Click Play - Video by Braeden

Click Play - Video by Josh

Three-year-old Sarah said, “I spy something…umm… something… something,” and finally she blurted “Yellow!”   There we sat in the restaurant, making spectacles of ourselves, playing this age-old child’s game.  The search began—eyes scanning and heads eagerly turning in search of a yellow something.  Ah!  I found it, so I thought.  Leaning across the table, I secretly whispered to Sarah before anyone else spotted the yellow I spied.  “Sarah, is it the lady’s hat at the table next to us?”  Three-year-old Sarah pointed at the lady and bellows, “No, it’s not that lady’s funny hat, Grandpa.”  Heads turned, and I was falsely accused—charged with slandering the fine lady’s flamboyant taste for exotic hats.  Awkward—for sure!

How old is “I Spy?”  Why do children and adults engage in the trite pursuit of a colored something?  Honestly, perception with purpose is an adventure.  Get this; the pursuit of a marriage partner often begins with a visual search.  “I spy a very good looking…um… potential spouse!”  As rudimentary as this may sound, it’s substantiated in the Word of God.  We are attracted to attractive people, which can be culturally determined (not necessarily condoned).  The following Scriptures are only a few examples: Gen. 29:17, Deut. 21:11, 1Sam. 16:12, 1Sam. 25:3, 2Sam. 11:2 and Est. 2:7.  

May we find grace to see another beauty revered in Scripture, the Beauty of Holiness—the beauty of all Godly character traits belonging to us.  

God made us, and makes us beautiful.  Until we receive enlightened eyes to see beyond the natural, we are as visually minded as dogs are olfactory minded, nose minded.  Dogs actually lick their noses to heighten their sense of smell—moist air conveys scent better than dry air.  Now then, we don’t lick our eyeballs; however, we do our best with glasses, contacts and surgery to improve our sight.  We feed ourselves with what we see.  We dine on design with ravenous appetites.  Proverbs 2 pleads with us to hunt for knowledge and understanding as if we are searching for treasure.  Perception with godly purpose always leads us to enlightening discoveries.

Life is a treasure hunt.  We all search for beauty of sorts, whether it’s beautiful scenery, beautiful relationships, beautiful possessions or physical beauty.  We’re almost totally carnal until we’re spiritually born again.   No spiritually awakened person rises in the morning hoping to look uglier, anticipating an ugly relationship or purchasing ugly things to enrich his ugly life.  We’re addicted to beauty.  God is beautiful; He made and makes us beautiful even though we are surrounded by sin’s ugliness.  We instinctively sniff out beauty, feast on beauty and nourish ourselves with beauty.  Beauty is delicious, eternally fashionable and most of all godly.  Beauty is good. 

Do we respond more to what we see, what we touch, what we smell, what we taste, or what we hear?  Of our five senses, sight may be the most influential.  “Simon Says,” another child’s game, is founded on the fact that we chose to obey either visual or auditory commands.  Which will it be?  Simon says, “Put your hands on your head.”  However, Simon bends over and touches his toes.  Do we obey our eyes or our ears?  Will we be governed by what we see or what we hear?  Life is a series of choices from cradle to coffin.  


When Jesus had fasted for forty days in the wilderness, He became quite hungry.  The devil tempted Him with suggestive words.  The words formed thoughts (mental pictures) of rocks transforming into delicious, warm bread.  I imagine round golden rocks, cooked in the hot dessert sun resembled freshly baked loaves of Mother Mary’s fine bread.  Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4).  The man Jesus yielded to divine enablement.  He was not moved by what he saw.  He stood firm, armed with what He had heard and read in Deuteronomy 8:3, the source of Matthew 4:4.  This Word had been written on His heart.  Tantalizing visuals could not dissuade him from His life mission.  He had the power and by grace so do we!   


The Apostle Paul walked with enlightened faith.  The Holy Spirit illuminated spiritual reality for Paul, while others didn’t get it.  He said it plainly;  “We live by faith, not by sight” (2Cor. 5:7).  And faith is the substance of things hoped for.  Our faith is actually the very evidence of God’s will prior to its fulfillment (Heb. 11:1).  We possess concrete knowledge by faith, because we’ve heard God speak, and we believe Him, repeat the word He’s spoken to us and walk it out in daily life (Rom. 10:17).  You see, even these very words sound like Bible-ized Christian-ese, (blah, blah, blah, love, blah, faith, blah) unless we are blessed with personal faith-pictures, visions, and images of God’s concrete reality.  Blessed eyes see spiritual realities. 

Let’s experience reality-Christianity founded upon enlightened eyes, not philosophical theories.  King David saw into spiritual realms while others didn’t.  He was a beauty hunter in pursuit of God’s heart.  Listen to his statement of faith: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:18).  Make this your declaration!

Now then, God’s word creates images of spiritual reality.  Along with hearing God’s personal voice, our heroes of faith had visual acuity, the ability to see past the natural into a no-nonsense spiritual reality.  This empowered them to be in the world and not of the world, while transforming the world.  Our walk of faith involves hearing God and seeing what He sees.    


■ Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God.  Paul and John the Beloved were captivated by visions and received tremendous revelations.  How precious!  Do you want this for yourself?  Paul said, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope of which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 1:18-20).  

Paul says we have eyes in our hearts.  Vision is a heart issue involving more than biological ocular functions.  We see with our hearts.  Upon this premise we say, “Love is blind,” for our hearts color our vision.  Perhaps God’s love is so captivating that we have eyes reserved for Him alone, for His brand of beauty, so that we see life through a lens of our love for Him.   

■  In Acts 21, Paul was warned by the believers not to go to Jerusalem, because imprisonment awaited him there.  These well-meaning saints didn’t want to see Paul jailed.  Yet Paul saw danger as an opportunity to witness.  His followers were grieved by his potential suffering, yet he saw super-abundant grace that empowered him to rejoice in prison.  He basically said, “I’m glad to be suffering, because when I’m naturally weak I become spiritually strong” (2Cor. 12:10).  

■  King Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden image.  He required all the people to bow down to it.  Anyone refusing would be thrown into a fiery furnace.  Nice guy!  When the music played it was time to bow or burn.  Natural eyes beheld the options, while spiritual eyes beheld the opportunity.  Three godly buddies answered the King, “…O Neb, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan. 3:16-18 paraphrased).  You see, faith is spiritual sight.  These young guys saw something others didn’t.  On that day, they walked with the Lord through the fire, and demonstrated the love and power of the One King of all Kings.  Yeah for eyes that see God in the challenges of life!

■  King Saul led Israel against the Philistines.  He and his great army saw the giant Goliath and melted in fear.  However, a teenager named David saw something completely different.  He saw another dead enemy.  This giant was no more foreboding than the lion or the bear he had killed, by God’s grace, of course. 

■  Twelve Israelite spies saw big guys dominating the land which God had promised their forefathers.  God was offering them power to destroy the oversized heathen.  Ten of the twelve spies were cowards without eyes to see more than physical reality.  They said, “…We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Num. 13:33).  They suffered from fear and insecurity, because they didn’t believe God’s word, and therefore could not see from God’s perspective.  The other two men, Joshua and Caleb, heard God’s word and saw God’s ability and victory (Num. 14:6-10).  What did God see? 

What do you see? Jesus saw the stuff of physical reality as demonstrations of spiritual reality.   He looked at the natural things of life as illustrations that would help people understand spiritual truth. 


The Word of God is filled with objects of symbolism, such as the many objects of Passover (the candle stand, the bread and wine).  Likewise Jesus pointed to such things as wheat, grape vines and doors.  He loves for us to remember truth through symbols.

In groups of two or three, you will receive a paper bag containing an object or two that potentially have symbolic meanings (pencil, lock, eraser, thumb drive, computer chip, marker, book, etc.).  Take a few minutes and discuss the possible meanings of the items.  Each group will pitch one product as salesmen to the rest of the class.  Become actors for a television commercial. 




Please - No Biting This Time!

Shoot pictures of stuff in your daily life, stuff that can be so easily overlooked.  This stuff can become meaningful when we see beyond the mundane surface of the stuff, and add new meaning to the stuff as Jesus did.  He saw the regular stuff like wheat fields, sheep, doors, grapevines, and other objects of ordinary life as having potential to illustrate truth.  How cool! 

Project Parameters:
Software         iPhoto 
Canvas size	  8.5x11

Shoot 10 photos of man-made stuff; yes, the things that surround you in daily life.  However, pray that your eyes will be opened to see this stuff with new eyes.  Ephesians 1:18 talks about the eyes of our understanding being enlightened.  This is an awesome work of grace.  God enables us to see Him and His truth as we walk through our daily lives.  What an adventure! 

Shoot 10 photos of ordinary objects with hidden spiritual lessons.  Examples: shoes, pens and pencils, mirrors, and so on.  I don’t want to give away too many good examples.  Your job is to hunt for objects that conceal Bible truths.

Tweak these photo images in iPhoto.  Crop, tilt, adjust colors, and whatever else you’d like to do.
Print your photos using the iPhoto, which allows you to include some text just below your photo.  Print one photo per page with a plain white mat.  This clean presentation is less distracting that the other options. 

Feasting Eyes


Project Parameters:
Software:	        Photoshop 
Canvas size: 	 8.5x11 (landscape format)
Resolution: 	        300
Format:	               RGB

The title of this chapter is “I SPY.”  Throughout Scripture we find people who were God-spies, people who could see what God saw while others remained oblivious.  The classic example is the twelve spies who were sent into the the Promised Land.  Two of them perceived the situation as God did, while ten spies couldn’t see passed the scary size of the giant inhabitants.  It’s always best to see as God sees and reject the human perspective.

Challenge two is a collaborative exercise wherein our individual efforts will build a photo collection of images that look like the letters of the alphabet.  As seen above, letter images are waiting to be discovered in our everyday environments.

Each student will search his surroundings throughout the day for the letters of his or her name.  

These examples of the letter “E” (above) and the letters “L” and “H” (below) come from the following website: .  These images are temporarily seen here for educational purposes.

      We look forward to replacing these letter-images with student photographs.  

2.  Edit your photos.  Have you noticed the sepia coloration of the letter-photos?  Sepia or any other color overlay brings a common color, a commonality, to the diverse photos.  This fosters a visual unity. 

It’s important to print your name in a well defined format (4” x 6”) so that the viewer can focus on reading the intricate photos of obscured letters.  An ordered format helps the reader.  

Truly, the options for presentation are only limited by your budget.  Money buys many pretty things, while ingenuity can trump cash.  The need for frugality spawns creativity.  Check it out!

Presentations - the least expensive to the most:
Align and mount images on a long piece of foamcore or mat board.
Mount your photo-letter images on 4” x 6” pieces of mat board.  Leave about 1/4” between letters and glue them to a larger mat board, or onto a wooden stick. 
Individually frame the letter-photos and hang on a wall.
Any combination of the above ideas will work well. 


Project Parameters:
Software: Explore and use the various selection tools in Photoshop to cut out the objects you’ll use to create the letters of your name 
Canvas size:        8.5x11
Resolution: 	        200
Format:	               RGB

Search your environment, indoor, outdoor, closet, locker, classroom, basement or attic for objects that resemble the letters of your name.  Personalize this photo challenge by shooting subject matter that illustrates your interests.  For example, a car enthusiast may find the letters of his name in the taillights and dashboards of cars.  You get the idea.  

The student examples below offer a couple of suggestions.  Noble obviously likes music and baseball.  He shot his subjects or found them on the Internet and stacked the drums to form the letter “N.”   


Project Parameters:
Software:	        Photoshop 
Canvas size: 	 8.5x11
Resolution: 	        300
Format:	               RGB

Take this challenge to the next level by prayerfully considering the Lord’s design for your life.  You have personalized this project by shooting only subject matter that illustrates your God-given interests and talents.  Let’s further this personalization by including a word that the Lord has spoken to you.  

What has He called you to accomplish? Has the Lord spoken a life-verse to you?  This is a great question, and He loves answering it.  You may or may not have received a clear epiphany as the Apostle Paul did on the road to Damascus.  However, you do have a notion, an obvious sense about how He has made you with particular interests.  God gave us our natural interests and talents to enjoy for His eternal purposes.  Include God’s word to your project by using the type tool in Photoshop.  What is your life-verse or your favorite verse?  

Psalm 108:1 is Ben’s life-verse.  How excellent is this work!  You see, God’s Word directs our lives.  A well designed illustration of His word continues to reinforce that word and influence our lives.  

Paul’s project is intriguing, subtle and filled with personal symbolism.  I don’t know what the pencil or cursive “A” signify.  That’s Paul’s thing.  A very Jesus-cool thing about his work is that he’s included a Plan P.  We’ve all heard of Plan A and Plan B; well this is Plan P, which stands for God’s plan for Paul’s life.  Hence, he’s included a Scripture that is important to him.  This is a great project because it’s a visual reminder and a connection between Paul and the Lord.  

John did an outstanding job of illustrating his life-verse along with his feet and what he cares about - music and basketball.  What an expansion on this project!


As seen in the above presentation options, your color choices will communicate much.  Think it through.  

Likewise, craftsmanship is crucial.  Shoddy workmanship like excessive glue, misaligned photos and jagged cuts are very disappointing.  Don’t be that person.  

It’s perfectly advisable to start over when you wreck an element of your project along the way.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can redo your project.  It’s always a positive life-lesson.  Do it! 


-	We are visually minded people.  We learn by looking and investigating with our eyes.
-  We are attracted to that which is beautiful.
-  Life is a treasure hunt.  What is your treasure?  
-	We, like Jesus, faced visual temptations.
-	We see with our natural eyes, and we see with our spiritual eyes.
-  Faith comes by hearing God speak to us in a very personal way.
-  Abraham, David the teenager, the Apostle Paul were moved by what God had shown them, and not by what they saw with their natural eyes. 
-	Two of the 12 spies saw the situation at Jericho from God’s perspective and 10 of the spies saw the situation from a human perspective.
-  Jesus saw ordinary objects of life as visual representations, and sometimes symbols, of spiritual truth.  He said He was the Door.
- Training our natural eyes to see what others miss can improve our spiritual eyesight. 
- God blesses each of us with particular interests in life. We are blessed to have a word from the Lord or a Bible verse, which can provide direction for our lives. 


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