Posts Tagged ‘creativity’


So yesterday I was offered some workshops at a Christian Writer’s Conference on the topic of illustration. I’ve illustrated my own books, and of course my messages as a sped painter are also illustrated. I’ve also illustrated numerous coloring and activity books over the years as well as illustrating Herald the Angel with my friends the Furches’ but as yet I hadn’t written a children’s book. I decided now was the prime time as I can kill two birds with one stone. I can write a book that’s been on my mind for a while and use the “in-process” illustrations as examples for my workshops. This morning, I wrote the book. Needless to say, I can’t complete illustrating the book in one day, and taking the extra time to make slides in process will lengthen the process, but the project is launched and with it, another series of workshops I can share with people everywhere.


The last few posts may make it look like I have it all together, and if that’s the case, it’s time for a little honesty. Those posts reflect me at my best, but I like everyone else, am not always at my best. Case in point from yesterday’s post, the festival I have been pursuing for years. Imagine my surprise when I approached a young man who does something similar to what I do and found out that he has been accepted to minister at the same festival I’ve been pursuing. I started to think things like, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why do they keep rejecting me?” “I’ve been doing this longer than he has been alive.” It was about then as envy and discouragement were setting in a wreaking havoc on my psyche that the Lord pushed my thoughts in a different direction.

He took me back to one of my favorite passages to preach from, the parable of the talents. In the parable a master, before going away on a journey, entrusts part of his wealth to three of his servants in varying amounts based on ability. Jesus goes on to tell us that two of the servants went to work at once and doubled the master’s investment. While the gain is great, the point is not so much the success as it is the faithfulness. When the master returns from his journey and sees what the first two servants did, his response is “Well done good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful with a few things I’ll put you in charge of many things…” There’s a point in there for us all.

I had no business envying my young friend, nor did his success have anything to do with me, my abilities or lack thereof. He has his calling, I have mine… AND YOU HAVE YOURS. Yes he got the big audience, I get smaller ones. If my calling is to larger audiences, God will open the door. In the mean time, I need to be faithful in the small things and give it my all, because here’s the thing. What is a small thing in the Kingdom of God? How valuable is one soul? Well Jesus would say “It was worth my life.” Seems to me one soul in eternity is no small thing, so maybe rather than focusing on the size of our audience, we need to focus on the size of our God.

According the Jesus, the say to big things is faithfulness in small things. Let Him worry about the size of your following. Just pursue what He puts before you and be faithful.

God’s got this and in His eyes, at least as it pertains to the people He loves and gave Himself up for, there are no small things.


More than one person has expressed to me that they would like to do what I do over the years, and hear this, I am grateful for that. It means God is still at work in this type of ministry. They say things like I wish I could do that. “Well,” I want to ask, “what’s stopping you?” Today I am asking you that question.

I think a lot of people are hesitant because they are not sure they have what it takes. Hear this and hear it well, when God calls, God provides, but…

There is no substitute for doing the work. You need to practice, grow in your skills, develop what you do and seek the Lord for ways for you minister in a way that honors Him. The Bible gives the admonition to work as if you were working for the Lord. Well in ministry that is precisely what we are doing, and so we must strive to do the best we can, but here comes the but…

We have to be sure not to allow feelings of insufficiency and inadequacy, or worse yet perfectionism to keep us from doing God’s will. Look folks none of our work will ever be perfect on this side of the grave. What we need to be working toward instead is faithfulness, doing the best you can with what you have today. And once you have that worked out, you need to start putting yourself out there. In other words, you have to find the “audience” for whatever it is that you do, and you can’t do that if you don’t share your work with the people who need to see it.

Putting yourself out there can be hard, mainly because you know, not everyone will like what you do, and some might even reject you. Some people experience rejection and decide to avoid it all costs. I implore you, don’t be one of them. The people who reject you are not your audience. Love them, pray for them and keep pursuing them, but only if God leads. Otherwise,
Invest yourself in the people who will give you opportunities and make the most of every one. Invest in the people who love what you do and give them your very best.

I know this feeling very well. There is a major ministry and a major music festival that have both figured majorly in my ministry. I have pursued them many times trying to get them to give me a chance. The story of what God has done in my life through them alone would be enough to get me to accept me, but year after year they reject me. Here’s the thing. I don’t focus on them. I don’t say, well they keep rejecting me, I must be nothing and no good. No I pray, send them something, pray again and get back to focusing on the people who want me. I keep putting myself out there, but I don’t let their acceptance or rejection to define my ministry. Only God can do that.

Put yourself out there. No one will call you if they don’t know you exist. Then make the most of every opportunity because you’ll never know.


I know I just did two pieces meant to be a kind of reality check for all the aspiring traveling ministers out there, but it never be said that I ever attempted to dissuade people from pursuing their calling. Today I want to give you some great things about traveling ministry.

It can best be described by the definition of a noun. Nouns are people, places and things and those are also the great things about traveling ministry.

First off, People. I have met some great people on the road. It is really cool to meet people I never would have gotten to meet any other way. From the pastors to the children and every one in between, the blessings I have received from these people are too numerous to mention. I have made many lifelong friends, discovered a whole new kind of ministry. I’ve been inspired and humbled by so many over the years. It’s truly a blessing. Of course there is no greater blessing than when someone with tears in their eyes, comes to stand before you to pray to receive Jesus Christ, or to rededicate their live to the Lord, or even just to open their hearts and minds to the Lord’s call. There are very few feelings that can compare with realizing you have been used by God.

Places: It’s always an adventure to go to a new place—to see what doors God may open. Camps, churches of all sizes, conferences, festivals, and all kinds of other venues. I’ve been to all of these and more, but what’s most satisfying about the places is seeing all the many different ways people “do church.” Staying within one’s denomination can sometimes give us a kind of spiritual tunnel vision. Getting out among more of God’s people, and moire expressions of His worship, can’t help but open our eyes to new possibilities.

Things: Don’t go too narrow with this, I’m not talking about money or possessions. I’m talking about a lot of more intangible things. Like seeing God’s faithfulness over and over again, the aforementioned opportunities and experiences, etc. Spiritual growth, learning to be flexible, and even coming to the end of yourself and realizing my total dependence on the Lord for everything. The road can teach one a whole lot of lessons, if we will take the time and be open enough to learn.

I’m sure there are many more things I could mention here, but suffice it to say, if God is calling you to traveling ministry, He will make a way. Trust Him, be faithful and put yourself out there.

More on that later.


I’ve decided now that I am in the midst of what has been a rather long stretch of traveling, that it might be a good idea to share some thoughts and reflections for those of you who envision more of a traveling ministry. First of all let me say, I rejoice to have this calling, I get to live the best of both worlds. As a pastor, I have a strong church family to come along side me and support me both when I am with them and on the road. Case in point is my friend and brother in the Lord, Matt who actually made a three hour drive last night to support me as I ministered here at the beach after which he and his brother, Mike drove home in time to get a very short amount of sleep before going to work. I appreciated that so much.

Of course I am also blessed by all the people who take the risk to bring me in to speak to their congregations, audiences, etc. Any time a person in leadership puts someone new before the people with whom God has entrusted them, requires a certain degree of risk. I never want to take these opportunities lightly, and I pray that God will always allow me to bring my best.

Being away from home is an adventure. Going to new places and meeting new people is always wonderful, but that being said, it can also be hard at times. It only takes a few days on the road to make me realize how much I miss my family. There are times where I miss things to do this. This is not a complaint, but it is a reality to be considered that goes along with this calling.

The times that I get to minister are wonderful. I can really be in the moment and I can see God moving and let me stress again, I love what I do. Those in-between times are usually spent studying, cleaning up, loading and unloading, getting ready for church and getting ready to do it all over again. Again, you may get to go to cool places, but the road is work.

I think the biggest thing though about an extended run, is how hard it can be to concentrate, especially in prayer. I’ll start off trying to really get involved in prayer, but before long, my next travel route or the next message or something that is going on at home, or whatever starts running through my mind and before long I realize I’ve been side-tracked and I’m off course. Focus sometimes comes hard on the road.

I hope this doesn’t sound like whining. I know there are a lot of people who would love this life, and remember, I am one of them. This is more of a “count the cost” piece for those who are feeling the call to the “open road.” It can be a really great life, but you have to be ready.


No, not when he said there’s a sucker born every minute. That was just him being mean. No he said something once that is much more to the heart of the matter for this blog.

He said “The noblest art is that of making people happy.”

I think he was 100 per cent correct. When we who are called to create art, in any form, do work that brings people true, pure joy, I think we are entering into the noblest of pursuits. After all, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

How are you bringing joy to the world?

It’s a question worth considering…

and that’s no Humbug!


Well maybe momentous is a strong word, but it was definitely a day to marvel at the goodness of God. You see in March of 2013, I bought a brand new dark blue Dodge Grand Caravan. It was the first new vehicle I had ever purchased to drive for myself. I was 49 years old and to be honest I was more than a little scared. I was working a job that was no longer working out, I was told I would be downsized before long, and the idea of taking on a new car payment was pretty terrifying. The church I planted with my wife and some friends a decade before had closed the previous year, and my dreams of pastoral ministry kind of died with it.

I bought the van because I was starting to get to travel doing art ministry and I needed something reliable to haul my equipment from place to place. That van was a leap of faith at a time when my faith could have been A LOT stronger, nonetheless the van and I were off to the races and for this to work God was going to have to really come through. Well He did.

Oh it was a bumpy road at times. Two years after I signed on the dotted line, the job really did get outsourced. 51 years old, no degree, lapsed skills and two months from becoming a grandfather. What would I do? I was speaking a few times a year, but not making enough to make a living. What would I do? I was panicked. I felt I failed as a pastor, my computer skills were lagging behind what I needed to get another design job. I was lost.

When my church closed I became a member of a dear friend’s church, where I got sometime to heal. The Sunday after I lost my job was the last Sunday I attended the church. Miraculously, God opened doors for me to speak nearly every week. About the time the schedule started to slow, I got a call from our district office asking if I would consider serving as an interim pastor at a nice little country church for three months. I thought, “I can do anything for three months.” so I took a shot at it. I should have known something was up. The weekend after I accepted the interim, I ministered at a church where the pastor told me he was an interim. I asked how long he was there, and he said, “11 years.” Well it’s been four years for me, and I couldn’t be happier.

About now you might be getting impatient. “What’s so momentous about today?” Well today, on my way to church, I rolled up 150,000 miles on my van. Six times around the world in that front seat. About 3,000 hours, most of them in one form of ministry or another. And as I think about it, I praise God. He has changed my life in those years, in ways that were nothing short of momentous. I now have a bachelor’s degree in creative ministry, much of which was learned in those travels, and I’m nearing my Masters. I’ve preached and painting in hundreds of venues, met thousands of wonderful people, made life long friends, discovered a passion for a new kind of ministry (special needs ministry), became a grandfather, celebrated my 25th and 30th wedding anniversary, seems some of the most beautiful parts of God’s creation as I preached God’s Word in at least 18 states, and so much more. Most importantly, I’ve found, with God’s help, I can still be a pastor, even while wracking up thousands of miles in a dark blue minivan.
Friend, I don’t know where you are at in your journey today, but can I tell you, God is faithful.

Trust Him, take a leap of faith if He leads and see where He will take you. Something tells me, it will be momentous for you too.