Monday, April 7, 2014

Work, Rest, and Leisure (My Notes)

I listened to this excellent talk by R.J Rushdoony the other day, and I thought I'd post my notes :)

You can listen here:,%20Rest,%20And%20Leisure.mp3

(The Source of Productivity Not From Leisure Time)

Psalm 40:1-8, 28-31

There is a very important distinction between work and leisure:

Leisure – an act of autonomy from law - escape from work - escape from reality. “Where men have no calling, leisure has a growing appeal.”

Vacation and vacate are related words. They involve running away from responsibility.

Rest is very different from leisure. “Our labor is never in vain in the Lord”. Even in our rest, God is at work.

We have confidence that He is working all things together for good.

Godly rest is an act of trust/faith. Worry doesn’t help. When we trust in God, we are confident he holds the future, not us. Humanistic not resting is denying God, not trusting in Him, and trying to trust to our own efforts to pull ourselves through.

Leisure is not a source of productivity. Work is the source of productivity.

“I could do this if only I had the leisure time!”

Work + Godly rest = productivity

The best inventions are made in the context of work.

“Men who are productive are productive no matter what the circumstances.”

Composer said: “I compose music like a pear tree produces pears” Or like a hen lays eggs-It doesn’t meditate on whether it will lay eggs, it lays them!

Modern artists are subsidized, and that’s why it is so unconnected to reality. Basically good art is produced in the context of real life work.

“If I just had six months off, I’d do some pretty remarkable things.” No. Deadlines get things done.

The arts and media have become sterile because of being subsidized.

No one said they were bored back when Mr. Rushdoony was young.

If, in the midst of their work they rest on the Lord when they are ready to collapse, He will make us to soar like eagles. Power in the context of the battle.

God calls us to work and rest in Him. David could rest even under pursuit by Saul.

There’s no rest if there’s no trust in God.

If you want to get something done, assign it to a busy man. It’s the busy man who gets things done.
We can only be productive if we do it God’s way.


We can be involved in activities that spell escapism to one man, but for us can be rest in the Lord. It depends on the heart.

Those who meet responsibilities, more will be given to them.

Quietism perverted the Christian perspective of waiting on the Lord. The true biblical perspective is waiting on the Lord while doing your duty in the Lord. Not a quietist but an activist perspective. The waiting is spiritual, not a retreat from activity.

Since there is no work education, when a young man turns 18 or 21 he is confronted with the need to work and doesn’t know how. He just takes the easiest way out and makes just enough money. This leads to a low-caliber performance. “The further we get away from a Christian work ethic the lower the productivity of the average person.”

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Biblical Defense of Acting

There are so many questions that can be raised regarding acting: Is it biblical to act? What does the Bible say about acting? Isn’t acting the same as deceiving people? Is it biblical to act the part of an unbeliever? What is permissible, what isn’t, and why?

My hope is to answer these questions from a biblical perspective, using God’s Word as the foundation for what is right and wrong, not basing what I believe on human reason or popular opinion. This is by no means extensive, but hopefully it will be somewhat of an introduction to the subject.

What does the Bible say about acting?

Some issues the Bible doesn't specifically address. The Bible doesn't directly address (as far as I know) air conditioners for example. It does say that you should preserve life (Exodus 20:13), and if it’s not unlawful, we’re okay to do it when it comes to things indifferent (1 Corinthians 8, etc.). What I do know is that the Bible does speak to every area of life, whether it’s air conditioning, acting or dog catching.

If acting is biblical, we must not be sinning in doing it. The Bible forbids us to deceive others, even if you’re “joking” (Proverbs 26:18-19). That’s one thing that we can know for sure. We also know that we mustn't sin (1 John 3:4, Galatians 3:10), teach falsehood, tell lies, etc. On the other side of the coin, we must promote truth, edification, and the like.

Does acting require deception?

No, I don’t believe it does. Steven Kendrick answered this question: “…when you’re watching Kirk Cameron in Fireproof, is he deceiving you? Is his goal to deceive you? No! You know he’s an actor, and he knows you know he’s an actor. But he’s trying to portray – accurately – a character in a story to communicate truth.”1

That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you could be deceiving in how you act – If you tried to make people think you really are the person in the story in real life (outside of the film context) that would be a problem. But when it comes to storytelling, it is not deception.

Is it biblical to portray the part of an unbeliever?

This is a more difficult question. We do know that we are not on any terms, in any circumstances, in any way ever to sin. Sin is forbidden, period. It is sin to be an unbeliever. But the question is whether it is biblically justifiable to act or portray the part of an unbeliever.

We’ll have to start by breaking it down. Is it possible to portray a character without being it? If I wanted to portray Big Foot and dress up in a Big Foot costume, do I become an ape? No! (though I might make a few people think so). If I was to portray a murderer, and I pretend to stab someone (think collapsible knife) do I become a murderer? No. If I actually killed the other guy in real life, then yeah, I would be a murderer. Does it require you to actually do the thing in real life? If you were to portray an act of uncleanness in a film, such as adultery, it would require the actors to actually commit the sin in order to portray it. But there are ways to not require actors to sin, such as choosing to leave things implied rather than shown in the story.

How about a liar? If I was to portray a character who swore to tell the truth and nothing but the truth “so help me God”, and in the story I didn’t, do I take God’s name in vain to say those words? The Bible says “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29). Is it possible that the character of an unbeliever could be portrayed in a way that would work to edification? I believe it could. Take a look for example at many of the stories in the Bible – many of them are bad examples “written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). This also means what elements you include could depend somewhat on your audience—whether they are children or adults, for example.

Steven Kendrick made a good point in his lecture at SAICFF 2010 (edited for space):

“how many of you believe Jesus never sinned?…how many of you believe that Jesus ever said the words “I have sinned”? …He said and the prodigal son (as he’s eating the pig slop) said to himself (now who’s speaking? Jesus is)… I have sinned! …and I am going to go to my father (and Jesus said) then the prodigal son ran to his father, and his father saw him from far off, and his father ran! And embraced his son! And the son said oh father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight! I am no longer worthy to be called your son! ... Jesus said the words ‘I have sinned’ – twice – in that parable! …Do you think Jesus said those things [just monotone?]…No, I don’t think so! I think Jesus lifted His arms…when he was talking about that father embracing his son, and the son saying ‘I have sinned!’…you walk through these parables, and for a moment, Jesus – He’s not trying to deceive – but He’s portraying a character, in a story, to communicate truth.”2

Ultimately, we need to look at the Bible for the limit on how much we can show or tell or do. The Bible speaks of many people who committed serious sins, but at the same time, it doesn’t go into every gory detail. The Bible only goes far enough to make a point.

All portraying of sin has to be used responsibly, sparingly, and with a lot of prayer and advice from godly counselors. Film is a powerful two-edged sword that can cut either for good or for evil, so it’s our responsibility to use it carefully.
1. An excerpt from Stephen Kendrick’s lecture: “Take Seven” at the 2010 Christian Filmmakers Academy.
2. Ibid.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Filming and the Lord's Day

It’s interesting to note that when God called Bezaleel and Aholiab to work on the tabernacle (Exodus 31), He also said “Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep.” Why did God repeat that right after giving a huge project to two artists? Because it is easy for us to be so much into a project that it’s hard to stop. Maybe that’s not the way it is for you, but it is for me. Even though God has given us a project to be completed, it doesn’t mean we can use “any means to the end”. Matthew Henry has some great commentary on it:

“Orders were now given that a tabernacle should be set up and furnished for the service of God with all possible expedition; but lest they should think that the nature of the work, and the haste that was required, would justify them in working at it on sabbath days, that they might get it done the sooner, this caution is seasonably inserted, Verily, or nevertheless, my sabbaths you shall keep. Though they must hasten the work, yet they must not make more haste than good speed; they must not break the law of the sabbath in their haste: even tabernacle-work must give way to the sabbath-rest; so jealous is God for the honour of his sabbaths.”

Jesus made it clear that we can do works of necessity and mercy on the Lord’s Day, but we still need to recognize His claim on one seventh of our week – even with a hectic production schedule. Even if God hadn’t commanded it, we would still owe it to our crew. Not only is it a day to rest and prepare for the rest of the week physically, it also gives us time to recoup spiritually and make sure the focus stays where it ought to be.

So next time you plan a shooting schedule, make sure you won’t end up shooting on Sunday.

I’d love to hear anyone’s comments!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Diligence - A Word Search

Dil-i-gence: Constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind. (ref:

Exodus 15:26 - diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God

Deuteronomy 4:9 - keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen

Deuteronomy 6:7 - teach them diligently unto thy children

Deuteronomy 13:14 - ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth

Deuteronomy 19:18 - judges shall make diligent inquisition

Deuteronomy 24:8 - observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you

1 Kings 20:33 - the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it

Job 13:17 - Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.

Psalm 77:6 - I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

Psalm 119:4 - Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

Proverbs 7:15 - diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.

Proverbs 10:4 - He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Proverbs 11:27 - He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour

Proverbs 12:24 - The hand of the diligent shall bear rule

Proverbs 12:27 - the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Proverbs 21:5 - The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Proverbs 22:29 - Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings

Proverbs 23:1 - consider diligently what is before thee

Proverbs 27:23 - Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks

Acts 18:25 - he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord

2 Corinthians 8:22 - our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent

1 Timothy 5:10 - diligently followed every good work.

Hebrews 11:6 - he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hebrews 12:15 - Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God

2 Peter 3:14 - be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BP Update #10: The Story Behind Crash Land

       There are so many ways I saw God’s blessing with the Crash Land project, so I wanted to write them down so I wouldn't forget. 

       First of all, God worked to convict me of my non-finishing habit. That’s why I kept going at all.  I had been thinking about just officially quitting the Crash Land project because I wasn't really into stop motion animation or Legos anymore, but I was convicted of my starting something and then leaving it unfinished. God wants us to be fruitful, and “the difference between leadership and everything else is that leaders bring projects to completion!” as Doug Phillips of Vision Forum has said. 

       That’s why I finished the film, “That [I] might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (John 15:16)

Behind the scenes on the jail scene.
       I especially saw His hand towards the end when everything was speeding up.  He gave me the wisdom to not try to release the film another week earlier.  I’m sure now I couldn't have done a very good job, if I’d have even been able to finish it in time at all.  He helped me to realize the folly of promising something I couldn’t perform, which would be breaking my word and putting a blot on my reputation.

       Another area was adding the intro video of me.  I have especially seen God blessing that part of the film.  I hadn't been thinking of having it (I don’t like to see myself in a movie!), but I had the thought that people should know the purpose behind the film, and why I made it.

       Another blessing from the hand of God was when David and I filmed it.  I didn't have time to do anything with lighting, but it “just so happened” that the way the sun was shining into the office, it bounced off of the white wall and gave a nice side lighting effect!  It looks as if I had set up lighting!  And all by “accident”!  Of course it wasn't perfect in many other respects, but the lighting wasn't too bad! Oh my heart over flows with gratitude to the Lord.

       When there is so much to get done in very little time, it is easy to get stressed out. I’m thankful that we can cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us.  When we surrender the whole thing to Jesus, knowing that He is sovereign and will take care of the details, you find the anxiety will dissipate. During that whole day and night before the release, I felt a piece and a joy like I have never felt before, a comfort in the Lord, knowing that He was in control.  Sure, I know it was just a little Lego film, but I also had a reputation to uphold. I am thankful that God does not find any matter too small for Him to hear.  I am also thankful for all of those who were praying for me – I know it would have been impossible without your prayers.

In this screenshot, you can see what the footage looks like before and after compositing.

       There are so many other little things, like His blessing the recording of the guttural sound effects.  It went so incredibly well, I got everything I needed, and it sounded pretty good – unlike other attempts I had made. I was thankful though, because I didn't have much time to get it done.

        I had to work late every night, and often into the morning to get everything completed.  I was busy with my other occupations during the day, so that was the only time I could fit it in.  On the night before the release, I stayed up and worked till 4:00am getting everything ready and rendering the final version that I would upload the next morning.  The thing was that I had to get up at 4:20am to help pack for our farm delivery!  It was actually kind of fun :)

       I finished everything with about an hour to spare till the release.

       It has been so absolutely wonderful to hear how God has blessed others with it – especially with the message in the beginning.  I hope and pray that He will continue to use it for His glory, even if it’s just a short Lego film.  “Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” – Psalm 35:27b

Andrew Bartlett

P.S. For more BTS photos/videos, you can go to

Friday, September 20, 2013

Crash Land: A Mission to Al Kazor - Latest Bartlett Productions Release

Deep behind enemy lines, three soldiers have been captured by the Al Kazor militia. Their lives are in imminent danger. Will their comrades arrive in time to save them? And even then, will they be able to overcome the formidable Al Kazor fortifications? Follow this exciting mini-adventure as true heroes make a brave attempt to rescue their comrades – no matter what the cost.

Signup to watch the film at

Please help us spread the word by sharing with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc!

Stay tuned for a short behind the scenes article!

-Andrew Bartlett

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Where should we look for counsel?

This is very good advice to all of us, and especially for us as filmmakers!  We cannot just take what non-Christian filmmakers are doing, we must compare it with the word of God.  We also need to be willing to take advice from non-filmmakers regarding the making of films, especially as it comes to the theology and messages we are sharing through the medium.  Take advice from wherever it comes, provided it is godly!

Andrew Bartlett