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Life with Lively: Life in High Definition

It seems every episode of Scooby-Doo has the same gag in it. The gang from Mystery Inc. stays in an old haunted bed and breakfast, Scooby and Shaggy bunk in the same room. Within minutes of turning out the lights they hear a clicking noise. Shaggy asks Scooby if that was him, Scooby says it wasn’t him, so they turn on a lamp. There they see a shadow on the wall that looks like a boney hand reaching towards them. They scream and turn out the lights. Velma comes running in and turns on the room lights and explains that the clicking sound was a tree branch tapping the window, and the boney hand was simply a shadow of the tree cast in the moonlight. All is calm, Velma leaves, the lights go out and the monster gets them.
The point of this pointless story is that our imagination gets away with us in the darkness. However, once you cast light on a situation all becomes clear. Have you ever arrived in a strange city at night, and the next morning realized that the buildings and landscapes you had admired when you arrived turned out to be something totally different in the sunlight? Isn’t it amazing how much clarity comes from a well-lit environment?

It’s no coincidence that Jesus compared himself to light in John 8:12. His purpose was to provide illumination to this earthly light. One of my favorite verses is John 10:10–I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. You see, we are all charged with living a light. The minute you take that first breath you commit to living a life. But does that life have purpose? Does it have definition? I think a good modern translation to John 10:10 would be –I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it in high definition. Because that’s what happens when Jesus is allowed into our life. It becomes more vivid, more abundant, more…., more….tolerable.
For example: This last week has been a roller coaster. My step-kids were at their dad’s for the summer. Some issues developed and I found myself driving 3 hours to pick up the kids and bring them home. So we had the low of dealing with that, and the high of having the kids home. Today I was talking to a friend of mine who isn’t a Christian, and he asked me, “Brocke, how do you put up with stuff like that?” I answered, “I know Jesus has a purpose for it all.” I mean logically I should be depressed; I drive a trash truck in west Texas for Pete’s sake. It’s a wonder I don’t wake up every morning and take a drink, but thanks to Jesus shining a light onto my path, and showing me a higher purpose, I love my job. I get to spend 8 hours a day alone in the truck in prayer and conversation with God! I get off early enough each day to spend time with my kids and their friends. The light of Jesus shines bright in my life; does it in yours?

Brocke Lively is a lifelong Texan from a little town called Olton.
Brocke and his wife, Lela, have 5 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 chickens, and what seems like a revolving door of neighbor kids coming over to play. As a father, Brocke recognizes that how he lives his life, and how he worships God not only reflects on his own salvation, but ripples to how his kids worship God.
Brocke attends a small town church where he is known as an on-call substitute Sunday school teacher. He recognizes that his church family is also a large part of who he is, and who he want his kids to grow up to be; God-fearing followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Episode 2: Let There Be Light

Universe, Existence –  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The Creation… of BNN


God is amazing.

I wanted to write this, to sort of explain how BNN developed, and where I see it heading, but really, those first two lines pretty much sum it all up. I am simply amazed at what God has done with this thing so far, and I’m psyched out of my brain about the direction it has headed.

The “HOW”

Somewhere around 2007, my wife and I were having dinner with her sister and brother-in-law (Chris Quandt, who plays Brad Bartelloni). Quandt and I had already been recording an audio podcast, and were discussing how fun it would be to do a video podcast. We tossed around a few ideas, such as doing a news parody, and then Emily nailed it!
“Oooh, you should do a news report on Bible events!” She suggested!
We all agreed that this was a great idea, and we tossed around a few more ideas about it. A few months later, with some creative assistance from my wife, I wrote 3-4 scripts.

And then nothing happened.

For a few years, those scripts sat in my computer, gnawing at the back of my mind, but not really being used.

Then, in late 2009, I mentioned the concept to my pastor, Mike Butera.  He encouraged me to pursue it, and straight up asked me what I would need to get started.  Within a week, I had a green screen.  In January 2010, we ran some tests to see if we could even pull of any decent-looking green screening, which turned out way better than I expected.

After that, we started getting together on a monthly basis to film.  I would take the footage home, play around with it, and try to work out a lot of the visual aspects of the show (logos, titles, backgrounds, etc).  It’s truly a miracle that it turned out looking as halfway decent as it does.  Some of the original concepts for things, such as Raymond O’Neil’s studio background, and the lower-third design, were pretty lacking.  Thankfully, I had several other people –mainly Mike and Esther– who served as a separate set of eyes and ears. Without them, it would have looked kind of… well, lame.

On June 12, 2010, we launched the first episode of BNN, and held a premiere night at RiverCity Calvary Chapel, showing the first 4 episodes, along with some other short videos.

The “WHY”

What exactly IS BNN all about?  Why did we create it?

There are a few answers to that:

1. To Invest our Talents. You might be familiar with the parable about three servants who were given different sums of money  by their master.  Some invested the money and increased it, but one servant buried his money and never used it.  In the same way, I believe God has given each person gifts.  This could be talents, skills, knowledge, or even material or physical blessings.  I don’t want to bury my gifts; I want to invest, and produce something beyond what I was given in the first place.  For too long, I’ve not been pursuing such investments.  BNN is one way that will change.

2. To Provide Knowledge. Some of our viewers might not be familiar with the Bible, or some of the stories we’ll be covering.  Some viewers might not know what the Bible is truly about.  The message of the Bible is woven throughout the Old and New Testaments. It is my hope that, for some, BNN will be an introduction to the Bible and, ultimately, God.

3. To Provide Perspective. The great thing about the Bible is that it’s alive, and fluid.  It’s kind of like watching Back to the Future, where each time you watch it, you can notice something different, if you pay close attention.  You can have certain parts of the Bible practically memorized, and then you go through something in life, and you see that the verse you thought you had nailed down comes to have a whole new application to your life.
Our goal is to promote that sort of experience.  Maybe you’ve read a story in the Bible where such and such a thing happened, and such and such a person did something.  But  what if you stopped to ask:
What would that look like if I could observe it?
How would I react if I were witnessing these things?
How would that person react?
What would they say if they were interviewed?

These are some of the questions BNN will stop to ask.  Hopefully, this will help bridge the gap between “stories” of the Bible and the reality of the Bible.

4. To have fun! God has given everyone on the project a passion and a talent for what they do.  I believe God hand-picked people to be involved with this project. When God’s people get together to do His work, it’s truly a fulfilling experience.
I also believe very strongly that God has a sense of humor.  I think that humor is a gift that can be used to serve God, just like any other talent.  I hope you find yourself laughing as you watch each episode of BNN.

Well, there’s more to talk about… the “WHO” can be found on our cast and crew pages.  The “WHERE” (as in “where this is headed”) is currently TBD, but, if the enthusiasm and support that we’ve received so far is any indicator, all I know is that we could be headed for some very good places!

God Bless,

Chris Cowan
BNN Writer/Producer

Episode 1: The Beginning

Universe, Existence – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.