Posts Tagged ‘springfield church of the brethren’


I was reading 1 Thessalonians 4-5 this week, and I knew that this needed our message. If you want to know how to please God, take a listen.


I’ve decided to try something new. I’m going to record my sermons each week and combine them with the power point slides I’ve made for the messages. This will show some of the ways I am using visuals and how I construct messages.

This week the message centers around three traditional questions asked by the deacons before we enter into our love feast and communion service. Based on 1 Corinthians 11:25-27, this message deals with the way we should approach communion.


I was reading David Jeremiah’s new book, 31 Days to Happiness, which by the way will be one of the resources we will use in our study of the book of Ecclesiastes in a few weeks. In the chapter I am reading right now, Jeremiah is writing about the easy way versus the right way and he shares some insights into the way Jesus was tempted in the desert. Satan made three proposals to Jesus:

“If you want food (Jesus had been fasting for 40 days), just turn these stones into bread.”

“If you want fame, just leap from this temple , into the arms of angels.”

“If you want followers, just bow down to me.”

The devil knew exactly where Jesus was going, but he suggested the wrong ways to get there.

Yes, Jesus wanted food, but he needed fasting, not fast food.

Yes, Jesus wanted fame, but through the way of the cross, not ways that were crass.

Yes, Jesus wanted followers, but through victory over sin, not by giving sin the victory.


The testing of Jesus was all about convenience versus commitment.

Which are you seeking?


I wrote this note for my church’s website for 2018, but it applies beyond just my church. A big part of the reason this blog has always existed is to empower creatives in the church to use their gifts to serve the Lord. I share this for your consideration. This is what I am doing with my congregation, perhaps it can inspire the leaders of other churches to empower their folks. Empowerment will change the lives of the people in the church and it will open the doors to new people who have yet walk through your doors.

This year, I have selected a word to represent what I think the Lord is leading us to this year. That word is “empowerment.” In truth, this has long been my philosophy of ministry because, in essence, this is what happened to me. You see when I first walked into the church, at least in my adult life, I was pretty far from God.  As I began seeing my need for God, I started looking for my place to fit. The thing is, I didn’t have any of the gifts that we usually associate with the church. I was terrified to speak in public, I didn’t have enough knowledge to teach and my lack of musical ability is nearly legendary. I figured I was destined to be a consumer, and that is not a good place to stay in the church. What I did have was some artistic talent. 

Long story short, my pastor found that gift and tapped into it. It was a small assignment. A backdrop for the VBS skits, but it opened the door and changed my life. The Lord through my pastor had empowered me to serve. The end result, today I am a church pastor with a speaking ministry that takes me all over the U.S. Empowerment is a wonderful, powerful, miraculous force that can change the entire direction of a person’s life. 

Today the church I pastor is a blessing. Great people who love the Lord and His Word. When I hear my unbelieving friends speaking negatively about the church, I wish they’d come and check out mine and when I hear my ministry friends speak of the troubles they have in their churches, I become increasingly aware of how blessed I truly am. We’re not perfect, but Springfield Church of he Brethren is a pretty good place to be. There is only one major thing we lack and that is simply that a lot of the people who really need what we have, don’t know we’re there. 

How can we fix this? I think it has something to do with empowerment. It’s not that my people don’t serve. They do. I just wonder what else lays on their hearts. We in the church tend to only see certain gifts and talents as usable for the church, but what if we saw that differently? What if we realized that ever good gift comes from God and that all of them are useful to the Kingdom?

What if we gave people the ability to ry new things? This is the sole of empowerment, and so we extend an invitation for people to try the new things God lays on their hearts. Sometimes this will be a one time thing. Sometimes it will be continual. 

What do you need to have to do this? You need a dream. You need to be faithful. You need to finish what you start and you have to be trying to honor God. You need to accept humble beginnings, starting with available resources and working toward growth.

One last thing, your calling is your calling. In other words, if you have an idea you want me to do, the answer is probably going to be no, unless it’s a really phenomenal idea that’s right in the middle of my wheelhouse and clearly God’s call. Empowerment is about helping you to do what God is calling you to do and helping you to be what God has created you to be. Empowerment can change your life. 

What can we help you to do and be?


Most people would say there are two Christmas Stories in the Bible. The most famous is Luke’s and the second most famous in Matthew’s. I maintain there are four. One is found in Revelation 12. Like most of Revelation it is very deep and symbolic. It deals with  a pregnant woman with stars around her head and a giant red dragon waiting to eat her baby but we don’t have time to unpack that one right now. I just finished speaking and painting and I’m really tired. But there is a fourth that some would find debatable, largely because it is usually overlooked. It comes from the book of John and it’s usually overlooked because it’s only one verse. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. It’s short an sweet, but its exactly what happened. God became man and lived with us. John 1 is the passage I’ve been exploring for my Advent preaching this year and so far it’s spawned three paintings.

The first was for my church, Springfield Church of the Brethren and it deals with the Intertestamental  Period (the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew). The next two deal with The Word, and the Light.
Here is a little infographic I did for the first message.

Next we have the two paintings I did for the word and the Light. I did these at Camp Eder for their Christmas Tree festival and the messages will be combined for Springfield next week. Again please keep in mind these are speed paintings done in 8 and 6 minutes respectively. Both were very well received and I pray God was glorified.


I always have a great time doing these things, but what I love most about it, is it give another way to draw people into the message. I pray you all have a blessed Christmas season and my His Word make your life shine.


My message for Father’s Day 2017. I pray it blesses you.


Today should be a fun day. Each year our church hosts a yard sale. Basically all the members, as well as some friends of the church being their unwanted items to our fellowship hall. We then sell the items and the proceeds go to funding various projects for the church. It’s actually fun and if you know what you’re looking for you can make some great finds. As I looked over the huge room with it’s heaping tables, I had a realization. Everything I found that I wanted is something that, for some reason or another, someone else was probably going to throw away. This shows once again that value is subjective. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure… 

…and I hate to say it like this, but it’s the same way with our creations. Some people will look upon it and see a treasure while others will look at it and only see trash. The task for the creative is to value their own work enough to ignore the critics and keep creating and it can be hard. After all, we love our work, or at least we should. I’m continually amazed at how many creatives seem to really dislike their own creations. I think if this is you, you’re looking at it wrong. You see I don’t think we actually dislike our work. If we did, we’d lay it aside and do something else. No what we are really struggling with is disappointment. On one side, the thing we’ve created is not as good as what we see in our heads and so we don’t like our end results. Here’s the thing, I’m not sure we are capable of creating a piece that is as good as the one we envisioned. That space between our ears is virtually unlimited, no struggles with media, no laws of nature contend with and certainly no limitations of ability. The imagination can just run wild and it can go way beyond our current skill level. Bringing that wildness into something others can see, is both the problem of the joy and the artist. Handled rightly, that disappointment can push us to greater levels of mastery and creativity. So don’t get down on yourself for your limitations, let those limitations spur you to greater levels of creativity.

On the other side are the external critics. Your work is just not their thing and sometimes they will disparage your work quite vocally. This is hard. We pour our hearts and souls into our work (and we should!) and this kind of stuff can feel very defeating. The thing is we have the choice as to whether or not we are defeated. Defeat in creativity (and many other aspects of life) can be summed up in one word, “quitting.” Do not give into that. The one calling you is bigger than your critics. If you’re work does not speak to someone, you have a decision to make. Are you going to give in and quit? Are you going to try to appease your critics by doing something that pleases them, even if it means creating work that no longer pleases you? Or are you going to forget about the people who consider your work trash and find the ones who consider it a treasure? The last choice will give you a lifetime of creative joy. The others will make you feel like trash.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Look for the audience that treasures you.