Have a blessed Christmas Season!

In a time when darkness, strife, and division seem to reign--very much like the time Jesus was born--we pray Joy to the World!
Joy to the World; The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King:
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the Earth, The Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding Joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground:
He comes to make His Blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the World with Truth and Grace,
And makes the nations prove
The Glories of His Righteousness,
And Wonders of His Love.
As darkness increases, His Light shines brighter. "He comes to make his Blessings flow / Far as the Curse is found." We've seen his blessings flow in large measure in 2018! I performed in 15 states and eight nations, and Joyce spoke in six of those. Here are a few of the highlights:

January
Rich played Walter and served as acting coach, while Joyce was a key crew member, keeping actors warm between takes in "There," a short film that takes place during a rain storm! Joyce also played the mother of my character's daughter during a sociodrama to help her get ready for an emotional phone call, so we're counting Moriah's character as our 22nd screen child! You can watch "There" now: www.RichDrama.com/There.

February
A 20-year prayer was answered, and Rich got to perform at Christian Cultural Center.

March
Annual workshop at Princeton University, where we visited Jonathan Edward's gravestone which inspired a post about revival.

April
Performed Jonah for a gang unit on Rikers Island.

May
Performed in It's a Life Worth Living and The King's Messengers on the same day! That was a first! Later that month I performed several roles for The Adventum, a wonderful audio drama of the Book of Genesis, which is now available.

June
Taught, coached and performed at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where we produced "Return on Investment."

A revival broke out in the theatre
department on our last night of the
Lamplighter Guild for CreativeDisciplines.
July
Taught and directed at the Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines.

August
Performed in Denmark and Sweden on the same day! That was a first!

September
Performed in Norway, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Iceland.

October
Performed at the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival.

November
Performed I Dreamed I Was Free in New Mexico, the 43rd state in which I've taught and/or performed. Another first!

December
"Milk and Oranges" released, which was our film at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp in 2017 and the directorial debut for Joyce. I'm reprising my role of Elijah (which I perform in a one-man one-act play, "Prophet of Fear") in an audio drama I'll announce through our Frequent Email Updates list soon.


Here's my prayer for the Mastermedia Christmas party, which is for us all... though we don't wish a broken boiler on anyone! Click the arrow below, or if you're getting this through an emailing, visit www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2018.





We're quite close to announcing the opening of registration for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp June 23-29. Be sure you're signed up to get the announcement.

EuroTour 2018 Photos

We finally sorted all of our photos from our trip to Europe this fall. You can find all the albums at www.SwinglesEuroTour2018.Shutterfly.com.

Here are the individual albums:

We started our trip in Copenhagen, Denmark...

Follow us into Tivoli Gardens and to other wonderful sites
in Copenhagen.
Then we presented in Denmark and Sweden on the same day...

Joyce was translated (through headphones) into Danish. Swedish translations
were used for Rich's performance of Big Fish Little Worm that evening.

We spent a couple of days in Randers and Ørsted, Denmark, where Joyce's grandfather and great grandparents lived...

Solve the mystery of the golden boot in
Randers and Ørsted, Denmark
Back to work in Oslo, where Rich performed I Dreamed I Was Free at the Nordic Black Theatre and Joyce shared her testimony...

...and we had a shockingly great time in Norway.
Then to Finland to perform for the Nazarenes and catch up with Timo, the Swingle's foreign exchange student when Rich was in college...

This church was our first stop on our tour of Helsinki.
Next we spent time in Sweden with Niklas, a foreign exchange student from Rich's youth, who inspired this whole trip. We were delighted to meet his wife, Jenny...

We loved spending the day with Niklas and Jenny on the island of Öland,
Sweden.
Then to Frankfurt to perform I Dreamed I Was Free, and Joyce brought the Sunday morning message...

After our presentations we relaxed with dear friends in the Rhine Valley,
Germany.
With all major presentations out of the way we started our 21st honeymoon in Switzerland...

We found lots of swans and lots of references to Rich's ancestor's brother,
Ulrich Zwingli, in Zurich, St. Gallen, and Wildhaus, Switzerland.
... with a stop in Liechtenstein...

...where we did an enacted prayer for the nation and stopped in
Triesenberg, Liechtensteinwhich Rich's mother's
family is named after. 
...and then a 24-hour stop in Iceland on the way home...

It doesn't look like it, but we were about to dive into that water, which
was actually quite warm in Iceland.




I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.


You can perform at Carnegie Hall!

This morning Joyce and I joined New York Media Initiative for breakfast with Keith and Kristyn Getty. What a joy to hear their passion for the Lord and for honoring the many biblical mandates to sing unto the Lord. Keith said it doesn't matter how well you sing, just so long as you honor the Lord's commands to sing praises to His name. During the Q/A someone asked them where they get their inspiration for writing songs. He said it's a lot of hard work. Hymnals used to only select songs the publishers thought would still be sung 25 years into the future, and that's what they strive to do. She added that Keith is a collaborator, and is quick to draw others into the process of taking their hymns to the next level.

My question during Q/A was what they've picked for next year's global hymn sing. Last year I put together a short film of Olympic champion, Eric Liddell, reflecting on how he led the crowd at Waverly Station in singing "Jesus Shall Reign" before he left fame and fortune behind to serve China as a track coach, science teacher and missionary. I tell the rest of his Chariots of Fire story in my one-man play about Liddell, Beyond the Chariots. I was glad that, after their talk, I got to tell Keith and Kristyn about the short film and give them the link (www.RichDrama.com/EricLiddellHymnSing). Keith is a huge Eric Liddell fan, and that may be why he chose "Jesus Shall Reign," since he immediately acknowledged that he knew about Eric leading the crowd in that great hymn.

The Gettys are performing at Carnegie Hall tomorrow night (12/13), and they'll be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the writing of "Silent Night" by having Phil Keaggy (who you can see in my Compassion video) play it on guitar. It was the first hymn ever played on a guitar, because the church's pipe organ broke down. They'll be inviting the audience to sing along, which is how you can perform at Carnegie Hall. Hope you can join us!


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.

Breakthrough

In October I got to perform at the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival, where I was up for Best Comedic Performance for "All God's Children." But the real highlight for me was meeting Jason Noble, who was the pastor of John Smith, the young man featured in the upcoming film, Breakthrough. It tells the true story of how John (played by Marcel Ruiz of One Day at a Time) fell through ice, where he wasn't recovered for a full fifteen minutes. His brain was without oxygen for a full hour. Jason (played by Topher Grace of Spider-Man 3) was in the room when John's mother (played by Chrissy Metz of This Is Us) walked in when the doctor (played by Dennis Haysbert of 24) was ready to declare her son's time of death. She called on the Lord and her son's pulse came back. You can see that much in the moving trailer below (if you get this via email you can see the trailer at www.RichDrama.com/Breakthrough), but the rest of the story is just as dramatic! It's one miracle after the next.

Jason told how he was being interviewed on a show, and the guy in the greenroom struck up a conversation with them. On their way out, after the interview the guy said, "Do you know who I am?" They just assumed he was there to make sure they had what they needed before and after the interview, but it was Devon Franklin (producer of Miracles from Heaven and Heaven Is for Real). He told them he wanted their story to be his next film. You can hear Devon's version of that story here:
Christian Movie Made by Major Studio is Full of Miracle Stories: Behind the Scenes of BREAKTHROUGH.

It's now slated for 2,400 screens across America, opening April 12.




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.

Lessons About Grace

Since 2001 I've been a Freedom Finder for Graceworks. In this MAX talk our founder, Carol Doscher, shares how she got the name and founded the firm...

If you're getting this as an email you can watch the video at www.Blog.RichDrama.com.



Registration is about to open for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Be sure to get the announcement.

Advent 1 -- The Word Became Flesh

This morning I got to open our service at Westchester Chapel. Pastor Jim Warren preaches on John 1:1-14, one of my very favorite passages, pointing out the unique nature of this opening to the fourth Gospel. He mentions human attempts to altar life. You can hear more examples at Dr. Michael Guillen's talk at Mastermedia. He was ABC News Science Editor, and through that post he appeared regularly on Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline and World News Tonight.

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



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.

Milk and Oranges

Here's our short student film from the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp in 2017...



"Milk and Oranges" is based on a true story told by Nathan Ashton, who shares seven film credits with me.

This marked Joyce's directorial debut:








We're getting close to opening registration for next summer's Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Sign up for the announcement: www.RichDrama.com/Updates.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

I use Psalm 105:1-3 as an order of worship. To thank the Lord our community takes part in Enacted Praise. Joyce opens and prays Psalm 126 over the community.

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



Here are our enacted praises:



Rich mentions some things he rediscovered about the original Thanksgiving in this short film, made by Heirloom Audio, which produced an audio drama Rich performed in.



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.



We're getting close to opening registration for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Don't miss the announcement!

The Word Reveals


This morning I got to pray over Joyce's teaching at Westchester Chapel. She teaches on Psalm 119: 65-72. The world makes sense when you see how the Lord deals with us through his Word! Are you listening to the world or to the Word? Pastor Joyce refers to her husband Rich Swingle's play I Dreamed I Was Free.

Dr. Linda Warren opens, Rich prays over the sermon, Rebekah W. introduces our craft for our Operation Christmas Child boxes, and Thomson M. prays over the boxes.

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.

Since we've been in the Book of Psalms so much during this sermon series, we thought this might be a good time to share this video from The Bible Project...



We packed our boxes for Operation Christmas Child today, and we watched this moving story about how a box impacted a life...
Posted by Westchester Chapel on Sunday, November 18, 2018


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 the Civil War in America.

Return on Investment

Students of the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp study training videos before arriving, so once they're there we can jump straight into making a short film. This year's project was just posted, and you can see it below, or if you're reading this in an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/ReturnOnInvestment.





The dates have been set for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Mark your calendars for June 23-29, and sign up to get the announcement that registration is open.

Jonathan Edwards and Great Awakenings

I recently did a workshop in Albuquerque, NM, (my 43rd state in which I've performed and/or taught). Afterward people told me how encouraged they were by things I said in the Q/A following the workshop about how the Lord is moving in NYC (more churches per capita than since the 1940s, etc.). I told them about the the work of Christian Union on the campuses of all eight Ivy League universities. They were curious why more people don't know about it, so I thought I'd post the following draft I started in March...

Every year since 2007 I've had the opportunity and privilege of teaching a workshop at Princeton University. This year I was told by a friend in my discipleship group that the cemetery was not to be missed. So I trudged through the snow to President's Row, where I found, among many luminaries, the tombstone that drew me most: Jonathan Edwards. He was the third president of Princeton, though he was only in office a few months before a smallpox epidemic swept the town. Being a man of science as well as what some consider to be the greatest theologian in American history, he was inoculated against the disease. Unfortunately, in 1758 the inoculation went awry, and his body was ravaged by the disease, killing him in his prime.

I knew of Jonathan Edwards not because he presided over Princeton (a surprise to me), but because he was at the heart of the Great Awakening of the 1740s. There have been a number of Great Awakenings in the US. These were periods in which there were extensive revivals pulling our nation back to the God in Whom we trust.

It was interesting to me to stand at Edwards' tomb on what feels like the eve of our next Great Awakening. The largest student body group on the Princeton campus is the Christian Union. The last I knew they had over 400 students there and a presence on all eight Ivy League campuses. When I spoke on a panel at their Congress on Faith and Action, hosted by Harvard, it blew me away to see about five hundred students from all eight campuses worshiping the Lord with all of their might, not only in their vibrant praise songs, but also in their life commitments to use their prestigious degrees to serve the Kingdom of God around the world.

Now Christian Union is moving beyond the ivy covered walls into the nation at large, challenging all to join the Great Experiment. Joyce and I were a part of it in the fall and it brought our spiritual lives new vitality. [Note from the present: We've been a part of all three Great Experiments they've hosted, and there are more to come: www.DayAndNight.org.]

There are five commitments in the Great Experiment:
1. Spending 30 minutes every morning reading the Bible and praying, and also spending time in the evening doing the same (Luke 18:1-8).

2. Consciously repenting every day of all known sin and putting away everything that may hinder our devotion to Christ (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

3. Seeking God in the morning for the thing the Holy Spirit most desires for us to do that day, writing it down and following up that day (Psalm 143:10).

4. Looking to share Christ every day and speaking about Christ publicly (Acts 1:8).

5. (For those participating in groups) Meeting once a week for encouragement and accountability (in-person, skype, or conference call), and staying in touch during the week through whatever works best, e.g. group text, email, etc. (Hebrews 10:24-27).
We experienced such amazing stories of the Lord's guidance through this process, and through the group gatherings heard that the Lord was at work in mighty ways in other lives as well. Sign up for the next Great Experiment at www.DayAndNight.org.

These commitments were employed by Jeannine Brabon, a student at Asbury College, in 1969 with a handful of friends. Then each of those students invited a handful of friends to participate in a new group, and then the whole campus was invited to sign up, and about 200 did. Then one day those students shared in chapel what the Lord was doing in their lives, and it went for eight days straight, 24 hours a day. The presence of the Lord was so thick that no one wanted to leave!

With the brightest students in the land leading the way at Princeton and all of the Ivy League colleges and beyond taking part in these commitments, who knows how soon it will be before the next Great Awakening will sweep our land. We certainly need it. Let's pray for it day and night!

You can see footage from the chapel during the second day of revival as well as a talk from the Asbury president at the time, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw here (if you're receiving this in an email visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com):



Here's Jeannine Brabon's account of what happened at the Asbury Revival of 1970, speaking on Asbury's campus shortly after they had a fresh revival in 2006 (if you're receiving this in in an email visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com):




Sign up for the announcement that registration is open for next summer's Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

The Adventum

This summer I got to perform in San Diego in a new audio drama that brings Scripture to life with a focus on God's plan of redemption. It's from the makers of the Jonathan Park Audio Adventures!

It's so well conceived and written! I was thrilled to be a part of it, and I was performing with some seriously great actors! The sound design by Luke Guenot is extraordinary, too. It's just a fantastic project all the way around.

And, it's available now: TheAdventum.com.

Here are the roles I played:
Ham and Jebuluah in "New World"
Three workers in "High Hopes"
Puth and Captain in "White Lies"
Eliezer, Kedorlaomer and Lot's herdsman in "Decisions, Decisions"
Israelite Officer in "I've Been Thinking"
Eliezer in "Three Visitors"
Businessman, Angel 1, and Hamus in "Fire and Brimstone"
Eliezer in "Heir Apparent" and "Sacrifice"
Eliezer and Isaac in "Bride for Isaac"
Isaac in "Passages"
Isaac and Older Isaac in "Playing Favorites"
Older Isaac in "Cleaning House"
It was really fun for me to play Eliezer and Isaac, especially when they were in the same scene! But probably my favorite scene was when I got to pull together the moment when language is confused at the Tower of Babel! I came up with phrases in languages I've studied over the years that express confusion in some way and distributed them among us actors. It was such fun!

Kimba Henderson came by
the studio to talk about her
script in an interview.
Kimba Henderson came by the studio one day to talk about her script in an interview. She has developed an outstanding script that brilliantly fills in the gaps for readers unfamiliar with the cultures to which Scripture was written. She added something to the Noah story I really love: She heightens the urgency for Noah and his family to tell their neighbors of the impending judgement. She also does a masterful job of making the stories feel as if they're happening in the context of today's mixed up world. Prior to finalizing the script, The Adventum was thoroughly reviewed, edited and vetted by trusted, highly qualified, Biblically-based, evangelical pastors and Christian leaders.

John Fornof at the helm.
John Fornof is directed us in this "movie for the ears," and it's always a joy to work on his projects. He knows just how to bring a scene to life! There were so many times that he helped us add things that enhanced the great script. He also directed me in The Dragon and the Raven in London and The Giant Killer through Lamplighter Theatre. Later in the summer he directed a short film at the Lamplighter Guild, and he pulled me in as casting director. One night on The Adventum he said that one of his rules is to have fun, and we were certainly obedient!

My friend Garry Nation is in the cast. We had a blast playing Abram/Abraham and Isaac together! Friends David Sanborn, who I've been working with since 2001 in Singapore, and Nato Jacobson, who shares six credits with me, performed their roles remotely. I was bummed to discover they wouldn't be in the booth, but their contributions are top notch!

I was thrilled to reconnect with Nicole Franco, who performed a chilling reenactment of Lot's wife turning to salt, and that was just in the studio! When completed with sound effects it's just outstanding! We ran in the same circles in NYC 20 years ago.

I also got to reconnect with Stephanie Mielke, when she arrived with her brother Bryce who played Teen Isaac, one of my character's younger self. Bryce did a fantastic job! Stephanie was a student of mine at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Bryce knew about the auditions for this project because I send casting calls out to my students.

Mark Rache conceived and produced this wonderful project. He's on the right, and here's a better shot of our director, John Fornof:







Sign up to get the announcement for the 2019 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.