Edwina Findley interview

MasterWorks master class instructor Edwina Findley was just interviewed by the NAACP. She had a lot of great insights for young actors, and even mentioned MasterWorks!

CITA Secondary School Festival

I was thrilled to be a part of the Christians in Theatre Arts Secondary School Festival again this year. It was hosted by the Salvation Army's Kroc Center in Greenville, SC.

I got to adjudicate, perform and teach. I was glad it worked out for me to also sit in on the master class with  Emmy award-winning and Tony-nominated producer, director, song writer, Dani Davis. Her work with the students was transformative. The group she worked with in the afternoon, from Artios Academies, won in the ensemble musical theatre competition, so they were asked to perform it again at the end of the evening program. They took Dani's suggestions and ignited the piece to a totally new level!

I'm hoping we'll draw some of those talented young people to MasterWorks this summer.

The Lamp

We just watched The Lamp, directed by Tracy Trost, who directed me in A Christmas Snow. It is absolutely phenomenal! It stars Academy Award winner Lou Gossett Jr. and my ACS cast mates Muse Watson and Cameron ten Napel. Great work, both of you!

It's a powerful story about how we can believe a lie and wrap our whole world around it as if it's the truth, or we can believe the truth and it will set us free.

I once heard Janet Bachelor, co-writer of Batman Forever, say that when she read The Lord of the Rings it made her search for a world that matched Middle Earth, and what she found was that it only exists in Christianity. That's exactly how I felt about The Lamp. It's the kind of fairy tail that points right to life in the Kingdom.

It's a brilliant story beautifully told.

As a part of the opening sequence you'll see the book version of A Christmas Snow by Jim Stovall, who also penned the novel for The Lamp and The Ultimate Gift. (By the way the film version of The Ultimate Gift was cast by Bev Holloway, who has taught a number of times at MasterWorks.) A couple of other nice touches: The director makes his cameo as the "Handsome Jogger". Danny Cahill, who was the biggest loser on The Biggest Loser, played the food critic in A Christmas Snow, and a guy at the gym in The Lamp. And in both films Jim Stovall, who can't see, plays a driver.

Now I have to get back to that opening sequence: None of the characters spoke for six minutes, but the way the story unfolded without words was masterful.

This sermon goes into more depth on John 2, the passage to which I alluded last week. It also has a powerful close by my bride, Pastor Joyce. This also has an interview with the brother of one of my MasterWorks students who inspired the Giants to be "All In".

Call to worship and prayer by Pastor Linda Warren.

Pastor Randy Solomon preaches on Luke 2:13-22.

Closing comments and prayer by Pastor Joyce Swingle.

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.

Pastor Randy mentions a young man who inspired the NY Giants with the phrase, "All In," which is now their motto. Here's an interview with that young man, Gian Paul Gonzales, the brother of a MasterWorks Festival student Rich Swingle taught.

The story of the missionary to the Stone Age tribe is in the book Bruchko, which is how the tribe pronounced the author, Bruce Olsen's name.

The Scarlet and the Black

This powerfully shows the heroic efforts of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty to save thousands of Jewish and Allied targets from the Nazis of occupied Rome.

It was made for television before there was a rating system. In theatres it would probably receive a PG rating today because of its subject matter, frightening images, some vulgarity and violence.

Unity in Worship

Opening story by Rachel L.

Rich Swingle preaches on John 4:1-26.

The song referenced at the beginning of the sermon is Come, Now Is the Time to Worship.

For more details on John 4 review A Samaritan Woman in which Patricia Mauceri followed Pastor Joyce's sermon with testimony linked to that passage.

Here's more about how the veil in the temple being ripped is mentioned by sources in addition to the Bible: Mysterious Events in the Year 30 AD.

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.

Unity in the Father

Pastor Joyce Swingle launches our Unity Series preaching on Psalm 133. She discovered the key to the passage is that our unity must come from submission to the Father.

 Closing comments by Pastor Rachel Taylor.


 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.

Mighty Abraham

This is my audition for the upcoming film, Mighty Abraham. For more details about my personal connection to this story and how my grandfather came back from the dead visit Blog.RichDrama.com (1/2/12).

 The production team is wanting to use the casting process to start a buzz, so I'd be grateful if you could help in three ways:
 1) Like the YouTube page and leave a comment.
 2) Like the Facebook page and leave a comment.
 3) Share the Facebook page on your profile page by clicking the Share button at the bottom of the Facebook post.
 4) Like my IMDb page. (It's just below the ad, which I cannot control in any way.)
Thanks so much, everyone!

How Cliff married the family

In 1942 my grandfather, Jimmy Ostema, the first husband of my grandma, Hilda Triezenberg, had taken a trip to Chicago, which was almost 200 miles away from their home in Charleston, Illinois, to show off his newborn baby, my mom, Judy, to friends and relatives. On that trip he got sick, and his temperature rose to 108 degrees.

Their daughter Jeri, who was 17 months old, was singing to her father, but she and Judy, 9 weeks old, were both pulled away from him for fear that they contract spinal meningitis, the source of his illness. Hilda begged the Lord to keep her 26-year-old husband alive to help her raise their two daughters. Hilda asked the Lord how they could ever crawl out of $600 of debt, which would have been almost $10,000 in today's economy, if Jimmy didn't get better. But he got worse. On October 29 his heart stopped beating, and he was declared dead. Hilda was sobbing and sobbing and still praying when he came back to life! He said, "Hilda, I'll miss you and the girls, but it's so wonderful there! I've seen the Lord. It's far better to be with Him. He will give you another husband who will be a father to our daughters. Let me go." He lived another week, but Hilda eventually told the Lord she trusted Him to take Jimmy home.

At the funeral many expressed their grief for the family by slipping Hilda money. Every year on October 29 Hilda would sit her girls down and tell them about their father. In the same way the people of Israel celebrated passover every year so that each generation would remember the Lord's protection and deliverance long after they begged Him to stop talking to them directly, Hilda told the girls about their father's love for them, about how he would play his trumpet to draw people to their Bible Center so they could understand their Heavenly Father's love for them. She told them about his glimpse of heaven, about how they counted up the gifts from Jimmy's funeral on their bed, and about it all adding up to $600. It was exactly what they needed to escape debt!

When my brother Bob and I came along, Grandma would tell us those stories, too. There were many times that she would tell us how the Lord would guide her by providing an exact amount needed for a ministry endeavor to which she felt called, and that intimate language she shared with the Lord was first spoken and understood at her husband’s funeral.

When she was only three years old, Jeri shared these amazing truths on Moody Bible Institute's radio program. Hilda and Jimmy had met while students at Moody. Cliff Miller had attended the school at the same time, but they hadn't known each other well. The station received numerous calls from people who had given their lives to the Lord because of the young evangelist.

Jimmy's father, a retired minister, was invited to shepherd the small congregation of the Bible Center in his son's absence, but on his first Sunday he told them that he knew of a young Moody Bible Institute graduate who was working on his masters degree: He recommended Cliff Miller to fill the pulpit as an interim preacher.

Meanwhile Hilda and the girls went to live with their widowed grandfather. A little over three years later he remarried, and Hilda thought it wise to re-empty her father's nest. She found a place back in Charleston. She was told about the young man now preaching at the Bible Center.
Here's Cliff's description of how they met from his memoirs:
I was speaking... one Sunday morning early in 1946 when a young woman with two little girls came through the front door. After the service I went to the door to greet people. One of the little girls (Geraldine) grabbed my leg and announced to her embarrassed widowed mother that she wanted a daddy, too! Well Geri* probably started something..." 
So on September 28, 1946, Cliff married the family, fulfilling the promise the Lord had made to Jimmy.

I started hearing this story when I was the age I was in this photo with Hilda and Cliff, but Grandma went to be with the Lord in 1988, and I haven't heard or told this story on the anniversary since then, so far as I can remember. But on October 29, 2021, the tradition was rekindled in a big way, when this article was republished on www.HeadlinePrayer.org! Here's the direct link: Prayer Can Bring the Dead Back to Life!

On September 4, 2021, I was working on the sitcom What’s a Girl to Do, and we got word that a three-year-old had been found in a pool and declared dead. We were four hours and twenty minutes behind schedule, but we prayed for forty minutes. During that time I shared this story about my grandfather coming back from the dead. At a certain point the show runner, Janet Porter, architect of the Heartbeat Bill, pointed to me and said, “Rich, pray this family will celebrate September 4 as the day their boy came back from the dead!” I prayed into that, and moments later someone on the team sensed it was time to start praising, which we did. Moments later a cast member came running down the hall yelling, “He’s ALIVE!” A few days later I got a text saying, “He’s 100%!” There were no complications! Praise the Lord! 

You can hear me telling that story days after it happened at www.RichDrama.com/AliveAgain.

*Aunt Jeri changed the spelling of her name to be closer to Njeri, who helped raise her and Mom.

God Is Our Leader

This New Year's Day service concludes Rich Swingle's Views of the Manger Series with "The New King". Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on Psalm 90 and then leads in communion.


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.