Archive for July, 2019


This week I am ministering at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center for their Haven Camp for adults with developmental disabilities. My day started with breakfast and then a message on Abraham, sharing about God’s promises both to Abraham and to us, and how He keeps them, which should give us confidence (Confidence is the Summer’s theme at the camp). From there I spent a little time with the campers before returning to my lodgings to change my clothes and writing some of my sessions for my next time here in a little less than two weeks. Then after lunch, I came back and finished the session I was writing, which coincided with the camper’s lodge time, a time for them to rest and nap. I rejoined the campers in time for their activity time. I ended up going along on a “hay ride” on a hay wagon shaped like Noah’s Ark. The campers were all but giddy with excitement, the guy next to me was nervous and took my hand, but at the same time he laughed with glee over every bump. They were singing Sunday School songs as well as a few silly songs thrown in and that’s when it hit me. There is something about these folks that I think the rest of us have lost. They often experience the extremes of emotions, and yet, they can find joy in the simplest things. Their simple songs held within them some deep and honest worship. In a way it’s child-like faith, but there is a sincerity in that faith that some of us, can miss out on (present company included), in our busy days.

In the afternoon, I gave them another message, this one on Joseph, and I must say their enthusiasm is infectious, and their perceptiveness is at times amazing. I go to this camp every year with the intent of blessing the campers, and, more often than not, it’s me who comes away blessed.

I marvel continually that I am blessed be able to do some of the things I get to do. I often think back to my first time here, and how nervous I was, and this may be my point for you dear reader. I came in pretty unsure that I had what it takes but I was willing to put myself out there and try, all the while trusting God. I have to tell you, that made all the difference. If you’re reading this, and you’re wondering if you have what it takes to do something you’re feeling led toward, here’s my advice. Follow the Lord and do it. Your nervousness will help you to remember to depend on God. You are fully dependent on Him anyway, so trust God and allow Him to work through you. You never know what will happen, but I do know God is faithful.


What I call the AMOKArts “World Tour” is in the works. The speaking ministry has been a little slow in the early parts of this year, but I am making up for it now. It’s not really a world tour, but it is four states, and a lot of miles, Lord willing. I just finished a really fun and fulfilling week in central PA, painting for a family camp at Summit Grove Camp Meeting Sunday night and then leading a Vacation Bible School for my friends at St. Thomas Independent BIC Church in Mount Pleasant Mills, PA. Next up is Haven Camp, a camp for adults with Special needs at Delta Lake Bible Conference, then to Ohio for revivals, a day at retirement community, a music festival, then back to Delta Lake after church, and that’s not all.

I am really hesitant to post this. I am fully aware of James 4:13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

In light of this passage, Why am I posting? Because I am asking for prayer for three reasons. First, I have a van that has very high mileage. It’s not necessarily in the budget to replace it right now, so please keep me in prayer for traveling mercies. Secondly, I’m not as young as I used to be. There is still a good deal of work to be done for a few of these events, and in addition to all of this, I want to make sure I am also being a proper, faithful pastor to my congregation, not to mention husband, father and grandfather. Lastly and most importantly, please pray that the ministry would be effective and that many souls would be reached and touched during this time. I know none of this is possible without the power of God being upon it, and I need prayer.

Lastly, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel the need to start a prayer team. If you’d commit to praying for me on these adventures, please let me know.

I love what I do and am blessed to be called to this ministry and I thank you for your prayers.


Did you ever have one of those moments where you had the sudden realization that you might be wrong about something you were pretty firm on. I might be having one of those right now. See, there’s something I’ve been lamenting in our culture for several years that my faith is making me reexamine. I’ve been highly critical over the mentality in recent years of “everybody” gets a trophy. You know, people don’t want any child to feel left out so rather than recognizing individual achievement, everyone gets a participation trophy, just for “showing up.” In theory, I hate that idea, because it fails to deal with the realities of life, or does it?

Think about Christianity. Christianity offers the greatest prize ever, eternal life in a paradise that defies even the most fertile imagination, and yet what do we have to do to receive it? Essentially one thing, believe. We receive God’s greatest reward not due to some stellar effort but by grace through faith. We simply need to place our faith and trust in Christ. He is the only one worthy of the prize, yet He gave all who believe the ability to receive what He alone earned. Maybe everybody gets a trophy is not as bad as I thought, at least as a metaphor for faith.

I’m still not sure it works in sports.


Well if you’re David Garibaldi, you go to church. He is fresh off being the warm up act on the Kiss End of the Road European Tour, and will be returning for the final American leg later this Summer, but in between, he made an appearance at a church in New Jersey painting his amazing portrait of Jesus.

Please stick around for his comments at the end. Good to see brothers in Christ getting the opportunity to put their talents out there before the world and then coming home and spreading the Word.


One of the great blessings of living where I live is that we are located about an hour from Sight and Sound Theater, in Lancaster, PA. What an amazing place! Yesterday a group from my church went to see their production called Jesus, and it was incredible. This was a top of the line production with elaborate sets and visuals that could rival even the very best Broadway stages, but with a fantastic Gospel message. The actor playing Jesus did a wonderful job, his portrayal of our Lord at Gethsemane was particularly riveting. He showed us a Jesus with a full range of human emotions and while no one compares to the real Jesus, I felt as if I was transported back to watch the events as they happened. The theater uses video and special effects to such an extent that the stage takes on whole new dimensions and one could literally feel like they were watching from the streets of Jerusalem, and the shores of Galilee. The scene where Jesus walks on the water is so realistic that you expect the waves to wash over you at any moment.

Of course it is hard to weave together all the elements of Jesus’ life into a single two hour show, and they took some liberties with the time line to get it all in, but other than this every scene was very accurate biblically. The use of live animals really added to the realism. It was quite impressive to be seated near the aisle as roman soldiers on stallions went riding up and seeing “Jesus” ride past you on a donkey on the triumphal entry was otherworldly. They also very effectively used “scenes within scenes” (for lack of a better word) to illustrate points. Jesus sitting on a hill teaching as the parables are acted out in front of us. Mary Magdalene singing about Jesus freeing her as the scene is acted out is another example, but none compares to Mary mother of Jesus, singing her heart out at the tomb juxtaposed against the nativity, as both “Mary’s” young and old, sing the story from their perspective. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was fighting back tears quite a few times, both tears of sadness and at times tears of joy as I witnessed “Jesus” doing the things I have read about so many times. I’ve often had mixed feelings of portrayals I have seen of Jesus in films and theater. This was far and away the best portrayal I have seen and I have seen many.

I loved this production, not just for it’s amazing quality, but for it’s clear presentation of the Gospel. It’s going to run a few more months before closing and if there’s any way you can get here to see it, you really should.


Leave it to Andy Andrews to be able to take a made up childhood pool game and turn it into a way to success that has helped companies reach stellar heights, by doing what seems counterintuitive and yet ends up making so much sense. Sometimes the way up is down and the way to outpace your competition is to do what others aren’t doing, competing at a level where no one else is playing. While this is largely a business book, in typical Andy Andrews style, there is a larger principle that works every time it’s tried in every aspect of life. This guy is a walking wisdom generator, and I love all his stuff. Check this one out.


A friend of mine on Facebook shared this yesterday and it bears repeating. Did you ever notice there seem to be some people who have a vested interest in keeping us angry? Here’s what Cindy Fetty-Lawliss has to say about it.

“In my feed today
From the right: mass hysteria about Starbucks kicking out officers, Colin Kapernick telling Nike not to make the Betsy Ross shoes, and all the things that need to be boycotted based on these things
From the left: racism revolving around Disney movie character, Trump misspoke at 4th of July in a rediculous way, and all the reasons we need to be angry at Trump and white America.
Am I completely crazy, or is there something out there that wants us to be angry at each other all the time. I am calling propaganda on all of it. I’m tired of letting bots and ad space fuel my feelings. Someone is paying to make us mad. I’m not buying.”

I felt the need to add a comment.

“DING, DING, DING… We have a winner! You nailed it sister. Follow the money. Peace and love are better, but you know what they don’t generate? REVENUE. So the media knows their constituency and reports accordingly. An angry populace keeps watching. Watching increases ratings. Ratings drive advertising revenues. Advertising revenues equal MONEY AND MONEY IS POWER at least in their world! They gain wealth, power and authority by keeping us at each other’s throats and as a result they cannot (with some exceptions) be trusted. Big media is bad, social media is worse, because too often we share things ad infinitum without considering whether or not they’re true. (“You shall not bear false witness, remember?) What should we do instead? It’s nose to the grindstone time. It’s speak the truth in love time. It’s love your neighbor time and dare I say it, it’s SPREAD THE GOSPEL TIME! Thanks for posting this!”

Brothers and sisters, as followers of Jesus, we are in the “truth business,” especially since God has given us gifts that are often related to communication. It is our job to speak that truth in love. Not trying to anger others, not trying to win others to our side, but speaking the truth. If the truth offends, that is really the problem of the offended, unless we are saying it in such a way as to be deliberately offensive. One of the great ways to check yourself is with a few questions, such as:

• As I share this, do I have the person’s best interests at heart?
• Do I care about them and am I trying to genuinely help them?
• Am I treating this person like I would if I knew Jesus was watching/reading and would He be pleased? (Because He is watching/reading.)

Friends there are a lot of things in this world that need a comment, and more than a few on which we should take a stand, but which stand. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the eternal thing and a good eternity requires Jesus. Will your action, post, comment or creation bring someone closer to Jesus or drive them further away?

Keep the main thing, the main thing?


I’ve just returned from my denomination’s annual conference. This year we put aside all new business, and spent our time apart from the contentious issues that threaten to tear us apart and instead focusing on finding a vision that can bring us together. It was a valiant effort and next year’s conference will reveal the conclusion and probably whether or not we remain in tact. I thought this conference was by far the most positive and productive one I have attended, but there’s still a problem and I had a hard time putting my finger on it until I was reminded of this song.

Sometimes I think gathering together to vote on what we should do is the ultimate in hubris, patterning the church after our government as if that is working so well for the government. I hear people say that our conference is the highest decision making authority in our denomination, and if that is the case, that is the problem. Roberts’ Rules and simple and two thirds majorities are human constructs. Brothers and sisters, God’s people must follow God, even if they follow Him alone.

Our opinions and documents and statements, and for that matter, our churches and ministries are pointless and meaningless unless they follow God and His Word. Remember what it’s all about.

A man dying on the cross saving the world,
rising from the dead, doing what He said He would do.

Work to honor Him and stand for Him, even if you stand alone.


It seems there is always a tension between art and commerce, the legend of the starving artist, stokes this. To make money from your art is seen as selling out, and this is only compounded when faith is thrown into the mix. I hear so many ministries saying things like they will not sell the Gospel or they don’t let money get in the way of the Gospel. I’ve said it too at times and when I said it, I meant it. I truly desire more than anything for the Gospel to go forth, but here’s the thing—nothing is free, and we creatives had better learn this lesson.

I’ll say it again nothing is free. Maybe it’s not quite true. When I create something and someone displays it on their wall, everyone who sees it, sees it for free. I post this blog and you can read it for free (though I did sacrifice some free time to generate it).There have also been times when I will waive my fee and walk away without a check, but again please understand, just because I felt led to give something away and/or donate my services does not mean it was free. It means I paid for it and gave it as a gift. It means my family paid for it in time away from me and resources I diverted from them into my gift. My church allowed me to be away for the time it took me to do what I do, and while I no doubt end up making up that time in other ways, the income I receive from my other efforts, provides for the things I do charitably. I do this willingly, but I can’t do it every time and neither can you. Nothing is free.

If you’re one of those people who has forked out your hard earned money to bring me in, thank you. I love that you have placed the faith in me to put me in front of your people and I take that responsibility extremely seriously. I pray that God has blessed you through me. If you’re one of the people who have received something for free, please know I love and appreciate you as well. This is not meant to be any sort of complaint. What it is, is a reminder to my artist friends that the workman is worthy of his hire. When you give your services away, do it because you feel led by the Lord, not because you worry someone will say “You’re only in it for the money.” Some may also try, “well you need to trust the Lord to provide.” He does provide and He has provided for me both often and occasionally even miraculously, but the way He has most often provided was by leading people to pay for what I do.

Lastly, I know there is someone out there who is thinking, “Hey wait, salvation is free.” Respectfully to think that is to totally misunderstand your faith. Yes, your salvation through faith in Christ is God’s gift to you, but please remember, Jesus paid a high price to give you that gift.

Nothing is free.


Two of my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I had heard of their writer’s group at Oxford, but I had no idea how influential this group, the Inklings, were on each other. Diana Pavlac Glyer, through 40 years of research allows us to be those proverbial flies on the wall in this amazing gathering of great authors, in her book, Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings. This book is amazingly impressive. Here’s an example.

As a Tolkien fan, I have always loved The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Then one day I decided I wanted to read more. I found a book called The Silmarillion. I thought surely this book would become another favorite of mine. While I appreciated it as a piece of art and a way of gathering more insights behind my favorite books, but I found it hard to follow and at times really over detailed. I was surprised to read this book, and not the more successful LOTR, was Tolkien’s heart. The Silmarillion was published posthumously in 1977, having been compiled and completed by Tolkien’s son, Christopher, himself a member of the Inklings. What I began to see was the influences that Lewis and others had on LOTR and I began to wonder if Tolkien had not had these collaborators who helped him to refine what became LOTR, and if he had written it similarly to Silmarillion, would it have become the classic that so many know and love? While I can’t answer that question for sure, I do know it was the pressure from the Inklings that got Tolkien to finish LOTR. This is just one example. There are many more throughout the pages of this very readable and yet scholarly book.

After discussing the Inklings in great length and detail, Pavlac Glyer turns the corner and gives very helpful advice on how to start ones own Inkling group. I think I am going to try to do this. Besides being a great book on some of my favorite authors, there is a recurring theme of the book that was so appealing to me. It states, “Creativity Thrives in Community.” I think I can use a little more creative community in my life, how about you? Pick this book up!