Posts Tagged ‘speaking ministry’


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.


I’ve been called upon to do a 6 foot by 8 foot live painting for a camp here in PA. This is a different situation for me in some ways, because usually when I do a live painting I am also the speaker, so I’m also there to talk the viewers through what I’m thinking. This time I’m only doing the painting. My first run at a sketch just didn’t work so for the next run, I went classic. Their theme is on finding fulfillment, so I just did a straight up Jesus, since He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, He is the fulfillment of the OT law, of Scripture and, at least in my view, the ultimate source of fulfillment.

Why am I cross posting this one? Art is communication. If we want people to get our meaning, we need to make it speak clearly. My first run at this was misunderstood or maybe more correctly was just not understood and while, as I stated above, had I been the speaker, I would have been able to explain the piece to the audience and they would have gotten it. That’s all well and good if that audience is the only group to see the piece, but this piece will be kept and displayed probably for quite some time to be seen by people who were not in attendance when I made it. They need to get it too if I want the art to fulfill a greater purpose. Sometimes it’s best to keep a piece simple so it can be understood. An open armed Christ speaks volumes.


Last night I finished up a two night revival series. I had such a great time and I love what I do so much. The first night I did Pictures of Jesus and last night was one I call Forgiven, which deals with forgiveness starting in Genesis and going all the way to the cross. I hadn’t done that one in a while but it was perfect for this lenten season we find ourselves in. There’s something in Forgiven that brings forward all the times when I have had to forgive and that can make me think about pain.

See, I’d be lying if I told you this artistic journey has been easy. There’s been tons of rejection, a lot of soul searching, times when I had hard lessons to learn, when I left my priorities run amok, and frankly times when others took advantage of me. Of course I haven’t even mentioned the bullying that happened throughout much of childhood for a kid who would rather draw a picture than do some of the stuff the other kids were doing. The road to where I am now has not been an easy one, but I praise God for the way he has brought me through to where I am now. He has taught me to depend on Him and for that I am grateful. My life now is better than I ever could have imagined.

At the end of the service last night I met a young artist, looking for her place in the church and the arts. As she spoke, at times I felt like I was hearing my own voice, our stories in some ways seemed similar. She wants to use her gift to serve the Lord. Man, that excites me. Maybe in some small way, I was used to inspire her and I really hope God fans that spark into a flame. You see every time someone hears what God has given me to share and moves forth in it, I get a little more clarity. Who knows? Maybe the things I went through will help someone else to persevere, and do the work and thrive to God’s glory. If God uses me, even in small ways, if the things I’ve been through help someone else, I get to see the purpose in the pain.

Romans 8:28, one of my favorite verse in Scripture says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I am living proof that this verse is true, so if you’re going through a tough time, know this. If you love God, there is a purpose in the pain. Persevere, one day God will use it, and you, to do something really important and for your good.

By the way, if my new friend reads this, and you need help in your journey, don’t be afraid to reach out. If I can help, I want to.


I think as creatives we aspire to do our best work. I think as humans we aspire to reach new heights and as Christians we aspire to be more Christ-like (or at least we should). Aspirations can be really good things, but then there are other times. I was chatting with a friend last night who is also in ministry and who also does some itinerant ministry. He’s getting to do ministry at some larger events and something weird started to happen. I started to want to complain that sometimes I feel like I can’t seem to get into the larger places. Thankfully I caught myself and I share this here not as a way of venting that complaint but to share the danger. For the record, I don’t think there is anything wrong with aspiring for a larger platform. It takes the basically same amount of work to prepare to speak to ten people or ten thousand and as people entrusted with the Great Commission, “the more, the merrier.” The trouble comes when we start to complain.

You see we serve in a big world in an even bigger universe, and we don’t always understand everything that is happening around us. This is magnified when we consider the Spirit realm, and we Christians should always consider the Spirit realm. Who knows? I may have more spiritual impact talking to a crowd of ten than a group of ten thousand. I’ll tell you who knows, God does. He opens he doors. He gives the opportunities and He knows what needs to happen. We are called to faithfulness. He provides the impact. So whether you think what you’re doing is big or small, only God knows the significance. To paraphrase Paul, some plant, some water, but God brings the growth. Remember Philippians 1:6 “…He who began a good work in you, will carry it through the completion in the day of Christ Jesus.” We need only be faithful.

Don’t stop aspiring to do great work. Don’t stop aspiring to do great things. But bring your best to any and every situation, whether it looks large or small, because you never know what God will do. I love these songs. They both inspire me to aspire, but in vastly different ways. Which is right? They both are. Aspire to do great things, make the most of every opportunity. Honor God in everything.

By the way, in case you wonder, I am grateful for ever opportunity, large or small, because in truth every ministry opportunity, in the hands of Christ, carries with it the chance of eternal significance. If I can be of service to you, please contact me.



My new presentation… I am really looking forward to taking this one out this Summer. See a preview here. https://www.facebook.com/RockCafe316/videos/581045878988125/

 

Contact me for more information!


Today was a blessed day of ministry. I was privileged to lead a deacon retreat for a church here in my area this morning (Little Swatara Church of the Brethren). A few of the deacons in this church are people I went to High School with, and working with them always reminds me of the 180 Jesus has done in my life from when I was in HS ’til now. Great group of people. While I’ve done leadership workshops before, this one was the first in this format. The people were very kind and participatory, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and pray they were blessed and that the Lord uses the things he laid on my heart to build up the body at their church. Because it was groundhog day, I built my theme accordingly.

Then this evening, I traveled to Middletown PA for my second trip to the Rock Cafe. It was a rock band called Testimony, a rapper named Constant Battle and his crew and me. I really enjoy this type of ministry as well. The music is always great and the ministry is better. I brought a message based on Mark chapter 2 about the man who was lowered through the roof to see Jesus. I’m still working on a title for this message, at least in this format, but I’m thinking of calling it “The Greater Miracle.” This format gives me the opportunity to pare things down and work with shorter messages, which at times comes in very handy. Well speaking of shorter messages, it’s midnight and time to cut this one off and go to bed. I should be back on the regular schedule Monday, Lord willing. If you’re a person who likes rap and rock, get yourself to Middletown, PA on the first Saturday of the month. It’s always fun.

Thanks to everyone who gave me the opportunity to minister today, and to God be the glory. Good night.


I just updated the booking pages of my web site. I moved the 2018 schedule to my past speaking engagements page. I have now gone over 250 speaking engagements in 18 states since I started keeping records in 2012. I continue to be amazed at how many places I have been, how many lifelong friends I have made and how incredibly blessed I am to be allowed to do what I do. To God be the glory.

So if you’re one of the people that has had me in, Thank you. If you have yet to have me in, I’d love to come and do what I do for you. I am so grateful for this calling on my life and I am especially grateful to all the people who trust me to stand before their congregations.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Looking forward to more ministry in 2019 and beyond. How can I serve you?