Archive for September, 2017

This is the kind of book that will make a grown man cry. How do I know? Because I’m a grown man another were quite a few times when the tears came. This is an excellent memoir about what happens when a person really sees someone else and doesn’t walk on by. Jim Bradford was in a little fast food restaurant getting a cup of coffee, when he saw a young boy sitting by himself listening to the radio. He had braces on his legs, from cerebral palsy and was blind. Jim approached the boy and an amazing friendship was born. Together the unlikely pair had amazing adventures that expanded each of their worlds.

This is the kind of book I love. It shows that sometimes if you want to see a miracle, you’ve got to take the time to be the miracle. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and pray that the lessons I learned from it will change my life and the lives of everyone who takes the time to read it. You really can make difference in this world. Jim Bradford and H.K. Derryberry both prove it. This one is a must read.

Sometimes you need to shift your focus.

Hi everyone,
I wanted to let you know everything is okay here. I have not quit or curtailed activities or anything of the kind. It’s just been a really busy time in my life and I had to take a little time to get some things done. I finished my first class toward my Master’s Degree, did quite a few speaking engagement and of course the work involved with my regular work as a pastor. Everything was good, it was just a lot. I was also a little concerned that I was sending too many thing out through this blog and to be honest that got a little discouraging. I want this to be an effective tool for you, the people that take the time to read this blog. I recognize the fact that your time is valuable and I want every moment you give me to count.

Speaking of that. Yesterday in my church I preached on one of my least favorite topics, but it’s really pertinent to this post. I spoke on Sabbath. It’s not that I dislike Sabbath, it’s just that it is a really hard topic. Everyone seems to want a list. What can I do, and what can’t I do? If I say do no work, people say “What constitutes work?” I am hesitant to make a list. The pharisees did that and it got them into all matter of trouble. In the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, God set the penalty for breaking Sabbath at death, which leads me to believe He takes it very seriously. Sabbath was also one of the chief things the Pharisees used to accuse Jesus, largely because Jesus could see the Sabbath forest for the Sabbath trees and knew it was good to good on the Sabbath.

I think God cares about Sabbath because He cares about you. He knows that we have a tendency to forget Him when we’re a. busy working as if the whole world depends on us and b. so comfortable in His provision that we don’t see our need. Sabbath brings both things to the forefront. It doesn’t all depend on us and we are totally and completely dependent on Him. He needs to be the center of our lives and we need to remember that. Further, He made us and He knows our limitations. If He says we need rest, He probably knows what He’s talking about. Sometimes you just need to take a break. That’s what my hiatus was and I needed it. I’m now feeling fairly refreshed and ready to see what’s next.

It’s this simple. We can’t afford to ignore the Sabbath and we can’t afford to be legalistic about the Sabbath. Sabbath is a gift from God to us and it’s a gift we need to receive. As McDonalds used to say… You deserve a break today.

I just read the newest revised edition of the book, and I have to tell you it’s incredible. Gordon MacDonald is a 50+ year pastor and sought after speaker. He starts off very vulnerably talking about a time when he hit bottom, when his public world looked pretty good as his private world was falling apart, and then spends the rest of the book going over all sorts struggles to be overcome and ways to overcome them. This book is full of practical advice from someone who has been there. As a church leader, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It can get really easy to get caught up in activity and trying to be by on your natural, albeit God-given talents, but the truth is, those things will only take you so far. In order to be truly effective in following Christ, we need to be connected to the Source of our power. Ordering Your Private World can help you stop running on empty and get back to serving God with joy.

I serve a small congregation of wonderful people who love the Lord, are for the most part deeply spiritual and really live to serve the Lord and other, and I would still love to get each and every one of them a copy of this book. It is just fantastic and would be helpful to any believer.

I just finished Mike Dellosso’s second book in the Jed Patrick series, Kill Devil and it is every bit the page turner that the first book, Centralia, was, and even more. This is a great work of fiction that keeps the reader hooked to the very end. The story follows Jed Patrick, a soldier whose memory and history has been erased. In Kill Devil, Jed continues to regain memories, but his past is coming back to haunt him. It seems like the world is against him, in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of government. There is no place to run and no place to hide as he races against time, trying to survive. It is also a story of recovering and growing faith. This is a very good book.

I only have one word of caution for the reader. Kill Devil is a true sequel. While it probably could stand alone, I highly recommend reading the first book in the series, Centralia, before reading Kill Devil. Reading the books in order will help the reader to understand a complex storyline a lot better and enjoy it a lot more. This is a definite five star book that any fan of thrillers will love—another top notch effort by Mike Dellosso! This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read any of Mike’s books yet, pick one up today.

Creative ministry has been a passion of mine for nearly two decades so it should be of no surprise that I loved this book. Makoto Fujimura has been at the forefront of this movement for a long time. He’s an amazingly talented artist, writer and speaker, as well as being the founder the International Artists Movement (IAM). This book is a breath of fresh air for creatives in the church. I think the book is best summed up from the quote on the back cover. “Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated.” This book goes well beyond theories and is carefully thought out by a man who clearly loves both the arts and the church.
The book includes a study guide for group discussion. This would be a great resource for arts groups or individuals who want to putter talents to use to the glory of God. This is a great book.

Picasso on Being and Remaining an ArtistI love to create, and when I am in the zone, there are few things better. When I am creating, I feel like I am in the center of God’s will. Whether it’s a new painting, or a cartoon, or writing my weekly sermon or whatever, the idea of bringing to life something which only existed in my mind is a feeling beyond comprehension. It’s one of the things in life that brings me joy.

It’s not surprising that there are times where that joy is interrupted. I start to second guess myself and put myself down and feel like I’m not good enough, or I go to perfectionism and the feeling that nothing I create is good enough. Again, it’s not surprising at all that this happens. After all, Scripture tells me the joy of the Lord is my strength and there is a force in this world that doesn’t want us functioning in either one. Here’s what you need to know. The attacks against your joy will come, whether you like it or not, but you control how you react to it. You have to choose joy.

Let me tell you, perfection is unattainable on this side of the grave. It’s a fact of life. Get used to it, otherwise perfectionism will steal your joy. So will self loathing, comparison and a lot of other things we creatives are susceptible to, but again you have the choice of whether or not you give in to it.

Maybe it’s time you recaptured the joy. Stop making your creations about the end result and start enjoying the process and the journey. Think about it, you get to make art and tell stories and there are people who actually like what you do. Don’t wonder why they love you and your work, accept it and keep doing what you love to do. If the joy of the Lord is your strength and your gift is from the Lord, shouldn’t the exercise of your gift bring you joy.

What bring you joy? Do it to the glory of the Lord! Remember “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV) and don’t forget, Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Hey everyone, I’m pleased to announce I will be serving as a moderator for this year’s class of students at ArtFruition.comFounded by my friend Jessie Nilo of VineArts Boise, Art Fruition is an online school for people wanting to use their creative gifts to serve the Lord. As a moderator, I will be there to encourage and assist students as they complete the course. If you’d like to learn more about Art Fruition or sign up, go to

I’m reading a great book, Culture Care by Makoto Fujimura, a brilliant Christian artist and founder of IAM the International Arts Movement. This excerpt is the story behind one of the most famous speeches of all time and a reminder of our role as artists in the culture.

“In August 1963, prior to giving his “I Have a Dream” speech at the march on Washington, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. found himself exhausted by a series of setbacks, imprisonments, oppressions and disappointments. He was so physically worn out that he spent many hours simply resting while followers wrote the speech he was to give to the historic gathering. One of his close aides, Clarence Benjamin Jones, said that “the logistical preparation for the march were so burdensome that the speech was not a priority for us” and “on the evening of Tuesday, August 27 [twelve hours before the march], Martin still didn’t know what he was going to say.” After walking a few miles to the Lincoln Memorial, he stood to read the prepared text, but he knew something was not right.

Mahalia Jackson, the great Gospel singer who sang before he spoke, who stood behind Dr. King throughout the speech. As he read, she kept on yelling “Tell ’em about the dream, Martin, Tell ’em about the dream.” At the end of the prepared speech, Dr. King put down his text and began to speak extemporaneously; the energy of the listening crowd, and the result was the “I have a dream” we know today.

Imagine that, an artist pushing a tired preacher to preach from his heart. Dr. King was an artist of the dream, but it took another artist to recognize the artistry that was being held back by the context of the gathering.

Artists need to stand behind the podiums of preachers, teachers and leaders and remind them to “tell ’em about the dream!” Part of our calling is to remind leaders of what they are marching toward to begin with, to reach the deepest recesses of their own visions. Sometimes we need to remind them to put down their prepared texts. Artists who operate as [cultural border walkers] can exhort in this way, in and out of a prepared tribal language into a visionary, extemporaneous jazz language of the heart. That music invites all to become extemporaneous artists of care.”

Who can you help “tell ’em about the dream?”

Movie Review: All Saints

Posted: September 3, 2017 in Storytelling

This afternoon my wife and I caught the new Christian film All Saints. Based on a true story, this film tells the story of Michael Spurlock, a salesman turned pastor who was brought into a fading church for the purposes of closing it. A providentially placed flyer attracts a community of Karen refugees from Burma. The need in the Karen community combined with the need to meet the church’s budget gets the congregation to work together to turn some of the church’s land into a farm.

This was not the feel good movie I expected and somehow that worked. Christian films often tend to wrap things up very neatly. This one, ends well, but somewhat unexpectedly and somehow that feels more like real-life. This movie was really well done, and extremely thought provoking. As a church leader this film challenged me in quite a few areas. Lead actor John Corbett does a great job as Spurlock, but the movie was “stolen” by Barry Corbin as Forrest, a curmudgeon who demonstrates a heart of gold near the end.

All in all this is a really good film, that I recommend. Great storytelling with a point.