Great Power and Beauty Await You

thepowerofabeautifulstillness Great Power and Beauty Await You

This weekend, great power and beauty await you if you’re willing to stop and be still. I don’t know about you, but the past few weeks, my life has been pretty hectic with lots of work, high school graduation parties and family birthdays. I come from a large family, so between Krista’s family and my family, it seems like we’re going to a birthday party every other week. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I love my work with The Grove, working with artists, writing and film producing…and birthday parties! But everyday, there is a larger life calling out to me. It’s the invitation of God to stop and be still.

When was the last time you slowed down to soak in the beauty all around you? To really be still? It’s essential to creating a beautiful life. Read on…

5 Secrets of Flourishing Artists – A Free Webinar

5secretsofflourishingartists 1024x1024 5 Secrets of Flourishing Artists   A Free Webinar

Are you a flourishing artist? Or do you feel discouraged and overwhelmed like you’re floundering? Whether you’re flourishing, floundering or somewhere in between, I’d like to invite you to listen to this free webinar, 5 Secrets of Flourishing Artists. As a writer for over twenty years, I’ve certainly gone through seasons where I feel like I’m floundering. There are days when it seems like I can’t get traction for where I want to go. And if it’s not my writing or film projects, it could be my spiritual life. Or key relationships with my family and friends. Can you relate?

Discovering what it means to flourish as an artist can be an elusive journey, but I am convinced it’s not out of our grasp. Jesus did come to give us life and life abundantly in the here and now. As we find our life in Him, I believe there’s great overflow — a flourishing, you might say — that pours into our art, life and faith. So with this is mind, a couple artist friends of mine in our Grove community and I hosted this free webinar through The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. The response we received to our 5 Secrets webinar was overwhelming! Read on…

A New Free Ebook! 7 HARD Questions for Every Artist

7HardQuestionsforEveryArtist jo A New Free Ebook! 7 HARD Questions for Every ArtistLast year I wrote a blog post titled, “7 HARD Questions for Every Artist.” The post was designed to help all of us cultivate a more beautiful life. I don’t know about you, but the EASY questions never do much for me. Easy questions keep me in my comfort zones, never pushing or prodding me forward. Easy questions don’t lead to the thriving life I long for…

Since then, this 7 Questions post has become one of my most popular posts, so I decided to turn it into a short ebook as a tool to help artists, creative teams, worship teams and leaders of art retreats. Even if you’re not an artist, I think you will find it helpful. This free PDF workbook has fillable form fields to write your responses to each question. Or you can just print it off to take to your favorite park or lake.

After editing the 7 Questions and adding a bit more content, I hope this ebook helps you cultivate a more beautiful life. If you like it, feel free to share it with your friends. I’m making it available as one of many free resources we provide through The Grove Center for the Arts & Media.

Take some time alone with God or a few friends to talk through these 7 Questions. I’d love to hear what you learn and discover along the way.

Answering these questions my seriously improve the quality of your art and life!

Click here to get your free copy of 7 HARD Questions for Every Artist.

Question: What did you discover as you answered the 7 Questions?

I’d love to hear what you’re learning!

Click here to comment now.

Who Has Helped You Cross Your Finish Line?

Whohashelpedyoucrossyourfinishline Who Has Helped You Cross Your Finish Line?

Think of all your mountain-top successes and face-grinding failures. Your valiant victories and deadening defeats. Your golden trophies and locker-room second-guessing. All those wonderful wins and heart-breaking losses.

Before you take too much credit and get swollen with pride or stand on your toes, pointing your finger, blaming everyone in sight, just remember this: For every swig from your victor’s cup, someone, somewhere helped you cross your finish line.

I am honored to count Scott Johnson as a friend. He’s the one with arms raised, celebrating Army Ranger, double-amputee Cedric King’s finish of this year’s 2014 Boston Marathon. After Cedric lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afganistan, he could have called it quits. For good. But even with prosthetic limbs, he didn’t stop walking or running. Yes, that’s Cedric King kissing the finish line after thousands of Boston Strong spectators cheered him the final 500 yards. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?

If you’re facing trouble, relationship conflicts, struggles and pain that could deepen your character, let me ask you a simple question: Are you backing down from trouble? Are you afraid to show trouble who you really are? Have you, somehow, bought into the lie that creating a beautiful life would be easy? That you would never be opposed? That conflict would never involve hard work to reach for creative solutions?

A friend of mine recently shared Hello Trouble, a great Gerber knife video with me and as you go into this weekend… (more…)

Ask More Beautiful Questions

Amorebeautifulquestion Ask More Beautiful Questions

One of my lifelong goals is to stay curious, ask more questions and to learn how to ask more beautiful questions.

Whether you are an artist, parent, pastor, creative team leader, or simply a good friend to someone else, learning how to ask more beautiful questions can lead to breakthrough ideas in your own life and the lives of those around you. What can asking a more beautiful question lead to?

18 Reasons to Save Art Education in Elementary Schools

18reasonstosavearteducationinschools 18 Reasons to Save Art Education in Elementary Schools
Every year in California and across the nation, we see more and more cuts in art education in elementary schools. This is a deep and pervasive problem. As Calvin College art professor, Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk, states in her list of highly insightful reasons to save art education in elementary schools, “The arts teach problem-solving, risk-taking, creative thinking, collaborative thinking, innovative thinking. Indeed all of the higher level thinking skills.”

If you’re a parent, artist, or art educator interested in cultivating creativity in kids, I’d like to encourage you to read Jo-Ann’s 18 Reasons to Save Art Education in Elementary Schools, which she generously allowed me to share with you today. Even if you’re not an artist, you will find Jo-Ann’s points will expand your knowledge and appreciation for the arts. Why is arts education in school so important? Here’s why…

The Fantasy of an Uncluttered World

Thefantasyofanunclutteredworld The Fantasy of an Uncluttered World

Oh, how I long to live in an uncluttered world! If you look at my desk in the photo above, you’ll see that I’m living in anything, but an uncluttered world. If you look closer at my desk, you’ll see that it’s “medium-cluttered”. There are actually a few items that I don’t consider clutter. A few books I’m reading. My journal. Much-needed caffeine cup. Favorite family photos. Good stuff, but not clutter. But, as you may have noticed my recent blog absence, my life has been unusually busy with film, writing and ministry activities. Yes, many good things, but still busy and cluttered.

And then there’s that pile of receipts that need filing. That large stack of papers I need to go through. Sticky notes of urgent items to followup on. People to call. Tasks to complete. If I’m not careful, that pile will grow and grow, creating a mind-numbing stack of mail, bills to pay, and papers screaming for order. And that’s just my desk… you don’t even want to look inside my mind.

I recently read some very helpful thoughts from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. If you’re drawn to the fantasy of an uncluttered world, I think you’ll find Christ offers us something deeper than a clutter-free desk. Sarah offers her reflections of Jesus’ words of hope, peace and guidance to her…

One of my goals is to be a life-long learner, which is why I really enjoyed this TEDx video on creativity, kids and hackschooling. As the parents of four children, Krista and I have tried hard to figure out the “secret sauce” for what makes each one of our kids tick. And without naming names, our four kids love school, hate school, like school and tolerate school.

But school does not always equal learning, creativity or education, which is why I hope you’ll be inspired by 13 year old Logan LaPlante and his creative approach to learning in this TEDx talk. If you have children, especially teenagers, this is a great video to watch as a family and discuss. If you have a creative team, build into their lives by having a conversation about the importance of lifelong learning. Click here to leave a comment now.

Artists, Are You Audacious, Brave and Creative?

Artistsareyouaudaciousbravecreative Artists, Are You Audacious, Brave and Creative?

When you look back at the end of your life some day, will you be able to say that you were an audacious, brave and creative artist? If you want to cultivate a beautiful life, don’t be lulled by the anti-artistic Siren songs of safety and a risk-free life. When I look back at the end of my life, I want to see audacious, brave and creative risks taken so when I breath my last breath, I know I’ll be waking up in beautiful kingdom knowing I lived well in this one. Throw in courage, kindness, loving, humble and generous… those are a few more adjectives I want to describe my life.

My family and I recently went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Not only did we laugh and love the movie, I was inspired by Ben Stiller’s character breaking out of safety, security, and mediocrity by becoming the man he dreamed of being: Audacious, Brave and Creative!