Archive for the ‘Scripture Visualized’ Category


At my church this year for advent, I wanted to address something that worries me, that, on the surface, sounds like it shouldn’t. I sometimes worry that we know the Christmas story too well. I know, right? You might be thinking, “Cry me a river, pastor. You think people might know a text too well.” Not exactly. What concerns me is that people know the story so well that they take it for granted, and cease to be blown away by how amazing the story actually is. I mean, this is the incarnation, God becomes a man and comes to earth, born a baby, to experience all of life as we do, set a perfect example, prepare the way for us to receive eternal life, teach us all that the Lord wants us to know and dying to secure the way to God for all who will believe. It’s a beautiful, nearly scandalous story that I never want to see people miss because they think they know it. So how to present this powerful story in a way that makes people really take it to heart? Well I got creative.

I started reading through the text, selected four people intimately involved in the story and really studied all that the Scripture says about them. This led to a series I called “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.” In the series I looked at four “men” (one of them was an angel, hence the quotes) and told the story as best I could, from their perspective as if I were them, dramatically. It was one of the most commented upon series I have ever done, but aside from that, it blessed me. I had to really delve into the story. I had to dig deep and I had to really put myself in their shoes, because I was going to quite literally put myself in their shoes. I had to think things like, “How would they have experienced this moment?” and “Would he really say that?” It was one of the most rewarding study experiences I have ever had.

The other thing was, I had no desire and felt no leading for costumes, but his would I get the people to forget it was me and imagine the person in question was speaking to them. I ended up doing what I do best, i.e., making art. I did a portrait of each of the people I was portraying and put them in the front of the sanctuary. Rather than speed painting these “live” since advent series’ tend to be very full, I took my time and painted them in my studio. This also ended up being a blessing, because I could really push myself artistically. I had a great time with this series, but that’s not why I share this. I share it to encourage you to take the familiar passages and find a different way to present them—a way that will be faithful to the text and yet creative enough to get people to see something they already know with fresh eyes. I believe God gave us our creative gifts for this very reason. How can you help people to really see God’s truth?

Here are the portraits. They are Gabriel, a shepherd (who I named Itzhak), John the Baptist (because if you’re going to talk about preparing the way for Jesus, he can’t be left out) and finally Joseph.


I’m at my church’s annual conference this week. Today both out Bible Study and the evening message were about the same parable, The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The whole time I was listening, I was thinking that’ll preach and now I want to do it as a presentation. The thing is, I’m having a hard time thinking of the creative element. I will keep praying and I know the Lord will provide, but I thought I’d put it our there. How would you express this passage creatively?

Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (NIV)

Don’t worry I won’t knock off your idea, I just want to see how others would approach it.


Yesterday, I set out on another artistic journey. As part of my Masters program, I have to have a portfolio of my creative ministry/art work. Now most of that work is work that I create directly in the context of my ministry and needless to say I am continuing to do that, but I’m also working on some pieces that are decidedly more gallery style at least in context. I envision them being part of a presentation I’ll be doing in the future, but I also want them to be able to stand alone and hang some place where people can receive inspiration apart from me being there. These will be the exact opposite of speed paintings in that they will take long periods of time to be complete. I’m excited to begin this journey.

People will sometimes ask me if I am a prophetic artist, and I am never quite sure how to answer them. In the sense that the work contains a message from the Lord, yes, absolutely, but the work is often planned and prepared so I’ve decided to let the viewer assign, and more importantly the Lord, the designation. I will say these pieces are all based in prophecy. I’ve decided to call it Apocalypsis. It’s basically literal interpretations of the prophecies of the books of Daniel and Revelation. All the pieces will represent beasts and creatures, dreams and visions. Yes I know this is apocalyptic literature and all these things represent other things, and I will touch on the actual meanings in some way, but I’ve long been fascinated by envisioning these things as they were actually, literally, written. I don’t know how this will all turn out, but it will be an epic journey.

The reason I titled this post EPIC though is more for you than for me. This is a large project. I’m estimating the piece I started yesterday, worked at in my admittedly limited spare time, will probably take at least a year to complete. The work on this particular piece, will be extremely tedious, and I am hoping for great results. It will be an epic journey in the truest sense of the word. That said, I have no doubt that I will hit a wall with it. Right now it’s constantly on my mind. It’s a lot more technical than most of my work, almost mathematical, but now most of that is done and the slogging begins. How do you keep yourself motivated in the midst of something that takes a long time? Well first of all, do what I am practicing here. Tell someone about it. You don’t have to tell the world, but tell someone who will ask you about it and how it’s progressing. This will help you to keep from putting it too much on the back burner.

Next, I think the answer is to start with the end in mind. If I keep going, and keep the quality up, I think the piece is going to end up being really cool. I can envision it helping people to understand these passages more clearly and my prayer is that these “fantasy” pop art pieces will help people to see the hand of God throughout history and maybe even come to trust in Him.

This series has been on my heart a long time. I can’t wait to see it come to fruition. I will share photos along the way. What have you been feeling led to? Maybe it’s time to launch your own epic journey.


People do a lot of talking about the real meaning of Christmas and I wonder how many people actually get it, so I made this really simple chart. Christmas is really important. It’s the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus but the reason for the birth is the cross, Jesus came to lay down his life for you and me and of course the reason for the cross is the resurrection. Jesus rose again and because He did, if we place our faith in Him, we get to rise too.
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nc1aLast Night I did my new presentation on what may be my favorite verse in all of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the news has come.” I was trying to think of a good painting to do with it. I’ve already done butterflies and frogs exploring the metamorphosis concept of complete change, but that wasn’t quite right, So I went at it a completely different way.

First off I did something I almost never do. I started with a white surface. I usually speed paint on black. I started off by doing a very simple line art self portrait. What the congregation may not have realized is I was really gobbing on the black paint. Then I added some sky blue around it. What they didn’t know. was it was my intent from the beginning to wreck the painting. Taking paper towels I smeared it into a cloudy mess and then quit. When I began to speak, I spoke of how we basically start as a clean slate, but then life happens and we sin and we get splattered by the effects of sin and it makes a mess of us. I then talked about what it means to be a new creation in Christ—the way He transforms and renews and redeems us.

nc1bAt the end of the message I painted a picture of Jesus over the mess. The reason, when Christ redeems us, He allows us to put on His righteousness. The finished project was a little less successful than I like. For some reason my surface started to warp and it was falling out of the easel. Speed painting while holding your surface with the other hand is not easy. Nonetheless, the painting which took a total of about 8 minutes for both phases demonstrated what it was supposed to demonstrate and I was pleased.

Here’s the point, in Christ there is grace and forgiveness, but there is also transformation. Your past does not dictate your future. You can be redeemed. God can take your life and make it into something new. He can take the best of you and make it better. He can redeem the rest of you and turn it into a powerful testimony. God created you and He can also recreate you and when He does (and He will if you ask Him) you will be a new creation.


dry-bones-live-liveLast night I got to do my new message called inspiration. As many of my regular readers know, I believe waiting for inspiration is a terrible idea (most of the time) I believe we need to seek it out and occasionally hunt it down. We need to seek God and believe that He will speak. Inspiration (at least the best kind) comes from God and He has been doing it for us since the very beginning when He breathed His live into our first father, Adam and he became a living soul. That’s what inspiration is God breathing life into us and into the things that He allows us to create.

In scripture we see this in Ezekiel 37, where God leads Ezekiel into the valley of dry bones. There God instructs Ezekiel to speak to the bones, to prophesy, and the bones come back to life. They rise up and become a mighty army. This is a prophecy for the nation of Israel but I think it’s for us as well. As we look at the condition of our nation and even the church, it is clear we are not in a great place right now. We need something from the Lord. We need His to breathe new life into us again. We need Him to speak into our lives oh and one more thing. We need His Word.

You see Scripture tells us that all Scripture is God breathed. that it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Over and over I see people, even in the church, that would like to leave portions of God’s Word on the cutting room floor. The thing is truth is a very powerful thing and a very fragile thing. Add a little to it, take a little from it and it is no longer truth. This God breathed Word is life to us. We are not supposed to change it, it is supposed to change us. We need to reconnect to the source of our power. We need to recommit to the Word of God. If we do, God will breathe new life into His church and we will return to being the mighty army God intended us to be. An army in a battle that is not with flesh and blood but with the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. A battle that is as real as anything you see in the news, and the source of most everything you see on the news. And that army will be the one that the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against.

The photo above is the painting I did with the message. It’s done in two phases and takes a total of 12 minutes. It’s based on a much more detailed painting I did for this stop motion video (which took days to complete). The message is part of a series called Imagination, Inspiration, Perspiration, New Creation, Re-Creation. I’d love to bring this series to your church. Contact me for more information.


I had an awesome day Easter Sunday, preaching two services, and proclaiming the risen Savior, before celebrating with family, always a great day. This mean I didn’t actually post this til Monday morning. Sometimes priority dictate getting off the computer. Anyway, I still wanted to share something for that day so I give you what may be the best Easter song ever, Arise My Love by NewSong. If you have not heard this song yet, you owe it to yourself to listen. If you have heard it, listen again and take encouragement. This is telling a better story (okay the greatest story) in music.