Archive for June, 2018


“The world in which we live equally distributes talent…” It’s a direct quote from a Southern New Hampshire University commercial and I couldn’t disagree more if I tried. First of all the world doesn’t distribute talent, talent comes from a much higher authority, from God Himself. Secondly, it is not equally distributed—not even close. Oh I believe everyone gets at least one, but some get many and that’s okay as well. The speaker then speaks about the uneven distribution of opportunity. Unfortunately that’s true too, but here’s what I know. None of that frees us from the obligation to do whatever we have with whatever we’ve been given. If you have one talent, put it to good use, if you have a hundred, put as many of them to use as you can. God expects it, that’s why He gave them to you. If you have a million opportunities you’re responsible to use them all and if you only have one, you have a choice, you can lament that you only have that one or you can make the most of it. I’m not belittling a lack of opportunity or injustice, just laying out the choice.

I used to think I made my own breaks. I’ve since given up on that line of thinking. I use to wonder why I got some opportunities, and got overlooked for others, all it did was make me doubtful, discourages and bitter. Creatives can’t afford any of that. Instead we need to seek out the opportunities, pray and do the work. We need to be bold, creative and trusting. Ephesians 5 reminds us: “15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” We need to live God honoring lives and making the most of every opportunity in these evil says, and these days are evil. The gifts, talents and opportunities we have been given are given to us to make the world a better place and point it to its only hope.

Paul gives us some further information on how to live this out. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the end of the day, this is what it call comes down to. Talents are out of our control, to some degree so are the opportunities, but what we do with them well my friend that is in our hands. Live wise, seek God’s will, stay pure and sober, worship the One who gives it ALL, and live in grateful inspiration and anticipation. Use all you have to God’s glory, He’ll take care of the rest. He might even use you to make these days a little less evil.

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I went looking for something yesterday. I had mentioned the other day about it having been 20 years since the start of my ministry at the Creation Festival, well yesterday, I took the day and went back. It had been a few years since I was there–I’m guessing about five, but for some reason I was feeling strongly led to go back. I was having a good time, many things were the same, some were really different, but I was starting to feel like maybe I missed something. It was nice, even fun, but I was looking for more—a “bolt-from-the-blue” moment, that seemed to be eluding me. “Oh well, just enjoy the day,” I thought.

The evening portion of the day didn’t go quite as planned. I was going to have to cut my day short. My original plan was to stay through the final performances of the evening, catch a few hours sleep in my van and then make the drive home this morning. That was the plan but we were expecting a delivery, and I had to be home for it. The company decided to call me at the festival and schedule the delivery during a four hour window (who gets a four hour window for anything these days?) that started far too early for me to make the trip this morning, so I had to cut my day short and drove home last night. Now I really thought I missed it.

I went down to the stage for what would be my last band for the night. North Point Inside Out and something started to happen in my Spirit. There’s something about music… Then as I returned to my seat, there would be a worship music set, then the speaker and then I had to drive home. The worship leader started us off by singing Awesome God. Now what you need to know is when I first went to Creation in 98 there were two things I knew for sure. Half the bands would sing Shout to the Lord and every worship “set” would include Awesome God. As I started to sing, it came to me. I was drawn back to another time on that same mountain.

On that particular day I was there by myself, early in the morning, not another person around for “miles” (probably more like hundreds of yards but it felt like miles). I was alone and I was distraught. My ministry was struggling, I was hurting and I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted something from God. A spiritual gift that would have probably changed my trajectory in life. I was literally begging, and in my spirit, I felt a gentle “No.” Instead I felt the call to “bring the Gospel simply, in a way everybody can understand.” This combination of words and pictures that I’ve been blessed to live out has been the result and yesterday I felt that purpose renewed and maybe reinvigorated. It was another reminder and a gentle nudge. I needed that.

I made this little cartoon as a reminder to me. The words oddly enough are from a song—not a hymn or a worship song, but an 80s rock song repurposed. The song is by Triumph. It’s called Hold on and it was written in praise of music. On that day on the mountaintop stopped being about music for me though and started to be about mission. While I continue to learn and study, I’ve chosen to accept that I may have to leave the “genius-ing” to the geniuses and focus on what I am called to do.

—bring the simple truth to the people and bring people to the simple truth.


Okay someone took my all time favorite painting and made it into an immersive painting video. If you’ve ever wanted to walk that little street or just see one of the world’s greatest works of art in a new way, this is for you.


Okay let me start with a confession. I am a big fan of Torry Martin. I bought his book Of Moose and Men when we were both speaking at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference here in PA last year and I was hooked. This book is a sampler of several of the chapters from that book and his current book Call of the Mild, after reading this book, I can’t wait to pick that one up. Look, Torry is hilarious! He’s also a very interesting person who’s lived an interesting life. These stories are part memoir, part comedy with a little bit of devotional pulled in for good measure. If you’ve never read Torry’s stuff, pick this up, you can read it in an hour or two. After reading these stories you’ll want to pick up both of the full length books. This is great, uplifting material that will put a smile on your face and bless you, and who couldn’t use that?


I’ve written about this before, but today is sort of a momentous day for me. The first thing I ever did in ministry was take a group of students to the Creation Festival. That was in 1998 and the 2018 festival starts today. That’s right, for all intents and purposes this is the 20th anniversary of the starts of my ministry. Now I don’t know the exact starting date of that festival back in 98, but fittingly Creation is where it all began. It’s been 20 years since I first sat on that beautiful hillside and saw God demonstrate his faithfulness in what would be my ministry. It was a day of turmoil and stress, a day where I thought I heard God completely wrong. It was a day when I wondered who I was to think someone like me could ever be in ministry and it was a day where I saw the light of God shine through. It was the first time God reminded me that the only thing that really depends on me is that I would be faithful and that he would do everything else. I’ve needed that lesson almost daily ever since, but God has continually been faithful.

So many things have happened since that day. I became a youth leader, God showed me how to use art in ministry, I started to train for ordination, I got ordained, started a church, closed a church, started a web site to share the creative ministry ideas I was getting, started getting invitations to speak around the country, and today I pastor a church and continue to do and teach art ministry every chance I get. I’ve been blessed to write books and a ton of Bible lessons, make a ton of art and meet thousands of wonderful people and those are just the external blessings. One year during the festival I had the privilege of baptizing my son Christ at Creation. I had the privilege of marrying quite a few of those girls to their husbands and one of the girls from that youth group married my son, became my only “daughter” (so far) and blessed me with my grandson David John. Through it all my loving wife Dawn has been by my side. Her organizational skills made that first trip possible and her love has helped me over and through every bump in this journey since. I am a blessed man and it’s been an interesting 20 years.

I’ll share with you what I believe God said in my spirit on that first night 20 years ago. “I never said it would be easy, but if you will be faithful, I will be with you and use you.” Take that to heart because it wasn’t just for me.

Thank you Jesus!


A friend and trusted advisor once gave me three words of wisdom, (maybe it’s four, not sure how to count the contraction) “It’s always something.” What does it mean? Well we live in a broken world and about the time you think you have it all figured out or things are running smoothly, along comes the dreaded “something.” That something is almost something that is completely out of our control and when it happens it tends to side track everything. “Something” is aggravating.

Here’s the truth, while “something” is usually out of your control, how you react to it is usually completely in your control. I’ll be honest, “something’ has hit me pretty hard and it has me questioning my fitness for leadership. It has me questioning the effectiveness of my preaching, and a whole bunch of other stuff. How can I fix this? What if I can’t? Have you been there?

The thing is, the calmer side of me, knows it’s not all up to me. Mine is to do what I can do and trust God with everything else. I’m still the same person I was before this happened, and so are you. I’m still called, and so are you. I’m still gifted for the task at hand and so are you. Most importantly my God is still on the throne. At this point, the only thing I’ve lost is confidence and maybe that’s okay, because I’m not supposed to be that confident in myself anyway. In the position we’re in, we can’t afford a “circumstantial faith.” We need to trust the Lord in all circumstances. I need to focus on being confident in the One who knows how this will all work out, trust Him and keep moving forward. You know why?

Because, “It’s always something.”


I’ve been preaching through the Sermon on the Mount for the last several months and yesterday we hit the passage that speaks about where your treasure is, there is your heart. It’s a really telling passage because it forces us to check ourselves and so today I ask a question, “Where is your treasure?” It’s really easy to get this question wrong. Many people, especially preachers use this passage to talk about money and giving, and that is rightfully so, but I think there is a bigger principle involved. I think it’s more about investment than it is about money.

Oh, to be sure you can see a lot about your priorities in your checkbook and how we invest our money is important, but I still feel like Jesus is taking this further. I think what He’s really saying to us is…

Don’t waste your life.

It’s true, we only get one and how we invest it matters. I think the overriding principle is we need to invest our lives in what matters most is what will last forever. Consider these words of Paul from 1 Corinthians 3: 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Here’s that that means, if you’re a believer, the foundation of your life is Jesus. This is not something you’ve earned. Heaven is a free gift, based on on thing our belief in Jesus because we are saved by grace and not works. That being said, there is a reward based on what we do in this life. Christ is the foundation we build on in this life, and it is important how we build and what we use to build because the work of this life will be tested with fire. If the life you built in this life, stands the test of fire, you will be rewarded, if not, you’ll still be saved but jut barely and without reward. I think the implication is pretty simple. Invest your life in what will matter forever. God and His Kingdom, i.e. God and people, because those are the only two things that last forever. Let God use you and the gifts and talents He has given you to make an eternal difference in the lives of the people around you. Be faithful and honor God with your life. In that way you will store up real treasure that will last for eternity. Some of us have some pet projects to bag in favor of things that will last.

Where is your treasure?