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!

onehitterIn our creative lives, there will be creations that will connect and others that don’t. There will be some with mass appeal and others that do nothing more than help us express something that is deep inside is and screaming to get out. Please remember there is good in all of it.

Consider the music business. We all know about the one hit wonders. You know a band that writes one song that connects and then they fade away. In the world of albums, (and I know I am showing my age here) we sometimes see what is called the Sophomore slump. The first album, the debut, connects with the world and all of the sudden the world wants to know what else have you got. So the artist quickly puts out the second album and it’s a critical flop. That’s the sophomore slump and it’s easily understood. The artist had his whole life to create the first one. It’s born out of blood, sweat and tears. The second was created in a few weeks or months to try to meet a demand. It’s a recipe for failure.

But now everyone experiences the Sophomore slump. The ones who don’t are the ones who have built a body of work. They’ve been creating all along. They’ve been bringing their best to their craft day in and day out and when that one piece makes the connection, there is no need to fear, you simply go to all that work you’ve done and select the next pieces to share with the world.

The idea that we do our best work under pressure is usually a lie we tell ourselves when we haven’t done the work. The Sophomore slump is proof of that concept. So keep creating and build that body of work.

cbfDid you ever wonder why you do what you do? You work and work and work and when you are finished your creation gets very little response. You pour your heart and soul into something and people barely seem to notice? It can be aggravating or even discouraging. You might even consider giving up… Don’t do it!

I’ve been in that place, but consider what is happening when we create. With every creation our skills sharpen. Every piece we do makes us a little more polished and brings us a little more growth. Aside from that every piece might be the one that connects with one heart or one mind. As a result every creation has the potential to do some real good in the world. Also every piece allows you to get something that’s inside you out to the world. There is tremendous potential in everything we create, so keep creating and keep putting your work out there. There’s a lot more to this life of creating than we can sometimes see. So keep at it, especially those pieces that you feel are inspired by the Spirit. You simply never know what good will come of anything you create. There’s a verse in the Bible that says “We walk by faith and not by sight.” I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say we also need to create by faith.

While it probably should not be our primary consideration in creation, odds are there will be a pice of work that will be the tipping point of your career. The piece that gets you noticed by people, the piece that connects and draws your audience. First off, if you don’t keep creating, you may not find it, but secondly, when it does happen, that audience will probably wonder what else have you done. All of the sudden, these people will become aware of a vast body of work you created. This may happen, or it may not, but it won’t happen if you don’t keep creating and putting it out there.

Please remember, we creatives have a gift that is meant to be given away. Oh we may sell the original, and hopefully a million copies, but everything we create that goes on display is a blessing to everyone who gets to see it. To all those people, it’s a gift, a free blessing. Art that is withheld never accomplishes that. It may still be of benefit to ourselves, and there are tremendous blessings in self-expression, but the really gift happens when we put our work out for the world to see. So keep creating and putting yourself out there. You never know what good your work will do.

Infamy and Memorability

Posted: December 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

infamyToday is December 7. Today in 1941 the Japanese launched a strike on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. President Roosevelt referred to it as a day that will live in infamy and he was right. 75 years later, people still remember that day because of all the death and destruction. I’ve been to the site and it is both beautiful and eerie simultaneously. The memories of that day are etched in our national psyche forever and while we have bounced back, we will never forget. It’s memorable for all the wrong reasons.

When we look at the choices we have to make each day we are faced with a similar conundrum. Why will people remember what we’ve done? Will we be infamous or memorable and can we be memorable in the face of infamy. I think this should be the goal of every believer, that we would always live to God’s glory and in the face of infamy that we would have a response that people would remember. As I think of this my thoughts go to the Nickel Mines shootings here in PA. In case you missed the story, a man walked into an Amish school in Lancaster County and opened fire killing many children. The Amish responded with grace and forgiveness and the world took notice. May we never have to stand in that kind of tragedy, but how we react to the infamy in the world around us can be a memorable witness to the world around us.

As creatives, how can we respond to infamy in ways that are memorable. How can we live in such a way that people “see our good works and praise our Father in heaven.

Will we be infamous or memorable?

goal222It’s getting to be that time of year when we set our goals for the coming year. I know some of you have been all over this for weeks already, but the rest of us are catching up. The thing with goals is they are kind of like those New Years Resolutions we make that are all broken by the end of the month, if it lasts that long. Why is it that we fail at meeting our goals so often. I think a key is sustainability.

My wife follows a number of fitness people online. The one person said she is frequently asked what diet people should follow. Her answer was telling. She said the diet you should follow is the one you will follow. This is amazingly accurate. The key to setting goals is to challenge yourself to go up a level while considering the time and resources you have available to meet those goals. The best goals to set are the ones you are passionate enough about to complete.

Case in point. I set a goal last year to create a piece of art every day this year. I knew I could get this done, but I also came at it realistically. I knew there would be days when I would not have time to create, and I try to take a day of rest each week, but I also knew there would be many days I would create multiple pieces, so it all balanced out. I have actually already gone well over 365 pieces this year, as my coloring books alone have gone over 400 pages. Also this is a daily blog, but I know there are days when I won’t get it done. (I am about three or four days behind as I write this, sorry.) My reality is, with all the diverse projects that I do, there are days where the time just gets away from me. Of course, there are other days where I get really inspired and write multiple posts. The point is at the end of the year, I will have posted 365 or more posts, the goal keeps me on task.

This year as you set goals, try to set goals you are passionate enough about to complete. Set god goals and follow through, then do all you can to make it happen.

Sometimes as we work in our gifting, it’s important to look at how it began. When did you first discover your love of what it is that you do? Who encouraged you and who helped you become who you are?

For me a couple people come to mind. My Nana, Beatrice Steininger was among the first to ever put a crayon in my hand. I don’t know how old I was, but I am sure I was younger than the package recommended. As I grew, she gave me a multitude of gifts and flea market finds. I remember the oil paint set and the old bed sheets she ripped up to be my first canvasses. I remember her buying me puppets and ventriloquist dummies and tons of model kits. In short, anything else she could do to inspire my creativity. A lot of what I am doing today is due to her near constant encourage.

Another person, was my first pastor, Bill Waugh, who opened the door for me to use my gift in the church. He did this with a simple request. He requested that I paint a backdrop for the skits at Vacation Bible School. That one project opened the door to a lot of the ministry I do today. Of course I never would have met Bill were it not for my wife Dawn, who first invited me to church and who has constantly put up with and encouraged me to the point where I can do ministry for a living.

My parents didn’t always get this strange creative journey I was on, but they supported me and loved me as I figured it out. Of course, I also have to give credit to all the people who trusted me enough to bring me in and allow me to create for their groups. Without them, very few people would know what I do and I would have given up long ago.

There are tons of people who have made this journey possible. Teachers, employers, friends, family, my siblings and my sons and basically anyone who saw my gift and gave me the opportunity to put it to work. Of course before all of that, the gift came from God and He is worthy of any glory I might receive.

Why do I post this? Well first of all in this season of gratitude we need to be grateful. We all started somewhere. Secondly as we remember those who brought us to where we are, our “creative cloud of witnesses” if you will, it is vitally important that we look for the ones we can encourage and inspire. We need to do our best to be inspirational people and sow into the creatives to come after us.

So how about it, who inspired you in the past, who inspires you now, and most importantly, who can you inspire?

ccwThis is a challenge that we will all face at one point or another and it deals with your creative ministry, and yes every creative has one. The goal this week is to seek the Lord for what He would have you do with your gift and then find or create an opportunity to bring that to fruition in the coming year. It may seem like you have over a year to pull this off, but in most cases it takes a lot of groundwork to get done especially if you are going to do what you do in a church setting. Seek God, make the contacts that need to be made, plan it, get on the schedule and do it.

Share what you’ve come up with in the comments or on the AMOKArts Facebook page.

Well I’m eleven months into my a year in art challenge. I just completed posting the month of November. You can see it here. One more month to go. I have so enjoyed this project and I look forward to sharing what I will be doing in 2017.