Archive for April, 2018

I got this book just before vacation and had such a great experience with it, that I read it in two days and downloaded two more of Matt Tommey’s books. The book was not exactly what I expected. I expected it to be more about art. What it really was, was a book about how we artists can thrive in our lives as children of God and, as a result, in every aspect of our lives. The book goes beyond just making art, to making the art we were designed and created to create. This is book is in and of itself an awesome inspiring work of art that made me imagine new possibilities and inspired new idea and dreams. I can’t wait to see all that God is going to do. This is one of those books that I will return to over again. I recommend this to every believing artist and pretty much everyone else. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

I decided to do something a little different this week, and it will be difficult to post for a few days, so I thought I would share a few memes from a new character I am working on. I call him “smART alec.” Enjoy, and if you like them, share them!

Dave Weiss here checking in. Where usually I post articles about all things God, church and creativity and usually the intersection of all of the above, today I am seeking answers. I need to understand the rhyme and reason of who is coming here, and what draws you in. I’ll tell you why. I usually seem to get about 30 of you hitting this site on a daily basis. While I’d love to have millions, I am exceedingly grateful to and for all of you who come on here and check in on what’s going on. Lately though I have been noticing a phenomenon. About once every two weeks or so, all of the sudden one day my traffic will skyrocket (well for me anyway) to about 300. Needless to say that makes me pretty happy, but I have no idea why. It’s not like there are specific topics people are hitting. It all feels pretty random—like their’s no rhyme or reason to it.

Now to be sure, I am excited any time anyone hits this site and takes the time to read what I’ve written. That is a true blessing. And perhaps it may also be a blessing that I can’t spot the trend that causes this, because it may tempt me to be more formulaic, in an attempt to replicate results. I try to be a little more spirit led than all that, and just write what I feel led to write about.

I guess what I am asking today is what makes you stop by to read these posts? Are you sharing them to other sites? If you are, THANK YOU! I’m trying to get a handle on how to make this site as helpful as possible, because I really and truly believe that God is moving in the arts and creativity in His Church, and I want to be a faithful servant to Him and to this movement. Any insights into the rhyme and reason of this would be most helpful.

And again thank you for tuning in. You are more appreciated than you will ever know.

I’m working through a sermon series right now on the Sermon on the Mount. I call it The Greatest Sermon (Series) Ever, which might seem to be odd considering the title of this post, so maybe I better explain it. I have no illusions of preaching the greatest sermon series ever. Far better people have come before, and to be even think about being the greatest in so great a company would be the extent of hubris. No, the title is just a way to pique people’s interest. In actuality, the series is based on the greatest sermon ever, preached by the greatest preacher ever, Jesus Christ. I am loving the preparation and creation of this series.

I recently preached a message on what some scholars believe to be the text for Jesus message, a passage called the Beatitudes. Beatitude means blessing and these are some of the most interesting blessings of all time. The reason for that is simple. They look completely upside down, but the things is they’re not. The beatitudes look upside down because our world is upside down.

One of the most interesting ones to me is Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. No, they’re not most interesting because they’re the only lyrics to the Overture on my favorite band Rush’s magnum opus 2112, but think about it, do we really believe the meek will inherit the earth. In our world, it’s the rich and the powerful that seem to be the most likely to succeed at inheriting this earth we live in. But Jesus says something else. He says it’s the meek and He modeled that for us, specifically when He rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. He didn’t come with a lot of fanfare. He didn’t ride in on His white stallion. He came as a king coming in peace on the meekest, most unassuming creature imaginable. He was meek and yet He reigns.

The people expected something different. They expected Messiah to be the conquering hero and one could argue that their response changing from Hosanna on Sunday to Crucify on Friday, may be the result of their disappointment. They didn’t want a meek savior, they wanted yet another conqueror to overthrow yet another world empire and in the process they missed the real miracle that meekly stood before them.

The meek really will inherit the earth, Jesus said it and I believe in, but in the creative world, meekness seems to be no more prized than it was in Messiahs. We need to toot our own horns if we want to get ahead. We have to do as much shameless self promotion as we possibly can. It’s what people expect from us. They expect us to be outlandish, out there, and maybe even a little weird. They expect us to dance through this world saying “Hey look at me.” At the end of the day, will that really get us where we want to be. Is there room in this world for a meek, gentle Christ-like creative. I think there is, and I think maybe, just maybe, that’s what Jesus wants from us. So I thought I’d pose the question today. How would it look for us to be meek, God-honoring, God-glorifying creatives? I’d also be curious as to what you think meek creatives will inherit. Will it be the earth, with the rest of the meek, or will it be something different in the creative realm? I’ll be curious to read your comments.

As I consider The Imaginative Church, I decided to do a word search on to see how the word imagination is used in the Bible. Surprisingly, it doesn’t fare very well. It only appears four times in the NIV translation of the Bible and every single time it appears, it’s in a negative context.

Psalm 73:7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits.

Isaiah 65:2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—

Ezekiel 13:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!

Ezekiel 13:17 “Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them

That’s a little depressing and maybe even off putting when you’re trying to encourage people in the church to empower and embrace their imaginations. Please understand the above verses are not what I want you to embrace—not by a long shot.

Instead I want to look at the aforementioned Abraham, who chose to look past the impossibility of what God had foretold, choosing instead to believe God to be able to overcome impossible, or David using his faith and examples of God’s faithfulness, to look past an imposing giant, to a better the better reality that stood on the other side of victory, or a young virgin who looked an angel in the eye and said, may it be to me as you have said. The way I am using imagination is in this way—Where we look past the seeming realities of our world to trust in the faithfulness of our God to overcome the obstacles and do our part in bringing forth the Church that God desires to bring forth. It’s not imagination for imagination’s sake. It’s letting God show us the possibilities when things look impossible. It’s letting God use us as He calls into being that which is currently not (Romans 4:17)

This is not about vain imaginations. It’s about seeking the heart of God and the Mind of Christ. Let God inspire your imagination. Breathe in (the literal interpretation of the word “inspire”) the vision God is wanting to bring to life in you. Then step out in faith, and in Him, to bring it to reality.

This will require us to really seek God. It will require us to do as Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. It involves submission to God and to His Word, immense amounts of prayer and a full dependence on the God for whom all things are possible.

Imagination is essential to Christians. One of the most popular Christian songs of all times is I Can Only Imagine. The song reminds us of something essential to faith. Our ultimate hope is in Christ and the eternal life He bought for us with His blood. It is a place that is far from imaginary. It is in many ways the most real place there is. We see it described in Scripture, but the only way we can see it on this side of the grave is in our imaginations. We live this life in hopes of a world we can only imagine, trusting God to get us there. Let’s let God use that same imagination to help us imagine a church that will draw people to Him and ultimately to that place we can only imagine.

While this is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Imaginative Church, I should also be the preface of this website.

I’m not trying to make you an artist, not is this book just for those artsy types. No this book is for anyone who loves the Church of Jesus Christ and wants to see her become all she can be.

I’m not trying to make you an artist, only God can do that, and He has made you with everything you need to be exactly what He wants you to be, whether or not that involves anything to do with the arts or not. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, full of amazing potential and lovingly prepared by your Creator to do wonderful things in this world.

I’m not trying to make you an artist. No, what I am trying to do is to help you embrace your God given imagination and creativity, and yes, you do have both. I’m trying to get you to embrace those dreams and visions for God’s Church that He has laid on your heart. I’m trying to get you to look at yourself, and all the people God has put into your life and to let Him trigger your imagination. I want to help you to see how it all comes together and how to empower yourself and the people has placed in your care to find and use everything God has given to His glory.

Walt Disney one said,”If you can dream it, you an achieve it.” That’s not completely true and some dreams should not become reality, but the dreams and visions God gives can create both a better church and a better world.

Imagine with me. Better yet, imagine with God. Look to the limitless possibilities of our unlimited God and dream with Him of all that could be, then follow Him into those possibilities. Let Him work through you to make the invisible visible and bring your God-given vision, into a glorious and glorifying reality.

That’s what I am trying to do in this book.

(and in this site.)