For Community Bible Study leaders…thank you and more about “Love the Ones You’re With”

Van Gogh-Starry NightThank you so much…

…for inviting me to join you for your leadership retreat. First time I have ever spoken at a hunting retreat in a swamp. My husband is so jealous! (Any ideas where he can sign up?)

Your gift was so generous and I felt so honored by it and encouraged by the kind note.

I hope you will take God’s Word and Vermeer and Van Gogh’s art with you and that God might just prompt you to think of it when you need to love the ones around you with the gift of your presence.

The menu at the top of this page will show you around my website if you are interested. This page is a private page. It’s not in the menu. So if you want to return to it you’ll need to use the special link or the back arrow button at the top of your screen.

On this page I’ve posted a couple of further thoughts on Loving the Ones You’re With and some resources I used if you are interested. I’m sorry, but I’m not posting the files of the slide/music presentation. My understanding is that “fair use” of some of those images should only be “personal.” So I use them when I am personally presenting, but not when I am publishing on the web.


…means “close at hand”

I posted a blog this week on giving the gift of your presence as a way to celebrate Valentines.


You can see Van Gogh royalty-free images in a slide show here.

The music I used was “Vincent” by Don McLean from the album American Pie (1971). (Does that date me?)

“Vincent Van Gogh and Seeing,” by Catherine Claire Larson, from Faith and Culture: The Guide to a Culture Shaped by Faith. This contribution to our book was the springboard for this talk. You can read a description of the book here.

This blog post summarizes William Havlicek’s intriguing self-published book, VAN GOGH’S UNTOLD JOURNEY: Revelations of Faith, Family, & Artistic Inspiration.

This article from the LA Times discusses how “a new generation of scholars now say he retained his spiritual passion and only rechanneled it into art.”

There’s nothing like reading the original source, Vincent’s letters. In this one he talks about his faith:

“In the same way I think that everything that is really good and beautiful, the inner, moral, spiritual and sublime beauty in men and their works, comes from God, and everything that is bad and evil in the works of men and in men is not from God, and God does not approve of it.

“But I cannot help thinking that the best way of knowing God is to love many things. Love this friend, this person, this thing, whatever you like, and you will be on the right road to understanding Him better, that is what I keep telling myself. But you must love with a sublime, genuine, profound sympathy, with devotion, with intelligence, and you must try all the time to understand Him more, better and yet more. That will lead to God, that will lead to an unshakeable faith.”  How might Vincent’s life have been different if he had been taught and shown grace!

Concluding Verses

God’s presence with us: Psalm 139:8-10 ESV If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 40:16-17 16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!” As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!


If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or message me on my Contact page. I hope our paths cross again.



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “For Community Bible Study leaders…thank you and more about “Love the Ones You’re With”

  1. Lael,
    Thank you for the time you spent with us on Saturday. I loved your insights and discovering that we share a mutual respect for Van Gogh’s life and work. <

    • Of course, Laura. (Sorry for the confusion. I deleted the mistaken comment.) Thanks for taking the time to comment. Were you the one who recommended a biography of Van Gogh? If so, or if you know who did, I’ll be glad to add that to the resources as well.

  2. Thank you so much for coming to speak at our CBS Leaders Retreat. I had no idea Van Gogh was a believer and that his art was influenced by his relationship with the Lord. I loved the Starry Starry Night video presentation. I sang the song all weekend!

    • Thanks, Kelly. I sang it too! As for Van Gogh’s heart before God, clearly he wanted to love God and people with whole-hearted devotion in his better moments. Yet he could be so offensive and unloving. (the dilemma we all share) He went through a season of many prostitutes and addictions, yet seemed to focus more on pursuing God at the end of his life. I hope he came to Christ in saving faith. I haven’t read that in his letters…but maybe it’s in there somewhere.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it and hope our paths cross again!