Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bethlahem Blessings

In this morning's sermon Joyce summarizes Genesis 29-31, the story of Jacob and his wives, drawing a fascinating connection between their lives and the curses and blessings of Bethlahem.

I introduced the Shepherd's Advent Candle by sharing about yesterday's Treasure Seekers Christmas Party I advertised in the video below.

Pastor Linda Warren opens by praying the lyrics of "O Little Town of Bethlahem." Bill H. introduces worship by quoting excerpts from The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and Isaiah 9:6. Liz H. tells a heartwarming story about performing for a special needs audience. Pastor Randy Solomon prays and shares the announcements: We'll have a Christmas Eve service at The Crowne Plaza at 6pm.



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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

WCCC Worship 12/14/14 by RichS on Grooveshark
Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad.

 Here's the Treasure Seeker's video I mentioned above...

 Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Now taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.
 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Have a blessed Christmas!

We hope that you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a wondrous New Year!

This year has had some exceptional highs and lows for us.

The deepest valley was resigning from The MasterWorks Festival after serving on faculty for 16 years and directing the theatre program for ten. Joyce also had served as director of pastoral care for six years. Though it was a difficult decision we know that the Lord was leading in it, and we are planning to use the connections and experience we've gleaned after being a part of 17 film projects since 2010 to work on our own. Details to come.

I also do not feel called away from teaching, and I will be doing that and coaching actors at The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp this summer. Registration has just opened, and space is limited, so apply as soon as possible. It was through this camp that the feature film In His Steps was produced. I was just there as an actor that year, playing John Gray, who runs a soup kitchen. This summer we helped our students audition for a live project, the feature film Mayflower II. One of our students was cast in the key role of the son of the characters played by Joyce and myself. One of his scenes led up to my favorite scene in my 19-year career!

Speaking of screen children, when Joyce and I went through pre-engagement counseling (something we highly recommend!) we were asked all sorts of things that you just don't naturally bring up as you're getting to know each other: spiritual background, denomination, political affiliation, etc. We were connected on so many levels, and the session was going so very well that I thought I'd throw in a joke when the counselor asked how many children we each wanted. I said twelve. Joyce just about fell out of her chair! Though we haven't had any children of our own, it just dawned on me that we've now had 13 screen children! We've played husband and wife in four films. In Indescribable we had nine children, in The Unexpected Bar Mitzvah we had one, in Rather to Be Chosen we had two, and in Mayflower II we had one. I hope in the future we'll have many screen grandchildren, but we'll be putting the pressure on casting directors (far into the future), rather than on our screen children.

This was a busy traveling year with numerous performances and workshops in 17 states, Sochi, Russia, during the Olympics, and three provinces of Canada.

We're planning to take a team of performing artists to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics. If you're interested in joining us click here.

Joyce continues as counselor and lead pastor of Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene in White Plains, NY, where we've seen profound connections with each other and with the Lord. You can hear her sermons at www.WestchesterChapel.org/JoyceSwingle and the few that I've had opportunity to share at www.WestchesterChapel.org/RichSwingle.

I just submitted to play the role of a lifetime on a $16M project. If you have a moment, please visit www.IMDb.me/RichSwingle and Like it. That will give my page a boost. If you have the time (took me about five minutes), it would be great if you could also visit and Like all the projects in which I’ve performed. If you do undertake that, please make it a time of praying for those projects and others that the Lord wants to birth through his people as he raises us up to tell His stories with excellence.

May the Love of Christ grow in your hearts and lives this Holy Season, and if you don't celebrate Christmas or see it just as just a season of obligation, consider inviting Christ into the manger of your heart. It will radically transform the way you see Christmas and the world. Find out more about that at www.RichDrama.com/MyPassion.

Joyce started Treasure Seekers for the children of Westchester Chapel, and I do short videos for them as Trevor the Treasure Seeker. Here's the video we put together to promote our Christmas Party for them...


Click here for the highlights of the year Facebook picked.

If you're still checking off your Christmas gift list, many of our films are available: www.RichDrama.com/Films.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Cure

Yesterday at Westchester Chapel Joyce introduced the Bethlahem Candle on the Advent Wreath. She also led prayer and gave announcements.  There was an error with the recording, so I recorded a summary of the end of the sermon.

Pastor Jim Warren addresses the wrath of God as a former atheist, preaching on Numbers 21:4-9. And as an artist he drew us into the story, illustrating as he preached. Opening by Bill H. Liz H. shared about miraculous safety on the road and about Jesus and the Twelve Dudes Who Did.



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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

WCCC Worship 12/7/14 by RichS on Grooveshark  Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad. Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.
Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Advent: Reverse the Curse

Pastor Joyce Swingle opens the Advent Season from the perspective of children: Mark 10:13-16. Pastor Jim Warren mentions Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving and Praise, and how we've dropped the praise and forgotten to whom we should be thankful. Sandy R. introduced and led worship, including the God-inspired closing song, which matched the sermon so perfectly. Prayer and announcements by Pastor Linda Warren and Assistant Pastor Rachel Taylor.



Pastor Joyce makes reference to living under occupation, so we've embedded Czechoslovakia 1968, which chronicles the Nazi and Communist occupation of that nation.



The film was awarded the Oscar for short films in 1969. It was co-produced and directed by Robert Fresco, who attended some of our events.

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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

WCCC Worship 11/30/14 by RichS on Grooveshark

Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Differences Used for Christ

Pastor Randy Solomon preaches from Romans 14:1-12. He says, "In Romans this whole group of people is coming together from different levels of faith, different levels of tradition, and they're doing things that are shocking one another.... Thankfully as a church in this day we don't have any differences that shock people." After everyone finishes laughing Pastor Randy illuminates how our many differences can bring glory to the Lord.

Pastor Jim Warren used the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) to introduce Communion. Bill H. told a great joke and played the background guitar.

I closed with an illustration for the power of focusing on what we have in common: Jesus.



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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

WCCC Worship 11/23/14 by RichS on Grooveshark
Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad.

 Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Now taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Chinkins

Sometime early in this millennium Joyce and I brought a couple of my one-man plays to a missionary retreat on the Costa Brava, near Barcelona, Spain. There we met some missionaries who used some little costumes they'd made to do Chinkin sketches. They kindly let us borrow them, and later we used them to create the video you'll see below, which we used to publicize a marriage retreat, which featured us as speakers. I'm re-posting it today in celebration of our bicentmonthaversary, celebrating 200 months (16 years, 8 months) of the most wonderful marriage I could have ever imagined.

With Christ at the center you don't have to live like this...



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Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

You're nearer to seeing Jesus than ever before

Some of those special moments of my career have been ones that I've looked forward to for months or years: Performing Beyond the Chariots for Eric Liddell's family, performing Off-Broadway with Roger Nelson--one of the fellows who inspired me to this career--the first time I walked into a theater for a film in which I performed. Others sneak up out of nowhere, like this morning:

Rich Swingle portraying Jesus in Journey to the Garden
in Aman, Jordan.
I portrayed Jesus for Treasure Seekers, complete with robe and prayer shawl from Jerusalem. After I was done I went back to the sanctuary where I'd stashed my street clothes. As I walked in the door, Pastor Jim Warren stopped his sermon and said, "Are you saying something that I need to know about?" I shook my head, "no," not having any idea that just before I opened the door he said, "You're nearer today to seeing Jesus than ever before." Hearing the sermon later, as you can below, I wish we could have planned something, but only the Lord knew what the timing would be. I hope you'll take the time to listen to the whole sermon, which is absolutely superb, especially if you're dealing with something that keeps you repeatedly going back to the Lord for forgiveness. If time is short, you can get a sense of how amazing the timing of my entrance was starting at 32min, 40sec.

Pastor Jim preaches on Romans 13: 11-14. In a culture where the concept of shame is becoming a thing of the past, Pastor Jim gives insight into walking in right relationship with the One who gave his all so that we can live eternal life now, reflecting his holiness through our lives.

The giving of shoe boxes to Operation Christmas Child was led by John and Adrienne C. Here's the profoundly moving video they shared...




Opening and closing call to pray for protection on our nation and reading from Joel 2:12-17 by Pastor Joyce Swingle.  The closing prayer is by Adrienne C.



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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

WCCC Worship 11/16/14 by RichS on Grooveshark Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad.
Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shrimp and Lions

I made shrimp and grits for our church's men's group this morning. Even better was Pastor Randy's lesson on Daniel in the Lion's Den. I've loved that story since I was a boy, but Pastor Randy helped us see it in a whole new light!

Daniel's Answer to the King
Briton Rivère (1890)
Manchester Art Gallery
Speaking of light, he brought in a painting I've long loved of Daniel looking peacefully out the window of the lion's den. What struck me afresh was that Daniel was arrested because he was praying out the window toward Jerusalem. The artist didn't portray Daniel praying desperately for his own life but peacefully for the people he loved. It also struck me fresh that Daniel was "executed" because laws were put into place that forbade him to worship the Lord according to the convictions of his heart, something that's happening in various regions today...



Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Falling into Place

Hattie Kauffman spoke at the latest Mastermedia NYC event, and shared the story she kept buried for decades. While the Emmy-award-winning journalist was interviewing leaders of state, Olympians and astronauts she was still reeling from the pain of growing up in a family split by alcoholism. Her parents left her and her six siblings alone as the utilities slowly turned off: gas, electricity and eventually water.

Hungry for provision and stability she rose quickly in the ranks of television journalists, becoming the first Native American ever to file a report on a national network evening news broadcast. She was soon given a blank check to cover any stories anywhere in the world for Good Morning America. As with my bride, Hattie found it all leaving her empty inside. She turned to alcohol, and then to AA, but each bandaid she put on her soul couldn't bring the real healing.

Then one day she was in a hotel and sensed a hand on her forehead, like a Parent's warm touch. When she opened her eyes it was gone. The next day she tried to replicate everything that had led up to that moment in order to repeat the experience, but there was nothing. As she was giving up, she heard church bells ringing. She looked across the street and there was a church. She went right over only to find them letting out. But she followed some upstream, where they knelt at an altar. She followed their lead, and felt the pastor's hand on her forehead, and it was exactly the same experience she'd had the day before, and she knew the Lord Jesus Christ was confirming that He was calling her to Himself.

She said she was the least likely candidate to follow the Lord: A Native American raised with stories of missionaries going hand-in-hand with the land-grabbers and a journalist in a culture that's "too smart for God." But she saw that it was only Jesus Christ and what He did on the Cross that could heal her at the deepest places of her pain. She saw that though missionaries to her Nez Perce people may have been used by those with horrible motives, the message the missionaries brought was still Truth. She knew the Lord looked right past the veneer of her success and saw the hurting little girl, trembling in fear that it would all turn off like the utilities of her childhood.

Her story of how that Healing touch has transformed her life and given her peace and joy is told in her autobiography Falling into Place.



Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Trim to Engineer

I just did ADR (additional digital recording) for the film Rather to Be Chosen, in which Joyce and I play the parents of the protagonist.

To celebrate one step closer to the film's release I'm posting this video we put together of the transitional shave. Just before filming in the spring I still had my beard from The Unexpected Bar Mitzvah, in which Joyce and I played a nice Jewish couple whose 12-year-old introduces us to Y'shua.

We had some fun trimming from Micah Maslow to Norman Shelby...



Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Gospel of Love

Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on Romans 13:8-10, answering, among other things, the question, "How can we know that the Christian God is loving and has good intentions toward us?"

Opening prayer and reading of Psalm 134 by Pastor Linda Warren. Prayer and announcements by Pastor Randy Solomon. Operation Christmas Child announcement by John and Adrienne C. Bring your boxes next week, along with an offering for the emergency medical fund of Samaritan's Purse.



Here's the video we showed this morning...



...and, in case you were wondering how to pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child...



Pastor Joyce mentioned that Operation Christmas Child is run by Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham. Here's his latest film Pastor Joyce mentioned: Heaven.

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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

WCCC Worship 11/9/14 by RichS on Grooveshark
Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad.

 Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and Engage Rio.