To My Readers…

I’m finding that whatever “creative well” the work here at “Nickel Boy Graphics” came from has “dried up.”

Maybe it’s that way with all things creative. You can’t go back. You can only go forward.

Maybe it’s also because at my age, I’m thinking about “What do I want to leave behind?” and “What can I do in my remaining time that brings me the most joy and just might benefit others?”

Answering those questions led me to a few dead ends and then to begin working on cartoon illustrations of my chickens. They give me the most joy. If you aren’t creating from joy, why create?

I’ve been able to post consistently for the month of August on a new site with a new profile, and I’m pleased with what I’ve been able to create. This is still a bit of a challenge to me, just taking care of myself and the chickens and then getting to work everyday is not so easy at my age!

If you would like to check out my new work, you can find it at “My Life With Gracie.” Although I love all of my chickens, Gracie is my “Best Girl Ever,” and so her name appears in the title.

While the work here has been “Biblical” and “spiritual” the work there is just very simple cartoons and simple life lessons I’ve learned (or re-learned) from my chickens. The graphics are totally different, and the writing approach is different as well. Nevertheless, I think that maybe sometimes you don’t have to write about Jesus to let Jesus show in your work. If you have a living connection to Him, it should come through in what you do, intentionally or not.

If you’d like to follow along with me there, that would be great. I’ll be adding to my “Reader” list there to see what you’ve been up to as well.

My goal is to post to “My Life With Gracie” at least every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with the last post of the week having the most detail and color as a summary of the week’s work.

I’m not sure who my target audience is, and so I hope that my work gets to “the right people” whoever they may be. If that’s not you, no hard feelings. Honest. I just hope my drawings and words, as simple as they may be, will carry a bit of my heart with them.

Here is a sample cartoon and quote you’ll find on the first post from “My Life With Gracie.”

It’s what I hope you will remember most.

Thanks everyone!

Faith and Fear (In Five Short Comic Strips)

One of the challenges I’ve found has been trying to present comic strips in sequential order. They naturally post with most recent first at the top, and that works great for single topic posts. It just gets tough when there is a sequence. If you are a new or first-time reader, you won’t easily know what has led up the present comic strip. It’s not always easy to find the first in the series. This is an attempt to make that easier.

Select the thumbnail image or link to go to the comic strip where you’d like to start reading, then you can advance through the series.

The Volcano-Stomping Robot vs. The Robot-Melting Volcano!

Laser Eyes Jesus #044 “The Volcano-Stomping Robot vs. The Robot-Melting Volcano!” The main point of this comic strip is we are all naturally most concerned with ourselves and getting things that will ensure our happiness and pleasure. It’s all about survival, even if our own getting blocks our neighbor’s getting.

Are We All More Alike Than We Realize?

Laser Eyes Jesus #045 “Are Things More Alike Than We Realize?” The main point here is we create justifications for our actions to get what we want. We can sometimes treat God as if He doesn’t exist (killing God) because we want Him to do something that He isn’t doing. We can sometimes treat God as if He is what He is not (warping God’s image) because we can threaten others with what He might do.

Two More For The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects!

Laser Eyes Jesus #046 “Two More For The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects!” This comic strip points out that we are going to run into dead ends, particularly when we aren’t waiting on God in faith and trust. When we hit a dead end, our natural inclination is to try to take over and exert our own power in a situation to manipulate the outcome any way that we can. Instead we need to humble ourselves and hold fast to Jesus.

First Epilogue: Whatever Happened To Larry And Brenda?

Laser Eyes Jesus #047 “First Epilogue: Whatever Happened To Larry And Brenda?” Here is a happy ending comic strip, just because one seemed to be needed. It also points out that sometimes opposite positions can sometimes produce pleasant compromises, even in the form of baby multi-purpose appliances!

Second Epilogue: A Night Of Wrestling With Fear

Laser Eyes Jesus #048 “Second Epilogue: A Night Of Wrestling With Fear” This final comic strip in the series shows a different side to the character Laser Eyes Jesus, and for regular readers, you know this happens mostly at night when the only two children left. This comic strip series has been about overcoming fear and dead ends by following the example of Jesus. It is not a step-by-step process. There really is only one step: know Real Life Jesus.

Thanks for reading!

John

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Because the length is growing and to minimize scrolling, I’ve moved the list of some of my favorite Content Creators to a separate page. Just select the link below.

Some Of My Favorite Content Creators…

Two More For The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects!

Two More For The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects!

This is the third of three Laser Eyes Jesus comic strips in a series, and they are mostly about moving from having a religious knowing of Jesus towards having a relationship knowing of Jesus. (There are also two epilogue to the series that are on the digital drawing board!)

Sometimes it feels as if I’ve drawn and written myself into a corner. Like now. Seriously. I start with a graphic, then I start thinking about the words that should go with them. Then I have a question and a general idea to go with that question, and from there I’m just sort of stumbling blindly to find an answer.

Like with the Science Fair in this series. I started with sort of a “theist vs. atheist” direction which developed into a “kill God vs. warp God’s image” direction which developed into a “God-made vs. man-made” direction which has led me to where I am now…at a “Volcano-Stomping Robot vs. Robot-Melting Volcano” DEAD END!

It’s a dead end because everyone gets blasted by Laser Eyes Jesus. Nobody wins the Science Fair Ribbon. Larry the Robot and Brenda the Volcano are banished to The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects. All seems to have come to a complete stop. Journeys sometimes feel that way.

But is this really a dead end? Do our journeys in life really even have dead ends? Could there be a door at every dead end, just below eye level?

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9 KJV)

Maybe it’s a door that requires us to stoop over a little to be able to find and to pass through? Maybe to look down in humbleness. So what do you think?

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10 KJV)

Laser Eyes Jesus blasts both Lydia and Nate for not starting with a question, and not starting with a question about his favorite pudding cups! But he sidesteps having to choose sides. Perhaps he knows that neither of them had good motivations behind their choices? Maybe he didn’t know how to move beyond the dead end either?

If you’ve ever been involved with a real life school science fair project, you know that it’s supposed to be about a question. Everything starts with a question. Then you go from there. Oh, and the question can’t be found in a science book or encyclopedia. It’s a personal kind of question.

Real Life Jesus loves questions. He always has, and I think He probably always will. In John’s Gospel, the first thing He says is actually a question: “What are you seeking?”

And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?”… (John 1:38 NASB)

I like that question because it really is so primary to everything else in life. Depending on what you are seeking, you may or may not go in a particular direction. Until you are seeking what only Jesus can give you, maybe His direction isn’t the one for you.

The answer that these followers gave has always been interesting to me. It is unexpected. They didn’t say they were seeking anything you’d expect like truth or wisdom or holiness or fame or power or financial gain.

…They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” (John 1:38 NASB)

They just wanted to know where He was staying so they could spend more time with Him. I think that is probably the most honest and open answer they could have given. Perhaps the most humble as well.

More and more I’m seeing how this question, this answer, and this humble attitude guide me as a believer and Christ-follower.

I’m seeking Real Life Jesus. To do that, I need to be with Him. I need to know that I’m staying where He is staying. He and I are both on this journey together.

For others to know what I’m seeking, they need to see that Jesus is staying and abiding with me.

No more dead ends.

When you read and consider personally the questions that Jesus asks in the Gospel records, I believe you will discover Real Life Jesus and also Real Life You.

Next up… Laser Eyes Jesus #047 “First Epilogue: Whatever Happened To Larry and Brenda?”

Thanks for reading!

John

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Are We All More Alike Than We Realize?

Are We All More Alike Than We Realize?

This is the second of three Laser Eyes Jesus comic strips in a series, and they are mostly about moving from having a religious knowing of Jesus towards having a relationship knowing of Jesus.

So what do you think? If you had to choose the best reason for winning a Science Fair ribbon, whose would you select?

Even though Nate and Lydia give different reasons why their Science Fair project should win, their underlying motivation is the same. They are both trying to deal with fear.

Nate’s reason behind his Volcano-Stomping Robot is that he is tired of waiting for God to do something about what he sees as the biggest problem in his life. He is afraid of what will happen if God doesn’t act. He wants God to just DO something to change what is troubling him. If God won’t act, then he will. Even though what he wants (freedom from oppression) is good and desirable, his plan involves going even so far as to removing God from his mind and his heart. Nate’s plan to handle fear is to take control himself, even if he kills God to get what he wants.

Lydia’s reason behind her Robot-Melting Volcano is also fear, but she is afraid of what will happen if God does act because then she will lose control. She has discovered that there is manipulative power in just saying that God will do something to the people and situations that she doesn’t like, so she uses God’s inaction to her advantage. She is “God’s Biggest Fan” and so God will do whatever she wants Him to do, especially to the people that she doesn’t like. Lydia’s plan to handle fear is to take control over God, even if she warps the image of God in her mind and heart. She believes that taking power over God will get what she wants for herself.

What if all of our problems and conflicts are really are just about fear?

That’s not so different from what we read in the Bible about the Garden of Eden, is it? Whether you believe it is an absolutely true account or a myth about two people who never existed, one of the many underlying themes in the story of Adam and Eve is fear.

To me, Eve was afraid that God was withholding something good and that maybe God couldn’t be trusted, and so she ate the forbidden fruit. To me, Adam was afraid that he would lose Eve, and so he followed her and ate the forbidden fruit.

I can see so many different kinds of fear in my life. Maybe you too? Fear of missing out. Fear of God not knowing best. Fear of God withholding. Fear of not getting what I want. These have motivated me to do many unJesus things and to warp the image of God to justify doing those unJesus things.

Fear has kept me from knowing Real Life Jesus. And yet knowing Real Life Jesus is the only way to conquer fear.

Next up… Laser Eyes Jesus #046 “Two More For The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects!”

Thanks for reading!

John

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The Volcano-Stomping Robot vs. The Robot-Melting Volcano!

The Volcano-Stomping Robot vs. The Robot-Melting Volcano!

This is just my experience and a part of my journey. It may not be anything like yours, but you might relate some to this or maybe understand someone you know just a little better. This is the first of three Laser Eyes Jesus comic strips in a series, and they are mostly about moving from having a religious knowing of Jesus to having a relationship knowing of Jesus. Robots are not always robots, and volcanoes are not always volcanoes!

So what do you think about this “Ultimate Showdown”? Who will win? Will Nate’s robot stomp down Lydia’s volcano before Lydia’s volcano melts down Nate’s robot? Who gets the ribbon for “Best and Most Right”?

Some people try to kill God or say that there is no God to kill. Some choose science over religion.

Some people warp God’s image into something that He is not. Some choose religion over science.

I have been at both extremes. Theist and atheist. A killer of God and a warper of God’s image. A religious fanatic and a science fanatic. A creationist and an evolutionist. Unstable in all of my ways? You bet!

What is at the root of it all, at least in my own heart?

To a child, almost anything is possible. God created a wonderful universe. Children want to learn about that creation (like volcanoes), and they want to find out what they themselves can create (like robots).

Science was my friend! Bible story heroes were my friends too! I didn’t have to choose one or the other. In my mind they coexisted just fine, and I liked it that way.

It wasn’t until I got older that things changed.

I learned that I wasn’t much of a Bible story hero. I wanted to try unheroic things. I wanted to do things that I knew Jesus would have never done. Ever.

So at first, I tried killing God, ignoring Him really. I tried to make God homeless. “Get out of my life!” Then I tried to make God unemployed. “You’re not needed in my life! Go and be God for somebody else!” Finally I made God unrecognizable at least as far as anyone looking for the image of God in me was concerned. “I don’t want to look anything like you! I don’t want to be anything like you!” This is what “How To Kill God In Three Easy Steps!” was about.

I had stomped all over the God I had known as a child and was left with a warped image of a god who seemed a lot like me, one that would let me do those unJesus things.

But it’s not so easy to just kill God like that because God does not let go of His own.

So then the Me-Burning Volcano took over, and was it ever a rigid, legalistic, all-consuming lava eruption! I was ready to burn up every evil in my life and every evil in anyone else’s life too! I had my Bible, God’s Holy Word, and “It’s clobberin’ time!” Except that only fed my desire to do more of those unJesus things.

But it was all fake and I knew it. It really didn’t matter which way I went…God-Stomping Robot or Me-Melting Volcano…I would eventually be frustrated and switch over to the other side, back and forth, back and forth.

Either way, I was doing unJesus things.

Next up…Laser Eyes Jesus #045 “Are Things More Alike Than We Realize?”

Thanks for reading!

John

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