Archive for the ‘Training’ Category


Your art technique is stellar.
You are a master story teller.
You’re a poet beyond compare,
a film maker extraordinaire.
You have a creative gift that the whole world flatters,
but you might still be lacking all that matters.
Because while all the above you may have heard,
is your work and life rooted in God’s Word?

Please forgive my little foray into poetry, but I was trying to find a creative way to redirect us back to the main thing. When we are creating, especially when we are really on a roll, it can be really easy to let matters of faith move to the back burner. Please don’t. When Jesus spoke of the vine and the branches, He said (in John 15:5), “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” We remain in Jesus, by staying connected to Him and we do this through His Word and through prayer. Both aspects are extremely important. Prayer and regular Scripture reading help us to stay connected to Him and keep us on track. Without these two things we will start to do what seems right and, as Scripture says in Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Why is that? Because as it says in Isaiah 55:8,9 ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

To live out God’s purposes for our lives and our creativity, we must be connected to Christ and we stay connected through prayer and the Word. As we start this new year, make Scripture reading a part of your plan. There are a couple ways to go.

Find a devotional and follow it. These devotionals give you a portion of Scripture each day along with some thoughts. Among the most famous of these is Our Daily Bread, which is available at many churches for free. There are also many great devotional books available.
Get a journaling Bible. These Bibles have space in the margins for taking notes or creative expression. There are whole online communities springing up around this topic. It’s a great way to connect your faith and creativity.

Follow a Bible Reading Plan. The One-Year Bible has some excellent plans for reading the Bible in a year, the New Testament in a year, etc. Reading through the Bible is a great way to capture the context of the story. What I like about One Year Bible’s reading plans is the way it gives you portions of the Old and New Testament, as well as Psalms and Proverbs every day. People who start off with the intent of starting at Genesis 1 and plowing through to Revelation will often bog down in Leviticus or Numbers, so having the variety, helps you to keep going.

Plowing through. Last year I did the math. If you read 3 and a half chapters a day, you can read the whole Bible in a year. I did this last year and it was great. As mentioned earlier, there are portions of the Scripture that require some discipline to get through, but as Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Topical study. Find a topic that interests you and study it. I did a one year study on the Parables and it was amazing. It also spawned a few presentations for me and even a sketch devotional.

There are a multitude of ways to get into God’s Word. Pick the one that will work best for you and dive in.


createbetterWell by this point, five days from the end of the project, most of the content has been created, much of the work has been done. I’ve got lots of detail work to do but it’s pretty mundane. Today I am working on a product that will be offered in my webinar. All the writing is done, so it’s really just an assembly and editing project that will take a few days. The webinar needs to be assembled as does the downloadable workbook. A good bit of work needs to be done, but the details will be somewhat boring. There is something else to considered and this is what I wanted to touch on today.

You see today is a holiday. I’ve recommended taking one day off each week, but what do you do when a holiday falls in the middle of the week. It depends on your perspective and your level of determination, but I do want to say this, this is not religion, this is work and there are times where you can put work aside for a while, especially a holiday. Please keep something in mind, and I know I have said this before, but we are building a better life and the people we love are a huge part of this. If we push them aside, I don’t know what it is, but it’s not a better life. There will come a time in our lives where we will regret the times we’ve missed. Do not sacrifice the moments that make life worth living. Holidays are a gift. Use them well.

Create a better life, and live.


createbetterSo far I’ve done everything about practical things to do to bring a project to the world, and we will get back to that tomorrow, but for today I want to explore things we can do (or not do) that will impact the quality of life we actually live. In the quest to live a better life, these cannot be overlooked. Ignore these and you will not have a better life.

1. Make good choices. This one is overarching. It covers all the rest. Basically it involves thinking before you act. How will this choice effect the rest of my life? Will it move me forward or hold me back? Is this choice right or wrong? Will this help or hinder? Will this mess up my reputation or credibility? Asking these questions before we make choices will go miles toward helping you move forward.

2. Learn to say “no.” We are surrounded by countless opportunities to do good things, but not all of those good things move us forward into our life’s mission. Will doing this move me toward my dream or prove to be a distraction? Is this something the person asking truly needs me to do or is someone else better suited to help? Please note: This doesn’t let us off the hook from serving others, especially in an emergency, it’s meant only to help us focus our efforts. Stay on mission!

3. Let it go. The truth is, we all have baggage, wounds and hurts. Dwelling on these things serves to do nothing but keep us stuck and keep us out of a brighter future. Forgiveness is huge. It doesn’t let the offender off the hook so much as it releases you from the offense. Instead of re-experiencing the hurt every time you think of it, you are free to move forward. Seek healing for your wounds (sometimes the best way to do this is to help someone else).

4. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is another thing that holds us back. What if we fail? What if we make a mistake? What if? What if? What if? Fear has taken us off mission from the beginning of time and that needs to stop. Some fears are good and self preserving. I’m writing this next to a fifth story balcony. My fear keeps me from jumping off. That’s good fear. But most fear, and it’s ugly stepsister worry, is imagination misused. The key to overcoming fear and worry deals with retraining your imagination. Instead of asking “What if I fail?,” for example, ask the better question, “What if I succeed?” That could make all the difference.

5. Relationships are huge. Pay attention to them. One of the best aspects of a better life is the people with whom we share the journey. Do not ignore them on your way to your goal. Goals are temporary, people are forever. I spend a few years thinking when I reached my goals I could give my family everything they wanted. What they really wanted was me. This almost cost me everything that truly matters. Wise people learn from their mistakes, but really wise people lear from other people’s mistakes. Learn from mine put your vital relationships first. The other side of this is some relationships are toxic. Love everyone, but be careful who you allow to influence you.

6. Take care of yourself. You only have one body and one life and if you break your body, your goal won’t do you much good. Eat right, exercise and yes you do actually need to sleep.

7. Live by faith. This one is actually my number one and some might argue with it, but there is something bigger than us as individuals and principles that are larger than our goals. There is a greater good to be considered regardless of your view of religion. Live a life of faith, honor and integrity.

8. Enjoy the journey. Creating a better life is not always going to be fun or easy. It’s a lot of hard work, but the trials and struggles are part of the story that we create on the way. You might as well enjoy the ride. Joy is a choice. Make it.

9. Prioritize. Keep what’s most important most important.

10. Really live. St. Irenaeus once said “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” The definition of what it means to be fully alive varies from present person, but you know when you are and when you aren’t. We are trying to create a better life, and a big part of that is being fully alive.

I’m of the belief that the future belongs to those who create it. These ten things will help on that journey. There will be times where you will feel like you’re stuck. It’s usually one of these that will “unstick” us. Create through the stuck points and keep moving forward.

Create a better life.


Hi everyone,
As 2014 draws to a close, my thoughts turn to the year ahead. I’ll be sharing my goals in a later post but for now, I am looking for a few folks who are either running or considering running a creative arts ministry at your church. I am in the process of creating a Creative Church Consultant service. Basically I would work with the leadership of churches to help them to apply more God given creativity into their ministries to their churches and the world beyond and to help them to embrace and empower the creatives in their midst. I would love to help a few churches to get things rolling.

Contact me at AMOKArts@aol.com if interested, or leave your email address in the comments.

Our people are bombarded with thousands of messages every day. Let’s work to make sure that the most vital message of all stands out.


I got a Facebook message from a friend the other day. She has two AMAZINGLY talented daughters who will be entering their freshman year at a university this fall as art majors. Her question was, what would I recommend for them to do to gain some experience in art and illustration. Well I had a lot of ideas, with a couple caviats. While they, like everyone else, could use some money, their mom was more interested in them gaining experience and building their portfolios. I had a few suggestions:

1. Coloring books: They don’t pay a lot but they are fairly easy to draw, and you learn things like building on a theme, creating puzzles and activities, and you can end up creating a lot of things and having a nice published piece when you’re done.

2. Local Businesses: There is one in particular in our area that goes through a lot of art, but many small businesses could use a logo or a sign and those are the kinds of real world things that will put you a little further ahead than people who have only done class work, plus they get a young artist experience at working with a client, compromising your vision and some other things we are reticent to do do as artists, but that are crucial to landing a pay check.

3. Craig’s List and online writer’s groups: There’s always a struggling children’s book author on these sites needing an illustrator. I probably would never recommend these to someone who depends on getting work for their livelihood as they are notoriously low paying, if they pay at all, and because most publishing companies hire the illustrator themselves, but the girls are interested in being illustrators so there is always the possibility of getting a nice portfolio piece out of a project like this.

4. IllustrationFriday.com: If you just need a creative challenge that helps you think outside the box, it’s hard to beat IllustrationFriday.com.
And if you need a good portfolio piece, this is a great place to start, plus there is a community where you can see what everyone else came up with and there’s a new challenge every Friday.

5. Subscribe to the Artist’s Market Online: It’s a great way to find real world projects and even make a little money.

Of course there are many more, but I also wanted to make sure I told them the reality that being an artist is about getting your name and your work out there. I believe it’s imperative to develop an online presence and a platform as early as possible. In this business, we have to get creative and make our own breaks. They already have this in place… Well done! Here are a few other ways to get your work out there and maybe even sell something.

6. Zazzle.com: Design your own T-shirts and other items and post them free on their online store. You earn a percentage of the proceeds.


7. Set up a gallery on DeviantArt.com:
Not only does this give you an easily accessible portfolio, but people who like your work can buy prints right on the site.

8. CreateSpace.com: Why wait til you can find an author to write a book and then a publisher to pick it up. Do it yourself and publish it for free with CreateSpace.com. Not only that, but you can then take your book and put it on the largest retailer on earth… Amazon.com

Friends, this is just scratching the surface. Probably none of these will make you rich (though some have), but it will help you get experience, portfolio pieces and a sense of the opportunities to create your own opportunities. Blog, write, and create, create, create. The more you let people know about what you do, the quicker you will find the audience that wants what you have.


C2Cbutton
So why should you come to the Poconos CREATE Retreat 2013?
There are so many reasons:

1. Find the connection between your gift and the God who gave it to you.
2. Get ideas on how to use that gift (or gifts) to serve the Lord.
3. Spend time creating in community (because lets face it, how often do you feel like you’re the only one).
4. Learning through fun and challenging exercises.
5. Live demonstrations.
6. Practical application.
7. Creative inspiration.
8. The opportunity to create in a worship setting.
9. Opportunities to connect, collaborate and network.
10. Two fun-filled days to create in God’s creation.

Finally we will finish out our time together with a time fo sharing where you can demonstrate what you’ve learned, share about your experiences and more. The retreat will be held in a nice Bible camp in the beautiful Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains. Three meals snacks and a night’s lodging and some art supplies (bring your favorites) are included in the $150 registration fee.

I so look forward to meeting you in the Poconos.
I need to have the count in pretty soon so please register today!


I found this in an online search and thought it looked really interesting, a six month school to help artists create for missions. Check it out.

For more information check out their Facebook page and their website.