This is one of my favorite paintings.
A friend posted a video on Instagram of her daughter running by on a dreary winter day — it’s a split second long. I loved the complementary colors and motion, so I thought I’d try to capture both on a small 12″ X 12″ canvas.
This is one of my favorite paintings.
Nine of ten churches are either declining or growing so slowly they are not keeping up with the growth of the community. Many churches are just a few years away from dying and closing. Revitalization is an urgent need. Thom Rainer
“set in order what remains” (Titus 1:5 NASB)
We were part of a church plant back in 1988, which experienced the highs and lows common to Evangelical churches moving through the widely acknowledged lifecycle of a church. There are various labels or descriptions of the stages a church passes through on the way to revitalization or oblivion and it’s helpful to recognize where your church is in the process; especially if you have the sense your fellowship is declining numerically and/or spiritually.… Read the rest
“Mr. Truman, reminiscing in a recent issue of the Times, says the press sold out in 1948 to ‘the special interests,” was 90% hostile to his candidacy, distorted facts, caused his low popularity rating… The ‘Republican controlled press and radio’… gave vent to frequent horse-laughs in their editorials and commentaries… Some of the published news was distorted, but distortion is inherent in partisan journalism… I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that doesn’t have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular, although many men are born upright.
I received my first commission and began with a full portrait from the waist up, but it wouldn’t work out in acrylic. So, I painted this portrait of Jesse in acrylic on canvas. I still have the original acrylic on a panel and hope to finish it in oil paint or pastel sometime in the future.
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This is acrylic on a 24″x 30″ canvas. I took a photo of Olive in a blueberry field on Christy Hill in Sedgwick ME on an overcast day and thought it would make a good composition, if I made up a horizon and cloudy sky.Read the rest
I noticed something about women’s fashion while working for the Postal Service: many, if not most, blouses, tops, or business attire for women don’t have pockets!
Most of my career was spent in Post Offices where I was the Postmaster or manager, so they were set up for me. I had pens located at a few stations I visited often during the day like the retail window, the desk, or the area set aside for receipt and notification of mail. But, I kept a pen in my pocket for the dozens of other places I would visit throughout the day.… Read the rest
I was looking at photos and video from our trip to Maine in July 2016. I wanted to paint these girls playing on a float on Blue Hill Bay in a way that would communicate activity and the passage of time. I decided to create a series of five small paintings in a left-to-right timeline depicting the girls in different positions on the float as they moved from one side to the other, in order to look at a crab they found. But, I was unsure if it would communicate what I wanted — and, that was the downfall of this project.… Read the rest
I spent a couple hours arranging my upcoming book and, so far, it looks like I’ll have a 175-200 page general Introduction to the Baha’i Faith for Christian Readers. Actually, I’ll try to make it accessible to any reader, but it will be written from my perspective as an Evangelical Christian — I’ll be presenting the material in a semi-autobiographical fashion. There are a couple of reasons for this approach, but the most practical consideration for presenting this material to someone new to the Baha’i Faith is where we find ourselves in history — we are entering in on the “ground floor” of Baha’i history and development as a distinct religion.… Read the rest
Back in 1988, I received my first promotion to become the Postmaster at Camptonville CA. In 2014, I would become the last Postmaster of Camptonville, but that’s another story and another post. This one’s about the failure of musical education in the United States.
I needed a radio for my small rural post office with a good adjustable antenna to pick up stations from the Bay Area. It was June and I went to the local Long’s Drug Store (now, CVS), because they sold consumer electronics at the time. I found a ghetto blaster that looked promising: it had an impressive telescoping antenna, tone controls, headroom, and a cassette player.… Read the rest
I’ve been wanting to return to the blog and have a number of posts in the queue — strange that this will be the first one published since back in March. It’s not a subject I felt compelled to write about in the past, but Denise and I just finished watching the Grateful Dead documentary, Long Strange Trip, on Netflix.
We were real live Deadheads for a short time and this film pulled back the curtain to reveal why we never felt that compatible with the band’s following and eventually lost interest in the Grateful Dead, a band we enthusiastically embraced almost 50 years ago.… Read the rest
I knew Winston Churchill was a painter, but only recently heard of his essay, Painting As A Pastime. Former President George W. Bush credited this little book with both his deliverance from “sitting on the couch, eating potato chips” in retirement and awakening in him a newfound passion for art and painting. I thought I’d read the essay online, but The Estate of Winston S. Churchill has a tight hold on the former British Prime Minister’s massive collection of writings and correspondence.
I read the reviews and found this gem on Amazon.com “used” — it was actually new and I picked it up for about the price of a sugary, dairy-based corporate coffee drink.… Read the rest
Is there hope for a zombie church? The short answer is a resounding YES!
Look at these lavish promises Jesus holds out to churches He said were dead and/or in the process of dying — zombie churches:
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He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7 ESV)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.
First, I want to reiterate that churches belong to Jesus and not us — He wars against zombie churches (Revelation 2:16) and we do not — period. If a death-blow falls on a zombie church it is Jesus, with His shocking white hair and flaming eyes Who comes against them by the word of His mouth — Jesus is the zombieslayer.
But, it’s plain throughout the Scriptures that each one of God’s people fills a role in the Church as members of His Body.… Read the rest
Back in the 1980s, as a young Christian involved in the various youth movements of the time, it was very common to hear people speak of this or that church being “dead.” Entire geographical areas were also written off as lifeless: “the church back east is totally dead, man.” That was a common post-mortem among the 20 and 30-somethings in those days. It always struck me as wrong to speak of this or that church as “dead,” when there were certainly genuine born-again Christians involved — I mean, if some of the individuals in a church are abiding in the Vine, how can we say the entire fellowship is dead?… Read the rest
I recently read a wonderful post by church-planter Joel Littlefield: Aren’t There Already Enough Churches? He asks and answers “one of the most common questions a new church planter might hear… ‘Aren’t there already enough churches in this town?’” Not all church planters or denominations engage in that level of reflection before going into a place where a vibrant Christian community already exists — they just get the call, parachute in, and get on with the work. Others simply want to live the ministry dream and don’t consider the impact their vocational choice may have on a wider community of Christians.… Read the rest
A long time ago — it seems like a couple lifetimes — anyway, a long time ago I spent a good part of the day with Massey Shepherd in the living room of his home down near Land Park in Sacramento. He had just moved there after retiring from The Church Divinity School of the Pacific, his wife had passed away, and his daughter wanted to have him nearer to family. Denise drove me down with the kids in our 1967 Chevy Bel Air, dropped me off at the house, and was off to do some shopping. I found him sorting and shelving hundreds and hundreds of books — he was tired and told me he appreciated the opportunity to take a break.… Read the rest
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 to 1,100 cases of necrotizing fasciitis caused by group A streptococcus have occurred yearly since 2010. Although the disease primarily affects the young and old and those with underlying chronic conditions, it may also develop in healthy individuals. Transmission occurs person-to-person, many times through a break in the skin.
Source: Cytotoxins contribute to virulence of deadly epidemic bacterial infections: Severity of group A Streptococcus infections, including ‘flesh-eating disease,’ attributed to presence of 2 toxins — ScienceDailyRead the rest
It’s 2017 and President Obama is free to enjoy a well-deserved season of relaxation — being President of the United States has to be one of the most difficult jobs on earth!
I didn’t vote for President Trump in 2016 nor do I plan on casting my ballot for him in 2020, if he’s a candidate. So, I have some sympathy for those who were disappointed back in November, but little patience for much of the hysteria that has followed his inauguration.
I plan to move forward in 2017 in much the same way I planned to if Secretary Clinton had won the election and have done through past administrations.… Read the rest
Let me begin my post about this book with one of the endorsements from the back cover:
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Offenses will come. It’s a given. Unpacking Forgiveness wisely prepares us for the aftermath. Grieving the loss of our six children in a van accident and then being reminded of that loss throughout thirteen years of subsequent battles forced us to search the Scriptures concerning the issue of forgiveness. Chris not only has confirmed answers that we had found but has thoroughly sorted out what it takes to be right with God and man.
This morning I was getting dressed and noticed a design flaw in a pair of corduroys Denise found for me at the thrift store that makes them uncomfortable in certain situations. Over the years, I’ve noticed that clothes I buy at the thrift store or some overstock/bargain outlets like Ross or Marshall’s have some quirky characteristic such as too few belt loops, shallow pockets, buttons too high on the collar or inaccurate sizing (just to name a few). I always wonder if that’s why an otherwise attractive garment failed to sell or was returned or discarded to a thrift store. In my case, if the flaw in the item is not too obvious or uncomfortable or inconvenient, I’ll gladly wear it for a fraction of the cost of a quality garment.… Read the rest
A toddler almost died after a bout of chickenpox turned into a horrific flesh-eating infection that left gaping wounds in his neck. Charlie Cave, from Kempston, Bedfordshire, was just 13-months-old when he developed the early stages of necrotising fasciitis.
Charlie survived, but I have been unable to find any updates on his condition. These kinds of articles, although often sensational, generally contain some helpful information about diagnosing, treating, and recovering from necrotizing fasciitis. So, we will continue to spread the word.Read the rest
I’m a new artist and had this conversation with Denise the other day: “My drawing skills are horrible and I’m so impatient that I’m not really observing my subjects at all. After I get going, the process slows me down and I begin seeing everything I missed.” Denise, as she typically does, listened patiently to my exposed inner thoughts and acknowledged my concerns. Then, she continued with her reading. This is a “conversation” we’ve had at least five times over the past couple of months and it was just this last Monday I engaged in the self-flagellation one more time.
Over the last fourteen months Alex Lewis went from being the owner of a pub, to quickly becoming critically ill and a quadruple amputee. Yet he still describes the past year as the best he’s ever had.
Read the article: ‘The year I lost my limbs was the most brilliant of my life’ – BBC NewsRead the rest
My latest urban landscape is Bubba’s Bagels, a familiar sight to most Nevada County residents. It is acrylic on canvas, but I wanted it to have a more printerly look. The colors are all desaturated to some degree with the ultramarine blue of the Arco sign being the closest to a pure hue. I wanted to create interest in a very mundane scene by placing elements exiting the frame in different directions, while drawing the eye into the center of the piece. The actual color scheme of the shop is captivating when you drive by it — so, I tried to get that just right.… Read the rest
This is the first discipline I wanted to examine as part of my series in the Spiritual Disciplines: devotion to the Apostles’ teaching. In the last installment, we looked at the purpose of the disciplines and now that we’ve laid a foundation we can look at each one individually beginning with the corporate disciplines — those things Christians do together. These will be brief descriptions with links to more in-depth treatments or discussions. In choosing a place to focus on corporate disciplines, I landed on Acts 2:
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And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.