Friday, January 30, 2009

Compassionart CD, Book Released

Compassionart's CD from the project that united Christians artists in song writing to help ease world suffering and poverty was released this week.
Paul Baloche, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Tim Hughes, Matt Redman, Graham Kendrick, Andy Park, Darlene Zschech, Chris Tomlin, Israel Houghton, Steve Smith (Delirious), and Martin Smith met a year ago for a week of prayer, worship, and songwriting in Scotland. All involved have waived their rights to ownership and the songs written collectively in Scotland are now owned by the charity Compassionart.

A companion book also is available. For more information and to view a short video about the project, go to

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fireproof DVD Released

The DVD for the movie "Fireproof" starring Kirk Cameron has been released. Watch a trailer above. For more information go to

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Time to Enter Sketch Writing Contest

The deadline for the CITA (Christians in Theatre Arts) Sketch writing contest has been extended to Feb. 12. For an entry form, click here.

Deadline for the play writing contest is Feb. 16. For an entry form, click here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CITA in the LA Times

I just had lunch with Wayne Harrel in Portland, OR. He told me that the LA Times wrote an article on last year's Christians in Theatre Arts National Conference: Christianity playing a role in theatre.

How Are You? I'm tired.

Lately I've noticed that my answer to the question "How are you?" is "tired." This is a switch, because until that answer took over as number one, my response had been "busy." I guess it's a natural progression.

There's nothing wrong with being busy, as long as we're doing the right things and we balance the busyness with rest. For me, that's the hard part, because even though it seems logical that we need rest (even God took a break after creation)I struggle with feeling that rest is a waste of time. Just last Sunday I felt the need for a true day of rest. Immediately the guilt started. "I really should go to church," I thought, but I realized that God was calling me to a quiet time with him alone at home.

Later, I started to think about how much work I could get done during the afternoon. I could finish several work projects, or get some cleaning done around the house. I could call some friends with whom I hadn't had chance to catch up.

It's hard for me to sit with a pot of tea, enjoy a good book or movie without constantly thinking that I should be doing something else. No wonder I'm tired. Even in times of rest my mind is at work. God's been showing me that if I can't rest physically, I won't be able to rest spiritually.

Sometimes I grow tired not because of the number of tasks I am trying to complete, but because doing work for the kingdom can be very draining. People can be particularly energetic in their resistance to spiritual efforts (and that includes Christians as well as non Christians). If we don't strive for balance and restoration, we won't have spiritual strength, and that can have consequences more dangerous than being physically tired.

Verse 11:28 in Matthew from The Message has given me some fresh perspective this week:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I chuckled, when in the middle of God's instruction to me on this, I received an update from Lee Strobel entitled "fighting evangelism fatigue." It began "Your brother is an atheist. Your neighbor is into New Age and Tarot cards. Your boss thinks Christianity is based on ancient mythology. The waiter at your favorite lunch spot is a Muslim. Your chiropractor is simply indifferent about God. And some days – if you're really honest – you just don't care very much." (Read the full newsletter article by clicking here.)

That's what happens when we allow fatigue to take over: we end up not caring. It's hard to keep perspective.

It's the start of a new year, new opportunities and new work to be done. I hope it will be the start of a new way of thinking too, one that puts high value on rest and sees it as training ground for all that keeps me busy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Broadway and Theater Reviews with a Christian Perspective

Read our reviews of Broadway and New York theater with an added Christian perspective you can't find anywhere else at Check out which shows are headed to your city. Don't see a review listed? Email Outer Critics Circle reviewer and Christian Lauren Yarger for the scoop at

Which shows are appropriate for the kids? Which ones will provide great discussions with non-Christian friends? Find out and use the theater as a tool. Look for new reviews this week for "Pal Joey" and "Soul of Shaolin" on Broadway.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Network; Sharpen Your Skills at Conferences

With the new year comes a schedule of conferences that can help equip you to use your artistic talents in ministry. We'll highlight a few here. If you have any others to recommend, please add them in the comment section to this post. Be sure to include a link to the conference.

Worship teams will gather together March 7 via satellite across North America for Integrity’s Worship Summit 2009, a time of worship, teaching and encouragement. The event will feature some of today’s foremost worship artists, including Paul Baloche, Brian Doerksen, Lincoln Brewster, Ross Parsley, Kathryn Scott and others.

For information on how to attend in person in Miami, or by simulcast at a church near you, go to

Received this note from Florida Christian Writers Conference Director Billie Wilson:

"Registration for the ’09 is well underway but we have a DELUGE of applicants needing scholarship help. These troubled times present a wonderful opportunity to highlight the message of Jesus to a frightened, hurting and disillusioned population. Many avenues are open and will be open to believers with a desire to be Him here and now.

I believe that the Christian writing community can seize the moment through articles, books, cards, online blogs and websites. Join me in making sure that every writer needing a scholarship can attend the conference – we do not know the impact of the inspired message in the heart and mind of an aspiring author."

Masterworks' own Torry Martin will be presenting at the conference which, in its 22nd year, moves to a new location near Leesburg, FL Feb. 26-March 1. Keynote speakers will be Davis Bunn, Dr. Calvin Millerand Cec Murphey. Attendees have opportunities to have their work reviewed personally by top agents and publishers. I attended this conference a few years ago and found it invaluable. If you can make it possible for someone to attend, please contact Billie at

The Christian Leadership Alliance "Path of Integrity" conference will be held April 20-22 in Atlanta. Chip Ingram, Ellie Lofaro, Babbie Mason and Gordon McDonald are among the presenters. For information go to

The Christians in Theatre Arts Conference (CITA) is shaping up for June 15-21 in Orlando,FL and offers contests for sketches, plays and a chance to be involved in a service projects for local ministries. I don't get to go every year, but when I do, it's always life changing. Information at

Friday, January 9, 2009

Get Training, Renew Your Passion at Live!

Here's the Tour Schedule for Worship Together's Live Concert and Training events which include artists Matt Maher, Brenton Brown, Michael Gungor Band, Kelly Minter Tim Hughes and Al Gordon (check dates for artist appearances). For more information, go to

3/13/09 | Maranatha Fellowship Church | Saint Albans, WV

3/14/09 | Fair Haven Ministries | Hudsonville, MI

3/16/09 | First Assembly of God | Kenosha, WI

3/17/09 | Cathedral Of Praise | Maumee, OH

3/18/09 | Akron Baptist Temple | Akron, OH

3/19/09 | King Street Church (The Street) | Chambersburg, PA

3/20/09 | First Baptist Church | Laurel, MD

3/21/09 | Calvary Chapel of the Berkshires | Pittsfield, MA

3/23/09 | St. James the Apostle Catholic | McDonough, GA

3/24/09 | First Baptist Church | Smyrna, TN

3/25/09 | Porterfield Memorial United Methodist | Albany, GA

3/26/09 | Church of Living Water | Prattville, AL

3/27/09 | Grace Church | Maryland Hts, MO

3/28/09 | Emmaus Baptist | Oklahoma City, OK

4/01/09 | Westside Family Church | Lenexa, KS

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Conversations with God Essay May Have Been Someone Else's

The question of plagiarism and theft of intellectual property is one that keeps coming up. Churches and Christians are some of the worst offenders, I find, though I am certain Jesus would not be happy about us cutting corners or ignoring what is right. To make sure you're complying with the law, and to make sure that you are using other people's works with integrity, take our workshop on copyright law for churches to find out how and when you can use someone else's work ( Most of the time it's very easy and inexpensive to do what is right.

If you're not sure, here's a good guideline: pretty much if you didn't create it, you can't use it in print, online, in a church service, at youth group night, in the church bulletin, at bible study or because your event is free or nonprofit or anywhere else unless you have permission.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Amazing Grace The Musical

I'm hoping I'll be able to catch one of the concert versions of Amazing Grace The True Story being planned this year as the musical moves toward Broadway. Check out the video clip above with information from talented composer Christopher Smith and Producer Carolyn Rossi Copeland and find out how you can become an ambassador for the show, which tells the story of John Newton who wrote the famous hymn.

"Nothing There to Love" has quickly become one of my favorite songs, and that's saying something, because I have heard a LOT of showtunes. It's the perfect Broadway song: beautiful, haunting, moving, revealing and tearjerking. Hear it sung in part by Adam Jacobs (Marius from Les Mis)in the video above or go to the show's website at and download the MP3. For additional inormation and videos, go to

Stay tuned for more information about this exciting musical.

Broadway Sees Shows Go Dark, but There's Still Hope for the White Way

James Barbour offers a concert of love songs at Sardi's.
A summary of what's closing;opening on Broadway

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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