Posts Tagged ‘amok’

At the moment I am reading Torry Martin’s great book Of Moose and Men. I’m not ready to give my full review yet. It’s great, but I’m not done reading yet, but I read something today that I had to comment on. I heard him share this thought at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference last week and I was so glad he included it in the book. It really hit home with me and I think it will with you as well.

In the book, Torry relates the story of winning the grand prize in the acting category at Christian Artists in Colorado. Even with this great victory among the elite of Christian creativity, he was still questioning whether or not he had what it takes or whether his win was a fluke. Then he heard a television evangelist say this, “Exercising our gifts is a matter of obedience. Failure to exercise our gifts can adversely affect the body of Christ and the very glory of God.” Those words shook him to the core. They shake me too.

You might want to question that. You may want to say God’s glory does not depend on me. You may be right about that, but consider this, why were you given the gifts you have been given? I think every believer would say to glorify God. Well if that’s the case (and it is!) then you failing to exercise your God-given gift will adversely affect (even if only temporarily) God’s glory going forth in this world. Don’t do that. Your gift is not a fluke, it’s a freely given gift from the One who loves you most and knows you best. Are you the greatest in the world at what you do? Probably not, but you can bring it into the world in a way no one else can, so bring it! Remember the way we get better is to keep doing what we do faithfully, to the best of our abilities, trusting God to bring growth.

You can do what God has given you to do. There is a pretty great chance that He created you to do it, so don’t withhold that gift. Put it to work, develop it and show it to the world. That’s how we give God glory.

Are you adversely affecting the glory of God? Stop it and get to work!

Wow there are a lot of things going on these days here at AMOKArts. In the next few weeks, I have a lot of ground to cover to be prepared for all the ministry coming up. Now needless to say, I am excited for it all. I love what I do but the task before me is starting to look a little daunting. I’m not panicking though. Instead I am doing two things we can all do. I am prioritizing and I am breaking it down. Each day will have it’s function. I’ll be finishing the most pressing things first and going from there. By breaking the projects down into manageable steps, I will be able to get things done one at a time and I’ll be ready (Lord willing!) for all the great stuff before me.

You can do this too. The first step is prayer. Ask God to order your steps and show you the way. Ask Him to provide all the things only He can provide and ask Him to help you to work in faithfulness. He will because He is faithful. Then don’t waste time. Bring your best to every activity, don’t waste time and keep moving forward. Don’t forget rest is crucial both to your body ad your creativity. You only think you work best under pressure. Really you work best when you work consistently to achieve your goals the full length of your work time.

God is faithful. He will bring you all the way through. Seek the Lord, break the project down, manage your time and work in faithfulness. Busyness can be a blessing. It might mean God is opening new doors for you and breaking new ground. The key though is to not do it in your own strength. Rather acknowledge and lean on Him all the way to your goal.

God is good, even when we’re busy, busy, busy!

God has a plan and a purpose for your life and I believe your gifts and talents figure mightily into that plan. Just as in the Parable of the Talents, the master gives each of his servants talents to invest for the sake of his Kingdom, so our Lord has invested talents in us. These talents belong to the master and have been given to make great gains for His kingdom. Consider what this means. In Christianity, belief in God is vital, but this passage (it’s found in Matthew 25) tells us that in a very real way God believes in us… In you!

None of is in this world accidentally. You were created on purpose for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. To live out this calling is a huge part of your destiny in Christ, and in it you will find the meaning of your life. Your talents are a huge part of God’s plan. Submit your gifts to the will of the Father and see where He takes you.

Live the plan!

I had a discussion with a promotions expert about my blog. He suggested that blogging every day was too much contact for the people who might follow this blog. I have to admit I have wondered if I was posting too often. So after two days off the blog, I thought I would just ask the question.

I had a great night doing a paint night for a bunch of wonderful creatives. At the end as I was tearing down, one of the folks told me I looked tired. The truth is, I am, but it’s the good kind of tired. It’s the kind of tired you feel when you know you are doing God’s will, and tat He is using you to be a blessing to others. It’s the kind of tired that allows you to feel a certain satisfaction and contentment because you know you’ve been faithful. I don’t mind feeling this kind of tired. I know I can sleep (please Lord, let me get a good night’s sleep, sometimes excitement makes that difficult) a little later tomorrow if I need to.

As I turn in, and I will as soon as I hit publish, I feel like I did what the Lord had for me today. It was a long day, but God was faithful and I kind of feel like I was too…

and that’s the good kind of tired.

This week I am teaching at a Christian Writer’s Conference. I am excited and just a little intimidated. There are people here from all skill levels and some of them are much more accomplished that I am. My goal is to help everyone in the room to gain something that they can take home and use. Even more I want to spur the folks who invest their valuable time in me on to love and good deeds. As I am thinking of this, a thought has just occurred to me—I want them all to surpass me and if they do, I will have really done my job.

I have some concerns. Foremost of which is I tend to write very conversationally. As a result, I may not be the “cleanest” (grammatically) or most technically proficient writer. Secondly, do I have anything to offer that the conferees don’t already know? I’m teaching on creative block and a second session that relates to sharing our work with the world. A wealth of thoughts run through my head and not all of them are encouraging. What should I do? I think I have found my answer and it’s in the first session I will teach.

I have a list of forty five ways to overcome creative block. I know I won’t be able to hit them all but I wanted to be prepared for any contingency. They’re all tried and true and have all worked in my life. I already know the first one is so painfully obvious that I will have to explain quickly before they think they signed up for the wrong class. I almost took it out, but I realized it’s the second most important one in my creative life and it’s started more posts on this blog than any other. Well… except for the second one, which is also fairly obvious, but I have often failed to do it and have paid the price on many occasions. The first idea kind of needed to be first, but idea number two is in every other way number one. Number two is prayer and it is the most important step in the creative process. If you want to succeed in your mission to glorify God in your creative pursuits, the first step should be to ask God what will bring Him glory. He knows that better than anyone and He will never steer you wrong.

There is one other thing to be considered. All those intimidating thoughts should be washed away with one single thought Did I pray? I did and because of that I can trust that God will do what He wants to do through me (and in me) for these sessions. God’s been faithful, now it’s my turn.

I believe He will bring honor and glory to His name in the way that He sees fit and I trust Him. If you’re going to succeed in any creative pursuit, the first step is to pray.

There once was a man with a great golden pitcher. He loved to use his pitcher to refresh the people all-around him. He poured day and night until one day he stopped. It wasn’t because he wanted to. Pouring gave his life purpose and meaning and it brought him great joy. He tried and tried to keep pouring, but to no avail. He simply could not pour anymore. The reason was simple…

His pitcher was empty.

I know the question that is creeping through your mind. “Why didn’t he just fill the pitcher?” It’s obvious, right? Then why don’t you do it? You see, if you’re like most creatives, especially Christian creatives, you want to help people and you live to be a blessing. We seem to thrive on creating and sharing those creations as well as helping and pouring into the lives of others. We’d do it all day every day if we could, but please don’t miss this because it is a principle that will serve you very well. You can’t pour what you don’t have. If you’re going to pour out, you also have to learn to let others, not to mention God, pour into you.

I know this pretty well. I’m right in the middle of a long period of much activity and I love it, but it comes with a price. My mind is racing all the time. This often keeps me from sleeping which makes me quite tired at times. Also my studio space is chaotic, because I am in “throw and go” mode. You know, that’s where you finish something, throw it to the side and start working on the next thing. As a result of that chaos, there are at least two things I intended to bring along for the conference where I am speaking, that are sitting home in my studio. I can do everything I need to do without them, but they would have been an asset to what I am doing. Finally, though most importantly, when I go to pray, my mind is so all over the place that even the Lord is not getting my full attention. That’s not going to work forever. I’m not empty right now. I still feel okay, but I’m definitely not full.

What to do? Well today I am going to let some people sow into me. I’m going to sit and listen to a few other speakers to see what I can glean from them. I’m going to enter into some unplanned, general conversations. I might even grab a nap in my room and I am going to spend some time with Jesus. I’m still going to seek to be a blessing, but I’m also going to attempt to fill my pitcher.

If I don’t, I can’t pour.