Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thanksgiving Mouse 2017

Thanksgiving Mouse 2017
Philippians 4:6-7, Psalms 107, 118, 136

Cast:  1 person—adult or youth—who does not mind scurrying around on the stage.
Equipment:  Wireless microphone.  Costume optional

I can’t believe it!  So my sister-in-law invited me over for Thanksgiving dinner.  And me, not thinking, says “yeah sure.”
What was I thinking?  Really, what was I thinking?
So I show up early thinking there will be some good pre-feast grazing and what do I find?  Health food.  Broccoli and carrots—really!  We are mice not rabbits.
But I do my best to keep my cool, well….    That is….
Until they ask me to help get things ready.  Hey!  I’m the invited guest here.  But now I am putting out place settings and napkins and tidying up.  C’mon now, we are mice not high society.  We nibble.  We don’t dine.
And then the coup de grâce (ko͞o′ də gräs′) – that’s COOP DUH GRASS in these parts, but when you are puttin’ on the Ritz with the in-laws, well anyway. [Hands up to signal it’s time to get back to the main story].
[Shaking head left to right to signal disbelief].  TOFU TURKEY!  Can you believe it.  That should not even be a thing. Tofu turkey.  It was so good to get back here.  I hope there are some scraps of some real food left.  Give me some real Thanksgiving scraps.
I do so love it when the kids kick the piece of banana bread under the fridge.  Or when somehow a piece of mac and cheese gets missed in the cleanup.
[Looks at audience and jumps back].  WHAT!  You people again.  I just got home and it seems like I can’t even get a moment alone.
OMG, OMG, oh, oh, oh…
I remember last year I talked to you people about being thankful and here you catch me on my own little rant.  I’m dragging my pity party around with me right in front of you.
Really!  I’m the church mouse and I should know better.
You know, I think this thanksgiving stuff takes a little work.  I think that we have to get out of the rut that the world likes to keep us in and just think thankful thoughts all the time.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.  Yeah, that’s a good one.
[Singing.]  Give thanks with a grateful heart.  I love that song.  Maybe I should live that song too.
Here’s a cool Bible verse from the 4th chapter of Philippians.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
It’s better with the verse that follows.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If I ask God with a spirit of thanksgiving, he can give me peace in the middle of my problems.  Now that’s no Tofu Turkey.  That’s some real meat.
Hey!  I gotta go and find some real food, but I am going to do my best to be thankful every step of the way.
[Starts to exit, stops, and looks directly at audience.  Raises index finger to signal a major statement to follow].
Thanksgiving, it’s not just for turkey day anymore.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Post Game Interview

Post Game Interview
Romans 12:1-3
Isaiah 40:28-31

Cast:  Two adults of any age.  One is a sideline sportscaster and the other a coach headed to the locker room for halftime.  This could be a stand alone drama, but it is designed as a follow on to Game Day and the Half Time Interview.

Set:  Anything that presents a football stadium setting is helpful.  The interview will be standing with the sportscaster holding a microphone and moving it back and forth with the conversation.

The coach is running off the field with the players at the end of this contest.  Sportscaster catches the coach running of the field and has a short interview.

Coach!  Coach!  Can I get just a few words before you head off to catch up with the team.
What a game.  You must be proud of your players.
I was really pleased at how everyone pressed on towards the goal.  Past mistakes were just that, in the past.  They kept pressing on.
Reading God’s word, making joyful sounds, the heart of worship, worshiping in spirit and in truth—I think your team hit all of these keys to success.
Yes.  We put our hearts into it.
I guess it’s time for a well-deserved rest now.
Not a chance!
Now is when real worship begins.
But I thought this past hour was worship?
It was and it was good, but most of our worship takes place outside of this building.  Most of our worship takes place during the rest of the week.
I didn’t see that coming so I don’t have any official announcer questions.
That’s ok.  Our response to God’s grace and mercy is to worship him all the time. We are told that our entire lives are to be given to God as a living sacrifice. 
Living Sacrifice?  You made that up, right?  I have read enough of the Bible to know that the sacrifice doesn’t get to live.
In the Old Testament, sacrifices didn’t get to live; well, except for the scapegoat—but that’s for another time.  But now…
[Raises index finger to interrupt with an epiphany.]
Because Christ made a once and for all sacrifice for us we don’t have to make sacrifices every year.
Correct.  We make sacrifices every day with our lives not our livestock.
But we get to live?
You betcha, we get to live like never before.  When we give our lives completely to God, we live more fully than ever before.
Wow!  That’s something.
That’s everything.
Coach, just one more question.  I have been broadcasting for years, but I have never seen a scoreboard.  How do you know who wins?
[Big smile and large gestures]
Don’t you know?  The victory is already won.  Before we stepped foot on the playing field, God had already defeated sin and death with the blood of Christ.  We are already winners.
Wow!  I guess I never thought about how much God has done for us.

Listen to what the prophet Isaiah says about God:

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.

Hey!  I know the rest of that…

 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

The worship hour is over but our worship is just beginning.
And while you come to give your hearts to God, he sends you out to soar on wings like eagles.
Do you know what the theological term for that is?
No, what?
Cool beans.
[A little perplexed.]
That’s not theology, is it.
Gotta go.  See you next time.
[Facing viewing audience as coach departs]
And there you have it.  Living Sacrifice, soaring like eagles, and cool beans.  Worship, it’s not just for Sunday anymore.

The end.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Half Time Interview

Half Time Interview
John 4:24

Cast:  Two adults of any age.  One is a sideline sportscaster and the other a coach headed to the locker room for halftime.  This could be a stand alone drama, but it is designed as a follow on to Game Day.

Set:  Anything that presents a football stadium setting is helpful.  The interview will be standing with the sportscaster holding a microphone and moving it back and forth with the conversation.
The coach is running off the field with the players.  Sportscaster catches the coach running to the lockeroom and has a short interview.

Coach!  Coach, just a minute.
[Coach stops running and sportscaster launches into interview].
What a first half.  Are you pleased with how it all went?
We had some good moments.  We had good participation in reciting God’s word.  We still need to get everyone involved though.  Singing was good, but still a few not lifting their voices.
What else is it going to take to succeed in the second half?
We need to get to the heart of what this is all about.
You mean the heart of worship that you talked about before?
Yes, but we need to get to the meat and potatoes of it.
Just what exactly is the meat and potatoes of the heart of worship?
Spirit and Truth!
What do you mean by that?
Jesus said that God wants people to worship him in Spirit and in Truth.  Those are two big words.  Our spirit must seek to connect with God’s Spirit.  We must worship with our very being.
And truth?
Our worship must be genuine.  It must not be perfunctory.
That’s a big word for a halftime interview.
I’m sure you audience has already Googled it.
I’m sure, but for those of us who don’t do that…
Don’t just go through the motions.  Don’t just log time in the pew.  Don’t just come to a worship service and start thinking about everything else you could be doing.
You mean that when you are here, really be here.
Yes!  Think of God calling Moses up the mountain.  They would do some things during their time on the mountain but God wanted Moses just to be there.  God’s saying, come and enjoy this intimate time with me.
And in worship, we really connect with God?
Yes, if you worship in Spirit and in Truth.  Gotta get to the locker room.
Thanks coach.  That’s something to chew on for sure.  God wants people who will worship him in Spirit and in Truth.  Back to the booth.

The end.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Game Day

Game Day
Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 100, 1 Samuel 16:7

Cast:  Two adults of any age.  One is a sportscaster and the other a coach.
Set:  A table and two chairs or just two men standing with microphones (real or as props).  A sign or banner that reads GAME DAY might add to the pre-game setting.

Pre-conversation activity could be the sportscaster and coach greeting each  other and taking their seats or already seated at the table and the sportscaster looking to the off stage director and whispering “Are we live?” and then kicking off the program.  Lead in music might add to the game day setting.

This particular drama might also be recorded on video and played on a screen to give the feeling of viewing at home.

The time has finally come.  It is the season opener for Wednesday evening worship.  What are the keys to victory this evening, coach?
Here’s what I’m calling the holy trinity of worship success.
That’s catchy.
I hope it catches on.  First in this threesome of worship things to get right is the reading of God’s word aloud.  We are supposed to read his holy word all week long, but when we come together, there is nothing like reading it aloud.
That is powerful.  Could it get any better?
Absolutely.  Sometimes we read it aloud together.  Sometimes we say it aloud because God’s holy word is written in our hearts.
You are talking about memorizing scripture.
Talking about it?  We are doing it.  There are millions of people who just talk about doing things.  We do them.
OK.  What’s next.
Next, we lift our voices to the Lord.  We make joyful sounds. 
So just throw in a little music to accompany everything else?
No, we don’t just throw in anything.  Lifting our voices to the Lord is essential to worship.  It is not a sound track that accompanies the important stuff.  It is important stuff.
For those who are musically inclined anyway.
Every living thing needs to cry out in joy to the Lord, especially those of us who are the crown of his creation.  We may not hit every note just right but our hearts are perfectly tuned to please God when our words are offered with joy.
I don’t mean to pick at you coach, but it seems that a lot of people are sitting this part out, or standing it out.  They stand up but it seems like they can’t wait for the song to end.
You’re right.  They look at worship like a buffet, skipping over the parts they are not interested in and filling up on something else.
Like the sermon or the prayer?
Sometimes that’s what they are waiting for—you do occasionally get a joke or two thrown in the sermon—but sometimes their minds and their hearts are set upon things of the world.  They are in the worship service but they are NOT IN THE WORSHIP SERVICE!  They just can’t wait to get this singing stuff over with.
That’s got to be a challenge.
It is, but that’s what we coaches signed up for.
So what’s number three in your worship coaching trinity?
A heart of worship.
That’s different.  You can tell if people read or if they sing, but how do you coach this?
That one is all in God’s hands. He knows the heart.  Sometimes people will be lifting their hands and jumping up and down with the music but their heart knows it’s all for their own attention.  Sometimes people don’t seem to be into what’s happening, but their hearts are perfectly tuned into the Lord.
So we don’t judge by what’s on the outside?
Not here.  God sees the heart.  If we were playing baseball, then you had better pay attention to what’s happening on the outside or you get called on three pitches or picked off on first or…
Got it, coach.  So read, sing, and have a heart for worship—is that all you need?
There’s more, but you must master the basics first.
That’s all the time we have right now.  Maybe we can talk more at half time.
Looking forward to it.

The end.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Walking Around Jericho

Walking Around Jericho

Joshua 6:1-20
1 Corinthians 15:57

Cast:  2 people of any age or gender.
Set:  Any.  Action proceeds in dialogue.  Clipboards or professional notebooks can be used to hide scripts or cheat sheets.  Both begin center stage with lights down.

Lights up.

P1:  What a day.
P2:  What’s up?
P1:  I need God’s help with so many things but it’s like I have to wait.
P2:  So you are walking around Jericho.
P1:  I am not walking anywhere.  What are you talking about?
P2:  When Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, God told him to march around the city of Jericho every day with all of the Israelite people.
P1:  So God told Joshua to “Take a lap?”
P2:  Sort of, but he had to bring everyone with him.  The priests and the ark of the covenant in front and everyone else was following.
P1:  That was Joshua’s battle plan?
P2:  No, that was God’s.
P1:  Take a lap, that was God’s plan?
P2:  Well, it was a lap a day for 6 days, trumpets blaring but nobody saying much.
P1:  What happened then?
P2:  Day 7 of course.
P1:  You’re cute.
P2:  My grandmother thinks so.
P1:  What happened?
P2:  On the 7th day, the people circled the city 7 times, with 7 priests walking with the ark, and after the 7th lap on the 7th day…
P1:  That’s a lot of 7’s.
P2:  And then Joshua told everyone to shout at once.
P1:  Shout what?
P2:  A battle cry, of course.
P1:  What’s a battle cry?
P2:  You know, like, “Go Sooners!”
P1:  I’ll bet half of them said, “Go Pokes!”
P2:  OK, sure.
P1:  What happened?
P2:  The walls of the mighty city came tumbling down.
P1:  Wow.
P2:  Wow!
P1:  And your point in my case is that God may want me to walk around in circles for 6 days before anything happens?
P2:  It could be 6 or 60 or 600, but a day will come with a bunch of 7’s where God takes care of what you are dealing with.
P1:  If it were only a city to attack, but these are modern times.  I need modern day help from God.
P2:  Don’t we all, but we need to understand that we already have victory today.  It’s not really about  6’s and 7’s.
P1:  I don’t understand.
P2:  You are trusting in God, right?
P1:  Yes, absolutely.
P2:  Then you---we already have victory in Jesus.  The biggest battle of our lives is won.
P1:  Yeah, OK, but…
P2:  Say this verse with me to help understand how we cope in today’s world.
P1:  Let’s go.
P2:  Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
P1:  OK.
P2:  Say it with me.
P1 & P2:  Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

P1 & P2 [to audience]:  Say it with us.

Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

P2:  One more time.

Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

P1:  Amen!

P1 & P2 walk off stage together [any direction] saying the verse as they walk.

Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The end.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just Say No!

Just Say No!
Living for God’s Purpose

Cast:  Two men or two women who are friends. 

Set:  Any stage. One of the friends (P1) needs a smart phone.  The action is entirely in dialogue.  Both begin center stage.

Lights up.

P1:  I’m am so busy.  I don’t know what I am going to do?
P2:  You do seem a little frazzled.
P1:  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if I even have time to talk right now.
P2:  That’s too busy.
P1:  I know [phone rings].  I’ve got to take this.
P2:  Sure.
P1 [To phone]:  Hello.   Oh sure.  I can do that.  Alright, put me down for that too.  Cool.  Later.
P2:  So did I just hear you sign up for two or was it three more things that you don’t have time to do?
P1:  Yeah, I think, I don’t know.  There’s no way I can do all of this.
P2:  Why don’t you say “No” to some of these things?
P1:  Are you kidding?
P2:  No.
P1:  But you can’t just say no, can you?
P2:  Yes, you can say no.
P1:  That’s easy for you to say.
P2:  It’s easier now than it used to be.
P1:  What do you mean?
P2:  I mean that I used to be you until I learned to say “No.”
P1:  You mean like saying no to drugs or staying out too late or decaffeinated coffee?
P2:  No, well except the decaf bit.  Really, what’s the point?
P1:  Other than the decaf, what do you say no to?
P2:  The Friendly People Place of Prominence wanted me to be on their board of directors.
P1:  Oh, you would be so good at that!  You really didn’t say no did you?
P2:  Yes, I said no.
P1:  OK, I can see that.  You are the chairman of the board at the regional food bank.  I guess one board is enough.
P2:  It’s not that.
P1:  No?
P2:  See you can say no.  Now practice just saying it and not making it into a question.
P1:  Yeah, OK, whatever, but what did you mean by “It’s not that?”
P2:  I could handle another two or three board positions, but I say no unless they are aligned with my purpose in life.
P1:  You have a purpose in life?
P2:  Yes.  So do you.
P1:  I don’t know about that.  It seems that I’m too busy to have a purpose.
P2:  Maybe if you knew your purpose you wouldn’t be so busy.
P1:  Really?  I don’t see how that could help.
P2:  It’s simple, really.  Knowing you purpose empowers you to say no to everything else that you know you don’t need to be giving your time and effort to.
P1:  I need that.  [Picks up phone to use app]. Can I get it with one-click?  I am so busy, I hope that I can use one-click.                                                                                                        
P2:  You don’t order it.  You just understand it.
P1:  Now you’ve lost me.
P2:  I know.  Listen now, this is really important.  God has really good plans for you.  I mean he wants to prosper you and give you this incredible thing call hope.  God is sooooo invested in your future.
P1:  That’s cool, but what about this purpose stuff?
P2:  God has given you a unique design to do some things so well.  He wants you to pour yourself into living as the person that he made you to be.
P1:  That’s great, but I don’t have time to add one more thing to my…
P2:  You mean like you just added two or three things a moment ago?
P1:   Yeah, like that.
P2:  Then stopping adding and start saying “No” to the things that are not what God made you to do.
P1:  I don’t know which things to say yes to and which to say no to—I don’t know where to start.
P2:  Let’s start by getting up 15 minutes early tomorrow and just listen to God.
P1:  You mean pray.  I do that.  I pray that I don’t go crazy.  I pray that other people are paying attention when I drive because I sometimes get distracted trying to keep up with my appointments.  I pray that the line at the store is short because I really don’t have time for that.
P2:  I mean pray, but just say, “Hello” to God and then spend the rest of the time listening.
P1:  And God is going to speak to me.
P2:  More than that.  His Spirit is going to let you know when to say no.
P1:  One 15-minute listening session is going to take care of this?
P2:  NO!  One 15-minute listening session is going to get things started.             
P1:  I need something that works now.  I don’t have time for more than one session.
P2:  And you never will the way you are going.
P1: [Sarcastically]. Thanks for the encouragement.
P2:  If you will listen to God and trust him, he will reveal to you who he made you to be.
P1:  And my purpose?
P2:  Yes.  There is some mystery with God but mostly he tells us everything that we need to know and do.
P1:  And not do.
P2:  And say no to.              
P1.  “No”, you know I like that word.  Just say no!
P2:  Yes, you will be able to say “No” whenever you know you should.
P1:  How do you know so much about saying no.       
P2:  Because I know the One who tells me when to say no.
P1:  I want to know him and say no to everything that doesn’t get me closer to him.
P2:  That’s great!  Hey, do you want to help me paint the rocks in front of my house this evening?
P1:  Sure, I mean “No!”  Who paints rocks, anyway?
P2:  I don’t know.  I was just giving you a little warm up exercise for later.
P1:  And I said “NO!”
P2:  Good for you.  [Baiting P1].  I guess I will have to do it all myself…
P1:  Nice try.
P2:  Good job.  I’m here for you as you work your way into saying yes to your purpose and no to the other stuff.

Lights down.

The end.

Designated Bible Thumper

Designated Bible Thumper
Matthew 7:1-6
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
James 5:19-20

Cast:  Two men or women who are friends.  One is exploring Christianity (P1) and the other is a long time Christian (P2).

Set:  Any set.  Action proceeds entirely in dialogue.

Both men begin the scene center stage in pantomime of conversation with the lights down. 

Lights up.

P1:  That Bible of yours is confusing.
P2:  I see.  I’m guessing that you read something that you can’t figure out.
P1:  No.  I read several things that don’t seem to go together.
P2:  OK.  Let’s see what we can figure out, but first, it’s not that Bible of mine.
P1:  You know what I mean, that Bible that you people refer to all the time.
P2:  It is for you too.
P1:  I don’t know about that.  I have been reading it and I think you can have my copy.
P2:  Hmmm, let’s see what’s got you stumped.
P1:  Like I said, it’s not just one thing.  It seems like some things just don’t jive.
P2:  Let’s see what doesn’t jive.
P1:  OK, this guy name Paul who used to go by Saul—must have been on the run from the law or something, told people in Thessalonica to mind their own business.  Now that’s sound advice, just ask any mother or teacher.
P2:  First, Paul had a lot to say about the law but he wasn’t on the run from it.  Next, it seems that you agree with what he had to say.
P1:  Yes, but then this guy named James says if you get into somebody’s business when they get off course, then that’s a good thing.
P2:  It is a good thing.
P1:  But what about minding your own business?
P2:  That’s a good thing as well, but if I saw you drowning would you want me to mind my own business and watch you die or would you want to practice my life saving techniques and bring you to the safety of the shore.
P1:  Who wouldn’t want to be rescued, but this James character says he is talking about turning a sinner from the error of his ways.  That sounds like judging and I read that we should not judge others unless we too want to be judged.
P2:  First of all, let me say that I am proud of you for reading your Bible.  These are good thoughts!
P1:  I thought that you would be upset with me for disrespecting your Bible.
P2:  You are just wrestling with things that every believer has to sort out.  OK, let’s go back to rescuing a drowning man.  The lifeguard has to make an assessment before committing to rescue.
P1:  What?
P2:  Is he really drowning?  If he is, then he must be ready to get physical—to take hold of the man and forcefully pull him to safety.  A drowning person is governed by panic and will pull the rescuer under if a casual rescue is attempted.  In some case, it’s necessary to knock out the drowning person so he does not drown both of them.
P1:  Is that why they call you Bible-Thumpers—you go around knocking people out with your Bibles.
P2:  Not exactly.  Have I ever thumped you with my Bible?
P1:  No.  You just keep inviting me to worship and to this thing you call the truth.
P2:  That’s right.  I can’t thump righteousness into you, but if I were to try, know that I would use my Amplified Version.
P1:  Yeah, OK, I think that was you being funny, but what about judging?
P2:  Don’t judge anyone so as to condemn them.  We are not entitled to condemn another person.  Jesus died to take away the sin of every person on the planet, past and present—permanently.
P1:  Wow! Now that is some propitiation with alliteration!
P2:  How do you know that word?  Most people don’t use propitiation in daily conversation.
P1:  I have been studying.  Let me see if I understand all of this, or at least these things that we have been talking about.
P2:  Hit me with your best shot.
P1:  In as much as possible, I should lead a quiet life and try to get along with others and tend to my own business—like staying away from gossip and the like.
P2:  Yes.
P1:  Unless someone who is a believer is headed down the wrong path and doesn’t seem to be able to get back on course by himself.  Then it’s OK to get into his business so long as I do it out of love and not self-righteousness.
P2:  Wow!  I don’t think you are confused at all.
P1:  It actually made sense to me, but I needed to bounce it off a, err, off a…
P2:  Bible Thumper?
P1:  Yeah, a Bible Thumper.  Do you mind me calling you that?
P2:  I prefer disciple or Christian, but if it keeps you reading your Bible, I will be your designated Thumper.
P1:  Cool.  I’m wanting to read more.  I don’t know what it is.
P2:  My turn to lay a label on you.
P1:  Go for it.
P2:  You are hungry for God’s word.
P1:  That’s it.  I’m hungry for God’s word.  Hey, did you know it seems like it is living and active?  I mean more than ordinary words.

Both start to walk off the stage together.

P2:  I’m going to enjoy being your designated Bible Thumper. 
P1:  Let’s go read something!

Lights down.

The end.