Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
There’s a question we should ask ourselves at the beginning of each creative endeavor: a painting, a musical piece, a book, a meal for our families, a fingerpainting project with the kids.
The question is: “Why?” Why are we making it, singing it, sewing it, cooking it, writing it?
The Shepherd’s Song dedication page has only three letters: SDG. But those three letters represent so much to us. The letters stand for the Latin term, Soli Deo Gloria, which means Glory to God Alone. Artists like Bach and Handel wrote these letters on their work to show that the work was created for the purpose of praising God.
In the creation of their compositions they found meaning and purpose by dedicating their work to God for His glory. It changed their work from earthly work to holy work.
To God alone belongs the glory.
We can ask the same question about all of our creative efforts. Are they for God’s glory or for our own glory? What is the intent of our hearts as we paint and write and cook and care for others?
If we can add those three letters, any work becomes holy work.
What difference does is make if our goal in all our endeavors is God’s glory? What do you think?
What does it mean for God to be your shepherd? What does a shepherd do? Why would God’s people be compared to sheep? Research in books taught us a lot. But we needed more.
We found the sheep farm online and scheduled a visit with Keith Odom, a modern day shepherd in North Georgia. There is nothing like a road trip and soon we were on our way. What did we learn about sheep? Lots. But more important is what we learned about The Shepherd. (capital S!)
What captured our imaginations and hearts the most was “Bucket Time”. After Keith would feed the sheep he would take time to sit on the overturned feed bucket and watch the sheep. Some never realized he was there. Some ignored him. Others came looking for another bit of food. But some came, wanting to be with him. What perfect picture of God and our choice of interaction with Him.
It was moving to see how tenderly this man cared for his sheep. How he thought only of their wellbeing. Does God love us like that?
He made himself available to the sheep but never forced their affection. Does God wait for us, hoping that we will come to Him?
Keith rejoiced when the sheep came to him to nuzzle or be petted. He loved their gratitude. Does God rejoice when we remember to thank him for all that he does for us?
The answers that we discovered: Yes, yes, and yes.
Look at the responses of the sheep: Some never realized he was there. Some ignored him. Others came looking for another bit of food. Some came wanting to be with him.
Which response do you relate to in your spiritual journey? He’s waiting for you.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Before we decided to collaborate on The Shepherd’s Song, we each had writing careers of our own. In those writing projects we had control of our own books. The thousands of decisions it takes to write and publish a book were all made by one person. Then the change. We decided to work together. Suddenly all those decisions had to be made by two people. That’s more complicated. Read more
Two great days of sharing Psalm 23 were the perfect launch for our book, The Shepherd’s Song.
God’s Word went out on chocolate, cards, books, tissue boxes, cupcakes, water bottles, balloons, cake, dog bandanas, stewed tomatoes and bouquets of spring flowers. Now that’s exciting.
We spent the days sharing Psalm 23 at an urban health clinic, a program for homeless women, a library, a fire station. a hospital, a local park, an urban school, a food bank, a group renovating houses, a retirement home and an ICU waiting room.
Here are some pictures of the fun:
And our favorite moment in video:
What a great two days of celebrating God’s Word and sending out the book and Psalm 23.
The Shepherd’s Song has stories about twelve people whose lives are changed by Psalm 23. When it was time to write about the rod and staff, we started with research. We learned that the rod and the staff are the tools that a shepherd uses to protect and discipline the sheep. The rod is a club that the shepherd uses to ward off predators. The staff is a crooked stick that the shepherd uses to guide the sheep and pull them back from danger. If we look at God as our Shepherd, the rod and staff would be his protection for us. How would we show this in a story? What does this look like in a real life? read more
The Shepherd’s Song has a cast of characters and all those many characters meant many names. Each name provided us with a challenge. Like choosing a name for a baby you want it to be just right. read more
There’s something magical about seeing your work published – and you never know when that moment of joy will come. You stroll out to your mailbox one day, not expecting anything special; and voilà, there it is. You rip it open and beam with joy. After all that work, lots of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, your initial idea has been transformed, and you are face to face with your words in print. Read more here…
Today we are sharing about that face to face moment on Renee’s Inspirational Moments. What can our face to face moment with our book teach us about being face to face with Jesus.