Underneath The Beautiful (Photobook) Project

 

Executive Summary

An ancient prophet saw a vision. Everywhere, on every side, you surrounded with a countless number of bleaching bones from this slain multitude. The Bible says these bones were “very dry” (Ezekiel 37: 2). There wasn’t any hope of life. Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1–14) came to him after God had directed him to prophesy the rebirth of Israel in chapter 36. However, this promise seemed impossible in light of Israel’s present condition. She was “dead” as a nation, deprived of her land, her king, and her temple. She had been divided and dispersed for so long that unification and restoration seemed impossible. Directed him to speak to the bones. Ezekiel was to tell the bones that God would make breath enter the bones and they would come to life, just as in the creation of man when He breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7).

Ezekiel obeyed, the bones came together, flesh developed, skin covered the flesh, breath entered the bodies, and they stood up in a vast army. This vision symbolized the whole house of Israel that was then in captivity. The reviving of the dry bones signified God’s plan for Israel’s future national restoration. The vision also, and most importantly, showed that Israel’s new life depended on God’s power and not the circumstances of the people. Putting “breath” by God’s Spirit into the bones showed that God would not only restore them physically but also spiritually.

God gave me a similar vision. I realized I can partner with God and speak Hope into people’s lives using photos and stories. That is my vision. Isn’t it beautiful that God says He can give you beauty for ashes? God can use their past for His glory and restore everything that was lost. Every life matters, no matter how long or short. Every life has meaning and worth.

Methodology

When I think about the relationships that have meant the most to me, I think about people I’ve enjoyed real conversations with–– conversations about life and God. The project will provide a minimum of fifty (50) original images and sets of simple questions allowing the viewer to connect deeply with God’s promises. It is a devotional type of book. But it also contains a section ”how to grow yourself as a photographer and will teach you the basic of photography.”

The photobook can connect deeply with our emotions and experiences, they enable us to engage in meaningful conversations about life & God. The photobook will come alongside someone on their journey.

Story-line

As we watch tragic events unfolding, or more particularly as we experience adversity ourselves, we often are prone to ask God, ‘Why?’ The reason we ask is that we do not see any possible good to us or glory to God that can come from the particular adverse circumstances that have come upon our loved ones or us. But is not the wisdom of God—thus the glory of God—more eminently displayed in bringing good out of calamity than out of blessing?

God’s infinite wisdom then is displayed in bringing good out of evil, beauty out of ashes. It is revealed in turning all the forces of evil that rage against His children into good for them. But the good that He brings about is often different than the good we envision.

Themes and Concepts:

Our life is composed of interwoven stories. And if you look at Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Nehemiah, Esther, etc. the pattern is the same.

1. The first is God’s story. God is working through our story. God’s story is our promise that He has a purpose for us filled with destiny.

All of Creation: Brokenness and Redemption

We’ve been trying to express it in the stories that we tell. Or rather, it has been trying to express itself, this eternity written on our hearts. And the Scripture bears witness that the best of those stories are very close indeed to what is about to happen in our Story.

2. The second is our story is the participation within God’s story for us.

What does it mean to follow Christ and how that affects your life and how does that looks like? These realities wear on us. While we know God is in the process of restoring all things, the reality is that as humans we are prone to walk by sight and not by faith.

Walking by faith is extremely challenging, especially living in a post Christian world. Nevertheless, we need to be acutely aware of the consequences of allowing our sight to order our steps and dictate our lives.

When sight usurps faith, weariness swiftly becomes burn out, dissonance erodes into hopelessness, and we ultimately have an identity crisis. We forget who we are, what we represent, and our created purpose.

Courage and faith are intertwined.

When you see heroism in the Bible, it’s fueled by faith. Believing God and believing His promises emboldens His people. The story I always go back to for courage is when Moses went to Pharaoh and demanded the relapse of over one million Israelites (read Exodus 1-15 for context). But before that event, Moses didn’t want to go. Moses had his butterflies of doubt. He runaway from Egypt to escape Pharaoh’s death penalty for killing an Egyptian. Second, Moses was afraid He feared that he wouldn’t convince Pharaoh because he wasn’t an eloquent speaker.

Bravery requires practice. It’s not enough to see it in other people and admire it. And you see this example in Moses when he was tried to convince Pharaoh 10x to let the children of Israel leave Egypt. On each event, Moses’s courage and faith grew stronger.

You have to make daring, bold choices of your own. If you shrink in fear every time there’s a chance to share your faith, stand up for what’s right or face your sin, courage won’t get a chance to develop.

As a follower of Christ, your life gives you the opportunity to build courage. At some point, you’ll be faced with a choice. The motivation to grow closer to God and mature in your faith will pull you away from cowardice and compromise. It will push you toward courage.

3. The third is our fairytale stories. You see, our fairytales are intended to give us hope and vision. They give us the energy to continue to “walk out” the story God has for us. It is bigger than us, unique, not a copy or re-make; it is our unique piece of history with promise, continuing into eternity.

As Christians, we must remember that we are a people of hope. We have a message of hope and we are called to embody this hope. This hope gives us patience. This hope gives us confidence. This hope fuels our perseverance. This hope ensures us that the present cannot compare to the future. It reminds us that we must interpret the present in light of the promised future. As children of God, we should not be hopeless about what God is doing in this world because we know that God has begun a renewal process that is both ongoing and beyond our comprehension.

God asks what it is He’s made us love, what it is that captures our attention, And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.

4. Bill Johnson: He arms us with purpose by giving us a promise instead of the answer. That way, we are forced to learn how to believe Him before the answer comes and then learn how to exercise His will in the circumstances that are contrary to the given promise. This is part of what it means to be a co-laborer with Christ. He labors, and we labor with Him.

Your life will probably not play out like you want. But the one who writes a better story will be with you in every trial. Scripture repeatedly reassures us God is always near (Psalm 145:18; Romans 8:38–39; James 4:7–8), but sometimes we struggle to believe it

Selecting which photos go into the book project:

Invite others who want to be part of this project

Plan a photo outing so that people will photograph with these concepts in mind

Next Steps:

Continue to research themes and concepts

Find a scripture that will go along with ideas and also communicate the hope of the gospel.

Refine concepts

Find a proofreadeother

Get approval to use the photo for the photo book cover