Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

These are words of encouragement for every creative. It’s the opening of the Gathering of Artisans. This is not long and you need to hear it. It will be encouragement for your journey. Please listen.


If you’ve been around for any length of time on this blog, you know that a guiding verse of this ministry is “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others…” 1 Peter 4:10 I love that verse and I love it even more when it manifests. My denomination has a wonderful retirement community not too far from the church I pastor, and we frequently do things with them. It’s always a great blessing. Well one of the things they do is this huge flower show, each year. It’s really an incredible undertaking.
One day in my email, I saw a note looking for volunteers to help out. When I saw the theme of the show this year, I knew this one was for me. It’s super powers and flowers—a superhero theme. I fired off a note saying I would love to help out and told about my passion for cartooning and comic art. Today we met to discuss the parameters of the event. One of the things I love is how much they get the residents involved. There is a wide assortment of really incredible gifts there. I just think that’s great. I not only get to do what I love, but I get to collaborate with a large group of creatives who will get an opportunity to do what they love. It’s a golden opportunity given my gifts and passions and I could not be more excited to get started.

It never ceases to amaze me all the different ways this really non-traditional gift God has given can be used his glory. But here’s the clean little secret… everything God gives is intended to be used to His glory that’s why the verse says “whatever…” So what have you been given? Far too many people think if their gift is one of the big three “churchy gifts” (preaching, teaching and music) it has no use in the Kingdom. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take what you have been given and put it to work. Volunteer, let people know you’re out there and do all God has given you. You never know what God can use, but God does and He wants to do great things through you.

As you all know, one of the things I encourage is creating every day. Well for the last 9 days or so, I have been participating in a challenge called Inktober. It’s basically just a challenge to create something each day. Well I got in and really didn’t completely understand the challenge until about five days in when I found the official prompt list. A prompt list is a list of challenges meant to stretch you further. Well, once I found the list, I decided to catch up and play along. Yesterday after a very busy few weeks, I took a creative day and aside from the two sessions I worked on for my masters class, I decided to schedule a day of creative fun, where I played catch up. I now have all nine days done so far. It will now be much easier to stay caught up.

They really don’t take me a lot of time and I’m setting my own parameters. I’ve decided to call my series, The Faces of Inktober, and as such I am making stylized pieces based on the influence I am currently exploring, as mentioned earlier, the car artists of the 60s and 70s. These parameters force me to work on only one thing and finding ways to make the prompt fit my theme. That makes me get even more creative and the parameter of doing only a face and a simple background, keeps me in something I can do in a manageable amount of time. It’s really stretching me and I’m having fun. Further I have decided to do most of my pieces in symmetry. As such I am drawing a very detailed “half face” and then manipulating the art in photoshop to make the completed piece.

Today’s word was precious. Now my first thought was a portrait of my grandson, but I’m not a great realist, so I decided to go with my first instinct instead. Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, because he called the ring his “precious.” This fit much better with the style in which I am working, and it was fun. When I finish the challenge, I am planning on making a video called The Faces of Inktober. Watch for it in early November on my Youtube channel. How do you challenge yourself to grow and to be more creative.

This is a real physician heal thyself post this morning. As creatives, it can become really easy to get so caught up in your work that you skip really important things. On of the key things we need to focus on as creatives is our health. Whether that be spiritual, mental or physical we need to remember that if we’re not healthy, our work will suffer. In my case it’s physical. I ended up catching a really bad cold last week and as a result, I stopped working out for a few days. I can’t really blame myself for this, it’s hard to exercise when you can’t breath without going into a coughing fit. The thing is now I am pretty well recuperated, but I’m still having a hard time getting motivated to do anything physical. This is a problem.

Pretty much everything I do professionally can be done while being fairly sedentary. You sit to draw, you sit to write, and I can sit for hours and not mind it at all because I love what I do. Maybe you’re in a similar boat. If we want to be able to live this life we love for the long haul though, we have to give our health attention. In my particular case, I have two things going against me. First, it’s really easy to wake up and dig in. Secondly it’s easy to work way past my bed time. These things end up feeding each other. Going to bed late makes it hard to get up early, getting up late makes it easy to think I don’t have time to go to the gym.
For me there is no excuse. For the most part, I set my own schedule. It’s not that I don’t work, I work a lot, I just have a flexible schedule. If I don’t take the time, to do what I need to do, I have no one to blame but myself.

I want to keep doing what I do for the long haul, and I want my body to last for the long run. That means I need to carve out the time to take care of myself. How about you?

Okay if you read yesterday’s post, I talked about how some friends took one of my Facebook posts political. I tried to explain to no avail that the post was not political, but it took on a life of it’s own. I decided to try to express my point a different way. Here is what I came up with.

To me it’s this simple. The parties more or less take care of themselves. They are more concerned with re-election than they are with what’s good for the people. This is not to say I don’t care about the country or the leadership, it’s just I have become increasingly aware that politics are not my mission. My mission is to spread the Gospel. For that reason, I try not to attach my politics to my ministry. That’s nothing but a distraction. If people disagree with my politics and let’s face it, there’s a lot of that going around, they might ignore my message. At the end of the day the message is what’s most important.

Look, Jesus is neither democrat or republican, He is above that and somehow so must I be. He is more and better. Politics shift our trust. We need to trust God first. Humans are fallible, so are every single one of our leaders. That’s why we’re commanded to pray for them, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. Jesus is infallible. He is the only one truly worthy of our trust. A lot of good ideas have died because they came from the “wrong party.”As Christians we need to o right regardless.

So yesterday I posted a couple pieces of my cartoon work on a Facebook group that I thought would really appreciate them. For the record most of them did, but one guy posted some really inappropriate comments on them. Well I always try to make sure that I might never lead anyone astray, and I know there are some kids on that group, so just to be safe, I removed the posts. So far no problem. Then I made a comment about how I really didn’t appreciate having to take my art down because someone couldn’t control their urges to post inappropriate things. I thought that would be the end of it. Well a friend, decided to turn that post into a commentary on how this is just more evidence of life in “Trump’s America.” Now to be clear, there was nothing political in either the post, nor the art, a cartoon ram and a cartoon rat. I was making a comment on not appreciating vulgarity.

Well of course once a political comment had been made. People started taking sides and things just deteriorated from there. Here’s the thing. I am trying increasingly hard each and every day to stay apolitical, especially online, because politics are not my calling. My calling is to serve a God who is above politics. With the polarization of this nation the last thing I want to do is strap myself, or my church or my God to a political party. Rather I want to help people to come to know, love and follow the only One who can fix the mess we’re in. It’s pretty frightening how quickly things can turn in that direction in this polarized time in our history.

I closed things out with this comment. “Hi my name is Dave I draw funny pictures, paint more serious pictures and try to share the love and gospel of Jesus… That’s all folks…” This morning I wrote and penciled a comic that will clarify my position. I’ll share it here tomorrow.

I was on Facebook the other day and I saw something called #inktober. The basic idea is for all us artsy types who work in ink, to create a piece each day. I decided, since I usually already create at least one piece every day, to participate. I think it will be fun, but more than that, it gives me a goal and a challenge. Where before I might put creating off for a day or two, now I’m more likely to put something out.

Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo in November. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind the challenge is pretty simple, by the end of November you should have a 50,000 word rough manuscript. They have a pretty great website where you can log your daily word count, get inspiration, encouragement, etc. My book Enough, while not technically a novel was the result of my participation in NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure if I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, as it is a lot of work at a pastor’s busiest time of year, but I do have a screenplay/novel that has been gnawing at my brain, and a Master’s thesis that could probably be blessed by a challenge, so you never know.

The point in sharing these things is this. If you are a person who finds yourself stuck creatively, or you just want to do something fun, a challenge is a great way to break the creative ice. I’m sure there are challenges out there for just about every creative discipline if you know where to look. They really can be helpful. It all comes down to that idea of how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. Large challenges can be so intimidating. If I told you you had to create 31 pieces of work this month, you might be tempted to throw up your hands and say no way can I do that, but to do one a day is really not terribly difficult. If I told you I need you to write 50,000 words in a month, you might have a similar reaction, but 1500 words a day feels much more manageable.

I will close with the words of speaker/author Andy Andrews. When asked if he likes to write, he said, “I like having written.” Thousands, maybe millions of people want to write a book or create great art. The ones who succeed are the ones who do the work. Challenges can help us in that regard. Find a challenge and get involved. On a related note, what kind of challenge might we offer here that would be beneficial to you in your ministry.

By the way here is day three of #inktober for me. I’m really into car art these days, so probably more than a few of these will probably reflect that influence (like this one), while others will be from ministry presentations, posters, etc. Sometimes it’s more about creating than it is about what you create.