Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 to go into the world and make disciples of all people. He tells us to teach ALL people about who he is and then he tells us that he will always be with us-until the end of the age. We are to GO and disciple them. What does disciple mean? It means to be a student. We help people along the way do whatever it is they need doing.
So, how does art fit into this? Well in a bible study I was taking several years ago I read a story of a man who had received Christ as his Lord and Savior after viewing the masterpiece by Rembrandt called the “Prodigal Son.” Rembrandt used the gift that God gave him and he painted what he saw as the prodigal son and that led one soul to be saved in viewing it. To me this is a form of discipleship and using art to share God’s Word is the same as using music, teaching or preaching. Art can be a powerful tool to reach people if it used properly. When I was in college God used my Art History class to show me how powerful the gift of art can be when used to glorify God. It was during these years that I started to feel like God was showing me how to use my art to glorify Him. One night, as I was listening to a Pastor showing slides from his first trip to Israel, I began to feel a sense of purpose in my own work. It was in these slides that I began to see how God has used and still uses art to touch lives all over the world. I began studying the work of Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel and fell in love with it. Oh to have known such a man as him! What dedication and persistence it took to paint the ceiling while laying on his back all of those years! I admire that greatly. Hundreds of thousands of people have viewed his work and have stood in awe and wonder under the magnificent muscular figures of the bible as they seem to “float” on the ceiling of the Chapel. How many times has God’s story been told this way? How many people have seen God in a new way? How many hearts have fluttered with salvation? Only God knows !
The Prodigal Son
It has become my greatest desire to help other people’s hearts embrace what God has in store for them. I can do this using the gift that God gave me in art. We are supposed to use our gifts to further God’s Kingdom and one of my goals for the Art Ministry is to for us to be mission minded. Some people have asked me how can art be mission minded? Well, let me share a few projects with you that our kids have created over the past several months.
Our mission team was preparing to go to Nicaragua to deliver shoes for kids there. Did you know that most kids don’t have shoes to wear and that a lot of these children live in the dumps of the city and make their living picking through the trash? Their feet get cut and infected and they get sick because they don’t have shoes to wear. It’s just not healthy. So, one of the things the Art ministry did was to decorate canvas shoes for the kids in Nicaragua. They did a fantastic job of sharing God’s love on their shoes through their drawings and scripture verses. Each pair was prayed over as they were creating their very own masterpieces. I am blessed to be serving side by side with kids who care about their brothers and sisters in another country.
We also had some visitors from Georgia and these people have been a terrific source of encouragement, advice, and prayer warriors here at OOTBWC and OOTB Youth center. The idea for the youth center actually came from a visit to their church in Macon, GA.. So, we wanted to share the joy and the kids made this 3’ x 4’ splatter painted cross to give them as a gift. Oh the fun they had! At the same time we wanted to send the church in Nicaragua the same thing. So we made two! The one for Nica had to be smaller to get it into a carry on bag. If I had it my way I would have made it as huge as possible! But the baggage cost was just too much . ( and since then I have come with an idea of how to get a really big one over there!!!!)
Every splattered color represents a person, a gift, a talent. When we were doing these they were pretty messy and the kids didn’t think they’d come out too pretty. But much to their surprise after pulling off all the paper and tape what was revealed was much more than a mess-it was a beautiful mess! It’s like that with us too-we can be messy until God reveals His beauty within us.
The NICA team posted a blog today and here is what they said about the gift of the cross to the church: “Today (Tuesday) we are having communion in Nueva Vida with pastor Berman. We invited him to eat supper with us at our house last night. Afterwards himself, Jose Luis (the baker) and Erwin (Youth leader) all shared their testimonies with our group. The kept saying over and over how many groups come to Nueva Vida – but ours was different because we actually wanted to learn about them. Not just play with the kids and goof off. We were genuinely interested in their stories and we had so much love for Nueva Vida. He couldn’t believe it was everyone’s first time!!! We gave them the painting and told them to remember that we are going back to the states on Wednesday, but they are always in our hearts. We are so thankful to know them, they have blessed us, and that every time they look at the painting – they can remember our love for them. They were SO thankful for the painting.. he said it’s the first real thing like that they have to hang up in their church. Everything is bare. After that he invited us to share “Holy Lunch” with them tomorrow… communion. What an honor. We’re excited.”
Wow! I’m excited too! It is an honor to work for God. I have some other community service projects being lined up…things like taking decorated bags filled with goodies to nursing home residents and going into the hospital with drawing pads, pencils, and markers for kids who are recovering from surgeries and illnesses. I will have more information on that as time goes on. I would like to say that I am so thankful for the families that are involved in this ministry and for their kids beautiful hands , hearts and joyful faces! Thanks to all the parents who participate and take the time to bring your kids out to play with me! I love each and everyone of them and I can’t wait until our next project!
( not all the kids are pictured here)
From our hands and hearts……here in Virginia….
to their hands and hearts in at Nueva Vida in Nicaragua….my heart is humbled.
Thank you Lord for this amazing opportunity and for this ministry. I pray that we always give you the glory forever and ever. I love you, my big amazing magnificent Papa, and it is because of your love for me that I am able to love these people and call them family!
We love our NICA family!
Thanks kids-you’re the bestest!!!!
Keep looking and keep drawing!