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Rays of Son, week of Dec. 11, 2016

A Pastor and His Wife Joyfully Celebrate Christmas

By Greg Miller © 2016

Pastor Paul was busy preparing his Christmas Day message.

“Lord,” he prayed, “Please help me to powerfully tell the story of Jesus’ birth.”

“I’ll anoint you with the power of the Holy Spirit,” the Lord replied.

Pastor Paul and his wife, Pamela, discussed exchanging gifts with each other. “What would you like for Christmas this year?” asked Pastor Paul.

“I would like to eat dinner on Christmas Eve at our favorite restaurant.”

“Then we have a date,” Pastor Paul beamed.

“What do you want for Christmas, Paul?”

“Nothing, honey. Jesus is the reason for the season. If I have Him, I have everything.”

After they finished eating their Christmas Eve dinner together, Pastor Paul handed an envelope to Pamela. The envelope contained a handwritten copy of Matthew chapter two, verses 1-11.

Here’s part of Matthew’s account: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

“The sermon will be short,” said Pastor Paul. “I’m just going to read the stories directly from Scripture with no added commentary. I figure since the Bible says it all, there’s no need for me to say anything else!”

To contact the writer of this column about speaking engagements, including Christian Comedy Fundraising Outreaches, Christian Creativity Seminars and/or puppet ministry, please email raysofson@gmail.com or ministry4jesus@yahoo.com.

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Rays of Son, week of Dec. 4, 2016

Fed Up with Santa, One Man

Creates Tuxedo Shepherd Character

 By Greg Miller © 2016

“Santa gets too much publicity,” Roy told Roberta, his wife. “I’m putting a stop to it.”

“I know you enjoy being controversial,” said Roberta. “But Santa is so famous. How do you plan to compete with him?”

“I’m going to put him in his place!” Roy promised. “I’m going to develop a seasonal character who is so charismatic that many people will simply forget about Santa!”

“How do you plan to accomplish that goal?” asked Roberta.

“Tuxedo Shepherd! I’m going to become Tuxedo Shepherd, a wealthy business man who is transformed into a Christmas super hero. Like Santa, Tuxedo Shepherd will circle the globe delivering Christmas gifts.”

Tuxedo Shepherd, Roy explained, would also make some special stops to read the Christmas story from Luke, chapter 2. Here’s part of the story … “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. …”

Tuxedo Shepherd’s sleigh was powered solely by the driver’s thoughts. Two days before Christmas, Roy slept for 24 straight hours to prepare for the trip.

Tuxedo Shepherd was committed to sharing the news of Jesus’ birth. “That’s the primary purpose of the character,” said Roy.

Roy’s inaugural trip around the world was his only trip as Tuxedo Shepherd. “This trip is too tiring for one person,” Roy told Roberta. “I’m going to hire thousands of assistant Tuxedo Shepherds to deliver gifts in their neighborhoods and share the story of Jesus’ birth.”

The local newspaper had learned about Tuxedo Shepherd. A reporter asked Roy about the aspect of the character that differed the most from Santa’s. “Santa always goes down the chimney,” Roy smiled. “I don’t want to ruin a good tuxedo every year, so I just walk through the front door!”

To contact the writer of this column about speaking engagements, including Christian Comedy Fundraising Outreaches, Christian Creativity Seminars and/or puppet ministry, please email raysofson@gmail.com or ministry4jesus@yahoo.com.

Actor, Shawn J. Hamilton

Junior’s Cave Online Magazine
Music & Entertainment Blog’s
Newest Interview

with Actor, Shawn J. Hamilton
January & February 2017 Winter Edition

Actor Shawn J. Hamilton is building up quite an impressive resume with most notable recent works on Suicide Squad (2016), Orphan Black (2013) and Covert Affairs (2010). Hamilton, who served 14 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, including 6 years in Special Operations units, comes to the wonderful field of acting bringing a wealth of expertise, knowledge, and skills.  Hamilton worked in Special Operations units that selected personnel from all branches of the military: Army, Navy and Air Force. Although he enjoyed his career immensely, Hamilton knew he had the acting bug that needed to be fulfilled. In this exclusive interview with our publication, we discuss the transition from Canadian Special Forces Officer to currently one of the hottest new faces in the acting industry. Here is his story.

Isaac: Thank you for allowing us to speak to you today.

Isaac: Let’s discuss a little about your background as a former Canadian Special Forces Officer.

Shawn J. Hamilton: I served 14 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, including 6 years in Special Operations units.  I received extensive training in weapons handling, survival in all environments, emergency medicine and communications.  I also received unofficial training in developing a good sense of humor in the face of adversity.

Isaac: What did you enjoy the most about your role as a Canadian Special Forces Officer?

Shawn: I really enjoyed the challenge of achieving goals, mission or otherwise, that might at first glance seem near impossible either for shear audacity or due to extreme time constraints.

Isaac: What do you miss the most about your role as a Canadian Special Forces Officer?

Shawn:  I miss my teammates the most.  It is truly amazing what you can achieve as a group with like-minded, highly motivated people.  By like-minded I don’t mean clones, these are people with a wide variety of specialties and knowledge that contribute to the overall effectiveness of the team.  Special Operations units select personnel from all branches of the military: Army, Navy and Air Force.  Experience is obviously great, but a junior member can also offer an insight that no one else saw.  The key to really getting to the ‘next level’ is that we must remember that no single person has a monopoly on good ideas.

Isaac: You also a bit of an overachiever. You have both your helicopter and airplane licenses. What were the driving forces for you to obtain these licenses?

Shawn:  I had attended an Aviation College prior to my enrollment in the military and I earned a Private Pilot license on airplanes at that time.  In the military, I was selected for Pilot and subsequently received flight training on High Performance CT-156 Harvard II aircraft which is the Canadian variant of the T-6 Texan II used in the United States.  After completing training on the Harvard II, I was selected to be a helicopter pilot and trained on the Bell Jet Ranger where I received my Canadian Forces Pilot Wings.  A final round of selection led to my first operational assignment as a Tactical Helicopter Pilot on the CH-146 Griffon, a military version of the Bell 412 which is an evolution of the venerable Huey family.  I completed examinations to receive civilian licenses for both Rotary-Wing (Helicopter) and Fixed-Wing (Airplane) categories.

Isaac: You also went to Afghanistan. Describe your experience when you served over there.

Shawn: It was definitely interesting and memorable.  Our missions were part of the greater objective of stabilizing the security of the country to a level that the people of Afghanistan would be able to handle all security matters independently.

Isaac: How did you get involved in acting and what draws you to want to act?

Shawn:  I have always loved a good story and I was drawn to be a part of telling those stories.  To me, there is a real power in being transported into another time or place along with characters that we can relate to and connecting to the story being told.

Isaac: How long have you been an actor? From where did you get started?

Shawn: I would say I have always had a bit of a performer in me, but my professional journey began in 2012 when I decided to start taking courses in Improvisation at Second City Toronto and scene study / on-camera work at Pro Actors Lab Toronto.  I figured that no one shows up at a hospital and realistically thinks they are going to be a doctor without training, so I applied the same logic to being a professional actor.

Isaac: In the films you have performed in up till now, what is your favorite role and why?

Shawn:  I played a mercenary in the BMW Films production called The Escape directed by Neill Blomkamp and starring Clive Owen, Jon Bernthal and Dakota Fanning.  It was my favorite role so far because I was able to explore being on the wrong side of the law with the understanding that villains don’t necessarily think that they are doing immoral things.

Isaac: Speaking of various roles; what kind of roles have you performed throughout your career? Are you satisfied with most of them?

Shawn:  I have been a police officer, a murderous doctor, a spy and a friendly neighbor to name a few.  Each role has been satisfying insofar as I’ve been able to explore different aspects of each character.

Isaac: How different is it to act in a movie?

Shawn:  I would say that acting in a film and other mediums are quite similar as far as preparing for your role and doing your homework, but the main difference I have noticed is that larger film productions can often film scenes out of chronological sequence and it takes an attention to detail to make sure your portrayal of the character in a scene is congruent with the events leading up to and after that scene.

Isaac: Tell me about an area in which you would like to improve as an actor?

Shawn:  I need to keep broadening my toolbox as an actor by continually pushing into different roles and being uncomfortable in order to grow.  There are so many disciplines in the craft of acting to work on, such as: accents, voice acting, dancing and stage combat; each facet that develops will bring something new to your work.

Isaac: Do you ever think that you could have done a bit better in any particular role?

Shawn:  I think that there is always a tendency to do an analysis on each performance and attempt to find ways to improve.  I believe that the process is really never ending; perfection is a journey not a destination.

Isaac: What are your strong points as an actor?

Shawn:  I try to keep in perspective that I am part of a very large team of professionals trying to tell a story and deliver to the best of my ability every day.

Isaac: What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

Shawn:  I’ve learned that there are many different styles and to be open-minded to the process and how the director is working to realize their vision.  In many ways, a director is similar to a mission commander:  they won’t always have time to tell you exactly why they are asking you to do something a particular way, but you trust that they have a good reason in asking for it to serve the greater good.

Isaac: What have you learned from your senior actors?

Shawn:  I’ve learned that preparation is very important so that you know your material inside out and can then connect organically to your scene partner without being in your head overthinking things.

Isaac: What are your educational qualifications?

Shawn:  I received a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Science from the University of Manitoba. I originally started off at the University of Toronto in East Asian Studies, Japanese Language Major with a Minor in French and German, but I left in my second year upon receiving an offer to join the military.

Isaac: Do you think that you have matured as an actor?

Shawn:  I think I have to a certain degree, particularly in being in the moment and embracing the inevitable unrehearsed variations that happen as opportunities.

Isaac: Do you think that you have the potential to carry a film on your shoulders?

Shawn:  I am optimistic to reach that responsibility knowing that it truly takes a collaborative team effort.

Isaac: What has been your biggest achievement in the field of acting?

Shawn:  The level of growth I have experienced, as an actor, has been my biggest achievement.  I believe it has been accelerated by being able to work with so many professional and creative people on both sides of the camera.

Isaac: What kind of roles do you prefer?

Shawn: I don’t have a preference other than that the role serves in telling a good story.  I really enjoy working on a variety of roles: drama, comedy, and action.  A dream role would be playing a Bond villain.

Isaac: Give me a few tips to being a successful actor?

Shawn:  Practice your craft relentlessly and never give up.  Ensure that the preparation of your skills has the sense of urgency that an opportunity may come sooner than later and you need to be ready.

Isaac: Who is your favorite actor?

Shawn:  That’s a hard one as there are so many great actors out there.  Personally, I really like the work of Tom Hanks and Robin Williams.

Isaac: Are you working on any current projects?

Shawn: I am currently working on a feature film called KIN that is directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker.  It is starring Jack Reynor, Dennis Quaid, Zoë Kravitz and James Franco.  I play a Tactical Squad Leader and also serve behind the camera as the Military Tactical Advisor.

Isaac: What are you looking forward to the most for the upcoming Holidays and 2017?

Shawn:  I am looking forward to some downtime with family and friends over the holidays.  As for 2017, I’m sure the universe has something interesting and unexpected in store for me.

Isaac: Thank you once again and we are looking forward to seeing you in our new projects.

Shawn J. Hamilton’s Official IMDb’s Website:
Shawn J. Hamilton’s Official IMDb Page

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