Our church has been in the process of moving into a space many times larger than what we used to have. We just passed our final inspection after the remodelling we did to make a billiards hall work as a church, so we'll begin meeting this Sunday at 11am at 214 Central Ave, White Plains, NY. If you're in the area come check it out. On November 4 at 7pm we'll have a service to dedicate the space. If you're from the Chapel STOP READING NOW! This is supposed to be a surprise. If you're not a regular attender, I want you to know that at our Nov 4 dedication I get to portray King David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant (you'll find a picture of our replica if you search the archives) as it is carried by Levites into our new sanctuary. Hope you can join us.
We had a mini-MaterWorks Festival reunion in NYC. Left to right are Leilani Wells, myself, Boyd Owen, Sarah Keyes, Christian Gonzolez, and Julie Mealiff. We gathered to watch Boyd's professional debut in a fabulous Off-Broadway production called Angels. It tells how Lucifer tricks the new angel of light, but the Lord gets the last laugh. One of the creators announced that it was a workshop version, so I expected scripts in hand, but they had lights, sounds, choreography and more. Evidently they plan to add some serious special effects.
Pray for Boyd, who is now in London looking into performance programs there. He was doing that in NYC when he stumbled upon this production and was cast. Who knows that he won't return to Australia with a West End credit!
I woke up overwhelmed with joy that I get to see as much of the world as I do. I coached architects and engineers through Graceworks down here in Oklahoma. I don't think we saw a single hill, but this neck of the "woods" has a beauty all its own.
|Click here for more photos.|
The chairs will already be packed up.
Our pastor has given me permission to speak about the extraordinary worship we've experienced three years running at Territorial (see links below) as an introduction to worship. One of the most freeing things about Territorial worship was that we shoved the chairs to the side and didn't let them get between us and God. Danielle Strickland encouraged us to kneel if we sing that we kneel, bow if we sing that we bow, raise our hands if we sing that. In short, to make worship a whole body experience. When we do that we naturally have a greater connection to the One we're worshipping. He created our minds, hearts, voices and bodies and communication is only 7% words.
If you're in the area and want to experience worship without chairs come join us: Westchester Chapel at 4 Lyon Place, White Plains, NY. We meet at 11am. If you're outside the area please pray the the Holy Spirit visits our community in a fresh way.
For reports on the revival that goes on up north at the Territorial School of Music and Gospel Arts (TSOMAGA) check out the following posts:
TSOMAGA '06 (scroll down to 9/6 and keep scrolling)
I didn't get any pictures of worship without chairs this year because, well, I was worshipping. The picture here is one of the prayer stations on Thursday night, which was wholly dedicated to worship and testimony. It went on for hours with intense peaks and rests.
There was an article in the New York Times this morning that mentioned The End of the Spear, which was produced by their partner group, Every Tribe Entertainment: Fox Unveils a Division for Religious-Oriented Films.
The article also mentions Love’s Abiding Joy, a western based on the novel by the Christian writer Janette Oke about a couple facing the trials of life on the American frontier. It will open in theatres October 6.
Another film that gets some space in the article is One Night with the King, a movie based on Tommy Tenney's book, Hadassah: One Night with the King, telling how Esther went from orphan to queen. It opens October 13. I'm working on a review of a 25-minute preview, which I'll post later, but mark your calendars now to send the strongest vote for this kind of film in the future.
Bill spoke of a number of exciting upcoming Bearing Fruit projects, including a new branch called Ethno-Graphic Films, which isn't yet on their website. There are some phenomenal short spots (30-60 seconds) at BearingFruit.com/Projects.
Most exciting for me is their interest in doing a documentary on the influence Eric Liddell has had on people. If his story has had an impact on you, post a comment below and I'll be sure to pass it on to Bill.
Other than that, the episode was phenominal. Oscar winner, Marlee Maitland, who is deaf, was the guest host. They recreated a home for a Filippino family, who moved to the States for better health care. The father and his mother are completely blind. The man's daughters are going blind, and his son is deaf. The team created a new home with bright colors so the girls can see them. They put in software that allows the father and son to communicate, and the neighborhood raised $150,000 for future needs.
That's what the invitation to MasterWorks alumna Sarah Keyes' Birthday Dessert Salon said, but Sarah insisted that we share our artistic gifts in lieu of anything purchased.
There were some great artistic offerings, and Sarah, pictured here, danced before the Lord to segue into worship. Finally we had some powerful enacted prayer. In one we prayed for students persuaded by professors to doubt. Sarah played a student reading Niesche and Joyce played doubt. Patricia Mauceri, another MasterWorks instructor, played God. She pushed doubt to the side and indicated that doubt was crushed. As the Holy Spirit I breathed words of life into her ear. Bobby, another MasterWorks alum played Jesus and as the Trinity we danced around the student. Eventually, as the Holy Spirit I gave the student a hug.
I received this note from Ann Van Hine, which she's given me permission to share. She refers to my play about her late husband and my first blog post on 9/11/06.
Good morning Rich,
I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful job you did last evening. You have changed "Five Bells" from the previous times I have seen it and it was even more powerful and more honoring to God.
I smiled yesterday when I got your email mentioning the scripture the Lord had given you: Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableif anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things -- that has been one of my favorite scriptures for a long time. With my own children and the children at camp, etc., I would end up quoting it a lot. Right after Sept 11, 2001 (it could have been 9/12), I went to read that scripture and the Lord had me read from the beginning of that chapter -- verse 4 "Rejoice in the Lord always" .... and later it talks about "the peace of God" and still later "I do everything through him who gives me strength." Those passages have been so important to me. I just smiled as the Lord showed you something and at the same time reminded me of his faithfulness.
In the picture are (left to right) Valerie and Charlie Schmid, Ann Van Hine, Lisa and Mark Ruppert. Charlie was the lieutenant and good friend of Bruce Van Hine, one of the characters in the play. Ann Van Hine is his widow. Lisa told Ann that they prayed for her though they didn't know her. They pray for all the families that lost someone that day.
My friend Dominic Crincoli wrote a song for the play called "I Will Respond" on his album New Dream. You can also download the single on iTunes. Click the button below to launch it.
Each time I prepare to perform this piece I go into mourning. This year I saw it coming, so I had a number of people praying for me. God answered those prayers by giving me insight: This whole play was written to give people new memories, but as humans the things we remember most are those that are most emotional. So I learned to use the play for what it’s designed for! When I think about all those that died I think about the more than 70,000 that were spared. When I get lost in thought about the immensity of the disaster I dwell on the way God gently helped one of the characters find the way home (there's a chance she'll be there tonight). When I feel myself dwelling on the images of distruction, I remember the cross in the rubble. The Word of God said it long ago: Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
If you're in the area, hope you can make it tonight. Ann Van Hine, the widow of one of the characters will be speaking afterward. She speaks powerfully about how the Lord has kept them positive through the last five years.
I just received the following note from Major Len Ballantine, the director of Territorial:
Okay, are you sitting down? Art just called me himself ... to share the news that the cancer cells in his blood have receded to the point that he is going to go home tomorrow! He says he's so elated he just had to call and thank us for the prayers that went up last week. Amen and amen.
Do we serve a God of miracles, or what?!
We went through the story of Gideon all week long, looking at the theme of Revolution. Danielle Strickland (ArmyBarmy.com) said, "Revolution happens when people are discontent. We are called to rise up and throw down the authority of the enemy." After studying how Gideon smashed the idols of his family we took little glass chachkas to represent idols in our in our own lives. Then we smashed them to bits!