Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Send a Blessing to Cuba

Joyce and I are going to go to Cuba on December 10. I'll be teaching workshops and performing Views of the Manger with Spanish subtitles. Just before that performance I'm going to show a video of greetings from people around the world. 

When we prayed about going we felt we were to tell the people: 
• To encourage them.
• Let them know the Lord regards them highly and loves them very much.
• They are not forgotten by Christians around the world.
• To water seeds the Lord has planted in their hearts.

If you can put together a short message with one or more of these thoughts I would be happy to include it in the video. Feel free to touch on more than one point. 

In the video, please mention where you live, and if you speak in a language other than English or Spanish, please include an English transcript so we can provide them with subtitles.

Please upload it to YouTube as an Unlisted video or to Vimeo with a password. You can also send it via Dropbox. Below I've pasted instructions for sending a video from your phone...

Also, please download our waiver, sign it, scan it, and return it with the link to your video via the contact form at the bottom of www.RichDrama.com/Booking.

I'll need to receive it by December 9 since internet access there is not fast enough to download videos.

Thanks for helping us bless the people of Cuba!
Here are instructions for recording from your phone:

• You may already have a YouTube app installed on your phone. If not you can download it from your App Store or (on Androids) Play Store.

• Once you open the app you'll see a video icon in the lower right corner. Click on that.

• The next screen will show videos that are already on your phone and another video icon. Click that.

• Click the icon that makes your phone film from the side of your camera so you can see what you're filming.

• Turn your phone on its side.

• Click the record button.

• Look into the camera lense and deliver your message.

• Click the stop button.

• Click OK. Don't worry if it's not perfect. I can edit it.

• In the title put your name.

• Under Privacy select Unlisted.

• Hit the arrow in the upper right.

• Once it's uploaded click on it.

• Turn it on its side and click the arrow that will appear in the upper right corner.

• Click the copy link and send it my way along with a scan of the signed release form. You'll probably need to start the email on your phone and then add the scan on your computer. Look in your drafts folder and the email you started on your phone should be there.

Your phone may be set up slightly differently from mine, but I hope that helps!


A Clear Leading tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Bible Project

I just stumbled upon a great series of short animated films that cover passages of Scripture and themes in Scripture. I've only seen a few, but so far it's all on target and quite fun! If you're new in your walk with the Lord or exploring what that might be like, this is a great way to get immersed.

Here's a great one on Holiness.



This one is from their Scripture series:



If you're reading this in an email click here to see the films.


A Clear Leading tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What Does Peace Mean?

Pastor Joyce Swingle launches our newest Advent Series preaching on Isaiah 9:1-7. She mentions the Armor of God, which we've covered in the past (www.WestchesterChapel.org/Armor) and her husband Rich Swingle's sketch on Gideon (Sheepish). Pastor Jim Warren opens, and Pastor Linda Warren prays over the message.

Click the arrow below, or if it's not there 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.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story by booking Beyond the Chariots.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Essence: Exploring the Human-Horse Relationship

We got to connect with Ivy Schexnayder and her mom, Barbara Novak Schexnayder, when they came to NYC recently to screen Ivy's short film Essence: Exploring the Horse-Human Relationship at the Equus Film Festival.
The film is narrated by Rebekah Stought, who was a student at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp a couple of summers ago. She was coached for voice over by John Fornof, who directed me in The Dragon and the Raven in London for The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. Rebekah also performs in the film, as does Sarah Olmstead of the short film One Day, in which I performed and served as acting coach.
You can watch Essence for free right now. Check it out below or here, and rejoice that it was playing at a NYC film festival: 



I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Psalm of Joseph

This Sunday I'll be doing a dramatic reading of the story of Joseph as Eva teaches on the passages for our Leadership Bible Study at 9:30am. Shortly after Eva invited me to do that I came across Psalm 105, which includes an ode to Joseph. I planned to memorize and perform the psalm, but it quickly became clear there's too much material to cover in one study, so Eva and I agreed to leave it out. Instead I recorded it to build anticipation for Joseph's amazing story...

Click the arrow below, or if it's not there click this link, to play the service:



This reading 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.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Scripture from the King James Version.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Saved by Grace

If you're looking for a good film this evening we discovered a Thanksgiving-themed film on PureFlix featuring Muse Watson, who I performed with in A Christmas Snow. The Thanksgiving film is called Saved by Grace

It shows the power of a relationship with Christ to carry us through the greatest tragedies life may throw our way. The Lord certainly gives us much to be thankful for, even when the world may have thrown us grievous challenges.

Muse had addressed some of my students and mentioned that early in your career you need to be yourself, but once you're established you can branch out and do character work. In this film he plays a homeless man and brings a great character to life! I guess with 91 IMDb credits to his name he's earned the right to play other types!

Parental warning: Some intense scenes, break ins and smooching.
Here's the Dove review: Saved by Grace.

I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful for Much!

I was recently a guest writer for Miranda A. Uyeh's To Be a Person. I wrote the piece before and after my performance at a chapel for my alma mater, George Fox University. You can read the article here.

The university sent me the footage of that chapel, and what happened is the number one thing I'm grateful for this year.

Watch below, or click here.




See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story by booking Beyond the Chariots.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fellowship with Jesus: Transfigured

I open this morning's service at Westchester Chapel with reflections on this A.W. Tozer quote:
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.
Joyce prays and shares announcements.

Pastor Jim Warren preaches on Matthew 17:1-8, the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, Moses and Elijah. His opening includes Isaiah 6:1-6Revelation 1:9-18, and Revelation 4.

Click the arrow below, or if it's not there click this link, to play the service:



Pastor Jim references the poster in the photo to the right, which illustrates Ecclesiastes 5:1-3.

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 play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The Son of the Living God

Joyce teaches on Matthew 16:13-20. Opening and prayer by Dr. Linda Warren. I performed the drama in the video below from my performance at Caesarea Philippi in Israel. Westchester Chapel's own Kimberly A.’s testimony in the Chris Tomlin video is at 5:10.





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.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story by booking Beyond the Chariots.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Worship the King

I was sitting at the train station when an inebriated man stumbled toward me and threw a punch. Find out what happened below. It's at the 16-minute mark in this morning's service...

Dr. Linda Warren led us through an immersive journey into Psalm 96. Pastor Jim Warren opened the service and closed by giving gifts of some of his artwork he created to illustrate this morning's 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 play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Better email version of Revive Us!

For those of you who already received this in your inbox, I want to apologize for the way the previous version was formatted. I did a bit of research and designed this one so that it should look much better in email form...

By the way, if I'm in a hurry and a future post looks bad or hides some of the text, you can always click the banner or title and it will take you to the blog, where you'll find the post with its proper formatting.... Except for this one, since I'll take it down after the email goes out, but you'll find it at http://blog.richdrama.com dated 9/28/16.

Got to have some prayer on
Times Square with Miss Clara.
I just heard about something that looks to be a fantastic event.

We know two of the presenters, Eric Metaxas, who allowed us to use his testimony as a part of our outreach in Russia during the 2014 Olympics, and I got to have coffee with Karen Abercrombie, who told me how she had been rejected for the role of Miss Clara in War Room because she was younger than their idea for the role. 
So she aged herself for the audition! My friend Beth Becka coached her in the role, and said, "She is brilliant. We prayed over her and the presence of the Holy Spirit was as palpable as I have ever felt it in that little room that day!"

Here's info on the event...

A Message From Kirk Cameron

When I travel to churches across America I meet thousands who tell me they feel discouraged, concerned, and afraid for the future of America. They often ask, "Where is our hope?” I understand why so many feel that way. The news is filled with a continual stream of darkness: Political scandals; acts of violence; social confusion; people suffering.  If you are feeling exhausted by all of this political mudslinging and moral decay--and if you're searching for hope in a world that sometimes seems hopeless--then I encourage you to join me for a special live event on October 18th in movie theaters nationwide.

It's called REVIVE US.

We've assembled an incredible group of people like Dr. Ben Carson, pastors Francis Chan and Dr. James MacDonald, authors Eric Metaxas and Jennifer Rothschild, and the beloved teacher of effective prayer, "Miss Clara," from the inspirational movie War Room, for an empowering and interactive evening of inspiring messages, powerful prayer, beautiful music from the Vertical Church Band and Passion as well as thoughtful conversations. 

That's right conversations. 

We dedicated part of the night to an interactive Q and A where we will answer your questions, hear your thoughts, and discuss anything else that's been on your mind. And before the night is all over, everyone will have time to gather in their local theater for prayer and discussion with other like-minded attendees from their community.
So please join me, my family, and hundreds of thousands of passionate believers just like you for this very special LIVE event, on October 18th.

Find out more at www.ReviveUs2016.com.


I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Revive Us!


I just heard about something that looks to be a fantastic event.

We know two of the presenters, Eric Metaxas, who allowed us to use his testimony as a part of our outreach in Russia during the 2014 Olympics, and I got to have coffee with Karen Abercrombie, who told me how she had been rejected for the role of Miss Clara in War Room because she was younger than their idea for the role, so she aged herself for the audition! My friend Beth Becka coached her in the role, and said, "She is brilliant. We prayed over her and the presence of the Holy Spirit was as palpable as I have ever felt it in that little room that day!"

Here's info on the event...

A Message From Kirk Cameron

When I travel to churches across America I meet thousands who tell me they feel discouraged, concerned, and afraid for the future of America. They often ask, "Where is our hope?” I understand why so many feel that way. The news is filled with a continual stream of darkness: Political scandals; acts of violence; social confusion; people suffering.  If you are feeling exhausted by all of this political mudslinging and moral decay--and if you're searching for hope in a world that sometimes seems hopeless--then I encourage you to join me for a special live event on October 18th in movie theaters nationwide.

It's called REVIVE US.

We've assembled an incredible group of people like Dr. Ben Carson, pastors Francis Chan and Dr. James MacDonald, authors Eric Metaxas and Jennifer Rothschild, and the beloved teacher of effective prayer, "Miss Clara," from the inspirational movie War Room, for an empowering and interactive evening of inspiring messages, powerful prayer, beautiful music from the Vertical Church Band and Passion as well as thoughtful conversations. 

That's right conversations. 

We dedicated part of the night to an interactive Q and A where we will answer your questions, hear your thoughts, and discuss anything else that's been on your mind. And before the night is all over, everyone will have time to gather in their local theater for prayer and discussion with other like-minded attendees from their community.
So please join me, my family, and hundreds of thousands of passionate believers just like you for this very special LIVE event, on October 18th.

Find out more at www.ReviveUs2016.com.




I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

SWONEKY and the Ark Encounters

Performing Big Fish Little Worm on the lawn.
Photo by Joyce Swingle.

We were SO blessed to be a part of the ministry team at the Salvation Army's Southwest Ohio Northern Kentucky (SWONEKY) Divisional Family Camp this past weekend.

The Acts.
Photo by Amanda Metcalf.
I performed Big Fish Little Worm on the lawn and The Acts indoors. Joyce and I also got to teach enacted prayer, and we were able to do an enacted praise and prayer for Colonel Janet Munn, who needed to leave early. That was very special for our group, and after seeing our recording she wrote, "Thanks very much for this generous act of prayer on our behalf."

In The Acts one of the characters describes how a violent wind entered the room where the followers of Jesus were gathered on Pentecost. Just hours later, Commander Janet Ashcraft was building upon the theme of her husband, Commander Larry Ashcraft, and bringing home the theme of the whole retreat: Bold Action. At that moment a violent wind swept through the open sides and back of the auditorium, designed for summer events. This is the way Colonel Richard Munn described it:
...quite suddenly a violent wind disrupted the scene in Chamberlain Hall, flags crashing, music stands cascading, music sheets swirling around the room. What a visual aid, then again, just maybe, a sign - Swoneky Division: Bold faith. I love it.
The next day Joyce and I got to visit the Ark Encounter, a replica of the ship that carried Noah and his family to safety after the worldwide flood described in Genesis 6-7.  The Lord gave the specifications to Noah in cubits, which is the measurement from a man's elbow to the tip of his longest finger. There were twelve possible lengths the creators of the Ark considered, and they went with 20.1 inches per cubit. That makes it 510' long, 85' wide, and 51' tall. That took 3.3 million board feet of wood, making it the largest wooden structure in the world... today. There's a display that mentions many of the flood stories from around the world. The Ark is the only structure that actually could have survived a worldwide flood.

Another display shows photos of Mars. Scientists point to many features of the landscape that indicate Mars had a worldwide flood. They pointed out that if a worldwide flood were not mentioned in the Bible scientists would all conclude that there was one here, too. But that would wash away one of evolution's primary tenets: that the striations we see in places like the Grand Canyon were developed over millions of years. Creation scientists believe those layers were created as the floodwaters rose. It makes a lot more sense to believe striations would come from a catastrophic event rather than over great epochs of time, during which erosion would blend layers together, and in fact we have evidence of this at Mt. St. Helens, where identical striations were created in a matter of hours after its eruption in 1980.

The entire display is very well thought out, down to the number of bats on board! The Lord sent Noah two of each kind, male and female. Creators of the Ark take the word "kind" to indicate any group of animals that can produce offspring with an animal of the opposite sex within that kind. So they only account for two dogs on the Ark, since all varieties of dogs can interbreed. The Lord also sent Noah seven pairs of clean animals and flying creatures. Since there is no scientific proof that all bats can interbreed they have 75 varieties of bats on board. I guess I should add that they're not real, though there's a limited zoo on the premises we didn't have time to see.

Advances in science are making it more and more clear that there had to be a Creator. For more on this watch our friend Eric Metaxas' talk, Science and God. The Ark Encounter opened on July 7, and by the time we visited, less than two months later, there have been over 100,000 visitors discovering these facts secular media would rather ignore.

There we encountered four different friends! As soon as we stepped into the line we ran into Adra Cooper, who was in The Unexpected Bar Mitzvah with us, and Providence with me. Jonathan Ludwig worked on Polycarp with me. I went in knowing two people who had worked on the Ark, and by the time we were done we knew of six, including Adra and Jonathan.

In the living quarters (you can see Noah climbing to retrieve the dove with the olive branch behind us) we ran into Ashley, who used to attend our church, Westchester Chapel.

Then, moments after seeing a wonderful display on the great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor (part of a temporary exhibit, The Voyage of a Book: Personal Stories of Taking the Bible Around the World), we ran into the grandmother of Hudson Taylor ... Graber, the newborn son of Stacie and Joseph Graber, who directed and produced Indescribable, in which Joyce and I played the parents of nine.

Ashley and her friends let us know that we'd missed all the cellphones simultaneously going off with a FLOOD WARNING! We also missed this double rainbow, which appeared beyond the Ark shortly after we left...



You can see more of our photos from the Ark Encounter by clicking here.

I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fellowship with Jesus: Fellowship Over Fear

I opened our service at Westchester Chapel this morning with another report on how the Lord worked in the lives of the students at the performing arts conservatory last weekDr. Linda Warren led prayer over Joyce and I, who will be ministering at a retreat in Ohio next weekendPastor Randy Solomon preached on Matthew 10:26-33 and how a relationship with Jesus Christ eradicates fear. Rachel Taylor prayed for the sermon, shared announcements and led prayer over Rebekah W. who leaves for college.




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.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story by booking Beyond the Chariots.

Friday, August 19, 2016

My connection to Ben-Hur


In 2001-2002 I played five roles in the musical Judah Ben-Hur in Singapore. So I went into an advance screening of Ben-Hur with a lot of hope.

I saw the film with a friend, and I held back from whispering, "I played that guy," five times during the film, so I'll share my delight here, where it won't interrupt your viewing pleasure...

I'll start with the smallest role I had: There was a character who walked onto stage after blowing a trumpet. The actor couldn't play trumpet, so I played it for him and then handed it to him before he walked on.

That's me and my pipa far right.
I played a galley slave in the shadows behind Judah, and I was a musician in the tent of Sheik Ilderim (played in the current film by Morgan Freeman). I played a pipa like it was a guitar in a grand dance scene.

I played Pontius Pilate, who had a much smaller role in the musical than he does in the current film. I basically sat on a couch eating grapes as I presided over the chariot race from about 15' up in the air.

I'm front row center as Simonides
with our wonderful cast from at
least four continents.
My main role in the musical was Simonides, the slave of Judah Ben-Hur's family and the father of Esther, Judah's love interest. In the film Simonides' only speaking roles are mumbled in passing, but the musical made much more of him, and it was a joy to be some of the comical relief in an otherwise very serious story. Lew Wallace's novel, Ben-Hur, is the basis of the 1959 film starring Charlton Heston, the musical, and the film opening in theaters nationwide this weekend. Simonides dies early in this film, but Wallace puts him at the crucifixion of Jesus, saying "Let us henceforth speak of him as the Christ," and Wallace says that Simonides "lived to be a very old man. The current film uses his early death in a strategic way, and I think it pays off.

One of my favorite elements of the musical was that it opened with a solo by Balthazar, one of the three wise men, singing about traveling to and worshiping Jesus as an infant. Balthazar's presence at the crucifixion is poignant. Joyce captured this 33-year perspective in her one-woman one-act play "The Shepherd's Daughter." You can see her perform it in The Shepherds Cave in Bethlehem at www.RichDrama.com/ShepherdsDaughter. I was sorry Balthazar was left out of this film, but the different opening of the film has a huge payoff, which I'll allude to more in a moment.

This image and the poster courtesy
of www.ShareBenHur.com.
As with the 1959 version, no resurrection is shown in the current film. There are indications that the story ends before Easter, and there are miracles when Jesus says, "It is finished." The 1959 film ends on the empty crosses. The novel makes no mention of the resurrection either, but it makes it clear that Judah and his family are Christians, believing that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead without having been first-hand witnesses, as 2.2 billion people believe today. Wallace also shows Judah supporting the brand new Christian movement by giving toward an underground church (literally) meeting in the catacombs. Wallace says "Out of that vast tomb Christianity issued to supersede the Caesars."

I actually feel this current film has the greatest nod to the resurrection of the three versions of the tale I mention here. Judah's time bowing at the foot of the cross inspires an action neither the 1959 version, nor the novel dare to show. A GodTube article reported:
(Timur) Bekmambetov only took the job (of director) after he was certain he could implement his vision for spotlighting a different theme from the 1880 novel than the famous Charlton Heston version of the film did. “The 1959 movie was about revenge, not about forgiveness,” Bekmambetov told the entertainment web site COLLIDER. “For me that was the main problem; I think that the novel is mainly about forgiveness, about the fact that a human being learned how to forgive.”
This film takes forgiveness even further than the novel, which was written by a man who had been a general during our Civil War. He may have felt his readers weren't ready to read what you'll see on the big screen. Though we're a deeply divided nation, we're not as far apart as we were in the mid-1800s, and I was delighted by the resurrected relationship this film shows.

Christians should know:
*Four possible misuses of God's name. It's possible they're genuine prayers, but it's unclear.
*The PG-13 rating is for violence related to war, chariot racing, and crucifixion. If you're a parent of children and teens I urge you to read the article "Trained to Kill."
*Premarital and marital smooching.
*A woman's bare back is shown when her garment is ripped.
*A married couple in bed with bare shoulders only talking.

For a more detailed description of what's involved read PluggedIn's review. If you do prayerfully decide to take a young teen the film will offer opportunities to talk about choices the characters make before and after the influence of Jesus Christ on their lives.





See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story by booking Beyond the Chariots.