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Revival Ensemble of 5, 1-Act Plays & Music
By Dan Zigler and Elton Smith
Staging: This scene takes place on the steps leading up to the altar in the church. The scene opens as Pastor Thomas gets up from his knees from prayer and Rev. Rolland enters.
Rolland: "Pastor Thomas, can I have a moment of your time?"
Thomas: "Of course, Reverend."
Rolland: "Please, let's not be so formal between ourselves. Call me, Jim and I'll call you Jacob."
Thomas: "That's fine with me Reverend .... I mean, Jim."
Rolland: (sitting down on the steps beside Pastor Thomas) "Jacob, I've been concerned about you the last couple of weeks. You seem preoccupied with something. Is everything all right? "
Thomas: (sits down beside Reverend Rolland) "Well, I've been troubled. Ever since you announced your retirement next year, I'm beginning to doubt that I can do the job that this church needs. "
Rolland: (starts to speak) "But... "
Thomas: (holding up his hand) "No, please hear me out. I've been here for over a year now and I can't point to one single success that I've accomplished. I haven't led anybody to Christ. I haven't gotten any new families to attend. We are struggling financially here at the mission. And frankly, I'm not sure that God wants me here because God hasn't blessed my ministry here. "
Rolland: (starts to speak) "Son.... "
Thomas: (holding up his hand again) "Jim, I'm thinking about asking to be replaced. I appreciate all the help you've been and the way that you've guided me this last year, but I think perhaps God has another plan for me. Maybe not even the ministry. I just don't know.... "
Rolland: "Someone once said, "If our faith was founded in what we think, we'd only end up as confused atheists." I'm proud of you Jacob. You have come into a very difficult mission church. I've been here for forty years and can only point to one outstanding success. And you played the most important part in that. Jacob, we work with the lowest types of people, street people. They have all kinds of problems with drugs, violence, drinking, gambling and family abuse. "
Thomas: (starts to speak) "But.... "
Rolland: (waving his hand) "Now don't you interrupt me! This church and the people who run this church, including you, are the only true light in the lives of this community. Now as strange as this might seem, I don't believe in my ministry here either -- I believe in something greater and that is Jesus Christ. I don't look at my accomplishments as evidence of His blessings on my ministry -- because my successes aren't evident and they may never be evident to me. But because I can't see them, doesn't diminish their importance to Jesus and the lives that they have touched. (putting his arm around Pastor Thomas) Jacob, have I ever told you the story about Dewey? "
Thomas: "You mean the little boy that has Multiple Sclerosis? "
Rolland: "Yes, that's Dewey. MS has taken a terrible toll on that 10 year old boy. Almost crippled him beyond his ability to walk or do any of the simple things in life. "
Thomas: "Oh, Dewey is special. Such a wonderful Spirit inside that boy! "
Rolland: "Yes .... and do you know what Dewey's dream is? "
Thomas: "No? What is it? "
Rolland: "His dream is to play baseball -- not just little league -- but "Pro" ball -- in the big leagues! "
Thomas: "God love him! "
Rolland: "Last summer Chuck, that's Dewey's father, came to me and asked if Dewey could join the church's little league team. He told me that Dewey had seen the boys playing baseball one Saturday and was chomping at the bit to play too. Chuck knew his son's limitations and didn't know what to tell him. He was asking me for some guidance on how to tell his son he couldn't play. "
Thomas: "What did you tell him? "
Rolland: "I told him to bring Dewey over the next Saturday, and I'd take him over to talk to the team's captain because it was his choice not mine to let Dewey play ball with them. So that next Saturday, Dewey came over and together we walked over to the park where they were playing a game. "
Thomas: "I'll bet he was crushed...."
Rolland: "It was the bottom of the 8th Inning, no outs and our boys were up to bat. Our team was losing 7 to nothing. It looked pretty hopeless for our boys to win the game, so I took the captain aside and asked him if Dewey could play with the team today. That boy took one look at Dewey's smile and hopeful look and said, ‘Sure, why not -- we're going to loose anyway.’"
Thomas: "Wow! I'll bet Dewey was thrilled! "
Rolland: "Sure he was. Dewey hobbled up to home plate. The opposing pitcher threw him some zingers -- strike 1 -- strike 2 -- strike 3 ..... Dewey was out. The captain took him back, showed him where to sit on the bench, and the next man went up to bat. "
Thomas: "Did Dewey cry? "
Rolland: "No Way! He started cheering his teammates on..... you could barely understand what he was saying, but you could sure hear him yelling. And don't you know that in that one inning, our boys scored 8 runs. Six runners batted in on 2 homers! Dewey was going crazy with excitement. "
Thomas: "How did it end? "
Rolland: "In the top of the 9th, the opposing team scored two runs and now we were losing again in the bottom of the 9th. Our boys managed to get one man on third, one man on second and 2 outs .... we had one real chance to win this game, but now it was Dewey's turn at bat. "
Thomas: "Did they pass him over for the next batter? "
Rolland: "No they didn't. I was so proud of our Captain .... he picked up that bat and went right over to Dewey and handed it to him. "You're up!" he said. I couldn't believe it. With 2 men on base that could probably score on a single, our boys could win this game. But that Captain gave Dewey the bat anyway. "
Thomas: "Now that's a boy with character. "
Rolland: "When the opposing team's pitcher saw what our Captain had done, instead of sending in fastballs .... he moved in towards home plate and lobbed a soft pitch into Dewey. Dewey swung and missed. The Captain came up behind Dewey, put his arms around him, helping him to hold the bat. The pitcher sent in another soft pitch. WHACK! Dewey hit a grounder, that rolled up in front of the pitcher. "RUN DEWEY, RUN!!", the team yelled. So Dewey, as fast as he could, hobbled to first base. Meanwhile, the pitcher slowly moseyed over to the ball, picked it up, looked at it, grinned and sent in sailing high into the air, over the head of the third base outfielder. Dewey got to first, the first baseman yelled, "RUN to SECOND, RUN DEWEY."
Dewey began to hobble on towards second. The outfielder understanding what the pitcher was trying to do, retrieved the ball, dropped it, stumbled over it, picked it up and threw high into the air, way over the head of the first baseman. Dewey got to second, the shortstop yelled "RUN to THIRD, RUN DEWEY, RUN!" By now the entire opposing team was running behind Dewey encouraging him to keep running, our boys lined the sidelines from third to home plate .... all yelling "RUN, DEWEY, RUN". Dewey's little grounder scored the winning runs and won the game. All the boys lifted Dewey onto their shoulders and celebrated. "
Thomas: "What happened to the ball? "
Rolland: "I don't know! I guess I wasn't paying attention. It was the most amazing game I've ever seen. It was wonderful watching those boys transform into God's perfection through their love and compassion for someone else. "
Thomas: "Jim, why did you tell me that story? "
Rolland: "Jacob, as a pastor, you may never have evidence of how you have changed the lives of other people. Teaching God's love to others can't always be measured or counted. We may never have proof of our success, but that doesn't diminish the importance of what we do and why we must persevere. "
Thomas: "So you're saying, don't judge success by how many people are led to Jesus -- just keep encouraging others to run towards the goal? That goal is to be like Christ. "
Rolland: "Exactly! For one brief moment in time, all those boys became like Christ. Someone, somewhere like you, me or their parents, taught that "love" to their hearts and minds. Everyday we need to give God all of our heart so that His love can shine through us. Our job is to teach them and others how. "
Thomas: "So Jim, you are saying that the only success I might find is how "Christ-like" I and others have become? (a pause to reflect) Jim, so many times I've heard you use that phrase, "All of My Heart"."
Rolland: "Yes, Jacob Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Mt 22:37) I think you understand now, Pastor Jacob Thomas, that phrase "Love the Lord your God with all your heart" is a constant reminder to me of what God wants me to do -- to give Him "All of My Heart"."
Song: (Music begins: "All of My Heart")
Copyright © 1997 by Elton Smith and Larry Holder
Give All of Your Heart.
Sermon by Daniel Zigler
Based on 2 Corinthians 3:18 - 4:1-6
2 Cor: 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Cor 4:1 Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Our play today started out with a discouraged Pastor Thomas. Ready to quit, ready to give up, ready to be replaced. And why? Because he had no evidence, he had no proof that God had blessed his ministry. He was greatly discouraged. How or Why did Pastor Thomas become discouraged? Perhaps an unkind word from someone, perhaps a backslider, perhaps a tragedy, perhaps self-doubt, we don't know for sure. But we do know he was looking for some evidence, some proof and he couldn't find it. Have you ever found yourself in the same position as Pastor Thomas, doubting your ministry? I think we all have at some time or another.
Then along comes Reverend Rolland with a little story. What a wonderful story, the story of the little boy named Dewey and his baseball friends. My favorite line in that story is at the end, where Reverend Rolland says: "It was wonderful watching those boys transform into God's perfection through their love and compassion for someone else." What a wonderful thought! "transform into God's perfection." Could our life, here on this earth, be stated any better? That we are to be transformed into God's perfection. And what is God's perfection? It is Christ! That is God's perfection. We are to be transformed into the likeness of Christ! In 2nd Corinthians 3:18 we read: "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
Like Pastor Thomas, many of us look to others for evidence of our success. Who we should examine is ourselves. Are we becoming more like Christ. Do others see Christ, when they see us? That is the only evidence we will find, when we search ourselves, when we search our own hearts, when we look inside our own souls, when we see Christ in the things we say and do. We should strive for that ever-increasing glory as we transform into the likeness of Christ our Lord.
Continuing in our scripture passage in 2 Corinthians 4:1-2...."Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
Because of God's mercy, we have our ministry and are commanded not to lose heart. When God through his mercy calls and commissions his servants, he also supplies the strength necessary for us to persevere in the face of hardships and persecutions. If we give up our sins, our shame, not using lies or distorting the Word of God, we will find the evidence that we seek in ourselves! And by doing this we set forward the Christ inside us. We set Christ forward in the minds of every man and give them a vision of God's truth. The scripture says, "we commend ourselves in every man's conscience" -- in other words, when they think of us they should think of Christ. In the sight of God, our integrity should be a Christ-like reflection to their conscience.
And in 2 Corithians 4:3-4, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" Who is the god of this age? It is Satan. It is Satan who has blinded the unbeliever, it is Satan who doesn't allow them to understand the gospel of Christ. The devil, who is the archenemy of God and the unseen power behind all unbelief and ungodliness. Those who follow him have Satan their god of this age.
So do not look to others for your encouragement -- look to Christ. Do not look to others as evidence of God's blessings on your ministry -- look to Christ! Only when they look upon you, allow them to see the truth, let them see Christ, let them see Christ, the perfection of God. If we are like Christ, some will not like us. Their ungodliness, their unbelief will try to veil the truth within you. You will be an enemy of Satan, because you are like Christ. You will become his archenemy too.
But listen! (2 Cor 4:5-6) For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. So don't preach yourself, don't puff yourself up, don't deceive yourself into thinking you produce believers -- preach only Jesus, only Jesus saves. For Jesus Christ is our Lord, He is the only way. We are only His servants, sent by Him, on behalf of Jesus, to save the world. "Let light shine out of darkness" -- as the darkness of sin is dispelled by the light of the gospel within our own hearts -- we will become beacons of "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God". That light that now shines in our hearts, proclaiming the gospel of Christ to others. For we are not ourselves, but are in His likeness, we are the likeness of Christ, transformed within and without.
To reach this level, to reach the perfection of God, requires that we give all of our heart. That we allow no corner to remain hidden, we allow no part of our lives to be unchanged. That we give all of our heart.
Altar Call - with music reprise - "All of My Heart"
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