Archive for May, 2021

If you see some of my work, it might cause you to ask questions. I do a lot of what is called low brow art. I didn’t create this title. It was applied to my earliest influences in the art world. It all started with frequent trips to this massive flea market/auction with my grandmother. She would take me around to all the shops, and we would usually stop at one of the toy shops where she would let me pick out a model kit or something else to create. Near this shop, was a T-shirt shop. This was in the sixties and seventies when they used transfers and all the transfers would hang on the walls. There were all these pictures of cars with huge tires doing wild burnouts and they often had these huge creatures popping through the roof grabbing huge shifter. The images were always extremely colorful and I was hooked. As I grew, I discovered that I liked to draw the creatures more than the cars. There was never any darkness to it for me. I just liked to create things that didn’t exist in the real world. All these years later, I still do. Then I had a problem…

I became a Christian, and I wondered if the things I was creating could fit into my new life. Was there a place for a guy who liked to draw creatures in the Kingdom. It was around this same time that I became aware that my drive to become a professional artist was becoming something of an idol in my life. For a time I laid it down and it was during that time that I felt the call to ministry. Eventually I felt led to use art in my ministry, and of course I still do that and love it, but still there was no real space for the creatures. Then one day I was asked to preach at my friends King James only church, I was going to preach on 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ He is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come. I have always related to this verse because it shows what happened in my life when Jesus transformed me. Having to work with the King James for this message, I discovered that the verse ways new creature instead of new creation. This brought me to a question. Could I use this talent I have for creating weird creatures as a way of connecting with others and building relationships and possibly even communicating the Gospel. I decided to give it a try. I know it looks like random weirdness, but there is a method to my madness.

How might God use your art to connect others to Himself.

Today’s Message

Posted: May 30, 2021 in Uncategorized

This week we finish up looking at the Sermon on the Mount. The very last words of the passage speak to how the people were amazed at Jesus teaching because He spoke as one with authority. Knowing who He is, that should not be amazing, but the implications of Jesus speaking with authority tell us a lot about how we should be living in this world.

Can politics or politicians change the world for the better? I kind of think if they could they would have done it already?

Can I change hearts and minds by my words and my wisdom, alone? Maybe in small ways, but I doubt it.

Will anyone’s mind really be changed on any of the issues that are threatening our world by persuasive arguments? That rarely ever happens.

Will a meme or a social media post or even a blog post such as this one really be effective at turning back the darkness? I suppose it could happen, but more than likely it will only serve to further polarize.

What I am seeing over and over again is failure and frustration brought about by the best efforts of men.

I’m reminded of Andy Andrews’ saying that “You are where you are as a result of your “best thinking!”

He’s right and it all seems really hopeless, but it’s not.

You see there is a force for good, a way of thinking and of life that truly does change lives and change people.

It’s the Gospel—The good news of Jesus Christ! It’s not just simple human wisdom, though it is wisdom from the source of all wisdom. It is empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. It changes hearts and minds and lives. It has the power to transform people and transformed people transform society, but it’s more than that. The Gospel has the power to transform eternity. Friends we look to everything else, in hopes that humanity will miraculously fix itself. We hear things like follow your heart, which sounds like great advice, except for one thing—Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (NLT)” If that is the case, and I believe it is, even following your heart is not going to get it done. We need to submit to the heart of God and follow His heart, and His heart is best expressed in the Gospel. It seems we’ve tried everything else. Maybe it’s time we try the Gospel.

Use your God given creativity to take the unchanging message of the Gospel to an ever changing world. How about if we changed the world in a positive way for a change?

Changed hearts change lives, changed lives change the world. The Gospel changed hearts.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”

Check out this song for a little inspiration.


Posted: May 28, 2021 in Uncategorized

A friend of mine who is a strong believer and a strong preacher posted something about the authority of Scripture in a denominational Facebook group for our denomination. As a result of that post, he had a new charge leveled at him. He was accused of “bibliolatry.” My computer doesn’t autocorrect it, so I will assume this is not just something someone recently made up, but my first thought was, “What fresh hell is this?”

Now I’m smart enough to break the word down, bibliolatry is idolatry to the Bible. I suppose that is a possibility, after all people have found ways to corrupt virtually everything under the sun, but we had better be careful with this one. When Jesus preached, there were several times where the people were amazed at His teaching because He “taught as One with authority.” This seems so blatantly obvious. Of course, He taught as One with authority. He is the supreme authority. As a matter of fact, He is the author, both of the “book” and of life itself. He taught as One with authority, which means His teaching (and His Word) are authoritative. The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Jesus Himself reminds us in Matthew 7:24 that  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…” and just a few verses later, we read the premise of this post. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Matthew 7:28-29

The point is really simple. The Bible and it’s teachings are authoritative and foundational to life. They do not change like the shifting sand of culture. They are rock solid and we can build our lives on them, lives that will not be knocked down by the storms of life, but there’s more. Jesus tells us, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” I’m relatively sure there are people out there who could commit idolatry with the Scripture, but following God’s authoritative Word is not idolatry, it’s God’s will.

One of the things I am really passionate about is youth ministry. I started off in ministry as a youth leader and Sunday school teacher and I feel very strongly about making sure the church sows into the next generation. I’m a senior pastor now, but I still do a fair amount of youth speaking and writing and I have many friends who are still actively in the trenches of youth ministry. As such, one of the things I do is participate in a few online youth ministry groups. One of the things that seems to come up a lot is people looking for ideas on games. I don’t have a problem with that, but lately I have been noticing that there is a lot of false teaching being supported in churches especially surrounding youth ministry and many people trying to bend the teachings of Scripture to the culture. This breaks my heart. The church should be the one place where kids can go to get truth. I’ve started to get concerned that we are becoming too “game centric” while neglecting important teaching, so one today I posed a question.

If tomorrow Jesus said “No more games,” how would you run your ministry?

Now to the groups credit, these people saw the question for what it was, and kept it very positive. It did my heart good to see all the thoughtful responses. There were a few who took issue with the idea of Jesus saying no more games as if I had this picture that Jesus is against fun. This was not my intent. I originally intended to say the pastor said it, but then I thought we might get better answers if we appealed to the highest authority right off the bat. The vast majority said games were something they did rarely or something they did for a specific application, which blessed me. I’m not anti-game, I just know how precious little time we get with our youth in the church and I long to see that time used as best as we can.

Here’s what’s been hitting me lately. Jesus was kind of a youth pastor. Many scholars believe that most of the 12 were teen to young adult. If this is the case, Jesus worked through 12 very young men to change the world. Are we going too light on our young people. Should we be taking them deeper and helping them to realize that God is calling them to something more than “fun and games.” How should we best use this time that we have been given? How can creative ministry help this process along? How can we help your young people to realize that they are not the church of the future, that they are both the church right now and the future of the church? How can we help them to find and use their gifts to the glory of God?

I find myself at a real disadvantage here. I was not involved in youth ministry as a youth because I was outside the church, so maybe I just don’t get the culture. I been to some camps that take student deep. Yes they have fun but they also demonstrate a real living faith and take the students deeper. This excites me tremendously. Then I go to other places and I get frustrated. We have people close in age to those first disciples singing the Superman grace (see below in case you missed this) before meals. Really? Is this how we want the next generation to approach the Father?

There’s got to be more than this, doesn’t there? We have this golden opportunity to help people make a real difference in the world. We have the chance to build into them and help them to become powerful, passionate disciples. How can we do better?

I wanted to let you all know I am going to be starting a virtual creative ministry mastermind group on Zoom. Interested in getting onboard? Email me and I will get you onboard. Looks like we will be doing Mondays during the day. It’s free. We’ll start off with a get to know you session, and get to know what the needs and expectations are, as well as doing some creative exercises. It should be a great time. Let me know.

This week’s sermon returned to the sermon on the mount and in particular we looked at Matthew 7:1-6 and one of the most misused verses in Scripture. “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged…” There’s a lot more to this passage than meets the eye. Check it out.

I Don’t Believe…

Posted: May 24, 2021 in Uncategorized

I don’t believe politics alone can change the world,

at least not for the better.

I don’t believe most of what’s on the news.

They even sensationalize the weather.

I don’t believe the truth needs our spin.

I don’t believe we can redefine sin.

I don’t believe in macro-evolution.

Making us unplanned, naked apes is hardly a solution.

I don’t believe every word I hear spoken.

I don’t believe alone we can fix what’s broken.

I don’t believe people are basically good.

Even the best people don’t do as they should.

I don’t believe that wrong is right.

I hope that soon we’ll see the light.

We’re broken and sinful, when left alone

and we can’t fix that on our own.

I do believe in Jesus Christ,

who came to be our sacrifice.

Through faith in Him we can be set free.

Through Him heaven is our destiny.

What we need for survival,

is a worldwide revival,

and a return to the teachings of the Bible.

I believe in this world who we need the most

is Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

I do believe in God above.

and that all hope is found in His perfect love.

Whether you preach or make art or in some other way communicate, one of the most important things you can do is know your audience. Now of course I am not talking about compromising the Gospel, but merely expressing the unchanging message of the Gospel in a way that will connect with them and in a way that they will understand. Case in point. Today I was working on a message series I will be doing in a few weeks at Haven Camp, at Delta Lake Bible Conference in Rome, NY. Haven Camp is a camp for adults with developmental disabilities. This camp is a highlight of my year each year, for a couple of reasons. First of all the people are just great, so full of love and kindness and just generally fun to be around. Also the camp and the staff are first rate, but one of the things I love most is the preparation to speak. You see this really keeps me on my game. These are not children, they are adults and want (and deserve) to be treated as such. At the same time, I have to communicate these messages in ways they are capable of understanding. This is tremendously helpful. I can’t get all scholarly and if I have to get into something a little more complex, I have to make sure that I am explaining it clearly and not just assuming everyone understands.

Think about it. This is a seriously helpful practice for speaking to any group. It makes me ask the questions, “Will everyone understand what I am talking about?” “Do my examples work in their world?” “Is any jargon explained?” If not, I need to break it down further. Maybe it’s because I feel a calling for the Lord to communicate the Gospel in a way everyone can understand, but I’ve been in too many places where it seems the presenter is trying to show me how smart they are. Can I be honest, Mr. or Miss Speaker. I don’t really care how smart you are. That is not the test of a great communicator. No for a communicator to be truly great, the audience needs to be smarter when they leave the room than they were when they came in. They need to understand what you were communicating, because the purpose of communication is to be understood, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Secondly, the audience needs to be engaged. They need to feel your passion for the material, and if you don’t have passion for the material, find something for which you do have passion. This is important for any communication, but it is essential for communicating the Gospel. Make sure your audience understands, no matter who they are, and then help them to find your subject as interesting as you do.

Back to the Crayons

Posted: May 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

I made another piece for my next presentation at the nursing home. I decided to keep it consistent with the last piece since they will be displayed together, so out came the crayons once again. This one is the lion of the tribe of Judah. I often do this in my painting presentations, but adding the crayon was kind of fun. That’s the thing about this exercise, it shows once again that you don’t need a lot of expensive supplies to make art. If you need to, you an go all the way back to the basics.