Posts Tagged ‘art’


One of the great blessings of living where I live is that we are located about an hour from Sight and Sound Theater, in Lancaster, PA. What an amazing place! Yesterday a group from my church went to see their production called Jesus, and it was incredible. This was a top of the line production with elaborate sets and visuals that could rival even the very best Broadway stages, but with a fantastic Gospel message. The actor playing Jesus did a wonderful job, his portrayal of our Lord at Gethsemane was particularly riveting. He showed us a Jesus with a full range of human emotions and while no one compares to the real Jesus, I felt as if I was transported back to watch the events as they happened. The theater uses video and special effects to such an extent that the stage takes on whole new dimensions and one could literally feel like they were watching from the streets of Jerusalem, and the shores of Galilee. The scene where Jesus walks on the water is so realistic that you expect the waves to wash over you at any moment.

Of course it is hard to weave together all the elements of Jesus’ life into a single two hour show, and they took some liberties with the time line to get it all in, but other than this every scene was very accurate biblically. The use of live animals really added to the realism. It was quite impressive to be seated near the aisle as roman soldiers on stallions went riding up and seeing “Jesus” ride past you on a donkey on the triumphal entry was otherworldly. They also very effectively used “scenes within scenes” (for lack of a better word) to illustrate points. Jesus sitting on a hill teaching as the parables are acted out in front of us. Mary Magdalene singing about Jesus freeing her as the scene is acted out is another example, but none compares to Mary mother of Jesus, singing her heart out at the tomb juxtaposed against the nativity, as both “Mary’s” young and old, sing the story from their perspective. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was fighting back tears quite a few times, both tears of sadness and at times tears of joy as I witnessed “Jesus” doing the things I have read about so many times. I’ve often had mixed feelings of portrayals I have seen of Jesus in films and theater. This was far and away the best portrayal I have seen and I have seen many.

I loved this production, not just for it’s amazing quality, but for it’s clear presentation of the Gospel. It’s going to run a few more months before closing and if there’s any way you can get here to see it, you really should.


Leave it to Andy Andrews to be able to take a made up childhood pool game and turn it into a way to success that has helped companies reach stellar heights, by doing what seems counterintuitive and yet ends up making so much sense. Sometimes the way up is down and the way to outpace your competition is to do what others aren’t doing, competing at a level where no one else is playing. While this is largely a business book, in typical Andy Andrews style, there is a larger principle that works every time it’s tried in every aspect of life. This guy is a walking wisdom generator, and I love all his stuff. Check this one out.


A friend of mine on Facebook shared this yesterday and it bears repeating. Did you ever notice there seem to be some people who have a vested interest in keeping us angry? Here’s what Cindy Fetty-Lawliss has to say about it.

“In my feed today
From the right: mass hysteria about Starbucks kicking out officers, Colin Kapernick telling Nike not to make the Betsy Ross shoes, and all the things that need to be boycotted based on these things
From the left: racism revolving around Disney movie character, Trump misspoke at 4th of July in a rediculous way, and all the reasons we need to be angry at Trump and white America.
Am I completely crazy, or is there something out there that wants us to be angry at each other all the time. I am calling propaganda on all of it. I’m tired of letting bots and ad space fuel my feelings. Someone is paying to make us mad. I’m not buying.”

I felt the need to add a comment.

“DING, DING, DING… We have a winner! You nailed it sister. Follow the money. Peace and love are better, but you know what they don’t generate? REVENUE. So the media knows their constituency and reports accordingly. An angry populace keeps watching. Watching increases ratings. Ratings drive advertising revenues. Advertising revenues equal MONEY AND MONEY IS POWER at least in their world! They gain wealth, power and authority by keeping us at each other’s throats and as a result they cannot (with some exceptions) be trusted. Big media is bad, social media is worse, because too often we share things ad infinitum without considering whether or not they’re true. (“You shall not bear false witness, remember?) What should we do instead? It’s nose to the grindstone time. It’s speak the truth in love time. It’s love your neighbor time and dare I say it, it’s SPREAD THE GOSPEL TIME! Thanks for posting this!”

Brothers and sisters, as followers of Jesus, we are in the “truth business,” especially since God has given us gifts that are often related to communication. It is our job to speak that truth in love. Not trying to anger others, not trying to win others to our side, but speaking the truth. If the truth offends, that is really the problem of the offended, unless we are saying it in such a way as to be deliberately offensive. One of the great ways to check yourself is with a few questions, such as:

• As I share this, do I have the person’s best interests at heart?
• Do I care about them and am I trying to genuinely help them?
• Am I treating this person like I would if I knew Jesus was watching/reading and would He be pleased? (Because He is watching/reading.)

Friends there are a lot of things in this world that need a comment, and more than a few on which we should take a stand, but which stand. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the eternal thing and a good eternity requires Jesus. Will your action, post, comment or creation bring someone closer to Jesus or drive them further away?

Keep the main thing, the main thing?


I’ve just returned from my denomination’s annual conference. This year we put aside all new business, and spent our time apart from the contentious issues that threaten to tear us apart and instead focusing on finding a vision that can bring us together. It was a valiant effort and next year’s conference will reveal the conclusion and probably whether or not we remain in tact. I thought this conference was by far the most positive and productive one I have attended, but there’s still a problem and I had a hard time putting my finger on it until I was reminded of this song.

Sometimes I think gathering together to vote on what we should do is the ultimate in hubris, patterning the church after our government as if that is working so well for the government. I hear people say that our conference is the highest decision making authority in our denomination, and if that is the case, that is the problem. Roberts’ Rules and simple and two thirds majorities are human constructs. Brothers and sisters, God’s people must follow God, even if they follow Him alone.

Our opinions and documents and statements, and for that matter, our churches and ministries are pointless and meaningless unless they follow God and His Word. Remember what it’s all about.

A man dying on the cross saving the world,
rising from the dead, doing what He said He would do.

Work to honor Him and stand for Him, even if you stand alone.


It seems there is always a tension between art and commerce, the legend of the starving artist, stokes this. To make money from your art is seen as selling out, and this is only compounded when faith is thrown into the mix. I hear so many ministries saying things like they will not sell the Gospel or they don’t let money get in the way of the Gospel. I’ve said it too at times and when I said it, I meant it. I truly desire more than anything for the Gospel to go forth, but here’s the thing—nothing is free, and we creatives had better learn this lesson.

I’ll say it again nothing is free. Maybe it’s not quite true. When I create something and someone displays it on their wall, everyone who sees it, sees it for free. I post this blog and you can read it for free (though I did sacrifice some free time to generate it).There have also been times when I will waive my fee and walk away without a check, but again please understand, just because I felt led to give something away and/or donate my services does not mean it was free. It means I paid for it and gave it as a gift. It means my family paid for it in time away from me and resources I diverted from them into my gift. My church allowed me to be away for the time it took me to do what I do, and while I no doubt end up making up that time in other ways, the income I receive from my other efforts, provides for the things I do charitably. I do this willingly, but I can’t do it every time and neither can you. Nothing is free.

If you’re one of those people who has forked out your hard earned money to bring me in, thank you. I love that you have placed the faith in me to put me in front of your people and I take that responsibility extremely seriously. I pray that God has blessed you through me. If you’re one of the people who have received something for free, please know I love and appreciate you as well. This is not meant to be any sort of complaint. What it is, is a reminder to my artist friends that the workman is worthy of his hire. When you give your services away, do it because you feel led by the Lord, not because you worry someone will say “You’re only in it for the money.” Some may also try, “well you need to trust the Lord to provide.” He does provide and He has provided for me both often and occasionally even miraculously, but the way He has most often provided was by leading people to pay for what I do.

Lastly, I know there is someone out there who is thinking, “Hey wait, salvation is free.” Respectfully to think that is to totally misunderstand your faith. Yes, your salvation through faith in Christ is God’s gift to you, but please remember, Jesus paid a high price to give you that gift.

Nothing is free.


My friend John C Brown IV is a brilliant artist. You might call him an abstract impressionist, but I prefer to leave labels to others, and instead just say his work is amazing. He and I used to get together to create from time to time and those were some of the most blessed creative times I have ever had. He was pretty new to making art back then but even his early work showed immense promise. He has since moved with his family to the other side of the country in Bend, OR and so even though I miss those creative times, it is thrilling to see him coming into his own. His work is positively anointed. His latest collection, currently on display at his church’s amazing gallery is entitled simply The Star Series. You have just got to see it to believe it. Check it out here.


James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, shared the story on his blog of a young Swede named Ingmar who started selling matches from his bicycle. He found a source for inexpensive matches and began to sell them at reasonable price, and still make a tidy profit. Eventually he added a few other items to his product line. In 2013, Ingmar’s company made $37 billion. You see Ingmar Kamprad’s company is called IKEA.

Inspirational story, right? Why can’t we do that? Well the truth is, maybe you can. The problem with a lot of us creative entrepreneur types is we want to have IKEA but we don’t want to sell the matches. We have to grow and build our skills all along the way. Show me an overnight success, and I will show you someone who labored in obscurity for years building the skills that one day shot them to the top.

James Clear says it much better on his blog. Check it out.