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!

My son is currently leading art projects once a week at a Boys and Girls Club. It’s a great exercise for him as a future educator. He needs to create something that will excite a group of children and he has to do it on a budget. I had a similar experience when I became the art director for the musicals at a local high school. The project was huge, the budget was small. Learning to work in those parameters is huge, and beneficial far beyond the project itself. So many creatives feel limited when the budget is small, but really a small budget is just a way to make us more creative.

The trick is to dream big, come up with the best thing you can possibly come up with and then figure out how to do it for less. Use less expensive materials, recycled materials, etc. For some projects you can even get people to donate materials. Don’t have the budget or expensive paint, go to your local Lowes or Home Depot and look for the mismixed paints. Also you can do amazing things with those paint samples that you can buy for just a few dollars. The other place this was beneficial was when I started to travel more. Many of the places I go have lower budgets and so the cheaper I can do a project, the more income I have. One of the adjustments I made was to paint on Masonite, rather than canvasses, I can get a whole bunch of paintings for less than the price of a single large canvas and it provide a good strong base for the art. Many of the art stores such as A.C. Moore, Michaels and Hobby Lobby run a weekly coupon for up to 50% off a regular priced item. Use these and stock up. There are also a lot of online suppliers who do discounts for bulk orders. You can also refurbish things, work with throw away items, etc. It all depends on the project but there are a host of things you can do to save and still come up with something great.

You can do a lot of things to fit within the budget. The key is the same as with everything else in life make the absolute best you can of what you have. Don’t see a small budget as a limitation. See it is a way to stretch your creativity. Then go and be amazing!

One of the things that has brought me a lot of joy lately is illustrating adult coloring books. I became enamored with the mandala style, but my images have nothing to do with anything but creating multifaceted fun images to color. For that reason, I call mine Kaleidoscopics. One of the things I love about this style is it’s quite mysterious. While I may have some idea what the final piece will look like, I never know until I assemble the final piece. The reason is simple, I only ever draw an eighth of the image, then mirror it over and over again. the same basic thing that happens in a kaleidoscope, hence the title I love to see the final image. I design these to be highly detailed, challenging and fun. The book is available now through and at many of my speaking appearances.
I hope you like it.

It used to drive me crazy. I would go to my son’s school chorus concerts and I could tell the teacher put a lot of heart and soul into getting a good performance out of the 80 plus students on the stage. Then I would go to his community theater performances and see what seemed to be twice the sound coming out of a dozen people. What was the difference? I maintain it probably has to do with “have to versus want to.” Many of those 80 students in that large school group were there because they wanted a grade or perhaps someone pressured them into joining the group and once they were in they had to be there. The community theater, was completely volunteer, the only real benefits being the satisfaction of a job well done, applause and personal growth. With few exceptions, every person on that stage was their because they wanted to be there and they almost always shined. That’s the power of motivation.

Now please don’t misunderstand me, there are things you and I have to do, and we should bring our best to everything, even the “have to’s” of life, but they rarely hold a candle to our “want to’s.” The key then is to find a way to spend most of life in your “want to’s;” the place where your passions align with your gifts. These are the most satisfying places in life and I would argue the places where you will best excel.

There is one other thing to consider. Passion is contagious. Share it well and you can turn a gifted person’s “have to” into a “want to.” It’s not always easy and it starts with finding another person’s gift and showing them the excitement you bring to what you do. For me, art has always been a “want to.” Speaking by way of comparison was a definite “have to,” for most of the first half of my life I avoided it like the plague. It terrified me.

What changed was pretty simple. I met some folks who were passionate about sharing the Gospel, pastors and believers. They started off by showing me that I could use my “want to” of art to serve the Lord, then they slowly began to nudge me into speaking, a skit here, a lesson there. People connecting with the Gospel became a passion for me, and I began to see that in order to share the Gospel, speaking was a component of that. I began to find ways to speak that worked for me while people gently challenged me and opened doors for me. Today speaking is a passion of mine. This represents a radical life transformation and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Have to’s” can be turned into “want to’s” by passionate people who care enough to bring it out of people and show them the way. It almost always starts with the “want to’s,” with passion and gifting spilling over into other areas of life. When you’re passionate enough to do what it takes, we’ll do almost anything to make it happen. That’s the power of motivation.

worthyTonight I painted at a city-wide revival. I was praying for an image, sort of hoping for something I had never done before, but I keep feeling the leading to paint the lamb of God, so I stepped out in obedience and painted it. For some reason, I kept feeling led to paint the word “worthy” on the top. I rarely ever add words to my paintings but I decided to follow the leading. No sooner did I finish painting the word, which could not be seen from the platform when the person speaking shouted the word “worthy.” My friend Jason, looked over the work each of us artists did and discerned a theme of identity and it was truly amazing how these seemingly completely different pieces of art all really lined up.

When it wa my turn to share, I shared about how when John the Baptist introduced us to Jesus, he said behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I was also reminded of the praises around the throne of God in Revelation, “Worthy is the lamb of God…” I also shared about how I rarely paint words on my pieces but how I felt led to paint the word worthy. I shared that Jesus is worthy, of all our praise. I painted the blood on his forehead with my finger. I always do that these days when I apply the blood to a painting of Jesus in any form. I may paint the rest of the painting with a brush but the blood always goes on with a finger to remind me that I did that. It was my fault His blood was shed, but then He shed His blood “on me” and set me free. I’m not worthy. He did this out of love. He valued me enough to lay down His life for me and because of that, in Him I am made worthy. So many people walk through our world as if they have no value, no worth. It’s simply not true. The Son of God laid down His life for us and because of that we are worthy.

In Christ, you are worthy.

As creatives, “What do you want to do?” is one of the biggest questions we face. Every time a project is put to bed there is a void that needs to be filled as we slip from what’s finished to what’s next. Selecting our projects is really important. After all, we only have so many hours in a day and we want them to be as productive as possible. The last project is done, what do we do next?

The question can be daunting and we need to be careful. It’s easy to let ourselves become overwhelmed with the infinite possibilities, leaving us unable to choose. It’s equally possible for the question to be answered with a blank answering the question with “I have no earthly idea.” “Earthly idea” now there’s the rub. You see, while “What do you want to do?” is a big question. There is a bigger one. “What does God want me to do?” Of course this question can be answered with prayer and God is faithful. Ask and it shall be given.

Now I know what you might be thinking. “Sometimes yes, sometimes no.” No, God is always faithful. You say, but I asked and He hasn’t given me anything. I’m in a dry spell and God seems to be silent. Well there are two possibilities. The first reason the Lord feels silent on what to do next is because He wants you to take a break and rest. Here’s a tip. If you are running yourself ragged 24/7, that isn’t of God. God designed us to need rest. He designed us to depend on Him and not on our own abilities, drives and desires. If your priorities are out of control, God may be putting on the brakes. He’s done this with me (or maybe I should say, “for me”) and He did it because He is good.

Of course there is another possibility. The reason God is not giving you an assignment is because you already have one. He has already given you one, but for one reason or another, you have put it off. Maybe you didn’t want to do it, or maybe you thought it was too huge. Friend, we have to remember God’s will is perfect. The things He lays before us to do are the things that are for our good or for the good of this world that He loves. The projects He lays before us are part of His plan for the universe and He is not likely to let up. On the “too big” front, of course it’s too big for you. That’s precisely the point. We are designed for interdependence one with another. We are designed for community and if that’s the case, many of the projects we get are group projects designed to draw us into relationship and designed to draw others to God. The other reason God gives us things that feel too big is to remind us of our utter dependence on God. Nothing is too big for Him and when we get to the other side of that, we see His faithfulness and He gets the glory. 

So ask God what He would have you do. Ask Him to reveal incomplete assignments and who you need to help you make it so. This much I know, God loves you and He is faithful. He will come through. When we are seeking Him with all of our hearts, “What do you want to do?” will often line up with what God wants you to do and when those two things align…

Look out!

Sometime we need to be careful with fear. Last week something happened that rattled me. It made me question what the Lord was laying on my heart for an event for the future. It made me want to change direction. It made me want to pick something safe and make sure people like me. So I prayed for something different and nothing came. I kept praying and nothing came so I put my trust in God and did what I felt Him leading me to do.

Last night I did the event. I spoke what God laid on my heart and God anointed it, and He empowered me to give it with boldness, confidence and fire and the people received it and when it was finished something happened that I don’t expect to happen, but the affirmation was huge. They stood to their feet and applauded. They weren’t applauding me and they weren’t applauding my painting. They were applauding the Word of God.

I’m not saying that will always happen if you step out in faith. I am saying in the midst of fear, the best thing we can do is serve God and follow His lead. We can’t let fear bind us. It’s like the great old hymn says, Trust and Obey.

God is bigger than our fears. Oh God, use the Word you gave me to do something great and help me to trust you more.

5csLast night I was actually dreaming about writing a post about writing. I alone and decided I better write it down. Unfortunately, I fell back asleep but this is what I remember.

The first step in writing is creativity. Everyone has something to say, people are surrounded by messages. What is going to make your writing stand out from the crowd? How can you rise above the noise? You need to do more than just write words. You need to find a way to make those words connect with my heart, mind or soul. You need to make your work compelling and unavoidable. You need to get creative.

Writing is and always will be primarily about communication. You need to have something to say and someone to say it to. Writing without an audience is called journaling. If you don;t start your page with dear diary, you have to have me (your audience) in mind as you start to create. You can tell me a story. You can bring me joy. You can challenge me. You can even hurt me but what you can’t do is ignore me.

This may not have been the best word for this, but it starts with a C so I used it. When you’re writing, either fiction or nonfiction, if you want to keep me (the reader) engaged, one of the best ways is with a little misdirection. Maybe it’s a plot twist, a unique way of stating the facts, an example that will blow my mind. Don’t make it so confusing that I give up, but give me enough to keep me engaged and wondering what’s next.

The story must have a point and you need to get to the point. A huge word count is not necessary as long as I have all the information you wanted to convey. Have a beginning a middle and an end, say all you need to say and allow me to move forward to act on what I’ve read.

I tremble as I write this, because I know it will cause a typo, but your writing has to be correct. Unless you write colloquially or you write Chick-fil-A billboards, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. crucial. If you don’t, it turns on my internal editor and I start to lose your point. By the way, every reader has an internal editor. Don’t let them lose your story. Have a couple read your work before you publish.

Can you think of any other C’s?