promophotoIt’s not JUST about the art… 

AMOKArts is about PASSION
It’s about a passion to know Jesus and make Him known.

AMOKArts is about VISION
It’s about helping people to find God’s plan and purpose for their lives, to find and use their gifts to glorify God, serve others and make the world a better place.

AMOKArts is about MISSION
It’s about helping churches to empower their people to be all God intended them to be so the church can fulfill the mission God has given them.

I want to help people and churches to have a passion for Jesus, live their vision and accomplish their mission. Art is the tool, but it’s all about Jesus. I’d love to come to your church, participate in your program, paint and call and help people find and use their gifts to serve the Lord. Contact me today!

The Blog starts below!

negativity5Sometimes it doesn’t take much. A misplaced word, a casual comment, some little thing to go wrong and we’re off to the races into the pit. Negativity… It can be really tough and it’s easy to blame the person who instigated it. Let’s face it, they probably don’t even know. They may even be completely innocent, but even if they aren’t, this is one we need to deal with on our own.

It often starts off really small and it snowballs. One little thing leads to another, which leads to another and another and so on and so on, until it’s one big funk. I’m not good enough and I never, ever will be. I’m not enough. I’ll never measure up to so and so. The world is against me. Everybody hates me. Nobody loves me. Ah there’s the crux of it. Am I really loved? This is where it stops, you know. This is where the truth should come shining in like a ray of sunshine. For God so loved the world… remember? He gave His only son… remember? That’s what he did for you… remember? You are loved… remember?

It would be really easy here to coddle and comfort you here, after all you’re hurting, but I am not going to do that. Here’s the truth. At the core of this is sin. Pride is welling up and causing this to happen. Were it not for pride, we’d claim the truth of God’s love, remember who we are in Christ, forgive and move on. Instead we wallow and we build on. It strips us of our joy and our happiness and our purpose and motivation and especially our creativity… It takes us off mission and it’s largely our fault. The truth would set us free, but we’re not focused on truth… and so it begins.

Don’t get me wrong. You’re not on your own. You’re getting help. There is one who wants to take you off mission, steal your joy and destroy your witness, even destroy you if he can and he is right their to ready push you over the edge. The Word says he “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour.” He uses negativity to drag you from the herd, off on your own where you’re an easy target. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. Don’t let him. You have a choice in this. What will you choose?

The first part of that verse gives us the key to overcoming this kind of attack, and it is an attack. “Be self controlled and alert.” If you’re paying attention you can see it coming, claim the truth and say no. If you can do that, you’ll bounce back quickly or maybe even never go there in the first place.

Be especially alert. This usually happens after a mountain top experience.

For a little encouragement, listen to this.

One of the highlights of the Creative Church Conference for me was meeting potter Dave Blakeslee. Dave uses his art of Pottery to share the Gospel. I got into Boise a day early, so I helped with set up. One of the things I got to do was help Dave unload his equipment. In that moment, it was clear, I had met a kindred spirit. You see I have often noticed when most speakers show up to speak they don’t have to first unload about a ton of equipment, but guys like Dave Blakeslee and I do. This led into some pretty nice discussions, as I got pointers on the finer points of traveling ministry from a fellow artist who is a little further down the road than I am. It was a wonderful time and oddly enough it perfectly demonstrated Dave’s keynote.

He started off by having us breathe in. Not so unusual, a lot of speakers will calm their audiences by having them take a deep breath. The difference is Dave had us hold that breath for a pretty long time. Then he did the reverse, he had us empty our lungs and hold that for what seemed like an equally long time. The breathing is the most literal expression of what so many of we artists seek, inspiration. His point was, well, breathtaking. When we breathe in, when we’re inspired, we can’t just hold it in. We have to expire, to breathe out. Likewise when we expire, breathe out, sooner or later we have to inspire, breathe in, or we will, well, expire. Blakeslee’s point was we receive our inspiration from God, not so we can hold it in and keep it to ourselves but so we can let it out to the world around us.

Likewise we cannot keep breathing out, putting our work out without receiving God’s inspiration. We need to receive from God and release into the world, like inhalation and exhalation, breathing in, breathing out, inspiration, expiration. Dave then began to talk about the three people we need. People who are further down the road than us, who we can help, people who are our peers who can walk by our sides and people who are behind us in the journey that we can help along. In the same way, we must also be those people to others—Inspiring and being inspired—giving and receiving. It was a wonderful message, something I really needed and I believe something we all need if we are going to create God-inspired and God-empowered art.

Who inspires you? Who are you inspiring? Who walks beside you?

What are you expiring?

Here’s a clip of Dave sharing a message and making his art. I think you’ll find it inspiring!

A wonderful young film maker named Melody Blankenbiller came to Zion Mennonite Church in Birdsboro with me and filmed part of my new presentation called Forgiven. She posted two stationary cameras so as not to distract from the message and left them roll. Then she edited the footage together and this is what she came up with. I think she managed to capture the highlights of the message and the art. She did a great job and I think she has a bright future in film if that’s where God leads her.

Maybe serving others is easier than we think…

creativechurchconferenceSomeone referred to it as drinking from a fire hose and that was pretty appropriate. I just got back from the Creative Church Conference in Boise, Idaho. It’s going to take a couple days for me to process all that happened there, but that’s okay. I am going to take you on that journey. I’m going to introduce you to new friends and share some of the inspiration I received. For now, though, let’s just have a quick overview.

I’ve been looking forward to it for months and it did not disappoint. I an usually judge an event by how fast it seems to have flown by. This one was pretty zippy but strangely, I was okay for it to be over. Yes, I missed my family (I always do when I am away, and I will find a way to get my wife to be able to travel with me), but it was also that I came back so inspired that I just wanted to start to put what I gained into action.

The general theme of the conference was community. If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of your creative ministry time alone and while sometimes the creative process demands a little solitude, we also desperately need community. We need support. We need accountability. We need fellowship and inspiration. We need people to guide us and we need people to guide. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we need to do all this great stuff we get to do with Jesus. All these and more are the benefits of being in community.

This weekend, I saw 1 Peter 4:10 lived out. I saw artists and creatives using a plethora of gifts to build the Kingdom and build each other up. I had people sow into me and I sowed into others and it was beautiful. I think it hit me most during our Saturday night worship. I looked out over the room and saw my tribe. Jesus-loving artists of all stripes coming together to love Jesus. I didn’t have to explain myself here. We all just sort of got each other. There were people creating in worship everywhere and it was beautiful. I saw a table filled with children creating together and I wept and prayed that they would keep going. I saw a very talented band lay down all the trappings and just sit on the edge of the stage, playing and getting lost in worship, with percussion added by a brilliant young tap dancer. I saw a wall literally torn down and made into something beautiful, brick by brick and I saw the same thing happen in hearts around the room, including mine.

I made new friends, reconnected with old friends and in a very real way I reconnected with the Source of my strength, who did some major work on me. This was the kind of event that everyone, especially Christian creatives should be a part of.

The big thing I came away with was we, yes even us artists, were never meant to be in isolation. We need community and we need to seek it out. It’s really, really important.

It’s also pretty cool.

Well if everything goes according to plan today I will be going home. I leave Boise for Pennsylvania by way of… San Francisco??? That sure seems to be the roundabout route, probably close to a thousand miles out of the way (give or take). Friends this is a lot like our walk of faith. Sometimes everything feels really direct and others it feels like we go miles in the wrong direction, of if not the wrong direction, at least miles out of our way.


But here’s the thing, at the end of this day, Lord willing, I will be home in the arms of my wife. And at the end of our lives, no matter what circuitous route we end up taking, if Christ is our Savior, we will be home in the arms of the one who loves us most, even if the way there seems roundabout.

Are you on your way home? If you’re not sure, maybe it’s time to talk to Jesus.

Here’s a song called Roundabout, just because it’s one of my favorites.

CHECKYOURWORKHi my name is Dave and I am a generator of typos. I feel the need to admit that up front before I go into today’s post, because there is some hypocrisy in this post.

The other night I was surfing around, looking for some books on creativity that I could load to my Kindle for my trip. And then I found it. A free creativity book and not just a free book but a free short book. I like this type of manifesto style book because it allows me to absorb the information quickly and put it to work. I downloaded and, forget the trip, I read it that evening. It wasn’t bad. I didn’t learn a lot from it, but that was largely because the writer and I seem to be on the same page and it was obvious from the content that he and I must read a lot of the same people.

There was an issue though and I have to say it really threw me. It was chock full of typos and some really twisted sentences. Now again, I struggle with this as well and I have put out a few things, proofed them carefully and then read the finished product and saw things I missed. It can be maddening.

You might notice I didn’t share the name of the book or author. That’s because in spite of it’s flaws, it does have some pretty good information and I wouldn’t want some typos to keep you from checking it out. As I read the book, I kept thinking the same thing, “This guy needs an editor.” So do I and, most likely, so do you. Here’s what happens. You write a piece, knowing exactly what you want to say. If you proof it yourself, you’re likely to miss errors because, again, you already know what you were trying to communicate. An editor does not have that luxury. They are reading your information for the first time and if something is unclear, or misspelled, or grammatically incorrect, it will stand out to them a lot more quickly. An editor can be your best friend.

Now please note, I can’t afford an editor for this blog, but I trust you all will let me know if I do something wrong, but for a book, especially in a day when writers live or die by their reviews, an editor is defintely worth the effort and expense. If that is out of your price range, at least share your work with a few trusted (and grammatically gifted) friends before you hit “publish.”

The book I read was good, but the errors would have made many quit or worse yet trash the author in the reviews. Taking a few precautions would have made it a lot better.

It’s just like in math class… Check your work!