The other night I had a dream. In the dream a woman came to me telling me about a book the Lord laid on her heart to write. It was weird, as dreams often are, but it felt like this same woman had come to me before, maybe in other dreams, telling me about this same book. I made the promise to her that if she wrote the book I would move heaven and earth to help her get the book published. I would champion her cause.

Now the truth is, I have written and/or illustrated quite a few books and have self-published them, so that part I probably could actually do for her. Where I have always struggled is in getting the self published books to sell. Most of the books I have sold have been sold after my speaking engagements, and even this has been sporadic and that’s when it hit me. We could all use a champion. We could all use others to help bring our creative dreams, not to mention callings, to reality. I could help someone get their book ready to publish and even to self publish, but from there I could really use a marketer to take it to the next level and get those books into the hands of people who need to read them.

Similarly, I was speaking with a young friend online the other day, who desires to be a speaker. She has had some experiences that could be used to benefit a lot of people. We got into a conversation and I laid out some tips and ideas that would help her refine her message and begin to make the connections to begin getting her message out. Now that’s not to say everything is one size fits all, and she has a lot of left work to do, but I was at least able to give a little direction from my point of view.

What if we all did that? It’s really not that difficult. You have a piece of the puzzle that someone else is missing. It might even be the piece that completes the picture. I would love to figure out how to build this into a community of champions where people can come and say, “Here’s my vision. Here’s where I’m stuck. Who can help?” This is ultimately “Body of Christ” stuff. We are more together than we are apart. So how about it?

Any champions out there?

I am a blessed man. I have many titles in my life, artist, pastor, minister, speaker, teacher, but there are three that carry a more primary importance, husband, father and grandfather. These three titles are primary. It’s really easy to let the first five overshadow the last three and I have been guilty of this many, many times. That is a huge mistake. Those last three titles represent my primary ministry. My marriage to my wife is of huge importance, and that relationship colors all the rest. My effectiveness in all other area if that one relationship is not doing well. God has also blessed me with two great sons. Again my marriage is of primary importance in these relationships. This was of utmost importance in their childhood, but even now as they are grown, their mother and I still have much to model for them. And then there is the great blessing of my grandson, David John, who always puts a smile on my face.

One of the main things I have to model is how the ministry effects my relationships. Show them through my actions, that the ministry is more important than them and I will tarnish their opinion of the church and the God I serve. It’s a tight rope, balancing act and one that we who minister all have to navigate, because here’s the thing: I think we all want to serve well. We want to honor God with our lives and do the very best we can for the people we serve. There is a very real temptation at times to push our primary relationships to the back burner thinking I’ll make it up to them later. This is usually not the case because later keeps getting later. Any career can cause this to happen, but those of us in ministry have to be especially careful, because how we handle our priorities has a great chance to reflect on our God.

By the way that is our primary relationship. If we learn to keep God in first place, all the rest will fall into place. Please remember God and ministry are not the same thing. Our relationship with God is different from what we do ostensibly for Him. Keep Him first and your loved ones second and after that, let everything else fall into it’s natural position. In our relational lives priorities are tremendously important.

Please learn this from me. I learned it the hard way.

God bless, and happy Father’s day to all the dads and spiritual fathers out there.

Okay, prepare for superlatives. I’ve been reading some pretty heavy stuff of late so when I saw this in my recommended reading on Amazon, and the cover art looked pretty cool, I thought I would give it a shot. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I needed to read a little fiction. It’s listed as middle grade, so maybe it would be too kiddie or something of the like. Oh my word, this thing has shades of two of my favorite authors, Lewis and Tolkien, and no I am not exaggerating. This thing is a page turner. Two young rabbits whose world falls apart find themselves thrust into an epic adventure. While we know the characters are rabbits, they are so well anthropomorphized that you soon forget they’re not human and they become very real and relatable. Someone needs to option this thing into a movie. Smith knows how to tell a story. Yes he sets us up for a sequel, but the story still has a beginning, a middle and a satisfying resolution, something many writers of series forget. I can’t get over how good this book was and I look forward to starting the sequel. Take a chance on this one, it’s fantastic.

I apologize, because this is another crosspost from Beware of Artists, though I am going to expand the thought a little more.

Okay first of all, in case you were wondering, I didn’t misspell it. This is a play on words that occurred to me one day. We’ve all heard the story of that person who seemed to have the world by the tail in high school. They ruled the school and were likely a domineering bully. A big fish in a little pond, but when those four years passed, that was it, they peaked in High School. For the record, I can’t say I knew anyone like that personally, but I’m sure there were a few. The thing is, if we live this life properly, we don’t have to peak at all. We can keep growing, learning and expanding our horizons. Basically it involves giving each opportunity our best and to keep reaching for new heights. No I don’t mean some rat race/hamster wheel existence of chasing our tails and never being satisfied. Rather I mean one of limitless possibilities, where we continually ask “what if?” and like the results.

Consider our calling to expand the Kingdom and move the Gospel forward, as we prepare the way of our King. That job will never be done until He returns in His glory. Our call then is to keep moving forward. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul. Nearing the end of an amazing journey and a world changing life, do you remember what he said. 2 Timothy 4: 7-8. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Keep moving forward, running your race, fighting your fight. There is a crown in store.

No Peaking!

This guy has some great things to say on trying, the naysayers and more.

I see so many artists on-line who complain that their work isn’t up to par. They compare themselves to others and feel like something less. It’s easy to do and it happens to us all… and it’s POINTLESS. Look, your work today is not your best work. You might think, “He hasn’t seen my work, how can he know?” I know, or a lest I hope. You see if we artists are faithful, our best work is forever before us, because we keep bringing our best to the table every day. If we continue to do that, our work will continue to improve. Keep at it, and in the mean time do the best you can today, hold your head high and enjoy the journey.

It’s an expression I find myself using all the time. “In the ideal world this would happen or that would happen.” The ideal world is this mystical place where all the stars align and everything goes perfectly, every time. I’m here today to tell you that there is an ideal world and people are dying to get there. Unfortunately that’s the only way to get there. The ideal world is called Heaven and this ain’t it. Here on earth, things are often less than ideal. Things go wrong, or just don’t line up the way they should. There are problems and struggles, annoyances and catastrophes. We clearly do not live in the ideal world and the question to be considered is what do we do with that?

Some tend to wait until everything lines up and things are as close to ideal as they can possibly be. While that is the optimal place to get things done, life doesn’t often work out that way. Fortunately there is a better solution—that is to get to work when things are less than ideal. Of course we want to take full advantage of ideal situations when they occur, but success is often found when we buckle down when things are less than ideal and do it anyway.

Think about the people we admire most. Why do we admire them? Because everything was easy and everything went their way? No. Because they came up against tremendous obstacles, persevered and overcame them. People so often assume that the blessing of God on a person’s life is revealed in the ease of their lives. This negates the examples of people like Moses, David, Paul and even Jesus. God never promised an ideal world on this side of the grave (well at least not since we blew it in the Garden) what He promised was to go with us through the world we have.

This world is not ideal, but great things are still possible and those of us who stay in the fight, follow our Lord, walk in faith and persevere are best suited to point people beyond this world to the One who will take us to the ideal world.

In the mean time keep at it! You’re not alone.