Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Legion



They landed in the country of the Gadarenes and were met by two madmen, victims of demons, coming out of the cemetery. The men had terrorized the region for so long that no one considered it safe to walk down that stretch of road anymore. Seeing Jesus, the madmen screamed out, "What business do you have giving us a hard time? You're the Son of God! You weren't supposed to show up here yet!" Off in the distance a herd of pigs was browsing and rooting. The evil spirits begged Jesus, "If you kick us out of these men, let us live in the pigs.

Matthew 8:28-31, The Message

*FYI, if you follow the church calendar, you know that today is the first day of lent, also known as Ash Wednesday. Click here for interesting background on the day, and season of lent.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Talitha Koum"



...while he was still talking, some people came from the leader's house and told him, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?"

Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, "Don't listen to them; just trust me."

He permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, James, and John. They entered the leader's house and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: "Why all this busybody grief and gossip? This child isn't dead; she's sleeping." Provoked to sarcasm, they told him he didn't know what he was talking about.

But when he had sent them all out, he took the child's father and mother, along with his companions, and entered the child's room. He clasped the girl's hand and said, "Talitha koum," which means, "Little girl, get up." At that, she was up and walking around! This girl was twelve years of age. They, of course, were all beside themselves with joy. He gave them strict orders that no one was to know what had taken place in that room. Then he said, "Give her something to eat."


Mark 5:35-43

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beheaded



King Herod heard of all this, for by this time the name of Jesus was on everyone's lips. He said, "This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead—that's why he's able to work miracles!"

Others said, "No, it's Elijah."

Others said, "He's a prophet, just like one of the old-time prophets."

But Herod wouldn't budge: "It's John, sure enough. I cut off his head, and now he's back, alive."

Herod was the one who had ordered the arrest of John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison at the nagging of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. For John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias "adultery." Herodias, smoldering with hate, wanted to kill him, but didn't dare because Herod was in awe of John. Convinced that he was a holy man, he gave him special treatment. Whenever he listened to him he was miserable with guilt—and yet he couldn't stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back.

But a portentous day arrived when Herod threw a birthday party, inviting all the brass and bluebloods in Galilee. Herodias's daughter entered the banquet hall and danced for the guests. She dazzled Herod and the guests.

The king said to the girl, "Ask me anything. I'll give you anything you want." Carried away, he kept on, "I swear, I'll split my kingdom with you if you say so!"

She went back to her mother and said, "What should I ask for?"

"Ask for the head of John the Baptizer."

Excited, she ran back to the king and said, "I want the head of John the Baptizer served up on a platter. And I want it now!"

That sobered the king up fast. But unwilling to lose face with his guests, he caved in and let her have her wish. The king sent the executioner off to the prison with orders to bring back John's head. He went, cut off John's head, brought it back on a platter, and presented it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. When John's disciples heard about this, they came and got the body and gave it a decent burial.


Mark 6:14-29, the Message

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lowering



After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, "Son, I forgive your sins."

Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, "He can't talk that way! That's blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins."

Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, "Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, 'I forgive your sins,' or say, 'Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking'? Well, just so it's clear that I'm the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . ." (he looked now at the paraplegic), "Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home." And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, "We've never seen anything like this!


Mark 2:1-12, The Message

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Casting Out



Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.

Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out, "What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you're up to! You're the Holy One of God, and you've come to destroy us!"

Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!" The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly—and got out.
Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. "What's going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!" News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.


Mark1:21-28, The Message

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wilderness



At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.

Mark 1:12-13, The Message

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Red Hearts, Sweet Chocolates, Bloody Martyrdom



Happy Saint Valentine's Day.

Until yesterday, I was unaware of the alleged Christian roots of Valentine's Day. Quite interesting. I'm always fascinated by these stories of saints and martyrs. The following is taken from the blog Aardvark Alley.

Some ancient accounts record a physician and priest living in Rome during the rule of the Emperor Claudius II. This Valentine become one of the noted martyrs of the third century. It seems that his main "crime" was joining couples in marriage. Specifically, Valentine married Roman soldiers. Evidently, Claudius thought that single men made better soldiers while Valentine and the Church resisted the immorality of less-permanent relationships.

The commemoration of his death, thought to have occurred during the year 270, became part of the calendar of remembrance in the early Western Church. Tradition suggests that on the day of his execution for his Christian faith, he left a note of encouragement for a child of his jailer. The note was written on an irregularly-shaped piece of paper which suggested the shape of a heart. This greeting became a pattern for millions of written expressions of love and caring that now are the highlight of Valentine's Day in many nations.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Home Stretch






I just got my draft copy of my 100 + pages book of drawings, "The Great and Terrible Dream" in the mail the other day. All in all I'm pleased with the results. Though I have some additional edits to make, and have to tweek my pdf export settings to get some of the more intricately detailed pieces to print better. Also trying to figure out distribution and all that stuff.

If any of you have used Lulu or any other print on demand service, please feel free to post your stories or advice on this stuff. Seems like there's alot to it if you really want your stuff to look good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baptism of Our Lord


At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."

Mark 1:9-11, The Message

Monday, February 09, 2009

John the Baptist



The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I'm sending my preacher ahead of you;
He'll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God's arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!

John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

As he preached he said, "The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will change your life. I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out."


Mark 1:1-8, The Message

Friday, February 06, 2009

Table Talk Radio


Here's a header/portrait illustrations I hammered out a while back for the Lutheran internet talk radio show "Table Talk Radio." I finished these portraits in pen and ink where as the Christianity Today magazine ones were done in pencil and scanned.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Art Tags



I had a wonderfully opportunity to put 5 pieces of art in a coffee house art show for the month of February. Instead of designing the tags all formally and stuff, I got excited about making them by hand. This gave me a chance to come up with some little iconic drawings that supplement the image of art on display. This was pure ink flecking, brush flowing joy.

Also, check out and bookmark this blog by my good friend Brad Thomas at ID-33 Design. If you need a logo, or just about any design needs at all, he's your dude. Top notch stuff. Because I can't design a logo to save my life, I always refer logo requests to brad and have never failed to be dazzled by what he comes up with.

Also, didn't win the Stryper cd art cover contest. You can see the winning art here. I thought the image was striking and fitting and pretty cool (by a Brazilian fellow).

Please keep Michael Sweet (the lead singer) and his family in your prayers as his wife is battling ovarian cancer. Hard stuff. Dudes, go hug your wives and make sure you tell her you love her and do something sweet and thoughtful for her on Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Portrait Work





Here are the actual portrait pieces I did for Feb issue of Christianity Today that I mentioned in the previous post. My favorite was the old wrinkly fellow. Lots of fun to draw wrinkles.