Archive for June, 2015

picturesofJesuscoverI love what I get to do. My speaking/painting ministry is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done, at least as far as my “work life” is concerned (birth of my kids, wedding day, my salvation and a lot of other family type of things are still ranking higher, but this is pretty great!) Of all the things I do in my speaking/painting ministry, my favorite thing to do is present Pictures of Jesus. In it I do five live paintings combined with storytelling, video, I even act a little. It has just been great, but there has always been a problem. Someone will always come up to me after the presentation and say, “I wish (so and so) would have seen it.” I finally decided to fix that by writing it as a book.

For the next three days, the Kindle version of the book is FREE at Amazon. Click here to download it. Here’s how you can help.

1. Download the book.
2. Share the link with other people who will download the book.
3. Share the book with people who need to see this book.
4. If you like it, take a minute and review it on Amazon.

Why is your help so urgent? This book contains some great stories, but more than that, it contains a strong, clear presentation of the Gospel. I put it up for free, because I want as many people as possible to download it. This will propel it up the ratings on Amazon which will get it highlighted at several places on the site, which more people will see it, which will, Lord willing, get more people to read it and share it, which will hopefully get the Gospel to more people, which has always been my ultimate goal.

My prayer is that God will use this book to introduce people to Jesus and help those of us who already know Him to follow Him more closely and represent Him better to the world around us.

Please, Please, Please download read and share this book. It’s a quick read, and quite short only 50 pages, but I believe it will help a lot of people. There is also a print version available. It is full color, which is quite a bit more expensive, but color printing is expensive.

I had to take a moment to mention the passing of one of the great bassists in rock music, Chris Squire of Yes. Back in the day, I had visions of being a rock and roll bass player, and when I first heard Chris Squire play, my mind was blown. He passed away from Leukemia Sunday. This guy is one of a handful of musicians who reinvented his instrument and took it way beyond what was intended. Check out this amazing solo.

I’m not exactly sure what to call this post. To be honest, I’m not sure of much these days, but that God is still God, that God is still good and that Jesus is still Lord. We live in a world where discourse has been reduced to memes on social media. If it can’t be said in 140 characters or less, it won’t be heard. Disagreement is now hatred and tolerance, something that used to mean we could disagree, maybe even vehemently, and still respect and maybe even love each other, has been reduced to forced agreement with the status quo. Meanwhile I’ve seen Hitler mentioned on many occasions as an example of a Christian. For the record, no one who killed 11,000,000 million people is a Christian, period. This much is clear, we Christians have fallen out of favor. How should we react?

Well first of all, none of this should surprise us. Jesus told us people would hate us because of Him. Now if they hate you because you’re being a jerk, that’s on you, but if they hate you because of Him, that’s something different altogether. He went a step further in John 16 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” He’s been right about everything else, chances are He’s right about this, too.

The church will not always be a help to us either. Scripture reminds us “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3) A word of caution here, we can’t throw this verse at everyone who disagrees with us. Instead we must do what we have always been supposed to do, compare what we hear from pulpits and preachers (and the media, and the government, and everyone else) with the Word of God and live according to what the Word says.

So what do we do? We do what we’ve been called to do all along. We love others. We love everybody, even those who disagree with us, even those who may persecute us (and by the way, negative memes are not persecution). We pray for our leaders. We speak the truth in love. We help and bless and care and serve. We “Live such good lives among the [world] that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” Being reproached is no excuse to live anything but above reproach. We love because He first loved us. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us, regardless of what they actually do unto us. We follow Jesus, regardless.

Nothing has changed. Jesus is still Jesus. He will never steer you wrong. Everyone else… Well, not (always) so much.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you may remember that I got my call to ministry at a Promise Keepers Event called Stand in the Gap… It’s been nearly 20 years since that day in 1997 and I am thinking we may need to revisit it. See if any of this sounds familiar. From Ezekiel 22, my devotional reading this morning…

26-29 “‘Your priests violated my law and desecrated my holy things. They can’t tell the difference between sacred and secular. They tell people there’s no difference between right and wrong. They’re contemptuous of my holy Sabbaths, profaning me by trying to pull me down to their level. Your politicians are like wolves prowling and killing and rapaciously taking whatever they want. Your preachers cover up for the politicians by pretending to have received visions and special revelations. They say, “This is what God, the Master, says . . .” when God hasn’t said so much as one word. Extortion is rife, robbery is epidemic, the poor and needy are abused, outsiders are kicked around at will, with no access to justice.’

30-31 “I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one. So I’ll empty out my wrath on them, burn them to a crisp with my hot anger, serve them with the consequences of all they’ve done. Decree of God, the Master.”

Who will stand in the gap? Maybe it’s time for our art to get prophetic. Not in the wildly symbolic sense, because while that’s great and I love it, a lot of people don’t get it and so they make it mean what they want it to mean. No, I’m talking more blatant, in your face, straighten up and fly right art, that challenges people to holiness and righteousness.

Who will stand in the gap?

Almost all of us fingerprinted when we were kids. Iris Scott takes it to a new level and reminds us once again, Picasso was right, “All Children are artists, the problem is to remain one as one grows up.

Here, Iris explains how she got started.

Hi everyone,
I know my posts have been a little more sporadic of late but I have to tell you, I have really been excited about some of the things that are coming out.

A Night AMOK: Pix of JCFirst up, I just finished writing something I have wanted to do for a very long time. It is the book version of Pictures of Jesus. So many people have come to my presentations and said, “I wish so and so could have seen this.” I decided to create this book as a way to keep the message moving. When it’s finished it will contain full color photos. I’m hoping to release within a week or two because I really want to begin taking this book with me on my presentations.

kickerslogoCreativity Kickers is also nearing completion. This has been a pet project for a while. It’s got over 500 creativity kick starters. I’ve been wrestling with how to release it. It’s something of a card file, but there was no affordable way to release it, so eventually I settled on putting it out as a book that can be cut apart into the cards, downloaded as a pdf and printed on card stock or just kept in tact as a book. The idea is to use these cards as prompts on days when you feel blocked creatively.

createbetterFinally, Create a Better Life. Yes, I know I have been breaking a lot of my ow rules on this one. I am way past deadline, but those are the dangers of creating a project live online. I have run into a couple snags setting up the webinar. I recently signed up for a course to help me move this project along. Sometimes one simply has to admit they don’t quite know what they’re doing and get some help. I am sorry for the delay but I do want it to be the best resource I can possibly generate. Of course the other side of this delay has been a really good thing. The bookings are rolling in for speaking engagements for AMOKArts. I will be out at least 11 times in July and I’ve already logged eight for August. This made projects like the Pictures of Jesus book a greater priority.

I really hope these projects bless you and I look forward to seeing you on the road.

I’ve been reading Book Launch: How to Write, Market & Publish Your First Bestseller in Three Months or Less AND Use it to Start and Grow a Six Figure Business

and the author, Chandler Bolt, has a motto that I am quickly adopting as one of my own. He says:

Done is better than perfect.

It’s very true. Perfectionism is something of a disease for creatives. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about putting out sloppy garbage work. I am merely saying that we can perfect our work to death, and or use our perfectionism as an excuse to keep our creations from a waiting world. Remember your work is a gift. You need to get it our there.

Yes I am fully aware that I am a bit hypocritical on this seeing as how Create a Better Life is languishing on the back burner. In truth, several other projects had to move to the front burner, and I am currently signed up for a course on building webinars that will help me to release it soon.

My name is David. Now I would love to tell you that it’s because my father took one look at me on the day I was born and was so overwhelmed with love, that he knew he needed to give me a name that expressed the full extent of that love. So he named me David, because it means beloved in Hebrew.

I would love to tell you that, but I can’t, because it’s not true.

Then I’d love to tell you, that wen I was born, mom took one look at me, saw amazing potential and decided to name me after the mighty, warrior, poet, artist, prophet, biblical king David.

But I can’t tell you that either, because it’s not true.

No, the reason my name is David is much simpler. My father’s name is David and his father before him, my grandpa, was also David. I’m told that when my grandfather heard my mother was going to bear him his first grand child, that he proclaimed my name would be David. I’m told he told so many people, so many times, that my poor grandma, who had long since grown tired of hearing said proclamation, on the day I was born, received the call, got off the phone and told my grandpa my parents named me Jeffrey.

I’m told that did not go over well.

I usually use that story as a lead in for telling about our heavenly Father’s insistence that His Son be named Jesus, but not today.

You see, yesterday was Father’s Day and I celebrated the day at of all things, a baby shower. I know that sounds a bit strange, but I could not have been more thrilled. You see the baby shower was for my first grandchild, to be born next month. Medical technology has advanced quite a bit in the 51 years that I have walked on this planet. I already know that this child, my first grandchild, is in fact, male, a grandson. I also know that his name will be David. For the first time in my life, I totally understand what my grandpa was going through.

Now to be clear, there are many David’s in this equation, so the child is not only being named for me, but for his great grandfather, great great grandfather. His other grandfather and his uncle also have the middle name David as well as his father’s best friend. Nonetheless, I am overjoyed and once again, I have something to live up to. Living in such a was that I make my little grandson’s name, David Weiss, something he can be proud to have.

How much more should we all live to give glory to the one in whose image we are all created?

In my devotional time right now I am reading what many people call the major prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. These men ministered to the nations of Israel and Judah at one of the most difficult times in their early history, a time when God’s judgement was coming against them. The nation was headed into exile and Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were called upon to call the nation of Israel to repentance with warnings and proclamations. They were scary times, but there was something else that really stood out to me.

God called upon these men, especially Jeremiah and Ezekiel, to make art and to live out object lessons, physical illustrations of things to come. Check out this short passage from Ezekiel 4.

“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2 Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. 3 Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.

ezekiel-lying4 “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5 I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.

6 “After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7 Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8 I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.

This a form of art, maybe it could be called performance art, but art nonetheless. God is giving a picture in a place where words alone appear to be failing. God is giving a visual image, to try to get through to the people before their impending judgment. This has been really hitting me lately. I have sensed for quite some time that God is on the move in the arts and I wonder if this is part of that move, to speak to a world that has gone dangerously astray and seems to delight in seeing how much farther we can fall in this “generation that calls evil good.” Could it be that part of our call is to call the nations back to God before it’s to late. Could it be more than just making works of beauty? Could God be calling the artists to call the world back to Him and maybe to call out words of warning of what will happen if we don’t?

neilpeartI know I’ve written about him many times before, but as he embarks on what may be his final tour, I wanted to share a few things about Rush drummer Neil Peart. Ostensibly the greatest rock drummer of all time, he was once on a very different trajectory. Serving as parts manager at his father’s International Harvester dealership, the opportunity to audition for Rush came up. I recently watched an interview where Neil’s dad realized that if his son didn’t try, he would always wonder what might have been and gave his son his blessing, saying there will always be a parts manager position for you if it doesn’t work out. The rest as they say is history.

I wonder if we would be that charitable. For most parents, the idea of their children working in the arts is a pipe dream to be discouraged and I’ll be the first to admit it, the odds are stacked against us. Yet for those who work and persevere, the outcomes can be fantastic. We may never be regarded as the best there has ever been, but a living can be made in the arts and for some of us, this is what we were born and created to do. Maybe we’d be better off giving permission to try, especially if the person you’re giving permission to try is yourself. Hone your talents and audition, submit your work. The worst that can happen is people will say no (Neil Peart’s bandmates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson almost did. Seeing his shorter hair, questioned whether he would be “cool enough” for the band. That would have been a huge mistake.) and even that does not have to be the end. Self-publish your work, find your audience and see what happens.

I believe we were all created to create. The possibilities are endless and too many artists have been sacrificed on the altar of practicality. I’m not saying be irresponsible and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do what it takes to support yourself. I’m saying explore the possibilities and give yourself permission to try. You never know what will happen.

Sometimes the parts manager becomes the greatest drummer in rock and roll history.