My Newest Online Course Launches Soon

I hope you will join me for my next online art course, combining poetry and creative writing with paint!

The class is called “Playing With Fire // Poetry and Paint as Kindling”, and it will be my third course that I have created for my friend Jeanne Oliver’s beautiful creative community.

My Newest Online Class Launches Soon

Whether your thing is creative writing (prose/poetry) or sketch or collage or abstract or learning what I call “studio best practices” -

whether you are interested in spiritual journaling, Lectio Divina, or simply how to slow down and really see your own life, my next course has something so spacious and good in store for you.  You can skim it and love it, or you can go deep, deep with it, and it will radically transform.

Oh, for sure.

But first, register at the early bird price!  This price goes away in a week or so! The link is here

Doing The Hard Thing Brings Unearned Undeserved Favor

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This week seems to be the week where I am oft-inspired to pinch myself.

I can’t believe I get to do what I do. I can’t believe that I get to touch a paintbrush to a canvas and express myself. I can’t believe that other souls resonate with what they see, and decide to create a beautiful, valuable, equal exchange of energy (read: they pay me to do this thing!).

I can’t believe that I regularly receive emails with pictures (the shot above is one example, received a couple of nights ago) and words that say, “I cried. I opened your art, and I cried.”

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This is the sort of thing that happens when the King is your friend. This is the sort of thing that happens when a woman in the middle takes the “road less traveled by”. This is the sort of thing that happens when a woman in the middle stays the course set before her, refusing to leave her post - the outcome ends up being something she did not earn and could never deserve. (Do you hear the “both/and” in that? I have deep theological reasons for it - going all the way back to God’s covenant with Abram. But I am pretty sure you want to keep that for another post for another day!)

Giveaway {...a free spot in Jane Hinchcliffe's year-long expressive portrait painting course!}

When Jane emailed me about participating in her “Year of Portrait Painting”, I was intrigued.  But when I saw the tag line, “…with a gentle focus on Slow Living” - I was sold.  I believe that  the best progress is gentle and slow.   I believe that, in spite of the fact that when I first picked up a paintbrush, only about 7 years ago, I truly believe “the spirit of the Lord came upon me and the glory of the Lord overshadowed me”.  (I’m only a little bit tongue-in-cheek, there)  Progress was leaps and bounds and quick and involved hours and hours a day of hard work.  It did not feel like work, though, because the healing I was also experiencing was so deep and so good.  July is my month to participate.  I will be sharing a portrait painting “how to”, and I will be sharing my thoughts on what it means to be an embodied woman “in the middle”, and how that relates to gentleness.  I happen to believe that an understanding of the gentleness of God is the most powerful thing you can have, once you are about age 35 and older.   Really  knowing this aspect of the character and nature of God will empower you to make genuine progress in places you may have felt stuck.  I want to gift YOU with a spot in this year-long course.  You can find out more about it  here .  I will draw a winner at random on or about June 30th.  To be entered to win,  click here with your best email address  (this is the email to which all your course material will be sent).  Thank you, Jane, for inviting me to be a part of such a good thing!

When Jane emailed me about participating in her “Year of Portrait Painting”, I was intrigued. But when I saw the tag line, “…with a gentle focus on Slow Living” - I was sold. I believe that the best progress is gentle and slow.

I believe that, in spite of the fact that when I first picked up a paintbrush, only about 7 years ago, I truly believe “the spirit of the Lord came upon me and the glory of the Lord overshadowed me”. (I’m only a little bit tongue-in-cheek, there) Progress was leaps and bounds and quick and involved hours and hours a day of hard work. It did not feel like work, though, because the healing I was also experiencing was so deep and so good.

July is my month to participate. I will be sharing a portrait painting “how to”, and I will be sharing my thoughts on what it means to be an embodied woman “in the middle”, and how that relates to gentleness. I happen to believe that an understanding of the gentleness of God is the most powerful thing you can have, once you are about age 35 and older. Really knowing this aspect of the character and nature of God will empower you to make genuine progress in places you may have felt stuck.

I want to gift YOU with a spot in this year-long course. You can find out more about it here.

I will draw a winner at random on or about June 30th. To be entered to win, click here with your best email address (this is the email to which all your course material will be sent).

Thank you, Jane, for inviting me to be a part of such a good thing!

An Open Letter To Leaders of All Churches {...but particularly small churches...}

This piece is entitled “I Will Lead Unashamed”

This piece is entitled “I Will Lead Unashamed”

The current culture of the devaluing of church automatically comes with the devaluing of her ministers.   These words are for these ones - the ministers in His house. 

God takes it upon Himself to be the “lifter of our heads”, and His means are often through others.  I hope to mirror the heart of God, my minister friend, and speak words that will lift your chin.  A minister of the Gospel, (a pastor, or any of the other 5-fold ministries) should never be degraded by the world’s value system - not when he is faithfully, wildly imperfectly, carrying out his (or her) assignment.

There is a whole theology woven around the distinctive importance of the 5 fold minister, part-and-parcel of which is the distinctive importance of the church - the church as “living stones”, as an army, as a family, and as the very salt of the earth.  When God Himself likens His people to buildings, armies, and family - is it any wonder that the people who are part of the life of the church get confused as to their role and the role of their pastor?  Are we living stones built together, or are we invading, or are we at war, or are we all supposed to hug and have a well-seasoned dinner?

Because of this heavily nuanced nature of church, there is a keen and multi talented art to church leadership.  Church leadership is to be deeply valued and respected because, with the possible exception of some mega-church expressions, in 98% of churches, the leader has to both inspire and administrate an all volunteer task force.  Name another line of work where the “boss” is expected to stay by their post while the necessity of their even receiving an income is routinely scrutinized, its amount rarely raised, yet the results expected to be remarkable, all while advancing the agenda with  mostly unpaid volunteers.  

A workman is worthy of his hire.  Don’t muzzle the ox that treads the corn.  This letter is not about money, it is about value. Yet - it is a well established fact that money is an exchange of value. That exchange of value is designed to be equal. You are very valuable.

As an absurd aside, no one here is talking about salaries of a million dollars, or mansions, or lavish living.  98% of the church worldwide is under 200 members.  I am speaking to the leadership of this beautiful 98% who work hard and live modestly.  I honestly believe that in some cases the results of your ministry will be directly connected to the value you place upon the work of your hands - which is directly connected to the value you place upon the church herself.  She is the very bride of Christ.  

God wants you showing up in the world on her behalf in a certain way.  Obviously, that way is not full of hubris and inflated ego.

At the same time, we are not well equipped, especially as leaders of the 98%,  to see our service as valuable.  We aren’t taught how to do that in seminary or the training our network or denomination offered us.  But we can draw straight out of Scripture the deep, intrinsic value God has placed on both the church and its ministers.  

Beneath the subtle, negative innuendos towards “full time pastors”, and the applause for the de-church movement is the idea that a man shouldn’t earn his whole living serving the church.  Beneath the idea that a man shouldn’t earn his whole living serving the church is the falsity that 98% of God’s people can somehow thrive and grow without the job of oversight.  Scriptures plainly teach the necessity of devoted oversight, and Scripture plainly states “Workers deserve their pay.”

Because gone is a high view of church, gone is a high view of her ministers.  The Levitical priesthood was only as well cared for as the people valued their status as a set apart people and to the degree they deeply loved the law of God.  Today, the new covenant 5 fold minister is only as well cared for as the people love God with all their heart, and then love what He loves.  A minister is only as valuable to the church as the church values their status as a corporate expression of Christ in the earth, as the bride of Christ, and as the army of God.  What army has little to no dedicated leadership?

Ironically, almost conversely, the church will only value its position in the earth to the degree its leaders both teach and preach the value.  And its leaders will only teach and preach the worth of the church to the degree they understand their worth AS leaders, and feel a strong sense of joy and heritage and deep, nourishing pride in their calling to attend to the health of something so glorious, so fierce and full of wonder as the very bride of Jesus.

Your work brings value to the world.  The world will only value the work of your hands to the extent that you value it.  What you do impacts the eternity of people.  When you are esteemed for your work and when you are paid for your work, there is deep blessing released into every household that willingly shares in your support.  (That willing heart is THE prerequisite - but that is another book for another day.)  You are pouring yourself into the pursuit of bringing the body of Christ into full maturity.  This is incredibly valuable.  You are actively bettering the entire world, every single day, even when “all you do” are the administrative tasks that your position demands.  You have the power to inspire many to follow in your footsteps and seek to serve the church of the living God.  

It has become urgent that you draw near to God and hear from Him what His great heart is towards the bride of His son.  She is special.  In hearing of His heart towards the bride, you will begin to grasp His heart towards you, as under-shepherd.  Oh, how He loves you!  Oh, how He has your back!  Oh, how you have an ability to release favor and blessing into whole regions, families, and individuals!  

 And you bring things to the work of your hands that no one else can.  You have been assigned to teach and serve a local expression of the mystical universal - and your assignment is fitted to you and you are fitted to your assignment.  The people in your care need you to show up AS you, and as an ambassador of the glory of God, and as a visual aid of their own corporate pricelessness.  You teach them, as only you can, that they are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation that should show forth His praises.  

Yours is no small job.  Yours is no easy task.  Therefore, like all the people of God of old, like the priests of old, you are not to “eat anything dead of itself”.  God wants to provide for you specifically and directly.  He has a heart of abundance towards you, because you tend to what is so near and dear to Him.  

The way the people in your local church treat you, is a reflection of each person’s direct and vital connection to the heartbeat of God.  Let that soak in.  No one is advising that you become a “Snicker’s Diva” (have you seen the commercial?) - that is absurd.  At the same time, you do no one a service if you allow them to treat you at a level below love and respect.  The Bible clearly says that it is not good for the health of the soul of the people in your church, when your job is made a burden and not a blessing to you.  Each one is advised to make your job a joy.  You aren’t loving them well when you do not demonstrate what that means.

The church is God’s plan A.  She is the body through which clear answers and hope and creative love and solutions are birthed into the earth.  She is bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, because the Spirit of God dwells in her corporate expression.  You continually offer her the story of her heritage.  You continually offer her the building up of herself in the faith.  You continually remind her who she is, you daily beautify her with your God-given tools and skillset. Without your tender care, she would flounder, not flourish, because God has set it in place that she be brought to health and maturity through those 5 callings of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  She will grow into her greatest glory only by your blood, sweat, tears, and words.  Yours is a high and holy calling.

I write through my tears. How the Lord loves His people and those who carefully (and care - fully…it is a job that is full of difficulties and cares) tend them.


Working On a New Online Class

I’m so excited to share that I am currently hard at work on my third online class - a class dedicated to the idea of combining poetry (both the reading and the writing) with painting.

This has long been a subject near and dear to my heart. (On my Instagram, check out the hashtag #poetryandpaintinggotogether ).

Why have I felt so full of this topic, combining poetry with painting, for so long? Mostly, because a full 1/3 of the Bible was written as poetry. This tells me that not only is God the original artist…He is also the original poet. In fact, He may have been a poet before He was artist - at least where it concerns you and me. Because before there was anything - there was His word.

Then, there is the fact that the largest, longest book in Scripture, the book of Psalms, was written by a man who many politely call a “warrior-poet”. King David, the man after God’s own heart. Well. Pardon me please, but I can’t think of a better description of David, other than “the man after God’s own heart”, than “badass poet”.

Last but not least, I have been overjoyed to discover that…y’all….poets walk among us! They look like your daughter or your pastor or your neighbor - but, deep inside, many are also “Bad Ass Poets”. They pick up poetry as a weapon to force big emotions to surrender. They bring those big emotions, with their words, into a space where those otherwise overwhelming feelings are made subservient to the poet’s passion for God.

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I will be sure to come back and let you know both how things are progressing and when the class launches. I will be launching it inside the creative network of my one of my dearest friends Jeanne Oliver’s creative network. In the meantime, I covet your prayers, because this is hard work. I write, film, do all the art, and then edit and upload everything for each and every class. I have no help at this time. The workflow is enormous. (I’ve been in preliminary discussions with a video production company. I dream of using Sherwood Media someday, when I am ready to launch classes on this website. Check them out!)