The Book of Revelation

book-of-revelation

I finally had the chance to read (“view”) through The Book of Revelation graphic novel. I found it stunning. And I thought it was worth recommending.

I first learned about this project back when it was Revelation App (before I had any apps, or even a smartphone) through Doug Young who was the model for John and helped Chris Koelle (the illustrator) with much of the shot planning and model photography. I was really impressed with what I saw, but through Doug, I got an appreciation for the exhausting work that went into this project.

I’ve always admired Chris Koelle’s artwork. And though any art can point to The Artist, I have been particularly blessed by his overtly biblical projects such as JOB, The History of Redemption, and now The Book of Revelation.

Christian artists have a unique opportunity to use their media to spread a passion for God’s glory. Chris’s work (and all involved in this project) has inspired me to give glory to God with a fresh glimpse into this amazing, mysterious, and worship-filled book of the Bible.

Here are a few resources to help you experience The Book of Revelation:

Please Note: As several reviewers point out, this is not a “comic book” meant for children. You would do well to exercise discretion before sharing this resource with children or teenagers. I would call it “tastefully graphic,” but it is graphic nonetheless.

Media Revival

In a recent post, I shared how artists can have a unique impact on spreading the fires of spiritual revival. Here are two examples that have recently blessed me:

Visual Theology

If you are a visual learner like me, you might really benefit spiritually from some of these “theological infographics.” They were commissioned by Tim Challies and are available here, at his website. These are brilliant pieces of design and could at potentially be wonderful graphic aids in Bible study and understanding. I’ve posted one of them below: it’s a graph of the books of the Bible designed to look like the periodic table of elements! You’ll want to see all twelve of them on Tim’s site.

Video Devotional on Glory

I’ve read many of John Piper’s books. I’ve heard lots of his sermons. But these five brief heart-to-heart video devotionals are as powerful and effective as anything that I’ve experienced from his ministry. Share them with Christian friends and spread a passion for God’s glory. Share them with unsaved friends and start a conversation about the meaning of God’s glory. Pastor Piper is very kind and clear in His explanations. These would make a great gospel introduction. For links to all five videos, click here. Below, I’ve embedded the 2nd video which offers what I think is the clearest, most succinct definition of sin I’ve ever heard. If sin is not related to God’s glory, it loses its weight of seriousness.

When God Works…

“Almost every hymn is a result of revival–whether personal, local, denominational, or regional.” (Fred Coleman, Head, Department of Church Music at BJU)

This is a striking statement. I would probably be a bit more skeptical if it didn’t come from Fred Coleman, a man who has done massive amounts of research in the area of hymnology. I should know: I took his graduate hymnology classes. I remember sitting through his riveting lectures, listening to him rattle off hundreds of years of church music history practically by memory. I had to think back through some of these lessons as I wrote the script for the recently released Watchsong film. Luckily for me, “Uncle Fred” is also my music pastor, so I was able to pick his brain as well.

Hymns are inspired by revival. The more you think about it, the truer the statement becomes. Look back through history, or think of David writing the Psalms–listen to the stories of hymnwriters past and present: when God works, people sing. The great periods of prolific hymnwriting through history correspond to periods of great revival. At the very least, hymnwriters testify to experiences of personal revival as their creative spark. This very website is the result of personal revival. The hymn that started it all, O God, My Joy, was written as God was lovingly leading me through a period of repentance and restoration. It’s a freeze-frame of what God was teaching me.

Singing is often a telltale sign of God’s reviving work. So is prayer. In fact, when God works, people exult and worship and weep and repent and preach and witness. Just yesterday, I was reading Luke chapter 1 where God was working in extraordinary ways in the lives of Zecharaiah and Elizabeth and Mary. All three of them were prompted to give blessing and pray and prophesy because of God’s work in their lives.

So, how is your singing these days? From my church’s choir loft, I get a chance to watch people sing. I try not to, actually–I need to focus on worshiping God myself, not wondering about everyone else–but sometimes, in my weakness, I glance around. I can’t help but wonder what’s happening in a person’s heart who isn’t singing or even looking responsive at all. I’ll admit, sometimes I need to stop singing and just meditate on the words I am supposed to be “praying” to God. But usually, the more excited I am about worshiping my Lord, the louder I sing (and, being a tenor, the higher I sing, too).

Perhaps you’ve forgotten what’s worth singing about. My wife and I both confessed to each other recently that we were in need of personal revival. Life happens, and before we know it, there are 1,000 things that distract us from seeking God. I was encouraged again by Hosea 3:6, a verse I return to often:

“Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”

God is faithful and merciful and eager to restore and revive parched, thirsty hearts. The greatest revivals in history started in one heart–with one person. Humbly press on to know the Lord, and watch Him work in you and in others through you.

It is here, I believe, that Christian artists have a unique and wonderful privilege. As we respond to God’s work in our lives by creating, very often we are not the only beneficiaries of this God-inspired creativity. When God works, other people sing, too. How many sparks of revival have been lit by a song or a poem or a work of art or a book or a journal or even a single sentence? The influential Moravian leader and hymnwriter Nikolaus von Zinzendorf is said to have committed his life to Christ after seeing the painting Ecce Homo (“Behold the Man”) by Domenico Feti. Frances Havergal was inspired by the same painting to pen the hymn I Gave My Life for Thee. I wonder if Feti had any idea that his painting would influence thousands and thousands of people for Christ in the centuries to follow.

My prayer is that Christian artists would experience deep personal revival and be used of the Lord to inspire others through their art to “press on to know the Lord.” My prayer is that revival would break out in my own heart and in yours. When God works…well, I hope you can fill in what happens from your own experience.

What Is Watchsong? [Video]

Why should Christian artists and musicians continue to create new content? What motivates them to create? Why do Christians need new music? Why do you need Watchsong?

I wanted to find a creative way to share the vision and mission of my website, Watchsong.com, as well as encourage Christian artists that they are vitally important. That’s where this short film comes in.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some more in-depth commentary about the film and some of the themes it presents. But first, I need to give credit to several people who made this film possible.

The “MVP award” goes to my friend Shane McMullin at NINTH HOUR Productions for bringing this project to life with such amazing skill and creativity and for the hours and hours he spent shooting, cutting, and editing this film. He also had to put up with me and all the crazy ideas I had, most of which he magically made happen.

Special thanks to: Christian Mülhauser (chrigu.org), who graciously let me use a few short clips from his stunning film Madeira; Doug Young (dougyoungstudios.com), my good friend, who let us shoot in his very unique studio space; and Fred Coleman, my pastor, mentor, and friend, who helped me think through the historical data and has always encouraged me in my writing.

Thanks also to: my friends, James Harris, Brian Pinner, Chris Barney, and Ben Fetterolf, who proofread my script and were very encouraging in this project; Ken Beale, who lent us his skill and expertise for an entire day in the mid-July heat working cameras and lighting for a Snickers bar and a verbal IOU; and my wife Heather, who also braved the heat to assist us and made sure you couldn’t tell how hot it was when you watch the film.

The end credits song is A Broken Vessel from Watchsong Music. You can find a lead sheet, lyrics, and an mp3 demo on the Music page. A full recording will be available soon on Watchsong.com.

2012 Indie Craft Parade

One of the reasons I’ve been a bit blog-shy lately is that I’ve been trying to help my wife out as much as possible while she makes the final furious push to get ready for the Indie Craft Parade! We are both very excited that she will be in it again this year in the fiber art category. She has been experimenting with pieces that “grow” around felt “caves.” Below are a few photos of her amazingly creative work:

Heather has also gotten her website up and running again, so take a look! And if you’re in town, stop by and see us at the Indie Craft Parade in just a few short weeks!

Andrew Peterson Testimony

On my website, I posted two audio clips of a talk by Andrew Peterson which I found to be very helpful in encouraging me not to view my artistic endeavors as inferior work in the kingdom of God.

“Your work for the kingdom can be married to your passion for art and beauty.”

In these clips, Andrew shares the testimony of his personal journey to recognize this. He is a very witty and entertaining speaker. If these clips interest you, you may want to listen to (or download) the entire session audio, where he also sings three of his songs.