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!

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I watched the 50th anniversary presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas last night. The opening special was pretty touching except for the fact that several times in the special they tried to reframe the true meaning of Christmas. They talked about little trees and a whole bunch of stuff, but they skirted around what was in the script. Fortunately they left Schultz speak for himself and showed us Linus give us the Gospel.

I’m not sure why people seem to want to PC this story up. This is the story upon which all great stories are based. Good triumphs over evil. The hero rises up out of obscurity, seemingly outclassed and outmanned but sacrifices himself and saves the day. I am so glad Schultz stepped up and told the truth. It may have been easier to do in 1965, but it is as needed today as it ever was.

The true meaning of Christmas is Jesus. The one who came, lived a perfect life, died to set us free and rose again to triumph over death for all who would believe.

Peanuts nailed it!

Remember when i issued that challenge a few days ago. This kind of art is what I am talking about.

worthdoing Sooner or later every creative, even Christian creatives, will have ask themselves this question. It’s a cost benefit analysis of sorts.

This post was inspired by a recent ad I answered for writers for an online news source. I write a lot and they were offering a small amount of money for writing articles. My first thought was, “Well I am going to write anyway, so I might as well apply and see what happens.” I filled out the application, took their application test and waited. A day later, I received an email asking me to write a sample article based on a list of topics. As I looked at the list of topics, I knew nothing about any of them. Research would have to be done to move forward. About now, a thought began to form in my mind. “Is the project worth doing?”

It’s not that I am opposed to research, I do quite a bit of it, but the amount of money they were offering meant that I would have to be able to turn their articles around in a very limited amount of time. If I could not turn an article around in less than an hour, my time would probably be better spent doing something else. An article requiring research simply would not be worth my time.

Now I know what you may be thinking, “It’s not always about the money.” You’re right, it isn’t, but this is about more than just money. I do lots of things for free, to which the nearing 2500 posts on this blog will attest, but it is important to do the right things. We all only have 24 hours in a given day. Time is probably our single most important resource. It’s finite and needs to be used wisely. Here’s how I judge whether or not a project is worth pursuing:

I have a personal mission. To communicate the Gospel and to help the church to embrace and empower creatives and creativity. Whenever I look at a project, a job, etc., my first question is “Will this project help me to accomplish my mission?” There are two ways this can happen, directly and indirectly. The “directly” things are those where I am actually doing things involved in the mission, i.e. preaching, speaking, making art, designing, writing, creating directly related to my ministry. The article project would be an example of indirectly. It doesn’t relate directly to the mission, but if the pay was sufficient, it could help me finance my mission. I will sometimes take on these “just for the money” projects, but only if it is a. God honoring and b. clearly lucrative enough to make the project worth the time invested.

I only have 24 hours and some of those hours must be spent resting, spending time with family, and all those other things that make life worth living outside the on-mission stuff. In a busy life, any extra project will take time away from that time, which is really precious and must be guarded.

I can justify writing these blog posts for free because that is directly related to my mission but the articles simply would not be worth my time, even though they pay (pay very little, but something).

To stay on mission, and stay healthy, the best way is to ask, “Will the project be worth doing?”

Today is a special day. My faith tradition does not baptize babies. We believe baptism is something that is entered into by an individual who has chosen to follow Jesus. Instead of baptism, we have a service of dedication. This morning my son and daughter in law will carry my little grandson to the front of their church and dedicate him to the Lord. What makes this so cool, is that years ago, on the same day, in the same church, my son and daughter in law were carried to the front of that church and dedicated to the Lord. It’s kind of cool when things truly come full circle.

Most of the dedication ceremony revolves around the idea that the parents will raise the child to follow Jesus so that when he is old enough to understand, he will accept Christ as Lord and Savior and enter into membership in the body of Christ through baptism. My son and daughter in law will make vows to that effect and those of us in the congregation will also stand before the Lord and vow to help them in this pursuit. All these people coming together to help one little boy grow to become a follower of Christ. That’s body of Christ stuff at its best.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, whether or not baby dedication is a part of your tradition, dedication itself is. All believers belong to Jesus. All believers are entrusted with speaking into the lives of the next generation. All believers are called to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. All believers are in this world to represent Christ. All of that requires dedication. We need to be dedicated followers of Christ, dedicated to His call and to His Church.

How dedicated are you today? This might be a good day to check yourself and adjust accordingly.

Twas the day after Black Friday and all through the web are videos of people who have clearly missed the point. Fist fights breaking out over stuff, stuff that will be broken in days or weeks. Some of these people will wind up in prison for their behavior, more of them probably should and for what? To show love for their families, and friends??? Hardly. “Where’s daddy?” I have to go bail him out of jail. “What was he doing?” Christmas shopping. “My daddy sure does love me…” I think not. Somewhere, we’ve missed the point. When people are willing to lie, cheat, fight, steal and occasionally even kill to get stuff to give on the day when we celebrate the One who came to free us from stuff like,lying, cheating, fighting, stealing and killing, we have lost the story. This stuff looks nothing like what Jesus came to give us and everything like the work of the one who came to steal, kill and destroy.

It’s not surprising. Christmas has been coopted a long time ago. It’s stopped being about Jesus and started being about stuff. Stuff is how we show love now. Haven’t you heard? The story has been lost. It is a season of giving… there’s nothing wrong with gifts… but in the gifts we need to remember the Gift and the fact that so much of society has lost the narrative is a call to action, both for the Church as a whole and especially for those of us in the church who have been blessed with the communicative, creative gifts, the storytelling gifts. It’s November 28. We have 27 days ’til Christmas. Not 27 shopping days, but 27 creating days. Just under four weeks to get the story out.

I call upon all creatives to do at least one thing creative thing over the next 27 days, to bring the story back to the forefront. Write a story, make a piece of public art, make a creative gift for a hurting person. Serve someone, bless someone, create a way that shows the world or at least one person in that world what Christmas really means.

This is one of those times when it is probably best to let the world know what you’re doing. I’m not talking about boasting about yourself. You don’t have to identify yourself, but spread the word and be an inspiration. Here’s a Thanksgiving example. Magician Murray Sawchuck helps a homeless man on Thanksgiving.

That’s how he used his gift. Please notice he put it out there to inspire others. Our savior deserves much better than Black Friday mayhem. How can we use our gifts to draw people back to the true meaning of Christmas?

Time to get creative.

workworthIt was one of the hardest things I had to figure out but I saw it illustrated today during Black Friday Shopping. We have a broken couch and we need to get a new one. We were looking at several different models. Couches are pretty pricy. We turned a corner and saw a couch that was much cheaper than all the others. You would have thought we would have been overjoyed. My wife’s first question (which I echoed) was, “I wonder what’s wrong with it.” When one item is substantially cheaper than everything else, some people see a bargain, most people wonder what’s the problem.

I saw this in my speaking ministry. In the beginning, I was really hesitant to set a price for my work. I would ask for free will offerings and go anywhere I could. Some saw it as honorable but many people seemed to wonder whether or not my ministry was worth anything. I always would say things like I was letting God set the value of my ministry. To an extent, that wasn’t the case. I didn’t want to set the value of my ministry because I was afraid to. Someone challenged me on it and I got upset. I figured if I started to charge, people would stop bringing me in. That shows the value I had on myself and my ministry. It was a mistake.

Another issue with the freewill offering was some churches didn’t want to do that. They felt they asked their congregations for enough. They would have rather have me set a fee and pay me from the general fund. Eventually I set a fee. Now my expenses are always covered, and I am actually starting to make a living. I have always valued what I do in my own heart. I knew it was a big part of God’s calling on my life and that He would provide. Then I turned around and acted like my ministry had no value when approaching the very people to whom I needed to convince it has value. Sometimes you have not because you ask not.

So what if someone cannot afford me? I try never to let money get in the way of the Gospel, I always have the option to donate my services, and I can take that on a case by case basis.

Some people are afraid to charge. They feel that people will look at them and say “He’s only in it for the money.” That’s not true. A few people may feel that way, but the vast majority realize that we all need to eat, pay bills, etc. My advice, disregard the people that will look down on you, ask God how to value your work and what to charge. Then charge what your worth.

If you don’t believe in and value your work, who will?

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Spoken word artist Joseph Solomon shows the power of the spoken word and God’s power over doubt. Saw this just this morning, and it claimed it place here. You MUST watch this! It is amazing and anointed. This is a master class in how to give a message in a way that touches hearts.