with others... can't begin to express how MarchMin has been an encouragement to my family...thank you Ronald for your willingness to use your skills to touch others..


Anonymous said...

Hi Ronald,

I know this is off subject but couldn't post the other days...plus, I think that Bruce would like for us to share what we're doing to get the word out about "John".

What I've been doing, along with friends, is this...emailed Christian radio and TV programs re "John" with a brief background of Marchiano Ministries and followed it up with a postcard to each...posted "John" postcards on bulletin boards at colleges and businesses, ie. grocery stores, urgent care, the vet, etc...gave postcards out at our churches and mailed postcards to other churches in our respective areas...gave some postcards to Christian bookstores to place on their counters...I shared a little in some Christian chat rooms...at Amazon and others, where they ask you to review or make comments on a specific movie, I commented on "Matthew" and added that "John" was coming next but needed support. Next, I'll try news outlets--especially Fox News-- and Christian publications.

That's about it for now. I know we all lift up Bruce and his father in prayer...

In Jesus,

Trish said...

Ever since I heard Bruce speak at Kingdom Bound at Six Flags Darien Lake (Western New York), I have been so blessed just by who Bruce is, and his love for the LORD. I wept as I read his book, In the Footsteps of Jesus, and couldn't wait to hear him speak again. Through the years, I have prayed that Bruce's dream of doing JOHN would come to fruition. Praise Jesus, it finally is beginning to happen! Ron, I am so glad that God is using you in Bruce's life and in the lives of so many others. May we all learn to be obedient with patience to what God has for each of us to do. I can't wait for JOHN to be a filmed reality. Praise God!!

The Gospel According to John said...

to trish -

welcome to the adventure! JOHN is one for the entire family of God :-)