Archive for March, 2021

Palm Sunday Message

Posted: March 31, 2021 in Uncategorized

I decided to share the video for my Palm Sunday Message today. There was something I saw in preparing this message that I don’t think I ever noticed before. Did you ever wonder how the people went from “Hosanna” on Sunday to “Crucify” on Friday. I think it all has to do with expectations. When the people thought Jesus was going to rise up against Rome and make them happy and prosperous, they shouted “Hosanna!” When they realized He was going to do what Scripture said He would do, their cry became “Crucify!” I believe this still happens with some people at “conversion.” They seem to think coming to Christ is the easy way to an easy life, and when they discover the truth that following Jesus is no guarantee of ease and material prosperity, they fall away. The people went from Hosanna to crucify because they didn’t know Jesus as He is expressed in God’s Word. How well do we know Jesus as He is expressed in God’s Word?

Over at my Facebook Page The Daily Creative, I’ve been giving people creative encouragement to begin working on a book. Did you know the average non-fiction book comes in at around 50,000 words? That may seem like a huge undertaking, and it intimidates many, but if you write just 500 words a day, about the length of a normal blog post, you can have a good first draft of a book in just over three months. Here’s a challenge to get your thoughts moving in the right direction.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. “They” are wrong. Oh it’s a good sentiment and it works with people, but with books, unless you’re a famous author (and if you are they are going by your name, which I might point out is on the cover) the cover is what sells your book. Illustration and design are important, but before you even get to that step, you need a compelling title. This also applies to things like blog posts and more. So the project today, even if you’re not working on a book is to think up a topic and create ten compelling titles that would get you to read further.

One of the things that I have found really concerning in recent years is how much of the church opposes the Gospel. I’m sorry, there is no nicer way to say it. They care more about public acclaim than they do about truth. They try to make the Gospel fit the culture, rather than letting the Gospel mold the culture. Stand for the truth of God’s Word and it’s just as likely that the rock thrown at your head will be thrown by someone in the “church” as by any hardened atheist. Jesus said the one who loves me will obey me. (John 14:21-23) 

Here’s the thing, committed Christians will all run afoul of the culture. Jesus warned us of this very thing. We need to speak the truth in love, humbly remembering where we were when Jesus saved us. We need to do the things that Jesus did and we need to speak the truth. We need to understand that redefining sin to please the culture serves absolutely no one, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. We need to teach about love and grace, but we also need to teach about sin and repentance. We need to be both truthful and loving. The boundary on all teaching is God’s Word and the Church needs to honor that. 

I am starting to think there is a real need for evangelists to work within the church. After all, there is nothing adder than lost people who think they’re found. God could not have been clearer. Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone and Jesus is the only way to the Father. Revival starts in the house of God.  

The Next Billy

Posted: March 28, 2021 in Uncategorized

I bought a new van in October. It came with a free year of Sirius XM radio. One day while I was seeking a station, I stumbled on the Billy Graham Channel. Wall to wall 24 hours a day of messages from America’s Pastor Billy Graham. I have to admit, I am pretty hooked. This man could preach. He spoke with power and authority and he shared the Gospel completely unashamed. Some of these messages from his radio program, but many of them are recordings from stadiums all over the world, there thousands came each night of the crusades, sometimes for weeks on end to hear the Gospel and multitudes came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Every time I hear those first strains of Just As I Am (the bumper between the programs) it chokes me up a little. And it makes me wonder, who will be the next Billy.

It’s about now that I hear the naysayers. “That was for another time. It wouldn’t work today.” I think that’s a crock. I think there is still room for the Gospel and the fact that people are no longer receptive to the Gospel (if that is the case, and I, for one, reject that), is reflective of the great commission becoming the great omission. Somewhere out there is a leader who will rise and take the mantel. Somewhere out there is someone who will go to the highways, and even the arenas. The time cannot have passed for this. The Gospel is more needed than ever. Yes I know it appears we live in the time when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, and perhaps that is even the case, but among them are multitudes who are wandering around lost and looking for hope, and that hope is still located where it has always been, in Jesus Christ. Who will go to them? Who will speak the truth to this next generation. Listen to Billy some time. Oh he’s fiery and powerful but if you listen to what He says. It’s not overcomplicated. It’s one message, and it’s the simple truth. Come to Jesus and be saved. Someone needs to fill the role. Is it you?

Is it me? It almost feels weird to say that. It definitely smacks of a lack of humility. That’s not at all what this is. This is what happens when I see the lostness in our world. This is what happens when I see the hopelessness and the lies that are being perpetrated against humanity. Someone needs to bring the simple truth.  Don’t get caught up in the bigness of it all, God controls that. Just be faithful every day and speak God’s truth in His love. Who is the next Billy? Who knows? Oh wait, God does. Maybe we should make this our prayer. Lord please send him and in the mean time use me wherever you put me. Help me to share the love of Jesus with as many as you would have me reach. Work on my heart and give me a vision of heaven and a burden for all those who will never see it unless they hear your Gospel.  

Imagine the Colors

Posted: March 27, 2021 in Uncategorized

My mother-in-law’s passing has really put heaven on my mind. This is not at all surprising, after all Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” For that matter many of the revival messages I did last week had me looking at the span of time from creation to the new heavens and the new earth. Regardless of what triggered it, I’m spending a lot of time with my head in heaven these days, and of course that brings me to the Mantis Shrimp.

I know, “WHAT?” Let me explain. The Mantis Shrimp is the perfect oxymoron. It’s a very large shrimp, about 18 inches long and if we went into all it’s skills you would find it a little terrifying, but there is also something extremely magnificent about it. First off its body is one of the most colorful things found in nature.The Mantis Shrimp is covered by virtually every color of the rainbow in shining iridescence, but what’s really remarkable are its eyes. Your dog or cat, deer and many other mammals have two color receptors in their eyes. With those they can see into the blue and yellow spectrum but mainly they see black and white. Humans who are not color blind have three receptors. With these we can see all the amazing colors we witness every day. Butterflies have five receptors. This allows them too see all the colors we can see as well as infra red and ultra violet. This allows them to see things like temperature, which is a very handy survival mechanism. The Mantis Shrimp has 15. As I am fond of saying, the Mantis Shrimp can see colors only God can see, which led me to a question. If a creature was created that can see past the known spectrum, than those colors must exist. If the Mantis Shrimp can see these colors, then clearly those colors must exist. Do you think one day in our resurrected state, we will be able to see colors that now we can’t even imagine? To me it boggles the mind and it gets me thinking about heaven. 

What will we see there that we cannot see here? Of course we don’t know, but once again it puts a fire in my belly to share the Gospel, because I know that it will be amazing, and I want everyone I love to see it with me. Imagine the colors. 

Abstract Concepts in Art

Posted: March 26, 2021 in Uncategorized

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That is so true especially when we speak of abstract concepts that are not easily defined. Think about love. What is love? How would you define it? How would you express it? Define it verbally and the words fail to capture the essence, but show me a picture of a man and a woman looking each other in the eye, or a smiling mother holding her baby and love becomes apparent. 

So think of these concepts, How would you express them?

  • Virtually any emotion
  • Faithfulness
  • Loyalty
  • Grace
  • Patience
  • Joy
  • Vanity
  • Sin
  • Vulerability
  • Weakness
  • Imagination
  • Talent

One thing I would suggest is you start with prayer, then look at all the Bible has to say on the topic and create an expression of the concept. Take this on and try it for yourself and as always share a link to your work in the comments/ I’d love to see what you do with this one.

Easter/Resurrection Sunday

Posted: March 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

We’re about two weeks from what is the most important day of the year for Christians, Easter Sunday. Now I know Christmas is more popular by far than Easter, and Easters meaning tends to get lost in bunnies, and chicks and eggs and chocolate, but the truth is. The purpose of Christmas is God Friday and the purpose of Good Friday is Easter. Easter is the day we celebrate an empty tomb and a risen Lord. It is the say we celebrate Christ’s victory over hell and death and the grave. In the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, we look forward to our own resurrection, when we will be made complete and perfect forever. 

Yes Easter is tremendously important, and since most of us missed Easter Worship in person worship last year due to COVID, what are you going to do to make this easter extra special for your congregation. I want to try to create a new painting project that will sum up the meaning of the day to go with my Easter message. How will you use your creative gifts to tell your church and the world beyond about the risen Lord. I’m working on a few ideas but I would love to see what you have come up with. 

Jesus is risen. Let’s celebrate and the best way to celebrate the resurrection is to be found faithful helloing people to find Jesus and their redemption in Him. How will you express the risen Lord? 

Paying Tribute…

Posted: March 24, 2021 in Uncategorized

I’ve ended up having two funerals in the last two days. Yesterday I was the officiant at my mother-in-law’s funeral service. Thinking about all the ways this wonderful woman touched and blessed my life is really hard to comprehend. She passed at age 94. She was the mother of eight, had 23 grandchildren, 39 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild and counting. She was a wonderful prayer warrior who had a prayer list that took at least an hour to get through, plus she would watch the cars go by her house and pray for all who passed as well. She and my father in law were instrumental in me finding my way into the ministry and it was at least in part their influence that helped me to find a faith I wanted for myself. She was a wonderful person, with a quiet strength and a faith stronger than death. She was the best mother in law a guy could ask for and I will miss her very much.

Today I attended the viewing of another person who influenced me greatly. His name was Joe McCarthy. He passed away at 89 years old. Joe was a Korean War veteran with three Purple Hearts. He was also my scoutmaster for my entire time in Boy Scouts. He was a different kind of scoutmaster. He was less interested in us getting ranks and merit badges, as he was in helping us to be good men. We had to work to earn things like camps and other trips and his motto which was on every poster for all of our events was something left over from the military, FBSM which stood for Flood, Blood, S____ or Mud. Basically it meant if we said we were going to do something, we would do it or die trying. We would collect newspapers throughout the town and sell them to the recycling center to pay for our trips. Once when the paper prices were low, he held them in his garage until the price went up. By the they were stacked to the roof and we needed a dump truck to get them to the mill. He was a guy who gave up a lot of his time and effort to give us great experiences. He would take us to scout camp at the beach, rather than the camp that was nearby. He taught us how to build things by lashing logs together, including a forty foot tall observation tower we built entirely out of logs and twine, and took to the scout jamboree. I remember the first attempt to get it there was roof topped on his Rambler station wagon. I’m still not sure how he thought that would work. When that didn’t work he secured another truck. Most people would have given up after the Rambler incident, but once again FBSM was in play and our tower made the front page of the paper. Joe was a great guy who I valued very highly. He will be missed. Joe was one of the good guys.

I am grateful to God that He put both of these wonderful people in my life. Even long lives seem too short sometimes.

Contextualizing the Gospel

Posted: March 23, 2021 in Uncategorized

This week I will be writing my sermon for Palm Sunday. One of the things I really love to is to help my congregation relate to the passage at hand. Bible passages, especially familiar ones like this one, sometimes run the risk of becoming taken for granted. That is we hear the story so often that we forget that there was a time when real people lived this in real time. One way to help people to get it is to contextualize the Gospel.

Take for example how the disciples accessed the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem. All four Gospels record what theologians call the Triumphal Entry, with the synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) sharing the most detail surrounding the acquisition of the donkey, with Mark being arguably the most detailed, so let’s start there.

Mark 11:1-6 says: “As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.

It’s a very familiar story, right? But it’s almost matter of fact. Jesus told them what to do, they found everything just as he said, did what he said and everything worked out perfectly, just as he said. That’s all good and it’s true, but have you ever thought to put yourself in the disciple’s shoes. Let me contextualize the passage for you now.

What I will say to my congregation is something to the effect of, “Suppose I looked out at you this morning and told you, right after the service, I want one of you to go over to the Giant grocery store on route 309. When you get there, you will find a yellow smart car with the keys in it. I want you to go and get that car and bring it to me, and if anyone asks you why you’re taking the car, just tell them Pastor Dave needs it and they will send it with you straight away.”

I will then ask the question, “Who is going to get me the car?” All of the sudden this story takes on a new reality. People start to think about what it must have been like for the disciples to follow through on the Lord command. They start to see the level of trust they had to have in Jesus. With this information, people start to understand the risk that was involved. Let’s take it further.

I will say something like “Now imagine while you’re there, essentially committing grand theft auto, someone stops you and asks you why you are taking their car, you tell them, you’re bringing it for me, so they let you go and you bring me the car.” Now of course not all the things correlate exactly. For starters, I’m not Jesus, but in their society it could be argues that He and I hold similar roles, since the majority of the people did not assume he was divine, but that He was a religious teacher, a rabbi. That being said, this story helps them to see his divinity. Not only did He tell them what to do and what they would find, but he told them the reactions of the people around them and told theme exactly what would happen in advance. In this they see the power of God manifested in Jesus.

Now you might wonder why I picked a Smart car. It was the smallest car I could think of and that is sort of the point of the donkey’s colt. When a king came into a city to conquer, they would ride in on an impressive stallion, but if a king came in peace, He would ride in on something that would be tiny and useless in battle. The donkey’s colt was the fulfillment of prophecy, but it was also something the people should have understood that they clearly did not, I would argue because they willfully chose to overlook it. When Jesus rode that donkey through the streets, the people shouted “Hosanna,” and the expectation was clear. Jesus was going to come in and overthrow Rome and put them into political power. The donkey should have shown otherwise. Jesus didn’t come to overthrow Rome. His battle was not with flesh and blood (people) but with the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Jesus didn’t come to overthrow the Romans, he came to overthrow hell and death and the grave. When the people realized that He was not going to give them what they wanted, power and prestige, “Hosanna became Crucify!” If he had wanted to overthrow Rome, he would have rode into town in a Hummer or a Tank, instead he brought the Smart Car of their time, a donkey’s colt. The people of Jesus’ day missed the reference. Let’s make sure our congregations don’t miss it!

Behind but Catching Up

Posted: March 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

The last few days have been a bit on the busy side. I preached four days of Revivals starting on the 14th of March. I arrived home on the 18th and that evening my mother in law passed away. The next day we planned her service and it was decided that I would officiate the service. Sunday, I preached at church and afterwards, I officiated a wedding. Monday was spent in preparation for the Funeral service which leads to the funeral on Tuesday March 23. I am posting this for March 22, so I can keep my goal of having 365 posts this year. Why do I share all this? Partly to explain how I missed posting, but mostly because I want you to see something important about goals.

It would be really easy for me to say, I was just too busy and move on. That might even be the right thing to do in this case, but here’s the thing. This has happened before and it became something of an excuse. I looked at the goal, and said well I blew it now. I might as well give up and go back to posting sporadically. I’ve done that before. Here’s the thing. Busyness is a reality of life in this world, and there will be times when we miss our goals and our deadlines and that point we have a choice. We can give up or we can catch up. I’d rather catch up.

There is also the temptation to think, “Well only a few people hit this site anyway. What difference does it make?” All that is is negativity. It’s true. My audience is not huge, but what about you? After all, you took the time to come here and read this, and I appreciate that more than you will ever know. I harbor no illusions that this site is huge or even that it will ever necessarily be huge. I know this is a niche site. Not everyone is interested in creative arts ministry, but some are, (like you), and I know that the Lord can do amazing things through small groups of people and even individuals. So today I catch up, because you are worth it to me, and I can’t wait to see what you will do and more importantly what God will do through you.