We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Discipline–The Price of Freedom

Two years ago I shared the following statement with my staff that was penned by author Elton Trueblood. “Acceptance of discipline is the price of freedom.” Yesterday, one of our staff said that it was that statement that motivated her to lose thirty pounds this past year. And you should see her! She has an air of confidence, has more energy, and is a key member of our Lamplighter staff.

You see, the pole vaulter is not free to experience the thrill of victory except as he disciplines himself rigorously day after day. Trueblood writes, “The freedom of the surgeon to use his knife or laser to cut away the bony structure, close to a tiny nerve without severing it, arises from discipline. I have shared this before, but the 8 weeks of intense discipline and training for my pilot’s license has given me the freedom to care for my mom though I live in another state . . . and to enjoy her chicken cutlets!

John Milton wrote, “There is not that thing in the world of more grave and urgent importance, throughout the whole of life of man, than is discipline.” Jesus said “the meek shall inherit the earth.” What does that have to do with discipline? The word meek in the Greek is praos, which is a word used for wild animals which had been trained and tamed to be able to work with men. Not weak or spiritless, but rather a channeled energy whose impulses have been directed into a focused service.

Discipline is the price of freedom . . . and there are no short cuts. It starts with a decision followed by a commitment of sacrifice and perseverance.

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

How To Inspire the Next Generation

Aspiring artists, sound designers, music composers, voice actors, and script writers from around the world are standing by, ready to use their talents to advance God’s kingdom and battle the deceptive forces which wage war against our souls.

But they lack the resources to receive essential training.

This summer, many students will attend The Lamplighter Guild and learn to reflect God’s image with excellence in the dramatic and visual arts.

Many more would love to attend, but are unable to because of a few dollars that stand between them and a week of life-changing influence and inspiration.

Will you help us provide training for the next generation of God’s image-bearers?

Please consider sponsoring a student at The Lamplighter Guild. (Visit http://bit.ly/fQLbyQ to do so.)

Even the smallest gift–$5 or $10 or $25–could change the course of history by inspiring, influencing, and instructing students to cultivate their God-given gifts with skill and faithfulness.

Find out more about this week of training by visiting www.lamplighterguild.com

Contact us at mail@lamplighterguild.com with any questions.

Exciting Announcement!

We are excited to announce that students can now earn college credit for attending the Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines.

Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, PA is the first to offer credit, and we’ll be updating you weekly on other schools that choose to do the same. For updates, visit http://bit.ly/esIqTN.

Inspiration & Motivation

Recently, I wrote to someone who wondered if the Guild would offer anything related to his particular field. Though he asked about authorship and illustration, two disciplines we are not offering this first year, I thought you might be interested in my response as to why the Guild may benefit even those folks who do not sense a particular calling to the dramatic or visual arts.

This week will provide you with an experience that will inspire, motivate, and cultivate in you a vision for excellence in your God-given abilities. As I look back on 33 years of ministry, I can see how my experiences with Godly and creative people made a considerable contribution to my life. Events such as the Guild are rare–the experience of rubbing shoulders with such highly skilled individuals will have an accumulated effect upon your mind and vision for your future. Being around creative masters such as these has a way of helping individuals break through the barriers that often keep people addicted to mediocrity. I have found that most people need a breakthrough in their vision for the future–what will they do? Where will they go? How will they get there? These questions will be addressed at the Guild. Come to cultivate your relationship with God so that you can reflect his image in ways you have not considered before.

Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Image is Everything

We were created in the image of God–but do we reflect his image in grace and excellence?

Scripture tells us that Lucifer was once the reflection of the glory of God. In fact, his name literally means “light-bearer”; in Ezekial 28 we read that Lucifer was the sight and sound of God’s glory–he was the Cherub that covered the throne of God with the brilliance that was created in him. When he fell, he was cast down to the earth, and since that time has been distorting the image of God–through sight and sound.

Many have fallen prey to the wiles of the devil, addicted to both mediocrity and the temporary unfulfilling pleasures of our day. Like the proverbial frog we are being amused to death (amuse – def’ – not thinking).

But there is hope.

In the beginning of time, God vested the treasure of His image to humanity, charging Adam and Eve to bear His image by taking dominion, being fruitful, multiplying, and filling the earth. God tasked mankind with the vocation of re-creation.

It is our calling to bear His image with honor and excellence as we reflect His glory in our work and relationships. In 2nd Peter 1 we read that His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.

If you have ever longed to reach the highest level of excellence in your God-giftedness, there is an unprecedented opportunity that awaits you. This summer you will have an  opportunity to work and study side by side with godly mentors who have excelled in their God-given skills, reaching the highest level of mastery.

During the week of July 17-22, the team behind the creative genius and excellence of audio dramas such as Chronicles of Narnia, Les Miserables, Left Behind, Adventures in Odyssey, and their most recent creation, Lamplighter Theatre has decided to use their collective experiences and talents to pass down to the next generation! During this once in a lifetime opportunity, you can participate in an entrepreneurial-apprenticeship type platform to be inspired, instructed, and mentored by some of the most talented professionals in the fields of Dramatic and Visual Arts.

Find out more by visiting www.lamplighterguild.com or contact us at mail@lamplighterguild.com with any questions.

Lamplighter–making ready a people prepared for the Lord, by building Christ-like character one story at a time.


Looking forward,

Mark Hamby

The Stick Crafter

The Stick Crafter

What would you do if you returned home from war wounded, orphaned, and unsure how you could earn a living? I recently read of a man who faced just this situation–and “his wounds rendered all severe labor impossible.” (The Little Lamb, p. 115) What was he to do?

In Christoph von Schmid’s short story, The Redbreast (included in The Little Lamb), we are told that this soldier determined the following solution to his dilemma:

“One day, in the neighboring forest, he remarked that the old stumps and roots of the maple-trees that had been cut down presented some very beautiful pieces of streaked and variegated wood, but were little esteemed and rotting on the ground. He immediately set to work to make walking sticks and gift boxes out of this wood, and soon brought them to extraordinary perfection; the walking sticks . . . were especially admired, and met with a rapid sale” (p. 116).

What an incredible testimony to this man’s work ethic and creativity that he would take sticks which would ordinarily be left to rot and turn them into walking sticks for “gentlemen of high station!” (p. 116)

We live in an economy where many are struggling. Perhaps we should begin to prayerfully consider how we can exercise skills that God has given us as gifts. Truly, “in all labor there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23b) and “whoever gathers little by little will increase it” (Proverbs 13:11b).

In closing, I believe the stick-crafter’s words will end this moment on an encouraging note: “He who is not wanting in industry . . . will never want for bread. Even the most insignificant craft can support a man. Do your duty faithfully, and trust in God, and God will do His part, and will not permit you to lack His aid, which is so necessary” (p. 117-118).

Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)  

Accumulated Effects

A father once wrote to me with the following concerns:

Dear Mark,

My 14-year-old son despises school. He sits at his desk and feels as if it’s a prison. He enjoys working with his hands–doing anything from mechanics and woodworking to farming and landscaping. When we tell him that God has gifted him, he just denies it and says he can’t do anything. I tell him that he needs a good education in order to get a good job, but I’m not sure I even believe this. Can you help?

I replied:

Dear Dad,

First, I would pray and ask God to open an apprenticeship door for your son. He needs the opportunity to work with someone who can teach him a skill and help cultivate his character at the same time. Until this door opens for him, teach him that his devotion to his studies may be the prerequisite for new and greater opportunities ahead. The lives of Joseph, Ezra, and Daniel would be good examples for him to follow, as each endured difficult preparation for the great doors of opportunity ahead.

Next, teach your son about the “Accumulated Effect of Knowledge.” This is what happens when we read, study, take tests, and learn about subjects that are both enjoyable and distasteful! Everything we read and study (except for things immoral) has a positive accumulative effect upon us. Your son might not think that school is helpful now, but down the road, whether he goes to college or not, he will find that opportunities open in direct proportion to his accumulated knowledge–it all adds up! The more we learn, the more potential for unique opportunities!

In Luke 8:18, Jesus says, “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”

There is much to learn–and many doors waiting to be opened. Are you looking for an apprenticeship opportunity where masters will mentor apprentices with excellence? Learn more about The Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines at www.lamplighterguild.com–and spread the word!

Permission or Presumption, Part 1

In Judges chapter 1, Israel asks God who should go first into battle to defeat the enemy. God says that Judah should go up first. So after prayer and direct revelation from God, Judah goes out to war and annihilates the enemy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we, too, could hear from God each time we had a battle to fight?

In Judges 20, Israel again asks God who should lead the way into battle. But this time the battle is against their own brethren, the tribe of Benjamin. Once again, through direct revelation, God says that Judah should go first. Now if you asked God for direction and received indisputable evidence that He was leading you, how would you respond if His direction led only to your defeat and destruction? Twenty-two thousand-dead!

To make matters worse, they asked God a second time, only this time with prayer and weeping. The result was the same! Eighteen thousand more-dead! Can you imagine? Why would a God of love lead a praying people into such catastrophic defeat?

Perhaps you have experienced something similar. You prayed for your marriage, but it ended in divorce. You prayed for your teen, but he ended up enslaved to drugs. You prayed for your daughter, but she ran off with an undesirable young man. You have prayed and prayed and prayed, yet you have experienced utter defeat. Why? The answer is found in the book of Judges, where we learn that every man did that which was right in his own eyes. And tomorrow we will learn . . . the rest of the story.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lamplighter Guild Registration Now Open!

After 20 years of prayer and planning, I am excited and thankful to announce that registration for The Lamplighter Guild is now open!

The Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines will be held at the world-renowned Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY from July 17-22.
Mohonk 3
The Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines
provides an entrepreneurial platform whereby masters will mentor apprentices through creative and compelling instruction. Each learner will be inspired to cultivate a high level of excellence in order to uniquely reflect the image of God in his work and life.
The Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines provides an entrepreneurial platform whereby masters will mentor apprentices through creative and compelling instruction. Each learner will be inspired to cultivate a high level of excellence in order to uniquely reflect the image of God in his work and life.
Masters will provide instruction in the following disciplines:

Discipline 1: Dramatic Arts (script writing, directing, producing, sound design, music composition and engineering, and voice acting)

Discipline 2: Visual Arts (oil painting)

For more information about this exciting opportunity, please visit www.lamplighterguild.com!

Education: 9 times out of 10

Education is not what a person is able to hold in his head, so much as it is what a person is able to find. I believe it was Daniel Webster who said that the truly educated man was not the one who had all knowledge in his head, but the one who knew where to look for information upon any subject upon which at any time he might want information. Each individual who wishes to succeed must get that kind of discipline. He must get such training that he will know where to go and get facts, rather than try to train himself to hold all facts in his head. In nine cases out of ten, the person who cultivates the habit of looking on the dark side of life is the little person; the miserable person is the one who is weak in mind, heart and purpose. On the other hand, the person who cultivates the habit of looking on the bright side of life, and who calls attention to the beautiful and encouraging things in life, in nine cases out of ten, is the strong individual, the one to whom the world goes for intelligent advice and support “What a man thinks in his heart, so he becomes.”

Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment