Thursday, October 30, 2008

CT Church Offers 'Choices'

Choices, a family oriented program featuring storyteller George Sarris, internationally known mime Dan Cosette and interpretive dancer Katherine Sarris will be presented Nov. 14 at Calvary Church, 498 White Plains Rd., Trumbull, CT. For more information, and to see a video promo, go to

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Damien Performance Tonight

Damien, a one-man play written by Aldyth Morris and starring Casey Groves will be presented tonight at 7:30 at St. Joseph's Church,
371 Sixth Ave, New York

It is based on the true story of a missionary priest who risked his life to care for the outcast on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i. The performance is sponsored by NYU. For information, call 212-741-1274.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Surround Yourself With Godly and Talented People

What a treat is was to have worship leader Rory Noland here in Connecticut this weekend for a Worshiping Artist Retreat. Worship leaders and artists from New England got to network and find out about the ministries of other Christian artists in the area while focusing on God and worship. What a way to spend a Saturday! For more information about Rory, go to

We're looking forward to another opportunity to serve with artists at the staged reading of our new dinner theater "Getaway to Chipaway," a story with original music about three families who find friendship and some answers to jumping life's hurdles when they vacation at a family camp.

The reading will take place Saturday, Nov. 8 at Community Alliance Church in Hinesburg, VT. If you're interested in presenting this outreach dinner theater at your church and would like a perusal copy after available after Dec. 1, contact us at

Here are some other exciting things taking place in Christian Arts:
-- Max McLean's Screwtape Letters has been extended through Nov. 23 at the Mercury theater in Chicago. For tickets or more information call 773.325.1700

-- Jason Hatley, pastor of worship arts at the Journey Church in New York offers a free webinar on how to overcome the Top 3 challenges that Worship Leaders face, including:
1. How to develop a personal growth plan to ensure leadership and effectiveness at the highest level
2. How to Maximize the Pastor / Worship Pastor Relationship
3. How to plan life-transforming worship services every week
For information contact

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Overcome Discouragement

Discouragement is in the air. Last week we had two postings on encouragement and they seem to have hit home with many of you. Maybe it's the election season or the financial chaos on Wall Street (or in your own bill paying file). Maybe it's feeling like you can't connect at church or wondering whether you're on the right career track. Whatever causes you to stumble into discouragement can be counteracted. Encouragement is the cure for discouragement, but sometimes, when your eyes are fixed on what's got you down, it's hard to see other things that could distract you and allow a refocus.
Here's some practical advice from Pastor Rick Warren on how to fight discouragement:

Don’t Quit

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:36-37 (NIV)

If you’re discouraged because of God’s delay in answering your prayers, understand the delay is NOT a denial. Just because the answer or the miracle hasn’t come – yet – that doesn’t mean God isn’t going to answer or that he’s forgotten you or that he doesn’t care about you. It simply means “not yet!”

Spiritual maturity is knowing the difference between “no” and “not yet,” between a denial and a delay. The Bible tells us, “He who is coming will come and will not delay” (Hebrews 10:37 NIV).

The delay may be a test of your patience. Anybody can be patient once. And, anybody can be patient twice. And, just about anybody can be patient three times. So God tests you patience over and over and over.

Why? To see how patient you are?

No, he does it to show you how patient you are. So you’ll know what’s inside of you, and you’ll be able to know your level of commitment. God tests you so that you can know he is faithful, even if the answers you seek are delayed.

If you’re discouraged, turn it around by remembering God teaches you patience during delay. Ask him to transform your discouragement into patience.

You may be going through difficult times right now and feel like dropping off the planet. You’re discouraged because the situation you face seems unmanageable, unreasonable, or unfair.

It may seem unbearable and inside you’re basically saying, “God, I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t take it anymore!”

But you can.

You can stay with it longer because God is with you. He’ll enable you to press on. Remember, you are never a failure until you quit.

Don’t quit. Resist discouragement and finish the race God has set before you.

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for ministers.
For a free subscription to The Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotional via email, go to

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NY Times Article Explores Conservative Theater

There's a great article in the New York Times discussing the dearth of a conservative voice in theater and quoting Christian in Theatre Arts Director Dale Savidge and "The Hiding Place" star Jeanette Clift George, director of the A.D. players in Houston. See it at

Some More Thought on Encouragement

Chuck Neighbors, an actor with a blessed performing arts ministry, Master's Image Productions, based in Oregon, had these inspired words about encouragement this week:

I believe what I am doing is my "calling" both professionally and spiritually speaking. But sometimes I wonder... I wonder "is what I am doing really making a difference?" I think thoughts like: "If I stopped doing this tomorrow, would anybody notice (other than my wife, of course)?" You even start to question the calling... "Did I get it right? What if it wasn't God's voice I heard back then? What if...."

I know the questions are not unique to my profession--I am sure we all have those moments in life.

The other day I arrived home after yet another weekend of travel to find these words in my email inbox:

"I attended a recent performance of your adaptation of In His Steps in 29 Palms, California. I have to tell you that I didn't quite know what to expect when they told me that there would be a performance on Sunday. I didn't know if it would be cheesy, unprofessional, outdated, or just impractical. But I must say that I was not only impressed, but inspired. It was done very well and you definitely got your point across. If In His Steps was that life-changing for me, I can't help but think what it and your other presentations might do for others."

This was just what I needed to hear. When you travel, perform, and then leave--you often miss seeing the fruits of your labor. Don't underestimate the impact your words of encouragement can have on the lives of those around you! Your words could be just what they need to hear!

Find out more about Chuck and his performing associates at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tale of Two Cities Joins Fight Against Poverty

The cast of Tale of Broadway's Two Cities (see the review here: will perform in an event titled "Stand Up Against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals" this Friday at 11am on the lawn near the peace bell at the UN Secretariat Building, 42nd Street and First Avenue, New York City

The UN Headquarters event is co-organized by the UN Department of Public Information and the Millennium Campaign. Further information is available on the campaign website:

Take Action Against Poverty

Today is blog action day, where participating blogs have posts on poverty. We'd like you to think about fighting poverty by supporting Compassionart, a group of Christian artists who got together last January to write songs for a CD to help fight poverty. 11 songwriters, including Paul Baloche, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redmond, Darlene Zschech, Israel Houghton, Michael W. Smith and Stephen Curtis Chapman waived rights to the songs on the CD which is due out on November. For more information about Compassionart, the retreat which started the project the artists involvedor howtosupport this minisry, go to

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fight Discouragement with Encouragement

If you're feeling down and discouraged in your recent efforts or ministry, take heart. There is much to be encouraged about. Sometimes the trick is taking our eyes off of our own situations, abilities or failings and focusing on what others are doing. And there are lots of exciting things taking place in the world of Christian arts!

Right here in Connecticut we're getting excited about the life changing and spirit building that will take place at Masterworks' Worshiping Artist Retreat, 9am to 4 pm Saturday, Oct. 25 in Avon, CT as "Heart of the Artist" worship leader Rory Noland teaches on
• Growing as a Private Worshiper
• Encountering God’s Character
• How God’s Character Shapes our Character
• Personalizing the Attributes of God
• Learning From Ancient Worship Leaders
If you're in New England, don't miss this chance to learn from the former leader of worship at Willow Creek right here in your area. Register at

If you're in New York next month, here are a couple of uplifting events:
The Episcopal Actors’ Guild of America, a New York City-based charity for people in the performing arts (of which I am a proud member), is holding its 85th Annual Memorial Service at 4 pm Sunday, Nov. 9 to celebrates the lives of performing arts professionals who have passed away during the 2007-2008 year at the Little Church Around the Corner, 1 E. 29th St.

The memorial address: "Humor and the Dignity of Actors", will be given by Mart Hulswit (Yes, you might recognize him. Among other things, he starred for 12 years as Dr. Ed Bauer on “Guiding Light”)
Both the service and reception following are free and open to the public.

The Blue Hill Troupe presents Into the Woods for the benefit
of Inwood House, an internationally recognized leader and innovator in
youth development, teen pregnancy prevention, and family support serving
nearly 5,000 young people in New York City and New Jersey.
November 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15 at 7:30 p.m.
November 9, 15 at 2:00 p.m.
Dicapo Opera Theatre, 184 East 76th St., NY between 3rd and Lexington Avenues.
Information is available at or by calling 866-811-4111.
Two additional events will be offered:
A Children's Backstage Tour Sunday, Nov. 9, at 1 pm, prior to the matinee performance. Perfect for kids ages 6-12, members of the cast and crew will share some of the story, some of the music, and demonstrate some of the backstage workings that create the onstage magic. A small snack
will be provided. All are welcome! No additional charge.
A Q&A with original Broadway cast Members
Wednesday, Nov. 12, 6:15pm, free for ticket holders.

If you're a Christian working in any type of arts, check out the Christians in Theatre Arts annual conference coming up next June 15-20 in Orlando. The theme is Citizen Artist: Theater Serving Community and it's shaping up to be one of the most exciting conferences yet. Theater impact projects will give you an opportunity to serve the Orlando community while conference performances and presentations will equip and inspire you. Look for more information about this exciting conference later on this blog. Check out becoming a CITA member at

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Want Wisdom? Here's Some

What should we do to protect our investments in the midst of the current Stock Market crisis? Whom should we vote for in the coming elections? Should our church start a construction project or add another service? How can I counsel a friend in trouble?

No matter what the question, we desire one thing in being able to answer it: wisdom. We want to know not only what is right in a situation, but how to act with discernment and insight. Interestingly, God, the giver of all wisdom, wants us to have it too (in fact the word wisdom appears more than 200 times in the bible.) He doesn’t allow situations to occur without providing the wisdom to handle them.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NIV)

In my life, I find that God sends me wisdom every day. Spend time in God’s word, surround yourself with godly people, spend your time doing things for God’s glory and suddenly you’ll find a lot of wisdom coming your way. Here are some gems God sent me just this week:

• From my friend Dr. Synesio Lyra, Jr., a minister and seminary professor in Florida, writing about faith: “Faith in people will often disappoint us; faith in things can easily deceive us; faith in institutions will normally fail us. Even faith in faith is inadequate! But faith in God will never leave any life puzzle without an answer; it always yields the surest and best possible solution, regardless of the magnitude of any existential situation. (Read the full posting at

• From composer Bill Cooper in a song about hope: “However lost, you can be found; however silent, there’s a sound; however floundering, you are bound for something greater other than who you are” (more about Bill at

• From my pastor Jay Abramson speaking on how to pray like Nehemiah: “Have you ever thought that perhaps the reason God is continuing to allow this chaos to continue in our financial markets might be because he’s trying to remind us where real peace comes from: not our credit cards, not our mortgages, not our 401 Ks; real peace, the thing we really need, comes from him. If we honestly ask him to supply our needs, he’ll do it. He guarantees he will meet our need (hear the full sermon at

• From a character talking about the realities of suffering and sacrifice in Christ’s life in “Passion Play” by Sarah Ruhl: “Nobody really wants to be Christ; they only want to admire him from a distance.”

• From R. F. Koustas speaking about John 8: 1-11 in his book “Reflections of an American Idiot:” “I sometimes wonder what Jesus silently wrote in the sand. Maybe it was the individual sins of the men gathered around to stone the woman. I like that explanation. If I were there, I would have had no choice but to leave also. God seems to always find innovative ways to convict us of sin. He’s just like that.” (Find out more about this book, winner of "Best Book of the Year" in the category of Religion at the 2008 Premier Book Awards, at

• From Rick Warren, writing about how to start over after failure: “Failure forces you to be more creative as you look for new ways to accomplish something. It prevents arrogance and egotism. If everything you did was a stunning success, no one could live with you! Failure also causes you to re-evaluate what’s important in life. It’s one way God gets you to reflect on the direction of your life.” (Read the full devotion at

Want wisdom? Just ask. The Lord has plenty of it to offer, probably through someone you know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Concert at St. Bartholomew's Church, New York

GloriƦ Dei Cantores (Singers to the Glory of God), will perform Gregorian chant, Anglican psalmody, early English polyphony (Byrd, Tallis, Dering), Russian Orthodox liturgical music (Chesnokov, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff), contemporary American anthems (Adler, Rorem, Sowerby), and "Messe Solennelle" by French composer Jean Langlais Tuesday, Oct. 7 at St. Bartholomew's Church Park Avenue at 51st Street,
New York

Concert: 7:30pm
Lecture: 6:45 pm

Call: 212-378-0248

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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