Are You Ready?

Joyce teaches on Matthew 25:1-13. I opened by talking about the Great Experiment. Prayer by Dr. Linda Warren. I also got to share about my intro and outro for Tales of the Resistance and Tales of the Kingdom.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can 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.



Sign up for the announcement that registration is open for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Tales of the Kingdom and Tales of the Resistance

When I was performing in the George Fox College Players, each member of our drama troupe, was given a copy of the book Tales of the Kingdom by David and Karen Mains. It was incredibly meaningful to us at the time, especially since David and Karen spoke in our chapel at what is now George Fox University. The Mains' trilogy has been compared to The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.

So I was just thrilled to get to perform the intro, outro and several radio spots for a Lamplighter Ministries' relaunch of the audio books Tales of the Kingdom and Tales of the Resistance, both narrated by David Mains. Click here, and select "Listen to Previews Here" to hear my intros to both books.




Registration is now open for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

A Blessed Christmas to ALL!

I was so blessed by Dr. David Andersen's talk at the Mastermedia Christmas party this year. He started by pointing out that the phrase "getting saved" is no longer in fashion. He thinks people don't like to think of themselves as needing to be saved, but he told how he wandered past some bullies and was beaten up when he was in grade school, and how grateful he was when some men in a restaurant across the street saw it happening and rescued him. He exclaimed, "It's GREAT to be saved!"

Then he pointed out that Jesus Christ came into the world to be our Savior, and Dr. Andersen asked us what He came to save us from? Dr. Andersen pointed out that Jesus must have come to save us all from a universal condition, so He didn't come to save us from poverty, because many in the world are wealthy. He didn't come to save us from purposelessness, because many have direction in life.

Then Dr. Andersen pointed out that Romans 3:23 shows us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," and Romans 6:23 shows us the sentence: "For the wages of sin is death..." In at least ten passages of Scripture we see it's not just a one-time death, but eternal punishment.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." As the angel said at his birth (Luke 2:10) that is Good News!

We've been so blessed to share this Good News through many projects in many places this year. Here are some highlights:

• On Epiphany (January 6) in NYC Rich performed Views of the Manger and we reported on our trip to Cuba.
• Rich did voices for four audio dramas: The Giant Killer, Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance (all available now) and Escape from the Eagle's Nest (available for pre-order).
• We released one of my one-man plays online for the first time: www.RichDrama.com/BtC.
• Rich did numerous interviews about that.
• Rich performed in several films: "Living Word," The Farmer and the Belle, "All God's Children," and next week "RoboDad."
• Several films in which at least one of us performed were released: "Living Word," "A Matter of Perspective," "One Day," Courageous Love, and two episodes of The King's Messengers.
• Rich won Best Actor in a Short Film at the International Christian Film Festival for his performance in "A Matter of Perspective."
• We made our first short film: "Colonel Papa Cubano."
• Joyce made her film directorial debut ("Milk and Oranges") which Rich wrote.
• Joyce wrote a screenplay, to be announced soon!
• Joyce launched social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Though we taught and/or performed in 13 states and more than circled the globe (at least 28,000 miles of travel) this is the first year in our soon to be 20-year-marriage that I (Rich) haven't been able to perform or teach outside of the country. We've felt like that has been an important part of our ministry because of the Great Commission. So we decided to reach the world by giving a free screener of Beyond the Chariots to the first person of each nation -- outside of the US -- who posts the nation where they live at www.RichDrama.com/EveryNation. And... go!

Have a blessed Christmas, EVERYONE!

Here's Joyce's Christmas message from the start of Advent on December 3:



Enjoy this Christmas story from another angle, produced by Owen Hisle, who was a film student at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp after he produced this. "Fulfillment" also stars Zack Lawrence, who directed me in the film In His Steps, and was a founding faculty member of the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Click the image below, or if you received this in an email, go to www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2017.




See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Sign up for the announcement that registration is open for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

RoboDad

I'm very excited to be working with Light Symphony Productions again on this very creative project! I play a scientist who has developed a robotic father, and I'll also play the voice of RoboDad! We had great fun!

It won the top prize for the Fatherhood CoMission film contest at the Christian Worldview Film Festival, 2018.



The last time I worked with this amazing team I was blessed to win "Best Actor in a Short Film" at the International Christian Film Festival.




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


Interview on The Gate

Last month I did some interviews, ads and station identifiers for long-time friend, George Flores, on The Gate, international internet radio! We had people listening in from all over the US, Haifa, the Ukraine, Germany and more. I did station identifiers with greetings in several different languages. Such fun!

George kindly allowed me to post it here:



Here's the schedule for the main interview:
December 10, 8:40 AM Eastern
December 11, 9:40 PM Eastern
December 12, 1:30 PM Eastern
December 13, 8:40 AM Eastern
December 14, 9:40 PM Eastern
December 15, 7:40 AM Eastern

Here are links to some of the things we talked about:

• My Grandma: www.RichDrama.com/HildaMiller
• Big Fish / Little Worm
• The Revelation
• The Acts
• A Clear Leading
• Beyond the Chariots (www.RichDrama.com/BtC)
Full list of my plays
Israel
Jordan
Russia
Beijing
Singapore
London
Full list of nations where I've performed
Beyond the Mask
• Providence
• In His Steps
• Alone Yet Not Alone
You can listen to The Gate via their phone app or via www.IHOPEG.org/thegate.



See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

There

Joyce and I joined my former students William and Morgan Willer who directed and produced the short film, "There."

Joyce served on crew, and I played a father in search of his daughter during a storm who finds that he has to decide between getting her to safety and bringing a woman in labor to the hospital in his two-seat car.


You Should Be THERE: A Short Film from William Willer on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed the movie, consider helping them make their next. I get to play the father in that one, too. We'll film near Orlando, Florida.

Joyce played my character's wife while the cameras weren't rolling. It was a sociodrama to help get our 22nd screen daughter ready for an emotional phone call. We were all deeply moved by the experience, and hopefully you'll hear that in her performance.

It was an official selection at the Christian Worldview Film Festival and the International Christian Film and Music Festival.

They created this brilliant fundraising video for the project:



William and Morgan attended the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp in 2016. William was on the filmmaking side, and Morgan was one of my actors. Our film for that year, "Felicia's Pledge" was just posted: www.RichDrama.com/FeliciasPledge. The next summer the siblings switched places and I got to work with William. Our short film "Milk and Oranges" is now available at www.RichDrama.com/MilkAndOranges.

We also got to work with other Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp alumni: Rebekah Stought, who plays the expectant mother, did both camps in the summer of 2015, when we offered two week-long camps back-to-back. Click here to see the film Rebekah directed and the two in which she performed.

Gwendelynn Martindale was a filmmaking student, and she wrote, produced and directed her own short film, "One Day."

Though RMCFC alumna Gabby Campana needed to be out of town during filming, she helped with pre and post-production. While we were there we got to see her in a really fun short she starred in with the Willers.

McKenzie set up a performance and
workshop for me in her church in
Albuquerque. Her brother, Matt,
also worked on "There."
While we were on set, RMCFC alumna McKenzie Harris got a call-back to play the lead in a Lamplighter Theatre production, of The Treasure of the Secret Cove. The production team listened to over 250 auditions without considering who the actors were. They were shocked to discover McKenzie was also an alumna of the Lamplighter Guild, where I got to teach this summer.

Of course, my own bride attended the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp as well. The short she directed (...for one scene, and she did cinematography, lighting and sound for other scenes) is now online: www.RichDrama.com/MilkAndOranges.

Here's a great review of "There":



Sign up for the announcement that registration is open for the next Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

More Divine Appointments!

I didn’t notice it until just now, but less than an hour BEFORE I posted my grandma’s interview about her prison ministry today, I received a link to the testimony of a prison ministry recipient below.

I met Buckie on a train last week. I made the decision to take that train, though it had a longer route than another option, because I wouldn’t need to transfer. I would have been on a much earlier train had I not stopped for dim sum with colleagues after recording a song.

So, on the train and in the car I was supposed to be on, I overheard someone giving his testimony to a friend about having found the Lord in prison. So I was praying. When the Christian got up for his stop I handed him my card and asked if his testimony was online. So it was a #DivineAppointment on the train and in the timing of him sending the testimony! I picked up the baton and kept sharing with the other man about the Lord for a few more stops.

Hope you enjoy it. You can watch it below or if you’re receiving this via email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com (Thanksgiving Day).




See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Thankful for this memory...

Hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This interview with Ruth Friesen and my grandmother, Hilda Miller, is in 1987. I digitized it from a VHS cassette in 2009, and searched the web for Ruth Friesen and her show, Beauty of Life. I wanted to get her blessing to post the program, but there was no online record of the show’s name paired with her name. 

Recently my wife, Joyce, and I have been involved with Christian Union’s Great Experiment. We’ve committed to five disciplines for a month, and one of them is asking the Lord every morning what he wants us to do that day. Joyce calls it a concrete kindness for the Lord. Two days ago I felt like the Lord was asking me to look into posting this interview. This time the internet pulled up Ruth’s name in her obituary. She died this April. I reached out to her family by Facebook and noticed that they’re friends with Grandma’s niece’s husband. I reached out to him, and he said the son-in-law just Friended him on Facebook! Soon the family got back to me with their blessing, and then I saw why the Lord had prompted me now. One of Ruth’s daughters pointed out that this will be their family’s first Thanksgiving without her mother. I'm so glad they'll have this wonderful memory to share today.

The interview is mostly about Grandma’s prison ministry, and it reminded me that I was 10 years old when Grandma first brought me in with her to minister to the first prisoner she mentions. I continued to go with her from time to time throughout the rest of her ministry. 

Throughout my career I’ve performed and taught in a few prisons, and I know that was on my heart because of Grandma's prison ministry. My most dramatic encounter was earlier this year in the gang unit on Riker’s Island. 

Grandma talks about how much energy the Lord was giving her, but within a year she sensed him telling her, “Get your affairs in order.” As a high schooler I remember thinking, “Does God want her to clean her room?” July of 1988 she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The Lord kept shining through her right to the end, which was three months later. She was a tremendous witness to the doctors and nurses attending her. One of the nurses told me how she was feeling a bit down one day, and there was Grandma, jaundiced and taking her final breaths to encourage her. 

I count Grandma my greatest spiritual mentor and pray I can encourage others right to the end.


For those of you who watch this who aren’t family, I can’t expect that you’ll be as blessed as we are by this interview. I’m writing this after just having seen it for the first time in eight years, and I’m a blubbering mess! I do pray it will give you a sense of gratitude for family members and friends who have represented the Lord well to you. 

Watch the video below, or if you're receiving this via email go to www.Blog.RichDrama.com (Thanksgiving Day).




For more information on Grandma’s mission work in Kenya click here.

To read about the miracle that kickstarted Grandma's ministry click here.

To find out more about a relationship with the Lord, visit www.RichDrama.com/MyPassion.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Thanksgiving Eve Service 2017

I open our Thanksgiving Eve service and introduce the video below. Later in the service I share about the short film, “All God’s Children," in which I play God. You can now watch that below. Rachel Taylor takes us through Psalm 107.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service and video:



Here's the video Rich mentions during the opening:



Here's the short film Rich mentions:



All God's Children from Joseph Holmes on Vimeo.

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.



We're getting close to opening registration for next summer's Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers CampDon't miss the announcement!

The Sword of the Spirit Interview

This morning I got to chat with with Donald James Parker on his first video interview for The Sword of the Spirit. You can watch below, or if you're receiving this via email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com.



Here are links to some of the things I mentioned:
Beyond the Chariots
Providence
Donald James Parker joined us for the
premiere of Providence.
Beyond the Mask
Alone Yet Not Alone
The Unexpected Bar Mitzvah

My other films
Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp
Lamplighter Guild
The Giant Killer and Escape from the Eagle's Nest
The Salvation Army Territorial Arts Ministry Conservatory
My Workshops
Schools where I've taught
• In Chariots of Fire it was Jackson Sholz who hands Eric Liddell the piece of paper saying, "In the old book it says: He who honors me, I will honor.” (I Samuel 2:30) In reality it was an American masseur who gave him the paper.
Eric Liddell Centre
On Wings of Eagles
Judah Ben Hur, the musical in which I performed in Singapore
Drama Evangelist for the Church of the Nazarene
My bride, Joyce's performances
Eric Liddell's student, H. K. Cheng
Eric Liddell's daughters
What it means to live in relationship with the Lord



See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

All God's Children

Robert Puncher played our 21st screen child.
Joyce and I performed in this short film by Joseph Holmes. Joyce played an anxious woman, and I got to play the role of God, for which I was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Short Film at the International Christian Film Festival and Best Comedic Performance at the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival.

Here's a great article on our director: Meeting God Halfway.


All God's Children from Joseph Holmes on Vimeo.

Though we didn't play husband and wife. Her character had a son, and I played [Spoiler alert! Highlight the following text to see my role: the Heavenly Father of the young man], so we're counting him as our 21st screen child.



See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness

Eric Metaxas, who kindly let us use his testimony for a site we set up for people we encountered in Russia during the Sochi Olympics (www.WhoistheFish.com), has written a brief but thorough chapter on Eric Liddell in this book featuring six other luminaries in the Kingdom of God. Metaxas is a skilled writer, and he brought me to tears with material I’ve known for years. I was also delighted by some surprises.

He found an interview with Horatio Fitch, who raced Liddell in the 400 meters at the Paris Olympics. Fitch had broken the world record in one of the semi-final heats, and in his interview in 1984 Fitch said, “Our coach told me not to worry about Liddell because he was a sprinter, and he’d pass out 50 yards from the finish.” The 1981 movie Chariots of Fire shows how Liddell was expected to prove himself the fastest man alive in the 100 meters, but refused to run a heat on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day. Liddell ended up breaking Fitch’s world record in the 400 meters, beating him by five meters. It was decades before the spread between first and second in that race was greater.

The new film about Liddell, On Wings of Eagles, shows him being challenged to run on a Sunday in the internment camp in which he was incarcerated in China, and the movie does not really flesh out that challenge. I had been meaning to look up more about Liddell refereeing athletic events on Sundays because fights were breaking out when he wasn’t there. Metaxas captures that with a quote from Joyce Stranks Cotterill, who later married one of Eric’s roommates in the internment camp, Joe Cotterill. Joyce said Liddell

came to the feeling that a need existed, [and] it was the Christlike thing to do to let them play with the equipment and to be with them…because it was more Christlike to do it than to [follow] the letter of the law and let them run amok by themselves.

In the new film Eric’s reason to run was also more Christlike than following the letter of the law, in fact he saw it as a matter of life and death. Joseph Fiennes (who plays Liddell in the film) does a fine job carrying the weight of the challenge in his countenance. I was just disappointed that it wasn’t explored more in the film.

My favorite discovery in Metaxas’ book comes from a blog post quoting Eric’s teacher in college (high school in the American system), A. P. Cullen. I call him Uncle Rooper in my one-man play about Liddell, Beyond the Chariots. It was a childhood nickname that somehow followed him into adulthood. Eric followed him to China where they taught alongside each other, and they were later imprisoned together in the Japanese internment camp. Cullen recorded what he said at Liddell’s funeral:

He was literally God-Controlled, in his thoughts, judgements, actions, words to an extent I have never seen surpassed, and rarely seen equalled. Every morning he rose early to pray and read the Bible in silence: talking and listening to God, pondering the day ahead and often smiling as if at a private joke.

Metaxas does a brilliant job summarizing every chapter of Liddell’s life but one. There’s no mention of Liddell’s world-class running that continued in China. Beyond the Chariots portrays how he tied the winning times for the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928 at a meet in China with Olympic athletes from France and Japan. For a fuller exploration of those athletic exploits I recommend David McCasland’s Pure Gold: Eric Liddell and John Keddie’s Running the Race. I count McCasland’s the authoritative biography on Liddell, and Keddie was a Scottish runner himself and tied Eric’s time on at least one track.

I believe the fact that Liddell continued to run at world-class speed after moving to China only one year after winning Olympic gold amplifies his sacrifice to leave all of that glory behind to give his all to the One who gave His all for him.



See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Beyond the Chariots featured on ChristianCinema.com Facebook page

ChristianCinema.com is featuring my one-man play Beyond the Chariots on their Facebook page today! We'd be ever so grateful if you'd give it a Like and a share! The more likes and shares the more of their core base will see it in their news feed. This is our greatest opportunity to reach the maximum audience. Click here.

Bless you!


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story by arranging for a public license or by booking a live performance of Beyond the Chariots.

Friday's chat after On Wings of Eagles

We were delighted to rewatch On Wings of Eagles debut on the East Coast and to field questions afterward.

You can hear the questions and answers below, or if you're receiving this via email you'll find it at the top of www.blog.richdrama.com.



Unfortunately I miscalculated how much space was left on my recorder, and it ran out just before a woman in attendance shared how she had the theme from Chariots of Fire played at her wedding!

Seeing it as second time there were a number of details that caught my eye and ear that I'd missed the first time around.

Early on there's a glimpse of A Tale of Two Cities, which Eric Liddell loved because of the Christ-like giving of one life for another. He was memorizing that chapter while pumping water for people in the camp.

There's a line in which Flo says, "I know what kind of a man I married," and this time through it reminded me of something I'd just read in David McCasland's Pure Gold: Eric Liddell. McCasland made the comment that before she married Eric she never hear anyone say a negative thing about him. In all the research I've done, and in all the dozens of people I've met who remember him, I can't recall a single negative statement about him!

I'm doing one more talkback after tomorrow's 11am screening. Find details and my full review of the film at www.RichDrama.com/OnWingsOfEagles.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story at www.RichDrama.com/BtC or by booking a public screening or live performance.