Saturday, January 14, 2023

Trusting God Through the Storms of Life

Hello my friends. I hope you are all doing well. Today I have a drawing from the beginning of January. I hope to create a short simple looping animation of the main character here floating above the background.

Is Jesus the focus of your life, or just a part? Trials in life force us to deal with this question. Jesus is the reason we are all here, the purpose of life is to figure out what we are going to do about Jesus. But once we figure out we are broken sinners, repent, and ask Him to reign in our lives, our work isn't done. We must live as Christ: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) In good times, easy times, hard times, trials, every decision, everything we do and say should reflect Jesus. We are called "to live as Christ"(Ephesians 4:22-24). Love God, and love one another.

The sky in this drawing is mostly clear, with a few light puffy clouds. It seems tranquil. I drew it that way because many times on the outside things can look fine, but inside they really aren't. A storm is raging. You have to really know someone to know if they are walking through a challenging time. No one knows us better than God. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah1:5 He is there, reach out to Him. He loves us so much. Remember that, and talk to Him. Pray. Pray often like Jesus did.

I hope that you are encouraged by my post. May God richly bless you my friends, until next time.--Ryan

Monday, November 28, 2022

Sunday Sermon Series Acts 5

Hello everyone! Today I have my 200th post on this blog. Wow. That seems like a lot. When I started (September 24, 2007) I was just posting so that I could participate in Illustration Friday (a world wide group of artists who would illustrate a topic each week, then critique, encourage and praise each other sadly that site is long gone). Now my posts are mainly sharing the good news of Jesus Christ I hear in church. Today I have an illustration from a sermon I heard back on October 30th, 2022. The title is Rise of the Resistance. You can listen to that sermon here. The scripture covered is Acts 5:12-42.

At this time God's power is growing his people. This is a work of God, not of man. The apostles were not selling a popular movement with charisma. God was saving sinners, the gospel of Jesus was advancing. Jesus is the news, we are to spread the news just as the apostles did.

The spirit was working through the apostles and many signs and wonders were done in Jerusalem. Sick people were healed, and unclean spirits driven out. Even Peter's shadow was used as we are told that it passed over a man and healed him. People start to come from the outlying areas to be healed and to hear the good news, much to the chagrin of the Sadducees.

As the religious leaders bring opposition against the apostles, the witness of Christ is validated as an authentic work of God. But the Sadducees efforts to stop the apostles by arresting them backfires and helps to spread the good news. Every scheme of man bows to God's plan. During the night an angel of the Lord comes and opens the doors of the prison. The angel leads the apostles out and says "Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life." So the Sadducees find the apostles in the temple the next day preaching. They have them arrested and brought before the council again, angry that the apostles refuse to obey. Peter makes a fine speech, laying out the gospel for them, and saying that the apostles must obey God, not men.

Well that didn't sit too well with the Sadducees as you can imagine. They decided to kill the apostles. Old Gamaliel spoke up and said you'd better think about that again. He talked some sense into them, pointing out that killing the apostles would be like pouring gasoline on a fire, but if this was man made plan it would fail. So instead they beat the apostles and kicked them loose.

The final verse in this story sums it up well:Acts 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. So remember, every scheme of man bows to God's plan.

I drew the dramatic scene of the angel of the Lord releasing the apostles from prison. As you can see I didn't go for the modern "winged baby angel" in a diaper but a grown warrior type. I gave him a glow, as they are often referred to as hard to look at because they are so bright.

I hope that you have enjoyed my synopsis of the sermon, and my illustration. I hope that you are challenged or encouraged by my post, and that you will go and listen to the sermon, it's another good one. May God richly bless you my friends, until next time.--Ryan

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Sunday Sermon Series Acts 4:32-5:11

Hey howdy hey buckaroos!  Today I have drawings from a sermon I heard back on October 23, 2022, on the book of Acts.  I highly recommend that you listen to it  here.  Today we learn that Jesus is deadly serious about his people's witness.

As the story begins here we see that the early church is growing, flourishing. The members are living out "love one another" by helping each other with daily needs, to the point of selling land and sharing the proceeds of the sale with those in need. Radical generosity. Mt. Saint Helens May 18th style generosity.

Hypocrisy in the ranks of those associated with God's people has been one of the great scourges of church history. In this stark story, we see that the Lord is not OK with it.

But... "But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira...: Acts 5:1 Ananias and his wife lied about the price of the property they sold. They didn't have to give any of the proceeds of the sale, they didn't have to lie about what they gave, they chose to be deceitful.

Hypocrisy in the ranks of those associated with God's people has been one of the great scourges of church history. In this stark story, we see that the Lord is not OK with it. As we see God's justice swiftly punish sin, we are confronted by the grace of Jesus, who bore the weight of divine judgment on the cross. He paid the debt for ALL sin, for EVERY person, for ALL time. "Look what the Lord did to Ananias and Sapphira!" No! Look what Jesus did for you.

If you think Christian hypocrisy is a massive issue, so does Jesus. It's his name and reputation that falls into disrepute when people falsely claim allegiance to him.

The Lord fiercely guards his people's integrity because the church would carry on the witness of Jesus in the world.

I hope that you will listen to the sermon, and that this post has challenged and or encouraged you. May God richly bless you my friends, until next time.--Ryan

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Sunday Sermon Series: Acts 2:1-41

Hello my friends! Today I have drawings from a sermon I heard back on September 18, on the book of Acts. I highly reocommend that you listen to it here. I hope this illustration draws you in, and leaves you wanting to hear more about the joyous topic: the Pentecost!

Pentecost happened 10 days after Jesus' acension into Heaven, 50 days after the Passover. Pentecost was a day of feasting for the Israelites, as they gave thanks to God for their harvest. I have 12 men here representing the apostles, (with Matthais, the recently anointed apostle from Acts:1:26) but according to the sermon, all the followers of Jesus were gathered there. That puts the actual number at about 120. So there they were... and then the miracles happened. When Jesus returned to His place on the throne next to the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to Earth. Those gathered heard a sound like rushing wind; something like fire appeared above their heads, and they spoke in foreign tongues.

Peter clarifies in Acts 2:14 that this day was prophesied and was a fulfillment of God's promise: That this Jesus was God, was delivered up to death, was raised from the grave, and was exalted on the throne.

I was so happy when the movie Risen came out. I love movies about Jesus, but I had been anxiously waiting for a movie to be made about AFTER the cross. The cross is where Jesus worked out our salvation, but it doesn't stop there. He is RISEN! And then He was seen! AND THEN... He ROSE into heaven!! Yeah, I got excited there. The day of Pentecost is an exciting part of the story -- His story. I'm excited to depict it here. I drew the apostles amazed here, and I still get a chuckle now and then because they look sort of like Simpsons characters having a bright idea if you have no concept of what the story actually is. They should look *gasp* amazed! They heard a miracle, saw a miracle, and then they spoke a miracle!

I hope that you will listen to the sermon and learn more about this amazing day when God's promise was fulfilled. On the day of Pentecost, God delivered on His promise, birthing the church through the power of the Spirit bearing witness to the work of the Son.

May God richly bless you my friends. Until next time... --Ryan

Friday, September 2, 2022

Sunday Sermon Series Proverbs 7 and 8

Hello everybody! Today I have drawings from the last couple of Sundays. August 21, and 28th, 2022 to be precise. We are still in the book of Proverbs, chapters 6, 7, and 8. I highly reocommend that you listen to them, here for chapter 7, and here for chapter 8. I felt that these drawings had merrit, even though they are still roughs. I will try to describe the concept for each of these illustrations below.

"Bind [your father's commandments] on your heart always; tie them around your neck." Proverbs 6:21 I start out with this image, which represents binding God's wisdom to our hearts. I had some rough sketches of the sheep that Noah speaks of, but I kept coming back to this idea/image. God's wisdom keeps us safe, gives us guidelines for how we are to live as followers of Christ in God's world. The Lord sees all, and his wisdom brings freedom.

If I were to do a finished drawing of this I would research what a nice pretty bow looks like, and replace the clumsy one depicted here, which gets the point across, but leaves me wanting more. The heart is not symetrical, but I like that. The lettering isn't perfect either, but that works for me too. The main point of this scripture is to warn about the perils of sexual sin while calling the listener to respond to the grace of Jesus. Listen to God's wisdom, and act. Illicit sex entices the eyes, but it steals your soul. The path of fidelity is the place of flourishing. The Lord sees all, and his wisdom brings freedom. Bind His wisdom on your heart. It is the best way to live in the universe He created. It is there to protect us from ourselves, and from sin in the world.



This illustration is pretty straight forward with both the tagline and imagery. I've sketched this concept before. I think this is the best version I've done so far though. Jesus loves us. Jesus provides a way, through his death on the cross, for us to be with the Father. Our sin costs us our life. Jesus paid the debt for all our sin, all at once. So we can be with the Father in eternity. Jesus gives us a new heart, because ours is full of sin. And once we are given that new heart we are welcomed.

Once again we see Cartoon Ryan as the sinner accepting Jesus love. I frequently use myself as the sinner described in the scripture being discussed. I do this as a constant reminder to anyone reading that I realize I am a broken sinner, just like everyone else. Let's keep the hypocrisy to a minimum. My beady cartoon eyes are quite close together here. Nothing symbolic in that, just making myself look a bit more comical. I'm wearing my usual costume: baseball shirt, shorts, and a pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars. I just noticed that Cartoon Jesus has on two different sandles. That isn't symbolism either, just an honest mistake. Rough illustrations indeed.



In chapter 8 one of the things that caught my attention was that God's wisdom was right there in the beginning with Jesus and the Father. This was something I had never considered before, and I recommend listening to this one as Jake uses scripture to back up this point. Why is that important? Because that means that it is more than just suggested rules for how to live a good life. It was interwoven into our world, from the beginning. Which makes sense considering who created our world, but something I hadn't thought about.



And here we have the final illustration for this week. Wisdom, with Jesus as he forms the earth.
John 1-
1. [1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...[14] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14)

What does all that mean? Obviously, John is writing about Jesus. Jesus was there in the beginning with God. See, Paul says this more clearly, that Jesus is the wisdom of God!
1. 1 Corinthians 1:24- “but we preach Christ...the power of God and the WISDOM of God.”
2. 1 Corinthians 1:30- “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God...”
3. Colossians 2:1-3- “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

I hope that this post has encouraged you, and or challenged you. I hope that you will go and listen to the sermons from Northwest Gospel Church that I listened to as I drew them, they are good sermons, and good for you. May God richly bless you my friends, until next time.--Ryan

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Sunday Sermon Series Proverbs 6

**UPDATE** August 23, 2022

Well folks, I just couldn't stand it. I had to I add a background to the characters for this illustration. I borrowed this background from an illustration I did a few weeks ago, for a book project I am just finishing up. I think it fits our characters well, and they look so much happier to have a world to live in, rather than just a sad, empty white background.

I cropped the background so that it would fit my characters better. I tried layering some close up stalks of grass to add depth, but it was too distracting so I dropped that idea. I left the background black and white, so I could keep the focus on the characters.

The scale of the characters is much larger than real life obviously. I am allowed to do this because I am a cartoonist, and we get to change things at will. Can you imagine coming across a slug and ant that size out in the woods? Think of the slime trail. Bleh. Thankfully cartoonists/illustrators ideas mean little beyond amusing their audience, so I don't have to feel guilty about unleashing this sluggard on society. This illustration seems to work well now, let me know what you think.

Hey-howdy-hey everybody! This week I have an illustration from pastor Andrew's sermon on Proverbs 6:1-19. I encourage you to listen to the full sermon here on the Northwest Gospel Church website.

Beginning in verse 6 we are introduced to the sluggard, the powerful imagery there combined with Andrew's tale of "Slime in the Moonlight" was so powerful I really didn't have any choice on what to draw this week. Immediately these characters popped into my mind, and begged to be drawn. Had I the time (oh, how often do I sing that refrain) I would have sketched out the fellow with the pointing fingers, the "ROLLING EYES" character... but this is what I had time for. Please, give the sermon a listen, it is a good one, you won't regret it.

On the surface this piece of scripture is full of pragmatic wisdom, but we are again reminded that everything in Proverbs is viewed through the lense of godly wisdom. It isn't simple pragmatism of which I and some in society today are fond of. God’s Law frames our world, as the principles he has designed create immutable truth, these truths are laid out for us in the book of Proverbs. This book gives us the street smarts to operate in the world today as Christians.

We often fall short in life, I know I do. Sometimes on an hourly basis, and that is where God meets us. In these moments we are called as Christians to repent (not just spoken words, but in our hearts) and ask God's forgiveness. He meets us with the truth in His word, and with grace through Jesus' sacrifice for us.

On a side note, I am the wise-cracker that Andrew mentions in the beginning. I frequently try to make people laugh or smile. Those comments are most often empty, of little or no value other than a fleeting laugh from whoever I'm with. I would like to think that I am not that cynical, and that I no longer go to the well of sarcasm as often as I did as a teenager (that was so long ago now I think it has mostly worn off). I suppose Angela would be a better judge of that than I.

Here are some of the truths to remember from this scripture: Today's decisions produce tomorrow's results. Financial debt strips security. Correct mistakes humbly. In conclusioin act carefully, be humble, stay in God's word daily. Read that part about things God hates starting in verse 16, these are street smart words to operate by.

This pencil sketch was done with a Pentel .7mm P207 mechanical pencil in a Pentalic Sketchbook on 70lb paper. I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it encouraged you, made you think, or challenged you, and that you will read more about God's wisdom and truths laid out in the book of Proverbs. God bless you, and have a great day! --Ryan

Friday, July 29, 2022

Sunday Sermon Series: Proverbs 3:1-12

Hello everybody! Today I have a drawing from a couple Sundays ago (July 17, 2022). The message centered on Proverbs chapter 3, verses 1-12. Trusting in the Lord's wisdom, which we find in God's written word. You can go and listen to it here at the Northwest Gospel website.

We can trust in Jesus, and we know this when we read His word. We hear Him there. Not only the spoken words of Jesus but we hear His father speaking to us through the prophets. Time and time again God tells us not to be afraid, to not worry but to trust in Him.

Websters defines Trust as: Assured reliance in the character, ability strength, or truth of someone or something, one in which confidence is placed. We must trust in God regardless of our circumstances. He is there, He loves you, and He has a plan for you.

Fools reject God's wisdom, they choose a worldly course, rather than choosing God's path. Salvation through Jesus' death on the cross is the gate. His ways (outlined in His word) are our path. Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make straight your paths." The creator of everything has a plan for how to live your life. Reject evil, Run from it! Sin and evil suck the life from us, and lead to death. But God's word refreshes. In Christ there is life.

I sketched my cartoon self trusting (awkwardly) in Jesus while I listened to the sermon, and took notes. I colorized it in Photoshop, and added the sky background. I originally drew that sky about 20 years ago, and I use it from time to time because I love the texture, the clouds and the colors in it.

As I listened I also sketched this heart drawing, and decided to include it here. It is a rough drawing, but I like the sentiment. Jesus saves. Jesus heals. Proverbs 3:7-9 "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."

This pencil sketch was done with a Pentel .7mm P207 mechanical pencil in a Pentalic Sketchbook on 70lb paper. I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it encouraged you, made you think, or challenged you, and that you will read more about trusting in God and the path He has for us as Christians in the book of Proverbs. Please contact me if you have questions. God bless you, and have a great day! --Ryan