Friday, October 10, 2014

Faculty devotion at MasterWorks

Here's this summer's faculty devotion at MasterWorks, followed by links to things I mentioned.

It's divided into a sections, which should play one after the next. On some browsers you may need to hit the forward button to get the next one started. I'm posting it this way so you can see the videos I showed in a better quality and to honor their copyrights. I tried to cut the Peter Hitchins interview at 7:42, but that doesn't seem to work on any of my browsers. The rest of it's great stuff, too, but when my talk resumes it's linked to what he said about the arts opening people to the reality of God.



Here are the links to things I mentioned:
The Acts
www.WhoistheFish.com
Dr. Alma Villegas (scroll down)
Performing during the Sochi Olympics
Christians in Theatre Arts (CITA)
Eric Metaxas
Enacted Prayer

Soon taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Love Covers All

It was fun seeing my name in the trailers if only as a donor. So glad I contributed to Love Covers All! It's a beautiful film written and directed by Kyle Prohaska, who worked on post production for Christmas Grace.

It's about a young man trying to get home... in many ways: Most pressing is his desire to be there at the birth of his child, but he's stranded... with an athiest... who helps him get a jump start with his own faith. It's simple, beautiful and moving.

Kudos to my friends Jason Burkey, Rusty Martin (what a hooligan you were, Rusty!), Rusty Martin, Sr. with cameos from friends in the crew: Rebekah Cook, Ashley and Ethan Ledden!

Available for digital download and DVD on October 7.




Into the Spotlight

This Sunday I'll be performing in the Newmark Theatre in downtown Portland, Oregon, as a part of the Twin Rocks Friends Camp event "Into the Spotlight."

I served as a camp counselor at Twin Rocks in 1988, and I'll be performing excerpts from my one-man play Big Fish Little Worm: Gideon and Jonah, both of which I wrote about three years after my summer staff stint.

I'll also be talking about how formative my time there was for me and the campers in my care.

If you're in the Portland area I hope you can join us!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Song

The Song is inspired by the Song of Solomon but soon turns to Ecclesiastes. Scripture from both of Solomon's Books serves as a narrative as this modern telling of Solomon's life. That narrative is beautiful at times, poignant at others.

Jed King is a musician trying to find his own voice and passion which will help him escape the shadow of his father, David. Yes that makes him David King, and Jedediah is the name Nathan the prophet gave to Solomon and means "Beloved of the Lord," but the on-the-nose nature of the names is about as hokey as this one gets. The writing, cinematography and acting are all top notch. It's my hope the obvious names point many back to the Source.

Though the theme of adultery is prevalent, it is told with intelligence, discretion and creativity.

Jed, played by Alan Powell, falls for Rose (Song of Solomon 2:1), played by Ali Faulkner, but before he asks her out he gets permission from her father... in his den... surrounded by animals he's shot. Jed is courageous enough to start his relationship with Rose off on the right foot...

But the answer to his prayer for wisdom, empowering him to surpass his father's fame and influence, sets him up for long trips away from his new family. When he is paired with pop diva Shelby Bale, played by Caitlin Nicol-Thomas, he is led "to know madness and folly."

Joyce and I thought the way the film expertly showed the progressively lowering boundaries was a clarion call to keep boundaries around real life marriages strong and secure.

Powell is a member of the Christian band Anthem Lights. His scenes with Faulkner as his wife and Nicol-Thomas, who leads him into Ecclesiastes, are filled with chemistry. So much so, that if someone hadn't told me to watch for it I might have missed the fact that he honors his wife, Brycie, by never kissing either of his co-stars on the mouth.

Christians should know:
* Some violence and blood
* Substance abuse depicted
* Theme of adultery

Check out Kids-in-Mind.com to make a fully informed choice for your children.



And here's our friend, Torry Martin's marketing approach...



Saturday, September 20, 2014

An Evening with CS Lewis

Stage directions: Enter, sit, pour tea, stand, exit.

That's about it. But in the 90 minutes it takes to execute that simple blocking our attention did not waver for a second.

Of course it didn't hurt that the script was based on the writings of C.S. Lewis, one of the most brilliant minds of any generation, not to mention one of the funniest!

The first Christian book David Payne read was The Screwtape Letters, which led to him becoming a Christian. At a breakfast where he spoke on Wednesday he said that after losing a great deal in the business world, "I learned so many more things through failure than I did through success." At 55 he was back in business, and things were going so well he was looking for a diversion. He was working in Nashville and saw a casting call for Shadowlands, and though he'd never acted before he landed the lead role of C.S. Lewis. Douglas Gresham, Lewis' stepson, was in the audience opening night, and the way was opened for Payne to do two different one-man plays about Clive Staples, or Jacksie, as the play reveals he called himself at the age of four. Naming himself after the family dog who had just died seemed better than facing life with his birth name.

Payne was asked why his performance of "A Grief Observed," the first of his one-man plays, has been so successful, given the theme of grief. He said Lewis found that celebrating his marriage to Joy was more healing than mourning her death. Payne believes that comes through in the play.

A quick search of the internet confirmed that I've probably never seen video footage of Lewis, but Payne, a genteel Brit, made me feel as if it truly was an evening with the Oxford don himself.

I had told him at the Wednesday breakfast that I saw his performances (probably all of them) at The Lamb's Theatre shortly after I arrived in NYC 20 years ago. I mentioned that his was the third one-man play I'd ever seen and was one of the ways the Lord wooed me into a career performing one-man plays myself. Last night when he told me he'd mentioned me to his wife my brain did some gymnastics I didn't fully grasp until later: In a nano-second I thought, "You just told us Joy died. Wait! You died! Oh, no you only portrayed C.S. Lewis. Your wife is alive!" The play was that fully captivating.

He's planning a short run of Off-Broadway performances either next fall or the spring of 2015. If you're anywhere near NYC (or Chicago for that matter since he's doing a stint there soon or anywhere really because he might get to you some day) I recommend signing up for his Facebook, YouTube and blog feeds at www.DavidPayneDrama.com.

Christians should know:
* There's talk of beer and bottoms
* Oh, and subverting the government

Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Root of the Gospel

Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on Romans 11:16-24. Opening by Bill H. Prayer and announcements by Pastor Linda Warren. This is the second part of this section addressing the importance of Judaism in Christianity. You can also listen to the first part here: Romans 11:7-15.



The Swingles will host a screening of The Unexpected Bar Mitzvah in their home on October 5. They play Micah and Hava Maslow, a conservative Jewish couple whose son becomes a Christian.

Today's 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 9/14/14 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.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flag of Honor

Several months ago I was coaching a gentleman who helped install 3,000 of these flags in Battery Park on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The red and blue rows on each flag are made up of all the names of those who were killed on 9/11. When he heard about my play, Five Bells for 9/11,  he gave me one of the flags to display at performances.

Here's an article on the field of flags: 3,000 Flags to Fill Battery Park for Sept. 11 Anniversary.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Let the Lion Roar

I have three friends that performed in the unique and intriguing docudrama Let the Lion Roar: Jenn Gotzon, Jeff Rose and Jason Burkey. Here is what they have to say about the project...









Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp

I had a blast teaching and actor coaching at The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp last summer, and I'm looking forward to returning next year! They've put together a promo that includes a shot from my cameo in the short film we created that week.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Blessings of Israel

Pastor Joyce Swingle preached on Romans 11:7-15. There was a technical error that corrupted the recording, so she preached it again for online listeners.



Here are links to things she mentioned, not all of which came up in the second recording:
Jews for Jesus
The Identical
The Unexpected Bar Mitzvah
Let the Lion Roar
Mastermedia
Penn Jillette: "How much do you have to hate somebody not to proselytize?"



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.

WCCC Worship 9/7/14 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 MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Identical

I was sobbing, touched in the deep places of my soul by The Identical. It's a brilliant picture of the search for identity that can only be found in the Lord, inspired by the stillborn twin brother of Elvis Presley. It's a look at what might have happened if that twin was raised by another family.

The writing, acting, cinematography, art design was all top shelf. Ray Liotta, who also executive produced, played the adoptive father of the main character and turned in a tour de force performance. I couldn't believe it when I saw that Blake Rayne, who plays the title role, has never performed in a film before. What a breakout!

So why is secular press dismissing this gem? Joyce thinks it's because their hearts are hardened. Their souls can't feel a thing. If this film had a secular message it would be touted as the next Forrest Gump.

I'm pretty sure, as souls are stirred, the word is going to get out, and this will be the sixth Christian film of 2014 to break the $10M mark at the box office.

Rated PG. Christians might also want to know:
* drinking and smoking depicted
* "hell" is used as an expletive
* some suggestive dancing
* a few punches are thrown



Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

A peace that passes understanding

We've been praying for a friend in a Private Message who is going through a very dark time right now. I was blown away when she asked us for prayer requests! It prompted me to write the following: I was in high school when my Grandma Miller said the Lord told her to get her things in order. I had NO CLUE what that meant. My high school mind thought she was disorganized like me! But within a year she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died within three months (1988). She was so completely at peace with the Lord through the whole process everyone in her wing of the hospital was ministered to profoundly.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Gospel of Grace

Pastor Joyce Swingle preached on Romans 10:16-11:6 with illustrations from Isaiah 53, Isaiah 65 and the story of Elijah.

On a Westchester Chapel trip
to Israel Rich Swingle
performed "Prophet of Fear,"
the story of Elijah atop
Mt. Carmel.
Pastor Randy Solomon announced the start of The Men's Group next Saturday at 8am with a pancake breakfast followed by a hike.



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 8/31/14 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 of Joyce courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWF. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

When the Game Stands Tall

Critics are blasting When the Game Stands Tall, and Rotten Tomatoes' summary says it is filled with "threadbare inspirational sports drama clich├ęs." Whoever wrote that totally didn't get the film or intentionally wanted to subvert it. This film flies in the face of convention. It's outstanding on every level: a perfect effort.

Could it be that critics have noticed how many Christian films are doing well at the box office in a single year? This one is poised to be the fifth in 2014 that has a Christian message and crests $10M at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo in '06 there were four such titles, so this film is about to break the record!

That's not important to this film. Its message is that living a life of integrity is more important than any accolades.

I do think the filmmakers have to be a little stoked that their film is proving that the market has a place for more Christian films in a calendar year than people have thought, and there are four more en route before the year ends according to Box Office Mojo, which doesn't know about my friends' films, both opening on October 24: Return to the Hiding Place in 100 cities, and 23 Blast in 600 theaters. Hopefully investors will get the message.


Rated PG. Christians might also want to know:
* high school drinking
* grid iron violence
* there is a shooting
* a father is verbally and physically abusive to his son (PG violence)
* a man has a heart attack
* there's a brief fight
* the word da_n is used once
* a high school students kiss
You can find more details on IMDb, which mentions "religious exclamations," but we took them all to be sincere prayer, rather than taking the name of the Lord in vain.



Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Stand for the Truth

Pastor Linda Warren, who led my bride Joyce to the Lord, preaches on Jeremiah 23:9-32, sounding an alarm of caution against the confusion that is out there.



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

Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Friday, August 29, 2014

TAM Conservatory Worship Night with Phil Laeger

Phil led us in the songs in the playlist below. What couldn't be captured in its fullest expression was when Phil had all of the students line up around the sanctuary and instructed the instructors to speak a word of truth into their lives based on what we knew of them and Ephesians 1. Meanwhile he and the band were praying over us all with music. If that wasn't powerful enough Phil later opened it up to spoken worship. The students adoration kept tumbling out of the filled up vessels we had empowered them to become! I thought it was one of the most powerful moments in the 14 years of the conservatory, and founder Carol Jaudes said the same.

This lineup is with other recording artists...

TAM Worship Night 2014 with Phil Laeger 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 MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Father's Love

We saw The Father's Love Movie tonight, were thrilled to see my friend Richard Chew onscreen, and then in the theatre for the talkback! We got to know each other through Inter-Mission when it was operating in NYC in the late 90's.
It's a fantastic film! Joyce and I were both quite moved. it's a beautiful picture of the Lord's love healing the brokenness of rejection as it takes you on a journey through the NYC dating game based on the true story of the director, Sharon Kon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Remember

This was the first film by the team creating Mayflower II. It's absolutely stunning! Despite the $25M difference in budget we liked many elements better than The Giver, which describes a similar dystopia.

Here's Lee Duigon's A Review of "Remember" a Christian Sci-Fi Film.

Soon taking applications for the MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Preach the Gospel

Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on Romans 10:1-15. Communion and announcements by Pastor Randy Solomon, who revealed that Men's Group will resume September 6. Guitar background by Tim B. Pastor Joyce gave a report on the Swingles' time on Mars (played by Calgary) in the upcoming film Mayflower II. Pastor Joyce makes reference to her testimony, which you can hear at the bottom of her bio page.



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 8/24/14 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 MasterWorks Festival theatre program: www.RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre. Training and performances in IN, PA and NYC, including an Off-Broadway theatre!