168 is focused at the crossroads of art and faith, which is often a battleground. The heart of the artist tends to be dark and brooding. But, as the foundation of the 168 contest, the Word of God sheds light on the human condition.
168 rules and structure show artists that the way to succeed in the contest is to understand the verse and to translate it into a relevant message for today. Grasping this, the artists (regardless of their faith) actively work together to gain an understanding of their scripture.
So, the Lord actually serves as the artist's muse: via a still, small voice and a verse. IF the artists are listening, then this combination cuts deeply into the heart issues in their lives.
168 teaches believers and non-believers in the same way. On one level, they both have the same dream: to make a great film and be a great filmmaker. All have a love for story but, not all have the same appreciation for scripture. The difficulty and pressure of the contest forces many to turn to the Lord for help.
During the film's production, all watch and see that the Lord is faithful. The result is dramatic life change for young writers, producers, directors, crew and actors, who will one day change the world thru the media.
God's involvement is evident from all the ways in which the verses intersect filmmaker's lives.
Assignment Night is beautiful and humbling to watch. I have seen more than a few grown men crying after getting their verse. They take it very seriously and they are prayerful as they approach the bestowing of their verse, whether it is by email or by phone or in person in L.A.
The most poignant "Assignment" story is that of the Douridas Family.
On Verse Assignment Night, Tuesday, February 13th, 2007 around 8:30PM, God gave a great gift in the form of a story that should be shared. Marieke (Mar-eee-Kah) Douridas, the winner of the 168 “Best Actress Award” (2006), died at the age of 14 in a tragic accident. She was epileptic and drowned in the bath.
Eight months after her death, her parents, Chris and Mieke (Mee-Kah), decided to make a 168 film together as a tribute to their beloved daughter.
When Chris came to the Assignment Night, I told him from experience, “God will pick your verse and you will know it was Him.” Yet, I was still unprepared for what followed.
There are over 31,000 verses in the Bible. Sixty-three were chosen for 2007 to reflect the theme “Decisions and Destiny.” Fifty-one teams had already selected their stones by the time it was Chris’ turn. He took his stone from the remaining 12 and it read:
Mark 5:35-36 “‘While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher any more?’ But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe."
The whole place burst out in tears as the parents embraced. We did our best to help them to understand the verse. It was very hard for them. But, God knows what he's doing. Chris did about a year's worth of grieving in 168 hours as he focused on the story of the death of his daughter.
Later, Chris was ecstatic when he turned in his film. He had succeeded in making the deadline and honoring the memory of his daughter. He also had an amazing encounter with God.
Click Here for the video.
Please pray for the filmmakers as they go thru their ordeal.
John David Ware