Posts Tagged ‘art’

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.


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.

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.

Hi everyone,
I wanted to let you know everything is okay here. I have not quit or curtailed activities or anything of the kind. It’s just been a really busy time in my life and I had to take a little time to get some things done. I finished my first class toward my Master’s Degree, did quite a few speaking engagement and of course the work involved with my regular work as a pastor. Everything was good, it was just a lot. I was also a little concerned that I was sending too many thing out through this blog and to be honest that got a little discouraging. I want this to be an effective tool for you, the people that take the time to read this blog. I recognize the fact that your time is valuable and I want every moment you give me to count.

Speaking of that. Yesterday in my church I preached on one of my least favorite topics, but it’s really pertinent to this post. I spoke on Sabbath. It’s not that I dislike Sabbath, it’s just that it is a really hard topic. Everyone seems to want a list. What can I do, and what can’t I do? If I say do no work, people say “What constitutes work?” I am hesitant to make a list. The pharisees did that and it got them into all matter of trouble. In the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, God set the penalty for breaking Sabbath at death, which leads me to believe He takes it very seriously. Sabbath was also one of the chief things the Pharisees used to accuse Jesus, largely because Jesus could see the Sabbath forest for the Sabbath trees and knew it was good to good on the Sabbath.

I think God cares about Sabbath because He cares about you. He knows that we have a tendency to forget Him when we’re a. busy working as if the whole world depends on us and b. so comfortable in His provision that we don’t see our need. Sabbath brings both things to the forefront. It doesn’t all depend on us and we are totally and completely dependent on Him. He needs to be the center of our lives and we need to remember that. Further, He made us and He knows our limitations. If He says we need rest, He probably knows what He’s talking about. Sometimes you just need to take a break. That’s what my hiatus was and I needed it. I’m now feeling fairly refreshed and ready to see what’s next.

It’s this simple. We can’t afford to ignore the Sabbath and we can’t afford to be legalistic about the Sabbath. Sabbath is a gift from God to us and it’s a gift we need to receive. As McDonalds used to say… You deserve a break today.

I just finished Mike Dellosso’s second book in the Jed Patrick series, Kill Devil and it is every bit the page turner that the first book, Centralia, was, and even more. This is a great work of fiction that keeps the reader hooked to the very end. The story follows Jed Patrick, a soldier whose memory and history has been erased. In Kill Devil, Jed continues to regain memories, but his past is coming back to haunt him. It seems like the world is against him, in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of government. There is no place to run and no place to hide as he races against time, trying to survive. It is also a story of recovering and growing faith. This is a very good book.

I only have one word of caution for the reader. Kill Devil is a true sequel. While it probably could stand alone, I highly recommend reading the first book in the series, Centralia, before reading Kill Devil. Reading the books in order will help the reader to understand a complex storyline a lot better and enjoy it a lot more. This is a definite five star book that any fan of thrillers will love—another top notch effort by Mike Dellosso! This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read any of Mike’s books yet, pick one up today.

Picasso on Being and Remaining an ArtistI love to create, and when I am in the zone, there are few things better. When I am creating, I feel like I am in the center of God’s will. Whether it’s a new painting, or a cartoon, or writing my weekly sermon or whatever, the idea of bringing to life something which only existed in my mind is a feeling beyond comprehension. It’s one of the things in life that brings me joy.

It’s not surprising that there are times where that joy is interrupted. I start to second guess myself and put myself down and feel like I’m not good enough, or I go to perfectionism and the feeling that nothing I create is good enough. Again, it’s not surprising at all that this happens. After all, Scripture tells me the joy of the Lord is my strength and there is a force in this world that doesn’t want us functioning in either one. Here’s what you need to know. The attacks against your joy will come, whether you like it or not, but you control how you react to it. You have to choose joy.

Let me tell you, perfection is unattainable on this side of the grave. It’s a fact of life. Get used to it, otherwise perfectionism will steal your joy. So will self loathing, comparison and a lot of other things we creatives are susceptible to, but again you have the choice of whether or not you give in to it.

Maybe it’s time you recaptured the joy. Stop making your creations about the end result and start enjoying the process and the journey. Think about it, you get to make art and tell stories and there are people who actually like what you do. Don’t wonder why they love you and your work, accept it and keep doing what you love to do. If the joy of the Lord is your strength and your gift is from the Lord, shouldn’t the exercise of your gift bring you joy.

What bring you joy? Do it to the glory of the Lord! Remember “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV) and don’t forget, Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”