Sunday, March 5, 2017

Off to Neverland!

Here we go!  Off to Neverland!  This morning we started our newest series, "Neverland," after quite a bit of prepping, scripting, editing and so forth.  As you can see above, Mommy made some great costuming for our actors - and these aren't all of them yet either.  Wendy and Jane haven't arrived yet, and there are a few more Lost Boys, Indians and Pirates that might show up along the way.

In the meantime, our current cast was just spectacular.  As you can see above, our Captain Hook and Mr. Smee were onstage, devising a dark and sinister plan to bring Peter down, literally.

The pirates are such fun.  Pirates always add such an energy to the stage.  But to them, the problem is that Peter can fly, so why not try to remove that ability?  How to go about it...

Ah, but how?  Of course, that's all related to our bottom line, which is all related to the scripture in Philippians 4:8 that tells us to "think on these things."  Think a happy thought!  What's Peter's happy thought?

As you can see here, there were plenty of happy thoughts to go around this morning.  We haven't heard an audience reaction this positive in a while, with applause and lots of reaction in the crowd.  It was fantastic!

Look at Rufio here.  This story takes place between "Return to Neverland" and the movie "Hook," so many of the original Lost Boys have been adopted, and now there is a new generation of Lost Boys coming in, including Rufio, Ace and others.

And Hook wants them all, because he's out for revenge.  His entrance was spectacular, just showing his hook first, and then walking in full.  We took many lines from various Peter Pan movies, sneaking them into the script this morning for fun, but it was amazing to see all the reaction to these classic characters.

We even had Tiger Lily with us this morning, along with an Indian friend.  The Indians are a big part of Neverland, and Tiger Lily's role in this will be greater than the cameo she plays in the original story.  At least that's the plans!

Here's Pastor Lance, bringing the message to the kids, starting out with our long memory verse.  "Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things."  Philippians 4:8 NIRV  

There were plenty of illustrations, and of course plenty of video clips from the Neverland movies as well.  We had kids up there on stage holding props to resemble those things that we think of, and that helped the audience remember the long verse. 

But ultimately, it all had to do with thinking the right thoughts, and blocking those out that are wrong.  We started out with praise and worship, and it was all greatness from that point on.

We have great services each and every week, but this new one was something magical.  There's just something about Neverland, isn't there?  

Mommy's display case looked great as well, didn't it?  Look at the lithographs there, along with some books (including that great Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson one), a Disney Infinity Tinkerbell figure, a teddy bear, glasses and a top hat for John and Michael, but best of all a lantern at the bottom with a faint glow inside, as if Tinkerbell herself is inside. 

It looked great, especially with the banners out there, plus the images on the screen.  It just got everyone excited!  And in case you didn't notice, look who joined the Lost Boys!

Madison was there amongst them, and don't worry.  She's not a boy.  Jane was called the first Lost Girl, so therefore, we've got some Lost Girls on board with the group at Neverland.  Madison was so looking forward to this, and she did really well on stage.  She didn't have any lines, but she's been so good with acting.  She was a clown a few weeks ago for Big Top, and did so well acting like a mime, memorizing what to do and when.  She did great up there, and as she is with many other things, she's fearless about being on stage.  Very comfortable up there.

Here's another shot of our stage, closer to stage right.  Look how that logo blends into the rock wall that we built there.  The lighting helps seal the deal.  It is a great-looking set.  Here's another part of the set, Hangman's Tree at center stage.  Although we're obviously not calling it Hangman's Tree.  It's just the Lost Boys home, with Rufio and Ace in front of it.

And those wooden swords.  We had them as practice swords for the Romans in a gladiator bit for a main sanctuary production a few years ago, and never really got rid of them.  And we haven't used them at all since either, so it was great to stumble upon them and be able to use the swords once again for props.  These are the things the lost boys do!

So yes, it was a great morning from start to finish.  The kids loved it, as did all the grown-ups, who as we know are just kids that grew up.  Or, perhaps they aren't really grown-up after all, because after all, for the next few weeks... we're in Neverland!

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