Posts Tagged ‘gifts’


God has a plan and a purpose for your life and I believe your gifts and talents figure mightily into that plan. Just as in the Parable of the Talents, the master gives each of his servants talents to invest for the sake of his Kingdom, so our Lord has invested talents in us. These talents belong to the master and have been given to make great gains for His kingdom. Consider what this means. In Christianity, belief in God is vital, but this passage (it’s found in Matthew 25) tells us that in a very real way God believes in us… In you!

None of is in this world accidentally. You were created on purpose for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. To live out this calling is a huge part of your destiny in Christ, and in it you will find the meaning of your life. Your talents are a huge part of God’s plan. Submit your gifts to the will of the Father and see where He takes you.

Live the plan!

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There once was an old patron of the arts who was leaving town for a while, so he gathered his little colony of artists together for a going away party. To one artist he gave five talents, to another he issued two talents, and to yet another he entrusted one talent. After they drove their benefactor to the airport, the artists all went their separate ways (as artists often do) Several months later, the old patron returned, all rested and suntanned. The artist who was given five talents eagerly met him at the gate. “Master, you entrusted me with five talents and look, I’ve gained five more talents,” he enthused.

“Well done,” said the patron. “I am full of joy. You were faithful and I will give you even more.”

The artist who was given two talents ran down the concourse shouting, “Master, you entrusted me with two talents, and look, I’ve gained two more talents.”

“Well done,” said the old man. “I am full of overjoyed. You were faithful and I will give you even more.”

The artist who was given one talent was waiting by the baggage claim. “Master,” he sheepishly started, “I didn’t want you to get mad at me. I’m pretty sensitive, you know, and I don’t handle rejection very well, and it’s so had being an artist in this cold, cruel world. I wasn’t really good enough to make it big-time, because you only gave me one talent, so I didn’t do anything with my talent. I hid it. Here, you can have it back.” The artist opened his hand and looked straight down at his shoes. The talent was as new and undeveloped as the day he got it.

The old man was silent. The he responded in a soft voice, “My dear friend, you have squandered a fortune. I gave you something that was meant to be used. The issue was not how much I gave but what you did with what you had.”

The previous story is Rory Noland’s adaptation of the parable of the talents (Matthew 25) from his book, Heart of the Artist. When I read this, I knew I had to share it because it speaks to something I have noticed in many people, especially creatives. There is a very real temptation in us to compare ourselves with others, find ourselves lacking and give up. If we can’t be the best in the world, we don’t want to do anything. This is crazy. First of all there can only be one person who is best in the world at any given thing. Should the rest of us just give up? NO! Well, maybe, okay, yes, there is something we all need to give up. We need to give up comparing and start being faithful with what is in our hands. The very valuable gifts and talents God has given us. There are His tools for building His Kingdom and He has placed them in our hands. He’s not asking you to be the best in the world. He’s asking you to do the best you can.

At the end of the day, there is one thing that each of us can be the best in the world at being. It’s you. Think about it. You are a one of a kind masterpiece created by the greatest artist there has ever been, God Himself. Be the best you you can be in Him. Create what He has given you to create and give it your best, then put it out there for the world to see. No doubt someone will think your work is not that great. Go to any art museum in the world and you will see work that you don’t particularly like. Just remember, it’s still in the museum. It is there because someone thought it was beautiful, or important, or meaningful. It’s the same with your work. Some people will probably hate it. Ignore them. You are creating first for God and secondly for the people who will be touched by what you do. Those people will love you and your work and by the way they are worthy of your very best.

God has invested at least one extremely valuable talent in you.

Don’t squander your fortune!


This morning I will be speaking on the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). It’s a story Jesus told to help us understand our relationship with God. There are a lot of things in this parable that creative people need to know.

A master, a ruler is about to go away on a journey, but before he goes, he gives a portion of his wealth (called talents, a biblical measure of money) to three of his servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, to another, one. Before we go further I want you to notice something. I don’t think the use of the word talent is accidental. The master gives some of what it his, and something very valuable to his servants. If the master represents God in this story (and he does) and the servants represent us in this story (and they do) then maybe our talents are given by out Master (God) to be used to His glory. More that that, our talents are representative of a great spiritual truth. The fact that God gives these things of great value (talents) to us, shows something pretty cool. God believes in you. God has entrusted you and he knows you are capable of doing great things with them. God is invested in you, God loves you.

Another telling thing in this passage is the way God distributed the talents. It says he gave the talents to his servants, “each according to his ability.” This means God knows what you are capable of and gifts you accordingly. This is tremendously liberating. After all, if God knows what you are capable of and gifts you accordingly, you no longer have to compare yourself with anyone else. You simply have to be faithful and use what you have been given to the best of your ability. Comparison is deadly to us all anyway. Think about it. Comparison will either leave you discouraged (“I’ll never be as good as her”) or prideful (“He’ll never be as good as me”) both of which are counterproductive in God’s Kingdom. How much better would life work if we “kept our eyes on our own papers,” did the best we could with our strengths and used those strengths to help others in their areas of weakness?

Lastly, we have to say a word about the one talent guy. The first thing I want to call out is that I run into so many people who seem to honestly believe they have no talents. I believe that is a lie. I believe Jesus is showing us in this parable, that we all get at least one, and we need to find it and work it. Secondly, where the other two servants went to work at once, then talent servant, buried his gift in the ground, allegedly to keep it safe. Where the other two servants were praised at the master’s return, this servant was called wicked and lazy even though the master suffered no loss. Why? I believe it was because he did not trust the master to be good. The master invested in him, and he didn’t trust the master enough to use what he had been given to advance his master’s kingdom. The question is, do you?

To serve the master is to trust the master. Are you using your talents, God’s amazing investment in you, to His glory, or is there something buried that you need to dig up and put to work.

1 Peter 4:10 says “Each One should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The things God invests in us, our gifts, talents, etc. are given so that we might serve and help others and through that help that they may receive God’s grace in a multitude of ways. To quote another verse that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven.

Time to dig those gifts and talents up and put them to work for our master.

Gos has invested in YOU!


My friend Brenda Hendricks just posted a wonderful video on the gife of grace we receive in Christ. It shows some of the great moments in the life of Jesus and it is quite beautifully done. Take a look!

What a wonderful reminder as we come upon Christmas time. In this season of gifts, it so important that we remember the ultimate gift, found in Jesus Christ. Thanks Brenda!


MISSPOSSI know this is a drum I beat a lot, and I pray you’re not sick of hearing it, but I feel like I have to express it. I’m doing a series of revival meetings this week and as usual they center around using our gift to spread the Gospel, practicing what I preach by using mine. The church is wonderful, the people are wonderful and I feel the Spirit of God moving as I share from my heart. This is my passion, my calling and I love what I get to do.

The one thing I really want to be sure to express though is I am not trying to make the people I speak to into artists. If they’re already artists and I can inspire them to dedicate that gift to the Lord, great, but I’m not trying to make them artists. Instead I am trying to get them to look at why they have been gifted to do and find a way to use it to serve God. So in a sense, while I am not trying to make them artists, I am asking them to be creative. I believe we a children of the ultimate Creator, we all have creativity and it is imperative that we put that creativity into the hands of God and put it to use. We are on a mission and that mission is urgent.

Here’s why: When I first started as an artist, I would create a work of art, copy it and send it out to 10-100 companies, depending on the creation. I would then run to my mailbox every day to see what would come of my efforts. Usually this would amount to a string of rejection letters. The more letters, the harder it was to start the next project. There was nothing else I could do. Working as an artist, getting my work to the masses depended on my ability to get past the gatekeepers and get a deal and a contract. Most of the time it was really disheartening. I don’t do that anymore.

Now I have the internet. I can have all the distribution I can handle and share my work with the masses. I can have my own publishing company with the largest retailer in the world (and I do). I can create a piece of art and have prints for sale in minutes (I have that). I can design and sell T-shirts with my art on it all over the world (I have that too). I can even have my own broadcast channel (ditto). I even have a communication channel where I can share my thoughts with people all over the world (you’re reading that right now). I can do all of that stuff and I do without ever once facing a gatekeeper to tell me I’m not good enough. Most of it costs me NOTHING but time. It’s amazing but there is a catch. Everyone else can do it to. Where before my message had to compete with hundreds or thousands, now I compete literally with billions for the attentions of an already media saturated world. To make a message stand out in that playing field demands creativity.

Friends, the Gospel is just one of those messages. We know it is the most important message, the greatest story ever told. We know it is anointed by the power of God, it also faces more opposition than most of the messages out there from a power whose sole purpose is to resist the Gospel and the salvation is brings. Church, we are up against tremendous odds, admittedly backed by a greater power, but I believe this is God’s mission for our time. I believe this is why He is raising up creatives in the church to find new and powerful ways to take the unchanging message of the Gospel to an ever changing world. If you are a creative in the church. I believe this is your time, our time.

Creatively taking the message of the Gospel to an ever changing world is our mission.

Do you choose to accept it?

Stay tuned!


cantyalwaysdowhatyouwantAs most of you can imagine, I love to paint, but right now I am working on something I don’t particularly enjoy. If you’ve ever looked at my paintings you may have noticed they’re almost entirely devoid of lettering. The reason for this is simple. I’m not very good at it. It started in elementary school when I pulled A’s and B’s in all subjects but one, penmanship. My handwriting is barely legible and beyond my signature, cursive is pretty much non existent. (That last part has become much more pronounced with the advent of the computer). I’m just not a great letterer. The staccato strokes of oil and acrylic painting suit me better, my hand is just not that steady to drag those beautiful flowing lines associated with lettering. To be honest, for the most part, I avoid lettering like the plague.

So why do I currently have 40 sign boards in my studio waiting to be lettered? Because you can’t always do what you want. You see my church has an awesome outreach every year on 4th of July and they need signs and those signs needed to be painted by someone, so I volunteered. Lettering is not my strong suit, and I can’t do it as beautifully as I would like to, but I do have the ability to do it, so while the signs won’t be immaculate, I can give my best to the work at hand. That is what I will do. Now if a professional letterer were to walk into the church and volunteer, I would gladly abdicate, but for now, I’m the guy.

Sometimes life is like this. We end up working in an area that is not our strongest suit simply because something needs to be done. If you find yourself in that place, seek out the more gifted and talented, but if you don’t find anyone, give it your all and give God your best.

You can’t always do what you want, but you can serve God by doing what needs to be done, the best that you can.


Hi everyone,
I hope you had an amazing and wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you had a great time with family and friends. I pray you were blessed. As I write this, it’s about 5:30 a.m. of the day after and I have a confession. I am about to head out to the mall. You see I love to go out shopping on Black Friday (I know, right now my male readers are wanting to tear up my man card), but it has become a family tradition. It’s especially odd because we usually don’t end up buying very much. This year Dawn has her eyes on a new microwave because the one we got for a wedding present over 25 years ago is starting to give out. (I’m pretty sure we glow at night.) MY favorite art supply store will no doubt have some prices that will make it a little more affordable the next time I get to run AMOK. And we will no doubt find a few gifts for our loved ones. For us it’s a day to hang out together, enjoy each other’s company, have a nice lunch, it’s just something we do.

I kind of enjoy the hustle and bustle and being out among the people. What I don’t enjoy is the stress I see in the eyes of others. The crying children, because they are reared by parents who can’t comprehend the idea that a child whose been out since 3 a.m. might be tired. I also don’t enjoy when I hear them inform said child that “Santa Claus is watching you” to which I so want to respond “Yes, and Jesus (remember Him, the one Christmas is supposed to be about) is watching you lie to your kid…” but of course I don’t and yes Jon Acuff, that is a supreme Jesus Juke. I don’t enjoy people fighting over things and all the other things that make me realize we have lost the meaning of Christmas, it having been buried in sale flyers.

Here’s what we need to remember. We give gifts because some wise men a long time ago brought Jesus gifts for His birthday. Gifts that were prophetic and valuable and important for a family who would soon have to flee for their lives. We give gifts to commemorate THE gift. The savior of the world, the gift of God, who gave us the gift of Salvation. If we keep this in mind, we will hold this day and the Christmas holiday in proper perspective. I’m not one of those people who will try to give you a guilt trip for gift giving. I love giving and receiving gifts it’s just the aforementioned perspective. If your attitude in getting the gift is not in line with the attitude of THE Gift, please step away from the deep discounted stuff and recalculate.

Or to simplify…
black-friday-meme