Desperately Seeking… Jesus

Part two of our Desperately Seeking series is below. Watch Michael’s video, then grab your Bible (or pop open Bible Gateway in another window).

Share and enjoy.

First Impressions

What do you think of Michael?

What are some good things we can say about Michael?

Is there anything that concerns you about Michael?

Introduction

Michael has an interesting job. Seven days a week, he dresses up and pretends to be Jesus. As challenging as that may be, it’s a far cry from the challenge God wants us all to undertake on a daily basis. Michael acts like Christ in a Christian theme park, surrounded by the faithful. We are called to walk like Christ every day in a world that has rejected him.

An actor portraying a real person, on stage or screen, spends a great deal of time studying their role. They read biographies. They watch footage, if footage exists. They look at photographs. They study their subject from every angle to be the best imitation they can be.

Following Christ means we must get to know Jesus. We must study him from every angle. We must learn to see the world as he does and act the way he did.

Read Philippians 2:1-11

How does Paul describe Jesus?

What are some of the distinguishing characteristics of Jesus?

How did Jesus view other people? Whom did he value? Whom did he seek out?

Why did Jesus sacrifice so much?

Application

Do you think we as Christians spend enough time going into the world to live like Christ?

What are some of the biggest obstacles to living like Jesus in the “real” world?

What are some things we can do to live more like Christ at work? At school? In our neighborhoods?

What sacrifices can we make to show others that Jesus loves them?

Is there something we can do as a group to serve others?

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for Jesus and all the sacrifices he made for us. Teach us to be imitators of Christ so that the love of Jesus will shine in our lives.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Free Skit: R-Rated Movies

Rated R Movies
By John Cosper
www.righteousinsanity.com

THEME: Serving God

CHARACTERS
A Bus Driver (Unseen)
Heather- A Christian woman
Beth and Laura- Christian friends with an axe to grind

The setting is a public bus/train/subway. Heather sits in the middle of a 3-seat bench. A driver’s voice is heard over the speaker as Beth and Laura enter, carrying picked signs. The Driver’s voice is heard on a speaker.
DRIVER: Now stopping on Spring Street. Next stop, Elm Street.
Beth and Laura sit.
BETH: I can’t believe we’re doing this.
LAURA: I can’t believe we have to do this.
BETH: You’re right. We shouldn’t be here.
LAURA: They caused this. It wasn’t us.
BETH: And we have to respond.
LAURA: Yes, we have to respond.
BETH: To think that a studio that brought us quality, family films like Doggy Hero and Kittens on Parade would produce a rated R movie?
LAURA: It makes you sick!
BETH: What were they thinking? People like us count on them to provide quality family films!
LAURA: We see all their movies!
BETH: We see them two or three times, and then we buy the Blu-Ray!
LAURA: George and I have started getting the digital copies.
BETH: See, I don’t like that. I want to have the disc in hand. I mean what if the Internet dies out?
LAURA: Oh, but it’s so nice. You don’t have all those movies stacked up on the tables and the shelves.
BETH: I don’t like the clutter either. But since the studio’s decided to produce smut, I guess there won’t be as much going forward!
LAURA: They can’t do this to us! We are not going to accept this!
BETH: Our kids are not seeing this movie!
LAURA: And neither are we!
BETH: Actually I did.
Laura gasps.
BETH: I had to screen it for the website to let everyone know how smutty it is.
LAURA: You are a true saint.
BETH: And now it’s time to be a crusader.
LAURA: Down with smut!
BETH: Down with rated R movies!
LAURA: The church is taking a stand, and the whole world’s going to know!
Pause. Heather looks at Laura and Beth.
HEATHER: Y’all are Christians?
LAURA: Yes we are.
HEATHER: Me too.
LAURA: You must be headed to the theater, huh?
HEATHER: No, no. This is my stop coming up. I’m helping some folks hand out soup and coats to the homeless.
Long pause. The bus comes to a halt. Heather gets up and exits.
DRIVER: Now stopping on Elm. Next stop, Culbertson.
BETH: Well, not everyone has the courage to stand for Jesus.

Desperately Seeking… What You Need the Most

Desperately Seeking… is a “videvo” series written for single Christians. Long story short, this series was created in response to my discovery that the only websites the Internet had to offer single Christians were dating services. Every Wednesday, for the next six weeks, we will release one of these Bible studies for free. We hope to build an audience of singles and young adults whom we can inspire to go deeper in their Christian walk.

You are not alone, and whatever you current “status” may be, you are not incomplete without a spouse. Not if you have Jesus.

Here’s Desperately Seeking part one, featuring Kristen. Share and enjoy!

First Impressions

What do you think of Kristen?

What are some good things we can say about Kristen?

What “issues” do you think Kristen has?

Introduction

Kristen is probably a great person, but Kristen is a victim of a system that says if you’re not in a relationship, your life is incomplete. The culture we live in constantly bombards us with messages like this. We hear it in pop music, we see it on TV and in movies, we read about it online, and we hear about it from the people around us.

You would think the church of all places would be a refuge, but often times it is not. Churches are filled with well-meaning, usually married people who have forgotten (or never knew) what a blessing the single life can be. Singleness is a gift. It’s a time of growth, and it’s a time of freedom. Singles have all the time married people can only dream of to learn, to draw closer to God, and to serve others.

Read 1 Corinthians 7

What sort of obligations do married people have that single people do not?

How can these obligations be a hindrance to a person’s spiritual growth?

What advice does Paul give to single people?

What spiritual advantage is there to being single vs. being married?

Application

Based on the scripture we’ve read, what advice would you give to Kristen?

How can we shift our focus from worrying about dating and relationships to growing our faith in God?

How can we devote our single days to serving the Lord?

Have fun with this one: What sort of answers can we give to those well-meaning but misguided believers who think life isn’t complete until we are married?

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the single life you have given us. Help us to remember this time is a blessing so we will not waste it on ourselves. Teach us to love and serve others and give you our best.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

A Manifesto on Singles Ministry

Ok so here’s the story.

11 years ago when I got engaged for the 3rd time and realized I was finally going to get married, I felt a need to create something for singles, something to leave behind as a legacy to help other singles grow in their faith and not waste their single years pining for love. The Bible makes it very clear single years are not to be wasted and as much as I did in those 13 years, I knew I wasted a lot of energy chasing the wrong things.

At the time I already had 3 websites going and wasn’t sure I wanted to start another. I gave it to God in this way. I said okay, I will search the web. If I find one, just one website that is devoted to helping singles grow in their faith and not just a dating service, I’ll let it go.

I found nothing. Not a darn thing. Every Christian portal with a singles link sent you to a dating site. There was nothing – NOT ONE WEBSITE – to help singles grow their faith. Only dating services.

Now I was furious. I had flashbacks to my college days when no one at church could give me a good answer as to why we didn’t have a program for singles. We had a thriving youth ministry drawing hundreds of kids a week. When you graduated from high school, they shook your hand, said congratulations, and that was it.

Around my junior year of college, they announced they were hiring a singles pastor. I was so excited, I inquired about applying for myself. One of the staff members laughed at me and pulled me aside.

“John, we’re not hiring a college minister. We’re hiring someone for the ‘single again’ crowd. The middle-aged singles.”

“Are they going to do anything for college students?” I asked.

The answer was just one word. “No.”

Couldn’t make it up if I wanted to.

Someone else at the church clued me in on why college/young adults was not a priority. The general attitude among the church leaders was that college kids and young adults were expected to go away, get their education, and come back when they had families. They didn’t care what they did in those intervening years. They were just expected to come back later when they had kids – and income they could give back to the church.

Back to my original story. When I did that exhaustive search of the Internet and found nothing but Christian-branded meat markets, my response was to create a parody dating site called getyoked.net. Getyoked featured fake video personals parodying Christian singles and the people who made their lives miserable. We also added videos from a pair of “experts” who also chided singles for not being married and fruitful. It was a blast to create, but it never really took off. I kept it afloat for 8 years before pulling the plug. and I repackaged the best videos into a video Bible study called Desperately Seeking which is posted free on the RI website.

Over the next six weeks, I will be posting these videos here on the blog, complete with the Bible studies written to support them. Beyond that I will be posting more video Bible studies – or “Videvos” – created with a young adult/college/singles audience in mind. Many of these are films already available from RI, including Fluffy and Clive the Zombie, but I have put together a team of friends, former students, and collaborators to ultimately create new content for singles and young adults.

My hope is that in the coming year, we can build a portal here on Righteous Insanity where singles and college kids can find some support for their Christian walk. We also hope that the very few pastors and volunteers out there working with singles can find some resources to use in their ministry.

It is a SHAME that the church spends so much time in kids, teens, and parents while turning a blind eye to young adults. It’s a gamble the church has won more often than not in the past but is losing today. Let’s change that. Let’s make a difference you young people at a time in life when they really need it. Let’s stop shaming them for being single, pushing them into marriage before they are ready, and help them focus on the relationship they need the most – Jesus!

Everyone Must Slide

This was one of the first videos Righteous Insanity released when we got into film heavily in the early 2000s. Still a great statement about the disagreements that divide churches that should be uniting for the cause of Christ.

Share and enjoy.

Free Script: The RI Curtain Speech

I had someone email me this week asking about this script, so I thought I would re-post it. This is the curtain speech we used for some time when Righteous Insanity had a touring group out on the road. Share and enjoy!

Righteous Insanity’s Curtain Speech

(Feel free to adapt and use this as it suits your needs.)

SPEAKER- Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is [insert name here], and on behalf of Righteous Insanity we’d like to welcome you to [insert church name here] and tonight’s production, [insert play name here]. Before we begin tonight’s performance, there are a few things we would like to go over.

(An actor walks out on stage.)

SPEAKER- First of all, there is no smoking in this auditorium. We ask this not only for the sake of our other guests, but for your own safety, as failure to comply with this stipulation may result in your being embarrassed by one of our actors who will respond thus.

(The actor starts choking, over-exaggerated, disgusting sounding choking, pointing to someone accusingly as if they are a smoker.)

ACTOR- Murderer!

(The actor flops over dead; then stands back up as the Speaker continues.)

SPEAKER- Secondly, we ask that there will be no flash photography, as this is not only disruptive to our guests, but it generally provokes another adverse reaction from our actors.

(The speaker flashes a flash cube at the Actor.)

ACTOR- AHHHHHHHH!!! I AM BLIND!!! BLIND!!! THE PHOTO RAYS ARE EATING MY EYES OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS!!! IT BURNS!!!

SPEAKER- Ugly, isn’t it? Of course if you think that’s bad, you should see what they do when cell phones and beepers go off, so I’d advise you to put those devices on silent mode as well. Furthermore, we ask that there be no food or drink brought into the auditorium. (The speaker tosses an apple at someone in the audience.) Again, ladies and gentlemen, this is for your safety.

(The Actor wrestles the apple away from the audience member.)

ACTOR- Gimme it!! Me so hungry!!

(The Actor starts eating the apple like a rodent, with more food dropping out of his/her mouth than staying in.)

SPEAKER- I might add that our actors are on a strict diet, and therefore we ask that you do not feed them. Do not attempt to pet the actors either, as they are prone to bite.

(The Actor pauses from his apple to bare his teeth.)

SPEAKER- We ask at this time that you take a moment to familiarize yourself with the emergency exits located in the building.

(The Actor turns into a steward/stewardess, doing the airline safety hand gesture routine as the Speaker continues on.)

SPEAKER- The exits are located [point out the exits]. We’d also ask that you make sure all safety belts are fastened. To fasten the belt, please insert the flat piece into the larger, and adjust the strap. If you need to get up for any reason, pull on the lever, and the strap will come lose. If this theater should become submerged in water, your seat cushion will act as a flotation device. And if the theater should become depressurized, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. To put on the mask, simply pull the hose to it’s full length to start the flow of oxygen, secure the mask around your face with the elastic, and breathe normally. Of course if you’re too scared to breathe normally, you can always scream like a little girl.

(The Actor screams like a little girl to demonstrate.)

SPEAKER- If you have small children, we’d ask that you secure your own mask first and let the little brats fend for themselves. Our performance today will last approximately an hour. If at the end of regulation the play should end in a tie, then we will go into sudden death overtime.

(Gunshot from the rear of the auditorium. The Actor grabs his/her chest, falls dead. Stage hands come out and drag the body off.)

SPEAKER- And now, ladies and gentlemen, Righteous Insanity proudly presents, [insert show name].

The Truth About Aslan

Okay, fellow believers, a brief trigger warning. If you don’t know what sarcasm is, or if you are one of those no-fun types who doesn’t like sarcasm, click the back button on your browser now.

Those of you who get sarcasm will enjoy this. Just so we’re clear, I’m a huge fan of C.S. Lewis, though I prefer Mere Christianity and Screwtape to Narnia. This is a political ad parody. It’s all in fun, and not intended to be a statement about Aslan or the God he represents.

Share and enjoy.

Morbidman Returns June 15-16!

No, Morbidman is not coming back to Southern Indiana – yet. But the sequel to Morbidman Meets His Maker will be presented in McDonough, Georgia next month by those crazy kids who drove all the way up to see my production last month.

If you’re in the Atlanta area, please mark your calendar and head to Trinity Chapel South to support these kids as they raise money for their mission trip. It’s a fun treat for the whole family and anyone who loves a good spin on the super hero genre.

And you might just see some of my crew there as well.

Words can’t say how much I love, love, love the poster. Can’t wait to see what these kids do with Morbidman Returns!

The Morbidman plays are available exclusively from Righteous Insanity. Click here to learn more.

Free Skit: Where Is Hope?

Where is Hope?
by John Cosper

CHARACTERS
Ed- a guy paranoid about disease, terrorism, sharks, clones, etc.
Joe- A business man laid off at Christmas
Lisa- A hopelessly single young woman
Paige- A mother whose husband died September 11

(Ed enters in a hazmat suit.)

ED- Oh sure. Go ahead and laugh. Go ahead. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Because in the end, I’ll be alive and you’ll be… not alive. So there! Yeah, I hear the government tell me not to panic. Go about your business as usual. So people go back to work, back to the ball game. Back to the movies, never knowing when they’re going to turn a corner and run right into a… a… a giant… killer… clone… landshark… with anthrax! It could happen! I’ve seen the research on gene manipulation, and we all know it isn’t safe to open the mail any more. Just the other day–

(Joe enters.)

ED & JOE- I got a letter–

JOE- From my dear employer. The place I’ve worked for nearly fifteen years. That’s unheard of in most industries, and near impossible in telecom. But I’ve been there a long time, worked hard to get where I am. And I was proud of the work that I did. In an industry where customer service is usually farmed out, I built a top notch CS group rated number one in the country. The churn rate was one third the industry standard thanks to the hard working people I trained and managed. So naturally, when the boss called me in I was thinking Christmas bonus all the way. Then I opened the envelope.

(Lisa enters, holding her cell phone.)

JOE & LISA- And you know what it said?

LISA- “Lisa, Not sure how to say this so thought I’d write. I think we should see other people. Sorry. Merry Christmas. Ryan.” I was so stunned, I couldn’t even finish my dinner. There I sat, in Red Lobster, with my parents and grandparents, all there to meet the man of my dreams. And the scum bag breaks up with me. No– With my cell phone! He broke up with me in a text message. I should have known something was up–

(Paige enters.)

LISA & PAIGE- –when he didn’t call.

PAIGE- Jim was up and at work in his New York office before the sun shone on our little Seattle home, but it was tradition for him to call and wish the kids a good day before school when he was out of town. The kids were rather disappointed that morning not to hear from him, but it wasn’t the first time. I assured him he was probably caught in a meeting and couldn’t get away. I sent them out the door, poured my morning coffee, and settled in on the couch.

PAIGE & ED- I couldn’t believe what I saw.

ED- Now I not only have to worry about anthrax, sharks, and clones, but these terrorists have nuclear bombs? Who’s selling them the stuff? And if they’re crafty enough to build nukes, what’s to say they won’t do something even more drastic… like bringing back disco.

ED & JOE- Talk about a major shocker!

JOE- And with two weeks before Christmas. I and my entire department, 43 people, were out the door. Two weeks severance, no Christmas bonus. “We’re in a recession,” the lady from HR reminded me. I can’t blame her for what happened. Hers is an even more unpleasant job than customer care. But I wanted someone to hear my complaints. It’s not smart to get rid of such a valuable department. But more than that, it’s not right to fire people at Christmas. For the first time in my professional life–

JOE & LISA- I felt completely alone.

LISA- Truth be told, I expected that night to end with Ryan on one knee, asking me to be his bride. But once again, I would be spending Christmas alone, waking up with only my cats to say Merry Christmas to. Then once I had bathed and unwrapped a gift or two I bought for myself, I’d go to my parents house, and watch my married siblings’ eyes twinkle as their children played with the gifts Santa brought.

LISA & PAIGE- The children…

PAIGE- How was I supposed to tell the children? They would probably already know by the time I reached them. Tears burned my eyes as I drove to the school, the horrid image of the burning buildings where my husband… I couldn’t even complete the thought in my mind. He couldn’t be… I had to keep some semblance of hope. For the kids. For my husband. For my own sanity. But my faith was shattered that morning.

PAIGE & ED- What has happened to our world?

ED- It’s no longer a safe place for a guy to trot down to the 7-11 to buy his weekly comics and a Slurpee. If I so much as see someone with a tan, I hold my breath and make a beeline for the door.

ED & JOE- How can anyone expect me to go on with life as usual?

JOE- Santa’s entire budget was based on that annual Christmas bonus. Now that’s gone, and with only two weeks severance, I’ll be depending on unemployment by–

JOE & LISA- New Year’s Day.

LISA- I don’t even want to think about that holiday right now. Another New Year without a midnight kiss. Every year, I think this is surely going to be the last one I spend alone. But every year, it gets harder to believe that I’ll ever find that special someone.

LISA & PAIGE- I’m so afraid of being alone.

PAIGE- Of having to work all the time, and not being as involved in the lives of my children. And I don’t want to raise them without a father. But we can’t even put Jim to rest. His body has yet to be identified. And until it is, the insurance company won’t give us a dime.

ED- The doctor says my worry is causing ulcers. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about. But in this crazy world, how can I ever relax again?

JOE- No one hires new employees in December. But we’re now officially in a recession. How long will it be before I can find another job?

LISA- People tell me the more I worry about finding love, the less likely it is to come along. People should mind their own business. Or get me a mail order groom.

PAIGE- They say Christmas is a time of hope. But how can I pass hope on to my children when I don’t have any of my own?

ED- My only hope is that I don’t get any anthrax in my stocking.

JOE- I just hope I can find a way to give my kids a Christmas this year.

LISA- I have a really nice men’s watch and a Cleveland Browns sweater. Any takers? Anyone?

PAIGE- Gifts are not a problem. We’ve got a tree surrounded by presents this year. From family, friends, even total strangers. But my kids and I would trade them all just to have Jim back with us.

Stand Up Guys

I went through my film archives and decided to revive six shorts from back in the day, starting with this one. It’s a send up of churches that have traded good gospel teaching for entertainment, and pastors who can quote The Three Stooges more than the Gospel.

Share and enjoy.