Posts Tagged ‘speaking ministry’


Tonight I ministered at the Salvation Army ARC in Altoona, PA. What a great ministry they have there. Thanks to Captain Daniel Gonzales and all the folks there for making it a great night.


The last few posts may make it look like I have it all together, and if that’s the case, it’s time for a little honesty. Those posts reflect me at my best, but I like everyone else, am not always at my best. Case in point from yesterday’s post, the festival I have been pursuing for years. Imagine my surprise when I approached a young man who does something similar to what I do and found out that he has been accepted to minister at the same festival I’ve been pursuing. I started to think things like, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why do they keep rejecting me?” “I’ve been doing this longer than he has been alive.” It was about then as envy and discouragement were setting in a wreaking havoc on my psyche that the Lord pushed my thoughts in a different direction.

He took me back to one of my favorite passages to preach from, the parable of the talents. In the parable a master, before going away on a journey, entrusts part of his wealth to three of his servants in varying amounts based on ability. Jesus goes on to tell us that two of the servants went to work at once and doubled the master’s investment. While the gain is great, the point is not so much the success as it is the faithfulness. When the master returns from his journey and sees what the first two servants did, his response is “Well done good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful with a few things I’ll put you in charge of many things…” There’s a point in there for us all.

I had no business envying my young friend, nor did his success have anything to do with me, my abilities or lack thereof. He has his calling, I have mine… AND YOU HAVE YOURS. Yes he got the big audience, I get smaller ones. If my calling is to larger audiences, God will open the door. In the mean time, I need to be faithful in the small things and give it my all, because here’s the thing. What is a small thing in the Kingdom of God? How valuable is one soul? Well Jesus would say “It was worth my life.” Seems to me one soul in eternity is no small thing, so maybe rather than focusing on the size of our audience, we need to focus on the size of our God.

According the Jesus, the say to big things is faithfulness in small things. Let Him worry about the size of your following. Just pursue what He puts before you and be faithful.

God’s got this and in His eyes, at least as it pertains to the people He loves and gave Himself up for, there are no small things.


More than one person has expressed to me that they would like to do what I do over the years, and hear this, I am grateful for that. It means God is still at work in this type of ministry. They say things like I wish I could do that. “Well,” I want to ask, “what’s stopping you?” Today I am asking you that question.

I think a lot of people are hesitant because they are not sure they have what it takes. Hear this and hear it well, when God calls, God provides, but…

There is no substitute for doing the work. You need to practice, grow in your skills, develop what you do and seek the Lord for ways for you minister in a way that honors Him. The Bible gives the admonition to work as if you were working for the Lord. Well in ministry that is precisely what we are doing, and so we must strive to do the best we can, but here comes the but…

We have to be sure not to allow feelings of insufficiency and inadequacy, or worse yet perfectionism to keep us from doing God’s will. Look folks none of our work will ever be perfect on this side of the grave. What we need to be working toward instead is faithfulness, doing the best you can with what you have today. And once you have that worked out, you need to start putting yourself out there. In other words, you have to find the “audience” for whatever it is that you do, and you can’t do that if you don’t share your work with the people who need to see it.

Putting yourself out there can be hard, mainly because you know, not everyone will like what you do, and some might even reject you. Some people experience rejection and decide to avoid it all costs. I implore you, don’t be one of them. The people who reject you are not your audience. Love them, pray for them and keep pursuing them, but only if God leads. Otherwise,
Invest yourself in the people who will give you opportunities and make the most of every one. Invest in the people who love what you do and give them your very best.

I know this feeling very well. There is a major ministry and a major music festival that have both figured majorly in my ministry. I have pursued them many times trying to get them to give me a chance. The story of what God has done in my life through them alone would be enough to get me to accept me, but year after year they reject me. Here’s the thing. I don’t focus on them. I don’t say, well they keep rejecting me, I must be nothing and no good. No I pray, send them something, pray again and get back to focusing on the people who want me. I keep putting myself out there, but I don’t let their acceptance or rejection to define my ministry. Only God can do that.

Put yourself out there. No one will call you if they don’t know you exist. Then make the most of every opportunity because you’ll never know.


Back in my teen years, I dreamed of being a rock star, touring night after night in town after town. Lack of musical talent pretty much put an end to that idea and that’s okay. Nonetheless here I am decades later, and I find myself in a very real sense “touring,” though in a very different way. I’ve been privileged to spend most of the last month traveling from place to place, painting and preaching and it’s been really good, at least in some ways. This year started off slow on the speaking schedule, but for some reason most people wanted me from July to October. As I write this, I’m doing the final packing for a three day trip to the Jersey shore ministering at a chapel on the boardwalk, from there I come home, do some church work, before heading to Maryland to speak at a family camp, if the Lord wills.

Like I said, it’s been really nice, for the most part, but I’ve learned a few lessons. First, it’s really important to have a system. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. This does not come easily for me, because I am usually organizationally challenged, but when you’re hundreds of miles from home base, it’s hard to get back home to get what you need.

Secondly, be prepared and flexible. Each venue is different. I’m not to the point of having contracts and riders to make the venue provide everything I need and I’m not sure I want to be that guy anyway. Last thing a minister of the Gospel should be is demanding. That being said, this means if I have something I need to do my best presentation, I need to make sure I take it with me or that I know a way to do without it. Further, even if I’ve done a presentation a hundred times, it is important that I go over it so that I can present well. This is the Gospel I’m sharing, and God and the “audience” deserve my best.

Thirdly, things tend to happen when I’m away. I need to be “prayed up” and to be bathing my family, my church, etc. in prayer.

Fourth, I need to be mindful of my health and well being. It’s really easy to gain weight on the road and to be honest, I often do. If I’m going to be in this for the long haul, I need to take care of myself on the road. I also need to make sure that I am staying strong and wise, making good choices and avoiding anything that even looks like impropriety.

In my teen years, I got the idea that touring was glamorous. It’s not. It’s a whole lot of driving, mostly alone, followed by a lot of set up and tear down, and there are no roadies on this tour, mostly it’s just me and the wonderful people who stay after to help. Bottom line, the road is a lot of work. Oh but the time and privilege of presenting God’s word makes it all worthwhile. Also I have made a lot of friends I would have never met were it not for me being out on the road. I’ve experienced a wide sampling of the body of Christ, and have seen God move in many ways that have bolstered my faith. “Touring” can be really great, but being away from my family is hard, and there’s no place like home.

If you are called to this kind of ministry, you need wisdom, a work ethic, flexibility and a good dose of humility. God is faithful to provide all we need.


My dad has a saying, “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle them with [a compound word starting with “bull”]. While I don’t necessarily concur with all of that, I have heard many speakers who seemed to be trying to dazzle the audience with their brilliance and have left me feeling like Dad might be right. At the very least, I had no idea what they were saying and as such, by my judgment, they failed. The purpose of communication is to be understood, period.

Take my experience this week. I’m ministering to adults with developmental disabilities. This is a tough balance to strike. They aren’t kids, they are adults, so making it “kiddy” will not work. These folks are worthy of my respect and of my very best. The key is to present the information in a way they understand. After all, I am bringing them the most important message of all, the Gospel. These folks don’t need to know how smart I am. They don’t need to be dazzled, they need to hear the truth, the simple truth, in a way that they can understand, a way that honors God and them. I owe them that. I owe God that.

You owe your audience the same thing. An audience is a privilege. Not everybody gets one. Make sure you honor yours by giving them what God has given you in a way that they understand. That usually means it’s best to lead with the simple truth.

After all that’s what everyone needs to know and understand.


This week I am ministering at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center for their Haven Camp for adults with developmental disabilities. My day started with breakfast and then a message on Abraham, sharing about God’s promises both to Abraham and to us, and how He keeps them, which should give us confidence (Confidence is the Summer’s theme at the camp). From there I spent a little time with the campers before returning to my lodgings to change my clothes and writing some of my sessions for my next time here in a little less than two weeks. Then after lunch, I came back and finished the session I was writing, which coincided with the camper’s lodge time, a time for them to rest and nap. I rejoined the campers in time for their activity time. I ended up going along on a “hay ride” on a hay wagon shaped like Noah’s Ark. The campers were all but giddy with excitement, the guy next to me was nervous and took my hand, but at the same time he laughed with glee over every bump. They were singing Sunday School songs as well as a few silly songs thrown in and that’s when it hit me. There is something about these folks that I think the rest of us have lost. They often experience the extremes of emotions, and yet, they can find joy in the simplest things. Their simple songs held within them some deep and honest worship. In a way it’s child-like faith, but there is a sincerity in that faith that some of us, can miss out on (present company included), in our busy days.

In the afternoon, I gave them another message, this one on Joseph, and I must say their enthusiasm is infectious, and their perceptiveness is at times amazing. I go to this camp every year with the intent of blessing the campers, and, more often than not, it’s me who comes away blessed.

I marvel continually that I am blessed be able to do some of the things I get to do. I often think back to my first time here, and how nervous I was, and this may be my point for you dear reader. I came in pretty unsure that I had what it takes but I was willing to put myself out there and try, all the while trusting God. I have to tell you, that made all the difference. If you’re reading this, and you’re wondering if you have what it takes to do something you’re feeling led toward, here’s my advice. Follow the Lord and do it. Your nervousness will help you to remember to depend on God. You are fully dependent on Him anyway, so trust God and allow Him to work through you. You never know what will happen, but I do know God is faithful.


It seems there is always a tension between art and commerce, the legend of the starving artist, stokes this. To make money from your art is seen as selling out, and this is only compounded when faith is thrown into the mix. I hear so many ministries saying things like they will not sell the Gospel or they don’t let money get in the way of the Gospel. I’ve said it too at times and when I said it, I meant it. I truly desire more than anything for the Gospel to go forth, but here’s the thing—nothing is free, and we creatives had better learn this lesson.

I’ll say it again nothing is free. Maybe it’s not quite true. When I create something and someone displays it on their wall, everyone who sees it, sees it for free. I post this blog and you can read it for free (though I did sacrifice some free time to generate it).There have also been times when I will waive my fee and walk away without a check, but again please understand, just because I felt led to give something away and/or donate my services does not mean it was free. It means I paid for it and gave it as a gift. It means my family paid for it in time away from me and resources I diverted from them into my gift. My church allowed me to be away for the time it took me to do what I do, and while I no doubt end up making up that time in other ways, the income I receive from my other efforts, provides for the things I do charitably. I do this willingly, but I can’t do it every time and neither can you. Nothing is free.

If you’re one of those people who has forked out your hard earned money to bring me in, thank you. I love that you have placed the faith in me to put me in front of your people and I take that responsibility extremely seriously. I pray that God has blessed you through me. If you’re one of the people who have received something for free, please know I love and appreciate you as well. This is not meant to be any sort of complaint. What it is, is a reminder to my artist friends that the workman is worthy of his hire. When you give your services away, do it because you feel led by the Lord, not because you worry someone will say “You’re only in it for the money.” Some may also try, “well you need to trust the Lord to provide.” He does provide and He has provided for me both often and occasionally even miraculously, but the way He has most often provided was by leading people to pay for what I do.

Lastly, I know there is someone out there who is thinking, “Hey wait, salvation is free.” Respectfully to think that is to totally misunderstand your faith. Yes, your salvation through faith in Christ is God’s gift to you, but please remember, Jesus paid a high price to give you that gift.

Nothing is free.