Category Archives: Sunday Morning

Hosea

Here is another piece of response art from Caroline Norris on the book of Hosea.

The idea for this piece came to me in the middle of the sermon about Jonah (sorry Vince). However, I do not think it is unrelated. As illustrated by Jonah’s interaction with the Lord concerning the plant he was given for shade, we, as a people, so quickly feel entitled to the gifts that God bestows upon us.

Throughout Hosea, Gomer is constantly abandoning Hosea in pursuit of her other lovers. She is unable to recognize the source of her provisions and missuses them- “She did not know that it was I who gave the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.” [Hosea 2:8]

The grape vines are representative of the vineyard of the Lord. Specifically how wine is a symbol for joy – the joy of having a friendship with the Living God. We have access to the king’s vineyard, where there is joy everlasting.

The reaching hand is representative of us, the church, grasping elsewhere to fulfill our desires- ultimately, grasping into empty space. The hand is distorted in order to symbolize our warped perceptions and priorities.

This hand is also a direct juxtaposition of the hand of the Lord reaching out towards us, as illustrated in the piece for the series as a whole. As we are reaching away from Him, He is reaching out towards us.

“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” Hosea 2:14

Jonah

We are currently walking through the Minor Prophets together on Sunday mornings. As a church we encourage our people to respond to what they are learning from God’s Word. Some respond in conversations with others, some respond with questions and further investigation, some write out their thoughts and some express their thoughts in art. Below is a piece of response art on the book of Jonah by TJ Norris. Below the image is his written description.

Although most emphasis is traditionally put upon the story of Jonah and the fish, I personally was impacted by the book’s ending. As Jonah sat outside Nineveh, God provided him a plant to shield him from the intense sun, bringing him comfort for the rest of the hot day. But the next morning, God provided a worm that began chewing on the plant, making it wither so that it was no longer providing any shade. Without even praising God for the shade of the plant in the first place, Jonah felt so entitled to the comforts it provided that he wanted to die when they were taken from him. Contrary to the great remorse he felt over the death of this plant, Jonah showed no concern over the looming demise of city of Ninevah. He instead was filled with angst and anger at the thought of God saving this city full of more than a hundred thousand people.

So often God provides comforts for us that we easily take for granted without even acknowledging that it was God who gifted them to us in the first place. It’s easy to catch myself feeling entitled to comforts big and small, convincing myself that I earned them and thus deserve them. This passage led me to feelings of conviction about my own entitlement towards the gifts that God graciously provides me and revealing my tendency to easily feel upset over the loss of something insignificant while there are much bigger problems all around me. To me, this whole lesson is wrapped up and summarized by God’s simple question to Jonah at the end of the book that very easily reveals the posture of our hearts: “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
– TJ Norris

Sermon Series Art

Last Sunday (9.22.19) we began a new sermon series in the Minor Prophets. Every time we begin a new sermon series we ask one of our many artists to come up with a graphic for that series. We have a desire to see the creative people in our church using the gifts God has given them for the building up of the church.

Andrew Steger of Maple Key Studio put together the graphic for the Minor Prophet series. We are calling it – “A People Restored.” (listen to the sermons here)

Below is the graphic for the series and Andrew’s description of how this series came about.

Artist Statement: On September 12th this design came to me quickly, clearly, and I can honestly say, from outside of myself. Usually when I’m working on a design for a sermon series I spend time in the passage, then have a fairly strong design feeling that I work out through trial and error. But this one was different. At 11:09 am that morning I had absolutely nothing and at 11:10 the Spirit put this in my head.

Throughout the Minor Prophets, God keeps calling His people back to to Him, back to his heart. He’s holding it out, offering himself to an unrepentant or temporarily repentant people. Not embracing Him leads to destruction. There’s nothing we can DO to earn this restoration, only when we’ve fully surrendered to his embrace and his will, will we be restored. 

There is more symbolism in this design, some that I understand and some I pray that the Spirit will continue to reveal over the course of this series. But I feel like I’m not supposed to explain it further but instead call all of us to engage and interpret it together over the course of the next 13 weeks as we engage His word.

13.) The Restoration of All Things

This is the thirteenth and final piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here

Read more about our doctrine here.
Listen to the sermons from the series here.

The inspiration for my work comes from Revelation 21, where John is lifted in the Spirit to a mountain (v10) and given a vision of the New Jerusalem descending from heaven. The work itself is a digital composite of four photographs taken locally in Colorado with a few added elements. Each element is meant as a symbol that relates back to Revelation 21:

  1. The background sky is a long exposure shot of the Milky Way to represent the new heaven (v1) which no longer includes the sun or moon (v23).
  2. The distant ground is a photograph taken at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison representing the new earth without seas (v1), and the cliffs glowing red from the lake of fire below (v8).
  3. The New Jerusalem is described as a “jasper, clear as crystal” (v11); thus, the city is represented with a macro shot of a polished and shining red jasper. The city has 12 sides to represent the 12 gates for the 12 tribes of God’s people (v12).
  4. Each gate has an angel standing guard (v12), and the 12 rays of light signify God’s redeeming light spread through the 12 apostles, whose names are written into the 12 foundations of the city (v14). The city is described as being “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (v2), and thus is lightly veiled with the galaxy Andromeda.
  5. Finally, the light source, and the source of glory, is the victorious lamb. John “saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (v22-23).

Hallelujah He has risen, and will return again to make all things new. John writes in Revelation 7:9-12
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Artist: Jeff Shaddix

12.) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

This is the twelfth piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here

Read more about our doctrine here.
Listen to the sermons from the series here.

The sacraments, or sacred practices commanded by Christ, of baptism and the Lord’s supper are both elements of our corporate worship which speak to and from our hearts about the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In this piece each color and pattern represents different parts of these sacred practices. The blue represents water baptism, in which we unite with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. The waves bring to mind how God has promised to wash our sins away. The red and tan represent the bread and wine of communion. With drops within the red, we are reminded of Christ’s blood shed for us on the cross, and the x-stitching in the tan reminds us of His body broken for us. The work is bordered with red and blue, representing how God’s work of redemption and renewal are tied together in our worship and daily lives. These are continual works of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


Artist: Mildred Jessee

Preparing for Worship – July 14, 2019

Join us this Sunday, July 14, 2019 as we continue our series studying our doctrinal statement.

We encourage you to prepare your hearts and minds for worship by reading through and meditating on the texts, singing through the songs, and praying that God would be at work as we gather.



Come prepared to worship and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

11.) God’s New People

This is the eleventh piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here

Read more about our doctrine here.
Listen to the sermons from the series here.

1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10 says, As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

We as believers in Christ Jesus and members of The Town Church Fort Collins are God’s New People. While we are currently privileged to meet in a beautiful historic church building, the actual church is made up of individuals. My piece conveys this by incorporating the names of current members of The Town Church, Fort Collins into the very fabric of our current building, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. The members we have sent out are grouped as a shadow on the sidewalk symbolizing God’s New People going out into the world. It serves as a snapshot of who we are at this time and in this place.

Additionally, I wanted to capture that God’s new people are global and historical as well. God’s new people are comprised not just by us but by those who have gone before. The clouds highlight a variety of names featuring Biblical individuals, leaders in the reformation movement, missionaries, civil rights activists, martyrs, humble servants, etc. God’s New People are remarkable and by His grace their influence can span across generations. My prayer for The Town Church comes from Hebrews 12: 1-2 which says, “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This artwork was rendered in ink, colored pencil, and Chartpak AD markers on bond paper.

Artist: Melody Shaddix 

10.) The Kingdom of God

This is the tenth piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here

Read more about our doctrine here.
Listen to the sermons from the series here.

The first words Jesus declares when he kicks off his public ministry at his baptism are an announcement that the Kingdom of God has arrived. I often have made the mistake of equating the kingdom with some future coming reality that’s not here yet, but that’s not the message proclaimed by Jesus. Jesus taught his followers to that the kingdom is here now, and to pray that his kingdom would come here on earth just as it is in the heavenly realm. We get to experience a foretaste, a partial unveiling, of what he will complete at his return. So we live now in the tension; the kingdom is here, but not yet fully. So we work to see justice fall like rain and oppression cease, we persist in trust in our heavenly Father even when our minds and hearts cannot make sense of our experiences, and we love one another as he loved us for this very reason: we know that one day it will happen as we dream and hope. The king will come. And the king has come. 

The central figure in the kingdom of God is its king. Just as the crown reminded members of the United Kingdom in wartime to “keep calm and carry on,” so the symbol of the crown for me has been a great encouragement in life. Whatever may come, the king is on his throne, governing in wisdom. And he will come and make all things right again, just as he promised.

Artist: Pete Avery

Preparing for Worship – June 30, 2019

Join us this Sunday, June 30, 2019 as we continue our series studying our doctrinal statement.

We encourage you to prepare your hearts and minds for worship by reading through and meditating on the texts, singing through the songs, and praying that God would be at work as we gather.



Come prepared to worship and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

9.) The Power of the Holy Spirit

This is the ninth piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here

Read more about our doctrine here.
Listen to the sermons from the series here.

See the process of making this work below.

“And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” Genesis 1:2

“And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26

“God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:6

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:20

This piece is called…In the Beginning…It is finished. 

The continuous white line represents the Holy Spirit hovering, coming upon and overshadowing all of humanity. The fetus represents Christ. During Christ’s life he depended upon the Holy Spirit. The Epoxy Resin represents the face of the waters the Holy Spirit hovered over during creation. The white figurines imbedded in the epoxy resin represent those who are filled with the Holy Spirit.  Aesthetically, I wanted to create a white painting with visual texture. The white line and figurines achieve this effect. The epoxy resin is used to give depth to the painting.  Instead of painting the wood grain white I wanted to use the color variations in the grain to also accentuate texture.  As we talk through this weeks doctrine you may see other things in this piece that remind you of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Artist: Major Chisholm