Sunday, April 24, 2005

"She Loves Me"

One of the things that has kept me busy this semester was the musical production of "She Loves Me". The plot features employees who unknowingly correspond with each other through a lonely hearts service. The musical is based on the 1940’s movie, “The Shop Around the Corner,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. This story was the basis for the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail" starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I was cast as Georg Nowak, the male lead role. This was my first leading role, so naturally, I was rather nervous. A good friend of mine, Heather Clifton, played opposite me in the female lead role. The whole cast was incredibly talented, and It truly was the experience of a lifetime. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity. I have posted some pictures from the production below.

Jasmyn Byrd and Michael Wooten played two of my co-workers. I really enjoyed working with these talented individuals.

My character, Georg Nowak, is a clerk at a cosmetics store. Here my boss, played by Scott Bryson, is teaching me how to dance.

Just like in "You've Got Mail", the main characters fall in love through a series of letters. Here my character, George, is writing a letter to "Dear Friend", his un-named pen-pal.

Here Heather's character Amalia is reading a letter that my character sent her.

Christy Peed played a customer. Christy and I have been in three plays together and played opposite each other in the fall play, "The Rivals". One of my favorite things about being in productions is the extra time spent with friends!

Jasmyn Byrd belts it out in "I Resolve". Her character had some major relationship issues!

During this scene I discover that the girl I've been corresponding with is actually my co-worker...the plot thickens!

"Where's My Other Shoe?"...What a fun scene!

Heather Clifton writing or rather singing a letter. During this song, Heather had to hit a high B...AMAZING!

Jasmyn Byrd, Me, Tim Walters

On the monday following the show, a faculty member here said, "That kiss sure looked real!" I responded by saying, "That's because it was!"

Taking our bows! ENCORE!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Birthday Shout-Out"

I'd like to give a Birthday Shout-Out to my boss and good friend are such a blessing in my life!

"Looking Back"

I realized tonight how much I miss leading worship. I helped my friends Christy and Jes lead worship at their church tonight and I couldn't help but think back on when I led worship for my youth group when I was in high school. At the time, I don't think I truly realized how priviledged I was to be in that position. Leading worship is such an amazing experience that I cannot even begin to describe with mere words.

I am so thankful for times like tonight when God reminds me of different things that He has used to shape me into who I am today. So often, we only want to remember the good and pleasant things from our past, but many of the painful and challenging things from my past are what make me the person that I am. It's so difficult to see God's provision sometimes, but looking back on my life, I am able to see God's grace and faithfulness covering everything that I have been through.

Remember that the challenges and changes of today are shaping the useable and beautiful vessel of tomorrow.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"CoffeeHouse Gospel"

I've been reading a book recently called The CoffeeHouse Gospel. The book is about evangelism presented in a very relevant way. It encourages believers to share their faith in everyday conversation. To be honest, evangelism is something that I have failed in time and again. I am amazed at how uneducated the American church is concerning evangelism. We trick ourselves, or rather satan tricks us, into thinking that it is some incredibly intimidating and daunting task that we have to do...but really it is so simple...all we have to do is tell our story. Even this can seem intimidating at times, but I think that is because we have become so accustomed to our plush comfort zones that it seems too hard to get up and act. We have become so incredilbly selfish...when did Christianity become about "me"?

Below is an excerpt from The CoffeHouse Gospel by Matthew Paul Turner:

"The quest to be selfless is often a lonely pursuit in today's modern, sophisticated, and very selfish culture. Chock full of success-driven individuals only interested in looking out for number one, today's culture is filled with people consumed with careers, image, mondy, and self-fulfillment. Instead of focusing on the needs of others, we hone in on our own needs for financial comfort, sex, and acceptance, just to name a few. Instead of looking to the needs of others, we invest in ourselves. If we want to be followers of Jesus who talk effortlessly about our faith, we must dispose of our selfishness. And that's not easy to do.

Many of us have let ourselves become programmed by the culture's message of self-investing. We have let ourselves become people who are only motivated by self-advancement and self-glory. We have a mindset of, "How can I help 'me' today?" We're all guilty of this at one time or another. I certainly struggle with naturally thinking of others. Our society works that way, and it's hard not to get sucked into the madness of me, me, me!

You can't watch one episode of MTV's Cribs without being bombarded with the materialism for which wealthy Americans strive. So many of my friends watch Cribs in complete lust for the lush commodities that wealth and celebrity bring in today's society. The same is true watching Donald Trump's The Apprentice. Although wildly entertaining, this show depicts sixteen intelligent, hard working individuals who seemingly will employ whatever means necessary to be percieved as successful, business savvy, and powerful. We will long remember the actions of Omarosa who lied and manipulated her way throughout the experience. God's ways don't relate or line up with those of Cribs and The Apprentice. God's ways are pure and selfless and do not succumb to the faltering of "me" invesing.

As Christians, God's call on our lives flies in the face of what the world deems cool, successful, and pleasurable. Answering God's call on your life begins with a desire for selfless investing and constant renewal of your mind. Our selfishness does not keep us from witnessing and sharing our faith; it just eats away at our ability to do it with integrity and grace. How many times have you been subject to the witnessing tactics of an individual who seems to be in ministry to the fame? It's important that our hearts for ministry be motivated by only what is pure and honest."

Any comments?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

"Life Cycles"

Yes...I am aware that it has been over a month since I've posted anything, and even longer since I've posted anything worth reading, and for that I sincerely appologize. It's not like very many people even read this, but for those of you who have been faithful to check every once in a while (hopefully there are still a few of you left!), and for myself, I decided it was about time to start writing again. I could name numerous excuses for why I haven't written (ie: 25 page papers, lead role in the musical, RA responsibilities), but these would just be petty attempts to justify my lack of motivation over the past month.

I am constantly amazed at the cyclical nature of our lives. Almost everything comes in waves...exercise routines, dieting, devotions, blogging, relationships, etc. For example: about every 2 weeks or so, I make up my mind that I am going to get serious about eating healthy and running whenever I have a chance...this mindset lasts about 3-5 days and then it's back to the same ole' routine of eating popcorn and easymac after midnight! Have you ever had the "Christian book" urge? My brother and I both get this every once in a while, as do many Christians I suppose. If you've ever had it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You go to the Christian book store, or even Barnes and Noble, and you find the perfect book that specifically adresses your "issue". You sit down and read the first few pages in the bookstore and are so inspired that you are compelled to spend the 10-20 bucks this newfound inspiration will cost you. After you return home with your new book and maybe a CD you thought might serve as a good soundtrack to this new and improved version of you, you sit down and visciously tear through the first few chapters. 2 years later you find the book under your bed or on a bookshelf collecting dust, with the same page still folded over from that life-changing, monumentally inspirational night!

So I guess all that was to say that I've kind of been in an "off" cycle in many different areas of my life over the past month. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. I think it is in these "off" times when a lot of real growth and change takes place that we don't even realize until much later.

Below are some Norah Jones lyrics which somewhat accurately express my feelings over the past month. Obvious spiritual parallels can be drawn, but there are several other areas in my life that I am wanting to be "turned on"...maybe I'll write more on that later!

Like a flower waiting to bloom
Like a lightbulb In a dark room
I'm just sittin' here Waiting for you
To come on home And turn me on
Like the desert Waiting for the rain
Like a school kid Waiting for the spring
I'm just sittin' here Waiting for you
To come on home And turn me on
My poor heart It's been so dark
Since you've been gone
After all you're the one who turns me off
But you're the only one who can turn me back on
My hi-fi is waiting for a new tune
My glass is waiting for some fresh ice-cubes
I'm just sittin' here Waiting for you To come on home
And turn me on