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Hey everyone, I’m pleased to announce I will be serving as a moderator for this year’s class of students at ArtFruition.comFounded by my friend Jessie Nilo of VineArts Boise, Art Fruition is an online school for people wanting to use their creative gifts to serve the Lord. As a moderator, I will be there to encourage and assist students as they complete the course. If you’d like to learn more about Art Fruition or sign up, go to

I am taking an art ministry class with and this week’s lesson was about embracing artists across disciplines. It was a very thought provoking session. The question was posted about loving artists across disciplines and how we connect with the body of Christ. This was my response.
I find this so exciting and yet extremely challenging, not so much for me but for the people I work with. The stated mission of AMOKArts is to help creatives in the church and help churches to be more creative. I find that it’s not so much that churches are not open to the arts, but that they don’t know what to do with artists, except musicians, but even in that case, the musicians usually are limited to a specific genre. So a great dal of what I do come down to educating people and helping them to see new possibilities. I feel this is extremely imperative for the church. If we don’t do this, what we are left with is a church that uses very few people in the worship experience. The rest of the people are relegated to an “audience” role, for lack of a better word. This is a really bad situation, because if most of your people are audience members, they will leave you for a better “show.” This weakens the church and it is, at least to some degree, our fault.

We have a scriptural mandate in 1 Peter 4:10 and several other places to use our “whatever gifts” to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. What this means is that the Lord has endowed His people with gifts and talents, that are to be used to draw people into receiving God’s grace. People are intended to be instruments of grace. Were we to do this, people would find more than just something to do, they would find what they were created to do and in essence a big part of the meaning of their lives. This fires my imagination and Spirit for what the church could be. This is a big part of why I believe I am here. My dream is of the church becoming a creative hub in the community where all people, not just the artists, but all the people to see how God might use them to be instruments of grace and that as they live that life, the church becomes magnetic, the love of Christ is revealed, communities are transformed, people are saved and the world is changed.

As far as loving artists and pastors, I have the unique position of being both and I believe God has done this so I can speak into both worlds, helping pastors relate to artists and artists relate to churches. It’s about a lot more than making art. It’s about helping people to receive artists, it’s about helping artists come under the biblical authority of the local church. It’s about helping artists realize the position the artist is in and the incredible responsibility they have to their congregations and the incredible trust required to put someone before their congregation. It’s about breaking down stereotypes churches seem to have about artists and helping artists not to reinforce them. If there is a truly loving relationship between pastor and artist, trust will be built on both sides and the pastor will become the artists greatest advocate and vice versa. Ultimately it would be awesome for the church to be sending artist ambassadors into the arts communities and getting churches to create venues available to artists. It’s about turning the church into a place where artists can thrive and a safe place for them to fail, since all creativity requires failure and the guts to try again. ​

One of the biggest disappointments to me is all the closed doors and walls there are between artists and the church. I never cease to be amazed by how many churches won’t even give my ministry a shot because for one reason or another they don’t think it will work with their congregation. I face these barriers even though I am an ordained minister and church pastor, whose ministered in hundreds of venues. It shows me there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done. It also makes me appreciate every opportunity and makes me work very hard to bring every person who trusts me enough to bring me in the best possible ministry I can give, I think the arts could be taken a lot more seriously in the church. If the church can’t see the power of the tool the arts can be, their eyes are closed, because the rest of the world has mastered them and uses them quite effectively to bring a multitude of other messages to the forefront. God can do what we can not. We need to keep being faithful and make the most of every opportunity.

A few days ago, I had an assignment for my class over at Manuel Luz was teaching on beauty and transcendence. It was a beautiful lesson. As part of the assignment, Manuel asked us to go out for a walk and to seek God and write about our observations. Here is what I came up with:

“My walk today was unique. I am in the midst of a speaking/painting “tour” in Florida. A few things fell through leaving me with two open days in my schedule. I decided to approach a church camp to see if I might spend the days there on a working retreat of sorts and they readily agreed. My walk today was on the grounds of the camp, specifically down to the lake. Walking along, I see geckos scurrying from place to place as Spanish moss hangs gracefully on ancient trees. The air is aromatic with the scents of early spring. Of course in Florida, it’s pretty much always Spring and Summer. So many things hit me. It’s still pretty cold back home, here it’s probably about 80 degrees and sunny. The lake is beautiful. Many large water lilies cover the water near the shore. when a slight breeze picks up the lilies roll over exposing their red-brown underside which makers for a very curious effect.

At first upon reaching the lake, I see very little in the way of wild life. At first I thought I saw a soft shelled turtle, but it may have been a dead lily pad leaf (it was a little too far away), which got me thinking about the amazing way God made His creation. The soft shell turtle can hide in plain sight because his shell looks like a dead leaf among a multitude of leaves. I had sort of hoped to see an alligator, not a big one, but then I thought it is probably better that there are no gators at a church camp. I walked out onto the fishing pier just in time to see a flock of seven coots swimming around. Coots are a beautiful jet black duck with a bright white bill. They are a diving duck, meaning that they can fully submerge themselves when they dive in search of food. Fascinating creatures. All of the sudden they scattered for the weeds at the shore, and I looked up just in time to see a large hawk, or perhaps an immature eagle flying overhead. The coots got to cover in time and the giant bird glided gracefully away. The circle of life was illustrated in sharp detail.
I saw something bright orange near the surface of the water, I thought perhaps it might be a beautiful flower, but alas it was the feathers of an errant arrow that no doubt escaped the archery range. Of course the most interesting things in the water are usually found beneath. I looked through the clear water and there before me swam a HUGE carp. Around him were a multitude of smaller fish. One might think this was yet another circle of life incident, but the carp holds no danger to the young fish. Nature’s janitor of the deep, the carp cleans the bottom and exists on a vegetarian diet. Despite his huge size, he is not the least bit predatory.

What was God saying to me in this time? Little treasures are everywhere, if I will take the time to slow down and notice. His creations live and breath, which allows me to remember to keep things in perspective and maybe not take myself quite so seriously. Lastly God has everything under control. The predators limit the prey. The prey have protections from the predators. He even created creatures to clean up the mess and all are important. The predators would starve without the prey but starvation would also come for the prey without the predators because without population limits there would not be enough food for all the prey animals. The “janitorial” animals sustain the environment so that all can live. There may be a top and a bottom of the food chain, but they all balance each other out and they are all interdependent kind of like our human existence and even in the church. Everyone is important, everyone has a role to play. Beyond all that I think God was trying to show me that He has it all under control and what I really need to do is play my part and trust Him.”

I’m taking a class at and I had an assignment. To be honest it was an assignment I sort of dreaded. It was a photography assignment. Of all the visual art forms, I’ve always considered Photography to be my weakest area. I feel like I have a flinch. When I push the shutter, I tend to jerk the camera, just slightly but it often makes for a very bad photo. Nonetheless, I am trying to give this class my all, so I went out and began to take the shots. This time though rather than dragging out the camera, I decided to try it with my iPhone. I was so happy with what I ended up with.

The assignment death with elements and principles of design. We were to go out and capture a multitude of photos that demonstrated each principle or each element. I decided to do both assignments and I am so glad I did. I decided to document my morning prayer walk, a two mile walk on a route I have traveled a multitude of times (literally thousands). What amazed me was how much I miss on this walk. Seeking out these elements forced me to notice things I usually take for granted. It made me wonder if there are ways to become more observant. Here are a few things I thought of.

1. Seek out something specific: In my case seeking the elements of design made me look closer and got me to focus on the smaller pictures within the big picture.
2. Look for what’s out of place: In one of my photos, I was looking at all these organic forms of a bush in the last asps of autumn, getting closer I saw a device for tightening the wire fence. It ended up becoming really an interesting juxtaposition of organic and man made. In another shot, there was a vibrant green plant that popped up among the dead leaves.
3. Seek beauty: So often we think beauty has to be extravagant, but it can be found even in the most mundane things, the problem is we are often so busy seeking out the big stuff that we miss the small stuff.
4. Look at the details: Again we see the beauty of creation in grandeur, in huge vistas, but in the process, we miss the incredible and intricate details that make up these creations. The veins in a leaf, the feathers of a bird, the amazing things it take to make something live. It is in these details that we see the workmanship of God.
5. Slow down: We are often so preoccupied with trying to get to a destination that we forget to enjoy the journey.
6. Remember, you’re a masterpiece: God created everything and then He entrusted it to His greatest creation… us! As we look at God’s creation, it is crucial that we remember He made it for us. Those things that we notice and bring us joy. They are a gift from God to us. In noticing and appreciating creation, we appreciate the Creator.

What amazing gifts are you missing? Maybe you need to slow down and find the beauty in the details of life. Beauty is all around you, not to mention within you.

Here are the photos that I took. I’d love to know what you think.