Posts Tagged ‘story’


Every story has an arc, a line the story follows from beginning to end. Continuing stories can have multiple arcs and sometimes a plot twist will change the arc of the story but if you go back over a story, you can see the arc or arcs that have taken place to bring us to the conclusion the author has chosen.

The thing is your life is a story and it has an arc. You can see it looking back. There are probably a many things you are glad about and a few things you regret. Choices are like that and they can change the arc. I was thinking about this this morning. I have a few regrets in my life. For example, I wish I had never touched alcohol. The havoc it wreaked on my life was huge. Looking back in a different way though, had I not had that problem, my sister might not have been inspired to introduce me to someone who didn’t drink. That woman became my wife, so without her, I wouldn’t have my sons, my daughter-in-law or my grandson. More importantly, it was my wife who introduced me to the Lord. Without her, the arc of my story is very different and several people would not even exist, people that have made my life and the lives of other both full and meaningful.

So am I glad I drank? No. Did God want me to drink? No. Drinking to excess as I did was sinful behavior that was not and never will be pleasing to God. My drinking caused me and a lot of others a lot of pain. Would I be a Christian if I hadn’t had a drinking problem? Only God knows that. All in all there are a lot of unanswered and unanswerable questions in this story and my arc only comes into existence because my parents got together. Looking at it in this way it all seems pretty random. And yet each arc leads to another and arcs intersect and lives are changed and when we look back it seems less random and more infinitely complex. It’s like an amazing Author weaving an infinite story. This is how I choose to see it. God creates all of us characters and allows unto interact in the world he created. He places before us many arcs, seeing which ones we will choose and yet somehow already knowing what we will choose.

We see this in the Bible, all these story lines, of all these lives that seem to weave and intersect until eventually they converge in one man, Jesus Christ, the savior of the world. The young man thrown into a well and sold into slavery by brothers who hate him, only to become the small “s” savior of their family, a future nation and all the people of their part of the world. The baby placed in a basket in a river to save his life, only to be fished out of the river by the daughter of a king. He was raised in the home of that king until he kills someone in defense of one of his own people. He then goes on the run, only to return and rescue his birth nation from the king who raise him. Them there’s the prostitute who hides spies in exchange for her life who ends up becoming an ancestor the greatest of earthly kings. How about the young widow who defies the odds and stays with her mother-in-law only to meet her redeemer and become another ancestor of that king and the fact that both these women become ancestors to the King of Kings.

This world is an amazing story and so is your life. Every choice might set us off in a new direction and it will change the arc of our story. it is for this reason that we must make our choices carefully. I don’t understand how it works but the Author gives you free will and yet knows the choices you will make before you make them. The choices we make are still our responsibility, but the Author has told us that He will work in all things for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose. He loves you and knows what’s best. I’m living proof. Everything I have ever faced has brought me to this point. I’m convinced a loving God brought me through, whether through my choices or in some cases in spite of them. Follow Him and love Him.

Your choices make the story. Choose well.

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You’ve probably been hearing about this a lot lately, the idea of fake news. I have to tell you the truth today, fake news is for real. Is it true, of course not, but, and this is something anyone who wants to communicate any message needs to learn, to the vast majority of the public, perception is reality. Think about how many people believe all manner of things after having seen nothing more than a social media meme. Can I tell you the truth? I can generate about four memes an hour, more if I use other people’s images and content and if I didn’t care about truth, I think I could make most people believe anything I put out there. That’s the power if imagery and media and many people are dong just that and deceiving the masses.

Now to be clear I do care about truth, but you have no idea the temptation I have been under to roll out a fake story, just to watch it get legs and then tell people, “I made it all up.” It would be a great way to make this point. Why haven’t I done it? Because like I said before, I care about truth. I’d never want to be responsible for perpetuating a lie, even to prove a point. Also I value the people who come to this site to read and learn and I would never want to lose credibility. I value your trust. Of course all of this pales in comparison to the fact that I’m a minister of the Gospel and as such I represent the personification of truth, Jesus Christ.

Guys there is tremendous power in a story. We can do great good in the form of telling stories. We can also generate tremendous harm and it is important that we are careful with what we share. Do you know this thing to be true? Can you prove it? Will sharing it do more harm than good? All of these questions should help us to decide what to (and what not to) share. Getting caught up in a lie, even unintentionally will destroy (or at least damage) your credibility. Perpetuating a lie on purpose is downright diabolical.

Brothers and sisters, we who claim the name of Christ, have got to get our stories straight. We are called to speak the truth in love, and in this mission, both elements are essential. Love without truth is a lie (and ceases to be love) and truth without love is usually just plain mean (and probably won’t be heard.) All these fake news stories leave us in a place of being less and less sure what we can believe. That can be a benefit if it makes us do our homework, but for the most part, not being able to take anything at face value erodes trust to the point where most people have no idea what to believe. We need to tell a better story. Thank God we have the greatest story ever told in our arsenal. We Christians always need to lead with truth wrapped in love. It will not always be popular, but it will always be right.

A famous man once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” This is precisely the aim of fake news, and it cannot be denied because fake news is nothing but a lie that contains enough of a ring of truth that when repeated becomes believable. That famous man was Adolph Hitler, a man responsible for the death of probably upwards of 11 million people, mostly as the result of believable lies. We can and must do better.

Get the facts before you spread information. Tell a better story, and speak the truth in love. Put an end to the fake news. After all it is the truth that sets us free.


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I love the trend of Bible Art Journaling. It’s making art inspired by Scripture… What’s not to love?

The one thing that I always have found difficult with Bible art journaling was the fact that there was either too little space to make art or people were adding their art over the text making the text hard to read. Also in many journaling Bibles, the text is so tiny, that they’re almost illegible at least for my old eyes.

I decided to try to cover those issues by making an 8.5″ x 11″ devotional book with the text running down the side of the page and plenty of free space to create to your hearts content. I added some faint guidelines for those who want to letter on their pages. I use the World English Bible translation, which is a really nice contemporary English public domain translation. My first book is 60 pages containing 46 parables of Jesus.

This is my first foray into a journal of this type. The price is $6.00 (just cents over the price Amazon requires to print it). Check it out. I pray it blesses you.


From the time I was a small child, I have always loved to tell stories. Later as I began to know Jesus, I began to see there was more to this storytelling. Jesus was a master storyteller. He taught many things in parables. Simple stories that have sort of a dual purpose. On one hand these stories help people with open hearts and minds to come to know and follow the Lord. On the other hand it is said that they are confounding for people who refuse to believe. I’ve never completely understood the second part of that, but the first part totally rings through. Jesus used simple stories to help believers to understand complicated things.

One of the things I love to challenge creative people to do, is to look up and read a parable of Jesus, maybe one that is really meaningful for you. Then once you have read and studied the parable, find a creative way to express the point of the parable to the world. You may want to rewrite it in a modern setting, try to express the same point with a different story, illustrate the parable, make a video of the parable. The possibilities are endless. Just be certain to be as faithful as possible to the original intent of the story. After all, if it was a point Jesus was trying to make, it is probably important.

Here’s a clip of a piece that I did for the Parable of the Sower.

and the parable of the unforgiving servant…

How would you express your favorite parable.


I am reading the book of First Chronicles in my devotions right now. This is another place where a lot of Bible readers get stuck. For the last two days I’ve been reading list of names after list of names after list of names. I don’t know about your brain, but mine can’t retain them all. It’s just too many names…

and yet…

All these people were part of the story. Some did great stuff, some did terrible stuff. A lot of them made the way for others to do great stuff. In one way or another they were all used by God to move the story forward. The story that now includes you and me. Maybe these names are more important than we think.

Well the canon of Scripture is closed but the story continues and we are part of the story. While your name may never be added to these list in Scripture, there is a book where your name is written. The Book of Life. What will your entry say? That’s determined by God’s will and by the story you live.

What story are you living?

One last thought… Who are the names in your story? The heroes, the villains, the people who were used to make you possible, even the bit players. It started at Adam, it went through Noah, and then it branched out wide. It includes the people who’ve loved you, people who didn’t, people you’ve known all your life and people you’ve never met. People who’ve influenced you and people who showed us what not to do. The people who invented the stuff we needed to get where we are, the people who taught us how to use it. The list goes on and on. I bet if you think about it, there is a long list of names.

Because we’re all interconnected.



Above is an excerpt from my message on The Prodigal Son called The Older Brother.

This is part of my presentation called Story: Parables of Jesus.



There’s a difference between having ears and having east to hear. In this message from Story: Parables of Jesus, The Parable of the Sower, we will look at the difference. The principle of Story is looking at the stories Jesus told to help us all to live a better story. To bring Dave in to preach and paint at your church, contact him at AMOKArts@aol.com