Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

I know in this time almost every church is closed on Easter Sunday. I know most of us are doing something online, but if you have need of a Worship service, or you’d just like to experience one more. Here is the one I made for my church.
Jesus is risen! He is Risen Indeed!

A few days ago I posted a beautiful video for your inspiration by an artist named Jack Whitney. Well he mentioned the story behind it in the post, but did not elaborate. A few of us asked that he share the story and he obliged. The story makes the piece even more powerful. It’s a poignant reminder that God is with us even in the hardest times. I share it here with his permission.

A few of you here have encouraged me to share the story of the art’s conception and execution. It’s a bit challenging to be so transparent. But because it’s a very obvious God story and an example of how He can move through our art when we surrender to Him, here it is-

Lisa, my wife of 27 years passed from this life after a second valiant battle with cancer in Feb. 2013. The monster reared its ugly head in her body once before in 2009. She was a very tough boot camp style fitness instructor and very fit. With her conditioning, and most obviously God’s intervention, she recuperated from a complete hysterectomy and 30 days of chemo tougher than ever. The monster returned in the fall of 2012, and when the doctor recommended another wave of chemo she very quietly declined and asked if I’d support her decision to take a radical natural and supernatural defense with diet, prayer, and praise.

As she put it, “I don’t want more poison in me to fight the poison already there”. That’s just how she was and I was well aware of it. This is the same woman that insisted the nurses stop giving her morphine after the hysterectomy saying she’d rather be in physical pain than endure the hallucinations. A few days after our visit with the doctor, she and I were at a meeting where three gentlemen from India were sharing their hearts for bringing the gospel to the lost in America. They followed with an invitation for prayer specific to the topic. She and I went up along with several others. At the time only six people were aware of this new battle we were facing. As one of the gentlemen was praying for her without knowledge of the intruder, he interrupted his prayer and began repeatedly shouting “you shall not die but live to declare the works of the Lord!” This is a direct reference to Psalm 118:17. One of the six people aware of our circumstances pulled the gentleman aside after the meeting and asked him what compelled him to shout that and asked what he saw. The gentleman answered “I saw life”. When our friend told us this, my wife and I took this as a confirmation to our battle plan.

I’d been doing some contract work for Boeing at the time and the contract ended very suddenly for our team a couple weeks after we learned about the cancer. God is so very good as this allowed me to stay at her side through the entire battle. He also gathered a large company of believers to stand with us. Though we chose to hold on to what we believed, we saw her gradually weaken and a week before Christmas she was rushed to the hospital for an emergency procedure. Because it was unsuccessful, we were sent home with hospice care. Knowing God is faithful and cannot lie and knowing Jesus heals, we still held on to the words of Psalm 118 for her. We got her a hospital bed and put it in the den because she wanted to be in the thick of all household activities.

One day in January as she was sleeping in the bed, I was fighting through discouragement and exhaustion. I can’t imagine what she was enduring. I sat at the computer with my graphics tablet doodling in a painting program. Feeling somewhat betrayed, I was asking God a number of questions about the current situation. In my spirit He told me to paint His Son on the cross. This is a subject I’ve deliberately avoided as an artist. I prefer to show Him as He is in Revelation 19:11, on a white horse with the words “faithful and true” on His thigh. With no fight in me, I submitted and allowed Him to take me on a journey through the painting. As I painted in the bright red lashes on His body, I kept thinking “that’s enough,” but I knew I couldn’t stop until instructed. When I painted the face of death, I was going to give him sharp teeth and a serpent tongue, but I realized he didn’t deserve a bite or a voice.

And there you have it. The software has a feature that allows the user to record each stroke made so the animation is a time lapse recording of the journey. I presented it without sound to a couple groups and told the story. Then last year a few people in my church community added some fantastic audio.

After a couple years of getting my footing back and wrestling with it all, I believe the gentleman was correct; that Lisa would live to declare the works of the Lord. I don’t have an answer for why she died, at least not one I’m completely satisfied with. I don’t expect to get one until I stand before Jesus. But I know that her time here lives on as it is a declaration of the faithfulness and goodness of God.

Over on the Thriving Christian Artists Facebook page, an artist named Jack Whitney posted this beautiful animated video on Christ that ended up being used at his church’s Easter program. I think it’s something everyone should see. This is top of the line art. Now I don’t know if you can pull off this level of art, and Jack has already done this, but here’s the point. There is something you can do that will touch hearts and minds and draw people closer to Christ.
Let this inspire you. Great work Jack.

As you may or may not know, in addition to all the art and creative work that I do, I am a pastor at a church here in Pennsylvania. As such this is one of the busiest times of the year, working through the Lenten season coming up to Easter. This year in addition to the Biblical teaching I am doing, I am creating short videos for my congregation (and the rest of the world, via YouTube) about the traditions around the holiday. I thought I would share this with you as well.

I created this video after wondering, why does Easter seem to fall on a different day every year, and deciding to share what I found. I hope you like it.

Wishing you a very blessed Easter Sunday. He is Risen and with Him comes HOPE!

Jesus was in the grave, the grave was sealed and many people thought it was over. It was the Sabbath and in a sense, Jesus rested in the tomb. It was a borrowed tomb, but that was okay. He wasn’t going to need it very long. Friday has passed. The disciples were in hiding and that Saturday had to be long, dark and silent. Sometimes we all have days that feel like they will never end. Hard days where it’s hard to find hope. If you’re in that place, hold onto hope because Sunday is coming. He is risen! Hope is here.

I’ve had this piece in my mind for a while. It’s a little on the nose interpretation of John 3:16. God loves the world so much that He gave His One and only Son. His love for the world causing His blood to flow to rescue us all. I was pretty pleased with this piece, but the question is, what do you think? Does this express God’s love in a way that might touch someone who might be looking for God?

Well there were no takers to share what you’re doing for Easter this year, but as promised, I want to share what I’m going to do here. A couple years ago, my pastor did a series called Jesus through Isaiah’s Eyes. He went to the prophecies of Isaiah regarding the birth of Christ. It was a fascinating series. I even made some short video intros for the series, like this one.

Well I’ve decided to do something similar this easter season. I’m still toying with the title, I was thinking of Eyewitnesses to Easter but that may not work since I want to look at Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus’ death which was about 70 years before the event, so was he really an eyewitness. Also it’s more holy week than Easter, but I’ll figure it out. In addition to Isaiah, I want to look at the events through Mary’s eyes, Peter’s eyes and possibly the centurion’s eyes or one of the Angels at the tomb’s eyes (I’m still thinking/praying through this but it should give some unique perspectives and getting people thinking.)

When it comes to holidays, the most Christians seem to emphasize Christmas, and the birth of Christ, and the incarnation are immensely important, but let us never forget, the purpose of Christmas is Good Friday and the purpose of Good Friday is Easter. The Easter story is the essence of Christianity. This is not a story we can afford to gloss over as if we know it all. Anything we can do to help people look at this unchanging story with fresh eyes is a step in the right direction.

So I’ll ask it again. How will you express Easter this year.

ccwSo here we are, rushing headlong into the Christmas season. The thing is, in creative ministry, the things we do usually take quite a bit of preparation, so by now we would be working well ahead of Christmas. To give you a taste of this, let’s plan ahead.

You see, I often tell my congregation that while Christmas is far and away the most popular holiday in our world, we must never forget that the purpose of Christmas is Good Friday and the purpose of Good Friday is Easter. The creative challenge this week is to create something you could present to share the Good Friday, Easter story. Trust me when I tell you, it will be here before you know it. 

How would you express Jesus laying down His life for you and me? How would you express the glory of His resurrection? Start brainstorming and get some things down on paper. How could your from of creativity portray the rest of (and best of)the story?

For extra credit, share your thoughts with your pastor or church leadership and try to get on the schedule to present it as part of your church’s Holy Week celebration.
Post your results in the comments or on the Facebook Page