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!

In these trying times, there is something crucial to remember.
When you turn on the news and wonder where the good is, there is something crucial to remember.
When the world seems dark and cold, there is something crucial to remember.
When you feel lost and all alone, there is something crucial to remember.
When your hope is gone, there is something crucial to remember.
When you wonder why, there is something crucial to remember.
There is something crucial to remember.
Crucial to remember…

Literally. You see the word “crucial” is defined as involving an extremely important decision or result. It is derived from the Latin word crux which means cross and therein lies the “crux” of the matter. When all those negative things and many more come up in your life it is crucial to remember the cross and, of course, what Jesus did there. He said “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” That’s what He did on the cross, overcame it all and that is crucial to remember. But there is something more and it may be even more crucial.

He is risen! The cross and the tomb are empty. Jesus is alive and at work in our world and in our lives. That is something we can celebrate no matter the circumstance. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Happy Easter!

Today is my wife, Dawn’s birthday. I was trying to figure out a way to say Happy Birthday but the folks at Hallmark did it better.

Dawn, You’ve done so much for us and we love you. Happy Birthday.

88Of course we know that God is the Creator of all there is, but have you ever considered that God is an illustrator? It’s true. Look at your Bible and you will see illustrations all over it. No not the pictures and icons and things that may be in there. No the illustrations are hidden in the words and today we celebrate one of his greatest.

A thousand years or more before Jesus, God set in place a sacrificial system, a system, where lambs and other animals were sacrificed for the sins of the people. Did you ever wonder why? Does God have something against the sheep? No God created them. And while I know there is that verse about how the sacrifices are a sweet savor to the Lord, I also really don’t believe it is because God loves the smell of burning sheep flesh. I think God was trying to show us a couple things.

First, He’s showing us that sin costs. The price for sin was a very valuable possession that now had to die and be rendered useless. Second, God is showing us very literally that sin kills these are both superbly illustrated in the sacrificial system, but there is something more.

These sacrifices prepared us for the ultimate sacrifice. Remember the lambs sacrificed had to be perfect, flawless, without blemish and their blood had to be shed. The Bible tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. The sacrificial system was put in place to prepare us for Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, shedding His blood once and for all. Remember how John the baptist introduced Jesus. He said “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus’ death on the cross was illustrated centuries before by a loving God, so that we would be ready to receive Him. He gave us a framework by which we could understand the ultimate gift of love.

Today is Good Friday. I’ve sometimes wondered why we call it that. I’m pretty sure if you told Peter on that day that it would be called Good Friday that he may well have punched you in the face. That day would have felt like a lot of things but none of them would have been good. We call it Good Friday because we know what happened next and because we understand the significance of the moment. We understand that in part because of God’s illustration centuries before.

Be blessed on this Good Friday and live a life that illustrates God’s love to the world.

I painted as part of our Maundy Thursday Love Feast service at Ephrata Church of the Brethren. I wasn’t sure what to call it, a friend called it The Father’s View. I liked that. This painting took about 15 minutes and it was a very moving experience for me.

When it comes to bringing humor to the faith related questions of the day, few people do it better than Brad Stine. He’s edgy, pulls no punches and his style is thoroughly unique. In this post he takes on atheism, but it’s more than that. He takes on this idea that your freedom of speech ends anytime someone else is offended. I have to admit to growing a little tired of this as well. Lots of things in this world offend me. At the same time I realize that I can’t take away someone else’s right to their own opinions, beliefs, rights, etc. Rather than trying to silence those who oppose us, we should love them, ask hard questions and tell a better story.

Friends tomorrow is Good Friday. What did Jesus do? He laid down his life for people who hated Him as well as those who loved Him and He asked God to forgive the people who drove the nails through his hands and feet. He faced opposition most of us can’t even fathom. He’s our example. His story is the truth that will set people free. We need to tell it, share it, express it, paint it, draw it, write it, maybe even comedically express it. There are a multitude of ways of doing it and most of them will draw opposition. That’s okay, even expected.

Those of us involved in Creative Arts ministry have been given a multitude of ways to share this truth. How will you use yours to tell (and live) a better story?

You may not consider yourself a minister. You may think that title is reserved for the person who stands in your pulpit and preaches. The truth is anyone who serves is by literal interpretation a minister. So if you are working toward using your gifts to serve the Lord and others, if you’re doing creative arts ministry, you are a minister and there is something you need to know. GOD First.

Now you may think, “well duh!” but there’s more to that statement than meets the eye. You see as you minister, the line can become mighty blurry. I was in some ministerial ethics training over the weekend and this is one of the areas we looked at. You see as you move more and more into the service of others, demands arise. People will want more and more of your time and if you fail to deliver, they will sometimes act as if you are not putting God first. That may be how they perceive it, but that’s not how it actually is.

To live this life properly, we need to put God first. I know few believers who would disagree with that statement. The thing is there is a difference between God and ministry. God is first, but many people can’t see the difference between what you do for God and what you do for them. Serving them is, in their minds, putting God first. I hope you can see the idolatry in that statement because if you can’t, your priorities are about to get way out of whack.

I am of the opinion that God is first and ministry can never be more than number three (and sometimes further down the list), with family coming second and far in front of ministry. The reason for this is simple. God Himself said nothing shall be put before Him. Beyond that, God is our source of power for every other relationship in this life. Without Him it’s all pointless, He must be first. Next comes family. These are the first people God entrusted to us and must be our first responsibility. Let the family relationship get out of whack and your effectiveness in ministry and all other roles will be severely impacted. Also consider this, those same people that demand to be your first priority will also be the first to turn on you when your marriage suffers or your children rebel.

It’s most important to have God first, just make sure that what you’re putting first is really God and not just the demands of self-centered people who ought to know better.

Coddling that behavior is not ministry.

rikkiIt was years and years ago. I was a young artist trying to find his place in the world. I was pretty sure I wanted to be a comic artist and so I created Rikki Ratt and the Vermin. A rock band of rats traveling around, making music and saving the world. I know it was weird, but this was the 80s and stranger things have happened. I submitted my comic ideas to a company who was looking for characters that would have the possibility to branch into toys and other products so when I submitted the comic, I submitted some sketches of toy designs as well. My favorite was the “Verminator Tour Bus” a tricked out school bus that’s back opened up into a concert stage, complete with lighting deck and real working speakers. Of course, it was rejected but about six months later, I saw a similar product for the company’s characters. I was beyond upset.

The question is, did they steal my idea? What about my copyright? While at the time I was sure they stole it, the answer is probably not. They were huge, probably receiving hundreds of submissions every day, and had a team of people and hundreds of licensees working on their products. We probably just had similar idea and their product while similar was also in some ways different. The larger question about copyright is even more vague and that is why I share this story. You see and I know this is going to be controversial, copyright is in a lot of ways useless. Here’s what I mean. First copyright only covers the exact image. You can’t copyright an idea. If they had done the exact image, I may have had a leg to stand on, but the idea, which let’s face it is the most important part, didn’t qualify. A patent may have helped but my toy idea really didn’t contain anything worthy of a patent. It simply wasn’t unique enough. Also, even if it was a blatant rip off, they were a multi-billion dollar company and I could barely afford the copyright fee. To me the copyright was useless and not long after I gave up on copyrighting anything.

Why? Well for my exact creation, I already have an implied copyright because I created it. Secondly, I don’t have a lot of resources to enforce a copyright even if I had one. Thirdly, the world has changed and so has my view on a lot of things. When I created Rikki, I had essentially one option. I created something, sent it to a lot of companies, hoped no one stole it and that someone picked me, which in effect meant running to the mailbox and collecting rejection letters. Now I have the internet, I have my own channels and vehicles to take my message and my creations to the world. I create my best work, skip the middle man and put it out there for the world to see. All of the sudden, rather than trying to protect it and hold it close to the vest, I want people to share it and spread it around. The more it spreads, the larger my audience, the larger my audience, the more opportunities I have. Seth Godin said it best, “Ideas that spread, win!”

Of course this is compounded because so much of what I do is about spreading the Gospel. I want what I do to go to the end of the earth, whether I get paid or not, because I know there is a reward coming from my Father regardless.

There has never been a better time in the history of the world to be a creative than right now. Of course this also means there has never been more competition for the time of your audience. The best we can do is do our best and put it out there, make it “spread worthy,” tell the world and pray people spread it. You may or may not make any money (and this path is not for everyone) but you may just make a difference.

Your audience is waiting.