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!

createbetterWell we’ve made it two weeks into what is essentially a seven week project and once again it’s time for a break. There are so many reasons to do this. It allows us to recharge our creative batteries. It allows us to pursue other interests but most importantly it allows us to give attention to what’s really important.

After all, we’re not just creating a better life so that we can live as crazy workaholics, because frankly, that’s not a better life. No we’re creating a better life so we can live a better life. Invest this time in the people you love. Worship your Creator. Do something you truly enjoy. Take the time to relax and unwind. Sure, if you get an earthshaking idea, take a little time to record it, but spend your time in the moment today. Be present with the people you love. Enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going.

In the midst of creating a better life be sure to also live a better life.

createbetterI’ve heard it said a lot of times. Hey, I’ve even said it. “I have a lot to offer.” Well that’s great, but now it’s time to get specific. What are you going to offer to your people? When you post that first landing page, what are you going to offer people? It’s time to start getting specific.

The way to decide this is to look at a couple things. The first thing goes all the way back to the beginning. What is it you want to accomplish? Who is it you want to help? Next, look at your elevator pitch. Note how this quick description of your product shows it’s essence. From there, it’s time to refine and define your product. Your first way to deliver what it is that you do. What will it be? Here are a couple of suggestions.

1. A Webinar: Generate an hour of useful information that will truly help people in the way you want to help them. Search the web for a way to deliver your content, then begin to approach the people on your platform telling them that this will be available on such and such a date and promote it. You may want to do a test run ahead of time to work out the bugs and make sure the technology cooperates. I will share more on this in a future post, as this will likely be a vehicle I will use.

2. A Podcast: Podcasts can be a great vehicle for spreading information and there are several good online vehicles out there for delivering them. Research the ones that will work for you and give it a try. There are a few things to remember about podcasts. First, this ain’t Field of Dreams. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. You’ve got to be building your tribe through social media, blogging, etc. Secondly, consistency is king. If you’re going to podcast, you have got to deliver your content on a consistent basis or your audience will tune out. Listen to a few podcasts, develop your voice and deliver your content.

3. An e-book: E-books are a great way to share information. I’ve written quite a few. They don’t have to be long, they just have to be filled with useful information. You can go as simple as converting a Word document into a pdf and making it available for download, to working with a service that will make it available for e-readers and even print. I like to use because they are connected with Amazon and you can automatically make your books available on Kindle and in print on Amazon for free as well as buy your own books at a deep discount for live appearances. You can see a list of my books and resources here.

Needless to say there are a lot more things you could offer but I hoped you noticed that each one relies on the importance of building your tribe and doing your best to give them vital information.

What I am doing: While I have written several books and have tried my hand at podcasting, Create a Better Life is a brand new venture. I’m basing it on my experiences as a life-long creative, professional creative and my more recent experiences a speaker/blogger (I’ve been working at building that for over 15 years). My first offering for Create a Better Life will be a webinar and a workbook based on these posts as well as expanded information. I will also be making a print version of the book available. In the webinar, I plan on offering some coaching services and a live workshop.

This is one of the things I am working on to Create a Better Life. What are you doing?

createbetterIt’s a travel day today so this will be a short post. I have decided to make a course correction on this project today. Remember I told you, you were going to see all of these too. After much research, I have decided that while I am still planning to do the day-long workshop and elements of that will continue to figure into these posts, the time frame is changing. Before I go live with the workshops, I am going to release several other projects including a workbook based on these posts, and several online classes, webinars and resources.

The reason I share this is to show that along the course of a project it is vital that we continue to study and look for more effective ways to do things. One of the essentials to the type of workshop I am planning is to have resources that will allow people to continue the process. Developing these items first will allow me to have them on hand when I do the first workshop. In addition, these items will allow further testing of the principles, etc. One of the things I have noticed as a creative over the years is it is a lot easier to create something I can do than it is to help someone else apply my ideas to what they do. These earlier developments will allow me to help a lot more people than I can in a live event, get a lot more people interested in attending a live event and help me to build a much better live event.

Do you have any course corrections you need to make on your project? Have you hit any snags that might make you feel like giving up? Do not give up. Make a course correction. Look at the things you can do right now and keep going. There is a way to do your project. Take the next right step and keep going.

That’s one of the ways we create a better life.

createbetterSo far I’ve done everything about practical things to do to bring a project to the world, and we will get back to that tomorrow, but for today I want to explore things we can do (or not do) that will impact the quality of life we actually live. In the quest to live a better life, these cannot be overlooked. Ignore these and you will not have a better life.

1. Make good choices. This one is overarching. It covers all the rest. Basically it involves thinking before you act. How will this choice effect the rest of my life? Will it move me forward or hold me back? Is this choice right or wrong? Will this help or hinder? Will this mess up my reputation or credibility? Asking these questions before we make choices will go miles toward helping you move forward.

2. Learn to say “no.” We are surrounded by countless opportunities to do good things, but not all of those good things move us forward into our life’s mission. Will doing this move me toward my dream or prove to be a distraction? Is this something the person asking truly needs me to do or is someone else better suited to help? Please note: This doesn’t let us off the hook from serving others, especially in an emergency, it’s meant only to help us focus our efforts. Stay on mission!

3. Let it go. The truth is, we all have baggage, wounds and hurts. Dwelling on these things serves to do nothing but keep us stuck and keep us out of a brighter future. Forgiveness is huge. It doesn’t let the offender off the hook so much as it releases you from the offense. Instead of re-experiencing the hurt every time you think of it, you are free to move forward. Seek healing for your wounds (sometimes the best way to do this is to help someone else).

4. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is another thing that holds us back. What if we fail? What if we make a mistake? What if? What if? What if? Fear has taken us off mission from the beginning of time and that needs to stop. Some fears are good and self preserving. I’m writing this next to a fifth story balcony. My fear keeps me from jumping off. That’s good fear. But most fear, and it’s ugly stepsister worry, is imagination misused. The key to overcoming fear and worry deals with retraining your imagination. Instead of asking “What if I fail?,” for example, ask the better question, “What if I succeed?” That could make all the difference.

5. Relationships are huge. Pay attention to them. One of the best aspects of a better life is the people with whom we share the journey. Do not ignore them on your way to your goal. Goals are temporary, people are forever. I spend a few years thinking when I reached my goals I could give my family everything they wanted. What they really wanted was me. This almost cost me everything that truly matters. Wise people learn from their mistakes, but really wise people lear from other people’s mistakes. Learn from mine put your vital relationships first. The other side of this is some relationships are toxic. Love everyone, but be careful who you allow to influence you.

6. Take care of yourself. You only have one body and one life and if you break your body, your goal won’t do you much good. Eat right, exercise and yes you do actually need to sleep.

7. Live by faith. This one is actually my number one and some might argue with it, but there is something bigger than us as individuals and principles that are larger than our goals. There is a greater good to be considered regardless of your view of religion. Live a life of faith, honor and integrity.

8. Enjoy the journey. Creating a better life is not always going to be fun or easy. It’s a lot of hard work, but the trials and struggles are part of the story that we create on the way. You might as well enjoy the ride. Joy is a choice. Make it.

9. Prioritize. Keep what’s most important most important.

10. Really live. St. Irenaeus once said “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” The definition of what it means to be fully alive varies from present person, but you know when you are and when you aren’t. We are trying to create a better life, and a big part of that is being fully alive.

I’m of the belief that the future belongs to those who create it. These ten things will help on that journey. There will be times where you will feel like you’re stuck. It’s usually one of these that will “unstick” us. Create through the stuck points and keep moving forward.

Create a better life.

createbetterAs we go through our process, it will eventually become necessary to make an offer. People usually do this with a landing page. Many people say the purpose of your landing page is to add people to your email list. That is only partially correct. Do we want to have more contacts? Yes! Do we want to build a larger audience? Yes, because we want to help more people. And therein is the crux of the matter. Building a large list is important, but we don’t just build a list to build a list so we can sell more stuff. That’s called advertising and for most people it rings quite hollow. We build a list so we can help more people and so the purpose of our landing page is to add massive value to people’s lives. If you do that, they will want to hear from you, they will want to open your emails, maybe even some day buy what you’re selling.

I didn’t come up with this on my own. Oh I suppose I have always known it, and hopefully you have seen on my various blogs that helping people is first and foremost, but I heard someone say what I was thinking so articulately that it really made me look at what I was doing again. I mentioned the webinar yesterday. It was Donna Partow’s Tell Your Message to the World webinar and it was wonderful. I got an email telling me about a free webinar. I hadn’t heard of Donna before but the topic was of interest to me so I signed up. Yes, that means she has my email and I am on her list but I was interested enough to give her a shot. I was really glad I did. Over the first hour, she gave me so much information for free. I couldn’t believe I was getting all this for free and I was blessed. Yes in the last half hour (it was 90 minutes in all) she shared a “for-sale” program that will cost more than I can afford at the moment. That being said, it looks like a really good program that I may check out at a later point. This webinar was more than an ad, it was a wonderful free gift, and I can’t wait to see what she emails me next. She added value to my life.

Think about that last paragraph because it says something. Someone offered something for nothing more than my email address. I took advantage of their offer and was blessed by it. So blessed that I told my friends how great the person giving the gift is and shared links so my friends could also be blessed. This should be the end effect of everything we do online. In building our landing pages, we should attempt to add as much value as we can to people’s lives. This is what builds trust and allows people to consider your other offers.

My landing page will take more than one day to construct, but in the mean time, I have created a page that will catalog all 48 days of this process as I work through it. You can see that page here. As I have the offer more worked out, I will revisit this page.

One of the keys to creating a better life is helping others to create a better life.

createbetterYesterday, there was an email in my inbox advertising a free webinar for people interested in speaking. I’d not heard of the speaker, but the content in the email looked interesting enough that I signed up. It was of great benefit and it showed me a couple of directional shifts I may want to make in this process going forward. I’ll tell more about this in a later post, but continuing to learn is crucial and the internet is full of opportunities to learn.

Why should you spend your time learning?
1. You only know what you know. You may well be the world’s foremost expert in your chosen field, but do you know how to find your audience and get your information to them? Do you know every aspect necessary to accomplish your mission? If you answered yes to that question, my guess is your scope is too small. There is always something to be gained by learning something new.
2. Seeking out learning helps you connect with other people interested in your field. These people could become colleagues, students or even mentors. You might even make a few friends this way.
3. Continued learning can also help you to become aware of new opportunities to help, learn, earn and grow, maybe even ways to create a better life.

The best part is there are a tremendous amount of learning opportunities on the web for free. The point is you never know what will come of learning, but it is always of benefit so never stop learning.

It will help you to create a better life.

Sunday night I got a real blessing. I started to see rumors on social media that Tim Tebow was going to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. I was overjoyed. You see the Eagles fell out of favor with me years ago when they left Reggie White get away. I became a Packers fan at that point and remain one to this day. With the signing of Tebow, the Eagles are back on my good list. You might be wondering what any of this has to do with the topic of this blog, i.e. creative ministry… Only everything.

You see a friend of mine asked all his youth ministry and pastor followers if they would be using some sort of Tebow story as an illustration in their ministries. It is a great story, stand out college player goes pro, comes off the bench to lead his team to the playoffs, gets released in favor of one of the best of all time, gets bounced around, released, ends up becoming an analyst of the game but doesn’t give up on his dream and returns after two years to the pros. It’s a great story, a story of perseverance, but it’s not the real story.

If I were in the pulpit, I might share a Tim Tebow story but it would not be the NFL story. While I hope and pray God gives him favor and great victories in Philadelphia, that story has not yet been written (Though for his detractors I will point out, he led the Broncos just as far as an already Hall of Fame certified Peyton Manning did in his first year with the team). Here’s the real story. This is a young man, let’s not forget he’s only 27 years old. He’s been an outspoken representative of his faith from the time he hit the national spotlight in college. He’s take heat for that faith and never wavered. Lest we forget we start college as teenagers. But it gets better, through the ups and downs of his pro career, under a microscope, I might add, he stood firm. I mean come on, they call dropping to one knee in prayer “Tebowing.” How many prayer positions are named after you? Just sayin’.

tebowhospitalBeyond that this young man has used his fame and notoriety to do some real good in this world. At 27 he has already built a hospital in the Phillipines through CURE International, for goodness sake, and everyone knows why, because this young man regularly gives glory to God. And that is what all of us can take away. That’s the real story.

Tim Tebow wanted to be an NFL quarterback and even when that dream didn’t seem to be working out, he used what he was given to the glory of God. That is something we can all do. We can all be faithful with we have been given, make the most of every opportunity, wherever we are at, and live to the glory of God.

So Mr. Tebow, welcome to Philadelphia. I hope you do amazing things here on and off the field. To the rest of us, pray for this young man. God has given him a big platform and that sometimes makes us big targets. I can’t wait to see what God will do.