Archive for August, 2021

I created this reader’s theater version of the story of the raising of Jairus’ Daughter from Mark 5.

What If?

Posted: August 30, 2021 in Uncategorized

Marvel Studios has a new show out on Disney + where they ask hypothetical questions about what would have happened if story lines went different ways. It’s a fascinating premise, but online several ministry groups have take to applying the question to stories from God’s Word. I have to admit it’s a fascinating concept. Of course we’ve been playing this game for millennia in the church. What’s would have happened if Adam and Eve had not fallen into sin? The quick and easy answer is we would be living in the garden, blissfully naked, super healthy and living in peace and tranquility with our God. This is both true and arrogant. It’s true because if sin had never entered into the world, humanity would have been able to remain in Eden. It’s arrogant because what that line of thought presupposes is that we personally would have somehow done better than our first parents and continued to be sinless. I find that very hard to believe. After all there were only two people in the world when sin knocked us for a loop. I would have to imagine the odds of someone falling into sin would have to have gone up exponentially with each new addition to the population.

One of my favorites is “What if Jesus had told us when He was coming back?” On the surface it would seem like this would have been great information to know. We think, If He had told us, we would be able to prepare. I think one of God’s greatest acts of mercy is the fact that he didn’t tell us. After all, how do you handle a deadline? Maybe you’re one of those wonderful organized people, who plans ahead and reaches their deadlines. Most of us wait til the last minute and then tell ourselves the lie that we work best under pressure. The truth is if humanity would know the day and hour of His return they would have procrastinated for so long and fallen so deep into sin that we would have destroyed ourselves long ago.

A few have even asked “What would have happened if Jesus hadn’t died for us?” or even “What would have happened if Jesus had n ever been resurrected?” I’m tempted to go onto a whole lot of eschatological rabbit trails, but I am going to resist that temptation and go with the simple truth. If Jesus hadn’t died for us, we would still be lost forever. Every death would have resulted in eternity in hell, because every single person is someone who fell short of the glory of God. The death of Jesus Christ is the single most important death in the history of the Universe. You might even say it is the death to end all deaths, because when we place our faith hope and trust in Him, death is merely a transition to a new and better address. To be clear I also believe that His life is the most important life, because imagine what this world would be like without the influence of His example. I shudder at the thought. But what if He had not been resurrected? I don’t have to enter into supposition here. The Apostle Paul laid it out for us plainly. 1 Corinthians 5:

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Playing “What if?” can be fun and even thought provoking and informative, but before you play what if with the Word of God, remember Scripture interprets Scripture. We don’t have to play “What if?” God’s Word has the answer!

Talitha Koum is an Aramaic phrase that means, “Little Girl, I say to you, get up.” Jesus used the phrase on a little girl, but there was one catch. At the moment Jesus said it, the little girl was dead. As He spoke, she came back to life. It was a miracle, but there is so much we can learn in this story that applies to our lives. Listen to the message to find out more.

You Are Creative…

Posted: August 28, 2021 in Uncategorized

This is another graphic for my upcoming course. Nearly every time I have done a creative ministry workshop, one of the main objections I get from the people in the “audience” is that they are not creative, to the point where I usually end up trying to convince people they are creative and giving them permission to be creative before we can really get started. Anticipating those objections will arise in this course as well I have decided to address them near the beginning. Let’s start with you. Whether you know it or not, you are creative. Creativity is not exclusive to the arts. Creativity simply put, is problem solving. If you’ve ever solved a problem, you have been creative. Own your creativity and create.


Posted: August 27, 2021 in Uncategorized

I’m working on a few graphics for an upcoming video course and I have decided that at least part of it will deal with failure. The reason for this is really simple. If we are going to be involved in creative ministry, sooner or later, we will deal with failure, at least as our minds comprehend it. When we try something new, we will fail. It’s inevitable. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say it’s necessary. Rather than treating failure as something fearsome, we should take the scientific view, where we realize we don’t know what we don’t know, so when we have a struggle or a failure, we need to look at what we learned from the failure, make improvements and try again. This is especially important for church leaders. Churches can have a low tolerance for failure, and so if we are entrusting our people with trying new things we may also need to run interference for them as they struggle to find their niche. For artists we need to accept the fact that not everything we do is going to be a hit the first time we try it, and treat failure as a learning experience. Basically we need to learn to spur each other on while we find our way. Let’s face it, Nothing we do in service to the Lord and in obedience is truly failure. We simply need to pray, trust and obey.

The most important book for Christian creatives is the Bible. What might be the second most is a book by Erwin Raphael McManus called The Artisan Soul. It’s definitely the second most highlighted book I’ve read. It has so much wisdom in it. I particularly loved this quote.

“If we work hard enough, hard work will eventually be mistaken for talent. And if we refuse to give up, perseverance will eventually be mistaken for greatness.”

McManus is not negating the importance of talent, but what he is doing is stating what cannot afford to be overlooked. Talent will only take you so far, hard work is key. He also says “Potential is what talent looks like when it is undisciplined.” If we really want to succeed even in our areas of greatest ability, we have to do the work!

Furthering the Gospel

Posted: August 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

Today I was out on my prayer walk, just trying to sort out what’s going on, what I should be doing and not be doing, how can I better lead my congregation and be the best pastor I can be and on and on. Yes, it was that kind of morning. I was fretting over some struggles I am having and over the condition of our world and that’s when it hit me. I’ve been running around this mountain for quite some time, and in truth this is nothing new, it just sort of came into focus for me. It’s the Gospel. 

I wasn’t called to politics. I was called to the church. I wasn’t called to change minds with my superior intellect, which is good because I’m not sure I have that. What I was called to do was to communicate a simple truth about a God who loves and a Savior who died and rose again. I was called to share the message of Jesus and to trust that from that point, the Holy Spirit would do His work on hearts and minds. This led me to a simple prayer. “May everything I do be for the furtherance of the Gospel.” 

Now I’ll admit when that first hit me, I wanted to put qualifiers on it. Like “May everything I do in my church” or “in my ministry” but none of those qualifiers felt right. But what if I loved my family for the furtherance of the Gospel. That I lived such a good, God glorifying family life that people saw it and wanted to emulate it in their own lives, would that further the Gospel, I think it would. In my art work does that mean all my pieces have to be about Jesus? Not necessarily. What if I created the work I create to open doors to the Gospel? More than that, what if I asked God to amp up my creativity so more or my work furthered the Gospel both directly and indirectly? Think about it. There are a lot of ways to future the Gospel with my life. Exercising strengthens me physically which will give me more stamina to do the work of the Gospel. My reading and studying of course can further the Gospel. 

What if I was more careful with how I use my time? What if I looked more at how I use my leisure time? Could my hobbies be used to further the Gospel, or do I need to change what I do to unwind? Am I eating well and getting enough rest? This is the only body I get and this life is my one chance to further the Gospel. So this is my prayer. “May everything I do be for the furtherance of the Gospel.” That’s my prayer. What’s yours?

Praying the Scriptures…

Posted: August 24, 2021 in Uncategorized

Confronted by the presence of God, this is my prayer…

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

After being cleansed by the Lord, the Lord asked the question:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” This is my prayer (Isaiah 6:5,8)

Few passages leave me undone like this one does. In the presence of the Lord, Isaiah is broken down. He sees his sin and the sin of his people. He knows that we are all hopeless without the Lord and that the need is dire, but who is he to say anything, for he too was a sinful, broken man—a man like me. Still he has seen the light and kn ws there is something more and so when the Lord calls, in utter humility, Isaiah stands up and and says, “Here am I. Send me.” In understanding of his total insufficiency, Isaiah chooses to walk forward pointing to the One who is all sufficient.

Today my prayer is that I may stand in Christ and do the same.

How would you express this passage?

Iron Sharpens Iron

Posted: August 23, 2021 in Uncategorized

Proverbs 27:17 As  iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. I love this verse and the principle behind it, especially as it refers to creative ministry. Today, if everything goes according to plan, my creative ministry mastermind group will meet via Zoom. So far it has been such a rewarding experience. We talk art, we talk ministry and we spur each other on as we try to walk out God’s call for our lives and our creativity. It’s always a good time. Let’s face it, while I am convinced there are many more of us out there than we think, it’s not always that easy to find people who understand. Artists don’t always get the ministry aspect of life and ministry folks don’t always understand the artist aspect of life. It is so nice to gather with people who already get both sides of the coin. Not only that, but we can hear each other’s stories and ideas and see clear connections that sometimes the others in the group don’t see, while at the same time we can hear about other’s projects and opportunities and consider new possibilities for our own gifts. I’m also really hoping that these connections will spawn collaborations. For me, my favorite thing is to just be able to connect and to have a few other people with whom I can walk out this journey.

So how about you? Who do you connect with and how? Artists often lead solitary existences. I am convinced that whole there is a time for solitude in the creative process, none of us were meant to spend our lives in isolation. Who helps you to keep your skills and your life sharp? It’s worth considering. If you’d like to create your own mastermind group, I would be glad to give you advice to get you started.

Today’s Message August 22

Posted: August 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

I call this one How Evil Works. It’s based on the account of the Geresene demoniac from Luke 8.