Posts Tagged ‘visions’

Yesterday, I shared a call for champions. The more I think this through the more I realize we all need a team. Let me explain with a personal example.

The other night, my world’s collided. I was leading a paint party. One of the people at the paint party is also a fairly long time Facebook friend. She started talking to me about some of the pop/creature art I’ve been posting. This are looks very different from the work I do in my speaking ministry, but I came to the conclusion a long time ago that all that I do creatively is ministry. Some is for the church and some allows me to reach beyond the walls, but it’s all ministry. Well my pop/creature art is very much the beyond the walls part. It allows me access to a part of the world my more overtly Christian art won’t necessarily reach into. In these projects, it’s all about Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings…” I am trying to build my skills to the point where I can speak into the art world with the Gospel.

Lately I have had a vision for a kind of web portal to open that door. It is a unique interactive website that would show the work in a unique way and I really think it could yield some pretty cool results. I know it could benefit and reach a lot of people. I can see it really clearly, but I don’t have the technical skills to pull it off. The thing is, even though I already have a pretty huge body of work, generating the art for it will be extremely time consuming. Now I have some experience in web design, and I have very little doubt that I could learn the skills I need to do the “programming” myself, but is that the best use of my time? And will it be as good as what someone more gifted in that area can do? After all there are people out there that already have all the skills to do this work and do it better than I can. On the other hand when it comes to the art, I am the only one who can create what is going on in my head. Why should I do what others can do at the expense of what only I can do? It makes more sense to build a team. Understand, I am not talking about finding people to do the grunt work. To make this thing the way I envision, it requires an artist who works in code and programming. What I’m talking about is working with someone or even a group of people for whom this project could be their masterpiece. I’m talking about a group of artists of all sort of disciplines doing their very best to create something earth-shaking. I’m talking about a team.

This is really God’s vision when He speaks of the Body of Christ.

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Today, as we consider goals, we want to look at Dreams and Visions

Acts 2:17

What are the dreams and visions the Lord has laid on your heart? How would you express them to the people around you? What steps can you take to bring them to reality?

This is going to sound as if I am contradicting my previous posts, but that is not the case. This is more about how, where and with whom to share the idea. Let me say it this way. There are people with whom you can share a fledgling idea and there are others that you cannot. People who are likeminded and visionary can help you take a fledgling idea to the next level. They can envision a future where your idea is alive and flourishing and they will provide encouragement and sometimes considerably more to you quest to bring the dream into reality. These people are great “sounding boards” and all creatives need a few of these.

Then there are others. If you bring them a fledgling idea, they just can’t see it. Instead they go to the negative side of what I call the “What If Spectrum.” Unable to see the possibilities, they instead see all the potential problems, pitfalls, etc. These are the people who will always tell you why what you are wanting to do/create will not work. They will question the thing to death and you run the risk of being so demoralized by them that you can, at times, even be caused to give up.

Lest you think, I think these people are evil, it’s quite the opposite, as a matter of fact these people can be quite helpful as you near completion and need to deal with the realities of the world to which you are planning to offer your creation. The problem is when to bring them into the process. These people are not visionaries. They are more pragmatic and practical and again they can be a tremendous asset to you, but because they are not visionary, before you share your creation with them, it’s best to have you idea as close as you can to completion.

There are people in our world who are, by their very nature, dream killers. They can’t help it, it’s how they’re wired. That being said, for the most part they’re not pathologically negative, they just need more convincing. It’s best to give them something they can see, touch and feel and it’s best to withhold the idea from this ’til they get to this point.

Assignment: Think of the people with whom you usually share your work. Consider which group they belong to. Remember, you need a mix of both. If you surround yourself with all visionaries, they may be unable to help you consider realities associated with your dream.


I painted in church this morning, but this was a little different than my usual approach. Usually I paint illustratively—the painting subject helps to tell my story. Today it didn’t really matter what I painted. I ended up “channeling” Bob Ross and painting a ten minute scenery, complete with happy little clouds and friendly little trees. All I was missing was the pet raccoon and the afro. You see in this painting what mattered was the process rather than the product.

My message was on vision and the point behind the piece was before I painted it, the image only existed in my mind. I needed to do that work so that everyone could see what I see. I had to make the invisible, visible. In Romans 4:17 it says of God, He is, “the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” All of creation came from His imagination, but what’s really cool is that He uses in in the same way. He lays on our hearts dreams and puts visions in our minds and allows us to participate in His creative process. He gives us dreams and allows us to do the work of bringing them to reality for all the world to see.

Our lives are best lived at the sweet spot where our faith, dreams, passions and concerns and our gifts and talents meet. If you’re seeking your divine purpose, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find it at that crossroads.

crossroadscYour mission is like a painting, take the invisible and make it visible. Create your dream for the world to see.

It’s maddening isn’t it. In our house it happens every Friday night. Dawn, Chris and I usually go out to dinner on Friday nights and every night it’s the same thing…

Where do you want to go to eat?
I don’t know, where do you want to go?
I don’t know, where do you want to go?
and on and on and on.

Eventually, if this goes on too long, we end up having to pick the place that we know won’t have a long line, simply because we waited too long to pick in the process, we may miss out on something we would have truly enjoyed.

The same thing can apply to creating in groups. We come together to do something and fall into indecision. We all have ideas but we don’t want to be too pushy, or overbearing or maybe we think the rest of the group won’t like our ideas so we simply say “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” There’s nothing wrong with putting others first, as a matter of fact it’s a wonderful virtue, biblical even, but there is a better way.

Step 1. Pray together:
Ask God for His vision, His ideas for the group then discern together.

Step 2. Bring your ideas to the table:
The idea you’re having may well be part of God’s vision. Bring it to the table and share it. Often one idea will spark an idea in someone else and after a while, the vision may well catch fire in the group.

Step 3. Rely on God’s timing:
Sometimes ideas are for right now, and sometimes they are for the future. For example: When we first started the creative arts team at my church, some folks seemed interested in doing some drama. At the moment, it doesn’t appear we’re quite ready to do that, but it has been on my mind ever since. So while we move forward on the things that we an get done now, and need to get done now, I am on the look out for a drama piece we can start in on. Even if your idea is not something your group can do today, sharing it plants the seed in the minds of everyone involved.

Step 4: Support and acknowledge the dreams of others:
Working in groups can be foreign territory for some creatives. Many of us tend to work alone, especially visual artists. Working together with others, though, affords us the opportunity to enlist the gift of others. This makes us able to accomplish things we could never do on our own. Help each other out and together we can do great things. One of the best ways to live your dreams is to help others to accomplish theirs.

We tell this to our kids all the time. The problem is, it’s not true and I can prove it. You see I wanted to be a rock star. When I was a small child we were pretty much sheltered from tock and roll. My dad was drafted a little bit after I was born, it was the Vietnam era and I think rock and roll sort of reminded my dad of the long haired people who were treating the returning soldiers so badly. It was fine until I approached middle school when everyone else new all the current music and I had yet another reason to be considered odd man out. Slowly I started to seek out the music, find what I liked an I got somewhat interested.

The turning point came on May 13, 1980. Some friends of mine were going to see this band called Rush and somehow, I’m still not sure how, I convinced my folks to let me go. It took me about 15 seconds into the Overture of 2112, to figure out this was what I wanted to do with my life. It makes sense if you think about it. The show was visual and thought provoking, they were even showing videos on the screen behind the band. There were explosions and the music was amazing. Throw in a healthy dose of teenage rebellion and the fact that we all know “Chicks dig musicians” and I was hooked.

I started to become a rock and roll fanatic. I could tell you everything about every band that was out. I started playing bass about a year or two later (when I could afford a bass and an amp), and a year or two after that I joined my first band. The graphic below was our first album cover.
Suspect Device. We were one of the new wave/punk bands that were all the rage in the 80s. I wanted us to be a metal band, but I figured we’d transition to that after we “made it.” Our first single was a lyric I wrote called Domestic Plastic. Did you ever hear it? Of course not, the song never made it past the spiral notebook I wrote it in. I was in the band for about three or four rehearsals, when they decided someone else would work better on bass. Up until a few days ago the album cover existed only in my mind. I wanted to be a rock star and I never got there. You see there’s a difference between want to be and can be. I wanted to be a rock star. I even pictured the life I would have, right down to the first album cover. I just never learned to play very well and wasn’t really able to sing very well. I had the want to be, but I didn’t have the ability. It was not my gift. I wanted it pretty bad and I tried pretty hard but it wasn’t my path.

Of the five guys in the band, I’ve lost track of two, one is a police officer and two of us are now in ministry (The other guy does still use his musical gifts to serve the Lord). As I look back on it, I can see that these are the roles God had planned for us. Now I supposed if I had tried really hard and kept at it, I could have become a passable musician, but who wants to be passable? I had a gift for art. I had a gift for telling stories and communicating. In developing these gifts (yes that took a lot of work, but it still doesn’t feel like work), I became what I believe God intended for me to be.

So can you be anything you want to be? My experience tells me, “no.” I think it’s better to tell yourself and your children that the best thing we can be is what God intends us to be and then work to find and be that. After all isn’t that what we’re meant to be?

This message explores the times when God is silent by looking at the two four hundred year periods of biblical history when the Bible is “silent” between Genesis and Exodus and between Malachi and Matthew to ask the question is God really silent or are we just not listening?

I was talking to a dear and trusted friend about some of the great things that are happening in my ministry right now, especially related to A Night AMOK. I said, most sincerely that I am having fun. She challenged me on that a little bit, thinking fun might be “trivializing” it a bit (my word not hers). Because she is such a trusted friend, I took her comment to heart and began trying to redefine it by explaining how I am feeling.

I’ve expressed before on this blog how when I am doing things like A Night AMOK, I feel like I am doing what I was created to do. It’s one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. I described the feeling I get as I am doing these paintings as an almost child-like joy and that’s when it hit me. At 48 I am doing what I dreamed of doing as a small child.

I remember being a child and making art, writing and telling stories and acting things out. I dreamed of making movies though that was outside the realm of possibility for a little kid in the early seventies. My school years were pretty terrible and most of that was driven from me or beaten out of me by my peers. I spent a lot of years wandering around trying to figure out who I was. When I look at A Night AMOK and a lot of the other things I’m doing now, I realize the Lord has restored my childhood dream to me. Thing about it. I am painting large pictures, using them to tell stories combined with “movies” I’ve made. I’m even acting. God had given me back what the enemy has stolen and with His help I will use it to His glory for the rest of my life or until He tells me to stop. My life has come full circle.

My friend was right, fun is too trivial for what is happening to me right now, but I really am enjoying every moment.

God is good!