My Mural and the Easter Story Part 3: “Alive with Him”

My Mural and the Easter Story Part 3: “Alive with Him”

Although this post is getting out a little late, seeing that Easter is already passed, I’d like to finish up on this series about the mural my friend Dave Mattison and I did. I saved the best part for last. In the previous post, I showed you the image of the cross of Christ, and people stained by sin, desperately climbing out of the mire to be cleansed by the blood of Christ. All of us are in that predicament, and if all of us seek after God, we will find forgiveness flowing out from Calvary. If we trust in the finished work of Christ–that He alone can save and wash away our sins by His blood, His death being the payment that makes us right before God, we are forgiven. The debt has been paid. But God doesn’t stop there. Why? Because Jesus didn’t stop there. He died, but He didn’t stay dead in the tomb. He rose again. The stone was rolled away and the bones are not in the grave. By the way, the historicity of Jesus resurrection is vital to the Christian faith. Jesus said He would rise again. His resurrection proved the claim that He is the Messiah who came not only to deliver the Jewish people but the Gentiles (most of us) as well. Like the Paul the apostle said, “And if Christ is not raised, your faith is futile. You are still in your sins.” (I Corinthians 15:17) Fortunately, proof of Jesus resurrection, although denied by some groups today, can be backed up by many accounts in the Bible, as well as...
Good Friday: My Mural and the Easter Story Part 2

Good Friday: My Mural and the Easter Story Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the 4′ x 28′ mural my friend Dave Mattison and I did for our church, illustrating the Gospel message from Genesis to Revelation. In that post, I showed some images of creation, the fall with the sin Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, the flood with Noah’s ark, and then the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments reveal to us, like a mirror showing any dirt on our face, how we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Being that it’s Good Friday, I want to share the middle section of the mural, what it’s about and what it means to me, and how I think it can speak to all of us. Before I do that, though, I’ll share the panel before it. There’s not a lot here, except a lot of darkness. This is how it is for all of us before God reveals to us the awesomeness of His Son Jesus Christ. The river flowing below is black with the venom of sin. Death, destruction, and devastation covers the earth. Above however, we do see the rainbow, symbolizing the promise of God that He would never again the flood the whole earth as He did in Noah’s day. I think it’s also a symbol of God’s mercy being extended to us. In the middle panel, we have the cross of Christ. Notice Jesus is not on the cross. Why? Because He is up in heaven right, seated at His Father’s right hand. There are churches depicting Jesus as being on the cross, and although I...
My Mural and the Easter Story Part 1

My Mural and the Easter Story Part 1

Easter is just a little over a week away and I want to share a mural I created and tell you what it’s about. I think this mural correlates well with the upcoming season. First of all, this mural was a collaborative project between my friend Dave Mattison and I, who God gave an art talent to as a middle-aged adult, when a co-worker asked him to draw a picture of a deer. His co-worker wanted to give the drawing to another guy at the factory who was goofing off and then caught like a deer in the headlights by the supervisor. Dave said, “You know I can’t draw very well, just doodles.” “It doesn’t have to be that good,” the coworker replied. Later on, Dave held the pencil in his hand, ready to draw. Wanting to come up with a halfway-decent drawing, Dave thought for a moment and prayed, “Lord, you know I can’t draw, but if I hold this pencil, you could draw the deer through me!” And that’s just what he did. The deer was very well done. I had just gotten to know Dave around this time when he told me the story. He had never really drawn anything well up until that point, but then the Lord gave him a talent to draw, just like that, out of the blue. Seeing the way God blessed him, I wanted Dave to be a part of this mural project, and he agreed to help me with it. The mural Dave and I did is 28′ wide by 4′ high, consisting of a series of 4′ x...
New Painting: Enjoying the Light of the World

New Painting: Enjoying the Light of the World

It’s amazing how fast the year went by. The dusting of snow on the ground, the crisp weather, the lights on the trees, the hustle and bustle in the shopping areas all indicate the Christmas season is here! I love Christmas, but it’s always a bittersweet season for me. Having grown up in a legalistic church/ cult, my family and I didn’t celebrate Christmas until I was 12 years old, after we left that place. We were taught from the time we were little kids that Christmas was pagan and evil. For that reason, Christmas doesn’t quite have the “magic” for me–you, know, that nostalgic feeling that finds it root in childhood–since I missed those special moments: the awe and wonder of the decorations, the preparation, the suspense, and of course, the gifts. Christmas also signals to me the the year is almost over. It makes me think of how quickly the time went by, and some things that I wanted to accomplish, but wasn’t able to get done. And I’m not a fan of winter! But I definitely don’t want to be a Grinch. So, now I’m going to look at the positive side… For Jesus, Christmas is a time of birth. For us, it’s a time of rebirth. The year is winding down, and a fresh new year is ahead, with new opportunities arising: opportunities for business, and opportunities for relationships too. I’m glad my children can celebrate Christmas and enjoy the true meaning of the season. As they are getting old enough to appreciate it, my wife and I are doing special advent devotions with them....
Deacon or Derelict?

Deacon or Derelict?

Artwork: “Greatest Commandment,” Acrylic on Panel, Copyright 2009, by Matt Philleo. Did you know that it is possible to be perfect? It’s true, but we can’t be perfect–at least in the sense most people understand–in this life. As born-again believers in Jesus Christ we will be perfect, but only once we reach our heavenly home. For those of us who have recognized our depravity–our sinful state before God–and received His free gift of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we often see positive, instant, sweeping change in our lives. But before long, we soon discover sinful tendencies in our life that are deep-seated and much harder to uproot. If you have any true desire to follow Christ, and yet hit the glass ceiling of unyielding, stubborn sin, it’s not long before you can get really discouraged. I know I have. Here’s the deal: Jesus said, “Be ye perfect, as my Father in heaven is perfect.” Easier said than done, right? Of course, the Lord’s words are entirely true and should be obeyed. We should be perfect. However, we need to look at this verse properly. In a sense, we are already perfect if we have accepted Jesus and His gift of righteousness to us. He takes our sin and imperfection, and trades it for His perfect record of obedience and perfection. We are clothed in His perfection and righteousness. And yet, in another sense, we are not yet perfect. Our actual day-to-day performance is anything but perfect. Any honest person, Christian or not, knows this. We all struggle with sin. Though it amazes me that,...
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