Honors Recital Theatre Winners

The MasterWorks Festival theatre students auditioned this afternoon for the upcoming Honors Recital. The following have been selected for performance:

High School: Olivia Wilder
College: Dan Cotton
Post-College: Faith Whitaker
Post-College: Tiffany Rott

The following students were selected to perform their audition pieces during upcoming Sunday morning services:

July 4: Anna Hagen
July 11: Jill Cromwell
July 18: Annie King and Danny Cornett

MasterWits 2010

They have arrived!!! We're missing one due to a flight delay, but it was just so thrilling to see returning students--one for her fourth year--alongside many newcomers.

Good News! - The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory

I've taught an performed at the Salvation Army's Eastern Territorial Arts Ministry (TAM) Conservatory for several years. This is their 10th anniversary, and this is a fabulous article about that...

Good News! - The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory


I'm at Star Lake Camp to direct the Salvation Army's Creative Arts Service Team. They'll post their touring schedule soon at www.theTAMjam.com.

For the Glory is in the news!

I just got the following note from the For the Glory team...

So we've wrapped... now what?

Editing, that's what! We hope to be putting up some clips as time goes by - keep an eye out for a short teaser in the next couple weeks. It will show up here: www.youtube.com/fortheglorymovie

While you're at it, check out our new media page at www.fortheglorythemovie.com/media

And last but not least... drumroll... For The Glory is in the news! Pick up a copy of the Fairfax Times or go here: http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/cms/story.php?id=1653 

More miracles

Just before boarding my flight to Chicago on Friday I got a call saying that there was a chance that my Saturday night performance would be switched to Sunday night so we'd have more time to prep.  So I got on the phone with the airline and explained that the only reason I was flying to Chicago was for that performance, so if it was switched to Sunday night, could my Sunday morning flight to NYC be moved to Monday morning.  The woman said that I'd have to pay to make that change.  I prayed and called again.  The next attendant gladly made the switch without hesitation or fee.

So here were the divine appointments that happened on my leisurely Sunday and Monday that wouldn't have occurred had the weather been nice on Saturday:

I got to attend a great Sunday school class and two marvelous sermons, all three of which I blogged (6/13 and 14).  And all three of which inform the devotions and sermon I'm going to share at MasterWorks on our identity.

I got to spend more time with Norm Kapp, sharing my experiences in the extra decade I've had touring like his daughter is.

I got to visit the wonderful Billy Graham Center Museum, where there's a display by Timothy Botts, who I performed with in St. Louis years ago.  He speaks as he creates his calligraphy.

When I got to the dinner for the Summer Celebration that brought me to Chicago I walked up to the tent full of strangers and prayed that the Lord would lead me to the right seat.  Within seconds a fellow from Romania hailed me.  I shared what little Romanian MasterWorks student Krisztina Fekete had taught me, and then the gentleman introduced me to Herbert Carlburg, pictured here.  He was withdrawn from the Cheefoo School, founded by Hudson Taylor, a few days before the Japanese took over the campus and declared everything and everyone there the property of Japan.  Later, they shipped all the students off to the Weihsien internment camp, where Eric Liddell spent his last years.  Herbert's family took him further west until the Japanese eventually pushed them to India.  Since Hudson Taylor came into our conversation someone said, "One of his great-granddaughters attends our church."  Before we knew it, Ruth Kerns, pictured here, came over and explained that she prayed from afar for her four cousins who were interned with Eric Liddell, two of which have spoken after performances of Beyond the Chariots: Rev. Dr. Jim Hudson Taylor, III, who passed away last March, and Mary Previte.

While telling some folks after the evening sermon how much I appreciated the Billy Sunday display at the Billy Graham Center Library one of the women I was talking to said, "I'll never forget hearing him preach."  She remembers that he put one leg up on a chair...until he threw it for emphasis.  It landed quite near her, which terrified her.  But I have the impression she's walked with the Lord ever since. :)

Today's flight home to NYC was also filled with divine appointments, including a fascinating O'Hare to Port Authority conversation about, among other things, this truly remarkable and miraculous weekend.

Augustine College

One of our MasterWorks students, Patrick Moynihan was accepted at the University of Southern California's acting program, but he was able to get a one-year deferment so he can attend Augustine College in Ottawa, Canada. I think the school is a profoundly great idea. Here's what their brochure says:

Recent American studies have found that the majority of young people raised as Christians lose their faith at college. But students intellectually prepared to engage the culture of our day in reasoned and confident argument run counter to that trend. In the years since their graduation, our students have remained solidly Christian to a degree far above the norm.

The school provides an 8-month intensive preparing Christians to enter secular colleges and universities well-prepared to face the skepticism and even atheism that awaits.

Patrick told me he doesn't think he would stray from his faith at college, but he wants to do what he can to ensure that. Brilliant!

Find out more at AugustineCollege.org.

No more peer pressure!

Peter Baker said he asked a 100-year-old man what the best thing about being 100 was, and he said, "There's no peer pressure." Unfortunately the rest of us live with it.

Here are my notes on Peter's second sermon from last night...

Consumerism tells us we can buy an identity. Noel Coward penned, "Stay young and beautiful if you want to be loved." And no wonder we have an identity problem, when society tells us we're just a bunch of random cells.

People can make themselves busy
enough to keep out the major questions like, "Who am I?"

In Psalm 139 David says God knows who we are He's the most important barometer of who we are since He made us.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer who led the confessing church's resistance to Hitler said, "Whoever I am, Lord, I am thine."

For David, it is reassuring to know that God really knows him, and that He watches every moment he breaths. At last, someone who knows who I am! Where can I go that God is not there?

In essence David says, "My identity will be maintained by the God who created me." David praises God because He so oversees every element of his life. God's care for us liberates us. We can walk in complete freedom within his principles, knowing they'll be for our best.

David's choice is ours: Do we listen to the messages of the world and believe them or believe in the God who made us, shaped us and loves us? David chooses to let the Lord make his identity.

Why would you want society to define you when the God of the universe loves you as you are?

The spark of God's creative genius was a part of every stage of David's development.

David was living in a world in which he bares the responsibility of a kingdom, where his own son plots his downfall, but he finds God to speak directly to who he is.

Will we let God be God or will we keep running from him in futile flight? If we have any sense we'll turn down the volume on this world's messages and hear the passionate love God demonstrated by sending his own Son to reveal himself to us.

You don't have to search for an image if you know Jesus, you have been given one by Christ. Whatever else may be true of you isn't nearly so important as our relationship with Jesus. As we grow in the security of that relationship we have freedom from peer pressure. The Creator of the world loves us.

When my identity is in Christ I am free to see others as they really are, loved by God.

I was going to be home in NYC during that sermon, but when my flight was canceled Friday we thought we might need to switch Saturday night's performance to Sunday night. So I'm here in Chicago an extra day, maybe just so you you could read this.

A message from Wales

The guest speaker this morning at Wheaton College Church is Peter Baker, who's best 100m time is 10.9 seconds, only .3 off of Harold Abrahams' Olympic record of 1924 (which was the mathematical equal to Eric Liddell's best 110yd time).

Peter is preaching on Matthew 6:25-34, which promises us troubles in this world, but admonishes us not to worry.

Peter pointed out that there are things about which we should be concerned, but the worry Jesus tells us to leave behind is preoccupation with food, fashion, fitness and future. Society is quite preoccupied with all of this. Lifestyle aspirations consume us. Jesus said those that don't believe in God run after all these things. Jesus isn't saying we should be disinterested in the welfare of our families, He's saying God will cover all of these needs without us worrying about them. They should never become gods to us. If we buy into the values of the world we're trying to worry the gods into doing our bidding. As our District Superintendent, Art Alexander said, "Worry is prayer to the wrong god."

Worry never strengthens us for tomorrow, it only weakens us for today.

We can't do anything for tomorrow, but we can do something about today. Worry is wasteful of our time, because it has us moving in the wrong direction

Why did Jesus come into the world?

Wheaton College Church is starting a series entitled, "Tough Questions".

Today's question is, "Why did Jesus come into the world?"

John 18:33-38 places the Ruler of all the Earth before the governor of Judea.

Jesus told governor Pilate, "For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world: to testify to the truth."

Over 75 times Jesus said, "I tell you the truth."

In John 8:32 Jesus says, "The truth will set you free."

In Ephesians 6, the first element of the spiritual armor is the Belt of Truth.

How does mankind react to truth?

Jesus divides humanity by saying, "Whoever is on the side of truth listens to me."

In the Garden of Eden satan presented a second truth claim, which we ate.

Pilate responded to Jesus' claim to testify to truth by saying, "What is truth?"

In 1828 Webster defined truth as reality.

God's perspective on reality is the only one that isn't skewed.

Society wants everyone to be comfortable with their own truths, but that's trading in the majesty of God to worship a block of wood. As the Bishop Welcome put it in the novel, Les Miserables, "They have confused the constellations of profundity with the stars a duck's feet make in the mud."

The ultimate truth is God himself.

How pathetic is having faith in faith or hope in hope. We can have faith and hope in the truth claims of God.

Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

If we really believe the truth claims of God we can turn the world right side up.

For the outline and more details on this teaching visit www.College-Church.org, where you'll find it under "Adult Communities".

I was going to be at 30,000' right now, but when my flight was canceled yesterday we thought we might need to switch last night's performance to tonight. So I'm here in Chicago an extra day, maybe just so you you could read this.

Mere Christians

I'm staying here in Chicago with the father of Melissa Hawkins, who performs the one-woman play, Juliet: A Dialogue About Love. Wheaton College Church, where I miraculously performed tonight, asked the Kapps if they'd host me. Later he realized Joyce and I had hosted Melissa in '07. I had met her at a speed networking session at a Christians in Theatre Arts conference, here in Chicago. We had two minutes to share about our work. She said, "I'm going to perform at the Fringe Festival this summer."

"So am I!" I bellowed. "I'll see you in Edinburgh!" Turns out she was performing at the New York Fringe Festival the same weeks we were performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So we let her apartment sit.

Now her folks are returning the favor.

Her dad invited me to read a chapter Melissa wrote in Mere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C. S. Lewis. I was sobbing after Melissa's profound retelling of how she found Jesus in a very secular theatre company commune in Hungary by reading pages from C. S. Lewis' book, Surprised by Joy, which her sister had selected for her. I had been praying for a chapter to assign MasterWorks students, and now I most certainly have it!

Tracking the miracles

Eventually the Facebook thread will submerge, so here's the backward chronology of the prayer requests and answers for tonight's performance...

Rich Swingle: I forgot to report another miracle: there was no slow
traffic...through Chicago...on a stormy day...at rush hour.
about an hour ago via Email · Comment · Like
Tom P and Bill L. B like this.

Bruce W: With God, the absolutely IMpossible is possible!
about an hour ago ·

Pamela K: wonderful news!!
about an hour ago ·

Rich Swingle: Tonight's performance started on time! Thanks for your prayers!
about an hour ago via Email · Comment · Like
Preventemail Stalkersmoor, Brandon Joel Langeland and 2 others like this.

David W: Praise God!
about an hour ago ·

Chris HP: AMEN!
20 minutes ago ·

Rich Swingle: Just touched down in Chicago. The volunteers that got off opened a seat near the front. I'll warm up for the play en route to the baggage claim. Pray my costume and props beat me there and that my ride's out front.
5 hours ago via Email · Comment · Like
Audrey Cornett, Chris Henley Poppelreiter and Rob Plaster like this.

Lois W: Still praying.
4 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: Finally a forth volunteer! We should take off soon! Praying for really strong headwinds for tonight's 7pm CST performance.
7 hours ago via Email · Comment · Like
Laura J Drexler, Lois Wilder, Bill L. Behrendt and 2 others like this.

Claude C: Praying!!!
4 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: They may have to remove 4 more people! Pray for volunteers so I
can get to my 7pm CST performance!
7 hours ago via Email · Comment · Like
Renee' Carper Adams likes this.

Chris HP Poppelreiter: I know God is really going to use your performance tonight in Chicago - 'cause Satan is trying really hard to keep you from getting there. Praying that HE will be glorified through you no matter what happens!
7 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: We were overweight, and they were going to force off the last person who checked in, and that might have been me. Someone volunteered to take a later flight. PTL!!!
7 hours ago via Email · Comment · Like
Pamela Knox and Renee' Carper Adams like this.

Carla S awesome!
7 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: Finally boarded. Praying for a strong headwind to Chicago for tonight's 7pm performance, someone up front willing to switch with me for the last row on the plane, and for my bag and ride to be waiting for me!
7 hours ago via Email · Comment · Like

David W: Go Rich! We are praying.
7 hours ago ·

John F: excellent -- PTL...
4 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: The upload of my Off-Broadway play can't be uploaded before I take off. At this point I may be reciting the play by phone in the car if we don't land on time!
8 hours ago · Comment · Like

Kristina R: Praying!
7 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: I heard from the venue, and they cannot change my start or stop time for Beyond the Chariots. I'm going to upload the Off-Broadway performance in case I'm not there and ready to go. I'll interrupt the DVD with the live performance if need be.
10 hours ago · Comment · Like

Lois W: God knew about all of this yesterday. He is still in control and we are all praying for you.
9 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: My flight to Chicago, where I'm performing tonight was just cancelled.
The guy behind me just heard on his phone that the next available flight is tomorrow morning, but after that I was rebooked on a flight this afternoon!!! It will get me in an hour, 45 min. before my performance, and I usually like 2 hours to set up,...
See More
11 hours ago · Comment · Like
Renee' Carper Adams and Pamela Knox like this.

Chuck N: I made it! Time to spare! Hoping you do too! Thanks for your prayers Rich and Chris!
5 hours ago ·

Blandina RO: He works everything for your good, you'll see!!!
2 hours ago ·

Rich Swingle: Thanks so much for all your prayers for tonight's ON TIME performance!!! I was uploading them from my phone all day, but I wanted to conserve batteries, so I'm just logging on now to see all of your prayers and supportive wishes! Thanks so much for being a part of my team today. Here's the report: http://Blog.RichDrama.com/.
about a minute ago ·

Miracle after miracle

My flight was canceled today when Chicago O'Hare Airport was shut down due to thunderstorms. The guy behind me in line was on his cell and discovered that the next available seats were on a flight tomorrow morning. You can follow the blow by blow account of miracle after miracle on www.Facebook.com/RichSwingle. I did miraculously get there with very little time to spare, and I changed in the car and what I allow two hours to set up was done in 15. I even had 10 minutes to warm-up and pray...well I've been doing that all day. Now I'm praising!!!

After the performance I told them about all the miracles and then said, "God really wanted at least one of you to hear this story tonight: assume it's you, and ask the Lord what He wants you to take from it."

Thanks so much to those of you that were praying! Now pray that He'll seal the work He wants done!

On the set of Pawn's Move

I'm on the set of the film Pawn's Move, playing Sheriff Hanson.

Extras needed for Pawn's Move

They're looking for extras for tomorrow's shoot on Pawn's Move, in which I'll be playing the role of Sheriff Hanson.

Click here for details.

Invite your friends and RSVP to: Jesse Carlisle.

12 on 12

When I sent out a prayer request this morning for more soccer players on the set of (For the Glory we had one full team of 12 and an opposing team of two. By the time we needed them we had 12 on 12. Looks like God's finger prints to me, and a sure sign that He'd answered our prayers!

Today was my last day on set. We filmed all of my scenes except for one that we missed on Thursday. Thanks so much for all of your prayers. We saw them answered one after another.

Keep praying as they go into the final week of production and then into post-production as they edit the footage. Pray for wisdom as they decide what shots to use.

We're praying for more soccer players

Send them now (6/5) to Bishop Ireton High, 201 Cambridge Road
Alexandria, VA 22314-4809. Tell them to bring cleats & shin guards.

My last day of filming

I'm back on set for my last day of shooting For the Glory. Today we're at the alma mater of my nieces for the big soccer match.

Back on set

I'm on my third sequence of For the Glory: www.RichDrama.com/ForTheGlory.

It's a scorcher, but thunder is forecast. We're praying we can wrap before it strikes.