Archive for the ‘Thoughts on art ministry and life’ Category


A friend of mine on Facebook shared this yesterday and it bears repeating. Did you ever notice there seem to be some people who have a vested interest in keeping us angry? Here’s what Cindy Fetty-Lawliss has to say about it.

“In my feed today
From the right: mass hysteria about Starbucks kicking out officers, Colin Kapernick telling Nike not to make the Betsy Ross shoes, and all the things that need to be boycotted based on these things
From the left: racism revolving around Disney movie character, Trump misspoke at 4th of July in a rediculous way, and all the reasons we need to be angry at Trump and white America.
Am I completely crazy, or is there something out there that wants us to be angry at each other all the time. I am calling propaganda on all of it. I’m tired of letting bots and ad space fuel my feelings. Someone is paying to make us mad. I’m not buying.”

I felt the need to add a comment.

“DING, DING, DING… We have a winner! You nailed it sister. Follow the money. Peace and love are better, but you know what they don’t generate? REVENUE. So the media knows their constituency and reports accordingly. An angry populace keeps watching. Watching increases ratings. Ratings drive advertising revenues. Advertising revenues equal MONEY AND MONEY IS POWER at least in their world! They gain wealth, power and authority by keeping us at each other’s throats and as a result they cannot (with some exceptions) be trusted. Big media is bad, social media is worse, because too often we share things ad infinitum without considering whether or not they’re true. (“You shall not bear false witness, remember?) What should we do instead? It’s nose to the grindstone time. It’s speak the truth in love time. It’s love your neighbor time and dare I say it, it’s SPREAD THE GOSPEL TIME! Thanks for posting this!”

Brothers and sisters, as followers of Jesus, we are in the “truth business,” especially since God has given us gifts that are often related to communication. It is our job to speak that truth in love. Not trying to anger others, not trying to win others to our side, but speaking the truth. If the truth offends, that is really the problem of the offended, unless we are saying it in such a way as to be deliberately offensive. One of the great ways to check yourself is with a few questions, such as:

• As I share this, do I have the person’s best interests at heart?
• Do I care about them and am I trying to genuinely help them?
• Am I treating this person like I would if I knew Jesus was watching/reading and would He be pleased? (Because He is watching/reading.)

Friends there are a lot of things in this world that need a comment, and more than a few on which we should take a stand, but which stand. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the eternal thing and a good eternity requires Jesus. Will your action, post, comment or creation bring someone closer to Jesus or drive them further away?

Keep the main thing, the main thing?


I’ve just returned from my denomination’s annual conference. This year we put aside all new business, and spent our time apart from the contentious issues that threaten to tear us apart and instead focusing on finding a vision that can bring us together. It was a valiant effort and next year’s conference will reveal the conclusion and probably whether or not we remain in tact. I thought this conference was by far the most positive and productive one I have attended, but there’s still a problem and I had a hard time putting my finger on it until I was reminded of this song.

Sometimes I think gathering together to vote on what we should do is the ultimate in hubris, patterning the church after our government as if that is working so well for the government. I hear people say that our conference is the highest decision making authority in our denomination, and if that is the case, that is the problem. Roberts’ Rules and simple and two thirds majorities are human constructs. Brothers and sisters, God’s people must follow God, even if they follow Him alone.

Our opinions and documents and statements, and for that matter, our churches and ministries are pointless and meaningless unless they follow God and His Word. Remember what it’s all about.

A man dying on the cross saving the world,
rising from the dead, doing what He said He would do.

Work to honor Him and stand for Him, even if you stand alone.


It seems there is always a tension between art and commerce, the legend of the starving artist, stokes this. To make money from your art is seen as selling out, and this is only compounded when faith is thrown into the mix. I hear so many ministries saying things like they will not sell the Gospel or they don’t let money get in the way of the Gospel. I’ve said it too at times and when I said it, I meant it. I truly desire more than anything for the Gospel to go forth, but here’s the thing—nothing is free, and we creatives had better learn this lesson.

I’ll say it again nothing is free. Maybe it’s not quite true. When I create something and someone displays it on their wall, everyone who sees it, sees it for free. I post this blog and you can read it for free (though I did sacrifice some free time to generate it).There have also been times when I will waive my fee and walk away without a check, but again please understand, just because I felt led to give something away and/or donate my services does not mean it was free. It means I paid for it and gave it as a gift. It means my family paid for it in time away from me and resources I diverted from them into my gift. My church allowed me to be away for the time it took me to do what I do, and while I no doubt end up making up that time in other ways, the income I receive from my other efforts, provides for the things I do charitably. I do this willingly, but I can’t do it every time and neither can you. Nothing is free.

If you’re one of those people who has forked out your hard earned money to bring me in, thank you. I love that you have placed the faith in me to put me in front of your people and I take that responsibility extremely seriously. I pray that God has blessed you through me. If you’re one of the people who have received something for free, please know I love and appreciate you as well. This is not meant to be any sort of complaint. What it is, is a reminder to my artist friends that the workman is worthy of his hire. When you give your services away, do it because you feel led by the Lord, not because you worry someone will say “You’re only in it for the money.” Some may also try, “well you need to trust the Lord to provide.” He does provide and He has provided for me both often and occasionally even miraculously, but the way He has most often provided was by leading people to pay for what I do.

Lastly, I know there is someone out there who is thinking, “Hey wait, salvation is free.” Respectfully to think that is to totally misunderstand your faith. Yes, your salvation through faith in Christ is God’s gift to you, but please remember, Jesus paid a high price to give you that gift.

Nothing is free.


James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, shared the story on his blog of a young Swede named Ingmar who started selling matches from his bicycle. He found a source for inexpensive matches and began to sell them at reasonable price, and still make a tidy profit. Eventually he added a few other items to his product line. In 2013, Ingmar’s company made $37 billion. You see Ingmar Kamprad’s company is called IKEA.

Inspirational story, right? Why can’t we do that? Well the truth is, maybe you can. The problem with a lot of us creative entrepreneur types is we want to have IKEA but we don’t want to sell the matches. We have to grow and build our skills all along the way. Show me an overnight success, and I will show you someone who labored in obscurity for years building the skills that one day shot them to the top.

James Clear says it much better on his blog. Check it out.


I’ve been called upon to do a 6 foot by 8 foot live painting for a camp here in PA. This is a different situation for me in some ways, because usually when I do a live painting I am also the speaker, so I’m also there to talk the viewers through what I’m thinking. This time I’m only doing the painting. My first run at a sketch just didn’t work so for the next run, I went classic. Their theme is on finding fulfillment, so I just did a straight up Jesus, since He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, He is the fulfillment of the OT law, of Scripture and, at least in my view, the ultimate source of fulfillment.

Why am I cross posting this one? Art is communication. If we want people to get our meaning, we need to make it speak clearly. My first run at this was misunderstood or maybe more correctly was just not understood and while, as I stated above, had I been the speaker, I would have been able to explain the piece to the audience and they would have gotten it. That’s all well and good if that audience is the only group to see the piece, but this piece will be kept and displayed probably for quite some time to be seen by people who were not in attendance when I made it. They need to get it too if I want the art to fulfill a greater purpose. Sometimes it’s best to keep a piece simple so it can be understood. An open armed Christ speaks volumes.


The old adage says a picture is worth a thousand words. I believe that’s true, as a matter of fact the word count may be a little low, but what about pictures with words? I’m of the belief that when we add words to pictures, their power can increase exponentially. No I’m not talking about adding captions to masterpieces. I’m talking about memes and cartoons. I don’t think we really understand the power in these little pictures with words. Hitler did.

It’s said the among the first moves Hitler made against the Jewish people was to begin dehumanizing them through cartoons and caricatures, slowly desensitizing the populace to the atrocities he intended. Dehumanizing people makes them easier to vilify and even kill and it all started with words with pictures.

Consider our social media culture and be honest. How much of your world view is influenced by the memes you see? Face it we live in a chaotic, “sound-bite” world. We don’t have time to read the whole article and get the big picture, so we settle for the bite from the little picture. We used to call it the “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version” but today’s media culture gives us the RDCV condensed even further, and the results have been devastating to our culture, at least in this writer’s opinion. What’s even more concerning is people used to have to find someone to publish their nastiness, but now it can spread to the world for free with the click of a button.

So why do I share this? I mean most of you know my favorite art form is cartooning, the combination of words and pictures I have been lamenting. Am I shooting myself in the foot? Hardly—no what I am saying is that the same things that have the power for great evil can also be used for great good. We can use our work to communicate simple messages of peace, love and hope, maybe even the Gospel! If these little bites can be used to tear people down, they can also be used to build up. The can be used to shine light on goodness and life and truth. Why not use what some mean for evil to communicate that which is good and right and true. After all, the evidence is really clear.

Words and pictures combined have great power, and with great power comes great responsibility. Let’s go do some good.


Today on my way out the door, I put on my Wallace the Lucky Rabbit T-shirt. I got it on deep discount at the Disney Store clearance rack. It was probably on clearance because a lot of people don’t know Wallace, which is a shame, because he paved the way for what might be the most famous cartoon character of all time. You see a long time ago a young animator got his big break. One of the largest animation studios around contracted him to begin making shorts of his original character, Wallace the Lucky Rabbit. I never believed in luck and the young animator shouldn’t have either. The studio made a shady deal with the young animator, and basically stole his beloved creation out from under him. Wallace turned out to be not so lucky after all. Legend has it the young animator pretty much decided at that point he would not work for anyone else ever again and set out to create another character. That character starred in a short called Steamboat Willie, but his real name was Mickey Mouse. The young animator of course was the legendary Walt Disney.

Why do I share this story? To show you that no one is truly an overnight success and the road to creative glory is usually littered with many bitter disappointments. The ones who succeed are the ones who jump right back in, maybe a little wiser, and keep going.

No one promised that the roads of creativity or faith would be easy. The race goes to the ones who persevere. Learn from your mistakes and your disappointments and keep going. Your next creation might be the one that opens the door, or it might not, but you’ll never know if you don’t create it.

There’s no such thing as luck. Keep working! (The above piece of art, is just a little fan art digital sketch I did, in case you’ve never seen Wallace.)