The church needs creativity now more than ever.

Each day people are bombarded by hundreds of messages…
but one is most important. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We in the church have been entrusted with taking that message to the ends of the earth. How do we stand out among the noise and get their attention? The good news is God has gifted people with gifts and talents designed to do just that. Some of them are in our churches and some are beyond our walls.

My name is Dave Weiss. I’m an artist, a pastor and a speaker, but it wasn’t always that way. Oh I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember, but I’m in the ministry today because of two things. Someone cared enough to introduce me to Jesus Christ, and a pastor found my gift of art as showed me how I could use my gift to serve the Lord. That was transformational.

My passion is to help people find and use their gifts to serve the Lord both in the church and in the market place and to help the church to embrace Creativity. I do workshops, Gospel presentations and more to creatively encourage and build up the Body of Christ. I’d love to work with you and your church. Contact me today!

The Blog starts below!

Late Night Ideas…

Posted: September 21, 2021 in Uncategorized

Some days I lament it, but I often get my best ideas in the middle of the night. As a person blessed with a flexible schedule, I’m usually okay with that. for example as I write this, I just finished a major project, it is almost four a.m. I’m grateful that I went to bed early last night and I am about to go back to bed for a few hours. I went to bed thinking about this project, and woke up realizing exactly how the elements should come together. When the idea would no longer let me sleep, I got up and started writing. Now there are a few things to be considered.

First, I know that my flexible schedule is unique and not everyone can do this. I also know that idea induced insomnia is very real for creative people. If you don’t have a flexible schedule, I recommend having a way to quickly capture your idea so you can get it down and go back to sleep.

Second, if you are someone who gets late night inspiration, get yourself to bed earlier, so at least you have a few hours sleep under your belt when inspiration strikes. Your body needs rest. Some creatives (including myself back in the day) seem to take a great deal of pride in their ability to go without sleep. Remember what the Bible says, pride comes before a fall. Take care of your body and give it the rest it needs.

Third, I am under no illusion that when I am this tired that my work will be flawless. When I wake up, I will revisit my work and likely end up editing it quite a bit.

In all honesty, the amount and quality of the late night ideas I get is such that I tend to believe the Lord is involved in what is happening here. As such I take these ideas very seriously and want to make sure I record them if at all possible, but once again I remind us all that our bodies need rest. Remember the Lord instituted Sabbath in the Old Testament and enforced it with a death penalty, probably because He knew if He didn’t we would work ourselves to death. People who say they work best under pressure are likely just trying to excuse their own procrastination. The best way to do what we do is to bring our best to the project every day, and getting the rest we need. I thank God for our late night sessions, but I also realize He prescribes rest for us as well. And with that, I am going to bed.

The Parable of the Acorns

Posted: September 20, 2021 in Uncategorized

The other day when I was out on my prayer walk, I saw all these acorns laying on the road. I had just read Jesus’ Parable of the Sower and before I know it, this whole story came together on my mind. I came back, wrote it down and spent a couple of days worth of spare time illustrating it and animating it. This is a parable about the church and our part in it as believers. It’s a simple story to help explain something more complicated. I pray it blesses you.

This Week’s Message

Posted: September 19, 2021 in Uncategorized

This week’s message is the second part of Jesus’ instructions for His disciples, and mind you, we are the disciples.

Somehow I Missed a Day…

Posted: September 18, 2021 in Uncategorized

I was going through my posting schedule and discovered I missed a day. This is not at all unlikely as I have been quite busy and to be honest more than a few of my deadlines are self-imposed. I took on a major art project last week, a partially animated video called The Parable of the Acorn, and it was quite time consuming. As a result one of my posts fell through the cracks, and at this point I have a choice. I could let it go, or I could create a post and continue to meet my goal. The fact that you are reading this, shows the choice I made. Please understand this is not just a filler for me, I want it to have value, so how about we talk about the value of meeting goals.

I set a goal of posting every day this year. Now there were times where I missed that goal. My work load increased dramatically since the onset of COVID and I have been working hard to keep up. Most everything I do involves an element of creativity and I am grateful to the Lord that He has faithfully provided for me. In spite of the fact that I am working a lot, and generating a lot of content, He has kept me going and deserves all the glory.

Part of the reason I set the goal of posting every day was the fact that I had neglected this blog for quite some time in the early days of COVID and my readership fell off pretty dramatically. I knew I wanted to try to provide more content for my readers and frankly I wanted to see if I could produce something of value every day or if I might be losing my passion for what I do. I am grateful to say that is not the case.

That being said, there is something to be said for sustainability. I seriously doubt that I will continue to post daily in the coming year. Instead I believe I will set a more sustainable schedule (probably three days a week) and perhaps create another vehicle such as a newsletter or podcast to expand the reach of my content. At the end of the day, my goal is not to be a daily content producer for the sake of producing content. My goal is to help artists embrace the church and to help the church embrace artists. I’m not all about numbers or anything like that, but at the end of the day numbers are people, and I want to help as many people as possible. Part of setting goals is to focus on what your actual goal is.

Because my goal in this season was to see if I still had the passion for what I am doing and to make sure I could come up with viable things to say, meeting my goal of posting daily is important, so I will continue and when I miss a day I will try to create content to fill that space, but doing this work is also showing me that there is a new goal to be met.

Stay tuned.

This is what we tell our kids, right? We tell them this so they’ll try harder to reach their goals, and there is some truth to the statement. There is also some falsehood to it. Here is the truth, we can do anything we have been gifted by God to do, and we can do more than that, if God desires for us to be able to do it. Let’s face it God has empowered people throughout history to do things that there is no way they could have done on their own. God has empowered many people to do miraculous things. However, by and large, in the natural world of every day life, we can’t do anything and everything. Try as I might, as an older man, (57) who is only 5’10 inches tall and somewhat overweight, I will never be able to dunk over Lebron James. Even if I could somehow train my body to where I could get above the rim enough to get the ball through the hoop, doing that while an NBA legend tries to stop me still exceeds the realm of normal possibility. I could put my mind to it, but the injuries, not to mention the out and out futility of it all makes me realize, putting my mind to that is a wasted effort. Now I know one might argue that if God wanted it to happen He could make it happen, and I do agree with that, but I don’t think I’m going to prepare for that eventuality, rather I will trust God for the miraculous and work toward something that is more likely to be God’s will for me.

What we should be doing instead of telling kids they can do anything they put their mind to, is to help them find their God-given gifts and talents and help them to work toward being what they are designed to be. That way rather than the frustration of trying to be something that is outside the will of God for them, they can find their divine purpose and move into being what they were created to be. The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when He is old and He will not depart from it.” I do believe this applies to their spiritual walk, but I have also heard this verse can also be interpreted, “Train up a child in the way He is bent…” i.e., gifted. So let’s help people find their God given gifts and talents and show them how to put them to use. After all, if God has wired us to be good at something it only stands to reason that we will actually be good at it and if we are good at it, there is a better chance that we will find joy in it. Instead of telling people they can do whatever they put their mind to, let’s tell them their most complete life will be found in living out God’s purpose, by developing the way God has gifted them.

Do Churches Need Uniforms?

Posted: September 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

Okay I’m being a little facetious here, but work with me for a second. I’ve seen this gag on several sitcoms over the years. A kid with little interest in sports ends up on a team. The kid is often an arts kid, and to show his or her ineptitude toward sports, they refer to their team uniform as a costume. Everyone gets a good laugh and everyone understands the joke—well everyone except a few of the artists, but I press on. I started to think about this this morning for some reason and another thought came to mind. Do churches need uniforms?

Keep working with me. We know the above gag, and most of us know why it’s funny, but what’s the difference between a costume and a uniform. The answer is found in the name, where a costume allows the wearer to assume a different identity, uniforms are just that, uniform—as in to be the same. One could argue you will find people dressed as Christians who are really just playing a role, but that’s not where I am going today. Think about a sports team, let’s go with football. The place kicker and the defensive lineman all wear the same uniform. There may be some different equipment depending on the role and of course the size is likely pretty different, but the markings are all the same. You take one look at a player on the field and you know who they belong to. There is a certain uniformity to it all.

In churches, diversity is a wonderful thing, as a matter of fact it is biblical and by design. We are called the body of Christ, and as a body there are many parts and many different functions. As a matter of fact the idea of being referred to as members is an allusion to that body metaphor. We come together (brought together by God, by the way) with different skills, talents, abilities, backgrounds, experiences, etc., yet we come together as one to accomplish God’s Kingdom purposes. We have many different roles but at the end of the day we are one. 

One could argue that we are a cast of characters, but I would maintain we are more like a team, and while we have a diversity of functions we are all supposed to be pulling on the same direction headed toward the same goals. Again, we’re a team. And that is how we should function. I was being facetious about the uniform idea, but wouldn’t it be cool if people would be able to look at how we live, and especially how we function together and know we are on “Team Jesus.” 

This leads to another thought. There are some sects of Christianity that do have a sort of worn uniform. They have styles of dress that signify they are Christians—clerical collars, plain dress, prayer coverings, nun’s habits and more. I’m struck by the fact that these allow others to identify these people as Christian. The world associates these “uniforms” with Christianity, which leads to my point, if you’re going to wear the uniform, you better be in the game. Wearing something that identifies you as Christian means you are representing the whole body of Christ, be sure to represent Him well, because if you don’t, the message spreads. 

One last thing. Christians do have a uniform. It’s not outwardly visible like a worn uniform, but it should be visible. Jesus said you people will know we belong to Him by the way we love one another, so in a way our uniform as Christians is love. As a Christian, unless you’re in a play you don’t need a costume, but maybe it’s time we put on the uniform of love, because love should be a uniform quality of all who belong to Christ. 

Go Team Jesus!

Random or Design

Posted: September 15, 2021 in Uncategorized

I hate the theory of Darwinian evolution. There was a time when I believed it was science, but now I see it as just a theory, a flawed and failed theory. You can write me off now, or you can stick with me and see where I am going. Ask me if I believe in evolution, and I will tell you yes. I believe in microevolution, I believe things are designed to adapt to their environments, but notice I attributed that to design, and if there is a design, there is a Designer. Macroevolution on the other hand, the idea that species become other species over time is something I have a hard time abiding. I somewhat facetiously ask the question if humans came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys. Why is it that most interspecies breeding does not work and even if it does, the resulting offspring is almost always sterile, a hybrid? As an example, you don’t get a mule by breeding two mules, you will only ever get a mule by breeding a horse and a donkey. Now I haven’t done a deep dive into the science of this, so let’s move on, because the reason I hate Darwinian evolution have very little to do with the science. 

No the reason I hate Darwinian evolution, is because it removes design. Everything is accidental and coincidental, and I am not convinced that is a good thing. Tell people that there is a purpose to their existence, and you end up with a person who has hope for a better future, and a willingness to work toward it. Tell people we are nothing but a bunch of over glorified naked apes and all bets are off. If we are here accidental than the best thing we can do is to try to dominate as many as possible, and Darwin’s theory encourages that too, in my opinion. There are three groups of people that if you do them harm, you are widely viewed as the scum of the earth, these are the young, the old and the infirmed. In the animal kingdom those groups have another name—lunch. You see Darwin taught survival of the fittest, but in our society something better is at play. “Whatever you’ve done for the least of these… you’ve done for me.” Jesus said that and with it survival of the fittest just went right out the window. Answer me this, if we truly believe in survival of the fittest, why do we bother with protecting endangered species? The answer is because we admire benevolence and we admire benevolence because we have something better in us, by design. 

Survival of the fittest says, “If you have something I want, and I am bigger than you, I can take it.” That’s not how we live, we live by a code of morals and laws and we do this because we have a better nature within us, and I believe that better nature was put in us by design, and again if there is a design, there is a Designer and if there is a creation, then there is a Creator. And if we are designed and created, by a being that hardwired us for benevolence, than it’s highly likely that the Creator must be benevolent as well. And if that is the case, then we are created to do good in our world. We are not here by chance, we are here on purpose, created on purpose and there is a purpose for our existence and that is a much more hopeful existence than the idea that we are all accidental.    

There is a Designer. There is a Creator and your life has a purpose. None of this is accidental. You are loved by your Creator. We call Him God. Get to know Him. It’s not all random. You are here by design. Live on purpose. 

It’s not about us. 

When we create for the Lord, it is at least in part an act of worship. Musician Michael Card in his book Scribbling In the Sand, quotes a man named Bill Lane who once said, “True Worship is a response to hearing God’s Word.” Card goes on to speak about creativity, by saying “Creativity is worship insofar as it is, at its essence, a response. I hear the word and I respond with music, with silence in adoration.” I could not agree with this sentiment more and as artists and creatives in the church, we need to realize that we create in response to our Creator. We see His goodness and it makes us want to create things of beauty and things that will help others to connect to our Creator, as if we were literally (pardon the slight pun) drawing people into worship. Our creations are not objects of worship, they are acts of worship and there is a huge difference. 

Keeping our attitudes in check is very important as we seek to serve the Lord with our creativity.  Michael Card in the same book, speaks to the accusing voices he sometimes faces as he seeks to create. He writes, “One of the most irritating accusations the voiceI mentioned before can whisper is, ‘Do you think you’re some kind of celebrity?’ By definition a celebrity is someone we celebrate. I looked it up. Just above the listing for celebrity, I saw another word, celebrant. A celebrant is described as someone who officiates at the eucharist. A celeb rant is focused on Jesus and His sacrifice. Interesting contrast.” 

From this Card concludes, “Today I choose to be a celebrant. By God’s enabling grace I will hold up Jesus before the world and not hold myself up.I will seek to respond to His extravagant love by any and all means possible.I will strive to create art that will communicate to the world, and most especially to Him, how much I love and long for His presence.” The work we create then, is all about Him to be used to His glory and not to ours. If we handle this properly, we will lose a lot of the ego driven struggles many in the arts face. It’s not about us and it’s not really about our art. Our art is an act of worship, pointing others to the object of our worship, the Lord Jesus Christ.  

What Is a Disciple?

Posted: September 13, 2021 in Uncategorized

When you think of a disciple, you probably think

Of a biblical hero who never would shrink,

From testing or trouble or any trial.

But if you think they were perfect, you’re off by a mile

You probably think of twelve men living so long ago.

But it’s more than that as you probably should know.

A disciple is a student whose studies complete

As he sits and he learns at his master’s feet. 

Some rabbis chose the brightest right from the start,

But man looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart. 

There are many qualities that make a disciple

Disciples believe and follow the Bible.

A disciple is kind to a sister or brother

A disciple is known by how they love one another. 

Disciples should be honest, faithful and wise,

And they see other people with love in their eyes. 

Disciples live with a hope and faith that is rare.

Disciples believe in the power of prayer. 

Disciples follow Jesus as they travel this sod.

Disciples try to live to glorify God. 

What most of the world values, disciples see as loss.

Compared to knowing Jesus and His death on the cross. 

Disciples show the world God’s love and His plan

And spread the good news that God came as a man. 

He loved and He taught and perfectly lived

And laid down His life, our sins to forgive. 

He died, rose again and ascended to heaven.

Through faith in Him we can all be forgiven.

They love and appreciate their Lord’s sacrifice.

They’re fully devoted followers of Christ. 

Peter James and John were disciples it’s true,

But if you are in Christ, a disciple is you. 

In this week’s passage (Matthew 10:1-23) Jesus was sending the disciples out for the first time without Him. This is the day the disciples became Apostles. The passage applies to us because all followers of Christ are disciples and all are called to go out into the world communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, this message is for you. Let’s listen to what Jesus has to say to us.