Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

Dave Weiss here checking in. Where usually I post articles about all things God, church and creativity and usually the intersection of all of the above, today I am seeking answers. I need to understand the rhyme and reason of who is coming here, and what draws you in. I’ll tell you why. I usually seem to get about 30 of you hitting this site on a daily basis. While I’d love to have millions, I am exceedingly grateful to and for all of you who come on here and check in on what’s going on. Lately though I have been noticing a phenomenon. About once every two weeks or so, all of the sudden one day my traffic will skyrocket (well for me anyway) to about 300. Needless to say that makes me pretty happy, but I have no idea why. It’s not like there are specific topics people are hitting. It all feels pretty random—like their’s no rhyme or reason to it.

Now to be sure, I am excited any time anyone hits this site and takes the time to read what I’ve written. That is a true blessing. And perhaps it may also be a blessing that I can’t spot the trend that causes this, because it may tempt me to be more formulaic, in an attempt to replicate results. I try to be a little more spirit led than all that, and just write what I feel led to write about.

I guess what I am asking today is what makes you stop by to read these posts? Are you sharing them to other sites? If you are, THANK YOU! I’m trying to get a handle on how to make this site as helpful as possible, because I really and truly believe that God is moving in the arts and creativity in His Church, and I want to be a faithful servant to Him and to this movement. Any insights into the rhyme and reason of this would be most helpful.

And again thank you for tuning in. You are more appreciated than you will ever know.


I’m working through a sermon series right now on the Sermon on the Mount. I call it The Greatest Sermon (Series) Ever, which might seem to be odd considering the title of this post, so maybe I better explain it. I have no illusions of preaching the greatest sermon series ever. Far better people have come before, and to be even think about being the greatest in so great a company would be the extent of hubris. No, the title is just a way to pique people’s interest. In actuality, the series is based on the greatest sermon ever, preached by the greatest preacher ever, Jesus Christ. I am loving the preparation and creation of this series.

I recently preached a message on what some scholars believe to be the text for Jesus message, a passage called the Beatitudes. Beatitude means blessing and these are some of the most interesting blessings of all time. The reason for that is simple. They look completely upside down, but the things is they’re not. The beatitudes look upside down because our world is upside down.

One of the most interesting ones to me is Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. No, they’re not most interesting because they’re the only lyrics to the Overture on my favorite band Rush’s magnum opus 2112, but think about it, do we really believe the meek will inherit the earth. In our world, it’s the rich and the powerful that seem to be the most likely to succeed at inheriting this earth we live in. But Jesus says something else. He says it’s the meek and He modeled that for us, specifically when He rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. He didn’t come with a lot of fanfare. He didn’t ride in on His white stallion. He came as a king coming in peace on the meekest, most unassuming creature imaginable. He was meek and yet He reigns.

The people expected something different. They expected Messiah to be the conquering hero and one could argue that their response changing from Hosanna on Sunday to Crucify on Friday, may be the result of their disappointment. They didn’t want a meek savior, they wanted yet another conqueror to overthrow yet another world empire and in the process they missed the real miracle that meekly stood before them.

The meek really will inherit the earth, Jesus said it and I believe in, but in the creative world, meekness seems to be no more prized than it was in Messiahs. We need to toot our own horns if we want to get ahead. We have to do as much shameless self promotion as we possibly can. It’s what people expect from us. They expect us to be outlandish, out there, and maybe even a little weird. They expect us to dance through this world saying “Hey look at me.” At the end of the day, will that really get us where we want to be. Is there room in this world for a meek, gentle Christ-like creative. I think there is, and I think maybe, just maybe, that’s what Jesus wants from us. So I thought I’d pose the question today. How would it look for us to be meek, God-honoring, God-glorifying creatives? I’d also be curious as to what you think meek creatives will inherit. Will it be the earth, with the rest of the meek, or will it be something different in the creative realm? I’ll be curious to read your comments.

As I consider The Imaginative Church, I decided to do a word search on to see how the word imagination is used in the Bible. Surprisingly, it doesn’t fare very well. It only appears four times in the NIV translation of the Bible and every single time it appears, it’s in a negative context.

Psalm 73:7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits.

Isaiah 65:2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—

Ezekiel 13:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!

Ezekiel 13:17 “Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them

That’s a little depressing and maybe even off putting when you’re trying to encourage people in the church to empower and embrace their imaginations. Please understand the above verses are not what I want you to embrace—not by a long shot.

Instead I want to look at the aforementioned Abraham, who chose to look past the impossibility of what God had foretold, choosing instead to believe God to be able to overcome impossible, or David using his faith and examples of God’s faithfulness, to look past an imposing giant, to a better the better reality that stood on the other side of victory, or a young virgin who looked an angel in the eye and said, may it be to me as you have said. The way I am using imagination is in this way—Where we look past the seeming realities of our world to trust in the faithfulness of our God to overcome the obstacles and do our part in bringing forth the Church that God desires to bring forth. It’s not imagination for imagination’s sake. It’s letting God show us the possibilities when things look impossible. It’s letting God use us as He calls into being that which is currently not (Romans 4:17)

This is not about vain imaginations. It’s about seeking the heart of God and the Mind of Christ. Let God inspire your imagination. Breathe in (the literal interpretation of the word “inspire”) the vision God is wanting to bring to life in you. Then step out in faith, and in Him, to bring it to reality.

This will require us to really seek God. It will require us to do as Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. It involves submission to God and to His Word, immense amounts of prayer and a full dependence on the God for whom all things are possible.

Imagination is essential to Christians. One of the most popular Christian songs of all times is I Can Only Imagine. The song reminds us of something essential to faith. Our ultimate hope is in Christ and the eternal life He bought for us with His blood. It is a place that is far from imaginary. It is in many ways the most real place there is. We see it described in Scripture, but the only way we can see it on this side of the grave is in our imaginations. We live this life in hopes of a world we can only imagine, trusting God to get us there. Let’s let God use that same imagination to help us imagine a church that will draw people to Him and ultimately to that place we can only imagine.

While this is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Imaginative Church, I should also be the preface of this website.

I’m not trying to make you an artist, not is this book just for those artsy types. No this book is for anyone who loves the Church of Jesus Christ and wants to see her become all she can be.

I’m not trying to make you an artist, only God can do that, and He has made you with everything you need to be exactly what He wants you to be, whether or not that involves anything to do with the arts or not. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, full of amazing potential and lovingly prepared by your Creator to do wonderful things in this world.

I’m not trying to make you an artist. No, what I am trying to do is to help you embrace your God given imagination and creativity, and yes, you do have both. I’m trying to get you to embrace those dreams and visions for God’s Church that He has laid on your heart. I’m trying to get you to look at yourself, and all the people God has put into your life and to let Him trigger your imagination. I want to help you to see how it all comes together and how to empower yourself and the people has placed in your care to find and use everything God has given to His glory.

Walt Disney one said,”If you can dream it, you an achieve it.” That’s not completely true and some dreams should not become reality, but the dreams and visions God gives can create both a better church and a better world.

Imagine with me. Better yet, imagine with God. Look to the limitless possibilities of our unlimited God and dream with Him of all that could be, then follow Him into those possibilities. Let Him work through you to make the invisible visible and bring your God-given vision, into a glorious and glorifying reality.

That’s what I am trying to do in this book.

(and in this site.)

Okay this guy is hilarious, and he makes some good points.

I’m in the midst of a really great week. I’ve been ministering at a really wonderful church here in PA. The congregation has been great, my presentations have been going really well and I am thoroughly enjoying my time. In the midst of it all, the people have blessed me, I’ve had some great visits and some great meals. It truly has been wonderful. I finish up here tonight and tomorrow, Lord willing I am to head back to my home church to work on all the things necessary things for our service on Sunday. Friday should be spent getting ready for my first workshop based on the things I am writing for my upcoming book, The Imaginative Church. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m a little over a week away from my 30th wedding anniversary and in general, life is better than good.

I love what I do, but I am having an issue, and I would appreciate your prayers. My eating is out of control and I must do better. I’m awake here at about 3:00 am because my stomach is bugging me. Part of that is because my sinuses/allergies are really bugging me and I hope that’s all this is, and not that I’m coming down with something, but part of it is also because of the snack I ate last night when I didn’t need it. I find that I use my weight for a humorous moment in my presentations. I reminisce about my terrified parents who, on hearing I still wanted to go to art school as I neared the end of high school, said “No son of ours is going to starve in an attic,” at which point I turn to profile view and say, “Well that didn’t happen…” and I always get a good laugh about it. The truth is though, after years of being generally unhappy at what I did for a living, my life is finally on the right track. I am feeling blessed beyond measure. I really love what I get to do, and I really feel like I am pretty much at my sweet spot in every area of life except one. To keep this going, I have got to do better with my health. I want to have the strength and health to keep doing this ministry, as the Lord wills, for a long time. I want to get from my 30th anniversary, to my 50th or 60th, hey while I’m at it 70th would be fine, too, (We’d be 94, which is doable if I get this under control) because I really do have the best wife. I want to be there for my sons and my grandson and any more family the Lord chooses to bless me with.

My wife is doing fantastically by controlling her caloric intake and exercise, and I am proud of her. When I can I go with her to the gym, but I’m not consistent enough, and as I’m often told, you can’t out exercise a bad diet. I know there are a lot of plans and programs out there, but I want to do what she is doing (watching the calories and exercise) because that is sustainable for the long haul. I’m writing this mainly to remind me that I can do better, and in the hopes that if you’re in this boat, you’ll take the encouragement in realizing you’re not alone.

I’m going back to bed now and when I wake up, before I immerse myself in all of today’s projects, I’m going for a walk.

If you read yesterday’s post, especially the part that deals with all I’ve been doing this last few weeks, you might get the idea that I have time management down to a science. If that’s the case, you give me far too much credit. No, truth be known, I waste far too much time. I have this habit of getting into the midst of a project and hitting one of those “stuck points”—you know when you hit the creative wall and you get frustrated. Yes folks, it happens to us all. There are quite a few times where I’ll jump over to check email or social media and end up passing entirely too much time looking at things that do nothing to advance my cause and more often than not, find something that will ruin my mood and get me even more blocked. Or sometimes I’ll jump to a game on my phone, and I’ll “Oh just one more level” myself into a wasted chunk of time. Please remember, I write a lot more posts that say “Yeah, I’m a mess too.” and a lot less posts that say “I’ve arrived.” When it comes to time management, I can be a real dummy. How about you?

So what can we do better:
1. Have a second project to jump to when the first one is stalled.

I usually try to work on two projects at once and I try to avoid more than four. That way when I get stuck, rather than jumping to something meaningless, I can continue moving the ball forward.
2. Have a constructive diversion.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a table in my studio, that always has a model car on it. I love to build models. It’s a creative diversion, but it is also very structured. I can only do a little at a time and it has to be done step by step, so I can’t really spend all day at it, just enough time to re-mesh my mental gears. My Creacher cartoons are another example of this.
3. Break your project into manageable steps.
Nothing is more intimidating than looking at a huge project in it’s entirety. More often than not, this will frustrate you and get you stuck, but what if instead, you had individual steps to complete. Each time you cross one off, you feel a little sense of accomplishment. Simple example of this: The text book for my latest master class came to my Kindle the other day and I had the reading progress set to “time left in book.” Imaging how intimidated I was when I opened the book and saw I had 88 hours left to read. I went right in and changed it to time left in chapter. I still have 88 hours of reading to do, but it sure feels more manageable in one hour chunks.
4. Stay off social media.
Yes, I know, this one is ironic as I write a post I hope a lot of people read on social media. Still the more we avoid social media, the more work we get done.
5. Look for wasted time.
Please read this one carefully, especially if you’re in my family. There are a lot of times in the evening, when the family is together, where we will spend considerable time around the TV. Now my family values my presence, and I value theirs, and family time is never wasted, but I’m not always all that interested in what we’re watching, and even if I am, I often don’t have see every moment of the show, so I’ve found several activities that I can do where I am still very present, but I can also get a little work done. Chief among these is drawing and creating graphics. I get a lot of cartoons drawn and a lot of powerpoint slides done while hanging out in front of the TV.
6. For goodness sake, rest.
In every creative project, there will come a time when you’re just fried and it’s time to pack it in and pick it up when you’re fresh. Trust someone who has done this a million times. If you push past your burnout point, you’re probably going to end up having to redo that work anyway. Better to lay it aside and start fresh later.

Well that’s just part of it. I’ll post more later, but for now, get back to work!

I will, too.