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plans fall like the rain in spring. I sometimes expect God to work in the excitement of amazing possibility. When the jobs fall through though God is there and he is telling me that they didn’t “fall through”, they are going according to plan, my plan. I have lost four large jobs this year that I “should” have had. One was going to take me from China to India to South Africa to Argentina. Another, was going to take me to India and yet another was going to take me to Kenya. And most recently I was asked to come over to London to live for one month, with my brother, and take four day trips around Europe shooting beautiful films. I tried so hard for that one to happen, my client, an amazing man I met in London while praying aloud, really wanted me to come over to work with him. All was in the clear, even a great budget, and then we realized 7 days before I was going to leave that I didn’t have a work visa. At that moment I was disappointed even though I had been praying through it. But praise God that my flesh was overcome by the Spirit and my joy was restored when the Lord reminded me of his faithfulness by saying, if your goals aren’t my goals and you are following me, then your goals shouldn’t be working out. At that moment like the spring rains I realized I was being restored from a moment of back faced to God faith.

I had an amazing day yesterday. I continued photographing at the boxing gym that is up the street from me located in a pretty crazy neighborhood. The lead guy is a role model for the kids. More to come later. See sample videos on my vimeo.com/stephenmcgee3 page.

11 of my 50 photography journals that Cathy and I created with inspirational quotes and field notes from my travels were sold at a market in Vietnam.

My nephew and I were photographed and printed in the Detroit News (http://www.detnews.com/article/20100506/BIZ/5060342/1001/Avalon-Breads-planning-growth–microbrewery)

I humbly photographed a funeral of detroit baseball announcer/legend, ernie harwell.

I sent out my VII Photo portfolio with an emphasis on video! Pray for that and the reception of my work amongst the 11 very respected and skilled photographers who will review it.

I went out to meet this singer named Chris from Never Shout Never cause he wants to do films around the world with me and I with him and this other guy Russ Hubley who is awesome from Portland. it was crazy to see that many people singing his songs and then I walk downstairs right after the show, having never met him, (an 18 year old who got kicked out of high school and toured the country selling hundreds of thousands of singles by himself. then got signed to warner bros). I walked into a small cement room and he said, “i am a fan of your work”. we chilled for 3 hours and then I drove him to Taco Bell and ordered 42 dollars flat of tacos for all the busses. Drove back and watched the Mummy Returns which was horribly bad.
I love what I do. “Not many people can live like we do” a friend named Russ told me. I live the way I do Trusting the Lord will work. I think more people should have less jobs that structure their life accordingly especially if they are just in it for providing for themselves a lifestyle they admire.

Hello, hope you are well!

If you could get this message out as many people as you feel comfortable forwarding to, that would be greatly appreciated. It has to be done soon though.

Praise the lord that God has freed us and chosen us to bring forth his word and love through his son Jesus Christ.

In January I made a video for an authors book release. It was a competition between six filmmakers and their interpretation of a single page from the authors book.

When I was picked I saw this opportunity to continue in the path the Lord has set before me to become move involved with the world of filmmaking.  Though this competition does have a prize, I see this as an opportunity to push faith based films in a creative way to inspire faith and encourage conversation about Jesus. The book is called Dug Down Deep by Josh Harris and the intention for my film was to do just that, cause you to search for the meaning and to not only not give you answer but leave you in question.

The winner is chosen by how many comments the video has.  Please go to http://www.joshharris.com/2010/01/film_6_stephen_mcgee.php#comments

and leave a comment under my video if it moves you. Thank you.

The movie is about one Christian who sees that his church is focused more on going through the motions of religion. I chose a Ukrainian actor to play the lead and an Ukrainian man to be the voice. Read why in the blog post below.

Harris testifies in his book that until recently his life was built on sand even though he read and believed the word of god. A Sand based foundation was a theme throughout the film. I had the narrator whisper some key lines in the script to emphasize how God speaks to us; in whispers. Like Elijah and God’s still quiet voice at the mouth of the cave I wanted the audience to lean in and truly listen to what was being said. There are elements throughout this film that mirror what Harris wrote about Doctrine and Theology as well as instances in my life where God was revealed to me.

I love the shadow scene in the dark church.  I chose this sequence to represent a few different things. Maybe I’ll write more about that later.

Harris also wrote “I kissed dating goodbye”.  In one section in this, his most recent book, “dug down deep”, he talks about meeting the holy spirit in what he called ‘the bubble church’. The bubble church he thought was great but focused too much on performance based faith.  I represented the bubble church as a ballerina with bubbles.

So often Christians name themselves specific parts of the body of christ, giving themselves opportunity not to serve in other ways than their “role”. As The pastor is preaching from blueprints representing many Christians today who have ministry goals based on what works in other parts of the world and in other churches the congregation goes through what looks like a workout routine.

The main character sees one group who are focused only on prayer, the next group on action and a third, the ballerina, on performance based faith. His search for truth brings him to the front of the church where he sees the ballerina. Beliving he needs also to take off his shoes to do the right dance to meet the holy spirit and become like her faith he takes off his shoes and sees that he had been walking on sand the entire time.  The main character walls over and takes the sword out of the sand and walks it out of the church which stops everyone.

The main actor is a Ukrainian and so is the voice. Because of this film both got to see the love of chirst and were ministered to.

If you could send it to everyone you know and have them do the same if they are moved that would be great. Comment on the video to cast your vote.

May God reveal himself to you and create in you a clean heart built on the solid foundation of his son Jesus.

Thanks.
Stephen

Sorry for the typos, my computer died so I typed this on my phone.

I am empty and I don’t know what to do. Ask Jesus to reveal himself to you and listen.  Be active in waiting for the Lord to work. He will work.

I am beginning to put together my entries for the World Press Photo competition. I think I will submit my pro life story, some type of detroit story, maybe a china story, and ukraine.

As one who seeks Jesus, I began believing that I knew that I knew what my motives were in areas such as serving others, loving, living, photographing, etc. I told myself that I was doing it for Jesus. Prompted by the spirit I had a revelation yesterday and that belief changed as I read scripture.

Obedience to God is not found in yourself, aka, your ideas. This is why the Spirit of God leads us to put to death the deeds of the rebellious flesh (Rom. 8:13, 14; Gal. 5:16,24). Sooo, I will never know what my motives are when I try and justify my actions by my own understanding.  So deep are the shallow roots of man’s attempt to follow God. A list  containing all things that separate us from God and one list of all this that God approves, if memorized and practiced still will not make us pure. . That we shouldn’t do will never be able Man’s best attempt is not enough, even if the motives seem pure.

God is the one who makes the motives pure and is the only one who knows my heart. Although at times my heart can cry out and make me feel that it’s feelings are so real, so true, so guiding that all I can do is follow it to find the fulfillment it searches for. Even up to yesterday, I knew that I was trying to serve the Lord with a clean heart, believing with a dangerous subtle notion that my motives were pure. That is still too bold, I believed that my motives didn’t need to be checked.

The flesh nature is hostile to God and will not subject itself to the law of God’. (Rom. 8:7).  Can I determine what is and isn’t a pure motive in my heart. What Pride! Either all is pure or all is not. The truth is found in which is leading my life; the Spirit or the Flesh. I will never know the motives of my life but I will submit myself to the knowledge of God I own, bowing all of me to let the Spirit guide.  The all that we feel we need to know, (financial questions, health questions, love, etc), we don’t need to know.

Belief in Jesus the most powerful opportunity we have. But the devil believes in Jesus too! And he is scared. In Christ, where all can stand by God’s strength, can we find true life. My prayer for you is the same as it is for me, that Jesus reveals himself and that in words, attitude, reaction and response may the fullness of Christ be the only reflection of life in mine.

I have had a few people lately say that it is so “easy” for me specifically to be a christian. I don’t know what that means. As you just referenced in your mind that I am on the outside of what you are going through then I ask you what you think the inside is and how it differs from the outside. Experience?

Know that You are awesome! And so complete in God! Now  it seems as though you are searching for more of something to fill your down time. Prayer isn’t enough, God isn’t enough. I say that is because you search and pray on your own strength. God never hides and doesn’t go anywhere in relation to where we are. You have defined your needs as more social life or more whatever. I feel the same way too when focused on myself, but my impatience is with my job and what I am doing to be a better photographer/filmmaker. I never feel what I am doing is enough. I dont think you actually want me to go on as I do, encouraging you in what I believe is the truth, but here the words are free and your time is limited.

I pray that joy and contemptuous gratitude come to you through jesus. a small story, my friend Andrew Jump always countered my selfish thoughts with scripture, and i didn’t like it. but it was because my heart was hard and in subtle rebellion, I was seeking for my own way to follow god. Then he hit me with a proverb…Притчи 1:5..Хай послухає мудрий і примножить науку, а розумний здобуде хай мудрих думок.
[12/7/09 12:50:46 AM] Stephen McGee: have a good time.

Jesus is the truth. Paul was in the jail and God shook the bounderies and the jail opened. After the jailor came into the cell realizition the jail was opened he was thinking of suicide. When he saw Paul he got down on his knees and asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?”

The Jailor, a free man, ran into a jail to talk to a Jesus filled man and asked what must I do to be saved. When God does miracles like opening up the jail cells of our lives, it is often, most often for those around us he is talked to bring them closer to him.

Jesus stepped out of heaven for your personally. He is the only one in all religions who say, “I am the Truth” and he continues, “the way and the life”. If you believe in Jesus you will be saved.

Look at what Jesus taught. How does that experience affect you? We are kind because he is kind, but that is not enough. Look at the Word and the Wonder. Look at the miracles Jesus has performed.

WE have a savior that just doesn’t live, but lives in us. WE have to tell the story. It is the gospel. From Gen 1 to Rev 22. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Mark 2:6 “What is this wisdom that has been given that he even does miracles!”

Take the passage John 14:6 and compare it to any other religion. You will not find it anywhere else.

Picture 1

Chicas Praying For Healing, Real Church, Hamtramck

When you speak the words of Jesus it is because he is alive. I have never seen more clearly. I understand where I have been saved from. I know I am in and I want to be going where there is life and life in abundance. Detroit doesn’t need the auto industry to save us. Detroiters need God and with God the city will be saved.

I want to hold a gathering in the park across the street from Tigers Stadium.

I am not ready for this and do not have the words to say. Victory is not for the taking but for the sharing, the encouraging, the loving and the humble.

Detroit Sunset from my house, see there is a reason to move here.

Detroit Sunset from my house, see there is a reason to move here.

Praise God. I really just have been having a great time working for the NY Times. Over the past week I have been blessed with 3 assignments and yesterday was asked to do 3 out of 4 parts for a portrait series for the Times. On Monday I spent 3.5 minutes with the CEO of Ford photographing him AND interviewing him on camera for USA Today. God has been so awesome. Not just because he has blessed me with these jobs, but because he remains faithful and true to his word. If you don’t know God, a let me tell you who he is..He is the forgiving, the faithful, the truth, the light, the creator, the provider, the hope, the ever present, the never failing and I could on (in my preacher voice). For real though, I have been freelance for just over a year and the jobs keep coming. Not because of the skills I have or the effort I put in, but because the Lord has called me to a place that he wants me to be and the result are jobs coming in. I give him the Glory. I received a call today for a job in Chicago, Detroit, St Paul and Milwaukee for a documentary series for a non-profit group. Now I know the lord will provide for he has called me away from my comfortable job a year ago, a job that was awesome, a job that I miss a lot because of the people. But He called me into this unknown land that is freelance and has provided ever since. Praise God. I really want you all reading this far to know that whether or not you put the name of “God” on God, or if you think that there is a power out there that you tap into or if you think everything was created to work in harmony or whatever, know this; that all of that came together and created a baby boy which a young mother named Jesus. The amazing thing about Jesus, besides the fact that so many people use his name and deny he exists, is that he came as a baby. Now Mary, his mother, had to take care of Jesus (God in a bod as some people would say). God in the flesh as a helpless baby. I believe that is how believers are supposed to act towards everyone in this world. As a servant out to better others, to nurture others, to care for others and feed them. To bring them up through adolescence and then into maturity.

Thank you to all my friends praying for the shoot tonight. I think I nailed it.

Media areas get a little tight on big events like Obama in Grant Park.

Media areas get a little tight on big events like Obama in Grant Park.

Steps backward in flesh are steps forward in spirit. so when your back is finally against life’s ropes, know that you are facing everything with the unlimited power of God the instant you reach for him. When we serve God at our best we often confuse that as He and I strength but when we serve God at our worst it can only be seen as He Strength. Whether at our best or worst, let us remember at the second situations switch for better or worse, richer or poorer, in good health and sick, that in God is where we need to be.

Ezek 1-3, 2 Corinthians 11

Over 7,000 people from over 50 Countries have come to this blog, woah humbled.

This map represents 834 people from over 40 Countries who have come to this blog in the past month. 7,000 people have come in the past 6 months that I have had this. Thank you for being one of them.

Random Christian fact #1, it says in the Bible that God appoints the leaders of this world like Barack Obama.

Did I lose you? No more faith talk? Ok how about this, Someone from Mongolia has seen my blog. Crazy.

To me it is crazy that we can have a map of the whole world and see where people are from who are clicking on my site. It seems so simple now. I posted this blog because I was inspired by the global inquiries which is why i posted the screen grab of my Clustrmap. Back to the post.

A cat I saved from the streets of Detroit is playing with my slipper’s shoelace. The heat is on full force fighting the 27 degree F weather outside. Two days ago I was in New York City and two days from now I don’t know I where I will be. That is the life of a photojournalist. But for here, for now I am at home. In comfort. But I do not seek comfort, I seek to activate and meet face to face the drive that stares at me when i sit still. The drive that makes me want to photograph when I see good light is the same drive that makes me wonder and ask questions. So my drive, is it humanitarian? Empathetic? Passionate? Selfish? Is it love or fulfillment that I search for? Or blog hits? Facebook friends? Are the things we as a society spend the most time on also the things we hold most dear? In this world of impersonal responses and friend requests, what is really your point to it all?

Randomly planned, I am thinking now where my homeless friend Bruce is now on this cold night. It is just another lonely night for him. He asks for candles for heat, gloves and a blanket for the cat he cares for in the abandoned sanctuary of a warehouse, keeping only the cold steel forged to fortify this nation with autos and wealth. Now that building, built in 1892, is Bruce’s home. Makes you think about what being thankful actually means and who you are thankful for for that. In a life where we can’t predict the economy let alone if we will be alive tomorrow or not, what really is there to bother you? If we don’t find what we are looking for in this world do we find ourselves in the gutter of despair or in a mansion of hope.

For those who don’t know who I am, I am a photographer. I am also a filmmaker. But to stop there would be only to set the things that I do as the definition of what I am. I consider myself successful but I do not think “I have made it” yet. I, like many, put success on different levels of obtainable and achievement and judge ourselves accordingly. The power in that is that we get to decide what all of that means; taking into account how others consider what we are doing, the overall thought on a community, national or global scale to what we are doing. We have the power to care or not care and we have the power to decide what makes us and what breaks us. What builds us up and what tears us down. Or do we? Does a dam chose to stop a river or is it the dam’s builder?

What looks like hope to you? What looks like gold? What shines on you like rays from the sun only more constantly than the clear days of your life? For me it is Jesus.

Guess what, “The Right” might be people who call themselves Christians, but in the Christian faith it is not up to the followers of Christ (those who go to church, those who read the Bible those who believe Jesus is the only Son of God) to bring judgement on others so if you don’t agree with Christianity because the people who follow it don’t agree with you, remember that Christianity is not about Christians, it is about Jesus Christ. That name will silence a conversation if the person saying it is actually talking about the man, Jesus Christ. That name will bring more division because of the egos that men carry and the pride that sets our self consciences above our peers. If we can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink and if we can put a man through school but not make him think then why do people think it is best to point at the opposite of what they think they are and call them wrong?  My readers, man does not have the authority to tear another man down. We only have the authority to lift each other up. God is cool (if you can even put a name on the infinate pressence that started this world, whether speaking in Palin time or Darwin time).

If you have a problem putting the name God on what created us and this planet, awesome. Love that sign of respect. “The Creator” works just fine. Or simply, “The Provider”. I think the name God is thrown around way irrelevantly by many people, including myself. There is beautiful scripture in the Bible that talks about how much God loves us and provides for us and the scripture continues with talking about how if God provides for the sparrows, who don’t harvest or plan ahead, how much more will God provide for the children he created. (Christians say “He” because as the creater God is considered a paternal figure who knows best for us but gives us the freedom to chose what we want in this world).

So is the worth of me measured with my awards (which could get stolen), my 343 Facebook friends (120 or so whom I don’t know really at all), my 7321 blog visitors, my family, my cat, my car, my home, my personality, my looks, my faith, my God, my traveling, my escaping the US for far away places? I am not sure because I go back and fourth between all of it, excluding my cat. The one thing I know is that God loves me and that should be where I find my worth, that God loves me enough that He (all of the presence that made the birds and the trees, the mountains and the lakes, the cameras and the photographs and everything in this world besides what is evil), all of that came together and made a woman name Mary pregnant 9 months before the forgotten holiday of Christmas with a baby that would be names Jesus (Christ is not a last name, it means savior).

But woah, Savior? Christ? In this day where there are wars and famines, economies failing and people by the hundreds of thousands losing their jobs, most of which I have seen first hand. Why is Jesus’ last name Savior? We as the human race can do this life on our own. We have modern medicine and science and smart people who can plan stuff out that only screws the poorest of people. Well then, Savior, what can you do for me? You are quiet and it seems like you are never here, or never anywhere. If you love us why is all of this happening. Why are Christians always blaming you for things like Katrina or 9/11? Do they know?

I was going to be a scientist, a paleontologist to be specific. That doesn’t mean I am smart by the way. I just like dinosaurs.  In all of my study and all the studies I have seen I see that the common thing in it all is that the scientist is searching, searching for the truth, searching for why things work, searching for why things are the way they are. It seems that “small” is still being defined and “big” is in that category too. In a world where people are searching, in this world where no one knows how small small is and how big big is, all that we don’t know in science is ok with us but all we don’t know in God is not. What if for a moment I with all the power and authority I have as a 26 year old single male with out a completed college education said that the word God was switched with the word Science. What would happen then? Would God seem more intricate or Science more aloof?

Have you ever lost your way? Have you ever felt tomorrows guilt today? Have you ever watched this world leave you behind? Won’t you take a chance and give a man, give a woman, give yourself, a home that can not be shaken or taken away. Do you know where to begin. No bags needed, no big breaths, just a release.

I consider myself successful but I do not think “I have made it” yet. The power of Jesus, oh how it is. I consider myself searching for what truth is and in that search I have found that it will make a weak man mighty and will make a mighty man fall, it will fill your heart or leave you with nothing at all, it will be the legs for the lame and the eyes for the blind. That is the power of the words found in the Bible which are alive because the same God that created the world long ago lives today in us and around us. And for me the Gospel is for everyman, every woman and every child.  The power, the might power of the Gospel is that we get to have the choice to be a part of it or not.

It is now approaching 2:30 am. It still looks cold outside which brings me to my point; What is my point. Why the random photos I post in the posts before this, why give my thoughts on what is happening in my life. If there was a point where 100 people beat the same drum, would there be one drum beat that sounded different or one that would stand out from the rest if all the viewer did was listen?  My mother told me to listen with my eyes and my ears will follow. One after another each of the hundred people beat the drum, the first one was one year old and the last one, in successeding year, was 100. Each beat was almost similar when only heard, but took on a life of it’s own when the source of the beat was witnessed. Then the beat became unique.

I want to change the people in the world, ruin them from average by showing them from my angle the way to find theirs.

In closing, a dear uncle of mine passed away a year ago. I miss him greatly. I would call him, not as often I should have, and he would tell me stories of his travels or about the books he was reading and I would listen. Much of my edicate came from him and his lessons on manners and supper conversations.  In all the teachings, the one I learned and apply most in my life is how a simple “thank you” will “go a long way”. So thank you Jesus for everything you have done in my life.

Photograph by Stephen McGee

"photographs to make you think" by Stephen McGee