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!

Last night I had the strangest dream. I dreamt I was in this old house, the dream was even black and white, which is strange because I usually DO dream in color. A well meaning old man was lecturing a young man about the life he was living. I’m not sure who the old man was, but the young man was Elvis. The old man was getting nowhere and for some reason I felt the need to speak.

I called him over, “Elvis Aaron Presley, come over here, I need to talk to you.” He came over. “Sit down,” I said and he did. He looked like the young Elvis from the movies. I said, “Elvis, one day they will call you the King of Rock and Roll. You will be wealthy beyond measure and millions of young people will want to be just like you. They will follow your example. They’ll dress like you. They’ll do what you do… (a slightly sneering smile spread across his young face…) And by 1977, you’ll be dead because of your choices. Your choices matter, and they’ll matter to millions of people. People will do what you do.”

As I finished speaking, I thought I got through to him. Then there was a knock at the door. When it opened, a large crowd of people who were up to no good came to get Elvis for a night of “wild living” as the Scripture says. Someone asked him why he would do this after what I just said. He said “I have until 1977.” Then I woke up.

Why do I share this? First because while most of us will never be called the king of anything, we are almost all leaders (especially as creatives), maybe to a small group of people, maybe to a large one, maybe just to one or two other people, but for almost all of us, there are people who will follow us. The choices we make matter, so we need to make good choices.

Secondly, one of the things people lament over is the unknown quantity of life. If we knew when things would happen, we could do things differently. I don’t think it matters. If we knew our “deadline,” I’m not sure it would change very much. Human nature seems to say, “live now, pay later…” It has since the garden. The truth is every one of our choices contributes to the quality of life we will live. Choices matter, so make good ones.

This dream shook me up a bit. It made me take a look at my own life, because while I’m not in a place of debauchery, there are some areas especially in the realm of health, where I could be making better choices. I also knew almost immediately that I had to share it. So my guess is it’s for someone besides me. Is it for you?

Where will your choices lead? or better yet, Who will your choices lead?

Last week, my wife Dawn and I went to a Chris Tomlin concert. It was amazing, to say the least. If Barry Manilow writes the songs that make whole world sing (???) Chris Tomlin writes the songs that make the whole world worship. This is the guy who took the most famous song in the world and made it better (admit it, you can’t sing Amazing Grace without singing “My chains are gone…” either). But this time it wasn’t the show of the music that blew me away. It was the cause.

You see Chris is partnering with an organization called Cure International. These folks I’ve life-changing surgeries to poor children all over the world. The things they do are amazing and they do them in the name of Christ. I’m not ashamed to admit, I began to weep watching the video clips. This is an organization that could use your support. I also have a friend who is a surgeon who files half way around the world each year to do something similar with a different organization, not just doing operations but training Doctors over there to do these same kinds of things. This is the Lord’s work and one more evidence that there is a lot more to ministry than preaching, playing and singing.

What strikes me is this: If a guy like Chris Tomlin with a huge platform can use his gifts to advance a cause, what can we do with ours. Admittedly we don’t have a platform that large but we do have something. How could you let the people who follow you know about something that you’re passionate about? There is a world full of people in need and who knows maybe you have received your gift “for such a time as this?”

How can you use your gift to generate awareness of a desperate need?

To learn more:

Ideas start out in a lot of different ways. In this case the idea started out with a name… Mayhem. I don’t know why it’s mayhem. Maybe because a couple people gave me grief over AMOK, I don’t know. (AMOK by the way stands for Arts Ministry Outreach for the Kingdom, not the murderous rampage some people accused it of being, but I digress…) Usually when I get a name or a title, the first thing I do is create a logo. I’m not sure why this is either, but I think it’s because a logo somehow makes the creation a little more real, at least in my mind. I am a huge fan of ambigrams, words and images that look the same right side up and upside down, and I had already seen Mayhem expressed in this way, so I decided to create my own spin on it. Here’s what I came up with…
I know what you’re ready to ask. What is Mayhem? The truth is, I don’t know yet. My guess is it may be some sort of edgy comic newsletter or anthology, but I’m not sure yet. Is it right for the final project? I have no idea. My first thought is it looks a little dark, so it may not work out. Also if it is a comic type of project, right now I have no time to create it. None of these issues is a factor at this point. What is important is I got an idea and I got it down on paper (okay in this case pixels). The idea now has something tangible to refer back to, when the time is right.

As creatives, our ideas are of huge value, at least when we put them into action. They don’t always come at the most opportune time, but squandering them is a huge mistake. It took me about an hour to put this together and add it to my file. Now it exists as a reminder of what could be a really cool idea.

How do you manage your ideas? An idea is a terrible thing to waste!

I’m in a phase of life right now that is really busy. Some of the things I have to do are great, others not so much. Will I get it all done? Most likely. Will I be stressed out and anxious in the process? Yes. I guess the real question is, is it worth it?

There will always be things in our lives that are thoroughly out of our control but most of the time what we really need is just to gain some control over the things we do actually control. When we overcommit, we are signing up and volunteering for stress.

And don’t tell me you work best under pressure. Recently, I was cutting it way too close on a deadline. So close that I worked an obscene amount of hours to get it done. As a result, the end result is less than flawless, which aggravates me to no end. “I work best under pressure” is nothing less than code for “I procrastinate and then rush something out just under the wire.” Maybe it’s just me but I doubt it, creativity is very rarely enhanced by stress.

As believing creatives, we’re on a mission and part of that mission is to create quality work. Maybe instead of trying to satisfy everyone and impress people by how busy we are by overcommitting, we should scale back and try instead to over deliver–
bringing our best to every project, every time.

Are you busy or fruitful, because it’s really hard to be both.

I was at The Foundry Church in Wallingford, where I serve as artist in residence yesterday. They are using the walls of their worship space as a gallery right now, having just held their first themed show featuring artists from the congregation. The theme was Stained Glass Masquerade. There was a lot of really nicely done art on display. I found this piece mesmerizing.
The piece is constructed of fiber, nails and plywood. The artist created the various tones by varying the amount of wrapping around the nails. I was truly amazed by the piece, and the photo doesn’t really do it justice. The shadows cast by the fiber onto the plywood ground adds even more dimensionality. This is a remarkable piece of art. Then I found out the artist who created it, Samantha Burns, is 15. My jaw just dropped. What a phenomenal talent!

The fact that an artist so young can create such a great piece of work could almost serve to be discouraging. I have serious doubts I could do a piece this good at over three times her age, but that is the wrong response. It’s not about whether or not we can create what someone else can create. Its about creating the things we are called and led to create. What are you doing with your gift? Seeing a young artist with such a great gift should not discourage us but rather encourage us in this.

The time to create is now!

I ministered at the Vision 15 Conference. It was a great day. I got to share two workshops with students and I never cease to be amazed. I started by doing a demo and sharing a few other examples then I left them have a shot at it. I gave them three options: create a testimony piece, create an expression of John 3:16 or create a piece based on their life verse. Then I gave them a chance to share. I was blown away by the response. You know I don’t make a lot of money, and I’m not famous, but I get to do some of the coolest things and meet some really great people.

God is good. Remind me of that the next time I get whiney.

There are times where the future is so bright you’ve got to wear shades… and then there are those other times when the path ahead is as clear as mud. There either seem to be no good options or a billion choices of which precisely none feel right. What do you do in times like that?

You make the one right choice. You choose to trust God and walk out your faith. You choose to do the next right thing and you pray. The Scripture says “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” If you look at it right something becomes clear. We are usually not going to see the big picture, but God will light the path enough to see the next step. After that, it’s all trust.

I can’t speak for you, but I am in this place right now and I could sure use your prayers. Last night, my wife and I went to a Chris Tomlin concert and before we went in, I asked God to speak to me, and I believe He did. I feel like what He spoke is something to keep to myself for now, but I will say this. I have no idea how He will so what He said He will do. There seems to be no earthly way, and I will confess, I wrestled with it a little, and yet, I choose to believe in the One who is far beyond the Earthly way. I cannot wait to see how He pulls this off and I look forward in great anticipation.

He is God. He is good.