Thursday, December 31, 2009

Magi and Shepherds

Magi and Shepherds, originally uploaded by speartoons.
This is my sermon notes from December 27, 2009. Pastor Jim Lyon was talking about accepting all people, whether low-class shepherds or high-class Magi.

The sermon was taken from Luke 2:8-16 and Matthew 2:9-12. How different would the Christmas story be if Joseph and Mary didn't welcome the shepherds or the Magi. Yet they were two very different groups. God welcomes all groups regardless of social class.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Dark, Bethlehem Night


Cartoon of of poem about Christmas on a Bethlehem night.

On a night, so long ago,
Bethlehem began to glow.
Our hope to break free from sin,
was born beside a shabby inn.
Darkness feared this tiny child,
with rage it drove the Devil wild!
He would kill this little one,
and not rest ’til he was done.
Thirty three years he tried and failed,
’til on a cross, this child was nailed.
Satan thought he won the game,
but things would never be the same,
for that child became our light,
like on that dark, Bethlehem night.

I originally drew this comic in 2001

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cartoon: Frankenstein and Mirth

Spear-Cartoon_3575, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of a reading girl and boy. The boy says, "The gold part I understand. but why did the Magi bring Frankenstein and mirth?"

This cartoon is based on Matthew 2:1, 9-11
 1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod's kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, "Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We're on pilgrimage to worship him." (Matthew 2:1, The Message)
 9-10Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
 11They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. (Matthew 2:9-11, The Message)

Wise men and women are hard to come by. The Magi discovered a special secret. The Messiah was coming! Hardly anyone else, besides shepherds and the holy family knew this. Even King Herrod's scholars knew the prophecy but missed seeing the newborn king.

Sometimes, we will stand alone when God reveals something to us. We may have to stand for what's right while others don't understand or even mock us. We can rest assured, however, that if we stand on our convictions, we can discover something amazing.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cartoon: Santa naughty or nice?

Spear-Cartoon_3573, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of two boys in the cold. One says, “So Santa Claus only likes you if you are on his nice list? What a grump!”
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, King James Version)
Santa is a nice guy, but one thing I always had a problem with is I never knew if I was on his naughty or nice list. Is it possible I could be nice the whole year but end up on the naughty list because of that unfortunate incident I was in on March 26?

That's why I'm glad God doesn't play those games. He loved us so much that he sent Jesus to take the place for our sins. What an incredible gift! You and I didn't deserve any good treatment. But God loves us anyway. We can be on His list and that's a list I don't want to miss!

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cartoon: A Long Trip

Cartoon of two boys in car seats. The older boy says, "Brace yourself! This is at least a four dvd trip."

I based this cartoon on Luke 2:1-5
 1-5About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was pregnant. (Luke 2:1-5, The Message)
 There's nothing like a long trip, is there? It's nice we have modern luxuries like dvd players and video games these days, but when you have an eight hour trip ahead of you, you're still going to feel like it will take forever.

God had a plan for Joseph and Mary as they made the long trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It was seventy to ninety miles, depending on the route they took. It could have taken three to seven days, especially with an expectant mother. The couple may have been wondering what this was all about.

Yet it worked perfectly with prophecy. Micah 5:2 said the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Yet, Isaiah 9:2 said he would come from Galilee. There was a plan all along.

May you have a merry Christmas this year, and find a way to enjoy your trip as you go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cartoon: Home for Christmas

Spear-Cartoon_3571, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of two kids at a present. The boy says, "Of course I'll be home for Christmas! That's where the presents are!"

This comic is based on Luke 2:1-7

There are always reasons to get upset. The furnace may be acting up. The dog or cat decides to leave a "present" on the floor and illness can hit our families. Financial issues are plaguing everyone which just adds stress to schools and the workplace. Life can get pretty hairy at times.

Sometimes, I just want to be home for Christmas. The holy family didn't get that chance when Jesus was born. Joseph needed to find a place for them in a crowded city. Mary couldn't have been comfortable no matter how much Joseph tried. Difficult is an understatement. Yet, they did what they had to do.

This Christmas, I'm going to remember the sacrifice Jesus and His family made. For a brief moment, a stable was home to a new, exhausted family. And that was where the best present of all was.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cartoon: Technology for Angels

Spear-Cartoon_3570, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of two angels. One says, "It's easier to be God's messengers thanks to extended cell phone coverage."

This comic is based on Matthew 1:18-25

One of the things that's neat about the Nativity story is how angels are involved. There are other stories in the Bible with angels, But they show up prominently in all aspects of Jesus' birth.

Gabriel is there to tell Zechariah about John the Baptist. He also tells Mary what is about to happen. Who could forget the heavenly host singing to the shepherds? An angel warns Joseph to take the mother and child to Egypt. Angels are everywhere in this story!

Then there's today's story. Until the angels appears, all Joseph knows is his fiance is expecting a baby and he had nothing to do with it. Instead of making a scene and making sure she was severely punished, he had decided to divorce her quietly.

But an angel comes to Joseph in a dream and explains what is happening. I'm glad God knew how to set thing strait. I'm also glad we have a Christmas to celebrate. It's time to spread the good news, whether it's through a blog, cell phone or your friendly, neighborhood angel. There is good news! a savior is born.

I drew this in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cartoon: Thought That Counts

Cartoon: Thought That Counts, originally uploaded by speartoons.
Cartoon of a boy giving a present to a girl. The boy says, “Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Because if you can’t think, you can’t count.”

This cartoon is based on Luke 1:29-31

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Luke 1:29-31
It's great to know God has things all planned out. He knew who would be the right woman for a special task. He knew just what Mary needed to hear in an unusual circumstance. He knew what we needed if we were to have any hope of being with Him one day.

It's wonderful to know God had us in mind from the beginning. It was His thought that counts. The greatest gift of all has blessed us for two thousand years.

Merry Christmas, and enjoy the gift!

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cartoon: There is a way...

Cartoon of  a boy on a roof. He says, "Don't worry! I have it all figured out. I have this umbrella and that pile of leaves to break my fall."

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
As a kid and young adult, there were several things I tried that seemed like a good idea at the time. There was the rickety bike ramp that imploded the moment the front tire hit the plywood. There was the body slam on my buddy's car hood. And there was the time when I was eighteen I thought I could drive home after attending an all-night lock in at our church. Thank heavens I didn't hit anybody when I fell asleep at the wheel!

History is full of stories where people knew something didn't sound good but did it anyway because they thought they were the exception. Sometimes, that works out and it's called ingenuity. But if it's moral issues, if it goes against God's word, don't expect it to turn out so good.

I drew this in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cartoon: Home Among the Wise

Cartoon of Dad napping on a couch with the dog. A child is about to drop a cat onto Dad. He says, "I'd think twice before you do what you're about to do!"
If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31
My dad is a guy of few words. But he makes his words count. Whenever he's had some constructive criticism, I could usually count on it being solid advice. Many times, that sage advice came out about the time I was going to do something I'd later regret. 

You know, he was right. Dogs and cats don't make a good combination on a couch. In most cases, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! 

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, December 4, 2009

Criticism for Bullies

Cartoon of a bully threatening a boy. The boy says, "The problem with you bullies is you don't know how to take constructive criticism."

Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery Proverbs 29:1 (NLT)
It seems the more stubborn and inflexible someone is, the harder it is for them to take criticism. We need to be flexible and take the good along with the criticisms in life. 

God made trees to be flexible. When the wind blows, a tree sways in the wind. Dead branches on a tree don't have the same flexibility. They are the first to go in any strong wind storm. 

Engineers took a lesson from nature and learned long ago tall structures need to be flexible. A rigid skyscraper wouldn't stand the pressures of the wind anymore than a large tree. The best defense against the storms of life is flexibility.

When criticism comes our way, we need to be flexible as well. If the criticism has merit, let's learn from it. If the criticism is unfair, roll with it and wait until the wind dies down. 

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Super Help

Cartoon of a girl and boy. Boy wears a super hero costume. The girl says, "Do you have to wear that every time I ask you to kill a spider?"
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD,the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Everybody needs some help once in a while. Some of us have no problem admitting this, while others just as soon don a costume and pretend they are invincible.

If we are honest, we will admit we need help one in a while. There are some things we can't do alone. Fears get in the way. Bugs and spiders were never a problem for me. Rodents, however creep me out. Even squirrels look a little sinister. I think it's because they are small, fast and can go where we never could. Not only that, they are smart. The critters know how to get out of sticky situations. Mice and rats are even worse for me. 

I can rest at night knowing God is the source of all help. He can do for me what no one else can. It's comforting to know the same God who made it all knows exactly how to help me. I know I can do everything through him who give me strength. That includes walking by the trees of dive-bombing squirrels. Those critters can bean you with an acorn from ten yards above. They're that smart.

I drew this in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Confession

Cartoon of  a boy on Santa Claus' lap. Boy says, “If I confess stuff, will I get more loot?”
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Everybody likes a good confession, that is, as long as someone else is doing the confessing.

I read where celebrities are having to rethink how they use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Some celebrities have gotten in trouble when they said something that created controversy. At the same time, people are subscribing and friending celebrities so they can get a little tidbit about their favorite star. People love to see it when a celebrity confesses something. It makes them human.

At the same time, we have our own secrets we just as soon never divulge. We fear retribution. We want to look good even when we know our heart has sin.

If we knew we could get more stuff like the boy in the cartoon, that could change our minds. That's why 1 John 1:9 is such a great verse. We DO get something if we confess our sins to God. He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. Now THAT'S something worth getting!

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, November 27, 2009

Proverbs 3:13-15: Expensive Wisdom

Cartoon of  boy and man in a store. Boy says, “I’d like a million dollars worth of wisdom, please. Can you just bill me?"

This cartoon is based on Proverbs 3:13-15
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 3:13-15

It doesn't take long to realize how valuable wisdom really is. How many times could we avoid heartache and hassles if we just listened to wisdom?

When I was a boy, there was a neighbor kid who was giving me a hard time. He was taunting me about something so trivial I can't even remember what it was about. What I did remember was I told my dog to "sick 'em!"

I knew better. It would be unwise to try such a thing. But I blocked that from my mind. Instead, I thought my dog would never obey the command. After all, I didn't teach her to attack anyone.

Unfortunately, my dog picked up on my anger and the tone of my voice. She turned on the neighbor boy and began to attack. I had to grab my dog, pull her away and apologize for an embarrassing situation that could have become tragic.

Wisdom is very valuable. But it loses its value if I don't heed it. Today, I'm going to treat wisdom like the gold it is and do the right thing.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Proverbs 1:7 Beginning of Wisdom

Cartoon of  two boys in school. One says, "We must be getting knowledge. It smells a lot like fear."
This cartoon is based on Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

I used to wonder what it meant to fear the Lord. When I thought of fear, I thought of scary movies. Usually, some evil force would terrorize the hero in those movies. It didn't make sense to fear God if he was good.

Now I see that the fear comes from knowing God is all powerful, all knowing and yes, He's all good. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. It is by his mercy I am on earth in the first place. 

It's too easy for me to forget that in a world where modern conveniences make me comfortable and science attempts to explain everything away. I may think I have an answer for everything and a way to take care of myself in any situation.
I need to remember God controls my life. By his will, he placed me at this time and place in the world. Just that fact is enough to make me fear Him and be thankful for what he's done for me.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, November 23, 2009

Proverbs 26:12-Wise in Our Eyes

Cartoon of  two boys. One wears a robe and mortar board. He says, "You wouldn't believe how much smarter I feel since I changed my wardrobe."
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26:12

There have been times in my life when I thought I had all the answers. When I was six, I was convinced I knew how to get to the moon. All I needed was a rocket. I began building one in our backyard. It looked a lot like a tree house. I tried to convince my dad to get me rocket fuel. When that didn't work, I tried to "borrow" the lawn mower gas. Luckily, it was too heavy for me to carry. Mom wasn't any help either. She refused to get me a space suit for Christmas. I abandoned my plans in the fall when it started getting cold and the leaves fell from my rocket.

Nobody could convince me that I should leave the space exploration to NASA. They made it look so easy, I was sure a six-year old like me could blast off to the moon too.

There have been other times when I've caught myself acting like I knew it all. Pride can convince me I have all the answers and anyone who has a different opinion must be a space cadet.

I put on my robe and mortar board and act like the scholar I'm convinced I am. It's during those times I need to get a grip and realize I don't have all the answers. I may be able to learn from someone. It's okay for someone to have a different opinion. Today, I will act like a student and learn a few things instead of fool myself into thinking I'm Mr. Know-it-all.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, November 20, 2009

Running From Mice

Cartoon of  two mice and a fleeing elephant. A mouse says, "I don't know about you, but I feel empowered."
The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:2 (NIV)

Have you ever noticed when you have something to hide, you get nervous? When I've done something wrong, everyone looks like a threat. It doesn't matter if the person knows what I did or even if it had anything to do with him. The guilt will cause me to act like a coward.

When I know I have done the right thing, I feel strong even when someone may oppose me. There is something empowering about doing the right thing, being kind to someone and showing God's love and mercy.
Today, let's work on doing God's work and become bold as lions.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tested by Praise

Cartoon of three boys. One is acting cool. Another boy says, "He's been that way ever since the teacher praised him for his clean desk."
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
       but man is tested by the praise he receives. Proverbs 27:28 (NIV)
Some people like to puff up when they get some praise, don't they? You can complement someone on the way they look or something they just did, and the next thing you know, their head won't fit through a doorway.

I have the opposite problem. I have to be careful not to give off a false sense of humility. Someone can praise me, and I'll say, "Oh, it's nothing. In fact, it's pretty lousy. Why a kindergartner can do that! Think nothing of it!"
What am I doing? The guy just told me I did a great job and then I insult his judgment? A simple "thank you" would have been better.
I'm working on being humbly grateful for praise. I don't need my head to become the size of a hot air balloon, nor should I pop the balloon of the person giving me a complement. Somewhere in the middle is just fine, thank you.
I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two are Better Than One

Cartoon of  two boys on a seesaw. One says, "Thanks for coming. You wouldn't believe how much a seesaw stinks with just one person."

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: Ecclesiastes 4:9
I watched with a mix of humor, pride and frustration when each of my kids were old enough to say, "No! I do it myself!"

We all want to be independent. I remember milestones in my life like my first day at school, first time I could tie my shoe and the first time I got to stay home without an adult. We all love to be self-sufficient.

But there are certain things that just aren't as fun alone. Dinner is much more fun when I am with my family. Decorating for Christmas is more fun when everyone joins in. And it's hard to love my neighbor if I keep to myself.

This week, I'm going to look for ways to help someone and to be bold enough to ask for help when I need it. How about you?

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Friday, November 13, 2009

Genesis 2:15-17: Crossing Boundaries

Cartoon of  a boy and girl. Boy has his foot out and is about to cross a line. The boy says, "Is THIS the line you told me not to cross?"

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:15-17

What is it about human nature that makes us want to cross the line? It goes way back to Adam and Eve, doesn't it? We know we should cross that line. We know it will probably bad for us. But there is something about the thrill of doing what we shouldn't.

Adam and Eve crossed the line and ate the fruit. We've been paying the price ever since. If you're ever in a situation where you feel tempted, keep your feet from the line. Don't even go there! Run for your lives!

It's still okay to eat an apple, though. I believe the forbidden fruit was grapefruit. I have no evidence, but it's not my favorite and I'm standing by that.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Exodus 17: 8-13 Cooperation for the Home Team

Cartoon of Moses, Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17. One guy says, "Come on, Moses! We want the home team to win!"
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:11-12

Moses watched as Joshua and the Israelites fought the Amalekites. As long as Moses held his staff up, the Israelites were winning. But it didn't take until this became a burden for Moses.

Have you ever tried to hold something in the air for very long? It doesn't matter how light it is. After a while, your arms start to feel like boulders. All you can think about is lowering your arms. You start thinking for ways to finish the task. You say, "I'll do anything! Just let me drop my arms!"

Moses could not do his part on his own. It took Aaron and Hur to help Moses so the Israelites could win.

Who in your life is facing a battle today? Maybe someone needs you to help them do what God has called them to do. Be a support today.

I drew this comic in Adobe Illustrator.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Proverbs 26:27-The Trap You Set

Cartoon of a boy in a trap and another boy. Trapped boy says, "OK! I admit the trap was meant for you. Now will you please let me out?"

If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him. Proverbs 26:27

I used to love to watch the Warner Brothers' "Roadrunner" cartoons with my dad and brother. Every time, Wile E. Coyote would set a trap for the roadrunner. And every time, the poor coyote would trap himself. It didn't matter if it was a sophisticated contraption fit for Einstein, the coyote would always taste defeat, but never taste that succulent, elusive bird.

I've found in life I have to be careful about traps. Many times, I'd like to get even when I feel wronged. But the trap I'd like to set for someone could end up snaring me. It's best I let God deal with the other critter!

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. Romans 12:19

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sermon Notes: God is sovereign

My pastor, Jim Lyon, took last Sunday's sermon from Malachi 1:1-5.

We will be much better off when we come to terms with the with acknowledging God is sovereign. Sometimes, we don't understand His decisions. We see through a foggy glass.

We don't understand why God chose Jacob over Esau (Genesis 25). We just have to remind ourselves that God has a plan and in the end, it will all work out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Colossians 3:23

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" Colossians 3:23

When I first discovered I liked working with children, I was seventeen and it was Vacation Bible School at my home church.

Mom dragged me there. She was in charge and she must have been desperate to get her angst-ridden, flighty, artistic son to "volunteer." Can you call it volunteering? She said something about never letting me drive my car again if I didn't help her with a good attitude. Sure, I could help her if it meant no wheels during prime dating season, but a good attitude? I thought she gave up on making me have one of those when I was twelve.

She was smart enough to put me in the recess time with the kids. If I was in charge of a lesson, I would have tried to twist it so it would be about how cool I was. That would have scarred the kids for life.

A couple of teens and me had recess duty. We were responsible for wearing the kids out with semi-organized games of kick ball, basketball and dodge ball. That worked for the first two days. Then to my delight, things fell apart.

It started when I bragged to a boy he couldn't beat me in a race. He took up the challenge and encouraged his classmates. By Wednesday, the kids were yelling, "Get Kevin!" The whole VBS was after me. By Thursday, they figured out how to corral me. I was surrounded! The kids were all over me like a swarm of bees.

I loved every minute. I realized I could lead kids, even if it meant they were after my hide. I also realized it was fun being around little kids.

Today, it is my wife who volunteers me in the latest kid activity at church. I try to remember I am working for the Lord as I get to act like a lunatic for the kids. I hope God doesn't mind. I'm guessing he's okay with it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Joshua 1:9

It's normal to be scared about things. Some things are frightening to everyone. Other things seem scary except to the person who is scared. Both kinds of fear keep us from doing all sorts of things.

In the book of Joshua, the Israelites had good reason to be scared. They were going to war. They had no way of knowing if they would be killed or would be victorious. God reminded them they could be strong and courageous and He would be with them.

God doesn't promise he will take away our fear. He does promise to be with us wherever we go. He will strengthen you and give you courage to face your fears.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Devotoon: Luke 22-23

Devotoon: Luke 22-23

Devotional cartoon: Boy sees a new kid getting picked on. He has to make a decision. Should he stop a bully?

Sometimes, we have to do the right thing all on our own. Jesus knew exactly what you're going through. He went to the cross. Everyone abandoned Him. No one understood what He was doing. They mocked Him, laughed at Him and killed Him.

But God had a plan. Jesus rose victorious over death and sin. Jesus faced it all alone for us. When you're facing difficulties for Jesus, He will be there for you.

Luke 22-23

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Psalm 51:10

Devotoons Psalm 51:10

Cartoon on Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

I drew this with Pilot Precise V5 and colored it in Berol Prismacolor pencils.