what I do
During my sabbatical from pastoral duties in 2008 I immersed myself in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. I wanted to enter into the mind, personality and experiences of this great apostle. What drove him? What fueled his message and ministry? Could I catch some of his passion and power?
Then I began to think, what if others could sit in Paul’s presence and listen to him first hand? What if his eyes could engage theirs as he spoke inspired truth into their hearts? What if they could follow the flow of his thought from the opening greeting to the closing benediction and grasp what he described as "my insight into the gospel”? What if they could witness Paul’s internal struggle to fulfill his calling in the context of the hardships he faced day by day?
As I committed his words to memory, I could sense the Holy Spirit at work infecting me with a kind of creative spiritual re-formation. The same Spirit who guided Paul in his long ago dictation of this letter was using the same words and thoughts to renew Christ’s work of grace and wonder in me.
My desire was to make the very words of Ephesians come alive for modern believers.
Then in 2016 I was invited to give a talk for a group of believers who were meeting weekly during Lent in a coffee shop early in the morning before they went off to work. I was given an assigned topic. They asked me to talk about “The Victorious Life”. And this was during Holy Week!
Well, I felt ill-equipped to talk authentically about victorious living. At the time I felt I was just plodding through life and I felt very little abundant life flowing through me. I decided to let the Apostle Paul give the talk instead. I spent a few weeks memorizing Philippians and I presented an abbreviated version in the coffee shop at 7:00 in the morning.
The results of these two occasions are my dramatic portrayals of Paul as a prisoner in Rome. I have "performed" in various churches (in sanctuaries and in basement fellowship halls) and in private homes for Bible study groups. I have presented "Paul in Chains" in an auditorium filled with bleary-eyed high schoolers at 8:00 am and for weary campers at a Christian retreat center at 8:00 pm. I am very adaptable.
The setting for my presentations is meant to be intimate. The audience is drawn into the experience. There are moments of pure heavenly ecstasy alternating with down to earth sorrow and frustration. There are even a few touches of humor. But every word is inspired Scripture and powerful.
I doubt you have ever heard the Bible presented like this.
May I present “Ephesians” or “Philippians” for your church or group?
In Christ, Duffy Roberts