So Much More – Conversations and Commitments

It was another packed message on Sunday at Thomas Road Baptist Church! I always check the sermon notes before the message starts to see what I’m getting into (Thomas Road is the only church I’ve found that publishes their notes ahead of time which is MUCH APPRECIATED) and looking at these notes I found myself wondering “how is Pastor Jonathan going to cover all of this in just 30 minutes?” He did, it was insightful and challenging, and he said my new favorite quote “God doesn’t want to just hear from you when you’re thanking him for a hot dog!” Definitely a triumph in word selection because if he would have said “meal” or “sandwich” I don’t think it would have stuck but choosing to say hot dog made the statement ridiculous and poignant at the same time. I was blessed by this sermon and hope you are too! Don’t be surprised if you see the hot dog quote illustrated later this week…🤷‍♂️🌭

Adding Downloads to the Site! (Slowly)

Starting with this weeks batch of uploads I’ll be adding links to download sketches from the site! These will be higher quality than what you can get from Facebook or Instagram so I definitely recommend getting here!

To try things out, I’m going to start with a combined a download of all 5 sketches from Thomas Road for the month of December. I’ll add individual downloads as well but I’m thinking I’ll have one that I update throughout the year so that you guys don’t have to add 30 to 50 items to a cart just to download all of the images!

If you find anything squirrelly with the checkout and download process please let me know! This is my first time messing with anything like this. Thanks!

So Much More – A Walk in the World

Charles Billingsley preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church on Sunday and brought the 🔥! The sermon was great, loaded with exposition and motivation. This is the first in a series of spiritual disciplines that will be preached about over the next month. Sermons like this can be difficult for me because I start writing down every single sentence. Having to trim and decide what to actually post is a real struggle; It’s all so good!

I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series!

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This book…man, it’s packed full of realistic habit changing fuel that you can apply to your life today. Seriously. It’s almost a reference manual in that there are so many good ideas and tactics that are explained in a simple and clear manner. Here are some of the most salient points that stuck out to me:

Scale down your habits

I’ve heard James mention this on quite a few podcasts but when building a habit it’s important to break it down into the smallest repeatable element to instill the habit. From a Christian perspective; if you’re trying to read your Bible everyday don’t set up a habit like “I’m going to read my Bible every day for 30 MINUTES.” It’s way too big. Make it super tiny so that executing the habit is almost effortless. Just read a page, or a paragraph, or even a sentence. Just make it tiny enough that you won’t fail to do it. Then track it.

Systems not Goals

I loved this point so much because as we’re told many times over to set goals (SMART,BHAG, and other such goals-type acronyms come to mind) if we fail to design the systems to accomplish those goals we are taking a shot in the dark. As James writes; “Winners and Losers have the same goals.” Design your systems to achieve your goals!

Your Habits are your Identity

This one is deep. It’s one of those phrases that appears obvious but when you really look at it; we don’t really believe it on some level. When someone states “I want to be X” our response should be “Are you doing X?” I concede that this falls down a little bit when someone says “I want to perform brain surgery!” But for every person who has ever said that they want to be a writer, or a dancer, or an artist (ahem) they just need to write, dance, and make art. You ARE what you DO. If someone wants to be a better Christian, are they doing the things that a “better Christian” would do?

To summarize, this book is one of the better ones I’ve read on habit change. The tactics that James lays out here are actionable and something that anyone could start doing immediately. Whether we are aware of it or not, habits are a major part of our functioning life; understanding why we do them and learning how to manipulate them can aid us in doing whatever it is we set out to do. Buy this book, don’t wait for a discount, it’ll be the best twenty bucks that you’ll spend today. Thanks James!

Parables

I illustrated a great message from Wilson Community Church down in North Carolina. Pastor Jonathan Minter was actually my boss way back in the day when I got my first development job and was instrumental in me starting this sketchy sermons journey. Definitely a recommended message because I thought I knew the parable of the lost son pretty well and there are key aspects I totally missed. A timely message for the gate keeping culture we sometimes find ourselves in!

The Most Important Thing

I love so much about this sermon; personally I get wrapped up in new iPhones and pens and other stuff that really doesn’t matter all that much beyond the point of purchase. Great sermon Pastor Jonathan!

Sing Noel – Joy to the World!

Joy to the world! Not much to say here; between Pastor Jonathan’s teaching and the actual words of the song I would only have inadequate words to describe this event we celebrate every year. Another great sermon in a great series at Thomas Road Baptist Church!

https://watch.trbc.org/media/t/1_jy9aw7qj/116662521

Receiving Gods Peace

I had the opportunity to sketchnote a service for West End Baptist church in SC and it was awesome! Pastor Ray brought a great message of peace and where you could find it and I was honored to try and capture it all. There was A LOT that I cut from this one; I literally ran out of room! I was determined that I was go get the flames mention and both Lennon and Longfellow in there though! 😅

Rickisms!

This was a commission for my brother-in-law Rick Ouimet, pastor of Mosaic Church here in Lynchburg. It’s a summation of his most often used (and beloved) catch phrases! His wonderful wife wanted to surprise him with it for his birthday and I appreciated being a part of it. You could probably string together an entire sermon series off of these phrases alone! 😅 Happy Birthday!

Discipline Equals Freedom

*Quick note: This is a diversion from the kind of content I usually post here but here’s what I’m thinking. I like books but I tend to buy more than I read (this book came out in 2017)- I don’t want to have a big library so I’m going to read the books, summarize and sketch them out, then post the sketch and give away the books. The theme of most of the books I buy are books about Christianity, self-help, and creativity so that’s mostly what you’ll see when I do this. I’ll compare them to the ultimate word on Christianity, self-help, and creativity: the Bible. Don’t expect long exposition here, a paragraph or two and that’s it!

I like books that get to the point and “Discipline Equals Freedom” gets to the point immediately. There’s no meandering around the idea that discipline can be the ally in solving some of the problems you may be facing in your life. Jocko Willink (a retired Navy Seal) splits this book into two parts: how to think and what to do. The thinking part of the book reads more like a prescription; if you have problems with motivation, procrastination, waking up early, or what my brother-in-law eloquently describes as stinkin’ thinkin’ there’s a page to go to with simple idea of how you can change your mind. The second part of the book is a literal manual: how to eat, how to work out, etc.

The Bible has a lot to say about the virtue of self-discipline. I could list a dozen or so verses like Proverbs 12:1, 1 Corinthians 9:27, and practically the entire book of James that all speak to the idea of self-discipline. I love the idea of taking control of your life and your body; it’s an empowering notion and when guided by the love and direction of a God who has a plan for our lives it’s literally a prescription for living a purposeful life.

Personally, I love it. It’s best used as a quick shot of motivation and as a..well…a field manual. I will say, the book design makes this one of the manliest books I’ve ever held. No dust cover, all black (including the pages that are black with white text) and so many pictures of sweaty concrete. It’s super masculine but I’m sure the words could apply to woman just as well. The picture I drew is a little more abstract because like I said, there’s not a narrative. It’s a tool, packed with a lifetime of knowledge, pressed into a book that looks like a brick.

Get the book here: Discipline Equals Freedom