Archive for February, 2023

Read the Instructions…

Posted: February 24, 2023 in Uncategorized

As many of my know, I am an avid model builders. It is my hobby, my diversion and sometimes my creative block buster. Well the other day I was working on a kit and I had a problem that triggered some ideas that apply to both building models and to everyday life. I decided to share it to both my model building YouTube channel and to this blog. I hope it blesses you.

Some years ago a musician named Mark Schultz wrote a song called The Time That’s Left. It came out around the same time when a mild heat attack had me very introspective about how I was spending my life. It’s almost 20 years later, and I am still here and very grateful for the life that I’ve had from that point forward. God has really blessed me. Still the truth is, as I near 60 in a profession where I spend some of my time with people whose time is running out, and with the frequent visits I make to visit my father in the nursing home, mortality comes to mind quite often. Thank God through Jesus, I have immortality after the mortality. Still this life and how we invest it is of amazing importance.

So the other day I was at a thrift store looking at the books and I saw a copy of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Basically the gist of the story is a last lecture is something professors are called upon to do from time to time. It’s sort of that they imagine they are at the end of their lives and what would be the message they would want to share in their last lecture. Randy Pausch didn’t have to imagine. He had just received the news that he had pancreatic cancer and only had months to live, This book was not what I expected. I expected a transcript of the lecture. Instead what I got was a well written, and even better thought out treatise on what would you do with the time that’s left. In this author’s estimation Pausch spent his remaining days well. His was a short life but a life well spent. This book is humorous, touching and generally amazing. It is, in a way, a love letter to his wife and small children. It is a collection of wisdom and for a dying man, this book is incredibly joyful. He touches on his faith very briefly but does not go into detail, thinking instead of trying to bless people from a wide variety of faith perspectives. I’m not sure I would have. went that direction, but it’s not my memoir. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you get the chance, read it.

Abstraction Distraction…

Posted: February 22, 2023 in Uncategorized

I like abstract art. That being said, I’ve never really felt able to make abstract art. I have a hard time letting loose enough and giving up control. One day I hope to master it, but I feel a lot more comfortable with more representational art, probably because I use so much art for ministry and I feel like it is important to make work that shows things clearly, and that brings me to Damar Hamlin.

You remember him, the Buffalo Bills player who went into cardiac arrest after taking a hard shot to the chest in a playoff game. His injury sparked prayer not just on the field, but all over the world. He is now in the process of recovery and seems to be doing better, at least well enough to attend the Super Bowl and it was there that he caused something of an uproar. You see he wore a jacket that had an image of Christ on it and the image caused a lot of consternation and criticism. It said “Eternal” on the back, with an image of Christ on the cross and the face of Christ on the front. The image is what caused the problem. you see it’s very abstract, multiple eyes, multiple colored teeth and on and on. After all of that prayer, a lot of people took a lot of offense.

For his part, Hamlin says he didn’t see it this way and he says he meant no disrespect and that he wore it as a way of celebrating his faith and eternal life. For the record the coat does also say “Without beginning or end, there is no day or night…” which does really define eternal. Hamlin said “[it] is abstract art to me” and that “I am Eternally thankful to my Savior!” I believe him, not that anyone asked. In the course of my life, I’ve come to understand that symbols mean different things to different people. I’ve also come to realize that just as I take my faith very seriously, so do others. That’s the thing with abstract art, people read it in different ways and it appears Hamlin was misread. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and trust that he was trying to express his gratitude for eternal after a life threatening incident.

How to Get a Statue…

Posted: February 21, 2023 in Uncategorized

I’m not talking about buying one, anyone can save up and do that if they’re determined enough. I’m saying how can you make sure that someone creates and displays a statue of you. 

  1. Found something. Found a nation, a university, maybe even a company. Originators get statues.
  2. Be a hero. Help others. Come to the rescue. Stand for the less fortunate. Heroes get statues. 
  3. Be a leader. Stand up and lead people, preferably in the right direction. Leaders get statues. 
  4. Win a great battle. Battlefields are often filled with statues of the winners and/or those who fought valiantly. Statues go to the victorious. 
  5. Do something remarkable. Do something no one has ever done before or do something better than anyone else has ever done before. Remarkable people get statues. 
  6. Be inspirational. Live a life that inspires others to do great things. People make statues of inspirational people so they can keep on inspiring.  

Do any of these things, or several others, and do it well enough, and you just might get a statue. Of course there’s a better chance that you won’t, but then we’re not really supposed to be living for statues anyway. What if instead we did all that stuff with a different goal in mind? What if we lived the best most remarkable life we possibly could with no thought of being “immortalized” in granite or bronze and realized instead that our immortality is already guaranteed if we are in Christ Jesus. What if we made it the goal of our lives to live the best most God honoring life we can live for the sake of pointing others to the true immortality found in Jesus.

To quote a little known song that I heard a long time ago, so long that only one line sticks with me, but it was memorable. “Don’t carve your name in stone, leave it there on someone’s heart.” Better yet, point them to the name in which salvation is found, Jesus Christ.

“For the Lord…”

Posted: February 20, 2023 in Uncategorized

Pretend you’re a portrait artist. If you got the call tomorrow to do a portrait of the president (leave your politics out of this, I’m going somewhere with this), what would you do? Personally, if I were a portrait artist, which I’m not, I would take the job, and put my whole self into it. I would do the very best that I could to make a piece of work that is amazing. Why? (Come on, put those politics away) because this is a very important person. Secondly, this piece might be seen for hundreds of years by millions of people. Because of all of that, it would have to be my best work, my masterpiece. 

The thing is, you and I as artists do have a commission, for someone much more important than the president. The Lord has called you and I to create works to His glory, so that everyone who looks at the piece, whether that is ten or ten million, will see Him in it. 

Doing our best work is vital. Remember Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with al you heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance, from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving.

Message of the Week: Wait…

Posted: February 19, 2023 in Uncategorized

Tom Petty may have been on to something when he sang “The waiting is the hardest part…” Waiting is hard, but Isaiah 40:31 shows some pretty important benefits in waiting, at least when it comes to waiting on the Lord. This week we are going to look at some of the great “waiters” in the Bible to learn more.

When to Give Your Work Away…

Posted: February 18, 2023 in Uncategorized

I know my last two posts dealt wit the idea of “working for exposure” and giving work away for free. Even as I write them, and maybe this is because I am in ministry, but I can almost hear the complaints. “He’s only in this for the money.” Truth be known, if it was all about the money, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing, nor, I suspect, would you. I also would never want to give the impression that it is never okay to give your work away. As a matter of fact giving your work away for free can have a huge Kingdom impact. So when do you give your work away?

  1. When God tells you to.

If you feel led by the Lord to give a piece away. DO IT! (Full stop!)

2. When it supports your cause.

If God has made you passionate about a cause, use the abilities He has given you to support that cause.

3. When you believe in the cause.

Maybe it’s not your cause, but it’s something you believe in. If so, remember 1 Peter 4:10, “Each one should use whatever gifts he has to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 

4. When the other person can’t afford it.

Sometimes people need something that you can do but they can’t afford you. Doing the work anyway is a great way to show them support and love. 

5. When it’s a gift. 

More than once when I have been out ministering, a person has come up to me afterwards to tell me what the piece meant to them. If the piece is not previously spoken for, I will sometimes take it off the easel and give it to them. You should see their faces, but more that that, you should feel how it feels when God allows you speak into lives. Unexpected gifts can do great things. 

This is not an exhaustive list. There are many reasons to work for free or give your work away, number one being most important. The caution is that nothing but salvation is free. When you give something away, there is a cost. This is why I am cautionary about “work for exposure.”  Those who can afford your services, and who think enough of your work to want to use it, should also be willing to help you continue to do what you do. After all that’s how we get to keep on doing. 

It was probably the largest audience I ever had. I’m probably not a good judge of numbers but I’d estimate there were well over a thousand people in the room. It was for a non-profit ministry, and the person called me, they said “I am expecting you’ll do this for free.” I had no problem doing that because I believed in their cause, but the implication was clear. I’d get paid in exposure. And it was true, a lot of people got to see me do what I do. Well sort of. I had a whole three minutes in the program to do a large painting. That’s not enough time to do it right, and while I tried hard, it was less than stellar. 

The end result of my largest crowd ever, was not one booking and the tight time frame and other demands had me put a piece of work out there what was clearly not my best. 

That’s the thing, you have to be your own advocate. I’m not saying don’t work for free for causes you believe in. Please do that. Offer your time to God and trust Him to do with it what He will. That being said, you need to know if you can do a good job in the time you are given, and if you can’t it’s probably better to say no. I’m hoping my heart glorified God that day, because my work simply wasn’t good enough. Exposure is a two way street. 

The Super Bowl Half Time Show

Posted: February 16, 2023 in Uncategorized

If you came here expecting me to praise Rihanna or to slam her, you came to the wrong place. I’m not a big Rihanna fan, but again, to each his own and she probably doesn’t like to listen to long haired old men playing screaming guitars, either. No my complaint about the show is with the NFL, because to me they are playing the oldest scam in the artistic book.

“We’ll pay you in exposure.”

I did a little research, because I had heard the artists don’t get paid for the show. And that is untrue. While the NFL doesn’t pay the artist an “appearance fee,” they do get union scale for the appearance. Well that sounds better. Actually that amounts to about $1000. Now it was reported that the artists do get tremendous sales bumps, from appearing on the show, so I guess for them the exposure works, but let’s face it, none of these folks really needs the exposure. It just feels really hollow. 

Now don’t get me wrong, If someone told me they’d pay me a thousand dollars and my ministry would be seen by millions of people all over the world, I’d jump at the chance, even though I hate the “pay in exposure” model, but I’m an unknown, and I minister the Gospel, so the opportunity to have the eyes and ears of that many would be hard to pass up on. Still the NFL receives $6-$7 million dollars per commercial. Surely they could afford to do a little more. 

When someone says “I’ll pay you in exposure,” search your heart, and pray and discern whether or not the opportunity is from God, because unless it is, the exposure probably isn’t worth it. Sometimes it’s okay and even good to give your work away for free, and if you feel led to serve someone in that way, by all means do it, but when a person with means tells you they’ll pay you in exposure, it might just mean they don’t value you or your work enough to pay for it. 

“Art” That I HATE!

Posted: February 15, 2023 in Uncategorized

Let me start off by saying I take the word “hate” very seriously, and apply it to almost nothing. As a rule if I see a piece of art that doesn’t connect with me, I assume it’s not for me and I move on—beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all of that. I’m not a hateful person but there is an “art” display that travels the country going to museums all over the country, and every time I see an ad for it I get angry. 

It’s called Body Worlds

What kind of Josef Mengele BS is this? Imagine if I came on here and told you I decided to make a work of art out of a cadaver I obtained. Hopefully one or more of you would call the authorities and have me arrested. I’m sorry, no I guess I’m not. Who came up with the idea of taking a human body, skinning it out, posing it and putting it on display for the world to see. This is not a model. It’s a real human body or a real human being, someone that somebody loved. Someone who lived and grew up and died. To me it’s unconscionable if not pure evil. 

We’re not talking about medical research, where the dead are used to figure out how to save the living. That’s admirable. The fact that this is a display that travels the country to be seen in museums by children and others, shows the level of depravity to which we have sunk, not to mention the declining value of human life. Have I gone to see it? No, and I never will. I hate it. I’ve never been one for things like boycotts, but if we all avoided this one, maybe these people would finally get the decent burial they should have had a long time ago.