The church needs creativity now more than ever.

Each day people are bombarded by hundreds of messages…
but one is most important. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We in the church have been entrusted with taking that message to the ends of the earth. How do we stand out among the noise and get their attention? The good news is God has gifted people with gifts and talents designed to do just that. Some of them are in our churches and some are beyond our walls.

My name is Dave Weiss. I’m an artist, a pastor and a speaker, but it wasn’t always that way. Oh I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember, but I’m in the ministry today because of two things. Someone cared enough to introduce me to Jesus Christ, and a pastor found my gift of art as showed me how I could use my gift to serve the Lord. That was transformational.

My passion is to help people find and use their gifts to serve the Lord both in the church and in the market place and to help the church to embrace Creativity. I do workshops, Gospel presentations and more to creatively encourage and build up the Body of Christ. I’d love to work with you and your church. Contact me today!

The Blog starts below!

End of an Era

Posted: March 28, 2023 in Uncategorized

It was October 4, 1997. I was a young artist, husband and father and I was making a royal mess of my life. I was so sold out to being a professional artist that my priorities were completely out of whack. On that day I went to Stand in the Gap, a Promise Keepers even in Washington D.C. and the Lord got a hold of me. On that day I repented of my idolatry to my art and felt a new call, a call to ministry. On the way home, my friend Troy and I were talking music and concerts and we began to discuss a festival called Creation. By the time the festival rolled around, I was doing my first foray into ministry, leading a group to Creation festival. I went back at least nine more times. It was tough at times but I loved it and so many great things happened there. I became the youth leader at the church, met the folks at Interlinc, where I became a writer for them and made several life long friends. It was at Creation where I really got to know the woman who would become my daughter in law. I baptized my son there. I prayed with more than a few people to receive Christ there. It was there that I felt the call to plant a church, moved into pastoral ministry, and gained the experience to start my speaking ministry and more. I even painted a mural on one of their outhouses, which has the dubious distinction of being the piece of my art that has been seen by more people than anyone else.

Today I found that the festival is at its an end, and I must admit, I am struggling a bit. I was sort of hoping to return again to reconnect with so many great memories. I know the people that run the festival are looking to try something new, and I know there is a season to everything under the sun, but this is one I will miss. Thank you Lord for the good you did at Creation and all that you did for me and so many others at that farm in the middle of nowhere PA.

I received this book as a review copy from the publisher. Each month or so, they put out a list of the available titles, from which to select and when I saw this one, I knew I had to pick its up. In this book Dr. Cloud dissects trust, what it takes to have trust, specifically five aspects of trust: understanding, motive, ability, character and track record. He then delves deeply into each of these aspects, using examples from personal relationships as well as business relationships, using real life examples from his many years as a clinical psychologist and leadership consultant. After delving into these aspects, he deals with establishing trust, growing in trust, repairing trust and moving forward in trust. One of the things I appreciated was when he looked at the biblical admonition for forgiveness, and how forgiveness is something we need to do, but there is a difference between forgiveness and trust. While forgiveness should be automatic, trust needs to be earned.

The whole time I was reading this book, I found myself doing two things. First, I found myself looking at my own relationships, both personal and professional, and examining my behavior and my motives in them, namely am I as trustworthy as I need to be, and where do I need work. Secondly, I found myself thinking of people who could benefit this book and its teachings. This book is a must for anyone who finds themselves leading or counseling others. Dr. Cloud is clearly extremely intelligent and well spoken, yet this book also comes across as “plain-spoken,” i.e. Dr. Cloud takes complex ideas and thoughts and makes them very clear and easily understandable. This is a great book.

This week we will look at Judas Iscariot and why he decided to betray Jesus. I think it all comes down to disappointment. Click here to see more.

Perfectionism Is the Enemy…

Posted: March 17, 2023 in Uncategorized

Confession time. I have never in my 30+ years of making art professionally created a piece of art that looks as good as it does in my head. It has yet to happen. Believe me, I will tell you when I do. There have been a few pieces that have come close, but the picture in my head has always exceeded my ability to create it. At times this has been really frustrating. At other times it has made me want to give up. If you’ve felt that way, here’s my advice. DON’T! These thoughts have brought me to a conclusion…

Perfectionism is the enemy of creativity.

Just because you can’t do something perfectly, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Here’s the thing, there is only one person who can see the picture in your head and that’s you. If you let perfectionism keep you from doing it anyway, you are the only one who will even catch a glimpse of it. The rest of the world will never know. Art is a gift. We share that gift with the world. Holding it in, or even withholding it, because it can’t meet some internal standard deprives the world of your gift.

This is compounded for the Christian artist whose vision is coming from the Lord (the only one actually capable of perfect by the way). I’ll leave you with one other thought. We have never seen a perfect creation from the Lord. I know that sounds like heresy, but it’s not. This world we live in has been corrupted by sin. Even the immense beauty of all we can see that the Lord created has been marred by the effects of sin in our world. Only in heaven and in the new heavens and the new earth will we see God’s creation in its true perfection, but that doesn’t stop Him from creating. Instead He shows us beauty that keeps us looking heavenward. If He doesn’t keep us looking to heaven, to Him and to Christ’s finished work on the cross, if He doesn’t draw us to Himself and coming to faith in Christ, we will never see His perfection, and so He continues to create beauty that gets us to look to Him.

Maybe we Christian artists need to do the same.

This book is incredible. David Limbaugh is an attorney, and as such one would not necessarily expect him to be a theologian, but he is and he has done extraordinary work in this book. The book’s scope is on Paul and the Early Church and it is great. In it’s pages, Limbaugh looks at the conversion and calling of Paul, Luke’s account of Paul’s life from the book of Acts, and then Paul’s letters to the Galatians, 1, 2 Thessalonians, 1,2 Corinthians and Romans. He goes chapter by chapter through each of these books, and it could be seen as something of a commentary, it’s plain spoken nature, really helps the reader to grasp the meaning of the text. Limbaugh’s work is well researched and thoughtful, citing the works of some of the world’s great theologians. To give you some ideas how well researched the book is, the notes section of the book, primarily citing the author’s references is 84 pages. I read this book side by side with my Bible and I have to say it enhanced may understanding of many of these passages. This is a really great book that will help anyone understand the Scriptures better. I highly recommend it.

I was listening to a podcast today on my hobby, plastic model building. They had a special guest on who was talking about a very complicated procedure needed to make your models look even more realistic. I’ve seen the kind of work he is talking about and I have to admit it looks spectacular, but I have a confession. The process he described was so complicated that it would take all the joy out of the hobby for me.

No this is not a post about my hobby. Rather it’s a post about life and the arts. I understand wanting to do our best work, but at what point are we overcomplicating things? At what point are we delving so far into the minutia, accomplishing things few people will notice, diminishing our productivity and stripping all the joy from the process of creating. I realize not everything in the arts is a cost benefit analysis, but is there a point where we can say it’s good enough and move on.

I think overcomplicating things and overthinking them can go hand in hand. I know I find myself thinking about things and at times worrying about things, that are probably not even noticeable to anyone but me. I start to try to put myself into other people’s heads, think of their every objection and try to circumvent them all, when no one ever said a word. Often this can be creatively crippling. In everything I do, I want to give God my best, and I do want to make sure I create from a place of empathy. I want to make sure that I am not unnecessarily offensive or off-putting, but I can overthink and overcomplicate myself into accomplishing nothing. Wouldn’t it be better to create whatever we create to the point where it will serve its purpose and then move on to the next good thing? What if we trusted God to let us know when something is done and good enough? With the illustration from my hobby, there comes a point where the overworking strips the fun from the project. Maybe it would be better to get it to the point where I am happy with it, put it on the shelf and crack open the next box.

I think that’s what I want to do. Overthinking and overcomplicating makes life exhausting.

I received this book from the publisher for review and it far exceeded my expectations. First things first, If I’m ever in Jacksonville, FL on a Sunday morning, I am going to this guy’s church. Joby Martin is pastor of The Church of Eleven22, and wow what a communicator! He is deep and yet very understandable. If this guy ever wrote a paraphrase of the Bible, I would buy it. His short paraphrases of texts explain the text masterfully and with a fair amount of humor. This book was a joy to read.

In Anything Is Possible, the subtitle sums up the book really well. It says, “How Nine Miracles of Jesus Reveal God’s Love for You.” Combining stories from the author’s years of ministry with strong biblical teaching, this book brings tangible evidence of God’s miraculous power and love for us. A sampling of the chapter titles illustrates where he is going. Water Into Wine—Do You Believe Enough to Obey?, The Paralytic—Do You Believe Jesus Will Carry You?, The feeding of the Five Thousand—Do You Believe Even When Doubt Creeps In?, etc. All the stories are very familiar, but Martin brings great insights into them that not only helps you to see them with new eyes, but really brings the applicable truths for our lives to the forefront. This book dealt with some really important topics for people of faith, while also considerate of unbelievers who might be reading. I would go so far as to say it is very evangelistic in tone as well. This book is wall to wall encouragement mixed with challenging questions that really felt like “iron sharpens iron.”

Anything Is Possible will make you believe just that. It is a joy to read, written conversationally, with real depth and a lot of heart. I’ll say it again, Joby Martin is an amazing communicator and I could not recommend this book more highly, especially if you are, or know and love someone going through a trial. Pick it up!

The Third Option

Posted: March 13, 2023 in Uncategorized

One of my favorite stories in Scripture is the story of the woman caught in adultery. In it the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in the act of adultery, and demanded he tell them what should be done with her. Here’s the problem, it was a trap from the word “go.” The Pharisees knew that if Jesus said to let her go, he was in violation of the law of Moses, which would have been a sin, and they would have been able to discredit him as a heretic. On the other hand, at the time of the crucifixion, we see that it was against the law for the Jewish people to put someone to death. For Jesus to tell them to stone her would have made him a criminal in the eyes of Rome. They seem to feel rather confident that they have Jesus locked in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

This is what’s called a dilemma. There are two choices and you are forced to make a choice. Let’s stop there for a second. There are times where a dilemma is unavoidable and a choice must be made. Then there are the other times where you find yourself forced into a dilemma by someone else. In these times, it can often be said that the person probably doesn’t have your best interest at heart. This is the situation Jesus is in, but note what He does. People who do not have His best interests at heart are trying to force His hand in what is clearly a no win situation. Instead of allowing Himself to be backed into a corner. Jesus kneels down and writes in the dirt. He doesn’t say anything at first. Now Jesus is all knowing, so He already knows what to do here, but for the rest of us there is a lesson here. Take a little time to think. Don’t be rushed into making a bad choice. Jesus appears to have two choices, both with bad consequences, a real no win situation, so he doesn’t rush in. The old saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” really applies here. You don’t need to rush in either.

So Jesus appears to have a choice, command them to let the woman go and lose his credibility (and maybe his life) by violating the law of Moses, or He can say to stone the woman and commit a capital crime in the eyes of the Romans who rule the land at this time. With either choice, there is a very good chance that Jesus would be killed. Worse it could be argued that either of those options may have been sin and thus make it impossible for Him to fulfill His mission of saving the world. What do you do? Jesus took the third option. He said, “Let Him without sin cast the first stone.” One by one, starting with the oldest the men dropped their stones and walked away, This was the third option. Jesus fold the trap. He held up a mirror to the people and they were al pronounced guilty. Then turning to the woman, Jesus said “Where are they? Has no one condemned you.” There was no one standing left standing there, so she said “No one sir.” Then Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

Before you fall for a dilemma, seek out a third option.

Today we start out Easter series by looking at people from the Easter Story who interacted with Jesus. The theme is based on a question Pontius Pilate asked that every man, woman and child must answer and answer correctly, “What shall I do with Jesus?”

True and False Prophets

Posted: March 11, 2023 in Uncategorized

A friend online this week posted a post about how to tell true prophets from false prophets. The conclusion the post came to was “false prophets are unable to predict the future with 100 percent accuracy.” I would go along with this to a point. The problem with this is time. We know, having read the Scriptures from our vantage point in time that Isaiah was accurate over and over and over again. That being said, his contemporaries may have assumed him to be false because those prophecies that we look at in the rear view mirror of history, and see as incredibly accurate, took seven hundred years to come to pass.

The reality is there is a wider definition of prophet that has very little to do with predicting anything. These people merely bring messages from the Lord. This could be as simple as a Sunday morning sermon when the preacher has sought the Lord for His message. This is much easier to discern. You merely need to compare what you hear with the word of God. Even this comes with a danger though. We need to take the full counsel of Scripture. The Bible can be misused when we take verses out of context, and so at times a deeper dive is required. What do the Scriptures as a whole have to say about the message brought forth? It might take some work, but what is more important than understanding the Word of God?

When it comes to all of this stuff I am reminded of the Bereans. Do you remember them? The apostle Paul came into their area and began to preach. Now we know Paul as the guy who wrote at least a third of the New Testament, but the Bereans didn’t know him from Adam, if you’ll pardon the pun. So what did they do? They didn’t just write Paul off, nor did they just take him at his word. No they got out their Bibles (probably scrolls) and compared what he said to the Bible. Check this out. Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” In other words, these people did their homework and are commended in the Scriptures as an example to be followed.

Now you might wonder what this has to do with the scope of this blog, creative arts ministry. It’s simple really. We are people who have been given gifts to spread the Gospel. We get to get creative with the mode of the delivery of God’s Word and that is an awesome privilege, but check this, it’s also an awesome responsibility. There is a limit on our creativity. We are allowed to change the mode of delivery, with a painting, or a writing, or a play, or whatever. What we dare not tamper with is the message itself. This means we need to make sure that nothing we are teaching in what we do is false, and that means we need to preempt the Bereans. In other words, we need to check ourselves against the Word before they do. This is especially urgent for two reasons. First because an awful lot of people will not be good Bereans. They might just take you at your word, so your word better reflect well on The Word. Secondly the Bible tells us, Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1) This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach, but that when we teach, we need to be sure that our teaching is true and not false.