Posts Tagged ‘passion’

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.


My Vision

Today I shared my vision for the ministry I am called to. What’s your vision? Find a way to creatively press it. Not sure what your vision is? 1 Peter 4:10 might be a great place to start.

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.


A Ministry I’m Passionate About

Today rather than looking at a passage, I want us to look at what we’re passionate about in ministry. How do you (or How do you want to) serve the Lord? What ministry excites you? What is the Lord leading you to do with your gifts?

It used to drive me crazy. I would go to my son’s school chorus concerts and I could tell the teacher put a lot of heart and soul into getting a good performance out of the 80 plus students on the stage. Then I would go to his community theater performances and see what seemed to be twice the sound coming out of a dozen people. What was the difference? I maintain it probably has to do with “have to versus want to.” Many of those 80 students in that large school group were there because they wanted a grade or perhaps someone pressured them into joining the group and once they were in they had to be there. The community theater, was completely volunteer, the only real benefits being the satisfaction of a job well done, applause and personal growth. With few exceptions, every person on that stage was their because they wanted to be there and they almost always shined. That’s the power of motivation.

Now please don’t misunderstand me, there are things you and I have to do, and we should bring our best to everything, even the “have to’s” of life, but they rarely hold a candle to our “want to’s.” The key then is to find a way to spend most of life in your “want to’s;” the place where your passions align with your gifts. These are the most satisfying places in life and I would argue the places where you will best excel.

There is one other thing to consider. Passion is contagious. Share it well and you can turn a gifted person’s “have to” into a “want to.” It’s not always easy and it starts with finding another person’s gift and showing them the excitement you bring to what you do. For me, art has always been a “want to.” Speaking by way of comparison was a definite “have to,” for most of the first half of my life I avoided it like the plague. It terrified me.

What changed was pretty simple. I met some folks who were passionate about sharing the Gospel, pastors and believers. They started off by showing me that I could use my “want to” of art to serve the Lord, then they slowly began to nudge me into speaking, a skit here, a lesson there. People connecting with the Gospel became a passion for me, and I began to see that in order to share the Gospel, speaking was a component of that. I began to find ways to speak that worked for me while people gently challenged me and opened doors for me. Today speaking is a passion of mine. This represents a radical life transformation and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Have to’s” can be turned into “want to’s” by passionate people who care enough to bring it out of people and show them the way. It almost always starts with the “want to’s,” with passion and gifting spilling over into other areas of life. When you’re passionate enough to do what it takes, we’ll do almost anything to make it happen. That’s the power of motivation.

In our world there is this tremendous pressure to fit in. It is taught to us from our earliest days in school. People try to tell us we can be whatever we want to be (a lie) and then tell us to be like everybody else (an even bigger lie). Here’s the truth. You can’t be anything you want to be. You, like everyone else, have limitations and some of those limitations will be insurmountable for you. You also will never be like everybody else. You are wired differently, gifted differently and to try to fit in will leave you ordinary and miserable.

Think about it. Who do we talk about? Certainly not the ones who are like everybody else. We talk about the odd, the different, the special, the ones who make their own path. These are the people who achieve great things, make great progress. They’re remarkable, extraordinary. The word we have for this is genius and the truth of the matter is we would have many more geniuses if we weren’t so darn busy trying to make everyone fit the same mold.

So much of education tries to force us all to be generalists. We test for competency in standardized tests from the earliest grades. Can I ask a question? Who the heck wants to competent? Oh sure, there are some necessary skills, reading, rudimentary math, and some real life skills we all need to get by (many of these we neglect to teach buy the way), but beyond that, it’s malarkey. Why not spend the majority of our time finding someone’s genius and allowing them to truly excel. Well maybe changing the education system is too big an issue for us, but you’re not in school forever. The problem is we still spend the majority of our adult lives trying to fit and I have to ask why?

You might say, “to hold down and keep a job.” Okay, but why do so many people assume that the best this world has for them is to hold onto jobs they hate? Why do we live for weekends and vacation? Why is Sunday night the worst time of the week for much of humanity? Because we’ve chosen to continue trying to fit. I think there is something better. I believe we were created with gifts and talents and passions, and that those things can lead us to our true genius, to become the best we can truly be, to have the greatest impact we can on the world around us, to go beyond ordinary, to be an artist, a genius, in whatever field we choose.

You know these people when you see them. They have a spring in their step. They have a passion about whatever is before them. They do what they do to the fullest and by the way, the usually look pretty happy, but even when they’re not, the sense of purpose compels them to make it happen and make it great. Ordinary doesn’t get that done. Ordinary gets by.

Why be ordinary?

It looks nothing like him, and yet it really tells us all we need to know. It’s something we wear around our necks. Sometimes I think that means we get it and sometimes I think it means we thoroughly miss the point. We’ve made it something beautiful, yet in reality it was something hideous and horrible that only Jesus could make beautiful. It’s the cross. A device of death and torture that Jesus turned into a symbol of life and hope. It’s the picture of His mission and the picture of God’s love and our value to God. It shows us that we were worth so much to God that He was willing to sacrifice His perfect Son for us in our sorry, broken, sinful state. It’s an instrument of death and the gateway to life.

That one picture says so much. How can we take it’s message to the world?

You may have noticed a few differences on the main page of this site. In working with my coach, he has been challenging me to work on the way I present this ministry. I wrote something in one of my notes to him that really stood out to him. “It’s not just about art.” He called it out, tweaked it and now it’s the new AMOKArts tagline.

It’s sort of a crucial thing. I think a lot of churches see this ministry as just about art or  just for artists and as such may be hesitant to bring me in to speak. Maybe some people look at this site and think it’s just for artists. That really limits the scope of this ministry and it’s a limitation I don’t want and I don’t think God intends. I want to do more than just come to a church and make art and I want to help you dear reader to do more than just make art.

So what is it about?

It's Not JUST about the art...It’s not JUST about the art… 

AMOKArts is about PASSION
It’s about a passion to know Jesus and make Him known.

AMOKArts is about VISION
It’s about helping people to find God’s plan and purpose for their lives, to find and use their gifts to glorify God, serve others and make the world a better place.

AMOKArts is about MISSION
It’s about helping churches to empower their people to be all God intended them to be so the church can fulfill the mission God has given them.

I want to help people and churches to have a passion for Jesus, live their vision and accomplish their mission. Art is the tool, but it’s all about Jesus.

That’s what’s on the main page of this site and it’s what’s on my heart. I want to see people come to Jesus and I want to see them find and use their gifts to serve Him. I want to see churches full of empowered believers reaching out with the tools God gave them to fulfill the mission God has for them in the world. I want to help the church to fulfill its mission. I want to help church leaders to move  their visions forward and reach a generation for Christ.

I am so passionate about this because my whole life was radically changed when a pastor identified my gift and gave me a way to use it in the church. One small art project was used by God to set this ministry in motion, a ministry that has taken me all over the U.S. preaching and teaching and yes, painting with a passion for introducing people to Jesus, helping them to become all God made them to be. I believe that there are thousands and maybe millions of people like me in the church of Jesus Christ who are just a nudge and an idea away from doing great things for the Kingdom. I want to be that nudge and bring those ideas.

Church leaders, what dreams and visions and missions could you accomplish if even just a few more people stepped forward and said, “I want to be used by God. I want to serve. Here’s my gift. What can I do?”   Let me help you see that happen.

At the Crossroads
Usually when we talk about crossroads we talk about having to make a decision and go one way or another. That’s not where I’m going with this. I just got off the phone with my coach and we were talking about my gifts and my passions and the direction I should take with my life. How I should invest my time and what I should be doing.

I identified two things I am really passionate about, (both of these involve art in my life). The first was I am passionate to introduce people to Jesus and secondly I love to sow into people’s lives (especially creatives) and help them to use their gifts to serve others and make the world a better place. When it comes to career and ministry and what I do, those are the two things that really fire me up.

My coach had asked me to create a list of ideas that I could use to earn a living and support my family that work with my gifting. I had a list of 29 things. He told me to look at the list and find the things that are at the crossroads between my passions, introducing people to Jesus and helping creative people to find and use their gifts and set up shop.

I want to live and work at the crossroad of introducing people to Jesus and helping people to find and use their gifts. With God’s help that’s where I will focus and build.

What’s your crossroad? Go there and build your life.

We’ve looked at our identity as children of God and how this is ultimately who we are. We’ve looked at the underlying motivation of glorifying God that should drive our efforts. Now it is time to look at what it is that we will actually do. This is the actual “work.”

I believe this is ultimately guided by a couple of factors:
First what did God make you to do? Each of us has been blessed with gifts, talents, aptitudes and experiences that will open doors as to what our “work” will be. I believe there was something each of us was made to do and when many different people do the many different things we were created to do in community, we form the body of Christ. So the first step is finding what God has created us to do and doing it to His glory, while seeking out others to share and collaborate with.

Next what are you passionate about? I believe God makes us passionate about the (positive) things He wants us to do. For example if you see something that makes you say someone should do something about that, especially if that thought keeps you up at night. Chances are the someone who should do something is you.

Next what is the need? Ultimately I believe this needs to be secondary but it is vital. Sometimes we need to go beyond our giftedness and so something just because it needs to be done. Sometimes someone needs help right now and simply can’t wait for a uniquely gifted person to show up. Sometimes “you gotta do what you gotta do.” I believe in these moments God gives us the grace to do what must be done. In some cases, God will even use these times to show you a gift and a plan you didn’t recognize. AMOKArts What's Your Sweet Spot?

There is a very big caution here though. We all have a temptation toward self-importance that forces us to just keep on taking on one more thing. I’m not convinced this is Godly but rather becomes a pride issue. Working outside our giftedness is okay for a time, but we should always be looking for the person for whom the activity will be their “sweet spot” and when we find that person we should step aside and let them take over.

Ultimately we will do our best, most God-glorifying work in our gifting. We need to seek out that gifting and develop and use it to God’s glory. We need not wait until we are perfect. Rather we need to give God our best today praying and believing and knowing that giving our best today will help us to be better tomorrow.

What will you do?

The new book Quitter by Jon Acuff is an amazing and challenging resource for anyone who is thinking they want to be doing something different with their lives.

I just finished reading Quitter. Non-fiction books are rarely page-turners for me but this one is. Jon Acuff wrote a book about how to leave your day job and pursue your dream job, a topic near and dear to my heart, not because I hate my job because I don’t, I like it, but I have a dream. Maybe you do too.

There are quite a few things I love about this book. First of all it’s really funny. Jon Acuff has a clear gift for humor and it really helps him handle a tough topic. Secondly this book is really responsible. Jon Acuff got his dream job and it involves working for the Dave Ramsey organization. Ramsey is the pinnacle of personal fiscal responsibility and his philosophies are well represented by Acuff.

The first chapter in the book counsels “Don’t quit your day job.” This is such wisdom. I have spoken to more than a few people over the years who quit their jobs because “God told them to” leaving them in a panic trying to figure out how to pay their bills, keep a roof over their heads. I have very little doubt that God had a call on their lives, nor do I doubt that He gave them a dream and a vision. I’ve just always wrestled with God telling them to be irresponsible. Instead Acuff counsels to build your dream and work toward your dream while you have a steady job. He further advises you to “fall in like” with your day job and use it to practice the excellence you will need to live your dream.

Acuff gives a lot of questions to ask yourself, a lot of useful information and intersperses it all with stories from his own personal journey to his dream job. This is one of those books I will read over and over throughout my journey. Quitter is a Godsend for pretty much anyone with a dream.

Here’s his promo video. Please, please please read this book.

Let’s join forces to the glory of God. Let’s find what we do and find ways to help each other to be what we were created to be. What’s your dream, your vision, your passion? What has God laid on your heart? Is there something in this world that You feel He wants you to do something about? Someone you feel led and called to help? Let’s see what we can do to help each other Be the Body.

For me it’s traveling throughout the church and the world using what the gifts and talents I have been given to help others to find and be what they were created to be. I think this is a good first step. Post your visions and passions and things here and let’s see if we cant network and help each other to live some of these things out to the glory of God. Don’t be afraid to share it, no matter how big it looks. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

As a side-bar, if I can be of help to your church to help you call out the gifted (and we’re all gifted) I’d love to come and speak to them. Contact me at