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It’s Stephen Colbert’s favorite movie of the year.

People are already giving it serious Oscar buzz.

It has 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Two of the best actors in Hollywood are leading the charge.

And my friend Troy Buder is the Executive Producer.

Last week I had the privilege of being the MC for one of the premiers. I made a few terrible jokes, introduced important people and spoke about the film.

mv5bmje5mdi4mjg5ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzc0otu4ode-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_A few weeks before that I sat down with Troy and asked him a few questions about the journey of the film. We both go to Catch The Fire Church in Raleigh-Durham. I am one of his pastors and he is one of mentors. We get lunch every month and chat about life, relationships, a little bit of business and Queen Of Katwe.

He said to me, “This is not another God’s Not Dead movie. If Christians go expecting to find an altar call at the end of the movie they will be disappointed. You have to find the story within the story. That is where the hope of Jesus and the love of God are presented.”

As CBN reported, The back story of how Buder came to oversee the production of a major motion picture is as unlikely and inspiring as the true story depicted in the film of international chess phenomenon, Phiona Mutesi.

Troy was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. When he was 6 years old, his mother abandoned the family and his father became an alcoholic. Buder says he lived with a tremendous amount of shame through his childhood and never knew the love of a father.

Although he committed his life to Christ in his early pro-hockey years, he never fully understood what it meant to know God as his father and friend. He struggled with that same childhood shame and brokenness into adulthood.

In 2009, he came across a story of a ministry in Uganda using chess as a way to help kids from the slums. One of those kids, Phiona Mutesi, from a slum called Katwe, went on to become an international chess champion.

Not fully knowing what would come of it, Troy believed the Lord was leading him to secure the book and movie rights to this story, which eventually became the book and now feature film, “Queen of Katwe.”

He says God led him every step of the way.

Eventually, Troy took his story to Disney, with the goal of having the book turned into a movie.

And he did.

One of my favorite things about the movie is that it feels like you are in Africa. It looks and sounds and almost smells like it! Troy intentionally wanted the locals to be blessed by their own journey. The integrity of the story was priority to him.

And the outcome is incredible.

Now, Hollywood is now paying attention to his future projects. He is currently working on Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust and other inspiring story are in the works.

He said to me, “We can’t allow our skill-set to get any glory. Not even 5%. It took me a while, but I’m finally learning to understand sovereignty. I know that God is in control and he gets all the credit.”

I love Troy’s story because it can be our story!

The only thing he did (and I quote) was, “Listen to God and trust him in 24 hour intervals. I had no clue what I was doing tomorrow, but I kept following His voice for what I had to do today.”

That is the perfect invitation for us.

As Jesus said in Matthew 6,

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.

I highly recommend taking your whole family to watch Queen Of Katwe. You won’t learn to play chess by watching the movie, but you’ll pick up a bit of hope and the desire to be great at whatever God has anointed you to play.

Thank you Troy for making this happen.



Watch Troy Tell The Story On The Red Carpet:

Watch the official trailer:

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