Archive for the ‘Speaking ministry’ Category


Last night I finished up a two night revival series. I had such a great time and I love what I do so much. The first night I did Pictures of Jesus and last night was one I call Forgiven, which deals with forgiveness starting in Genesis and going all the way to the cross. I hadn’t done that one in a while but it was perfect for this lenten season we find ourselves in. There’s something in Forgiven that brings forward all the times when I have had to forgive and that can make me think about pain.

See, I’d be lying if I told you this artistic journey has been easy. There’s been tons of rejection, a lot of soul searching, times when I had hard lessons to learn, when I left my priorities run amok, and frankly times when others took advantage of me. Of course I haven’t even mentioned the bullying that happened throughout much of childhood for a kid who would rather draw a picture than do some of the stuff the other kids were doing. The road to where I am now has not been an easy one, but I praise God for the way he has brought me through to where I am now. He has taught me to depend on Him and for that I am grateful. My life now is better than I ever could have imagined.

At the end of the service last night I met a young artist, looking for her place in the church and the arts. As she spoke, at times I felt like I was hearing my own voice, our stories in some ways seemed similar. She wants to use her gift to serve the Lord. Man, that excites me. Maybe in some small way, I was used to inspire her and I really hope God fans that spark into a flame. You see every time someone hears what God has given me to share and moves forth in it, I get a little more clarity. Who knows? Maybe the things I went through will help someone else to persevere, and do the work and thrive to God’s glory. If God uses me, even in small ways, if the things I’ve been through help someone else, I get to see the purpose in the pain.

Romans 8:28, one of my favorite verse in Scripture says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I am living proof that this verse is true, so if you’re going through a tough time, know this. If you love God, there is a purpose in the pain. Persevere, one day God will use it, and you, to do something really important and for your good.

By the way, if my new friend reads this, and you need help in your journey, don’t be afraid to reach out. If I can help, I want to.


I think as creatives we aspire to do our best work. I think as humans we aspire to reach new heights and as Christians we aspire to be more Christ-like (or at least we should). Aspirations can be really good things, but then there are other times. I was chatting with a friend last night who is also in ministry and who also does some itinerant ministry. He’s getting to do ministry at some larger events and something weird started to happen. I started to want to complain that sometimes I feel like I can’t seem to get into the larger places. Thankfully I caught myself and I share this here not as a way of venting that complaint but to share the danger. For the record, I don’t think there is anything wrong with aspiring for a larger platform. It takes the basically same amount of work to prepare to speak to ten people or ten thousand and as people entrusted with the Great Commission, “the more, the merrier.” The trouble comes when we start to complain.

You see we serve in a big world in an even bigger universe, and we don’t always understand everything that is happening around us. This is magnified when we consider the Spirit realm, and we Christians should always consider the Spirit realm. Who knows? I may have more spiritual impact talking to a crowd of ten than a group of ten thousand. I’ll tell you who knows, God does. He opens he doors. He gives the opportunities and He knows what needs to happen. We are called to faithfulness. He provides the impact. So whether you think what you’re doing is big or small, only God knows the significance. To paraphrase Paul, some plant, some water, but God brings the growth. Remember Philippians 1:6 “…He who began a good work in you, will carry it through the completion in the day of Christ Jesus.” We need only be faithful.

Don’t stop aspiring to do great work. Don’t stop aspiring to do great things. But bring your best to any and every situation, whether it looks large or small, because you never know what God will do. I love these songs. They both inspire me to aspire, but in vastly different ways. Which is right? They both are. Aspire to do great things, make the most of every opportunity. Honor God in everything.

By the way, in case you wonder, I am grateful for ever opportunity, large or small, because in truth every ministry opportunity, in the hands of Christ, carries with it the chance of eternal significance. If I can be of service to you, please contact me.



So last night I had a dream. I had done three stained glass pieces (a medium I’ve never used). They were abstract (a genre I’ve rarely worked in). Somehow I had an agent (something else I’ve never had) who got my work seen by a wealthy collector, who wanted to buy all three pieces. I was flabbergasted, especially when the collector told me the only reason he left the agent in the door was because my pieces were so good. He then showed me his collection pointing out all the expensive and exotic materials he financed the artists to purchase for use in their work. I don’t know that that’s how it works with collectors but remember it was a DREAM.

The collector then went on to make me an offer. He would either buy or sell as many pieces as I could make, at rates that would make me a very wealthy man. He would also finance all the materials, so I could use nothing but the best. I told him I was pretty inexperienced in that medium. He said it didn’t matter. So here’s the recap. A world class collector loved my work. He was willing to pay premium prices for my work while securing the world’s best materials for me to work in. Can I tell you, this would be the fulfillment of pretty much all I had ever dreamed of throughout most of my life? This would be everything I ever wanted for most of my life, but before I agreed to his terms I had a question:

Could I still preach?

I woke just after I asked the question, and my head was just spinning. I couldn’t help but realize this dream revealed a major change that has happened in me. There’s nothing wrong with making art for a living, and I really do hope my best pieces are still ahead of me, but thank you Jesus, for changing my priorities and  giving me a better dream.

 


My new presentation… I am really looking forward to taking this one out this Summer. See a preview here. https://www.facebook.com/RockCafe316/videos/581045878988125/

 

Contact me for more information!


I used to hate it in Math class. The teacher would make us show out work. They wanted to make sure we understood the process, and so seeing how we arrived at our conclusions was vital. Seeing our errors helped them to remediate our misunderstandings.

Now as an artist/minister, I’ve noticed that while people will largely appreciate a finished piece, what they really seem to love is seeing me create the piece, live, before their eyes. I could do a much nicer piece in my studio, taking my time, and the perfectionist in me sometimes wishes I could still do that, but I get much more impact by creating something in a few minutes, while the people can see the work. They are more engaged and more ready to hear the message if they have seen the work firsthand.

I got to thinking maybe that’s why one of the most effective types of ministry is the testimony. Oh people expect we who speak to know our Bible. They even expect that we will communicate well, but that can communicate a sort of veneer over our lives. They may look at us and see us as someone who has already arrived, or someone who has always been a believer. They might see us as genuinely holy or, at worst, “holier than thou.” The testimony breaks through all that. The testimony shows the work—the work Christ has done in your life. All of the sudden the person sees what has been done in your life and begins to think, “If God can do all that in Him, I wonder what He can do in me.”

We who are privileged to speak God’s truth to people would be wise to remember that were it not for God’s work in our lives, none of us would be doing very well. Showing the work—God’s work—gives Him the glory. You don’t have to give a testimony every time, but be sure the people in your care know where the power in you comes from. Show the work.


Today was a blessed day of ministry. I was privileged to lead a deacon retreat for a church here in my area this morning (Little Swatara Church of the Brethren). A few of the deacons in this church are people I went to High School with, and working with them always reminds me of the 180 Jesus has done in my life from when I was in HS ’til now. Great group of people. While I’ve done leadership workshops before, this one was the first in this format. The people were very kind and participatory, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and pray they were blessed and that the Lord uses the things he laid on my heart to build up the body at their church. Because it was groundhog day, I built my theme accordingly.

Then this evening, I traveled to Middletown PA for my second trip to the Rock Cafe. It was a rock band called Testimony, a rapper named Constant Battle and his crew and me. I really enjoy this type of ministry as well. The music is always great and the ministry is better. I brought a message based on Mark chapter 2 about the man who was lowered through the roof to see Jesus. I’m still working on a title for this message, at least in this format, but I’m thinking of calling it “The Greater Miracle.” This format gives me the opportunity to pare things down and work with shorter messages, which at times comes in very handy. Well speaking of shorter messages, it’s midnight and time to cut this one off and go to bed. I should be back on the regular schedule Monday, Lord willing. If you’re a person who likes rap and rock, get yourself to Middletown, PA on the first Saturday of the month. It’s always fun.

Thanks to everyone who gave me the opportunity to minister today, and to God be the glory. Good night.


Don’t worry this has nothing to do with assisted suicide and dying on one’s own terms. No today I am talking about the things we allow, or should allow, to die in our churches and ministry. There is a great equalizer in our lives. It’s called time. The richest person in the world and the poorest have the 24 hour day in common. No one gets more and no one gets less. To give time to one thing is to take that precious time from something else and this is urgent for churches to understand.

You see, virtually no one can give the church 24 hours a day. It’s an impossibility. Needless to say we want more than one hour a week, and a tithe of time would be ideal, but that’s basically two and a half hours a day and we rarely get that from any but the most dedicated. The reality is people have a limited time to give to the church, so we who lead churches, need to do our best to help them invest their time wisely. For example, I once heard a mega-church pastor say if a person only has an hour a week to give the church, in addition to worship, the last thing he would do is have them use that hour sit in a meeting, and for the most part, unless that person has a true leadership gift, I would agree. T   here’s something of even greater concern however.

It’s when churches have too many things, especially programs, on life-support. Think about it. There’s great lamentation over “x’ program that once had half the congregation involved and now no one supports it. It’s a fight for the leadership team to get someone to lead it, and when they finally do, no one attends, leaving the leader who was arm twisted into taking it on feeling like a failure, like they’re wasting their time or both. There’s a name for that kind of program. It’s called “DEAD.” Oh at one time it was great, and many people were excited about it and passionate about it and we have fond memories of it, but it’s time has passed. Here’s the rule. If no one has the passion to lead something it is better to let it die with dignity so that something else can grow. No sense pushing and prodding people to help it to linger, rather it’s time to help people to find what meets the spiritual needs of people today.

Now I can almost feel the pushback on this one even as I punch the keys. “What if it’s something important like Bible Study, or Sunday School or even Worship?” you might be thinking. No I’m not suggesting we jettison things of spiritual importance, but I am suggesting you look at the way you’re doing those things. The Bible doesn’t change, but methods can change and frankly, they must. This is where prayerful creativity comes into play. “That’s the way we have always done it…” is not a God-given mandate to keep doing things the way you have always done them. Look for the passionate ones and empower them to lead, whether that be to resurrect something or birth something new. Either of those is fine, the only thing that’s not okay is to let dead things keep taking up space and time.

Assignment: Is there anything in your church that is dead? Is it “resurrect-able” or could the energy and resources it takes be used to birth something new?