Archive for January, 2019


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

 

My Vision

Today I shared my vision for the ministry I am called to. What’s your vision? Find a way to creatively press it. Not sure what your vision is? 1 Peter 4:10 might be a great place to start.

Advertisements

Why name a ministry AMOK? It is, after all a name that has gotten me some grief over the years. One person said I should change the name because God is not a God of disorder. That’s true, but totally irrelevant. Another said AMOK is defined as a murderous rampage, I’m pretty sure that’s also not where I was going. For the record the name AMOK appears in the Bible twice, both time in genealogies referring to the name of a specific person, but even that’s not why I picked it. And then there’s the fact that so many people don’t know how to pronounce it. There have been times when I wished I had picked something different, and yet the name is fraught with meaning, so From time to time, as much for me as for you, I like to take a little of time and look at this name I’ve taken for this ministry and what it means. This allows me to tell new people a little about the story, encourage my long term readers and remind myself of the vision behind what I do,

So let’s start with the basics, AMOK is an acronym, it stands for Arts Ministry Outreach for the Kingdom. AMOKArts.com is the domain name I chose, largely because AMOK.com was unavailable, The idea for the name came from the phrase running amok. Now while can have connotations of disorder, that’s not how I see it. You see I believe the current world system is not as God intended and I long to see God’s Kingdom “running amok” through this world, changing things for the better. I believe the best way to achieve this goal is by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I see as, among other things, the antidote to the mess we’re in. You see the Bible says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) I believe transformed lives cannot help but transform culture. But there was a problem.

I’m just one little guy, and I’m an artist. What can an artist do to change the culture. Well that’s where my favorite verse comes into play. “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms.” (I Peter 4:10 NIV) I began to see ways to minister using the arts, that would encourage other people to find and use their gifts to the glory of God, and this thing I call AMOKArts was born.

What I envision is helping the church to embrace creativity and creative people to accomplish their ultimate mission of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Equally important I want to help creative people to embrace the church. I desire to see the church become the most creative place in any community, because as children of the ultimate Creator, creativity is in our DNA. I want to resource and equip creatives and the church to find new and creative ways to take the unchanging Gospel to an ever changing world. I believe when this happens, people will see Jesus in us, find Him for themselves, be saved and transformed into their best selves, living lives to His glory and continuing the process. In short, I echo Paul’s sentiment from Romans 1:16 (NIV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…

This then is what I desire to see. The Gospel changed my life. I want to help others find what I have found. The arts are the tool God has given me to use. I think there are many gifted people out there, and I want to help them to use those gifts to serve others to the glory of God and from there, watch God work. That’s the meaning of AMOK.

Want to run AMOK with me? Let’s go!


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

 

A Ministry I’m Passionate About

Today rather than looking at a passage, I want us to look at what we’re passionate about in ministry. How do you (or How do you want to) serve the Lord? What ministry excites you? What is the Lord leading you to do with your gifts?


Don’t worry this has nothing to do with assisted suicide and dying on one’s own terms. No today I am talking about the things we allow, or should allow, to die in our churches and ministry. There is a great equalizer in our lives. It’s called time. The richest person in the world and the poorest have the 24 hour day in common. No one gets more and no one gets less. To give time to one thing is to take that precious time from something else and this is urgent for churches to understand.

You see, virtually no one can give the church 24 hours a day. It’s an impossibility. Needless to say we want more than one hour a week, and a tithe of time would be ideal, but that’s basically two and a half hours a day and we rarely get that from any but the most dedicated. The reality is people have a limited time to give to the church, so we who lead churches, need to do our best to help them invest their time wisely. For example, I once heard a mega-church pastor say if a person only has an hour a week to give the church, in addition to worship, the last thing he would do is have them use that hour sit in a meeting, and for the most part, unless that person has a true leadership gift, I would agree. T   here’s something of even greater concern however.

It’s when churches have too many things, especially programs, on life-support. Think about it. There’s great lamentation over “x’ program that once had half the congregation involved and now no one supports it. It’s a fight for the leadership team to get someone to lead it, and when they finally do, no one attends, leaving the leader who was arm twisted into taking it on feeling like a failure, like they’re wasting their time or both. There’s a name for that kind of program. It’s called “DEAD.” Oh at one time it was great, and many people were excited about it and passionate about it and we have fond memories of it, but it’s time has passed. Here’s the rule. If no one has the passion to lead something it is better to let it die with dignity so that something else can grow. No sense pushing and prodding people to help it to linger, rather it’s time to help people to find what meets the spiritual needs of people today.

Now I can almost feel the pushback on this one even as I punch the keys. “What if it’s something important like Bible Study, or Sunday School or even Worship?” you might be thinking. No I’m not suggesting we jettison things of spiritual importance, but I am suggesting you look at the way you’re doing those things. The Bible doesn’t change, but methods can change and frankly, they must. This is where prayerful creativity comes into play. “That’s the way we have always done it…” is not a God-given mandate to keep doing things the way you have always done them. Look for the passionate ones and empower them to lead, whether that be to resurrect something or birth something new. Either of those is fine, the only thing that’s not okay is to let dead things keep taking up space and time.

Assignment: Is there anything in your church that is dead? Is it “resurrect-able” or could the energy and resources it takes be used to birth something new?


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Let’s talk about skill

Proverbs 22:29

The verse talks about people skilled at their work serving before kings. How have you worked to develop your skill? How could you encourage someone else to develop theirs?


When it comes to serving in the church, I think this is a very common fear. “What if they won’t let me serve?” or maybe “What if they don’t like what I do?” or “What if I’m not good enough?” The first thing I’m always tempted to ask is, “yes, but what if you are? or “What if they do?” The point is, you’ll never know if you don’t ask. The Bible even says “You have not, because you ask not.” and while some may question whether I used that in content, the point is true. If you “self-reject” by never trying, you’ll never know.

In offering your gifts, there are a few things to be considered. The first is to remember there is a trust level here. When a church leader puts someone before his congregation, or the public at large, he or she is trusting that you will bring your best and represent him and the church well. For this reason, we must come under authority and serve faithfully. That means you do what was asked of you, and you deliver the best you can, when you said you were going to have it done. Faithfulness demands this.

Secondly, you need to trust and sometimes work your way up. When you offer your gift and are given an opportunity, take it, even if it feels beneath you. We serve a God who washed His disciples feet. There is humility involved in serving the Lord. In most churches, there is a lack of people willing to serve. Be one of those people, and there is a likelihood that more and better opportunities will open. With any opportunity, bring your best to it.

 

Further, be open to constructive criticism. You may not yet be at the level where you need to be and we’re often not quite as good as we think we are. Wise counsel can build us and make us better. Also sometimes people can see an area of greater gifting in us, so be willing to try new things.

Keep developing your gift. Keep working at and work hard to keep improving. The Bible says, “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” (Proverbs 22:29) We can always improve and gain new skills, so keep at it.

Finally remember who you are serving. Ultimately your service is about the glory of God. So serve humbly, faithfully and often. God knows what you have because He gave it to you. Live and serve in a way that honors Him. If God has given you a gift, He has a way for you to use it. Put yourself and your gift out there, and then trust, one and give it all you’ve got.

Assignment: Make a list of all the ways you could possibly serve with your gift. Then begin to explore possibilities in your church and community.


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Let’s stick with the impossible/possible theme.

Matthew 19:26

How would you use this passage to encourage someone?