The Beginning of Hodos Pictures- Documenting God's work in the church.

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The Beginning of Hodos Pictures

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]     odos Pictures, formerly known as Five Smooth Stones, is a Christian media company. We produce any film genre or multimedia project as long as it is evangelistic. Currently, Hodos Pictures has produced two dramatic short films, “All You Can Eat” and “The Map” and one investigative documentary, “The Adventures of Highwaychild.”
     Hodos Pictures came into existence as a result of “The Adventures of Highwaychild” documentary. Originally, the company was created to protect the media content and assets. When “The Adventures of Highwaychild” began I did not want to document certain incidents that were occurring around the production. These events were actually the catalyst for the project. It was these incidents that influenced my decision to leave my hometown of New York and my church and take the adventure across America.

All You Can Eat
     Early in the production I believed the incidents that were occurring in my home church should not have been addressed publicly. At the time, I thought that it was up to the elders, deacons and pastors to rebuke and correct the other leaders that were committing crimes and sinning against both the congregation and the outside world. To a large degree, that was true. I believed that any matters that were not addressed should be left in God’s hands. That is pretty much what is taught in churches throughout America today. Most of what was preached and taught in my church was about salvation, forgiveness, the gifts of the Spirit, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, God the Father, the fruit of the Spirit and so forth. The one topic that was never covered in bible study or fellowships was church discipline when the church leadership strayed from the way of truth and there was no one left to carry out correction and restore order.
     It was my belief that you didn't speak against the church because the church is the body of Christ. I thought that speaking against Christ’s body (the church) would be speaking against Christ. However, I could not be a part of what was going on around me. The question I later had to ask was, “Is this in fact 'the church' or just some counterfeit Christians who infiltrated the church”? At first, I separated myself from them and I chose instead to document my own life and experiences as I traveled across America. By that time I had already worked in television and film for 12 years. As a professional journalist and producer, I was equipped to produce the project alone. Thankfully, from the first day I stepped into that church, my main bible study took place alone and in private and my Teacher was the Holy Spirit. It took a while to act on what I knew, but the foundation was laid and when the time came to act, I was prepared.

3. As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer...

18. Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19. holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

1 Timothy 1:3,18-19 NIV

5.But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:5, NIV
     In January of 2005, two months into the production, I began assembling and reviewing the footage while I was still shooting to try and get a sense for the story and what I had to work with so that I would be ahead of the production process. By 2007, still in production, I completed a rough cut of the documentary that was about four hours long. I had so much content that I realized I also had the option to create a documentary series instead of making one 90-120 minute documentary. From 2007 until about 2009 I continued refining the edit and got the documentary down to about two hours. The whole time I was editing and rewriting, I struggled with a huge problem that I could not avoid. I was constantly cutting out the inciting incident and the ensuing incidents involving my home church.
     I was not just an attendee who showed up to church once or twice a week and then went on to other things after I left the church building. I was part of the leadership. I had invited many people to that church and I helped disciple some of the believers there. I had invested in the spiritual growth of the church and I was responsible for what I witnessed. However, I continued to omit these aspects of the story taking place around me. It became such a problem for the project that I dropped the editing process and for a time, I just gave up.
     In the meantime, I tried to find a different church to attend but I found even worse conditions than I had left at my home church. I was trying to leave it all behind and move on even if it meant scrapping the film. By that time I had already invested about $100,000 of my own money, so walking away was no small matter.
     Over the course of time, in my frustration with what was going on at my home church, I became angry and I began practicing some old sin. The whole time I knew that God was not pleased with my behavior. I justified it in my mind by saying, “They got away with their stuff. I can do these things. It’s not as bad as what they were doing.” In November of 2011, exactly seven years after beginning the project, everything changed. The conviction of my sin built and built until finally and thankfully, in November of 2011, I surrendered to God, confessed my sins and repented. To put it in simple terms, I stopped sinning.
     Everything I had studied in the bible from the day I became a Christian until then had come alive in me. Everything I was considering concerning church discipline but I avoiding doing, now all made sense and the time to act was now. Once I had repented, I was free from the confusion and fear that came with that sin. As I continued to read the scriptures I began to see clearly what needed to be done. All of the instructions for the solution to this matter was laid out clearly in the bible. I had repented and this is what my brothers and sisters in church needed to do also. I began calling and meeting with the leadership to get updates on how things were developing. I investigated the matter and the truth came out. Immediately, I noticed that they were all lying to me. I knew this because they were changing the facts of incidents that I had personally witnessed and they denied ever having past conversations with me about certain matters.
     I had lived and demonstrated the correct way to deal with my sin. The leadership of my church were covering up their offenses and families were being destroyed in the process. As I studied the scriptures more and more throughout this process I came across scriptures that I read before but never paid any mind to. The bible was very clear about how to address matters like these. These people had been confronted privately by myself and others. Numerous witnesses had presented these issues in the past. But, because the leadership was corrupt from the top down; nothing was done to correct the issues. Weak attempts were made but no one followed through to the end and the problems continued. The sin grew and the yeast spread. The church had become more like a club than a church and favoritism and partiality was the requirement for membership. No one could take out the speck in their brother’s eye because everyone had a plank in theirs. Everyone destroyed their mirrors so they wouldn’t have to see the mess.

19.Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

1 Timothy 5:19-20, NIV

5. You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Mathew 7:5, NIV
     I took the speck out of my eye. My mind was now clear to see the situation before me and what needed to be done. I had to take action or I would be just as responsible for the damages and destruction. I also realized why I had begun documenting my life and the people around me. I saw the purpose of The Highwaychild project. I saw God’s perfect planning and their was no way I could have planned this all out. I knew that it would cost me everything, but I wasn’t going give up again.
     These circumstances and the solutions are exactly what we see in the bible. The bible documents the actions of God’s people and their enemies from the creation of man until the end of this age. A pattern of correction is repeated over and over in the bible. Someone sins. They knew beforehand that it was a sin. They cover it up and lie about it. God exposes them and then they are punished and restored because they repent or completely destroyed because they refuse to repent.
     With the exception of Jesus, everyone in the bible sins. Everyone, since the beginning of man, sins. The difference between God’s people and the enemies of God are clear. God’s people either respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and repent or they continue to cover it up and God sends someone to rebuke them and they repent. The end result is they repent and are cleansed from all unrighteousness.
     The counterfeit Christians who are the enemies of God always cover it up. They never respond to God’s conviction and they are destroyed in the end. The other consequence of this un-repentance that we find in the bible is that God records and documents their sin and their attempt to lie about it. This documentation is found in the bible; the book that has been around for thousands of years and read by millions if not billions of people. There is no worse way of exposing than that!

12. I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you. 14. And it will be said: "Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."

Isaiah 57:12,14, NIV

10. Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.

Isaiah 62:10, NIV