Sunday, September 6, 2015

September #Scripturedoodle Collaboration

I said the other day I needed some creative accountability so we 're going to do a #scripturedoodle study together working through 2 Corinthians 4. If you want to join in we'd LOVE to have you! You don't have to be an artist and you don't have to have a #scripturedoodle pack. You do have to have a Bible, a pencil and some paper.


I spent some time last night searching through the word and asking the Lord, "what would you have us study?" When I landed on 2 Corinthians 4 I wasn't sure it was right. This passage is a little thick and deeper than what I would normally choose, but the more I  read through it the more I am sure that this passage is a reminder for us as believers to stand strong in the context of the word and the privileged place of ministry. Not brushing over the hard parts of the gospel but speaking the truth in love.

SO..... will you join us? Don't worry if you're not the best artist or you don't fully understand the passage of the day it's okay. This is most about getting into the word of God and creativity in worship. The other day I saw a quote that it home from Beth Moore it said:

“YOU CANNOT FULFILL GOD'S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE IF YOU'RE NOT STUDYING HIS WORD.”

-       BETH MOORE

It may sound harsh but the more I think about it the more I agree with it. So let's do this thing together, what do you have to lose?

Here's how the study will go: MONDAY- FRIDAY THIS WEEK ONLY. Each day we will read a portion of the chapter and choose one verse to #scripturedoodle from the day's reading. I've pre-selected the passage for each day and listed it below.

MONDAY: 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

TUESDAY: 2 Corinthians 4: 3-6

WEDNESDAY: 2 Corinthians 4: 7-12

THURSDAY: 2 Corinthians 4: 13-15


FRIDAY: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I'll be sharing my #scripturedoodles on Instagram daily and also sharing a quick periscope about the passage each morning at 9am. I encourage you guys to do the same! If you want to learn more about #scripturedoodle check out our website: www.scripturedoodle.com

We also have a Vimeo page with a few #scripturedoodle videos that may help as well: https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos/page:1/sort:date/format:video

Friday, July 3, 2015

Naptime LIVE with #scripturedoodle

Thank you to everyone tuning in at 2pm today for Naptime LIVE with #scripturedoodle!

As I said over at Thrive Moms the other day what I am MOST passionate about is helping people experience God in a creative way through #scripturedoodle. Especially KIDS.

Here are a few things that I mentioned during our LIVE cast today.


 Check out each #scripturedoodle  pack we offer and decide which one is best for you and your kiddos. AND today only until midnight use the coupon code: naptime in our shop to get 20% off any #scripturedoodle packs you order!

VIDEOS
check out our vimeo page and view some of our #scripturedoodle video resources. We update these videos often so be sure to visit it when you need some creative encouragement! Here's one of our latest videos talking about #scripturedoodle in NICARAGUA!


Most of all we are HERE FOR YOU. Even if you're not the most creative person #scripturedoodle with your KIDS can be so rewarding! Remember: It's not about making a masterpiece it is about worship, help your kids meet God in a creative way! Share your stories with us and please feel free to contact us with any questions.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

To the One who says... "I think I might be called to Art Ministry"

Every now and then I get an email from a young artist excited to explore this idea of Art+ God together. And those are my favorite emails.

Here's my heart's reply to a girl called Stephanie who's letter I read just today.
To the one who feels the call to pursue Art Ministry:



I love hearing that you are passionate about art and the Lord and ready to see where this whole thing takes you. What I also love is that you are willing to be generous with your art to benefit God's kingdom. 

More than talent or skill I think what the Lord desires most from us is a willing heart. Just yesterday I was wrestling with the whole idea of.. who am I painting for, and the desire to just paint what the Lord tells me to. That being said, I'm intrigued by the statement that you always viewed your art and your relationship with God as two separate things. You are in for the most beautiful story when you open your art to God and start incorporating His word and His spirit's leading into your work. Our God is the MASTER artist right? He is the source of ALL the creativity. So on the days we are stumped or feel drained creatively we can ask Him. He is our supplier. I often tell the Lord, "let me see it how you see it". His hand and favor on your work will take you far and bear fruit for the kingdom for years to come. You must just be open to His leading. 

All that to say.... it won't be easy. Saying yes to God and following this call to "art ministry" was one the most invigorating things I've ever done. And yet in the day to day grind for years I've questioned, "am i doing it right?", "will I be successful", "am I really impacting the kingdom of God?" and "will I ever not be poor?". But Stephanie, I wouldn't trade it. In my most broken heartache I have made my best work. And when I really sit down and ask the Lord, "what do you want to say to them through my art?" He always shows me something wonderful to paint. I want nothing more than to be aware of God and radically obedient to what he asks of me and my art. It's the best way. There have been times for sure when I didn't hear God, maybe because of my disobedience or distance from Him. In those times I cried out to him, and the crazy thing is that it's only in hindsight that I see it was then that he was working. 


Being in art business/ministry  full time is tough, it's a tough market, but I will say that I believe there is a specific place He wants each of us in our art. What I thought would be "successful" in my work wasn't always. I would see what others did and wonder why I wasn't seeing the same blessing. And the answer is: because God didn't want to bless that, He wanted to bless something else.  So then I was searching for what He wanted for me even more, I just wanted to please Him. He drew my heart back to the concept of #scripturedoodle he'd given me years prior, I thought it was a great thing and I loved it, but I didn't think it was my ONE thing you know? I questioned, how could this support my family? And the answer to that is Ephesians 3:20. 

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasureably more than all we ask or imagine. According to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever Amen."


When we surrender to Him our dreams and gifts and fears and all of it, He is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE. The HOW of things is not our responsibility, He will show us, our responsibility is simply the YES to God.  Once I said yes to God about #scripturedoodle (and it was a whiny spoiled brat "yes" for the record). He flooded my mind with ideas of how it could work and the global impact it could have for the Kingdom of God. So as you continue on your journey, keep in mind what He chooses to bless in your work. Ask Him to show you the way, and be radically obedient to what He asks of you. As many have said, BLESSING follows OBEDIENCE. It is so true, I am proof of it. 

On the day to day my best advice would be:
1. PRAY---- it's our absolute best tool. He will guide our steps, and we are equipped to follow His lead when we are in tune with His Spirit. The whole idea of art ministry for your life was HIS IDEA. So remember that He has the best plan for it. It's not your plan, it's His plan and we get to be part of it. It's not restricting, it's freeing in the best way, so embrace it. 

2. STAY IN THE WORD--- reading His word daily is irreplaceable. There is nothing that can substitute for knowing and being rooted in the word of God. Along with Prayer it is our best tool. We read the word, we learn His character, it shapes our creative ability to communicate the heart of God through art. The days I don't spend my first moments with God, I absolutely regret it by the time I finish my cup of coffee. 

3. PRACTICE--- Last of the three I say, make art! Continue to practice and sharpen your skills, read books, take classes and stay inspired. But stay true to the heart of His art in you. There's nothing I despise more than to see people copy one another's art. WHAT'S THE POINT? It's not yours, God has endless amounts of creativity and He is able to give us each fresh inspiration. Although artists work may be similar it should still be different. The word of God is true when it says, "there's nothing new under the sun". Just examine your heart as you create. He will guide you. 

I am SO excited for you. I don't know it all, by a long shot, but I would love to help you along the way. Feel free to email me back with any other questions you may have. And stay in touch! I'd love to cheer you on along the way. 

xo April 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#scripturedoodle at the Women's Prison

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to share #scripturedoodle at a women's prison in North Carolina, I had no idea what was in store for me, but can I say it was SUCH a joy?!

We partnered with a prison ministry called Dew4Him, that works monthly to bring discipleship and encouragement to the ladies at NCCIW. I got to be part of the annual retreat put on for the women at the prison, which I learned was one of the only times people from the outside come and bless them with things like a healthy meals and fun activities, one girl at my table said the retreat weekend and Christmas are pretty much the only times, and hearing that made my heart ache...


 I know what you may be thinking, those women are criminals, why do they need fun activities or a delicious lunch, they committed a crime and they are paying for their poor decisions. But I ask you.... aren't they in need of grace and forgiveness as much as we are? Just because our poor decisions haven't landed us in prison doesn't mean that we haven't made them just the same. Doesn't sin weigh the same across the board to God? The word says,

“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins”.

                                                                        -Ecclesiates 7:20

Hear my heart in this, I am thankful for the justice system in our country and the institution of prison to carry out discipline for those who break the law. But now I am able to look past the crime and see the person. 

That day I was reminded of the need for the gospel in places like prison, where people are forgotten, In hopeless places where love is sparse. It's not our job to judge them or to help God carry out the weight of punishment, but to extend grace to them. There is one judge and He is God, He will surely judge all the hearts. But as for us, we have the freedom and privilege to give grace. Who will reach them with Jesus if we do not? How will they know about our forgiving God unless we tell them?! And how can we have eyes to see the need if they are clouded by judgement.  Here's one of my favorite passages of scripture about evangelism:

For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”                           
                                                               -Romans 10:13-15

If I had to sum up my time at the prison in two words they would be Perspective + Gratitude.

Perspective
I gained a perspective of these women that I've never had, before I would have called them criminals maybe... but now I call them sisters. Before I would have said they are serving a sentence for a crime they committed, but now I think about that sentence and my heart breaks for them, they will spend every night away from their son or daughter for the rest of their childhood. I observed the cycle of poverty that exists which may or may not lead women to crime. In poverty they do not thrive because they can't afford to, they are just trying to make it. Some turn to crime in order to provide for their families. You say, "yes, but everyone has the opportunity to make wise decisions", however, what if all you ever saw as a child was poor decisions made by the ones you loved the most. Drugs and alcohol, crime and hate, just don't set the stage for success. 

I spoke with one mother while I was there who shared about her son who was gifted in art and she was encouraging him to pursue graphic design. He said to her, "Mom you're the only one encouraging me"... my heart broke.  I cannot imagine that boy's surroundings and the laundry list of things he will fight against each day just to rise above the cycle of poverty. I saw the deep hurt from a mother who has almost no control over her son and his future. She was desperate for God to intervene on his behalf. 

See, we don't get the luxury of choosing the family we're born into, let's extend grace and understanding to the ones who are given less, and remember that if you were born into a healthy family, it is a precious gift you should not take for granted. 

Here's the picture I painted that day.

Gratitude

During the second worship set of the day I was painting, and thoughts rushed through my mind about the women at my table, "what can I say to them Lord?" Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a need, and at a loss for what to do about it? That's where I was, what could I possibly say to them in one eight hour day that would make an impact in their lives. Instead of words, He gave me gratitude. Instead of knowing what to say, my heart was moved to tears and flooded with nothing but gratitude, for the ladies I met, and their stories... even though I didn't know them. God gave me gratitude for the lives they led before prison, and the ones they'll choose to live when they get out. I was thankful for their hearts and how God made them, for their strengths and gifts in Christ. He reminded me that they are His children, as am I, and He loves them just the same. 

I am so thankful I got to be part what God is doing in that prison. I will treasure my perspective + gratitude and carry it where I go, remembering the women at NCCIW. 

If you would like to give financially to help send #scripturedoodle to places of need like the women's prison, you can donate here.  Our biggest goal for 2015 is to see #scripturedoodle alive and well in five countries, your donations to our #scripturedoodle global initiative will help make that dream a reality. Thank you for giving! 

-April 




Friday, January 23, 2015

Healthy Things Grow


One of my favorite things ever is phone calls with my sister, we call it "coffee talk", when you live four states away you have to work hard to stay close so we make an almost daily commitment to phone calls.

Yesterday we just had the best conversation... sharing what God is doing in each of our hearts and encouraging one another. I mean...


Is there anything better than talking about God with the people you love?

During our conversation I shared something with her that Christine Caine shared with our staff years ago. "Healthy Things Grow", Christine was referring to church growth, but I think the concept is true for anything. If your life, business, ministry or heart is healthy it will grow. It's so simple but so profound when you really think about it. Coming from a farming family the idea of healthy growth has an even deeper meaning, because the same is true with crops. 

So what about you? where are you in these areas? We all have potential for growth. Check out these passages on Growth. 


And grab this wallpaper image for your phone if you need a daily reminder. 





Happy Friday!!!
-April