Posts Tagged ‘Ephrata Church of the Brethren’

Hi Everyone,
This Spring I will be offering this workshop once again. It combines teaching with demonstrations and a hands on project that is sure to challenge and motivate you to use your creative gifts to serve the Lord. Contact me for more information.

p139Okay just for the record, my wife Dawn is more than my helper. She can really preach. Not long ago, she and our friend, Kim Ream (who can also really preach) shared a message on Psalm 139. It touches on this amazing idea that the God of the Universe knows us and how we are fearfully and wonderfully made, God’s workmanship, His masterpiece. If you are struggling with your current place in the world, this is a message for you. My favorite part is in the beginning where Dawn memorized and dramatically recites Psalm 139.

Click the graphic or here to listen.

I know I often talk about finishing something and shipping it, rather than tweaking and tweaking and tweaking. There are times though where you just know a piece you’ve been working on just isn’t working. This was one of those times. I’ve been working on short lead-in videos for my pastor’s upcoming Lent series. It’s called Jesus Through Isaiah’s Eyes. While I was pretty happy with the first one, I struggled with the look of the face, I didn’t like the way the animation was working and the conclusion image wasn’t quite right for the message. I was not quite happy so I reworked it. What do you think?

ecobcatTonight began a new journey in my life and I am quite excited. Tonight was the first meeting of the Ephrata Church of the Brethren Creative Arts Team. There were six of us tonight and it was a “getting to know you meeting” figuring out who everyone is, what they do and what they envision for the group. There were a lot of gifts represented and some really interesting possibilities. I am looking forward to seeing where this trail leads.

But that’s not the only reason I share this. What you may not realize is this was my vision from the very beginning of my ministry, to have a creative arts team. I’ve tried several times to get it started at other churches but when it didn’t gel, I had a choice. I could have given up and said, “Well I guess it’s not meant to be.” I could have, but I didn’t. Instead I stuck with the call on my life and decided if I didn’t have a group, I would go out by myself and share what I was given with the body of Christ, personally and over the web. It wash’t the original vision, but it bore fruit for the Kingdom and it set me on a wonderful path, one that I hope will continue for life.

Where are you at right now? You may not think you’re heading to your vision, but honestly, what do you really know? A lot of times the end goal is too far off, so keep your eyes on the prize but don’t worry about the distance. Instead take the next step and the one after that. It might be a thousand mile journey, but it is accomplished as all journeys are. One step at a time.

Thanks to everyone in my group. I look forward to taking this journey with you and to all of you who have been reading this blog. I appreciate you all, our journey continues too. How can I help you get there?

As you may have read I am now the Pastor of Creative Arts at my home church, Ephrata Church of the Brethren. My first mission is to start a Creative Small Group. We have had quite a few folks sign up and I’m hoping some of those folks will invite friends. With that in mind, I created this humorous little video. I hope you like it.

How would you promote your ministry?

Yesterday, I was named pastor of Creative Arts at my home church, Ephrata Church of the Brethren. It was a real blessing, but then I was really blessed. The first thing I decided to do in this new role was to announce that I was starting a discipleship group for creatives in the church. 13 people signed up which was really pretty great and a true blessing.

Now here’s the thing (and I will ask them this in greater detail)… I have a thousand ideas on what do do with this group. I know our mission will be to help each other grow and enhance our gifts and talents while supporting and enhancing the various ministries of the church, but how that will manifest is a bit of a mystery. So I ask this question…

If you were in my group, what would you want it to be? What would you want to gain from it?

Of course, my number one guiding factor will be prayer and God followed closely behind by the leadership of the church and the folks actually in the group, their desires, gifts and talents, but as always I value and appreciate your input.

I am still painting my series for church. This is the last piece for the series and I have to admit I had a great time doing it. Yes I know it’s a little unusual to do a picture of Santa for church, but the series is about the origins of things that have been attached to our celebration of Christmas. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. I have had a great time working on these pieces. They have really stretched me artistically. Thanks to my on Chris for the photo.


I shot this with the web cam on my computer and it didn’t get great but this is the project I just completed for our Advent series at church. It’s a painting of a Christmas tree. I kept it pretty basic because in addition to our Advent series, the month has an overriding theme of the Spiritual discipline of simplicity.

Sometimes boundaries on out art can force us into trying new things and working in new ways. These paintings are a prime example. Maintaining simplicity in imagery is actually forcing me to rethink the usual way I work. I tend toward busyness in my subject matter and I need to strip that away. On the other hand, working in this style is also moving me toward a more realistic approach. So while the subject is simple, the simplicity is somewhat deceptive, as the realism is stretching my technique to new levels. We often tell artists to push their boundaries, but sometimes it’s okay to let boundaries push you.

I’m loving doing this project and I hope the pieces bless you as well.

Over at Beware of I have been working on a project called Every Day Art. Now I don’t post every day, but the goal is to find some time to work on art every day. I have been doing a lot of stuff and I thought since one of my pieces also relates to what we do here on AMOKArts, I thought I would share it. My pastor’s advent series is looking at some of the things we do around Christmas, traditions and such, and why we do them. The first one is “Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25?” I will be creating a piece for each week. This is the first piece:


Is there a way you can use your gift to serve your church this Christmas season?

The founding verse of AMOKArts is 1 Peter 4:10 which says, “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I love when I get the opportunity to put this to work in the local church and this is the result of my latest opportunity.
My pastor at Ephrata Church of the Brethren, Galen Hackman, is doing a year long series of messages based around Richard Foster’s great book A Celebration of Discipline. The book contains 12 spiritual disciplines one for each month. The church asked me to design 12 6’x2′ banners one for each month. They requested simply the word and a small symbol to remind us of each discipline. I also created bulletin covers, PowerPoint slides and reminder cards based on these designs.

This project was really enjoyable and stretched me creatively. Perhaps your church could use some of your skills. It’s a great way to serve the Lord and your church, build your skills, maybe even your portfolio. The challenge this week is to go to your pastor this weekend, offer your services and see what happens. The worst they can say is no, and even if he or she doesn’t have anything in mind at the moment you’re just liable to get his or her creative wheels spinning for something in the future.