Joyfully Sharing Your Gifts And Talents:
Making Sure It’s All About Jesus

Matthew 5:16-ESV

In the same way,
let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father
who is in heaven.

Mike and Becky with the 2018 Torchbearer group.

Psalm 37:4 ESV

Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you
the desires of your heart.

There is a Joy in Taking the Stage

There is a joy in taking the stage
and becoming as one
with your character
in the play
which sets free your heart and your soul

A Torchbearer enthusiastically
playing a part.

for praising the Lord as
free as a bird singing
his song in
God’s garden as natural and grand and as
beautiful as a tall tree
pointing to Heaven for
all to see—
for you are rejoicing before everyone
in the might and the power
of our Heavenly
Good Father.

You Are The Star In My Life

Finding our true
Identity in Christ.

You are the star in my life, dear Lord,
You are star in my life, dear Lord.
You are the main attraction
and I just play a part.
The loud applause I get sometimes
is because of who You are.
You are the star—Your are the
Star in my life!

Positive I.D.
Nan Allen, Tom Fetkke, and Dennis Alllen

When we have God as our Father, Jesus as our Savior, and the Holy Spirit as our Comforter; there is no limit to the joy we experience in our lives. There are such mighty moments of triumph, such astounding miracles of insight and understanding, such overwhelming strength for living. This week I wish to bear testimony to a particular type of joy God grants each of us as His children, when he takes some ability He has given us, which brings gladness to our hearts, and allows us to offer that ability to Him in worship and in service. It may surprise some when I say  I have experienced this joyful reality in the area of drama. In my years of teaching in Africa no single activity resonated so fully with enjoyment in my heart, as did working with students in staging gospel dramas. This entertained and challenged the hearts and minds of audiences made up of fellow students, families, friends, members of churches, and even, on occasion, prisoners. I so loved seeing student actors get caught up in the fun, the power and the glory of the stories they acted out on stage, presenting the glory of the Gospel.

God began to prepare me for this delightful task, when as a summer

Torchbearers in the midst of a Gospel-proclaiming drama.

missionary, I had the opportunity to participate in a traveling variety show, Parables, under the direction of Marsha Eichenberg.  She trained us in the basics of drama, and then turned us loose to have fun and share our skits and songs enthusiastically with folks gathered under summer nighttime skies. We sang and danced and mimed our way through lots of silly songs and short bits of drama as a way to earn a hearing for the gospel in inner city neighborhoods, state parks, and church parking lots. Our seriously dilapidated, brightly painted, converted bread van, allowed us to haul stages, lights and sound equipment, so that we could set up just about anywhere. While we never knew for sure if our worn-out van would get us there and back, we had more fun than you can imagine, and our audiences seemed to enjoy our crazy antics almost as much as we did; and most importantly, hundreds of people heard God’s eternal message of salvation and love. I absolutely loved it!

After that summer, when I went to St. Marys, Georgia, the First Baptist Church already had a youth choir. The youth group proved eager to get involved in sharing the Gospel. So, we became the group, Heaven Bound.  A mom, Patty Ross, led the choir, and I led the drama group, as we produced popular youth musicals.

A powerful dramatic and musical presentation of Jesus’ life, death and
His resurrection.

These included The Clown, Celebrate Life, Bright New Wings, etc., and we traveled as far away as Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and to other parts of Georgia. The youth and their parents worked hard all year long so that we could take off in the summer and share the Gospel through these musicals. We traveled on old, but pampered buses the dads somehow managed to keep running. The church youth director, Barbara Lundin, kept all of us under control, so to speak, and we all had tons of fun as God touched countless lives over those years.

Well, when God fulfilled his missions call on my life, and I arrived at Baptist High School in Jos, Nigeria, I discovered enthusiastic students more than eager to also share their musical and acting talent to present the Gospel. In fact, at Baptist High,  there were already student choirs singing in Hausa, Yoruba, and in English. So, the students responded quickly to a new opportunity to join music and drama together when we began the Torchbearers’ ministry which continues to this very day, thanks to the long-time commitment and directorship of Mr. Emmanuel Adeshina.

I have to admit that drama for me was recreation. At Baptist High School on

The Torchbearers always enjoy sharing their talent
for the Glory of God.

Wednesday afternoons I so anticipated getting together with the Torchbearers when we prepared skits, dramas and musicals for sharing the Gospel. The students refreshed me with their delight as they took the gifts God had given them and worked together to present powerfully entertaining productions which entertained and inspired our school community, other nearby churches, schools, and sometimes, even the inmates in the Jos prison. The students were so creative, I could just toss out a scripture challenge which dealt with an issue Nigerians faced. Then, as a team we would craft one or two or three skits, which did as Jesus’ parables did—caught up the audience in the truth they needed to face and the Gospel they needed to accept. We prayed a lot. We laughed a lot. We worked a lot. We had so much fun. And in all of that, we felt God’s pleasure. This is what God graciously accomplishes when we individually and together surrender to Him our gifts and talents. Praise God, the performers and the audiences are all tremendously blessed.

One of the most enjoyable shows the Torchbearers presented  every year at Baptist High School featured the students impersonating various teachers and personalities from the school community. The first time they did this I heartily laughed along with the students and staff as I easily recognized our

For the students
and for me, Torchbearer
rehearsals were filled with lots of hard work
and fun—
all for God’s glory.

Principal,Vice-Principal and various teachers and workers exaggerating the walk, the gestures, the voice and the mannerisms—everything that made that person special and unforgettable to us all. But when not one, but several stepped out on stage dressed just like me, walking just like me, talking just like me, using their hands just like me—even using catch phrase I would use; I was truly amazed, and laughed so hard I just couldn’t stop. What fun to celebrate the uniqueness of each one of us, and to do so in such a hilarious way. You never know yourself until others mirror for you all of your eccentricities. I don’t believe I have ever had so much fun.

And through it all,  God was preparing each of us for trusting Him more. He was preparing each of us for serving Him more. He was preparing each of us for overcoming boundaries more often in His Name and for His Purpose. He was demonstrating to us how He lovingly has made us for His Purpose and His glory, and that as we respond to His challenge, we find the deepest joy in serving Him.

Have you noticed how God works through our life experiences, our abilities, our acquaintances, and even our moves from place to place? He purposefully does it all. In fact, He so majestically puts it all together that He is glorified, so the Gospel is spread, and so we are deeply, completely filled with abundant joy in  serving and being loved by Him? We are a blessed people, indeed.

People DO
need the Lord!
For after all,









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