Posts Tagged ‘praise’

A project that has been on my mind for years, and it’s time. I call it The Imaginative Church. The idea is pretty simple. I want to see the church embrace their imagination to find new ways to communicate the unchanging truth of God’s Word. I already have worked up a lot of this material in various forms, but I am finally going to curate it into a compendium of (hopefully) useful information. Stay tuned, and in the mean time, which cover do you like better?


or B.

Share your vote in the comments.

I am watching a young man worship the Lord right now and I am blown away. Not by his technical ability. Not by the way he is leading, he’s essentially alone. He is raising his voice in an empty room. No one will ever buy a ticket to see what he is doing, though perhaps we should. He’s off key, out of tune, and he doesn’t know all the words, but the authenticity is beyond anything I have seen in a long time. This guy just flat out loves Jesus and is praising with all His might. I know his Heavenly Father is smiling, because the Spirit within me is bearing witness. Every time the word victorious is said in the song, he screams it. This guy at least in his heart, soul and Spirit understands worship and the authenticity touches my heart.

As an artist, and as a Christian, it is wise to wean yourself from a dependence on affirmation. Better to have the approval of God than the approval of men, and also quite frankly, the approval of men can be hard to come by. If you allow yourself to gauge your success or failure based on human affirmation, as an artist and/or as a believer, you might be in for a world of hurt. Better to pray for guidance and move out in the assurance of God’s love, grace and faithfulness.

That being said…

Affirmation is still a wonderful thing. Something to be received graciously and humbly. I’ve received several of them in the last day and they have really blessed me tremendously. How we handle this wonderful blessing is imperative. Here are three ways to make sure you handle affirmation properly.

1. Don’t let it go to your head. As Christians, we are more the instrument than the masterpiece. The glory belongs to God alone. Appreciate affirmation, it’s a good thing and may well be God using that person to show you you’re on the right track, but direct the glory to God.

2. Be appreciative and humble. This refers to step one to some degree, but goes a bit further. The person affirming you didn’t have to do it. They went out of their way to show you appreciation. Appreciate the person. He or she is a blessing.

3. For goodness sake, take it to heart. If you’re like most artists, especially believing artists, you will want to deflect glory while taking every harsh, ugly, condemning criticism to the very core of your being. This is exactly backwards. Ugly, condemning stuff is never from God so why would you take it into the heart where God lives? God allowed you to do something that touched and blessed someone enough that they went out of their way to praise what you have done. Receive it AND give God the glory.

Two last things. Sometimes affirmation comes from wrong motives. Test everything against the Word and the Spirit. Don’t let a false affirmation take you down a wrong path. And lastly, affirmation is encouragement and encouragement is a good thing. You know how it feels to receive it. Don’t be afraid (or hesitant) to give it. You may just spur someone on to love and good deeds, the very thing we are called to do.

Thank people for their affirmations, give God the glory and do something else that is praiseworthy.

I love doing art in the church and I hope it doesn’t sound braggadocious to say this, but a lot of other people love what I do. That makes me very happy but there is something that is a little awkward and I could actually use your help with it. You see, the natural reaction to people loving what I do is to pay me a compliment and to be really honest, I like and appreciate that. Affirmation is always nice, but how should I respond?

I mean I really want to give glory to God for everything I do. Without Him nothing I do would work and He deserves all the credit. At the same time, I want to acknowledge the acknowledgment. I sometimes say, “Praise God” but I don’t want to come off sounding like I am correcting the person or trying to fake some sort of religious piety. Then sometimes I simply say “Thank you” but I wonder does that claim credit and glory for myself? I don’t want to appear in any way aloof because I’m not. I’d love to hang out and chat with these people all night because I appreciate them immensely. At the same time, I usually have an hour of cleaning and packing before me so I have to keep it short. I don’t ever want to appear prideful and I certainly don’t want to throw around some sort of false humility because God allows me to do some great things.

Basically here’s what I want to do, I want to be gracious and let the person know I genuinely appreciate the fact that they stepped out to affirm the work that I did, because I do. I want to encourage each one to use what God has given them, I want to encourage them to enter into a deeper relationship with me through various channels so I can continue to encourage them. Even more I want them to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus, using their gifts to serve Him. Most of all, I want to make sure they know I credit God for every good thing in my life. That’s a lot of thought around a simple compliment.

Am I overthinking it?
How do you respond when someone compliments your work?

A few days ago I asked for prayer for my friend and many folks on my lists responded. I wanted to let you know that your prayers have been answered. Her condition has improved. She was moved out of intensive care, and is conscious and talking. She still has a way to go, so prayer is still appreciated, but she is greatly improved.
Praise God and thank you for your prayers,
Dave Challenge: Silence Challenge: Silence

This one was a little different for me. Silence felt hard to describe for a moment. I thought about distractions and considered making an entirely blank piece as that might be silence in my thought addled world, but then I took a different direction. I began to think of a person being bombarded with noise with his hands over his ears, screaming for silence, but what would the noises be. And then I saw it. Many artists, including this one sometimes suffer from horrible self-esteem, maybe it’s because we take so many risks or have so many critics, I don’t know.

I do know this, there are all these voices in society and sometimes in our heads that tell us all kinds of lies about ourselves. We’re too stupid, too ugly, too fat, too thin, worthless, useless and on and on and on. I also know artists are not alone in this many are bombarded with these voices from within and without. We lose when we listen to them. The only way to win is to “silence” the voices. This is not done with some act of violence. We silence the voices when we don’t listen and keep doing what we do. The best way to silence a critical voice is to prove it wrong.

For followers of Christ though, there is a better way. It’s to remember who you are and the high price Christ paid for you. Every voice around you and within you may want to tell you you’re worthless, but the only voice that really matters values you so much that He gave His only Son to die in your place. Let that silence the voices.

Can’t see the image? Click here.

The second image for the stripes challenge may be slightly less predictable. Challenge: Stripes Part 2 Challenge: Stripes Part 2

Isaiah 53:5 says: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Those stripes were wounds driven deep into the flesh of the Savior by a lead tipped Roman whip. The intense punishment that began what we now call Good Friday. You see before they would place a convicted person on a cross the Romans would beat him nearly to death. Such was the beginning of the price Jesus paid for up. It’s a conundrum. How could a day of such torture be called Good Friday? Surely not because it was a good thing to happen to Jesus. I’m sure the disciples saw that day as anything but good. No the goodness was on the cross. It was Jesus doing the greatest act of good a person can do. He laid down His life for you and me. See, those stripes, they were yours and mine, but he took them.

The word at the bottom of the illustration is Tetellestai. It’s the last recorded word Jesus spoke before dying on the cross. Your English Bible records the word as the phrase “it is finished.” Jesus finished the work of Salvation when he hung on the cross, but that word Tetellestai has another meaning as well. In the market place, in that day, when a purchase was complete the merchant would sometimes shout out Tetellestai and in this context the meaning of the word was another phrase, “PAID IN FULL.” That’s what Jesus did. He took the penalty for everything wrong that you, me and everyone else has done and will ever do and took it on Himself. If you place your trust in Him as your Lord and Savior, your sins are forgiven and your debt is paid in full.

Jesus paid it all.

If you’d like to know more about Jesus and what He did for you, leave a comment or better yet drop me an email at

This note is extra meaningful to me today, two days ago my friend Curt left this world. He was a guy who had a lot of struggles in this life but in spite of it all, he came to know and love Jesus. Jesus paid Curt’s price and today as I miss my friend, I know his struggles are over and he’s just beginning to enjoy the very best God has to offer.

Praise God for the stripes that heal.

If you can’t see the image above, click this link.

Don’t worry it’s not that one. It’s one that every artist especially every Christ following artist should know… Flexibility. Flexibility is a trait every artist should have and yet most of us seem to lack it. It manifests mainly in two ways.

The first is in the If only mentality. It only I had this, if only I had that. If only I had more money or better supplies or a better studio or a hotter computer with better software or whatever. You know what they are. Fill in your “if only” here. Literally write it on a piece of paper. Are you done? Good now throw the paper away and look around you. What do you have right now? Stop seeing your scarcity and start looking at what you have and use that. The biggest part of art is creativity, find what you have and use it. Our ancestors used burned sticks for charcoal, berries plants and on and on and on. Appreciate what you have and use it. Make the art you can make with what you have. It’s okay to ask God for more and better but make sure you’re faithfully using what God has given you. Think of times of lack as God building your creativity. He might even be using it to draw you out of yourself and teaching you to collaborate. Regardless of the circumstance, be creative, grateful and be flexible.

The other area we lack flexibility is much more insidious. It’s pride. We’re artists after all and there are certain things we deserve. Get that out of your head right now. The only thing we deserve in this life is Hell and thank God He gave us Jesus so we don’t get what we deserve. Before there was Madonna, there was “pre-madonna” (yes I know it’s really prima donna I was making a joke) and nobody liked her. Nobody really likes a diva either. We put up with their outlandish behavior because of their talents but we don’t like them. As Christ following artists our job is to represent Christ. No one was more entitled to be a Diva than the perfect Son of God and yet the Bible tells us over and over again how he humbled Himself to serve the ones He came to save. We can’t represent Him well by being demanding and inflexible divas. If you have ten minutes to do something, give the best ten minutes you have. If you have a budget of five dollars, use your creativity to make it look like it’s worth a lot more.

Learn the F Word and live it. Be flexible.

Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
Judges 19; Psalm 89,91
You can also download your own chart here.

The Discipline of Worship

The Discipline of Worship

One of the most awesome privileges we have is the privilege of worshipping our great God and Savior. So on this Lord’s day please remember how truly great our God is and give Him what He deserves. You probably already know this but the word worship is derived from the old English “worthship” even the Word itself acknowledge that God is worthy of our praise. So praise Him for all He’s worth.

Sometimes corporate worship can be hard. There can be lots of relational stuff with our brothers and sisters that gets in the way. Everything from denominational politics to internal bickering can really take us off track. Maybe you feel like your gift has been rejected by the church, or maybe you’re in a bad season and worship is hard. Can I tell you it’s not about that? Leave that aside, forgive who you need to forgive and focus on the One who is worthy of your praise. Make it between you and Him today and ask Him to help you give all the others stuff to Him at the foot of the cross and ask Him to help you leave it there when you leave trusting Him to take care of it.

Some folks have been driven to leave corporate worship by these and other issues. For you I have some tough love. The church is the body of Christ, don’t be a severed limb, take your body to a body of believers and worship God today in community as He desires. Remember the admonition from the book of Hebrews (10:25) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. I’m a pastor, I understand all too well the hurt and pain that can come from within the body of Christ. A wise person once told me that ministry is easy except for the people. Nonetheless, Jesus spent a whole lot of time teachings us how to deal with people. He told us to forgive and we will be forgiven as we forgive. He told us to love our neighbor, that people will know we are His by the way we love each other and even to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you. If you’ve left the church, it’s time to go back and take another run at being part of the body in a ;local church. The world is tough, life is tough, we need to have a community of faith that preaches the Word of God to help us. Go and worship God.

But what about the rest of the week. Some of you won’t read this on Sunday and for some of you, your day of worship is Saturday. While I repeat the admonition that we all need to be a part of a local body of believers, we don’t just go to church, we are the church 24-7-365. Live for Him all week. The apostle Pauul said it this way in Romans 12:1 and 21 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. God’s been merciful to us in Christ. The only right response to this is to give God your whole self as an act of worship, living a life of worship. Let Him change your path and renew your mind. It’s when we worship Him in this way that we find our way to the center of His will for our lives.

Is He worthy? Then Worship Him.

Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
John 5; Hebrews 1; Psalm 43
You can also download your own chart here.

Just mulling over all the things I have to be grateful for. One of the things I am grateful for is you! Thanks for being a part of this blog and for using what you have been given to serve others. After all one of the greatest ways we can show God gratitude is taking what he has given and using it to give someone else a reason to be grateful.