Archive for September 2, 2021

Give Them a Picture

Posted: September 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

What if we gave them a picture, or a song or a play, or maybe all of the above?  

Consider how many messages and images you see in a given day? Hundreds? Thousands? Perhaps even more. We have so many things clamoring for our attention, as do the people all around us. Remember, as the church, we are entrusted with the greatest message of all, the question is how do we make that message stand out above the noise. The answer comes first in a move of the Spirit. Never do I want to assume that the arts can solve all our problems and fix the world. That would be idolatry. However, God has proven over and over again that He chooses to work through His people and He has clearly gifted His people to create. He clearly inspire and gives them dreams and visions that He expects us to work toward. He puts burdens on our hearts, and allows us to envision solutions and the better world on the other side of them. I am reminded once again of the correlation between hope and imagination. If you look at the imaginative works of people in our world, you will see a fair amount of pieces that seem to come from a very negative place. There is no hope to be found in them, and this makes it clear, it is possible to have imagination with hope. However, hope cannot exist without imagination. You need to be able to imagine something better to have hope. God in His mercy gifts us creatively to be able to make these things we imagine into reality. This, in the broadest sense is the work of the artist. The church needs artists to help us to see the hope and work toward it. Further the arts can help us to share the vision, inspire the people and show us a little more about what God is like.   

One might be tempted to ask with everything going on in our churches today, is there room for the arts and creativity? I understand this. As a full-time pastor and part time speaker/artist, I know I could easily fill every waking hour of my day with just the basic parts of a pastor’s job. It takes a lot of time to just “do the work,” and often those dreams and visions end up on the back burner, at the mercy of the more immediate need. Even as I write this, I realized there are many things I have relegated to being done some day because I have convinced myself I am the only one who can do it and I don’t have time. Frankly this is a manifestation of pride and a lack of faith. If God has given me a vision, there is someone who can make it a reality. They might be inside the walls of the church or they might be outside, but there is someone who can help. If God lays something on your heart, there is someone who can bring it to fruition. If I believe this to be true then I need to begin praying for the person who could make it complete and keep my eyes open for the opportunity to present itself. 

I remember how I became a youth leader, many years ago. I had just had a really convicting experience in relation to my art career and how it was becoming an idolatrous passion. God in no uncertain terms revealed to me that I needed to lay my art career down and I did it, vowing never to take it up again until I was doing it for Him. That day he laid a new vision on my heart, a call to ministry, specifically youth ministry. The first thing I ever did in youth ministry was took a group of kids to a large music festival with my wife and some friends. It was a mammoth undertaking, probably not the best choice for a first experience, but the Lord was at work and he demonstrated His faithfulness throughout the trip. It was a great tripo, but at the end of the trip, I was left with the nagging feeling of “Okay now what?” A few months later our church Sunday school superintendent went to the podium looking for volunteers to teach the Senior High Sunday school class. I knew instantly this was my next step. I actually didn’t even wait to the end of the service. I followed him as he exited after the announcement and volunteered on the spot. Sometimes all we have to do is ask, because we don’t always know how God is speaking to people or how He is working on hearts. Everything I am doing today is at least somewhat connected to that moment. The one who has the vision usually is the person to lead it, but it;’s highly unlikely they will be the one who will alone complete it.