Message: Keep Creating

January 22, 2018

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On a cold, winter day, my wife and I ventured off to Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas for an art event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

While there, I had the opportunity to share advice on the creative process and what it took to get my webcomic started:

Do Not Stop Creating

Keep creating the art that you create. Why!? Because, in this day and time, our lives depends on it.

So much is going on and people should express themselves and share their story through art and creativity.

Step Outside of Your Box of Influence

Learn and grow and do something different and challenging. Learn from other groups, other people and other cultures.

As you learn and grow, you’ll find your work influenced. But, also, you’ll find your work get better and better.

I could never have created the webcomic that tells the story of middle school students had I not worked in Youth Ministry or had I not worked around young people who are in the process of growing up.

Keep Telling Your Story

It is so important, now more than ever, to tell your story.

My story is of the kid who was “different” and struggled to fit in. But, I’m in a different place now and I’m a better person in spite of the struggles I’ve been through.

Telling your story could inspire and encourage someone else whose either hesitant or going through really deep and difficult challenges.

Remember Those Before Us

Because of Dr. King, we were able to share with one another and celebrate the freedom we have because of the fight for Civil Rights.

There are countless others throughout history that we should remember and recognize who have made a difference for the rights of women, minorities and people from various backgrounds.

I create what I create in an effort to exercise the appreciation I have for those who went before me. I create because I know I have a story to tell and I’m blessed to be able to do so. I create because I know someone else needs it.

It’s fun for me, but it may be therapeutic for someone else too.

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Dream, Initiate and Invite

January 11, 2018

i have a dream art

Today, I did this art piece for an event that’s coming up for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

While drawing, I spent time reflecting on what it took for Dr. King to make the dream of his vision of America a reality.

He did more then just talk. He did more than just march. He did more than just preach.

He lived it! And he got others involved to live it out with him in front of others who needed to see that his dream could be a reality.

We often dream, but we seldom do! We often envision, but we seldom take the initiative.

We also tend to forget that the dream was not so simple as quoting the speech. Dr. King fought serious odds and circumstances. He would’ve been accused of playing the race card. He would’ve been called unnecessarily troublesome. He would’ve been met with criticism and skepticism much like today.

But, because He had a dream and vision that America was better than what he was seeing, he stepped up and did everything he could.

Also, his dream was bigger than what could be done to help himself. It was so big that it helped assist the change in the direction of America.

Dr. King and countless other civil rights leaders and workers dared to dream big and face adversity.

Imagine how much could change if we stood up with our dreams and dared to not only just dream, but take initiative, be brave and strong and get others to join in!

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Usually when people ask me what I do, I answer with a generic “I work at XYZ” or “I do XYZ.”

But, my background is way more extensive than this.

I’m a writer. I’m an artist. I’m a licensed and ordained minister.

I also have a background in Broadcast Journalism and have spent a lot of time in videography and photography.

As my interests and passions changed, I learned to give more simple answers to what I do versus who I am. I’ll never forget the time I mentioned what I did when someone asked me only to berate me for having such an extensive line of things to mention from my previous career experiences.

Haters gonna hate, right?

So, over the years, I have given my answer a 3 word response as far my background:  Author, Minister and Cartoonist.

Boom! Done!

I say “author” because I’ve been published and am publishing. But, I suppose the more accurate title would be “storyteller.” In fact, storytelling is something that has fit my overall experiences as a Journalist as well as a writer and media guy.

And, between you and me, the term “storyteller” is something that the Lord kept bringing up to me over and over again to this day.

While all of this is well and good, I’m actually desiring to make a point here.

Sometimes we get everything in our lives confused as it relates to what we do and who we are. While yes, you are a writer, a cook, a minister, a doctor, a lawyer, a construction worker or whatever.

But that’s just right now!

You’re not your job!

Your job or career is what you DO right now! That could change at anytime!

And for some people, that is horrifying! For others, it is a welcome opportunity to embrace and experience the other many activities that you might not have known you’re good at.

This is a scary reality for many.

A lot of people base their whole lives on a job or a way of life and are left devastated because they have centered their whole identity around said career choice.

So many people try to chase after a career or a pathway to success but forget that they should focus on what kind of person they should become or are becoming.

My personal faith in God and my relationship with Christ keeps all of this in perspective for me.

I’m first, a Christian, before anything else. I’m a follower of Christ before I’m a doctor so-and-so or reverend whomever or lead whatever. From that relationship, my identity is shaped. And, I learn of my greatest strengths and my greatest weaknesses from that.

What I do is what I do today. It could change. In fact, I anticipate their to be some change.  And it is okay!

bearing fruit

In what could be described as frustration, I was going back and forth with God, sharing my thoughts and concerns with him about not moving forward as quickly as I wanted.

I was doing all of this in prayer, stowing myself away from all of the people and traffic and simply pleading to God for clarity and understanding. I told Him of my frustration with not seeing things grow or change as quickly as I had hoped.

Fortunately, the Lord gave me a bit of peace first from all of the anxiety. Then, over the past few days, I felt led to simply sit down and read my Bible. Besides, I had a sermon to prepare for anyway.

Day by day passed and I found myself focused less on the “what-if’s” of the coming days and more on being productive and actually bearing fruit.

Not long after that, a whole day of chores got done! Most everything in my schedule book was knocked out!

Then, after that, I got hit with a ton of blog ideas.

And my comic strip seemed to come alive again along with an assortment of other ideas in my head.

Inside of me, I felt less anxious. I felt less concerned about the days ahead. I felt peace. I actually feel, and believe, that the Lord is up to something major and I’m a part of it. And it feels amazing!

Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget. We move so quickly to make things happen that we somehow foolishly forget that apart from Christ we can do nothing.

Upon reading John 15:1-8, I realized that not only is it my responsibility to abide in Christ (stay connected to Him) but also an opportunity for me to bear fruit from that connection.

The fruit is not just a bunch of actions either…but…of everything that glorifies God and changes us so that we become more like Christ.

The actions that are genuine and becoming of a Christ follower come as a result of the fruit because of our connection to Christ Jesus, the true vine.

I think of the fruits of the spirit when I read Galatians 5:22-24

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

A computer, a smartphone or any of our favorite electronic devices can only run on their own for so long. They too need a power source to connect too to be of any good use to us.

Our connection to Christ is crucial in not only our surviving but in our thriving and striving to live for the Kingdom and affect change in the culture.