Serving Others

If you read Acts chapter 6 about Stephen’s ministry, you find that he was full of God’s grace and power. While he waited tables, he did miracles among the people.

Do you suppose Stephen looked his customers as if they were Jesus himself? Can you imagine focusing on God while you do your job instead of allowing the usual customer complaints to get you down?

Stephen served as if he were serving the Lord.

For more on keeping a generous attitude, read this week’s devotional post on Seek God With Me.

What Sarah Saw by Margaret Daley

Dr. Jocelyn Gold dated FBI agent Sam Pierce last year when she lived in New Orleans. After a devastating end to a case she had worked on with him, Jocelyn moved back to where she grew up to start a private practice. She left New Orleans, a failed case, and a failed relationship behind her.

She wants to help children who have gone through emotional trials because she knows what that was like. She was overwhelmed with anger and gave her dad a hard time after her mother died when she was young. Jocelyn’s new home and new business gave her opportunities to renew old friendships, like with her friend Leah Farley.

What was a quirky little town becomes a creepy little town when Jocelyn finds out that Earl Farley is gone – dead, in fact. His wife Leah is gone too, only no one knows where she is.

Sam and Jocelyn work to piece together the puzzle of where Leah went and why. In their struggle to understand the clues to Earl’s death and Leah’s disappearance, they take the time to renew what’s left of their own fragile relationship. She loves Sam, but she doesn’t want to, especially since she knows he’ll leave again after the case is solved. She hopes it’s solved soon.

Leah’s daughter, Sarah, might have seen the person who killed her father. Getting information from someone so young is tricky. She knows something, but she’s not talking.

Sarah was taken from her home since it's a crime scene. For now, she's homeless. Her temporary home is her uncle Clint’s house until Leah is found. And then maybe Sarah can relax.

But until then, Jocelyn and Sam want to know what Sarah saw.


On my Seek God With Me blog, I’m revisiting the first chapter of Isaiah.

The widow and the orphan are important to God, so he put the command to help those two groups in several places in the Bible. Isaiah chapter one is just one of those places.

If you know of a women’s shelter, a homeless shelter, or an orphanage that needs volunteers, you might be the perfect fit for that service opportunity. If you don’t know of a shelter or orphanage, there are plenty of other opportunities to help those who need it. Ask your church if there is a list of elderly people who need small chores done around their home. Maybe you could replace burned out light bulbs or weed a flower bed. Even if you only spend an hour visiting in a nursing home, that’s still a blessing to them.

Find out where you can volunteer in your area. You might be surprised at the results of your encouragement.

My Man Godfrey, 1936

A scavenger hunt brings socialite sisters face-to-face with derelicts and bums. The Bullock family enjoys the competition. They find nothing wrong with dragging homeless men away from the city dump so they can win their game. It’s all in fun, of course. But Godfrey doesn’t like how the wealthy treat people of misfortune. The Bullock sister who found Godfrey convinces him to work at their home as the family’s butler. He brings a steady head to the home, but keeps secrets from them.

William Powell was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his work in the title role. Carole Lombard was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for the part of Irene Bullock. Mischa Auer played the freeloading musician and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Alice Brady played Angelica Bullock and was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Gregory La Cava was nominated for the Best Director Oscar. Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind were nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay.

In the year the supporting actor categories were introduced, this film made an impression by being the first movie to ever receive four acting nominations. It’s also the only movie to be overlooked for Best Picture, while receiving nominations for all four acting awards and for writing and directing. No other movie has received those six nominations and lost them all.

William Powell and Carole Lombard were married for 2 years, ending the marriage in 1933. Even though they’d been divorced for three years when filming began, Powell claimed Lombard was the only actress suitable for the role of Irene.

Carole Lombard was awarded the Medal of Freedom after dying in a plane crash on her way home from Indiana on a war bond tour. President Roosevelt awarded the medal to Lombard posthumously since she was the first woman killed in the line of duty in WWII.


The Watoto children’s choir from Uganda, singing in bright costumes and cheery smiles, has been touring the good ol’ USA. They are so young, and yet have been through more tragedy than most people I know. My husband and son saw this choir when they were at our church two years ago. I heard the leader of the children’s home speak to our church on a different date. He blessed us with stories of how the children settle into families with others whose families had been taken away.

You can go to their web site and get more information about how to help them build loving homes for widows and orphans.

See my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, for more on how God sets the lonely in families.

Roman Holiday, 1953

What if you were where you weren’t supposed to be?

A princess flees her rigid responsibilities and keeps her identity a secret for as long as she can, spending the night in borrowed pajamas and in a borrowed bed. Not exactly homeless, but certainly away from home, and away from her home away from home. Depending on the goodness of strangers.

In her first major role, Audrey Hepburn won a Best Actress Oscar for playing Princess Ann, a young royal with a strict schedule. Gregory Peck admitted that Audrey Hepburn was one of his favorite actresses and Roman Holiday was one of his favorite films. William Wyler directed this romantic comedy.

Gregory Peck as Joe Bradley is an American reporter who finds the princess and allows her to rest in his apartment. He wants to keep the story for himself, so he protects her identity.

When Princess Ann finds freedom from her royal limitations, she knows the whole time that it’s only temporary. Her escape from her schedule sets her on a path to life-renewing adventure.

I’ve seen this movie many times, and I always love the genuine reaction she has to Joe Bradley when his hand is in the Mouth of Truth.

This film, the first American movie to be made entirely in Italy, was shot in black and white so the characters wouldn’t be upstaged by romantic Rome.

It's A Wonderful Life, 1946

What if you weren’t there?

George Bailey suddenly finds himself not just homeless, but removed from his existence. He was given the rare gift of seeing how his life affected others.

While watching this movie, I try to imagine the events and people I’ve had an impact on. Who is better off because I’m here? I’m sure I’m not the only one who asks those questions. Many people want the encouragement that what they’ve done wasn’t all for nothing.

This heartwarming film, starring James Stewart as George Bailey and Donna Reed as Mary Bailey, has become a Christmas tradition.

A guardian angel named Clarence hasn’t gotten his wings yet, but his last chance depends on George’s look back at what life in Bedford Falls would’ve been without him. The message of how one life affects another comes through clearly.

Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter brings evil to the screen in a way that, even to this day, makes me want to shout out and warn Uncle Billy about him. And the policeman and taxi driver, Bert and Ernie, remind me of the Sesame Street characters every time I see them.

Frank Capra directed this film which won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture. It was also nominated for five Academy Awards. Capra said that of all his films, this was his favorite.

It’s a Wonderful Life was ranked in 2006 by the American Film Institute as the #1 Most Powerful Movie of All Time.

Widows and Orphans

Do you give only to those who can pay you back.

Can we get more joy out of giving to the poor than giving to those you expect to pay you back? Getting a reward for giving seems to take the fun out of it. “If you give me a Christmas card, I’ll give you one” doesn’t bring as much joy as dressing a table and presenting a feast for the poor.

When my kids’ feet grow out of shoes, I buy bigger ones. But bigger smiles come from kids who only own one pair (which doesn’t fit well). Not that my kids aren’t grateful. They thank us. But when my husband and I gave shoes to an orphanage, we almost got hugged to death. A completely different kind of thank you.

On my Seek God With Me blog, I posted a video by a young man who gave his time and effort in Russia. His video about a ministry to orphans is worth the watch.

Sullivan's Travels, 1941

John Sullivan, played by Joel McCrea, is an unfulfilled, yet successful Hollywood director. He wants to shift from making frivolous comedies to make a serious movie about the troubles of the poor, but he’s advised against it. His lack of experience with poverty is an obstacle he’s willing to overcome for the sake of his art.

He dresses as a tramp and naively investigates what it’s like to be homeless. While incognito, he meets a girl, Veronica Lake, and her kindness traps him emotionally. He can’t let her give up on her dreams in Hollywood. He admits to her who he really is, but she persuades him to let her join in his adventure. She dresses as a boy and puts her hair in a hat. They wander among the homeless, get their fill of it, and go back to his reality.

Ignited by his experiences, he dresses like a tramp again to distribute money to those in the homeless community who were nice to him. However, after making mistakes, he finds himself left for dead on a train headed for who knows where. John slides into more trouble than he can manage and ends up in prison (a labor camp) where he finds out what trouble is all about. But now that he knows trouble, he can’t get out.

While in prison, he encounters a church filled with kind-hearted people. That scene triggers an enduring change in him. Upon his return to Hollywood, his friends find him transformed.

This movie is supposed to be a comedy, but I was swimming in all the serious conflict. The movie I watched seemed like the movie John Sullivan wanted to make. Entertaining, yet a statement movie.

After this movie, Veronica Lake was paired with shorter leading men since she was 4’ 11” and was dwarfed by Joel McCrea’s height at 6’3”.

This movie touches on the same theme as Cary Grant’s movie I reviewed last year.

Coming Up

It’s time to notice people. There is a lot of buzz across the internet about The Noticer Project. One group of people who may be overlooked in all the noticing is the homeless. We stereotype them even though very good movies have been made about some remarkable individuals. The Soloist (2009) is a movie about homeless man Nathaniel Ayers, played by Jamie Foxx. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) is a movie about homeless man Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith. We shun the homeless because of their misfortune and their poor decisions. We assume all homeless people smell less-than-holy.

I want to issue a challenge to you to pray about how you can benefit the homeless.

Coming up in a movie review, a wealthy family gets a taste of reality when they hire Godfrey as their butler. It takes a gentle yet bold man such as Godfrey to make them aware of their treatment of others. My Man Godfrey shows how lives can be changed when a stereotyped homeless man reaches out to help a rich family deal with their misfortune.

Tomorrow, I'll review a movie from 1941, starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, about a man who tries to get an idea of the troubles homeless people face.