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!

Is it just me or are things getting worse at an alarming rate right now. I was away for two weeks. The first week was a disaster recovery mission trip. The physical work combined with the exhaustion afterwards combined with some really terrible wifi kept me pretty much out of touch with the outside world. Then last week I was having a great time working with adults with special needs at Delta Lake Bible Conference in New York and to be honest, I was just too busy ministering and enjoying these wonderful folks to pay much attention. Coming back to reality almost feels depressing, but there is Jesus so there is hope.

Part of me wants to weigh in on the political situation, but no that’s not the issue. An even bigger part of me wants to talk about how the media seems to be bent on dividing and destroying the nation, as if they will be above and immune to the fall. They won’t, but that’s not the issue either. They’re symptoms of a greater disease. We’re a nation that has turned it’s back on God and all this stuff is the fall out. The answer to our situation is actually pretty simple. And this is where you, Christian Creative, come in.

The Gospel is the Answer.

If humanity could fix our world, surely we would have done it by now. What is wrong with us will take the power of God to fix. So what will we do? I suggest we start off in prayer. I suggest we seek God. I suggest we ask Him how we might honor Him and point people to Him and then I suggest we act on what He shows us. What if we all turned our hearts to God? What if we all cast our cares on the One who cares for us? What if we began to create God-Inspired work designed to draw the hearts of the people back to their God? As for me, I am done worrying about the course of this nation. I am done wringing my hands in frustration and railing about the media and politicians. I serve a higher power, the highest power, and if you’re a Christian, so do you. I know the One who can fix the mess we’re in and I am determined to serve Him faithfully, making the most of every opportunity in these evil days (Ephesians 5:16).

First we pray… Then we act… Create faithfully to the Glory of God.

The Gospel is the Answer…

Image  —  Posted: August 19, 2017 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
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A young friend of mine asked me for prayer for some depression she is struggling with. Of course I did, I’ve been there myself on many occasions. I also wanted to share an observation.

Depression often hits creatives. I believe it is the downside of our creative imaginations. We can see things as they should be and then get depressed when we see how far there is to go. The thing is the depression takes us out of our creativity. We have to be careful not to wallow. The things we see, that better future is possible, but not in our own strength. Our job is faithfulness. Remember Philippians 1:6. He who began a good work in you will carry it through to completion in the day of Christ Jesus. He started, He finishes it, but we get to work in faithfulness along the way. Be of good cheer. In this world you will have trouble but take heart, Jesus has overcome the world.

One final note. Depression can be medical. If you struggle with excessive depression, please seek medical attention. There is nothing wrong with getting help.

This is one of the longest times I have been away from posting in recent years on this blog. The reason for this is really simple. I have been immensely busy. I spent the previous week in South Carolina building a house for someone who lost their home in a flood. The result of this was being away from most media, this allowed me to miss what happened in Charlottesville. I didn’t even know anything happened until Monday morning. As usual this kind of violence breaks my heart as does the division behind it. What breaks my heart even more are some of the responses I’ve seen in social media. There is more at play here than what we’re seeing, but there are forces that are at work to expand the division between people and many seem to be willing pawns to continue the divide. Jesus and Abraham Lincoln both spoke on a house divided, and neither of them foretold a favorable outcome.

Now this week I am in New York, doing a camp for adults with special needs. It is so refreshing. There is a lot that could be learned from these folks. While they are very vulnerable, they are also very loving. They are kind and compassionate and they embrace one another. If one of them is sad or hurt, it is almost guaranteed that several will come to that person and try to help. I often have wished the rest of society could be this way.

Guys, we had better learn to love one another, because if we don’t a big ugly is coming and it will take us all down together, regardless of what side of any issue you fall on. The problem is simple, we’re all easily deceived. We keep acting like the enemy is the person across the aisle. The real enemy likes this and wants it to continue. Remember these words of the Apostle Paul:

Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ultimately what is really happening in this nation is a power grab by the enemy of our souls. Oh he has willing minions who will do his dirty work in exchange for some temporary power, but they’re the symptom, not the disease. If we fail to see this, we become pawns in a game we cannot win. This battle will be won in prayer and in an obedience to the Gospel, specifically the great commission. I am fully aware that many deceived people have done heinous things in the name of Christ, but true followers of Christ, who love like Jesus and serve others in His name are the ones who will see ultimate victory. If you want to change the world, you need to change the people, and the only One who can change the people is Jesus. Put down your protest sign, your weapon or your pithy argument and take up your cross. Knowledge puffs up. Love builds up. Hate can only be defeated by love. Spread the Gospel and watch what God will do.

It’s not too late, but the time is now.

My friend Kaleigh posted this to Facebook the other day and I loved so I reworked it. Take it to heart.

A $14.99 piece of carved wood inspired an adventure into the Unknown. Fresh parables from God are found everywhere! Elizabeth Barrett Browning opened my eyes with this reminder:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;

Candice Olson, host of a TV program that tackles challenging home design dilemmas, was a co-contributor to the inspiration. On one of her recent episodes, she purchased a chair for the family room she was designing. It was called the Smoke Chair. I call it the Charred Chair. The classic wood carved chair had been torched to create a cracked patina of burnt wood. It was beautiful!

So a few weeks ago, standing in the aisle of HomeGoods, I looked at a glossy-varnished wood heart and my spiritual eyes saw it transformed into a heavily-textured charred parable.

I love to redesign found objects and provide worship participants context in which to create altered worshipart. This process slows down time, and like Jesus’ writing in the sand of the temple, it provides that unmeasured moment when the natural barriers between heaven and earth become very thin. And God, in that suspended space, speaks the Truth to us individually, like the words that healed the prostitute’s abused heart and the words that penetrated the conscience of each of her accusers.

Isaiah prophesied that the Spirit of God would heal the broken hearted and, as the Message puts it, “give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes.” What a promise of restoration. What a beautiful picture!

We explored the parable of Beauty from Ashes over several worship gatherings. The first weekend, using a plumber’s torch with MAPP gas, we scorched the wood heart. Then, using coffee filters, florist wire and watercolor paints we created a magnificent bouquet of roses to “bloom” from the charred heart.

Everyone shared in reading the Story of the freed captive, the prostitute who stood on the sacred sand in the midst of her accusers. Tradition suggests that it was this same woman who came into the midst of quite possibly the same group of accusers, when she crashed Simon’s party. What a daring risk she took as she poured out her praise, her oil of joy, anointing her Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

I have experienced that when you provide the time and opportunity for the creative work of the people, texturized liturgy, God’s Story is revealed in real-time. It takes your breath away, the air is so thin. It makes curated worship beautiful.

We always provide an opportunity for interpersonal interaction, some might call it an icebreaker; I think of it more as a heart softener. For the second weekend of our Beauty from Ashes, I placed a generous stack of Table Topic™ cards on each table. These cards are a great conversation starter with some provocative questions. Active participation promotes community and lowers barriers, authentic participation thins the air.

Chris was the second person to read his card out loud. I was so proud of him! He read the card all by himself and didn’t need any help sounding out the words. He started attending our group when he was 5 years old and was very timid. Now, at age 7, he is eager to be involved with everything we do. His card asked this question, “If you could do anything without risk of injury, what would you do?”

He pondered the question on his card. I suggested that he think about it and offered the same question to Jack. Jack is in his mid 20’s and is an extreme sportsman. He rock climbs, backpacks mountains in the middle of ice storms and has conquered Central America in his four-wheeling truck-beast. He is angry with God, but regularly attends our gathering. His engagement to the love-of-his-life didn’t happen. The ring was refused. He was rejected. It’s been almost a year. He is a bitter man. Usually he is sullen and slouches low in a chair at the back of the gathering room. I don’t know why I offered for Jack to answer the question while Chris considered his response. Maybe it was because I thought that it was a “safe” question, an easy question for our adventurous explorer. Void of vulnerability.

“If you could do anything without risk of injury, what would you do?”

Jack turned his eyes away and looked down at the floor. Then, in a very soft voice, Jack responded, “I would open my heart.”

God speaks. God moves. God is beautiful.
we respond. we create. we worship. Michael Card

Well the adventure begins today. I head out for a week of disaster recovery work in South Carolina with some members of my congregation today. I’ll be coming back to the area next Saturday and on Sunday after preaching at my church in the morning, I’ll be heading North to Rome, NY to minister at Delta Lake Bible Conference in their Haven Camp program for adults with special needs. It should be a great two weeks of ministry. About the only thing is, I will miss my family a lot over that time. It’s a long time to be away. Please keep this ministry and my family in your prayers during this time. Posts may be few and far between for the next few days. What a great time to scan the archives. I have almost 2800 posts on here. Check them out.
God bless,