WOW! We had an amazing night celebrating so many good things that God is doing in and through us at our HOPE HEALS GOSPEL PROJECT Art Event. The combined mediums of story and art and music coupled with delicious food and fabulous friends made for a night that was full in every way! Our bodies are tired, but our hearts are overflowing.

We'll share more details about the event soon, but for now, we wanted to announce the top 3 picks from the ART OF THE GOSPEL CONTEST.

What a blessing to have so many artists out there give so generously of their gifts by participating in this project--THANK YOU FRIENDS! If you haven't yet seen the 22 finalists, you can view them all on our Gospel Project page HERE. This will be a permanent page on our site now.

We had nearly 1,000 online votes (1/3 of the total) coupled with nearly 200 event attendee votes (1/3 of the total) and the votes of our 4 professional art judges (1/3 of the total) to reach a decision. Special thanks to our friend and CPA, Liz Simmons, for helping us tabulate.

And the top 3 are...

3RD PLACE...RYAN DOBSON, "WE, SOJOUNERS"

Inspired by Flannery O'Connor's short story THE RIVER and Hauerwas & Willimon's book RESIDENT ALIENS, "We, Sojourners" touches on the dangerous, subversive, revolutionary nature of the gospel. The Good News is not therapeutic or individually prosperous in nature. It is transforming on a universal level. We mistakenly tell the faith Story to children in hopes that it will make them good, moral people. When the Hound of Heaven may, instead, wrap them up in its jaws and carry them away into the risky, up-side-down Kingdom of God.

“What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.” -- Flannery O'Connor 

"Whenever a people are bound together in loyalty to a story that includes something as strange as the Sermon on the Mount, we are put at odds with the world." -- Stanley Hauerwas & Will Willimon, Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony

"You do not belong to the world... that is why the world hates you." -- Jesus Christ, John 15:19


2ND PLACE...SUSAN HALL, "PICK UP YOUR MAT AND WALK"

This piece is inspired by John 5:1-18. These verses were introduced to me in 2010 and have given me hope ever since.

Pick up your mat and walk.

Like the invalid in this story, I have come across many in Los Angeles (including myself) who have been beaten down by their circumstances, whether career, relationships, finances, creative pursuits, or health. We came to pursue our dreams but sometimes life through us curve balls. We took these pitfalls (not getting accepted to a show, not getting the job, not beating the shameful addiction, debt) and spun them into the belief that we were simply not worthy.

"Pick up your mat and walk" reminds me that we are worthy! No matter what life has thrown at you, we are all beloved, equal, and deserving.

In this painting, the individual is hanging on the outskirts where he/ she thinks she belongs. The city has not welcomed her (or him).

There is hope though, he/she has not given up. The spirit is hovering above, restoring faith, beckoning to Pick Up Your Mat and Walk. You deserve everything.


1ST PLACE...WILL PIERCE, "NEW DAY"

In times of doubt and confusion, seeing God's hand on creation has always been the clearest and most powerful evidence of his power, love and presence. Romans says that because we see all he has created we have no excuse to deny Him. When I look to the sky or the ocean or the mountains, I am instantly reassured that only the God of the Bible could have created all this. My faith is strengthened and I feel His love, because how much more must he love the people he made than all the other parts of the universe He meticulously crafted.

Furthermore, when doubting the importance of my calling as an artist, I am reminded that God Himself was first a creator and an artist making beautiful things for us to enjoy and to display His glory. If being a creative and an artist is a central part of God's character, then it is an honor to have such a calling.

I long to put God's creation on display through my art, showing His love and power to people who stop and see what they normally wouldn't in this distracted and urbanized world.