Giving Sacrificially

This is my sketchnote and narrated sketchnote about “Giving Sacrificially,” a sermon by Jen Howat on the November 22nd, 2015 at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jen preached on verses from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.

“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭21:1-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Also:

““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

Energized to Tell God’s Story Through Creative Expression

Yesterday on Saturday, August 22, 2015, Shelly and I participated in a wonderful morning workshop at Frontline Church in Oklahoma City. Our friend Kori Hall was one of the organizers of this unique event, called “Story: The Six Days In Between.” The description of the event on the Frontline blog was:

A conversation and workshop
For artists and creatives
Telling the story
Of gospel collision
With human lives

I’m not sure exactly how many people attended, but I’d guess around 75. The morning started off with musician and worship leader, Charlie Hall, explaining the background and vision for the Story Workshop.

I hadn’t pre-planned doing this, but I realized shortly after the workshop started it might be good to broadcast and archive some of the event via Periscope. Last week I learned about and registered with Katch, which is a free cloud service that archives Periscope video broadcasts so they remain online and archived longer than 24 hours. I didn’t Periscope Charlie’s initial comments, so I’ll attempt to paraphrase.

Basically, some of the leaders within Frontline Church have been planning this Story Workshop as a way to encourage networking and collaboration among artistic creatives within their community as well as the larger Oklahoma City metro area. We all have different gifts from God, and I liked what Charlie had to say about how the things we make with our gifts do NOT define who we are… yet that is a tendency we all have as human beings. Charlie encouraged us to lay our gifts at the feet of Christ, and seek to find ways to collaborate together to creatively share SNAPSHOTS of life as followers of Christ to a world in need of the hope which God offers. I love Frontline’s core mission: “To love God, to love others, and to push back darkness.” The Story Workshop is a way to invite and empower a diverse group of creative individuals to intentionally focus on telling God’s story in our community through a variety of voices and mediums.

I started to Periscope the opening session as filmmaker and videographer Derek Watson (of Lampstand Media in OKC) shared about the power of story and introduced a short video collaboration he created with Kori. I later cross-posted this video to YouTube.

I hope they will post that video online at some point, and if they do I’ll definitely update this post and insert it. It was powerful. Kori is an amazing “spoken word” poet and performer, and the video featured prose she wrote and shared.

After the introductory session, we each selected a different breakout session. The choices were Film, Visual Art, Performance Art, Writing, Photography, and Music. I was going to attend Film, but Shelly asked if I was going to writing… she was planning to stay for film. She’s helped her 3rd and 4th graders at Positive Tomorrows the past two years create and share some wonderful videos on their classroom YouTube channel,  and wanted to get some ideas for elevating their digital storytelling projects. Since I’m continuing to help organize the local “Write Well, Sell Well Conference” for writers in Oklahoma City, it did make sense for me to join the writer’s breakout… and I’m very glad I did.

We had a great turnout of over twenty people for the writing group, and we started (similar to a WordPress OKC Meetup) by having everyone briefly share about themselves and their current writing project(s) or interests.

I have worked on a variety of Christian-related media projects and websites the past 9 years, since we moved to Oklahoma, but this month I got the idea of naming the book project I’ve been wanting to write “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ.” I registered this domain on August 8th (dw4jc.com) and decided the corresponding hashtag (#dw4jc) would be both unique and good since it’s so short. I brainstormed and wrote down about seven book chapter titles, and then set aside this project to work on later.

During Saturday’s Story Workshop, I was struck (again) by how important it is for writers to have both catalysts for writing and accountability partners. I often create because of deadlines: Conferences at which I present or deadlines which are related to upcoming professional development events.

During our writing time in the breakout session, I uploaded and configured WordPress on the dw4jc.com website, but didn’t have time to write much content on it.

Inspired by the Story Workshop, last night I spent about five hours installing CommentPress, creating the chapter pages for the “Digital Witness for Jesus Christ” book project, and writing some content on each of the pages so early visitors could get a partial look into the focus and ideas of the project.

Four years ago when I was teaching one day per week at the University of North Texas and writing the first three chapters of my dissertation, I thought of the “3 Minutes About Jesus” project and registered a corresponding domain. In the succeeding years, I recorded and shared several videos on the site… but it wasn’t something that “took off” or I spent lots of time trying to develop.

When I thought of the dw4jc.com domain earlier this month, I also thought it would be good to use the October 23-24, Write Well, Sell Well Conference as a deadline to get an initial version of the book finished to share in printed form. This may seem like an unrealistic deadline, but it’s similar to timelines I’ve followed previously for other books I’ve self-published. I’m not positive if I’ll make that deadline, but the Story Workshop certainly served as a catalyst for me to take significant steps in this writing project.

Here’s the Katch archived Periscope video of the Story Workshop closing session with Charlie Hall. It’s also cross-posted to YouTube.

Like Kori, I’m looking forward to seeing where this collaboration is going to take us!

Here’s a Storify archive of all the tweets sharing during yesterday’s workshop.

Do Not Covet or Be Greedy

These are notes from Mateen Elass‘ sermon on Sunday, January 25, 2015, at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. Our focus verse today is Luke 12:13-21.

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (‭Luke‬ ‭12‬:‭15‬ NIV)

“Contentment means seeking to live simply so we can use our extra resources for the sake of God’s kingdom.”

Book recommendation: Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America by Dr. R. Albert Mohler

We are stewards of our possessions not owners, everything comes from God and we are called to use our gifts and “things” to further God’s kingdom.

Money can easily become our idol.

The goal of a disciple of Jesus is to have nothing in our daily lives which supplants our love of Jesus Christ.

Jim Elliott: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Distinguishing Between the Spirits

These were some of the verses we considered today in our church service:

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NIV)

The part that stood out to me is “distinguishing between spirits.” This verse acknowledges that there are both holy and worldly “spirits” which speak to us in our lives. In our “modern” world, we often discount, ignore, or deny the reality of these spirits and the power they can wield in our lives depending on how we respond to them. This is a mistake. Spiritual gifts are real, and so are “messages from the spirits.”

I pray God would give me discernment to “distinguish between the spirits” which I encounter in my life. I pray God would open my heart and mind to both recognize and heed the voice of His Holy Spirit.