I’m writing this from my church office, but I won’t be here much longer. The roads are getting pretty treacherous and I’m going to return to the safety of my home away from home, the church parsonage. I loaded a bunch of info to my computer, (no WIFI at the parsonage, and most of the time, I’m okay with that) so I can get done everything I need to get done. Why am I writing this? To show you something about life, and it starts with this statement.

“I hate Winter.”

I can’t stand it. If I was alone in the universe, I would make a b-line for some place tropical so fast it would make your head spin. Snow and ice and all the rest of Winter’s “fun” are no fun at all for me. When I hear schools trying to be all PC by calling their Christmas parties “Winter Celebrations,” I just have to laugh. What is there to celebrate about winter? Shoveling snow, power outages, impassible roads? No I really can’t stand winter. I can’t schedule anything three months our of the without having to hope I’ll be able to get there when the day arrives. Yessir, I hate Winter.

I hope you can forgive the previous diatribe, because here’s the point. There is only one good thing about Winter as far as I am concerned and that is that God made it, and if God made it, then it’s good. Inconvenient? From my point of view, absolutely, but God is always good, even when things are inconvenient. If you noticed in the above paragraph, I made the statement that if I was alone in the universe, I would be out of this area and while that is true, the better news is, I am not alone in the universe. God has given me so much here, family, friends, my church, a home, a warm place to stay when I can’t get there, and more and while I really much prefer when the Greatest Artist in the Universe works in his green palette, all these people I love are worth tolerating the weather.

God is always good, even on a snow day.


Yesterday, I wrote about my influences, specifically Ed Roth. Today, I decided to create in a similar style. His character is Rat Fink, so I decided to do something of a self portrait. I call it Art Fink. Hope you like it.

All us creatives are the product of our influences. When I was a little kid, My Nana used to take me to this amazing flea market/auction and there was this one stand that had this array of t-shirts. There were many difference designs but most of them were the same subject matter, cars twisting under the torque of their massive engines with huge monstrous beastly characters sticking right through the roof of the car grasping a huge shifter. We’d leave that stand and Nana would take me to another stand where she’d let me buy a model kit of my church. I loved building those kits and I dreamed of being able to to make them look like those shirts at the shop. One of the things I really wanted to draw was those crazy creatures and I started and I have been drawing creatures ever since.

I also remember being in elementary school and checking a book out of the library about custom cars. There was this guy in it that was building these amazing cars. One of those cars was called the Mysterion. It turned out that the builder was a guy named Ed “Big Daddy Roth. Later, I found out that he was also the artist behind many of those amazing T-shirts. The guy was clearly an influence. One of many. Of all his creatures, probably the most famous was RatFink this big green rat. My wife got me this guy for Christmas and the spare time in my week off has been spent building and painting him for. It was a fun kit to paint and it reminded me of another reason I ended up creating.

Who influenced you?

I wrote this note for my church’s website for 2018, but it applies beyond just my church. A big part of the reason this blog has always existed is to empower creatives in the church to use their gifts to serve the Lord. I share this for your consideration. This is what I am doing with my congregation, perhaps it can inspire the leaders of other churches to empower their folks. Empowerment will change the lives of the people in the church and it will open the doors to new people who have yet walk through your doors.

This year, I have selected a word to represent what I think the Lord is leading us to this year. That word is “empowerment.” In truth, this has long been my philosophy of ministry because, in essence, this is what happened to me. You see when I first walked into the church, at least in my adult life, I was pretty far from God.  As I began seeing my need for God, I started looking for my place to fit. The thing is, I didn’t have any of the gifts that we usually associate with the church. I was terrified to speak in public, I didn’t have enough knowledge to teach and my lack of musical ability is nearly legendary. I figured I was destined to be a consumer, and that is not a good place to stay in the church. What I did have was some artistic talent. 

Long story short, my pastor found that gift and tapped into it. It was a small assignment. A backdrop for the VBS skits, but it opened the door and changed my life. The Lord through my pastor had empowered me to serve. The end result, today I am a church pastor with a speaking ministry that takes me all over the U.S. Empowerment is a wonderful, powerful, miraculous force that can change the entire direction of a person’s life. 

Today the church I pastor is a blessing. Great people who love the Lord and His Word. When I hear my unbelieving friends speaking negatively about the church, I wish they’d come and check out mine and when I hear my ministry friends speak of the troubles they have in their churches, I become increasingly aware of how blessed I truly am. We’re not perfect, but Springfield Church of he Brethren is a pretty good place to be. There is only one major thing we lack and that is simply that a lot of the people who really need what we have, don’t know we’re there. 

How can we fix this? I think it has something to do with empowerment. It’s not that my people don’t serve. They do. I just wonder what else lays on their hearts. We in the church tend to only see certain gifts and talents as usable for the church, but what if we saw that differently? What if we realized that ever good gift comes from God and that all of them are useful to the Kingdom?

What if we gave people the ability to ry new things? This is the sole of empowerment, and so we extend an invitation for people to try the new things God lays on their hearts. Sometimes this will be a one time thing. Sometimes it will be continual. 

What do you need to have to do this? You need a dream. You need to be faithful. You need to finish what you start and you have to be trying to honor God. You need to accept humble beginnings, starting with available resources and working toward growth.

One last thing, your calling is your calling. In other words, if you have an idea you want me to do, the answer is probably going to be no, unless it’s a really phenomenal idea that’s right in the middle of my wheelhouse and clearly God’s call. Empowerment is about helping you to do what God is calling you to do and helping you to be what God has created you to be. Empowerment can change your life. 

What can we help you to do and be?

A year or so ago my friend Mike Furches contacted me to ask if I would illustrate a children’s book he and his wife, Mary Jane, had written. I almost always say “no” to these projects because more often than not, publishing companies want to pick their own illustrators for projects, so all my efforts come to naught. For some reason though, I said “yes” to Mike and Mary Jane, and I am glad I did.

The culmination of our efforts is a book on Mindstir Media called Herald the Angel. I got my copies yesterday and I must say I am very pleased with how it turned out. It’s available in both hard cover and paperback. My hard cover is going right to the young man I dedicated my illustrations to, my grandson David John.

A synopsis of the book is as follows:

Herald is an angel who struggles to trust that he is good enough. No matter how hard he tries, it seems that others are always outshining him. As a heavenly choir is assembled to celebrate the birth of the Christ child, Herald must decide whether he will share the gifts he has to offer.

Join Herald on his journey to discover the beauty of what’s possible when you put your whole heart into whatever you do. Herald deals with other issues such as bullying where parents can openly discuss issues with their children as a learning point in an easy to understand way for small children.

My prayer is that this book blesses and helps a lot of people. I had a great time doing this project and it has put the bug in me to create a book of my own. If you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, click here.

Using the story of David and Goliath as the background, Louie Giglio writes the wonderful book on overcoming the “giants” we face in our lives—giants like anger, fear, addiction, etc. The solution is clear, these giants not just can fall, they MUST fall! Through personal stories and strong biblical teaching, Giglio makes a wonderful case for the freedom God wants each of us to have in our lives. Now to be clear, I have heard teachings relating the story of the biblical giant killer to overcoming our struggles before, but there is something very unique and very correct here. Most authors writing books like this one will tell us we’re to be like David, we’re the giant killers, etc. Giglio takes a different tack and I believe it is the correct ones. You see, he goes to great lengths to remind the reader that we are not the giant killer in this story, Jesus is and so it is with us. The ultimate victory in our battle against the giants we face will not be ours. It is Jesus who will win the battle and it is Jesus who will set us free. This is an excellent book that everyone who has ever struggled with anything should read.

I read this book in a single day and it is great. I was using it for research on a sermon series I am planning on the subject of praise. I first heard about the book on the Chris Tomlin tour when Darren Whitehead presented his message on the topic. I must say it was really intriguing. Just as there are four words that translate to “love” in the Bible, there are seven that translate to “praise.” The book looks at and defines each of these words while talking about the application of each concept to worship. Chris Tomlin then adds a musical application to each chapter. There are plenty of Scripture references to see the application more clearly and a study guide with each chapter. This book just mite change the way you look at worship and I recommend it highly.