Posts Tagged ‘amokarts’

<a href=”; target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ src=”//″ ></a><img src=”; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />Okay, okay, okay, I know this is children’s book, so why do I love it so much. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s brilliant and it’s a wonderful representation of a drum I have been beating for 20 years. I first found this book in a gift shop while I was on vacation this past summer. I read it standing by the shelf (not that hard it’s a children’s book, after all) and had tears in my eyes when I was done.

It’s about a little child and his anthropomorphized idea. It shares all the struggles we have with our ideas, the pain of rejection and the joy we feel when we immerse ourselves in bringing our ideas to life. What do you do with an idea? Well that would be a spoiler, but suffice it to say, it’s what I have been saying all along. I loved this book. Author Kobi Yamada did a great job of bringing this concept to its essence so that anyone can understand it and illustrator Mae Besom captures the spirit of this book fantastically.

Lastly I love that this book was written for children, but the truth is children don’t need it. Children already dream and create. The real and lasting impact of this book will be fond in two ways. First that the children will hold onto it when the world begins to tell them they are too old to dream, and second that people reading this book to their children,grandchildren etc. will grasp the concept and begin to feed their ideas again.

I have so much more to say, but by now my review is probably longer than the book so I will end with three words, read this book!


I haven’t really looked at my blog stats lately. To be honest, I thought they’d be depressing. I’d been a little lax in posting and so I figured they’d be abysmal. For the record I appreciate every single reader, so if you’re reading this, that means you! Thank You! It’s just I write these things to try and help as many people as possible and every blogging guru I’ve ever read talks about the importance of consistency. Well I’d been inconsistent and I was fully expecting toe pay the price in the stats, so I was a little surprised to find that for three days in a row, between September 28 and 30, I had over 150 unique page views with the highest being the 29th where I had 208. Now I know for some bloggers that’s nothing, but for a niche blog on creative ministry, those were some of the highest days I’ve had since two groups went to war over some cartoons I posted several years ago.

I’d love to know what happened. I posted a book review that day on The Awakening of H.K. Derryberry. It was a nice little memoir I thoroughly enjoyed but I can’t picture a book review would take my numbers to that height. I just can’t figure it out and then I had a thought. Maybe I’m not supposed to. After all, if I could figure it out, I’d probably try to repeat it. Okay, no probably about it, I’d repeat it. I’d make it a formula and I’d work it but that’s not how art works especially art in the realm of faith. I’m supposed to seek the Lord and create the best stuff I can create. I’m supposed to trust that God will use it to touch and bless who He wants to touch and bless, whether that’s a multitude or just one…just you.

You see dear reader, I do this for God and I do it for you. I write these things to inspire people and get them to think differently. I feel like part of my calling is to encourage creatives to create to the glory of God and that’s what I want to happen.

So here’s the question, dear reader. What do you want? Why do you do what you do? Those motivations of our hearts are extremely important. I shared yesterday about the day God turned my life around 20 years and one day ago. The thing I kept coming back to was I was getting my identity from my work, rather than from my Lord. I wanted to succeed so that people would see I had value rather than to bring glory to God. I know now that was wrong. If I create and trust the creation to God, it becomes His to use as He desires. That’s not likely to come in a formula repeated ad nauseum. Instead it comes when we trust and obey.

Ask God what He would have you do, give it your best and do what He says to do with it. Creating like that will allow our work to occupy its proper place in our lives and that is immensely important. Thanks for reading.

Hi everyone,
If you’ve been blessed at all by this ministry, please join me in praising God for this day. You see this is a momentous day, the anniversary of a day that changed the entire course of my life. 20 years ago today was a bright, warm Saturday morning, but in truth I was under a dark cloud. I was feeling like I was so lost. I was trying to be a professional artist, hustling like crazy and I see now driving everyone crazy. You see I had to be an artist. It was the only thing in the world I was any good at. I assumed it was my God-given gift and so surely I was supposed to be doing that for a living. If that was the case, and I was quite convinced I was, why was I failing so miserably, and why was everyone so mad at me? I felt like God had let me down. I was wrong.

You see in my pursuit of fame and fortune, I was messing up badly. Now if you had asked me, I would have told you I was doing it all for my family and that once I made it they would have everything they ever wanted. If that’s the case, and lying to myself I said it was, why was my family life in a shambles. It had been about a week since I’m pretty sure I heard the voice of God. I was railing at Him over my perceived failure, and maybe His failure to take care of me, when I heard Him say, “your work is your god.” I was fighting with that thought all week. On that Saturday, I got on a bus bright and early. To be honest I didn’t really want to go, I had deadlines. I found out later that people were praying I would get on that bus, first and foremost, my wife. You see that bus would drop me on the mall in Washington D.C. for a Promise Keepers event called Stand in the Gap.

There were a million men or more on the mall that day from all over the world, but God wasted no time at all. It felt like every speaker was speaking only to me. (I’ve since heard a lot of other guys who felt the same way.) Speaker after speaker, nailed all my issues. I spent most of the day in tears of repentance and by the end of the day I knew what I had to do. I had to take my beloved art career and lay in on the altar. I quit art that day and I told God I would never pick it up again unless I was doing it for Him. I felt Him call me to ministry right then and there and the rest is history. That night I repented not just to God but to my family. God really turned my life around. In time I went from a guy terrified to speak in public to a guy who has spoken all over this great nation. I’ve painted and ministered in about 200 venues just in the last five years in about 15 or 16 states. I pastor a great little church here in PA and I am the happiest I have ever been. It all started 20 years ago today. Thanks for being a part of this journey. The best is yet to come.

I awoke yesterday to hear of the tragic murders at the country music festival in Las Vegas and went to bed hearing that Tom Petty, an artist from my formative years was taken off life-support. It was a dark day in the arts. People will spend the next days and weeks trying to find out why, but the truth is some things will never be known. Why does a man gather firearms to gun down people as they enjoy what should be a positive experience? Some will scream for more gun legislation, but the truth is people bent on breaking the law will not be stopped by more laws, over 50 people’s lives were stolen in a storm of anger, hatred and senseless violence. “Why?” doesn’t begin to cover it.

At the other end we may be tempted to ask the question how a fairly young (66) musician who brought so many people so much joy passed away so suddenly. We’ll never understand that either. Both of these tragic events brought to mind a conversation I had with an artist friend of mine last week. My friend is a brilliant artist and something has happened. I can’t describe it other than to say the Lord is rewarding his faithfulness, by making his talent explode. He was good before, but his work seems to have moved to an even higher level. I encouraged him to begin trying to get in the galleries. Through the course of our discussion, he said he wasn’t sure how to go about l of that, but he didn’t want to be one of those artists who died with a garage full of paintings. It was then that I made a comment that may not have come from my mind. I said, “Better in the garage than in your head.”

Right now you might be wondering what these stories have in common. Simply this, life is short and really unpredictable and the time to create, use your gifts and act on the visions and ideas God gives you is now. My friend may not know everything about how to get his work out to a waiting world, but faithfulness demands that we act on what God gives us, when He gives it. If we hold back until we have all the answers, we may miss a crucial moment. Tomorrow is not a guarantee.Too many things are our of our control. The time to create in this unpredictable world is now.

On a side note…
My friend Bill and I were together at his house in Ohio last week. He wanted to show me some videos on his amazing TV and sound system. He shared a DVD from one of his favorite bands The Traveling Wilburys. If you’re not familiar it may be the greatest super group of all time. Comprised of George Harrison of the Beatles, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynn (ELO), Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. During the period of time when they were making the videos for the album, Roy Orbison passed away. In the video for their song End of the Line, they put Roy’s guitar on a rocking chair as a tribute to their fallen friend. Since the making of the video, George Harrison passed away and now Tom Petty. I share this video as a tribute to a great performer and songwriter.

We never know when it’s the end of the line, so make your best art now.

It’s just small stuff but it’s aggravating. For example, I am writing this post on a computer that’s on it’s last legs. No big problems just a fading laptop battery. I’ll just plug it is… Oh wait, when I plug it in, the little indicator light doesn’t come on. Check the power strip. Nope, that’s okay. Check the wire.. You have got to be kidding me. Somehow I pinched the wire in something and wrecked my power cord. Well there’s $80 and two hours of my life I’ll never get back. Then there was the other day making my way home after a nice week of ministry. I had left my host’s home at 4:30 a.m., drove 350 miles to my office, did six hours of office work before finally coming home. I was eager to get off the road when my low tire indicator light came on. When I could finally get of the interstate, the tires looked fine but by then I was paranoid, so I stopped pretty often to check them. Were it on a cold morning, I would have expected the air in the tires to have contracted and not been worried, but that was not the case.

I’d like to tell you I remained calm through all of this, but to be honest I just kept thinking “I don’t have time for this.” It’s amazing how quick it can happen over very minor things. We get discouraged and start to wonder “Why me?” and “Why now?” It’s embarrassing to admit this, but maybe you go through the same things. Please tell me I’m not the only one. God demonstrates His faithfulness all the time, but let one little thing go wrong and I am ready to start complaining and sometimes even panicking. How about you?

My friend, God is faithful in the big and small things. None of this guarantees perfect days, but we can’t really see God’s faithfulness if we never go through anything. Yesterday my friend Larry, who’s really been going through it health wise recently, told something his doctor said to him. He said “Smooth seas don’t make good sailors.” I think that’s a very valid point. So next time you’re going through something you don;t want. even if it’s just a little aggravation, look to the Lord, remember His faithfulness, and start to look for the ways God can make this work to His glory. He is faithful andHe is good all the time.

John MacArthur is one of those writers that just provokes thought. In this amazing book, MacArthur directs the last day of Jesus’ earthly life and it’s a brilliant work. He gives so much background information that the story just seems to jump off the page. I will refrain from saying MacArthur brings the Scripture to life, because the Scripture is already alive and life giving, but he really helps his reader to understand better the most important event in the most important life in human history.

This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand what Christ did on the cross. I recommend this book to everyone. It is just that good.

This is the kind of book that will make a grown man cry. How do I know? Because I’m a grown man another were quite a few times when the tears came. This is an excellent memoir about what happens when a person really sees someone else and doesn’t walk on by. Jim Bradford was in a little fast food restaurant getting a cup of coffee, when he saw a young boy sitting by himself listening to the radio. He had braces on his legs, from cerebral palsy and was blind. Jim approached the boy and an amazing friendship was born. Together the unlikely pair had amazing adventures that expanded each of their worlds.

This is the kind of book I love. It shows that sometimes if you want to see a miracle, you’ve got to take the time to be the miracle. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and pray that the lessons I learned from it will change my life and the lives of everyone who takes the time to read it. You really can make difference in this world. Jim Bradford and H.K. Derryberry both prove it. This one is a must read.