Artwork: Choose This Day…

christian, luke 23, Jesus, Salvation, folk art, art, illustration, My Soul Among Lions, Psalm 1, John 14:6

The above artwork I illustrated about five or six years ago, and is based around Luke 23:38-43, John 14:6 and Psalm 1. It’s designed to have more of a folk art appearance, and incorporates a number of themes from the scripture it’s based around. It portrays Christ on the Cross (Luke 23:38-43), but the Cross is also stylistically part of a tree (as referenced in Psalm 1), and is the source of light and life (as referenced in John 14:6). Of course, each side has those of humanity who have chosen how to respond to the message of salvation, with those on one side having chosen a path that leads to destruction (also referenced in Psalm 1) or those who have chosen to follow Christ, and have become a part of His Kingdom (Psalm 1, John 14:6 and Luke 23:38-43). It prominently asks the viewer to “Choose This Day”, as life is fleeting and there’s no time like the present to decide how you personally would respond to the salvation, hope, peace and purpose in life (and in the life to come) that only Christ offers! (Check out Axiom’s Peace in our Lifetime Flyer or What in the World Brochure!)

I’ve also really been encouraged over the last couple of months by the music of My Soul Among Lions (which I wrote about recently at Modern Christian Music: Advancing God’s Kingdom). They have such a fantastic bluegrass/folk music sound, with inspiring lyrics from Psalm 1-10, that I thought this artwork would be something they might appreciate. As a result, “Choose This Day” is dedicated in thanks to this talented group, and their future work in helping many others stand for Him!

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments section! Also be sure to subscribe to this blog (so you don’t miss any future posts) and check out my Artwork tab for great christian cartoons, illustrations and resources available to help share His Truth!

The Arts: Modern Christian Music – Advancing God’s Kingdom!

Christian Music, My Soul Among Lions, Petra Beyond Belief, Newsboys, Michael W Smith, Third Day, Brave Saint Saturn, Christian, Christianity, Creativity, Artist, ArtsWhen it comes to creativity and the arts within Christendom, I think Christian music is one of those areas that has actually flourished in more recent years. Of course, it’s a little more difficult to gauge the actual impact that Christian music has had on society as a whole. But even if someone’s work for Christ seems to not make that big of a splash, just a handful of lives changed for Him are worth it all! Following are some of the Christian groups, artists, albums and songs that I’ve personally found inspiring and motivating over the years.

Petra: I first heard Petra back in High School, and still clearly remember watching their “Beyond Belief” movie at a youth event. The impact this album has had on me over the years is clear, with such songs as “Creed” helping me learn the words to the Apostles’ Creed, “Armed and Dangerous” inspiring me to take a serious stand for Him and “Beyond Belief” warning Christians about potential ineffectiveness through getting too comfortable. Great stuff. And yeah, I think the Beyond Belief movie – despite having a pretty early 90s look, is still one of the coolest things out there!

Newsboys: With “Going Public” and “Take Me To Your Leader” as some of my favorite albums (and “Let It Rain”, “Thrive”, “When You Called My Name”, “Spirit Thing” and “Breakfast” as being amongst some of my favorite songs), you just can’t go wrong with the talent of Steve Taylor (responsible for many of the Newsboys witty lyrics) and Peter Furler’s iconic voice. This is music about Christ and His Kingdom that not only has an amazing sound, but is often very clever, poetic and full of a lot of deep truths when you actually pause to consider what you’re listening to.

Third Day: Mac Powell’s distinctive vocals, and Third Day’s awesome Southern Rock sound makes this talented Christian band another favorite. “King of Glory”, “Your Love Oh Lord”, “Cry Out to Jesus” and “God of Wonders” are some that stand out to me personally. But honestly, Third Day has so much great music that I’d be doing anyone a disservice by only recommending a few.

Michael W. Smith: I listened to Michael W. Smith’s i 2 (EYE) album a lot back in high school, and really liked “Secret Ambition”, Pray for Me” and “The Throne”. I especially think that “The Throne” has a really unique sound that is beautiful and other-worldly – definitely worth a listen in my book. “This is Your Time” is also a very moving song, as the Columbine tragedy (which the song is based around) was something that spoke to a lot of Christians back then.

As for other noteworthy mentions? How about Geoff Moore & the Distance: “Evolution Redefined”, Brave Saint Saturn (a little bit of rock, sci-fi and such greats as “Heart Still Beats”), DC Talk, Toby Mac: “Portable Sounds” album, Carman: “It’s Our Turn Now” and “Radically Saved”, and Audio Adrenaline: “Big House”? I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Ray Boltz and his song, “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb”. Released in 1995 under the Album, “The Concert of a Lifetime”, the song takes the Pledge of Allegiance that so many Americans are familiar with, and turns it into a song about pledging our allegiance to Christ. With powerful and timely lyrics, the music video depicts various Christians being led away by secret police, or perishing at the hands of tyrannical Kings and violent mobs. While I understand that Boltz has sadly fallen away from Christ and His Truth in the years following the writing of this song (and is very much in need of our prayers), the song has regardless left an impression.

And last but certainly not least, My Soul Among Lions is what I’m listening to right now! This is such an easy recommend, that it’s not even funny. I came across this group very recently after hearing their music on Reconstructionist Radio, and was stopped in my tracks by their awesome bluegrass/folk sound. This literally has it all in one great album. With lyrics coming from Psalm 1-10, this music inspires and encourages through the word of God, with favorites like “Night and Day (Psalm1)”, “Every Morning (Psalm 5)”, “Rise Up O Lord (Psalm 10)” and “The Nations Rage (Psalm 2)”. If you’re feeling a little down by current events, politics, or any of the other nonsense the world throws at you, then I think you’ll be encouraged and motivated to stand for His Kingdom after giving My Soul Among Lions a listen. And don’t forget, they’re working on a new album, Psalm 11-20!

What are some of your favorite Christian Music artists, albums or songs? Do you think Christian Music has been very effective in advancing God’s Kingdom? Let us know in the comments section! Also be sure to subscribe to this blog (so you don’t miss any future posts) and check out my Artwork tab for great christian cartoons, illustrations and resources available to help share His Truth!