How Are You Using Your Talent or Skill to Serve God?

May 8, 2012

Although she was blind all her life, she wrote more than 8,000 religious poems that offered spiritual insight, many of which were set to music as hymns.  Over 1 million copies of her songs have been printed, and as many as 200 different pen names were given her works by hymn book publishers.

She owes much of her fame to the Christian musician, Ira D. Sankey, who put many of her hymns to music and sang them in his missions with D.L. Moody.

In “Saved by Grace”, she wrote about the joy of seeing Jesus face to face, reflective of her ability to focus on God rather than her physical handicap.  My personal favorite is “Blessed Assurance”.

She is Fanny J. Crosby (1820 – 1915)

Question for Contemplation: As an artist, how are you using a particular talent or skill to express your faith in service to God?

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What Is Keeping You From Fulfilling Your Dream?

April 7, 2012

Growing up in Louisiana, she enjoyed writing.  But she thought her dream of becoming a writer was too ambitious, and so she kept it a secret.  At the age of 23, she tried to write her first novel, but she became discouraged and the effort came to an end.  Her passion for writing, however, continued to grow and found expression in skits she wrote for her church.

People told her she had great talent and encouraged her to write more.  As her confidence grew, she continued writing, striving to show the impact of the gospel message through the lives of her characters.

She has since written three popular series of Christian fiction books: Victorian Serenade, The Gresham Chronicles, and Tales of London.  She is Lawana Blackwell.

Question for Contemplation:  As an artist, using your gift as an expression of your faith, what is keeping you from fulfilling your dream?


Are You Capable of Being God’s Secret Agent?

March 3, 2012

“Of one thing we can be sure: Angels never draw attention to themselves but ascribe glory to God and press His message upon the hearers as a delivering and sustaining Word of the Highest Order.”

Quote from God’s Secret Agents by Billy Graham, P. 27

I read this quote one evening and it made me think of my need to “hide behind the cross” in ministry.  And then I had a myriad of questions:

  • Am I capable of being God’s secret agent?
  • How do I press His message upon others through my creative expression of faith without drawing attention to myself in the process?
  • Is this level of excellence even possible?

I finally came to this answer: Where the Gospel is concerned, I absolutely must strive for this level of excellence in my effort; His Saving Grace is sufficient and that truth alone is worthy of me bowing my humble head in my effort to diminish myself for His greater glory.  His love deserves nothing less.

Question to ponder: How do you act as God’s secret agent when you use art as an expression of faith?


How Do You Use Your Talents for the Lord?

February 3, 2012

I think there are two ways to use our talents for the Lord.

1.  When we are “called” to do so for God, we respond obediently to God’s will for us, to which He prepares us according to His time, His message, His plan.

2.  When we “offer” to do so for God, it is because we have decided to do so out of our own ability, which will still be well received as long as we do it with pure intentions (meaning in an effort to glorify God).

I believe either can be equally effective.  Romans 8:28 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.”

From which perspective do you use your talents? Are you called to use art as an expression of faith? Or are you offering to use art as an expression of faith? What has been your experience?


Biblical Accuracy verses Creative License: What is Our Responsibility as Christian Artists?

July 28, 2011

I recently read The Shack and found myself fascinated by the controversy surrounding this amazing novel. As an artistic work, this book has been criticized for promoting a wrong-headed view of universal salvation and for being deeply subversive, scripturally incorrect, and downright dangerous.  At the same time, others have celebrated this work as creative brilliance, spiritually profound, and transformational.

I was stunned by how a single creative work could provoke such opposing responses, an observation which raised for me this question: Is an author required to maintain a sense of biblical accuracy in his or her expression of faith, and to what extent is creative license appropriate? This same question could be asked of Christian songwriters and Christian artists, many of whose works have also provoked opposing responses within the Christian community.

I consider myself a Christian artist, meaning that I use art as an expression of faith in an effort to impact things on a spiritual level. As a result, I consider myself a teacher of God’s Truth and feel a certain responsibility to ensure that my artistic expressions are accurate representations of everything I know about God and His Good News; whether my expression is written, lyrical, or visual, I feel a responsibility to convey His attributes and promises in a way that is biblically accurate and theologically sound, even at the expense of using any creative license.

After reading The Shack, I wonder about my responsibility as a Christian artist. Am I expressing my faith for the purpose of educating others about Biblical truths, or am I expressing my faith for the purpose of entertaining and encouraging others to seek God’s truth on their own? What is the purpose of my expression and does purpose really matter? At what point does creative license trump biblical accuracy?

What do you think?


Have You Considered Adding Speaking to Your Artistic Expression of Self?

May 28, 2011

I am an artist, which means I have an inherent need to express myself.  As a songwriter, I express myself through creative lyrics and hooks.  As an author, I express myself with compelling plots and character dialogue.  As a mixed-media collage artist, I express myself with my color palette and design elements.  I use art to express myself, which means that I have something to say – something that burns so deeply in my heart that I can’t sleep peacefully until I share it with someone else.  This is the reason I sing, paint and write!

As an artist, I also have a certain level of expertise in using my artistic talent and medium of choice, not to mention personal experience with my subject matter (source of expression).  This simple truth opened my mind to a new possibility – expanding my artistic ministry to include speaking.  By including speaking as a vehicle for my expression I increase my ability to give meaning and clarity to my message, boost my visibility as an expert in the field, and increase in number my performances and shows.  How can that be bad?  It can’t!

If you too are feeling led to expand your ministry with public speaking to support your creative expression and personal message, I highly recommend two resources:

How to Speak So People Will Listen CD by Florence Littauer
Statistics continue to show that speaking in public is one of people’s greatest fears. Yet for many, putting together the perfect presentation is the key to professional success. Florence will guide you in planning, preparing, and presenting a program that will capture both the hearts and minds of the listeners. 90 minutes.

Talking So People Will Listen CD by Marita Littauer
All of us talk. Even if you are in a position where you can make people be quiet when you speak, you can’t make them listen. However, what you can do is adjust your approach to them so you can make it easier for them to really hear you! In this fast paced and entertaining tape based on her book, “Talking So People Will Listen”, Marita Littauer will help you identify your personal communication style and that of those with whom you live and work.  60 minutes.

Both CDs are instructional and insightful, and provide great suggestions for even a novice like me.  Florence Littauer is known universally for being entertaining, educational and encouraging all at the same time, and she has received special honors as a Legend in the speaking profession.  Marita has trained thousands of men and women in speaking and writing skills, is a member of the National Speakers Association and is a frequent guest on television and radio programs throughout the country.

For more information about this dynamic mother and daughter team, visit: http://www.classervices.com/florencespeaks.htm and http://www.programresources.com/spkr/littauer_marita.htm

And then ask yourself, “What have I got to lose, except maybe another peaceful night’s sleep”?


Hello world!

January 13, 2010

We’re in the process of setting up our blog and we invite you to join us the first week of February, when we’ll have some real content posted and available for you to comment on.  We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about our thoughts and ideas and especially as they relate to using art as an expression of faith and form of witness.  Our definition of art includes visual art, music and writing, so stay tuned…..