Amazon.com Widgets The Swingles' Dramatic Developments: November 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Camping in Tulsa

Nativity at the Vatican

Inter-Mission, a networking group for theatre and film artists in Hollywood just reported the following:

"THE NATIVITY STORY became the first feature film ever to premiere at the Vatican. Held at the Vatican's Aulo Paolo VI, the premiere was attended by 7000 invited guests of the Vatican."

See it tomorrow on opening night if you can.

Where's that scraper?

This was our first de-icing. We're waiting for our second...and waiting...

Glad I don't have a performance tonight!

My first blizzard of the season in...

...Tulsa, OK! It snowed over frozen ice, so I went to bed praying for a way to get it off. I awoke to find that a woman had defrosted my lock thinking it was her car. She was thinking that lock was REALLY frozen! In further answer to my prayer she had a really cool ice scraper I used on both our rigs.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Women of Prayer

I'm honored to be a part of my 14th women's event. I get to play the High Priest this Saturday.

To make reservations call 914.287.7620 or send an email.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Nativity Story


New Line Cinema is releasing The Nativity Story on December 1.

Click here for the trailer. The main website is TheNativityStory.com.

They've run the script past numerous historians and theologians for accuracy, and it's filmed in Matera, where The Passion of the Christ was filmed and Morocco, where Gladiator was filmed.

See it on opening night or weekend if you can.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pro Footballer gets men ready

I had the priviledge of performing Beyond the Chariots to open for Lee Rouson, a retired running back for the Cleveland Browns. Before that he played for the NY Giants in two SuperBowls.

Wayne Keller, on the left, directed the camp. He and Lee both shared in very transparent ways how God has worked in their lives. The alters were filled last night.

Here are a few nuggets from his talks:

*Every year pro football players go to training camp and go over the basics. We need to go back to the basics of Christianity on a regular basis.

*He gave a profound parable: He said, what if we went down to the closest car dealership and paid cash for a car, but the dealer said the car wasn't ready. Every time we came back the car wasn't ready. Lee said we'd eventually complain, "We paid in full, why are you holding onto the car." He pointed out, "Jesus paid for your sin, why are you still holding onto it."

*FEAR: false evidence appears real

*What we deposit into our hearts pays dividends, for good or bad. No one can make a deposit but you.

*He gave another parable: Someone told him that when he dies he'll walk into a room filled with presents with his name on them that were never opened. God has presents for us every day, but we'll miss them if we're too caught up in the past and worried about the future.

*Joy is not the absence of pain but the presence of God.

*Adam joined the rebellion that started in Heaven.

*Matthew 11:1-6: Lee pointed out that John the Baptist sent his disciples to check out Jesus, but John already knew Jesus was who He claimed to be. In prison he was depositing doubt in his heart.

*We have the opportunity to speak with our lives that God is good.

Pray for Lee as he plants a church in Harlem.

Guys from Men's Retreat who are visiting this site: I hope you'll post your notes and links to any photos you post. Click on the word "Comments" below.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Questions about Compassion

A student from MasterWorks recently interviewed me for a speech she's giving on Compassion at her college. I thought I'd post the interview:

How did you hear about Compassion International and when did you begin working with them?
I was teaching and performing for the Gospel Music Association's Seminar in the Rockies in Estes Park, CO, during the summer of '99. While we were there Bebo Norman and some of the other performers talked about Compassion, and my wife, Joyce, and I immediately knew we wanted to sponsor a child. While filling out the form for Riquelmys, a six-year old boy in the Dominican Republic, I mentioned to the Compassion representative that I toured with one-man plays and would love to help people sponsor kids after my plays. They called me later to set it up.

How many Compassion children do you currently sponsor, and how many have you sponsored in the past?
After Riquelmys we sponsored Roxanita, a seven-year old girl, in Bolivia. She moved to a village that didn't have a Compassion site, so when I was in Honduras on a Compassion artists and speakers retreat I sponsored Wendy, 13, and got to meet her the next day. Compassion people brought me by her home, but our schedule was a bit off, so we missed her parents. The home was quite small, but from the outside it looked tidy. We visited several homes, and they were almost all neat but sparse. Invariably the sponsored children would pull out a beautiful book filled with every single letter they'd ever received from their sponsor. There's a video of the trip at RichDrama.com/Compassion, which includes a girl joyfully sharing one of her letters and my visit with Wendy.

Can you describe the family lives of these children?
The last we knew, Riquelmys' father is a farmer, like mine! His mother maintains the home and he has five brothers and sisters. Roxanita's mother also maintains the home, and her father is "sometimes employed."

What is one thing that has touched you the most about corresponding with your children?
I'm constantly touched by the love for us and God that our kids express in their letters. One memorable note included a prayer request from Roxanita for her parents. She said, "They quarell a lot, and I'm sad for this." Joyce and I prayed heartily and later received a letter saying they were doing better. It was shortly after that we found out that her family moved outside of Compassion's reach. We continue to pray for her every night.

Was there anything that you found difficult or frustrating about working through and with Compassion International?
Nothing at all. I've been impressed by their work on every level.

How have you and your family grown because of this experience?
Sponsorship is something that gives a clear picture of specific lives in developing nations. It helps us pray for the world with much greater specificity.

If you had the resources, would you sponsor another child right now?
Joyce is now in grad school, otherwise I'm sure we'd sponsor our fourth child when we go on our next Compassion artists and speakers retreat in Guatemala. If anyone has a sponsor child in Guatemala we can take three dimensional gifts, film the child receiving them along with a greeting to the sponsors. If anyone's interested in this unique opportunity and doesn't have a sponsor child in Guatemala, go to RichDrama.com/Compassion, click on a Compassion link and select a child from Guatemala. Once you have a child sponsor number send an email to Rich at RichDrama dot com (spelling it out keeps it off spam lists) and we'll sign up to visit that child. Because we divide into groups and each group sees a limited amount of sites we'll request visits in the order we receive requests.

How do you see God working in the lives of your sponsored children?
That's the neatest thing about the whole process! Roxanita shared that she wanted to be a part of a program that helped others grow in their relationship with the Lord, called pequeña manada (small flock). She said, "I decided to serve the Lord, interceding for others. It is a small group of children that pray on Saturdays at 10am."  All of our sponsor children have expressed their growing love for the Lord and those around them. At one of the sites in Honduras I asked the pastor how many of the students accept Christ as Savior. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Todos."  (All of them.)  At another site, after performing a short piece entitled "La Gente Que Jesús Conocia" (The People Jesus Knew) I asked if any of them wanted to know Jesus more. You can see their response on the video: Todos.

How have you seen him/her grow as a person through your correspondence?
As we write to them about our love for the Lord we see that love grow in them as well, especially as they offer up precious prayers for us.

Can you share an excerpt or two from a received letter that touched your heart?
Wendy writes, "I want to tell you that I always pray for you both so that you will be well where ever you are." Travelling as much as I do I really appreciate that one! Riquelmys often says, "I close with a kiss and a strong hug for you and your family."

What would you say to a college student who is looking to serve through Compassion?
I remember what my finances were like in college. I would have loved to have had someone sponsor me back then! But I've seen many children sponsored after college performances. Sometimes students make enough from part-time jobs or they partner with parents or room mates. A couple of times I've even seen whole dorm floors go together. Students can also volunteer for Compassion. I saw a Michael W. Smith concert at Radio City Music Hall for free that way. Look for more information through the links at RichDrama.com/Compassion.

Is there anything else that you can say or share that would help someone better understand the cause of Compassion International or possibly even consider joining with Compassion and sponsoring a child of their own?
I kept a journal on the trip to Honduras. It has a lot of insights into the way they care for children so tenderly. Check it out at, you guessed it, RichDrama.com/Compassion. I'll keep a similar journal for the trip to Guatemala. I'll post it to RichDrama.com/NewsBlog. Set a reminder for the first week of Feb or sign up for updates at RichDrama.com/Updates.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A new vision of Heaven

Last Saturday night our church (WestchesterChapel.org) dedicated our new sanctuary to the Lord. Among other things, we brought in the Ark of the Covenant. There's a video online at our church's District website.

Our pastor, Jim Warren, used to be creative director at MTV before he was called to minister. He and some of the guys in our church recreated the Ark from biblical descriptions.

I had the priviledge of portraying King David dancing before it as Levites carried it in. When I saw it enter the sanctuary I lost it. I wept tears of pure joy.

I wasn't the only one crying. One woman was sobbing so much that Pastor Jim went to comfort her. She said she was so overcome because she used to come here to get drunk when it was a pool hall. Now she's celebrating her Salvation.

Before our celebration our Spanish church was organized (recognized by our District). They were invited to stay for our celebration so we sang our songs in English, Spanish and (for good measure) Hebrew.

I used to think that in heaven we'd all speak the same language. After our dedication service, I have a new theory: Maybe we'll all be able to communicate in every language.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Eric Liddell Story

Torchlighters will be distributing a cartoon about Eric Liddell in 2007.