Archive for September, 2016

Thecover last day of September was one of those days where I got really inspired. one of the things I have struggled with is having a one-stop place where I can record my speaking engagements along with all the information I need to keep track of the details. Nothing seemed to work out so I decided to design and publish my own. I was able to finish the piece in one day, but of course the file had a few discrepancies so I need to make a few adjustments. I expect to publish early in the week and will make it available for a very limited time at cost. I was originally going to make this a full color publication but the final cost on that was 45 dollars so black and white it is. I will notify you as soon as it goes live in case there is anyone else that wants to try it out.

Also I have finished my ninth month of making a piece of art every day. Again. I am taking breaks, and sabbath rests, but I cover that by making more art on other days. Having published a new coloring book in September helped this project along. You can see the finished page here. Wait til you see what I have planned for next year. Remember the point of this exercise is to show you that while you don’t have to finish a piece of art every day, you can find time to create in any day.

Do something creative today!

I know I seem to be diverting from the main topic a little much over the last few days so please bear with me because I will get into what we creatives can do about this at the end. I was asked via e-mail to sign a petition to reinstate prayer in schools. It might surprise you to know I could not, in good conscience, sign it. Here’s why:

In our pluralistic society, I do not want organized prayer in school, because in the process our kids will be forced or at least strongly encouraged to pray to all kids of idols and false gods. I don’t believe in many gods, I believe in one God and He is the only God I want my kids praying to, period. It’s not that I hate people of other religions, I just don’t believe in their religions. Before anyone wants to call me a bigot, please understand every true believer in any religion, feels the same way. There was a time where we could disagree, have a conversation or even try to convert people to our faith without being seen as anything but a believer being a believer. The new tolerance has changed this, but then gain the new tolerance is much different from actual tolerance.

The other thing to consider is this, prayer has not been kicked out of schools. What has been kicked out of schools is organized, adult led prayer. Our kids still have tremendous freedom to pray and organize prayer groups etc. in our schools, if your school’s administration says different, they are wrong. Our best move as Christian parents is to get our kids into a Bible believing church AND to teach them to pray at home. We need to train them up ourselves. The schools cannot and probably should not be depended upon to do this. We need to teach our kids right from wrong. We need to parent them and the church needs to do a better job with ministering to our kids and training them in Scripture.

Further, the church needs to be certain that youth ministries are not islands unto themselves. If they are, we will continue to graduate kids from the church when they graduate from high school. Older adults need to make a point of building relationships with the young people in the church so that they see the whole church cares for them. Further churches need to do a better job at ministering to their youth leaders. The average stay for a youth leader in an American church is 18 months. That’s terrible.

So what can we creatives do to turn the tide? Well all the above relational stuff is huge and probably should be at the forefront, but there’s more.

What if we sought out the creative kids and mentored them or created projects that they could be a part of?

What if we built ministries designed to help young creatives to build on their gifts and show their progress?

What if we set up performance and exhibition venues in the church and invited people from the community to participate? Remember what t was like to want to create but to have no place to do it? What if we made the church that place?

What if we put our creative energies into ways to make sure people remain in the Church after they leave high school and to make sure their faith survives college?

Looking back over my life, I see so many things I could have done better both as a church leader and a parent to help kids remain in the faith, but I can’t redo the past. The best thing we can do is start now.

There still can be prayer in the schools. It is just taking on a different form, we cannot return to the way things were, but maybe, just maybe, we can make it better.

It’s time to get creative.

nc1aLast Night I did my new presentation on what may be my favorite verse in all of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the news has come.” I was trying to think of a good painting to do with it. I’ve already done butterflies and frogs exploring the metamorphosis concept of complete change, but that wasn’t quite right, So I went at it a completely different way.

First off I did something I almost never do. I started with a white surface. I usually speed paint on black. I started off by doing a very simple line art self portrait. What the congregation may not have realized is I was really gobbing on the black paint. Then I added some sky blue around it. What they didn’t know. was it was my intent from the beginning to wreck the painting. Taking paper towels I smeared it into a cloudy mess and then quit. When I began to speak, I spoke of how we basically start as a clean slate, but then life happens and we sin and we get splattered by the effects of sin and it makes a mess of us. I then talked about what it means to be a new creation in Christ—the way He transforms and renews and redeems us.

nc1bAt the end of the message I painted a picture of Jesus over the mess. The reason, when Christ redeems us, He allows us to put on His righteousness. The finished project was a little less successful than I like. For some reason my surface started to warp and it was falling out of the easel. Speed painting while holding your surface with the other hand is not easy. Nonetheless, the painting which took a total of about 8 minutes for both phases demonstrated what it was supposed to demonstrate and I was pleased.

Here’s the point, in Christ there is grace and forgiveness, but there is also transformation. Your past does not dictate your future. You can be redeemed. God can take your life and make it into something new. He can take the best of you and make it better. He can redeem the rest of you and turn it into a powerful testimony. God created you and He can also recreate you and when He does (and He will if you ask Him) you will be a new creation.

I want to talk about the debates today, but relax this is not a political post. My first confession is that I did not watch the debates. I had a great night preaching revivals last night and didn’t want to ruin my mood by watching the two people my nation has inexplicably decided to put up as the best candidates from their party. I still shake my head in disbelief, but that is a different story for a different day, and probably a different blog since I really can’t stand politics. My exposure to the debates came today when I hit my social media. OH MY WORD!!!

The fact that I have so many friends who actually believe either of these people will make a good president boggles my imagination. Rest assured, I will follow my God’s admonition to pray for whichever one wins and further I will go to the polls to vote for the people I believe will advance the causes that are near and dear to my heart, but at this point I am thinking I will either skip the top slot altogether or write in Yeshua Hamaschiach as a symbolic gesture. I have been more down about this SNL sketch turned reality called the 2016 election than I must have realized. Then today my friend Chuck Kieffer from the Foundry Church posted a question to Facebook that got me back on track.

You get to pick one.
(A) A Christ centered life where you are spiritually blessed but have troubles that cause you to fully rely on Him.
(B) the perfect political leader and system of government that you get what you want.

Sometimes I wonder if Christians really understand what this life is all about. You get one choice choose wisely

Well said, Chuck! That command to pray for our leaders came at a time when someone far worst than either of our current candidates was the political ruler of the world. I say “political ruler” because in reality Jesus already rules the world. Believers we need to keep that in mind. Trump or Clinton will end up in the White House, but what matters so much more is God is on the throne. If you feel so led and one of these people inspires confidence in you, vote for them. If both of them depress you, do something else, but remember this. Our first call is to Jesus. Cast your vote and get back to work. Let’s live a better story and tell the world the story of the only One who can actually save it.

That’s what we’re here for.

Hey, I’m thinking of doing a Christian Creative Arts retreat in the Spring… Paint party, adult coloring, Art journaling, creative writing? Probably at a nice camp with good and inexpensive accommodations. Who’s in?

dry-bones-live-liveLast night I got to do my new message called inspiration. As many of my regular readers know, I believe waiting for inspiration is a terrible idea (most of the time) I believe we need to seek it out and occasionally hunt it down. We need to seek God and believe that He will speak. Inspiration (at least the best kind) comes from God and He has been doing it for us since the very beginning when He breathed His live into our first father, Adam and he became a living soul. That’s what inspiration is God breathing life into us and into the things that He allows us to create.

In scripture we see this in Ezekiel 37, where God leads Ezekiel into the valley of dry bones. There God instructs Ezekiel to speak to the bones, to prophesy, and the bones come back to life. They rise up and become a mighty army. This is a prophecy for the nation of Israel but I think it’s for us as well. As we look at the condition of our nation and even the church, it is clear we are not in a great place right now. We need something from the Lord. We need His to breathe new life into us again. We need Him to speak into our lives oh and one more thing. We need His Word.

You see Scripture tells us that all Scripture is God breathed. that it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Over and over I see people, even in the church, that would like to leave portions of God’s Word on the cutting room floor. The thing is truth is a very powerful thing and a very fragile thing. Add a little to it, take a little from it and it is no longer truth. This God breathed Word is life to us. We are not supposed to change it, it is supposed to change us. We need to reconnect to the source of our power. We need to recommit to the Word of God. If we do, God will breathe new life into His church and we will return to being the mighty army God intended us to be. An army in a battle that is not with flesh and blood but with the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. A battle that is as real as anything you see in the news, and the source of most everything you see on the news. And that army will be the one that the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against.

The photo above is the painting I did with the message. It’s done in two phases and takes a total of 12 minutes. It’s based on a much more detailed painting I did for this stop motion video (which took days to complete). The message is part of a series called Imagination, Inspiration, Perspiration, New Creation, Re-Creation. I’d love to bring this series to your church. Contact me for more information.

Okay, I’ve had it. Someone posted this meme of Lakewood Church (Joel Olsteen) and the house that he lives in, which is admittedly HUGE, then they show two poor children and say that if pastors live like that, the church should be taxed. I can’t stand it anymore. First of all, you can’t have it both ways. You want to scream separation of church and state, then you turn around and demand the church to give money to the state.

Secondly. I’m not a huge Joel Olsteen fan, but I’d be willing to bet that Lakewood gives substantial amounts of money to charity and by the way I’m also sure that they do much better than the 29 cents on a dollar that the government manages to do with the money they take from us. That’s right, for every tax dollar 29 cents (or less) goes to actually helping people the other 71 percent is eaten up in administrative costs. In other words what you give to the government (by force) does nothing but supports the bureaucracy. That’s the first thing. We, the church, did charity first and we do it better.

Secondly, and this is important, I have yet to get my mansion. I must be standing in the wrong line. Seriously, I serve a church with about 50-60 of the most generous people you will ever meet in your life. None of them are wealthy, yet they turn out in force to give and to help. We meet in a humble building that’s been in our community for 150 years. I receive a humble, but generous salary given the size of the church. My wife and I both work and it takes two incomes for us to be able to live a humble but very nice life. We live within our means and God and our church provides. Nobody’s getting rich at my church and the vast majority of the churches are like us, not Lakewood. We’re people who work together and as our world’s problems get increasingly large, we could really use help. So here’s an idea, instead of griping about the mega church, join a small one and help it do more of what it does best.

You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem and if you’re maligning the church, you are part of the problem. Talking about something is not the same as doing something. Anyone can post a meme, but to roll your sleeves up and do something, that actually makes a difference.

In our world there seem to be an almost infinite amount of things we can be worried about—things that can strike fear into our hearts. Terror, the economy, even the upcoming election, all these things and many more can send us cowering into a corner. In the midst of everything, we have this command from Jesus to now worry:

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Like everything else Jesus said, it’s absolutely true. Most of what we worry about never happens and even the stuff that does happen is largely out of our control. No use allowing our fears to limit the size of our world. What is fear really? It’s imagination misused. We imagine the worst and the worst is what we end up with. On the other hand we serve a God for whom all things are possible. This should allow us to see past fear to infinite possibilities and when we see infinite possibilities we can stop cowering in fear and start working toward solutions.

The first step in any problem, whether real or imagined, is prayer. Take your worries, your fears and your actual problems to the One who knows everything. This is a first response not a last ditch effort. Then trust, obey and move. In every problem, God can. God is capable. We just need to be faithful and remember the first five letters in faithfulness are F-A-I-T-H.

Let’s imagine better and then work to make it so.

Hey everyone, time for a little shameless self-promotion. I am currently looking for opportunities to minister at churches over the next year. As you may know, my presentations combine speed painting, storytelling, preaching God’s Word and more. I will soon be rolling out my new presentation entitled:


The purpose of this presentation is to inspire people to see how God works in our lives and the wonderful things God wants to do in and through us; how he touches our imagination, breathes His life into our creations, transforms us from the inside out and helps us to do the work of creating a better life and a better world, all while preparing His Kingdom for His return. I will be presenting this as a revival series this weekend (at Sunnyside Church of the Brethren in West Virginia) and I am hoping to bring it to many other churches as well. Of course I am certainly also willing to bring any of my other Gospel presentations as well.

My mission is to build up the body of Christ, by doing the two things that radically changed my life: Introducing people to Jesus and helping people find and use their gifts to the glory of God. I’d love to come along side you to help to raise up willing, creative servants that will help you to reach your community. Please contact me at for more information. You can also use my handy booking form by clicking here.

Scott Erickson is one of the most innovative, thought provoking artists out there. Check out this awesome film he just made and see if it doesn’t touch your heart. This is telling a better story at its finest.