Posts Tagged ‘amok’

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Proverbs 3:5-6

What does it mean to acknowledge God? How do we lean on our own understanding? How can we express this passage to someone else?


I used to hate it in Math class. The teacher would make us show out work. They wanted to make sure we understood the process, and so seeing how we arrived at our conclusions was vital. Seeing our errors helped them to remediate our misunderstandings.

Now as an artist/minister, I’ve noticed that while people will largely appreciate a finished piece, what they really seem to love is seeing me create the piece, live, before their eyes. I could do a much nicer piece in my studio, taking my time, and the perfectionist in me sometimes wishes I could still do that, but I get much more impact by creating something in a few minutes, while the people can see the work. They are more engaged and more ready to hear the message if they have seen the work firsthand.

I got to thinking maybe that’s why one of the most effective types of ministry is the testimony. Oh people expect we who speak to know our Bible. They even expect that we will communicate well, but that can communicate a sort of veneer over our lives. They may look at us and see us as someone who has already arrived, or someone who has always been a believer. They might see us as genuinely holy or, at worst, “holier than thou.” The testimony breaks through all that. The testimony shows the work—the work Christ has done in your life. All of the sudden the person sees what has been done in your life and begins to think, “If God can do all that in Him, I wonder what He can do in me.”

We who are privileged to speak God’s truth to people would be wise to remember that were it not for God’s work in our lives, none of us would be doing very well. Showing the work—God’s work—gives Him the glory. You don’t have to give a testimony every time, but be sure the people in your care know where the power in you comes from. Show the work.

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Formulate Your Ministry

Most of us have a dream or a vision for something we would like to do or feel called to do to serve the Lord. This will usually involve asking someone for permission to do said ministry. Before you ask, it is wise to have a clear idea what you are called to do. That is the purpose of today’s challenge. Pray and then write down as much of your “ask” as you can.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says “you have not, because you ask not…” Now there is more to the verse, and the context is a little different, but for people in the church who want to serve, especially if your gift or talent is somewhat different from the usual “offerings,” asking is a huge part of the equation.

Think about it. There are some things every church knows they’re going to need, and filling those roles will always be first and foremost on the minds of the leadership. If you have something different to offer, it might not even be on their radar, especially if your gift would be something completely new. If you wait to be asked, barring divine intervention, the invite is not likely to come. Instead, you’re going to have to be the one to walk up to your church leadership and say, “Hey, what if we tried…?”

Now if this is the case, and it is, how you ask is going to be critical. The leadership person in question is not likely to know what to do with your idea. For this reason, you can’t give them a half-formed, half-baked idea. The more you have worked out in advance of the ask, the better. Going to the leadership with a complete, well thought out idea will make things a lot easier on both of you. Do your homework.

How much will it cost? This is going to be a question in nearly every church, because we all have budgets to deal with. The more inexpensive initially, the better. In the ideal world, low risk, high reward projects are the most likely to get the “green light.” Build your idea for growth where possible, realizing that success brings investment. How can you get the best bang for your buck.

Be humble. The leader in question may have a lot of questions. This should be understandable. Their credibility is on the line and in ministry credibility is huge. They may suggest changes. They may give you reasons why your idea won’t fit at the present time. They may have a similar but smaller way to try your idea. Accept these and go back to the drawing board. One of the things that is crucial in using our gifts to serve is coming under authority. Many people don’t do that well, but we all answer to someone.

Be faithful. When you get the go ahead, bring your best work to the table, deliver on time. Demonstrating faithfulness is a big part of this that cannot be overlooked. There was a reason Jesus, in the parable of the talents said “you have been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.”

Be flexible. Very rarely in life do we get everything we asked for all the time. Be grateful for what you get and move forward, even if you didn’t get everything you wanted.

One day, hopefully your dream and your vision will be fully realized, but it usually, it all starts with “the ask.”

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

100 Word (or Less) testimony

I got this idea from another website that posts stories of 100 words or less. Talk about a challenge to be concise. I really liked this challenge. It helps to learn to be concise. Not everyone will want to sit and listen to your 15 minute testimony. Can you express it in five? Share your story in the comments.

A few weeks ago, someone liked one of my posts on one of my sites from a web site that publishes stories of no more than 100 words. I thought that sounded like an intriguing challenge, so I tried and submitted. Unfortunately, my submission was not what they were looking for. That’s their prerogative, I limit things on here for content as well. Nonetheless, I thought I would share it here. I see it as a 100 word testimony of sorts. I really liked this challenge. It helps to learn to be concise. Not everyone will want to sit and listen to your 15 minute testimony. Can you express it in five?

The End
Bowing at the altar, I came to the end of myself. I tried everything to fix my mess. Nothing worked. Depressed, defeated, I reached for something that would make it alright—that would make me alright. I was not enough to fix what was broken. I gave up. I wasn’t sure why I was there. A strange force was drawing me in. Part of me wanted to resist, but that force kept beckoning. I fell to my knees as if this was the end. I cried out, “God help me!” and in that moment, I knew.
It would be alright.

Today was a blessed day of ministry. I was privileged to lead a deacon retreat for a church here in my area this morning (Little Swatara Church of the Brethren). A few of the deacons in this church are people I went to High School with, and working with them always reminds me of the 180 Jesus has done in my life from when I was in HS ’til now. Great group of people. While I’ve done leadership workshops before, this one was the first in this format. The people were very kind and participatory, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and pray they were blessed and that the Lord uses the things he laid on my heart to build up the body at their church. Because it was groundhog day, I built my theme accordingly.

Then this evening, I traveled to Middletown PA for my second trip to the Rock Cafe. It was a rock band called Testimony, a rapper named Constant Battle and his crew and me. I really enjoy this type of ministry as well. The music is always great and the ministry is better. I brought a message based on Mark chapter 2 about the man who was lowered through the roof to see Jesus. I’m still working on a title for this message, at least in this format, but I’m thinking of calling it “The Greater Miracle.” This format gives me the opportunity to pare things down and work with shorter messages, which at times comes in very handy. Well speaking of shorter messages, it’s midnight and time to cut this one off and go to bed. I should be back on the regular schedule Monday, Lord willing. If you’re a person who likes rap and rock, get yourself to Middletown, PA on the first Saturday of the month. It’s always fun.

Thanks to everyone who gave me the opportunity to minister today, and to God be the glory. Good night.