the way i feel... boy...
I start out with a happy nervousness. I know that God is going to bring it all together, but I know that I still have to put time into my work to be ready. The one you saw had to be timed to the song that the choir sang, so this took repeated practices to get it right. But I tried to keep in focus every time that it was all for God...to give it out of the heart. That's hard when you are in front of a congregation who expects something... to just force it out and focus. Tell your people that they may not be happy with the end result, but if they do it for the Lord that His heart will glow. I hope to give my skill to him every day in my job. If they put the prep time in that they need, and worship while they work, and keep God at the center, then they can know that they have done their job.
I enjoy it because it feels good to give back to a God who has saved me and redeems me daily. Wow. Even typing this email is just bringing me back to that heart of worship mode. I love to listen to the music that is being played while doing what I love and spending time with God. It is almost like the way I like to watch a good movie- to turn the lights out, eat a snack, grab a Dr. Pepper, and just fill my senses, except this is filling all my senses with the Lord. There again, all of this is if the nervousness is not present and I am in tune with what God is doing.
Do you use your art as a way to talk to other people about your relationship with Jesus?
I have opportunities to talk to people about the Lord since the arts are full of people who are "free thinking" and distant from God. It gives them the opportunity to realize that Christians aren't always what they imagine them to be. My worship paintings mainly are used to lift up Christians, I believe, but by doing other kinds of art I get to mingle with all sorts of other artists, who are usually surprised to see a Christian who is not going to thump the Bible at them for what they are doing. I generally just try to talk about ME and God, not them and God- at least until they are ready. I believe that God has given me the ability to do something that bonds me to others, regardless of their spiritual beliefs, so that I can grow closer as a friend and plant seeds that will more likely take root.
If you to ever be in a room filled with Christians and spiritually searching people, what is one thing you would say to them about art?
If I were in a room filled with Christians...
I would tell them that God gives them the ability to do anything that they want to for Him. I can see God growing me toward being a successful artist-even though it didn't seem like it was going to happen- just because I believed that He wanted me to do it AND I decided to use my art for His glory and purpose. When I became faithful with that, He put it all in place for me.
I was working four jobs to make ends meet with my wife and our new baby boy. One night I heard the voice of God(and I checked it to make sure it was God). He told me to do a search on google for "Christian graphic design jobs". I had done that search a million times since my deployment to Kuwait in 2004, but I knew it was Him this time. I searched it, and within 3 mouse clicks I was on our church website looking at a design job. I applied and within two weeks we were moving. The one step of obedience toward that which I knew God was calling me brought me to a church that ministers for Him and a job that has paid me more than I have made with any other job. God is so faithful when we trust Him AND ARE GOOD STEWARDS OF WHAT HE HAS ALREADY BEGUN. We can't be the flighty artists that is sometimes our nature when there is so much to be done for the God who paid such a sweet price to save us. I am not saying that all artists are flighty, but I have to fight that battle daily to be creative but not scattered. I went to an art school that taught you to express yourself and be free, but not the disciplines that you have to incorporate to compete in the world. It takes hard work to achieve the quality of work that you need, then you will be able to worship freely, knowing that God has handled the details and that you can relax and rest in Him.
That's my take on it. Hard work, along with something you love, just multiplies. Do whatever you can when you can and use your spare time productively. Even now that I am a full time graphic artist, I still spend my spare time either learning more about my art, practicing guitar, or just creating something. The thing that sets the artist apart from any other job is that he/she had made their hobby their job. Since we are doing it because we love it, use all the time that you want to get better. Talent is not always just born into someone, but it is a combination of the love of something and the time put into it. I couldn't sing...until I started to practice. I had no natural ability with guitar, but since I have started praying and practicing together and I really wanted to learn, I have learned exceptionally well. You can achieve what you want if you give the results to God, and do the work. David's army was amazingly skilled in battle, but they trained. The supernatural part of the gifts of talent many times is the fact that God gives you a savior who gives you a new lease on life and lifts the viel on what is possible.
I pray that these words help, and I thank you so much for the opportunity to share. God has so blessed my life that it is hard to keep it in sometimes. This was a great release!