Posts Tagged ‘arts’


I remember the day pretty well. I had a letter to take home from school. I was probably 10 to 12 years old. Usually a letter from school was a bad thing in those days, but this one had me beaming with pride. I had been selected to be in an elective program for gifted students. I had all kinds of ideas, but in truth, I ended up doing nothing with it. It was kind of a combination between childish dreams, being a human target in school and the fact that all I really wanted to do even then was be an artist/creative, which really didn’t fit the mold of being academically gifted, at least by my school’s definition.

Fast forward a couple decades though and I was struck with a revelation. Everybody’s gifted. Everybody, every single person, is gifted. The problem is our definition of gifted is too limited. Gifted is not always about the way you write a paper or solve an equation or the grades you get on a test. Gifted implies a gift. Something you come by naturally, something in your DNA, or, dare I say, your design. There is truly something that every person, every single person, has, that can help to make the world a better place. Everyone has something to offer. EVERYONE!

Now I know what you might be thinking, this is another manifestation of the “everybody gets a trophy” mindset. Nothing could be further from the truth. Or maybe you’re thinking labeling everyone gifted somehow cheapens the designation. Not at all. I maintain that we have defined “gifted” too narrowly. Gifted is more than a grade on a standardized test, and besides, since when has any human being been “standard.” There is a uniqueness to every human being. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has the potential to do something great. Everybody’s gifted. EVERYBODY!

Case in point, I just spent a week at one of my favorite places, a camp for adults with special needs, and by the way we all have “special needs” we need a better term here. A lot of these folks would have trouble with a standardized test, and not many would move that needle to gifted. Pity because each of them is a gift. I see in them an authenticity most of the world is lacking. Last night was our last night of camp for the year, and as such several of the campers were emotional. In most of the world, everyone would just stand around awkwardly, embarrassed at an emotional display. Not my campers, they embraced their crying friend until the tears dissipated. Friend that is a gift, and not a small one. This idea of everybody being gifted has been floating around in my mind for a while. Last night brought it into focus. I don’t know what this thing will become, I just know it’s time.

Everybody’s gifted. And yes, that includes you!


My dad has a saying, “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle them with [a compound word starting with “bull”]. While I don’t necessarily concur with all of that, I have heard many speakers who seemed to be trying to dazzle the audience with their brilliance and have left me feeling like Dad might be right. At the very least, I had no idea what they were saying and as such, by my judgment, they failed. The purpose of communication is to be understood, period.

Take my experience this week. I’m ministering to adults with developmental disabilities. This is a tough balance to strike. They aren’t kids, they are adults, so making it “kiddy” will not work. These folks are worthy of my respect and of my very best. The key is to present the information in a way they understand. After all, I am bringing them the most important message of all, the Gospel. These folks don’t need to know how smart I am. They don’t need to be dazzled, they need to hear the truth, the simple truth, in a way that they can understand, a way that honors God and them. I owe them that. I owe God that.

You owe your audience the same thing. An audience is a privilege. Not everybody gets one. Make sure you honor yours by giving them what God has given you in a way that they understand. That usually means it’s best to lead with the simple truth.

After all that’s what everyone needs to know and understand.


This week I am ministering at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center for their Haven Camp for adults with developmental disabilities. My day started with breakfast and then a message on Abraham, sharing about God’s promises both to Abraham and to us, and how He keeps them, which should give us confidence (Confidence is the Summer’s theme at the camp). From there I spent a little time with the campers before returning to my lodgings to change my clothes and writing some of my sessions for my next time here in a little less than two weeks. Then after lunch, I came back and finished the session I was writing, which coincided with the camper’s lodge time, a time for them to rest and nap. I rejoined the campers in time for their activity time. I ended up going along on a “hay ride” on a hay wagon shaped like Noah’s Ark. The campers were all but giddy with excitement, the guy next to me was nervous and took my hand, but at the same time he laughed with glee over every bump. They were singing Sunday School songs as well as a few silly songs thrown in and that’s when it hit me. There is something about these folks that I think the rest of us have lost. They often experience the extremes of emotions, and yet, they can find joy in the simplest things. Their simple songs held within them some deep and honest worship. In a way it’s child-like faith, but there is a sincerity in that faith that some of us, can miss out on (present company included), in our busy days.

In the afternoon, I gave them another message, this one on Joseph, and I must say their enthusiasm is infectious, and their perceptiveness is at times amazing. I go to this camp every year with the intent of blessing the campers, and, more often than not, it’s me who comes away blessed.

I marvel continually that I am blessed be able to do some of the things I get to do. I often think back to my first time here, and how nervous I was, and this may be my point for you dear reader. I came in pretty unsure that I had what it takes but I was willing to put myself out there and try, all the while trusting God. I have to tell you, that made all the difference. If you’re reading this, and you’re wondering if you have what it takes to do something you’re feeling led toward, here’s my advice. Follow the Lord and do it. Your nervousness will help you to remember to depend on God. You are fully dependent on Him anyway, so trust God and allow Him to work through you. You never know what will happen, but I do know God is faithful.


What I call the AMOKArts “World Tour” is in the works. The speaking ministry has been a little slow in the early parts of this year, but I am making up for it now. It’s not really a world tour, but it is four states, and a lot of miles, Lord willing. I just finished a really fun and fulfilling week in central PA, painting for a family camp at Summit Grove Camp Meeting Sunday night and then leading a Vacation Bible School for my friends at St. Thomas Independent BIC Church in Mount Pleasant Mills, PA. Next up is Haven Camp, a camp for adults with Special needs at Delta Lake Bible Conference, then to Ohio for revivals, a day at retirement community, a music festival, then back to Delta Lake after church, and that’s not all.

I am really hesitant to post this. I am fully aware of James 4:13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

In light of this passage, Why am I posting? Because I am asking for prayer for three reasons. First, I have a van that has very high mileage. It’s not necessarily in the budget to replace it right now, so please keep me in prayer for traveling mercies. Secondly, I’m not as young as I used to be. There is still a good deal of work to be done for a few of these events, and in addition to all of this, I want to make sure I am also being a proper, faithful pastor to my congregation, not to mention husband, father and grandfather. Lastly and most importantly, please pray that the ministry would be effective and that many souls would be reached and touched during this time. I know none of this is possible without the power of God being upon it, and I need prayer.

Lastly, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel the need to start a prayer team. If you’d commit to praying for me on these adventures, please let me know.

I love what I do and am blessed to be called to this ministry and I thank you for your prayers.


Did you ever have one of those moments where you had the sudden realization that you might be wrong about something you were pretty firm on. I might be having one of those right now. See, there’s something I’ve been lamenting in our culture for several years that my faith is making me reexamine. I’ve been highly critical over the mentality in recent years of “everybody” gets a trophy. You know, people don’t want any child to feel left out so rather than recognizing individual achievement, everyone gets a participation trophy, just for “showing up.” In theory, I hate that idea, because it fails to deal with the realities of life, or does it?

Think about Christianity. Christianity offers the greatest prize ever, eternal life in a paradise that defies even the most fertile imagination, and yet what do we have to do to receive it? Essentially one thing, believe. We receive God’s greatest reward not due to some stellar effort but by grace through faith. We simply need to place our faith and trust in Christ. He is the only one worthy of the prize, yet He gave all who believe the ability to receive what He alone earned. Maybe everybody gets a trophy is not as bad as I thought, at least as a metaphor for faith.

I’m still not sure it works in sports.


Well if you’re David Garibaldi, you go to church. He is fresh off being the warm up act on the Kiss End of the Road European Tour, and will be returning for the final American leg later this Summer, but in between, he made an appearance at a church in New Jersey painting his amazing portrait of Jesus.

Please stick around for his comments at the end. Good to see brothers in Christ getting the opportunity to put their talents out there before the world and then coming home and spreading the Word.


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.