What’s going on with Contrast?

•March 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well…

As you can see, not much is going on right now. With the economy like it is, I have been forced to put Contrast on the back-burner somewhat while I do what I can to survive. My focus had to shift for now to finding work (which is still very difficult).

God is teaching me some very difficult things right now about relying on Him and his timing. He is teaching me about my pride and putting me through all sorts of trials to rid me of it and become wholly reliant on Him. So, unfortunately, for now I’m having to wait on this dream a bit. God still puts people/ideas in my path that continue to not let this die.

I had a meeting the other day with Mat Carson, who along with his wife, meet with artists regularly and try to make them better Christians through Bible studies and mission trips. They see the value and usefulness of Art in communicating the Gospel. Mat and his wife (her name escapes me right now) are like the other side of a coin of our common goal. They want to make artists better Christians, and through Contrast I want to make Christians better artists. We are after the same thing, just different ways. I see a beautiful partnership coming soon through this. Mat is a wonderful guy, and I can’t wait to see how this will develop.

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Contrast Meeting today!!

•February 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

So it’s going to be tiny but mighty, as they say. A few of us are getting together today to talk about Contrast, its vision, our goals, and then watch a little movie about the importance of art in the church. Should be good, quick, and low-key, but I’m excited to see where God takes this.

Prayer: 02-05-09

•February 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

God,

You are a God of Love. You are magnificent and all-powerful. You created this world that completely blows our mind with just a thought and whisper. You created us for Your glory and enjoyment. When we blew it, God, You didn’t discount us. You saved us. 

You continually save us.

You rescued us with Noah during the flood. You rescued us through Joseph in Egypt with the famine. You rescued us through Moses leading the Israelites out of Egpyt. God, I’m completely fascinated at that story. You orchestrated those events so Moses would be in the right place at the right time. You showed him incredible signs of Your power, and he still had trouble believing. I still am captivated by when Your cloud and fire held off the Egyptians on their way into the Red Sea. How freaking amazing was that!!! Awesome!!!

You are an amazing, spectacular God! You created galaxies we will never see for Your own personal enjoyment! You can calm the seas and create the storms at Your command. You can penetrate our motives and our hearts. You love when we want to hate. You show mercy when we deserve punishment.  You give us more when we want less; You give us best when we want better. You are righteous, just, and holy. You are holy. You are holy, and we are not, God. 

You are a mystery! You aren’t a formula that we can figure out. You don’t follow our rules or expectations. You are God, and we are not. You shame the wise with the foolish. You tell us to love our enemies. You tell us that to gain our lives we must lose them. You love us by making us choose to love You back. Nothing is unseen by You, God. 

And all You ask from us God is to trust You. It was our lack of trust in You that separated us from You, and it is the only way we can be united again with You. 

I trust You, Father. Wherever You take me, whatever You have for me, I will follow. 

Contrast is in Your hands.

Contrast In Action

•February 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Someone sent me this article the other day from Worldwide Challenge, a magazine from Campus Crusade for Christ. I tried to find it online, but didn’t have much luck, so I figured I would just write out some cool points about it. This isn’t Contrast itself in action, but I want to start sharing examples I find of people pursuing good Christian art.

The magazine talks about a thing called the Tribeca Arts Summer Project in NYC. The first paragraph is,

“In 2005, the Tribeca Arts Summer Project began as a way to encourage college artists to consider how they might use their gifts to conect with nonbelievers. Last summer, 26 students convereged in a New York City loft for the project. There, they painted and sculpted, designed and drew – all the while engaging in dialog with those they encountered in the Big Apple. Worldwide Challenge talked to Leigh Ann Dull, a 22-year staff member and co-director of Tribeca, about this unusual project.”

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this!! GOD IS AT WORK IN THE ART WORLD!!!

The article continues with Leigh Ann explaining how she began incorporating her faith and art. 

I always wanted to be an artist and studied in in college. In my second year, God got hold of my heart and I began to understand the Spirit-filled life. Looking back many years later, I realized that I never fully grasped how to integrate my art and my faith… We began to use art to engage students in dialog. All my years of investing in college students were now growing into a desire to help emerging artists understand their calling as artists and believers.

Next WWC asks what it means to make that connection. She responds,

Many Christian artists think that they can only create something that leads people directly to Jesus or uses Jesus as the subject matter. We don’t ask accountants to crunch numbers that are salvific, so why do we ask it of artists? Instead, we ask the students to be excellent, be honest, and tell their story. 

Then she said something that made me squeal with delight  (oh yes, yes I did).

Art is not a hobby for them; it is part of who they are designed to be as image bearers of the great Creator.

Heck yeah.

She continues to talk about the sense of camaraderie and  the new view of how to live their faith that these students get.

Many feel for the first time an understanding of how their art can instantly open a door for dialog and opportunities to tell others about their faith journey. They see that by pursuing their art with excellence, honesty, and hope, it can allow them to connect with people in a real and vulnerable way. But this is not easy, it is hard work and takes incredible discipline and time. Artists create with a desire for their work to elicit a response and have an impact on a person. They’re like prophets in our culture and through their work can draw people to a greater desire and understanding of our Creator. Their art is a guidepost, but they are the gospel.

Leigh Ann, I couldn’t have said it better myself. She says at the end of the project, they do a gallery show and publicize it all over the city. This is Contrast in action. This is what God wants to do through art. 


Prayer: 02-03-09

•February 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

God,

Be my refuge.

Be my strength.

Be my encouragement. 

Be my hope.

Be my guide.

Be my God.

Be my Provider.

Be my help.

Be my everything.

Be my everything.

Be my everything.

Prayer: 02-02-09

•February 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

God,

I’m really fighting discouragement right now. This economic situation is so difficult. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find work… it seems like every avenue I go down dead ends. I struggle with feeling inadequate and like a failure. I feel incapable of changing my situation.

Honestly, God, I’m just frustrated with You. I don’t doubt You, but it does seem like You’re not doing anything. Thank you for being so unpredictable. Thank you for frustrating me. I know You have purpose behind this, and the outcome from all of this is just what I need to accomplish the tasks You have set before me and for Contrast.

Even though I feel beaten, bruised, and worn, You are still my Shield and my Refuge and my Strength. Like Isaac had to trust Abraham FULLY while laying on the altar, I am at Your mercy and trust You beyond my understanding. I know You love me and want the BEST for me and for Contrast. Help my faith, God.

Prayer: 01-30-09

•January 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

Father,

I realized today the importance of Your blessing in skill. God it seems like so many times we approach our stuff with a “Good enough for church” mentality. We don’t actively pursue being the best we can, God. We don’t realize that the quality of our work can be a reflection of our view of You to other people around us. God, may I never do anything with that attitude, Father. You deserve better than our best, but God, I want to give You the best I have.

In Exodus 31, You hand-picked certain artists for Your tabernacle by “filling him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.”  You gave Bezalel the skill, ability, and knowledge he needed to accomplish what YOU wanted. I ask for that for myself, God. Give me the resources, knowledge, skill, creativity, and drive to accomplish the great things  You have in store for me, and for all the artists this organization is going to touch.

God, I can’t explain the sense of urgency I feel about this, but please begin to make this happen. This is such an important resource, Father, and I just want to see it established as quick as possible. This is so important! I know it’s important to You, God. I know because You are awakening this desire in artists all over this nation. Focus us all in the same direction. Unify  us in mind, heart and spirit so that we can be more effective for You God. 

“But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer.
You are my God, do not delay.”
Psalm 40:17