Posts Tagged ‘priorities’

This has been a great week and a busy one. I had a great series of Spiritual renewal meetings the first four days of the week. Thursday and Friday were spent having office hours at my church and helping my congregation set up our annual yard sale as well as a lot of other things that have to be done in a pastor’s week, like attending meetings, setting up the services, preparing for future events and more. Then of course there was the weekly sermon. While I worked on the sermon throughout the week, it never really clicked until late Thursday evening when my other meetings were over and I was more able to focus on the matter at hand. I tend to be something of a one track mind when it comes to preaching and I sometimes have a hard time working on more than one message at a time, especially when I am preaching a different message every day.

When I am busy like that, this blog often slips a few days (full disclosure, this post that is dated for Saturday was written early Monday morning). I will still post for all missed days because I have made a commitment to post daily and I really do want to honor that with the best content I can generate, because I value the time you take to read these posts.

Unlike a lot of people, I like being somewhat busy, especially when it involves doing the things I love to do. It energizes me and God always seems to deliver in the creativity department. That being said, busy requires downtime. My body can only keep up the fast pace for so long and the length of that time is getting shorter. For example, by the last day of my renewal meetings I was drinking as much tea with honey as I could sand during the day because my throat had become quite hoarse. Also, even though I spent most evenings at home in this past week, my wife and I were like two ships passing in the night, having spent precious little time together. Busyness is great. It shows we’re doing something right, maybe even in demand, but we cannot afford to forget to take care of ourselves and our special relationships. I didn’t always live that way and believe me when I tell you, there is a cost and it’s high.

So enjoy those busy times, but don’t forget why you do them, to honor God and provide for your family. Ultimately these two are the top priority and if you’re too busy for them you’re just plain too busy.

Be careful who you say no to.

I’m about to go outside and do some seriously demanding physical work, and truth be known I have no desire to do it. In the past, I would have said, this just isn’t important. The underlying thought was this work is beneath me, I’m an artist, a creative and that is the work I should be doing. Thankfully that has changed. See working in my gifting is important, but the work I am about to do is important to my family. It will make their lives easier and maybe even my life in the long run. It is clear, this other, non creative work is important too.

Sometimes when I think how shallow I was (and still can be if I’m not careful) it makes me sad. Think of how often I put off family time so I could work and work and work. I always rationalized that the eventual success I would achieve from my workaholic tendencies would make their lives so much better that it was worth the trade off. The truth is I arrogantly thought my work was more important than what I would be doing with them. I was so wrong and stupid. I am trying to make up for that now, but I wish I had lived differently back then. Pride is so horribly bad and we have wrapped it up as something honorable.

Why do I share this example of my stupidity and bad behavior? Because smart people learn from their mistakes but really smart people learn from other people’s mistakes. Learn from mine. The really important stuff is the stuff that blesses the people we have been given by God to love. Sure our creativity is a gift from God to be used to His glory, but if we ignore the people we love to work in our gifting, that’ll come back to bite us every single time.

When Jesus was asked what was the most important commandment, He broke it down to a statement that was essentially “love God, love others.” Those are priorities one and two. Work, even the work we do “for God,” comes somewhere after that.

We get to make stuff and that is really cool, but don’t forget to make memories.

It’s important

Okay before we go any further, this is not a political post. I don’t believe for a second that my little cartoons could change your mind, and to be quite honest, I am not committed enough to either of these people to try. I love this country and I feel that the fact that these are our two choices, shows that this nation that I love is in DEEP trouble. What I do care about is the relationships between people. I feel like there are people destroying relationships over this mess, and in that regard, I think we can do a lot better and I would love to help. Over the next two weeks my web comic Creacher will feature these comics, but I decided to give my readers here a little preview.

Pray, vote, pray for the one elected and get back to work following Jesus and making a difference.

I know I will never be the greatest artist in the world. That title would go to Rembrandt or Van Gogh or someone named after a Ninja Turtle. I also probably won’t be the greatest preacher in the world. That title would probably go to someone named Sunday or Edwards or Graham or Evans. So if the greatest in the world in both my passions is probably put of reach, what should I do? I used to say I would strive to be the greatest David Weiss out there, but I’m sort of pulling for my grandson in that category now. What’s left?

Well the fact of the matter is everything I do is subjective. You know this to be true, in the field of art, people either love your work or hate it (or worse yet ignore it) and it all depends on who is receiving it. Preaching is similar, but ultimately that is up to God to judge and He would remind us that to be great in His Kingdom is to be a servant. Maybe the greatest and, for that matter greatness, is the wrong pursuit altogether. Still there is something to be said for pursuit. Pursuit keeps us from resting on our laurels and keeps us working to improve, and that is definitely a worthy pursuit. So then what should I pursue?

Well the first pursuit is obvious to the believer. I should be pursuing God. Remember what Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. After that, the next pursuit is faithfulness. Doing the most I can with what God has given and the opportunities He presents. I really believe that this must be the soul of human endeavor. How does this manifest?

Well for me, I think that a lot of prayer is involved, followed by a lot of hard work. I also know myself well enough to understand that it’s easy to get my priorities out of whack. This is the power of seeking God first. I know I have to lead by example. If I want the people I lead to follow Jesus, I need to follow Jesus. If I want the people I lead to use their gifts to serve the Lord, I have to serve the Lord and if I want the people I lead to be creative, I need to set the tone by being creative.

This year I challenged myself to do a piece of art a day for the year. In truth, this was easy for me. I often do multiple small pieces a day and have probably long since passed 365 pieces for the year. Truth be known I didn’t do this for me. I often hear people say they’re not inspired or they don’t have time and I am trying to prove that wrong. Now not everyone can do a piece of art every day. My art is often cartooning and goes pretty fast by nature. Other media take a very long time by virtue of the skill level required, media limitations, etc. You don’t have to do something every day and faithfulness to God demands that you take time to rest, but faithfulness also requires doing the work and this is the example I am trying to set forth.

In the coming year, I am thinking about a new challenge that will stretch me even further but I am still praying about it. I think it will allow me to expand the reach of my ministry, draw attention to the things I feel called to do, but I also know it could be taxing, so rather than just jump in, I am going to pray some more. The thing we need to remember is we need to be faithful to God, and we need to be faithful in doing the work, but we also need to be faithful to our families and our other responsibilities. In my case, I pastor a wonderful church that I love. Part of faithfulness is serving them well. The object of the “game” here is not to be busy. The object is to be doing what God has called us to do in ever area of life. It can be a tough balancing act, but it’s importance cannot be overlooked.

How did we get aggravated before social media? I know, we had our ways, but yesterday I saw something really aggravating. It was one of those memes that was just inane. It was nonsense. It was posted by someone who holds a fairly high position in my denomination that made me wonder, “Why I am still part of this denomination if this is the way we think?” Then I remembered we have a congregational structure that allows us to ignore the malarkey and keep following Jesus, but I digress. The main thought that was going on in my mind was…

Tens of thousands of people leave this world without Jesus every day and this is what concerns us?!?!?

It seems to me we need to refocus our efforts on things eternal and leave all that other stuff to people who still mistakenly believe that, apart from God, human beings can save the world. But then I had another thought. Some people might also think that it’s pretty silly to write a blog about Christians in the arts, that this blog (and my ministry) might fall under a similar category. “Vanity, a chasing after the wind,” as Solomon said.

Here’s why I think that’s not the case. Sure we focus on Christians and creativity here, but much like the rest of my ministry, it’s not really about the arts. It’s about encouraging people to use their gifts to serve the Lord. It’s about using all those tremendous talents that God has invested in us for the furtherance of His Kingdom. It’s about using that gift of art to reach those tens of thousands of people who leave this world without Jesus before they leave this world and giving them Jesus. It’s about making the art that accomplishes God’s eternal purposes. That’s why we do what we do and it manifests in a multitude of forms.

So next time you’re on social media and you get aggravated, the next time you question the importance of what you do, remember what’s really important.

Tens of thousands of people leaving this world without Jesus. What can we do in Christ to prevent that? That’s what’s important.

tightrope copyI’ll admit it, I’ve gotten a little out of balance. Everything in my life right now is pretty good and I’m loving it. I’ve been prolific as all get out, I put out three major projects in a month and I have been speaking and traveling and developing new things, not to mention pastoring a pretty great little (but growing) church with all that that involves. I love this stuff and I am having a great time… but…

You see, there can be a price to all that prolific. In my case it manifests in my weight. Wen I am on the road it is really easy to grab a burger and keep flying. It is easy to feel guilty for stopping at a convenience store to use their facilities so I make a purchase, usually candy related to assuage my guilt and I have a real weakness for sweet tea. It’s all added up to a weight gain. It is also pretty easy for me to start working early in the morning and not stop until late in the evening, snacking to keep me from having to stop and prepare something to eat. None of this is really good for me, but the productivity is terrific.

But it won’t stay that way. Sooner or later, it catches up with you, so before it does, I need to work on balance and getting myself back into the right groove. For me that means discipline. It means setting up a more rigid order and a little advance preparation. The first thing I need to do is structured devotions. Before I start anything else, I need to get into the Word. Now you might be thinking less of me. A pastor who has to discipline himself to read the Bible. Well first of all, yes that can be true, but more likely it’s my rationalization skills kicking in. Most of what I do involves e being in the Bible for at least a little while every day, but that’s not the issue. The time I spend in preparing for presentation is of course beneficial to me, because His Word will not come back void, but I need a time where it’s just me and God letting His Word speak to me, not so I can present it but so that it can do it’s work in me. That has to happen first for me or it gets pushed aside in favor of other work. Also I have a discipline of prayer walking. This successfully combines two things I really need, time with God and exercise. I can rationalize that I pray throughout the day as I am plowing through my projects, but the reality is distraction kicks into overdrive at times in the middle of a busy day. I need to set this time aside and so do you.

When it comes to eating, that requires preparation. It’s quick to stop at a fast food joint, but it’s even faster to grab something healthy out of the cooler as I go. Sure that requires prep time but it is far better for me. I don’t need to buy candy when I have to make a stop. They do have other things, and while i know in my heart sweet tea will be served in heaven, I have work to do here on earth so I can make due with unsweetened and with water which is even better for me. These are some of the things I need to do.

The truth is, I am the happiest I have ever been in my adult life, but to stay that way and to not be dealing with preventable health issues, I need to have a little discipline and get back into balance. Sometimes I question my need to be so prolific. Is that God or is that me trying to call attention to myself. I need to be faithful and do all that I am called to do, while leaving some of the stuff that I just want to do behind.

Ask any tight rope walker. Balance is a wonderful thing.

Okay so yesterday’s post lauded the habit of catching up over giving up, yet if you go over to my other website,, you will notice that it has been several days since I have posted there as well and even though I have a piece called The Daily Creative, I have left it slip a bit. Am I being hypocritical? Maybe.

Here’s where I am at. I know people hit this page every day and while I would love to have more conversation and community here, occasionally some of you comment, share these posts, etc. I know you’re out there, I know you’re active and I am very happy to keep going. The other site is getting very little response. I have been posting the Daily Creative for months over there and asking people to share their creations on the Facebook page. So far there has been no responses.

I have not given up on the site, I am just realizing that I am not doing something right pertaining to getting the word out. If there’s no interest, I’ve had three comments over the history of the site that were not spammers, the site isn’t happening yet. I think I am publishing good content there, but it’s not yet bearing fruit. Because this is the case, when my time is extremely limited, I have to prioritize. Maybe you do to.

We all have projects we love. These are things that we sink a lot of time into, but at the end of the day, because we all only have so many hours in a day, sometimes we need to pick and choose. When resources are limited (and time is a resource) we have to prioritize. A great way to do this is to look at what you’re actually trying to accomplish. The things that will lead to accomplishing those goals should be right there near the top. Other things need to be pushed aside.

A final word on this: There is nothing more important than God (not ministry, not church, God). He needs to come first before our goals, ambitions, etc. If He isn’t, whatever comes before Him is a big time idol and you need to be very careful. Right after God are the people we’ve been given to love, especially our families. Pushing them to the back burner to accomplish your goals can ruin you. Trust me on this, I know. Goals are huge and important but if your goals come before these two, they are trouble. You’d be better off with a menial job some place still loving God and with a strong family, than to gain great success and lose everything that matters.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?