Sometimes You Need a Savior

Joyce shared how
the Lord delivered her
from daydreaming.
This morning Joyce taught on Isaiah 40:1-11 at Hope Community Church of the Nazarene. She opens with a story of how she was once hunted down and shot! You'll have to give it a listen. I did dramatic readings of the key passage.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.



I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War. Hope Community Church is planning to host this play in Manasquan, NJ. We'll post the details at www.RichDrama.com/Schedule.

Andy's Rainbow

Joyce and I were very pleased with the message and production value of the feature film Andy's Rainbow, about a mentally disabled young man and his friendship with a young woman.

When I was in high school a counseling teacher took us to a state mental institution, and after our tour he said to me so that others could hear, "So Swingle, do you still believe in God?" He told me that the residents we had just met could never make a decision to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As a teenager I had no response. If I said anything at all I have no recollection of what it would have been.

My freshman year at George Fox University I heard the story of a young mentally disabled man who led many, many people to the Lord. And since then I've been a part of the baptism of a young woman with Downs Syndrome. I told her how beautiful it was, and she said, "The Holy Spirit was there." I've also performed at Joni and Friends events for campers who are less than whole because we live in a fallen world. The way the Lord speaks in and through them is profound and inspiring!

Jacob Dufour captured the profundity of the Lord witnessing the Gospel to a soul through a broken vessel in a respectful and skilled manner.

[Jesus] said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

For family considerations, read the Dove review.



For the trailer, click the arrow below, or if you're receiving this via email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com.



There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Renewal through Relationship

My very favorite work is to partner with my bride in ministry! Today we got to join forces in a really cool way. Through Scripture and teaching we took Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene through the Book of John to show how Jesus is the Light of the World, the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life and the Hope of the World. Through this experiential exploration, we are led to an understanding of how the Lord became everything to us to save us from ourselves and deepen our relationship with Him. The service is divided with songs that were picked to highlight each teaching.

Joyce mentioned The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story, which will be in theaters starting January 31.

If you prefer to listen to the entire service without music, scroll to the bottom of the page, or download it from our iTunes page.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:





















Here's the whole service without music:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

The Least of These


Shari Rigby (October BabyOvercomer) spoke to the New York Media Initiative on January 24 when she was in town for a screening of her newest film, The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story.

Joyce and I saw a screener of the film and really loved it! Our friend and colleague, Bev Holloway (Beyond the Mask, I Can Only Imagine, Mom's Night Out) was the casting director, and she put together a great family. Shari plays Gladys Staines opposite Stephen Baldwin (105 credits on IMDb). Both do a brilliant job of bringing this couple to life and showing their peace in the presence of persecution. The screenwriter has framed the atrocity at the heart of the film in a very intriguing way. We see it unfold through the eyes of a journalist who is trying to find evidence that supports his viewpoint. So it feels relevant in an era of fake news. This important story is being told in theaters February 1 with a special showing January 31. Find a theater near you: www.TheLeastOfThese.movie.

Shari's talk for NYMI was outstanding! She shared some personal trials she and her family have gone through, and she said as Christians we shouldn't cringe when we face battles because it's an opportunity to take ground for the Lord. She said we are created and called to take ground for the Kingdom of God, and Jesus the Warrior is by our side when we walk in obedience. She shared that in the midst of her family's trials she heard a sermon on Joshua leading the Israelites to circle the city of Jericho six times, and on the seventh they blew their trumpets and the walls came down. I've personally seen those crumbled walls, and archeologists have found the corner where Rahab's home was kept secure. But that day Shari didn't want to hear another sermon on Joshua. The Lord urged her not to just look at the march and the fall, but to look at what led up to it. She remembered Joshua's obedience to speak an honest report about the Promised Land in the face of the majority of the spies who were cowards. He was obedient to take over when Moses died. He was obedient to lead the way across the stopped-up Jordan River. And when the Lord appeared to him in human form (one of many evidences of the Trinity), Joshua worshipped Him. It was Joshua's life of obedience that paved the way for the miraculous wall fall.

Shari's obedience was to go back to her beginnings. She charted a map of all the connections that got her where she is today, starting back to her childhood. When she looked at the map it was so clear to her that the Lord had a hand in it all! She urged us not to get wrapped up in doing projects that make us famous. Every December she prays for stories to tell in the coming year that will make Jesus Christ famous. When we operate in obedience to his call on our lives the walls will fall, and He will get the glory.

Pray that many see The Least of These and that the Lord will get the glory!

Parents may want to visit the Dove Review for more details.

The Fathom Event
I watched the Fathom Event on January 31, and I was moved all over again! It was followed by an interview with Shari and world-renowned apologist, Ravi Zacharias.

Shari talked about working in the presence of real lepers in one of the actual Leper Homes the Staines had run. She said that when one of them raised her foot for Shari to work on it the smell of death was in the room. She ran off camera to her husband, who encouraged her. They prayed, and when she went back to the set she smelled a fragrant aroma she knew was the Holy Spirit. Others on set commented on it, too.

Shari loved working with the three Australian children, who were actually siblings in real life! She was grateful that they were helping her with her accent!

When the interviewer, Krish Dhanam, asked Shari what she would say if Gladys Staines was in the room, Shari broke down weeping. She said she would thank Gladys for such a profound act of forgiveness.

Ravi thanked the filmmakers for shining the light on the good that Christians are doing in India, and have been doing for hundreds of years. He said that the story of forgiveness is a picture of what Christ did. All forgiveness requires sacrifice, and we saw that so profoundly through this story, but Jesus Christ forgave all of humanity. What a price! What a reward! All who call on Him will be saved.






I got to perform in For the Glory and The Screenwriters with Jason Burkey, who performed in October Baby with Shari. The photo shows us in our 1940's duds covered up for a meal on the set of The Screenwriters.

Roger Nelson
(September 28, 1941 - January 12, 2019)

I was grieved to discover that my friend, mentor and colleague, Roger Nelson, has gone home to be with his Savior.

I'm honored to be performing an excerpt from my one-man play The Revelation at his memorial service.

March 2, 11:00 AMThe Lee ChapelPasadena First Church of the Nazarene (PazNaz)3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd.Pasadena, CA 91107

Visit the final letter from the Friends of John Wesley for RSVP info.

In the course of his 37-year career he gave about 1,800 performances of his one-man plays in 32 countries on six continents and all 50 states, including venues like Carnegie Hall, the Pasadena Playhouse, Shakespeare Centre at Stratford-Upon-Avon, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Stratford Festival Theatre in Canada, Oxford University, and Wesley's Chapel in London. Other international performances included the following cities: Adelaide, Athens, Bangkok, Belfast, Berchtesgaden, Bonn, Brisbane, Cairo, Canberra, Caracas, Dubai, Dublin, Geneva, Glasgow, Guatemala City, Heidelberg, Jerusalem, Kuwait City, Livorno, Melbourne, New Delhi, Nurnberg, Panama City, Paris, Perth, Port of Spain, Prague, San Jose (Costa Rica), Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and many others.

We shouldn't be surprised by his productive career. At the bottom of each of his newsletters he reminded us to pray for The Five S's: Safe travel, Stamina, Solid relationships, Sterling performances, and Souls. Those prayers were answered again and again!

Roger is the second person I ever saw perform a one-man play. It was The Man from Aldersgate, about John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, in 1993 at a Christians in Theatre Arts conference in Vancouver, B.C. I was trying to decide whether to move to New York City. That conference and Roger's performance were instrumental in my decision to move from our 70-acre farm in Oregon to an 8.5' x 11' room on Times Square, a move I'll never regret.

The next summer, Roger stayed at the Lamb's Church, where I was an intern at the time. When I told Roger how much I appreciated The Man from Aldersgate, he told me that he had attended the Lamb's Church years earlier, when the founding pastor, Paul Moore, told Roger of a dream he'd had in which Roger was John Wesley. Roger asked Rev. Moore, "Does he play for the Mets?" But Roger took the dream seriously and had a script written. He performed that play thousands of times all over the world.

Roger allowed me to sit in on a rehearsal of the second one-man play he was just starting to perform, The Confession of St. Patrick. I got to shadow him for a performance, help him set up his merchandise table, see how carefully his show was designed to fit in a suitcase, watch him put on his beard and makeup.

I asked him endless questions, and he always answered graciously and candidly. At some point during that conversation he mentioned the year he quit his day job. I quit mine the next year, and I've never looked back. The Lord used Roger's inspiration to launch my career with one-man plays, and I'm eternally grateful.

Roger and I kept in touch, and in 2004 (I think), he set up a staged reading of a rough draft of Beyond the Chariots, my at-that-time brand new one-man play that tells the rest of the Chariots of Fire story. It was at William Carey International University, and it was such a huge encouragement to share the story of a missionary with future missionaries. I loved having Roger there as I set up!

In 2006 Roger approached me about teaming up to rent an Off-Broadway theatre to perform our plays in rotation. We selected The Man from Aldersgate and Beyond the Chariots, and we called it Fire Off-Broadway, drawing upon the imagery of the flame in the symbol for the Methodist Church and Chariots of Fire. What a thrill to collaborate with the man who was such a huge inspiration to me!

My last visit in-person with Roger was in 2016 when I was in L.A. for a booking. We got together and watched one of the World Series games: Cleveland Indians vs. The Chicago Cubs. He liked the Cubs even more than the Mets, so he was really in it! During one of the commercials something reminded him of a production in his youth that he regretted being a part of. We prayed together to renounce it and break any hold it continued to have over him. It was a beautiful moment as my mentor was showing the way to an even deeper walk with the Lord, and inviting me to help him take that journey.

Looking forward to our next collaboration in Glory!

You can see clips from Roger's plays below:





This page can be found at www.RichDrama.com/RogerNelson.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus was shown in theaters nationwide a couple of years ago, and Joyce and I saw it on Times Square. Many of the archeologists the filmmaker interviewed deny any evidence of The Exodus, but others point out that there is an abundance of evidence: a small (empty*) pyramid tomb with a statue of a non-egyptian wearing a multi-colored coat and surrounded by 11 graves, an entire settlement of semitic people that was clearly abandoned in a hurry, a papyrus document describing blood in the water and everyone burying someone. All of these are discounted because they don't fit the established timeline, or -- as with the Brooklyn Papyrus -- "he couldn't have seen it. He must have imagined it."  

If we lived in an intellectually honest society this film would have made the front page of every newspaper in the country.

The filmmaker shows that there is evidence the timeline really does line up with Scripture. 

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus is now available, and watch for their next film, Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy. It will be in theaters March 14, 16 and 19 only.



*The coffin is empty, which lines up with Joseph's request in Genesis 50:25-26: "Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." That request is confirmed in Exodus 13:19: "Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.”


There are still openings for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Don't Be Shy -- Let the Compliments Fly

I wrote the following article for Graceworks' January 2019 Big Bold News:


Take a moment to think of people who encouraged you to get where you are today. See their faces? Now thank yourself for accepting their encouragement!

A recent New York Times article by Micaela Marini Higgs titled,"How to Accept a Compliment — Even if It's From Yourself," explores how "meaningful praise can measurably boost motivation and performance and can improve your brain's ability to remember and repeat new skills." The catch? We're not wired to give or receive praise! Cited in the article, Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says, "...our brains are designed to look for problems."

An exercise we sometimes share in our training is called, "Observation/Compliment." It addresses what happens to us humans when we're asked to give and receive praise. One of the rules is that participants are asked to keep their hands at their sides when receiving the compliments. It's a lot harder than you think because we're so programmed to deflect compliments like Wonder Woman blocking bullets! So, the next time someone compliments you, let it in and enjoy.

Now, it's one thing to learn to receive praise, but offering encouragement can be just as big of a game changer.

Offering honest, positive and specific feedback can transform your workplace. How? Because people do more of the things they're praised for. Let's be real – we spend more time with our co-workers than we do our families, so why not make an effort to create a positive experience for everyone? The next time you need to give someone input, lead with sharing what they did well. By starting with praise, it shuts their inner critic down and immediately gives their brain that positive boost of the good stuff, leading the way for improvement. Isn't that what we want for ourselves and our colleagues — and our family members for that matter?

Here are some suggestions on how to offer praise in a way that can help transform your environment at work and at home:

  • Highlight What Went Well: If your team had a rough presentation or meeting, make sure you spend enough time focusing on what went well. In the article, Higgs says, "Small setbacks can have a negative impact three to four times stronger than the triumph of a small win..." So, bring in the positive stuff big-time!
  • Give Constructive Feedback: When you lead with praise, giving necessary constructive feedback tends to be more graciously received and appreciated.
  • Be Consistent: If you're consistent with offering praise to someone, that person will be more likely to come to you for input and feedback. Remember, you have to offer honest compliments; no blowing smoke!
Encouragement is just so good! It has the power to move you and your colleagues to greatness. Let it flow!
-- Rich


You can read the full Big Bold News here.

You can share this article with others using www.RichDrama.com/Encourage, and my previous Big Bold News article is at www.RichDrama.com/Smile.


Since 2001 I've been a Freedom Finder for Graceworks, helping people become more comfortable as presenters through workshops and project specific coaching.

Find out more about our work and sign up for future issues of Big Bold News at www.GraceworksInc.com.

Be Wary of the World

Our founding pastor at Westchester ChapelJim Warren, warns against falling away from Christ and into the world as he preaches from Colossians 1.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

"Reflection"

Joyce and I got to work on a short film by Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers and Actors Camp alumni William and Morgan Willer (It's a Life Worth Living, "There").

We were greeted with my favorite verse, which Morgan remembered from Film Camp and wrote in calligraphy on a card!


I'm playing the role of the father of a young woman played by Joanna Ferbrache (Celebrity Confessions), who is being seduced by my character's arch nemesis, played by Andrew Hurt (Polycarp, "One Day"). I'm also serving as acting and accent coach. We've set it in Florida in the late 30s, so the cast (and some of the crew) were speaking in Southern accents all week. One of them said to me, "I don't know if I'll be able to stop talking like this when we leave!" We were all having a ton of fun in the Florida sun!

On Day Two I got to drive this 193 Chevrolet nicknamed "Ethel," and it was an AMAZING experience!

The production value has been astonishing! The cars, costumes, furniture, and especially the locations, almost all donated in order to help tell the Lord's truths in film. It's going to look like a much more expensive production than it is.

We were particularly grateful for The Banyan Estate, which was a 1927 school house that was refurbished just over a year ago. It's an amazing event space for weddings and business events.

This time last year many of this same crew created the short film, "There," which you can watch here: www.RichDrama.com/There.

You can find this page at www.RichDrama.com/Reflection. We'll announce when the film is released through emailings to which you can subscribe at www.RichDrama.com/Updates.

Click to see the best of the photos Joyce and I took on and around set.

Here are our Production Diaries filmed and edited by Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmaker alumna Morgan Willer...

Day 1


Day 2 (This shows the 1930 Chevrolet named "Ethel" I got to drive.)


Pre-Rigging at the amazing Banyan Estate (I was performing "The New King" on Epiphany while they were setting up.)


Day 3 (Filmed at the Banyan Estate.)


Day 4 (More footage of me driving Ethel.)


Day 5 (This has my favorite line that won't make it into the film.)


Day 6 (We wrapped by lunch! Unheard of!)


There are still openings for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Join the One Year Bible Reading Plan!

In the New Year I've opened up my daily Bible reading through the One Year Bible reading program, and you're welcome to read along!

I'm planning to post notes and answer questions as I have time. I'd love to have you join us on the journey.

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland: 
www.RichDrama.com/EuroTour2018
Here's my first post, inspired by a teaching by my friend, David SanbornJesus is mentioned in the very first verse of the Bible! You just have to understand Hebrew and the Hebraic mindset to see it. This article will help.

Hope to see your comments and questions starting tomorrow!

Have a blessed New Year, everyone!


Join the One Year Bible Reading Plan

There are four openings for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Register for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers and Actors Camp

Greetings from Times Square!

...or at least from a few blocks away in the warmth (and dry) of our apartment. But we were on Times Square last night as they were setting things up for tonight's festivities. I recorded some very exciting news there: Registration is open for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers and Actors Camp!

You'll get the main training in video tutorials before arriving, so that as soon as you hit the ground, we'll be running into film production. You'll leave with a short film for your reel, headshots, and (if it's like every year so far) you'll have an opportunity to audition for a live professional project.

Also, many projects want you to have taken a film etiquette course if you don't have a certain amount of film projects under your belt. That happens to be one of the film tutorials, so you'll be able to check that box!

We opened registration up to alumni first, so two spots are already taken on both sides of the camera. Move swiftly to secure one (or more with friends!) of the other four spots for each program: www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com. The intimacy of the program means there's lots of opportunities to grow as an artist and as a Christian.

Also, there is an early bird savings of $100 through the end of January, so if you don't have time to register now, be sure to set an alarm. 
Register for Film Camp

Where Hope Lives


There are a lot of great lines in Where Hope Lives, written by Marco Santiago (actor in "Colonel Papa Cubano"). My very favorite came after the show by Pastor Carter Conlin, who gave one of the best summations of Christmas I've heard: "Unapproachable Light (1 Timothy 6:16) wrapped Himself in the most fragile form of humanity." Marco and Courtney Menking (Henry Box Brown, Celebrity Confessions) play the parents of an adopted daughter and birth son, who invite two foster kids to live with them.

Patricia ("Colonel Papa Cubano" and Courageous Love) plays Florence, the pre-believing social worker who sets up the foster relationship is astonished at what the help of Jesus achieves.

Mark Steele (Celebrity Confessions) plays the stern principal, who sets up one of the most touching scenes.

Adrienne Breland (helped with the production of Fire Off-Broadway) had a poignant scene in which she plays an admitting counselor at an abortion clinic with a girl played by her granddaughter! The way they resolve the scene is electrifying!

Ronalda (Off West Broadway productions), played the birth mother in a heart-wrenching scene.

Pastor David Ham (who used to perform at The Lamb's Theatre) introduced the production and had a hand in directing it, alongside Marco and Patricia. They've done a great job, especially with the younger actors. The gal who played the protagonist of the story, the foster daughter, had a major character arc and carried it off with brilliant nuances.

Justin Hullinger (who got his start at The Lamb's Church) did a great job with the lighting.

You can watch it online through Sunday at www.TSC.NYC. Click on the image for the 10 AM or 3 PM services.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

The Christmas Song of the Prophets

For our Christmas Eve Service at Westchester ChapelDr. Linda Warren takes us through some key prophecies announcing the coming Messiah and how they were fulfilled:
Genesis 12:1-3
Genesis 49:10
Numbers 24:17
Isaiah 9:6-7
Isaiah 11:1-4
Daniel 9:24-26
Luke 1:67-72
Luke 2:1-14
Dr. Linda mentions that there are hundreds of prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Here are more prophecies and how Jesus fulfilled them: Bible Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus.

Between the Scripture readings and Pastor Linda's teaching, we sing carols that celebrate the fulfillment of those prophecies. In the service we sang to modern adaptations of classic carols, but our CCLI license does not allow for sharing recordings of copyrighted material online, so because the carols were such an integral element of the service, I recorded carols that are in the public domain. If you'd like to sing along, click this link for the lyrics.

Pastor Jim Warren opens and closes the service.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.



Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp is about to announce that our registration has opened. Sign up so you don't miss it.

The Word Made Flesh Is Hope

This morning at Westchester ChapelJoyce teaches on Matthew 1:18-25. Matthew, the despised tax collector, lived a life of shame, and he highlighted the great shame Joseph took upon himself by marrying a woman who was already bearing a child not his own. Joyce mentions Views of the Manger, my play, and two stories it portrays: Joseph's choice of obedience (today's main passage) and Abram nearly walking between the cut animals when God promised to be the Covenant Keeper (Genesis 15). She also told the story of her heart failure in 2005. You can visit the blog we kept during that frightening season.

Dr. Linda Warren opens the service, and Melanie Solomon reads Luke 1:30-33.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

Here's a Billy Graham sermon that reinforces some of the things Joyce teaches...


If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.


You can see one story from Views of the Manger as performed just beyond the door to The Manger in Bethlehem at www.RichDrama.com/ViewsOfTheManger.

Unplanned

I performed alongside Ashley Bratcher in Princess Cut, so I was delighted to see this marvelous interview with her on Fox and Friends about an upcoming film that looks fantastic!

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email, you can find it on www.Blog.RichDrama.com.



I play a conniving realtor in Princess Cut.

How EuroTour2018 Began

Joyce and I presented plays and teachings in eight nations throughout Europe in August and September. Later, Harald Sørlie, who produced Rich's performance of I Dreamed I Was Free in Oslo, visited New York City. We met with him and Danielle Campbell, who introduced us to Harald, at the restaurant where it all started.

We talk about that first conversation that blossomed into an eight-nation tour... and about the sounds animals make in Norwegian.

Press the arrow below, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com.




I Dreamed I Was Free, which Rich performed in Oslo, is available anywhere in the world. It tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War in America.