Posts Tagged ‘arts’

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.


Creative ministry has been a passion of mine for nearly two decades so it should be of no surprise that I loved this book. Makoto Fujimura has been at the forefront of this movement for a long time. He’s an amazingly talented artist, writer and speaker, as well as being the founder the International Artists Movement (IAM). This book is a breath of fresh air for creatives in the church. I think the book is best summed up from the quote on the back cover. “Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated.” This book goes well beyond theories and is carefully thought out by a man who clearly loves both the arts and the church.
The book includes a study guide for group discussion. This would be a great resource for arts groups or individuals who want to putter talents to use to the glory of God. This is a great book.

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.”

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’m reading a great book, Culture Care by Makoto Fujimura, a brilliant Christian artist and founder of IAM the International Arts Movement. This excerpt is the story behind one of the most famous speeches of all time and a reminder of our role as artists in the culture.

“In August 1963, prior to giving his “I Have a Dream” speech at the march on Washington, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. found himself exhausted by a series of setbacks, imprisonments, oppressions and disappointments. He was so physically worn out that he spent many hours simply resting while followers wrote the speech he was to give to the historic gathering. One of his close aides, Clarence Benjamin Jones, said that “the logistical preparation for the march were so burdensome that the speech was not a priority for us” and “on the evening of Tuesday, August 27 [twelve hours before the march], Martin still didn’t know what he was going to say.” After walking a few miles to the Lincoln Memorial, he stood to read the prepared text, but he knew something was not right.

Mahalia Jackson, the great Gospel singer who sang before he spoke, who stood behind Dr. King throughout the speech. As he read, she kept on yelling “Tell ’em about the dream, Martin, Tell ’em about the dream.” At the end of the prepared speech, Dr. King put down his text and began to speak extemporaneously; the energy of the listening crowd, and the result was the “I have a dream” we know today.

Imagine that, an artist pushing a tired preacher to preach from his heart. Dr. King was an artist of the dream, but it took another artist to recognize the artistry that was being held back by the context of the gathering.

Artists need to stand behind the podiums of preachers, teachers and leaders and remind them to “tell ’em about the dream!” Part of our calling is to remind leaders of what they are marching toward to begin with, to reach the deepest recesses of their own visions. Sometimes we need to remind them to put down their prepared texts. Artists who operate as [cultural border walkers] can exhort in this way, in and out of a prepared tribal language into a visionary, extemporaneous jazz language of the heart. That music invites all to become extemporaneous artists of care.”

Who can you help “tell ’em about the dream?”

I almost titled this review “Don’t read Mike Dellosso unless you have nothing else to do” but then I thought it might dissuade someone from reading his work and that would be a mistake. This guy can write a page turner like few others. It’s just they’re really hard to put down. Centralia is a fast paced page turner that follows Peter Ryan, a man whose life is a complete mystery. When attacked this humble research assistant suddenly has fighting/military skills he doesn’t know he has and he doesn’t know why. His journey leads him to the mysterious town of Centralia, PA, a real life town that was abandoned because it sits above and underground mine fire that has been burning for decades. It’s abandoned state leaves it the perfect place for nefarious experiments and government conspiracies. I know it’s painfully cliche to say it this way but this book is a thrill ride.

I had the opportunity to meet Mike at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. I sat in on a couple of his sessions on fiction writing and couldn’t wait to read some of his work. I was not disappointed. This book has everything, except the stuff that I’d just as soon not have. It’s clean and well written. It’s got a lot of action, some violence, but it’s not, for the most part, gory or gratuitous and while there is clearly a message of faith, it’s not oversimplified or cliched. Centralia is a thought provoking and original read that I highly recommend—especially if you have some time on your hands. As sated before, it’s really hard to put down.

I’m guessing someone needs this today. Thanks Bart, This’ll preach.