"Preachers are not sermon makers, but men makers and saint makers, and he only is well-trained for this business who has made himself a man and a saint. It is not great talents nor great learning nor great preachers that God needs, but men great in holiness, great in faith, great in love, great in fidelity, great for God - men always preaching by holy sermons in the pulpit, by holy lives out of it. These can mold a generation for God."
Keeping with the tradition of "Musical Theatre Fridays," here is the trailer for the new film version of Les Miserables. Might have to be at the first nearby showing for this. I don't think Cameron Mackintosh will let it be bad. Different, maybe, but not bad.
Check out this cast...
Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean,
Russell Crowe as Javert,
Anne Hathaway as Fantine,
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette,
Eddie Redmayne as Marius,
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers,
Aaron Tveit as Enjolras,
Samantha Barks as Eponine,
and a special guest appearances by the original Jean Valjean, Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way..."
~Charles Dickens wrote this in the mid-19th century as the opening to A Tale of Two Cities
"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great
for me to make for Him."
~ C.T. Studd, one of the wealthiest men in Britain and world-famous cricket player, who in his twenties gave away everything that he had, trusted God by faith and for over 5o years served as a missionary to China, India and Central Africa.
Four of the greatest Jean Valjeans in the history of the 25 years worth of world-wide productions of Les Miserables.
Two parts to point out. Alfie Boe, who sang the part at this concert, hangs back until about the 2:20 mark of the video. Then, just listen. To realize that the other three men are some of the most accomplished tenors on Earth makes his sound even more amazing.
Then note the originator of the role, Colm Wilkinson's, ability to hold the final note. The others just step back and watch it happen.
"God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in His extraordinary provisions. He stands ready to allocate His power to all who are radically dependent on Him and radically devoted to making much of Him."
For the last week, news coverage around our
country bounced between the wrath of Hurricane Isaac and the upcoming
Presidential election. Stories about
both events focused on different aspects of our country. The Isaac reports focused on immediate
problems such as flooding, a lack of safe water and the fact that thousands of
people were either evacuated or were stranded without power. The political stories asked us to look beyond
the here and now and attempt to decide between two parties with different goals
for the future. One story was about the
present while the other was largely about the future.
As Christians, the story that we tell has to
be in touch with our current lives as well as preparing us for the eternal
future we all face. Some Christians want
to focus only on the here and now. They
think the main mission of the church is helping with the immediate needs of
people. Other Christians seem to ignore
the current needs of those who are struggling and talk constantly about a great
future in Heaven. They are so focused on
eternity that they do not confront the present reality.
Which approach is correct? Simply neither.
The church must impact the world around us
because the impact we have here and now is the only way we can impact eternity. We must change the world by our giving, our
sharing and the truth of our message.
Christ’s Gospel is good news for this life as well as the life to come. When we neglect the focus on one aspect of
the Gospel for the sake of solely focusing on the other, I am afraid we will be
surprised when we achieve neither. If we
aim for Heaven and seek to obey God’s commands and avail ourselves of His
grace, we will by necessity seek to improve the lives of
people around us. Our ministry must be
focused on bringing people to Christ now so that they will get to enjoy
communing with Him later.
"Lord, I give up All my own plans and purposes, All my own desires and hopes, And accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, Utterly to Thee To be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, Send me where Thou wilt, Work out Thy whole will in my life At any cost, Now and forever." - Betty Scott Stam, missionary of the China Inland Mission,
martyred, along with her husband, in China in 1934.