Mission of God Artwork

Our artwork for the ongoing Mission of God course is an illustration by Bruce Butler. Three overlapping circles contain depictions of three cities (from top to bottom): the heavenly Jerusalem as described in Revelation 21, the “City on a Hill” as described in Matthew 5, and the Tower of Babel as described in Genesis 11. The cities are connected by a depiction of the River of Life (Revelation 22). This illustration reads in two directions—from top to bottom and from bottom to top.

Read from bottom to top, the humanity-wide quest to live a meaningful life in a broken world starts by default at the Tower of Babel. If we are not working towards God’s mission, the next mission we pursue is our own. Although we may be able to do incredible things as individuals or as a culture, the charge to mankind was to image God in the world, not simply to image ourselves. In grace to us, God breaks up our godless work. Jesus comes with a new city in mind, a “city on a hill” that “cannot be hidden.” We are invited to be members of this city, displaying Jesus’ upside-down kingdom in the sight of all people. In ironic contrast to Babel (a city that wanted its works to be widely visible but was then abandoned at God’s decree), Jesus expressly charges the city on a hill to have its good works seen! However, it is for the glory of “your Father who is in heaven.” Lastly, we are invited higher again through Jesus’ vision to John of the heavenly Jerusalem, a “cube of meeting” that represents the holy of holies in the temple. The city on a hill of our present age ultimately becomes the heavenly Jerusalem, where heaven and earth finally meet in fullness.

Read from top-to-bottom, the River of Life flows from the heavenly Jerusalem down onto the City on a Hill. This city acts as a watershed, and a “preview” of this river is precipitated to the world through it. Two things are intended in this illustration. First, God abundantly provides from heaven for those who seek to be on His mission. For example, we have the Holy Spirit, we have His incredible promises through His Word, and we are on mission within a community and inspired by the faithful before us. Second, the world that is not yet on mission with God receives a sort of gracious, River of Life “rain” by the faithfulness of God’s people as we seek to image Him. Though far different than drinking from the river, feeling its mist makes the human heart yearn for more. “Therefore, we are ambassadors… God making His appeal…” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Lastly, the circles overlap as a way to illustrate that we are truly “residents” of all three cities. We often pursue our own missions like the people of Babel, and the “rain” of the River of Life is for our coming-to. We likewise often join Jesus in His mission and demonstrate Him to the world, empowered by heaven and its King. Ultimately, “we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:13), to which we belong as a result of Jesus’ work, enjoying Him and His completed mission until we drink straight from the river with all the redeemed.

Discussing the Sabbath: Families, Rituals, and Imperfections (with Gary McQuinn and Kaitlin Saenz)

Gary and Kaitlin sit down in the sanctuary at the Highlands Building to discuss how their families observe the Sabbath. Their conversation on the Sabbath includes the ups and the downs, pizza on paper plates, standing on chairs, and experiencing a God-given rhythm that is well worth its sacrifice.

 

Psalm 119, Part 3—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: James Stukenberg

James Stukenberg is a photographer based in Denver. Since relocating to Colorado from Wisconsin in 2018 he has freelanced, photographing editorial and commercial assignments. He and his wife, Anne, have a daughter, Henrietta, and are expecting another child in December.

Piece: Photography

Upon first look, Psalm 119 may simply read as a straightforward declaration of the beauty and truth of the Word of God—an unwavering devotion from someone brimming with confidence in their Creator. But these praises aren’t offered lightly by someone who has been handed a life of ease. The psalmist is enveloped in struggle—struggle with his own brokenness and struggle with the brokenness of the world that surrounds him. He senses the threat of succumbing to these forces.

I’m drawn to the tension between the psalmist’s firm belief in God’s goodness towards him and his broken-life experience that causes him to approach God in vulnerability, crying out “Do not utterly forsake me!” I identify with the position of the psalmist as I wade through my own season of struggle—questioning my purpose and identity, feeling isolated and unknown, longing for a sense of home and wholeness. Engaging with the corresponding darker emotions with a raw honesty towards self and God is the first step toward hope and healing.

The process of making these photos was reflective and instinctive—as I read and considered Psalm 119, I let it inform my thinking and seeing, intuitively making images that resonate with this emotional state shared with the psalmist. This short series overlaps with a larger ongoing body of work, visible at the link below.

See complete series

Psalm 119, Part 2—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Tamara Carey

I am a wife and mama learning with my husband and our children about God and the world He made. I am privileged to walk alongside others as we together seek to know and love Him more, ever aware that we are all sheep in need of our Good Shepherd.

Piece: Mixed Media

Imagine a shepherd beginning to write this song as he watches his sheep, writing the Hebrew alphabet and capturing his love for God’s words, panting for the Word and earnestly desiring to walk in it. His sheep are close by and even wandering across this piece after he sets it down to seek after a lost lamb.

Psalm 119 is beautiful. It is daunting. We see an author’s absolute love for the Word of God and his to walk in God’s commandments with his whole heart,.Yet we also see a keen awareness of his inclination not to do so, requiring complete reliance on his Shepherd.

I wanted to do a rough, raw piece, helping us imagine the potential roots of this psalm.

Sunday Worship Gathering Updates

It has been a gift to gather in-person again after a long and often lonely season. We are so thankful for this, yet we also recognize that this pandemic is not over. We are all working through how to live in that difficult tension.

Given the updated CDC and City of Denver guidelines and in accordance with local school districts, as of Sunday, August 15 we are:

  • Requesting that everyone wear a mask during Sunday worship gatherings
  • Requiring that everyone wear a mask in all Park Kids areas
  • We are not taking temperatures, requiring registration, or enforcing social distancing.

Our mask policy for Sunday worship gatherings is a “request” because, although wearing a mask is a personal choice (and one that we will honor), we want to be a community that sacrificially loves others around us. We see this as an easy and important way to do that, helping prevent further spread of the disease in our area and taking special consideration for those in our community that have weakened immune systems.

Our mask policy for all Park Kids areas is a requirement because children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated.

We will continue to provide updates if and when guidelines change. We also understand not everyone will agree with these requests, but we pray that, even so, we will all move forward with a spirit of graciousness towards and preference for one another’s interests as we are encouraged in Philippians 2:4.

Psalm 119, Part 1—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: John Forney

I am a graphic designer and musician from the East Coast. I came out to Colorado 20 years ago and have been here ever since. My wife, Veronica, and I can often be found riding trains throughout Colorado with our 10-year old, Grayson. I’m a self-taught black and white photographer shooting with old school 8×10 large-format and medium-format cameras.

Piece: Photography

The longest chapter in the Bible is continuously focused on the Word of God. His Word is our light. It’s full of promise. It’s our path. It preserves us. It’s our delight. The Word of God is precious. It brings hope. It’s sweeter than honey.

This image was taken on a hot summer afternoon during a tornado warning. It reminds me that at all times, and especially in dark stormy times, His Word is our light and hope.

Psalm 118—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Danielle Damrell

Hello! I’m Danielle Damrell, a local artist and creative motivator based out of Aurora, Colorado. Creating has always played a key role in guiding me through processing both trauma and pain as well as joy and freedom. God has recently been guiding me through a journey of discovering how I can share the messages and tools He has taught me over the past many years. I hold a B.A. degree from Colorado Christian University in Communication focused specifically in public speaking because I have felt a calling to use my voice to point others towards His freedom since I was young. In June I launched a podcast called Created Worthy where I provide a platform for women to share their stories. Together we discover the threads of creative processing that already exist in all of our lives. This is an exciting part of this journey God has ordained. He has used it to merge my passion and business of creating with my calling of connecting and sharing testimonies of God’s grace, forgiveness, and redemption. There is NOTHING God cannot redeem, and I pray that my life serves as evidence of this truth.

Piece: Mixed Media

Psalm 118 is a beautiful Psalm that reminds me of the comfort and peace that God alone can provide. When I began to process Psalm 118 to create this piece, I just felt like the image that came to mind was that of darkness closing in around us, specifically as believers. This world is constantly filled with messages and distractions that may look tempting and beautiful but only lead to places of destruction.

All the nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord, I cut them off!They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.” (vv10–11; 13–14)

My plan for this piece was actually to paint a much more detailed scene but I felt the Lord saying: “STOP—My message for my people is simple. This is my world, but darkness lives within it. I am at the center, however, and when you choose me, you experience protection that no darkness can infiltrate. As long as I am the King of your heart, you will be strong enough to withstand everything you go through in this life. Do you understand that it’s my steadfast love that endures FOREVER? I am with you. FOREVER.”

The gold around the edges of the piece represent His presence that is everywhere; this is HIS world.

The blue “blobs” represent the darkness and pain that each one of experience throughout life. Sometimes is gets really hard and hits extremely close to our hearts. Sometimes it looks dynamic, light, and beautiful, but it’s those temptations that take us the furthest from our center—King Jesus. The gold chain heart represents our hearts when we choose Jesus. The gold crown in the middle represents Jesus, our stability, strength, and our song.

This is a mixed media piece made up of acrylic paint, metal chain, clay, and gold leafing. The process of creating this piece was an incredible blessing to my life. I painted this on Mother’s Day, a day that is typically very painful for me. I set the scene to do some intentional creative processing on this day—My incredible husband and daughter gave me the house to my self and I channeled all the darkness and pain in my heart into each brush stroke. Slowly but surely the pain turned to joy and the darkness turned to light. I sat with my Bible open to Psalm 118 and turned worship music on as loud as possible. My singing became louder and louder as I began to experience the freedom found in seeking Jesus while simultaneously creating space for my trauma to surface and release. This painting represents so much more than I could ever put into words, but the message of His steadfast love enduring forever became more clear than ever before. I “give thanks to the Lord, for HE IS GOOD; for his STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!” (v29)

Psalm 117—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Bruce Butler

I am a graphic designer and musician from the East Coast. In 2012, I moved to Denver from Buffalo, New York to be closer to family and began designing for WorldVenture, a missions organization. Now I am a barista at Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, I design brands and digital artwork as a freelancer, and I play guitar for Our Violet Room, Ivory Circle, and a few other bands in Denver. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, Jamie, as well as my nieces and nephew, attending shows, and cooking with friends. You can see more of my work on Instagram at @madebybruce or by visiting madebybruce.com.

Piece: Mixed Media

Tasked with the shortest Psalm, I decided to keep it very simple. The sphere represents the earth and all of its nations. The resounding praise of His people is represented by the concentric circles emanating from the center outward. The three undulating lines converging on earth symbolize God’s great love toward us, reaching not one specific point, but all nations.

For the execution of this mixed media piece, I designed the line-art in Adobe Illustrator as a vector. After staining the panel a dark brown, Yellowdog Printing was able to print directly onto the panel in white.

Psalm 116—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Steve Vanderheide

Hey there, I’m Steve. I’m a video producer, and an amateur photographer.

Piece: Photography

This piece came out of Project 101010—a art intensive I really enjoyed being a part of through Park Church—where we went through Psalms 110-119. When Psalm 116 came along, I was struck by the line in Verses three and four:

“The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me;I was overcome by distress and sorrow.Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” (NIV)

When I read that, I pictured waking up in the middle of the night, lacking sleep, and being overcome by the thought of death. This is something I have been wrestling with for a few years now. What does life look like after death? What does it mean to be with God? Unfortunately, over these years, often the concept of death has filled me with fear and anxiety rather than looking forward expectantly to being with Jesus. Losing a longtime friend in 2019 has only made these question bubble up more often.

The window on the left is my bedroom window, filled with the pale light of a morning far too early to be awake in. The graininess and darkness is both what I see literally, as well as what it feels like—difficult to focus on anything in particular, and a heaviness on my heart. Verse 7 is a reminder to me:

“Return to your rest, my soul,for the Lord has been good to you.” (NIV)

God has been so good to me. He provides over and over and over again, and in abundance. He is close when I need him. He gives my soul rest. This verse tells me that even in death, he will provide for me. He will not abandon me. If he can give my soul rest, he can give my mind and body rest. Verse 8 and 9 are something to look forward to:

“For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (NIV)

Again, he will provide, even in death. He will deliver me from it. But not just that, he will keep my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, and allow me the delight of walking before the Lord in the land of the living. The Psalmist may have intended it for the here and now, but I also see this as what is to come. I paired this with a photo from a backpacking trip to the Grand Tetons with 3 close friends. It helps me out to picture what truly being in the presence of the Lord will be like by picturing what being with good friends on a journey is like. There is no loneliness. There is anticipation, purpose, a path, a goal, laughter, and adventure.

This Psalm helps to pull me out of the darkness, transitions me through a lost forest of thought, and into the land of the living.

I started out by photographing my room in the evening just after the sun set, so that there was enough light coming through the window to actually mimic pale light coming through in early morning. I merged this with my photo from the 2018 Grand Teton trip in Photoshop, and then used various layers of trees, filled with black, to mask the transition between the two photos. I then added grain and the verses on top. I intentionally tried to make the verses more blurry and translucent on the left, becoming more crisp as it moves to the right.

The biggest challenge of this was that the original piece was created in a super-wide aspect ratio (see above!), with lots and lots of stark blackness in the middle. The square version for this artwork series has been modified to fit your television.

Psalm 115—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Beth Dreyer

I am Beth Dreyer, a Chicago-raised transplant living in Denver for almost eight years. I graduated with a B.F.A. in Studio Art with an art education endorsement and have been teaching elementary art in the public school system for 10 years. I am a wife to Adam and a mom to two—Ramona and Nolan. As an art teacher, I am constantly experimenting with different art mediums and techniques which, especially during the pandemic, have helped me see the beauty and mystery in the world around me.

Piece: Mixed Media

While reading Psalm 115, I felt two distinctive things: the conviction of idolatry and its contrast with the sovereignty, steadfastness, and trustworthiness of the Lord. As someone who often struggles with shame, verses 4–8 stood out to me first, addressing the idols we often build.

Through idols built by our own hands, we try to make our own way separate from God, thinking we know ourselves better than He knows us. I do this all the time. This idolatry is symbolized by the gold rock/gemstone raised from the panel, representing our attempt to build and construct our own lives separate from Him. But, by the grace of God, HE is steadfast and faithful and is the true God. The whimsical gold and white background represents the Lord’s sovereignty and faithfulness. His refinement, like actual gold, is at work in us. Even though we make our own idols and try to separate ourselves from Him, He clings to His people and frees us to rest in Him and trust in Him alone. Like verses 9–11 tell us, God is the one true God, our help and our shield. My prayer is that this rests on our hearts and transforms us.

This piece is a mixed media artwork: ink, watercolor, pastel, and spray paint. I have worked a lot with ink, watercolor, and pastel, but this was my first time working with spray paint. For the gemstone, I purposefully wanted to use mediums I could use to add more detail with—like the ink and watercolor and pastel. I wanted those mediums to represent the intense efforts we often go to to build the idols to which we desperately cling. However, for the background panel, the representation of the sovereignty of God, I wanted to use a material more mysterious—free flowing—but with the same color palette. I created the background using a technique called hydro dipping: spraying spray paint on top of water and dipping your surface in to create layers. This technique reminded me of the whimsical beauty of God and the everflowing trust in Him by His people.