Our small group, which is also the theatre department here at Territorial, came down to the beach of Lake Simcoe to find rocks.
Enacted prayer answered
Later in the service a student from last year testified about how she requested an enacted prayer for her brother, who was addicted to drugs. I played the brother and remember a great clenching of my fists, grasping the drugs. In the prayer God finally pulled the brother away from the drugs, after a great struggle against God I embraced him. Then I embraced the family. The enactment gave the student encouragement to ask others for more prayer. When she called home her mom asked if the student had been praying for her brother. He turned himself into a detox center, gave his life to the Lord, then went on a 3 day fast because of his sins. After that he went running up & down the halls of the detox center praising God. He's still striving for a close walk with the Lord.
Another student shared how my play The Revelation last year reignited his relationship with God. He hadn't spoken to Him for at least a year. The student said, "After the play I said, 'Hey, God, you want to be friends,' and He said, 'Sweet.'"
The Salvation Army has a tradition of a mercy seat, based on Exodus 25:22. They have a pew facing the congregation, where people can kneel in God's presence. When Len invited people to come forward to consecrate themselves many came to the mercy seat, but I had the sense that many more were consecrating themselves where they sat (or kneeled).
I have high expectations for what God is going to do here this week.
Dr. Ron Powell challenged us last week to record insights and decisions we make while reading the Word and sitting under the teaching of the Word, so he inspired me to start blogging some of my thoughts. Here are some highlights from last week:
Yield (Listen to what God wants to say. Larry King: what do you say in prayer? Mother Theresa: Nothing. I listen. LK: What does He say? MT: Nothing. He listens. If you don't understand that, there's nothing I can say to help you.)
A half heart doesn't hold anything.
Image is nothing.
God is everything.
Obey your God.
Here is a cool way Dr. Ron encouraged our students to read scripture:
What is it saying?
Open your heart.
Record decisions & insights.
Do what it says.
Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving.
Trust alone the Word of God.
Nothing else is worth believing.
Let the Revolution begin!
I left Joyce alone with the girls to attend faculty devos. Mark Hall, our fearless leader challenged us to write the names of our students on our hearts the way the high priest was to wear stones with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel over his heart when he stepped into the Holy of Holies.
When I returned to Cabin 2 Joyce was still ministering to the girls. It was so encouraging to hear these young ladies pray for us just before we prayed a benediction over them. It was a sweet aroma to the Holy One.
Pray that all of the students here will step into their callings for the Lord, whatever they may be. Today Dr. Ron will present a challenge to them. Pray they walk in it.
At the end we prayed over the counselors for the cabin. I hadn't mentioned Mark Hall's devo, but Joyce prayed that the counselors would write the names of their students on their hearts the way the high priest was to wear stones with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel over his heart when he stepped into the Holy of Holies.
It's thrilling to be led by and be married to people who hear from the Lord.
Please put Rich, Joyce, Mark Hall, and Dr. Ron Powell on your hearts as we finish out the week with these dear young people.
They're setting off fireworks as a praise offering, thanking the Lord for all he's done so far this week.
Fiddling on the Roof
I'm performing and teaching at the Divisional Senior Music and Gospel Arts Camp for the Salvation Army. Youth from all over Ontario meet just northeast of Toronto to study performance and the Word. The Lord is at work here. On the opening night the chaplain, Dr. Ron Powell, challenged the students to stand if they have certainty that they'll spend eternity with the Lord in heaven. Most of them stood, but there were several that sat. Lift us up this week as we seek oportunities to explain the Gospel in formal and informal settings.
Two extaordinary nights
|A Boys War |
By David Michell / Overseas Missionary Fellowship
A Boy's War is a true story of a boy in China in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. Yet it is an account more about children and their adventures than the atrocites of a deathcamp. And it includes glimpses of Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Liddell not included in Chariots of Fire.
Hobbits are dancing...
...and the show has not yet begun!
...Now that it's over it has become my new favorite, only slightly dislodging Les Mis?rables, which inspired me to spend my life doing theatre. Lord of the Rings inspired me all over again!
The acting and singing were fine, but it was the creative telling of such a rich story that put it on the top of my all-time list.
The Balrog and Shelob were phenomenal, but the real star was the stage. It started as a simple turntable (a la Les Mis), but it had so many sections that could each move independently that it could become anything, and it did.
I was also tickled by a couple of things the films left out: a reference to Tom Bombadill and Sauroman's hijacking of the Shire and his subsequent fall.
An amazing piece of theatre.
Swingles atop the world
We're on the tallest man-made observation deck on the planet. The tower above us makes the CN Tower the tallest building in the world.
Getting here I was in 6 airports in four days and five of them were different: Newark to O'Hare, O'Hare to LaGuardia, JFK to Toronto. That may be a personal record.
...for something completely different.
I went straight from TAM to EWR (Newark Airport) to fly to Chicago to coach architects for a presentation.
Passing the flame
During our program last night a representative of Star Lake Musicamp received the baton from our prayer warriors. First one of our students prayed and then the gal from Star Lake ignited their week of 24/7 prayer a state away.
The Eastern Territory of the Salvation Army has been praying continuously since June. They plan to pass the flame from one site to another for a whole year.
Our students were invited to carry that flame to their own communities.
Kids of the King
During our closing worship session we were empowered to share all that God did in us and through us this week. I was a mess. We caught a glimpse below the surface, and the Lord was stirring some deep waters.
I shared a vision I had during listening prayer. Our instruction was to imagine that we were bringing the person sitting next to us to the Lord. I saw Him place a crown and royal train on the gal sitting next to me. I told the students that the vision is for each of them as kids of the King.
In the photo, many are bowing before their Father, empowered through various prayer stations.
The Word of God is a Hammer
While contemplating this verse we smashed pottery to bits.
The Sword of the Spirit
At this station we pondered how the Word of God cuts through the deceptions of the enemy as we sliced through clay and flower arranging material.
Bread of Life
This station had the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread.
Here are my actors for my piece on the woman caught in adultery. The final performance went so well! I was quite proud of what they accomplished in a week.
During our closing worship service there was a time of sharing. Several students spoke of the impact of our program: Over 100 students in more than a dozen pieces (acting, dance, choreodrama, mime) all interwoven with our theme of prayer. Awesome.
By the way, our piece was linked to the section of The Lord's Prayer in which we ask the Lord to forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Our prayers were creative
These are just a handful of our written and painted prayers that we brought to the lobby for our final performance.
My small group
This is the group I've met all week to explore TAM Conservatory's theme of prayer. It was this group that prayed through NYC on Wednesday. Here we are in the 24/7 prayer room. It's now packed full of written and painted prayers.
The Sound of Silence
If you look closely at the picture you'll see that none of the 130 high school and college students or faculty are talking. We're having a monastic meal in complete silence. Even my friends' baby waited to whimper until most people had left. I went back for seconds and dessert so I could soak it all in. One student wrote a note to the instigator, our chaplain Janet Munn: "This is the coolest experience I've ever had." I think we all felt closer to the Lord and, ironically, to each other. We were communicating on deeper levels.
We're on a prayer walk of NYC. Each group has been assigned nine of twelve strategic sites in the neighborhood where we're seeing Slava's Snow Show later.
The Commissioner just told us that the Territory is doubling our offering. We're sending the orphanage $100,000!
Last year at TAM we pledged to raise $10,000 by Dec 1 for an orphanage in Nigeria. Then a student proposed that we raise $50,000 by TAM '06. On The first night they raised $1818.96. By Dec 1 they raised over $11,000. The students used all sorts of methods and events. By June it broke $26,000. Their summer camps raised over $20,000 making it over $46,000. Now, Carol told us each to bring $2.35 to the auditorium. Our last offering brings the current total of $49,693.39 to $50,000. God has done an amazing thing through these students.
Around the world
Today four students shared international experiences they've had this summer.
Between them they've visited Chenai, India, San Luis and La Paz, Bolivia, the two cities I visited on my first Compassion trip, and the last students taught choreodrama in Kibera, Kenya, and Ghana. Choreodrama uses movement and minimal dialogue set to music. It's one of the techniques that got me started in theatre as a high schooler. The Africans created a scene which encorporated one of their common phrases: a single piece of straw is weak, but tied together in a broom there is great strength. They used this idea to illustrate how God gave each person a piece of straw, but they went their own way until Christ brought them together in his Body.
It's so exciting to see these young people getting out there, seeing the world and doing ministry. The trips I took in high school to Mexico and then to Korea, Hong Kong, and China, had so much to do with what I'm doing now. I can't wait to see how God uses these young people over the years.
One of the students asked people to stand if they wanted to use drama overseas. A good third of them (over 30) stood! Maybe some of them will become ethnodramatologists like my friend Julisa Rowe (Ethnodrama.com).
I'm teaching at a week-long theatre (and other performaning arts) conservatory for the Salvation Army (theTAMjam.com). We're signing up so that every hour that we're here (24/7) is covered in prayer. I have great expectations that the Lord is going to do some really cool things while we're here. Appreciate your prayers to that end!
In Christ alone,