As the Regent campus prepares for Holy Week, filled with worship and praise, we are reminded of the true meaning of Easter Sunday. It is during this time that we reflect on not just on our lives, but also on the events that have molded us into who we are and what we do now.
The trials and tribulations that Jesus faced are remembered as we celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday, yet at times it is easy to forget just how human Jesus really was. The film 40 Nights, written by DJ Perry, explores the various temptations that Jesus came across in his time of reflection. In my interview with one of the Executive Producers and actresses in the film, Rebecca Lawlor, she explains how the film “is a vessel for others, as well as herself, to be reminded of God’s great love for us”.
When she’s not on set, Lawlor spends her time designing, acting and running her non-profit organization, The Hearts of Hope Foundation. This non-profit raises money to help children who have been abused.
Here is more on Rebecca Lawlor and the upcoming film 40 Nights:
Q: How did you hear about Regent University and The Daily Runner?
A: I graduated in ’87 and in ’90, I moved into the area and attended Liberty University. There I was involved in Young Life, and often visited the Regent campus. You all have a wonderful school over there, and Pat Robertson is amazing. After college I moved and got married, had my daughter, Claire, and tended to my family and career. It was then that I meet DJ Perry, who wrote the script for 40 Nights.
Q: Can you explain a bit more on what The Hearts of Hope Foundation is, and what you do?
A: As a non-profit organization we support various groups, for instance: Avalon, The Hospitals of Kings Daughters and Stopabuse.com. The organization is dedicated to helping children who are abused, and to ensure that the children have a better life. Not only is it time for Easter, but next month in April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. We hope to spread awareness in addition to providing a safer, loving and joyful life to children in need. By selling the glass hearts I designed, the proceeds go towards rehabilitating families and providing counseling to the children. Because children don’t have a voice when they are young, and if abused at a young age, it is up to the adults to help those in need and the less fortunate. Although we may come into this world with nothing, we need to ensure that when we leave, we leave something positive behind.
Q: As one of the Executive Producers of 40 Nights, what about the film drew you in to be a part of it’s production?
A: I always wanted to be in the ministry. For a few years I was on a Christian radio show in California, but 40 Nights is my way of giving back, to teach others about Lord’s mission, how to love and move forward with purpose and vision. The movie is a great way for me to support my beliefs, to support my passion and to help others. At a young age I was very fortunate to have a relationship with Christ, his love and grace imprinted in me the ability to serve and to care for others, and it is such a great honor to be a part of a film that will change lives and bring forth change, as well as education, on the life of Jesus Christ.”
Q: What biblical message might the film introduce to its viewers?
A: As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:1-7, “we all have thorn in our chest.” No matter who you are, we all have our cross to bear, to see the good and evil and the reality of it all. None of us are perfect. I definitely remember when I had those moments in my life when things seemed dark and everything in life was falling apart. The story that I always went back to was the Story of the Starfish.
One day a man saw a young boy on the beach picking something up and throwing it back into the ocean. As the man got closer he saw that the boy was throwing starfish into the ocean so he asked the boy why he was doing that, and the boy responded:
“The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said,
“It made a difference to that one!”
This is the type of message we want to send through the film, that no matter what is going on in your life, no matter how lost you feel, there’s always something you can do to give back and make a difference to others — which is one of the reason why I started The Hearts of Hope Foundation.
Q: What is the overall story/plot of the film, and who else is starring in it?
A: The story follows the plot of Christ being in the desert and is seen having a conversation with the Devil. The cast of the film stars myself, as the Temptress, Eddie Kaulukukui, as John the Baptist, and script writer DJ Perry, portrayed as the Devil who appears as an elderly man before Christ.
Being able to work with the cast and crew of the film on such a wonderful story is an amazing experience. As Christians it is important to keep in mind not only the reason for Jesus’ Resurrection, but also that he wasn’t just on Earth to save us, he lived a life — felt pain and happiness. His time spent in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights gives us an insight into the true meaning of finding our way, even when were are lost.
Q: Knowing how students and people in general struggle with finding their calling, at what point in your life did God speak to you on what your calling or path in life would be?
A: I grew up in Orlando Florida with the beauty pageants. If you did a Miss America pageant you had to have something you believed in. I believed in children. When I was about 15 I visited orphanages, volunteering to take clothing, Bibles and food to the children there. Being from America, we don’t have the chance to see what’s out in the world- to experience for ourselves how life is outside of what we know. From volunteering grew my passion for the children, so when the opportunity came to go overseas and help were I could, I jumped at the chance. I was about 16 when I went overseas with all the women in the ministry from church. My calling was set in me at an early age and from then on I ran with it.
Q: What would you say to those who are currently struggling with finding their calling?
A: We all have our calling and I believe that our calling is wrapped up in what we love. If its something that we have a strong passion for, a love, a drive and brings us joy, it doesn’t matter if we make a fortune. We know it in our hearts and minds that God has a plan for all of us, whether we know it yet or not. For instance: working on set is part of my calling, to pass along a message, a Word of God, to others brings me great joy and excitement, I couldn’t ask for more. My advice for those chasing after what they love, is for them to follow their heart, what gives them a spark, an idea, a drive. Keep believing and never ever give up.
The film is currently set to be released in the Spring of 2016. Check out more information on Rebecca Lawlor, or the film at the provided links. Be sure the leave your comments about the film below. Tell us what you think, and what you are looking forward to the most.