Posts Tagged ‘arts’

God has a plan and a purpose for your life and I believe your gifts and talents figure mightily into that plan. Just as in the Parable of the Talents, the master gives each of his servants talents to invest for the sake of his Kingdom, so our Lord has invested talents in us. These talents belong to the master and have been given to make great gains for His kingdom. Consider what this means. In Christianity, belief in God is vital, but this passage (it’s found in Matthew 25) tells us that in a very real way God believes in us… In you!

None of is in this world accidentally. You were created on purpose for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. To live out this calling is a huge part of your destiny in Christ, and in it you will find the meaning of your life. Your talents are a huge part of God’s plan. Submit your gifts to the will of the Father and see where He takes you.

Live the plan!

I had a discussion with a promotions expert about my blog. He suggested that blogging every day was too much contact for the people who might follow this blog. I have to admit I have wondered if I was posting too often. So after two days off the blog, I thought I would just ask the question.

I had a great night doing a paint night for a bunch of wonderful creatives. At the end as I was tearing down, one of the folks told me I looked tired. The truth is, I am, but it’s the good kind of tired. It’s the kind of tired you feel when you know you are doing God’s will, and tat He is using you to be a blessing to others. It’s the kind of tired that allows you to feel a certain satisfaction and contentment because you know you’ve been faithful. I don’t mind feeling this kind of tired. I know I can sleep (please Lord, let me get a good night’s sleep, sometimes excitement makes that difficult) a little later tomorrow if I need to.

As I turn in, and I will as soon as I hit publish, I feel like I did what the Lord had for me today. It was a long day, but God was faithful and I kind of feel like I was too…

and that’s the good kind of tired.

This week I am teaching at a Christian Writer’s Conference. I am excited and just a little intimidated. There are people here from all skill levels and some of them are much more accomplished that I am. My goal is to help everyone in the room to gain something that they can take home and use. Even more I want to spur the folks who invest their valuable time in me on to love and good deeds. As I am thinking of this, a thought has just occurred to me—I want them all to surpass me and if they do, I will have really done my job.

I have some concerns. Foremost of which is I tend to write very conversationally. As a result, I may not be the “cleanest” (grammatically) or most technically proficient writer. Secondly, do I have anything to offer that the conferees don’t already know? I’m teaching on creative block and a second session that relates to sharing our work with the world. A wealth of thoughts run through my head and not all of them are encouraging. What should I do? I think I have found my answer and it’s in the first session I will teach.

I have a list of forty five ways to overcome creative block. I know I won’t be able to hit them all but I wanted to be prepared for any contingency. They’re all tried and true and have all worked in my life. I already know the first one is so painfully obvious that I will have to explain quickly before they think they signed up for the wrong class. I almost took it out, but I realized it’s the second most important one in my creative life and it’s started more posts on this blog than any other. Well… except for the second one, which is also fairly obvious, but I have often failed to do it and have paid the price on many occasions. The first idea kind of needed to be first, but idea number two is in every other way number one. Number two is prayer and it is the most important step in the creative process. If you want to succeed in your mission to glorify God in your creative pursuits, the first step should be to ask God what will bring Him glory. He knows that better than anyone and He will never steer you wrong.

There is one other thing to be considered. All those intimidating thoughts should be washed away with one single thought Did I pray? I did and because of that I can trust that God will do what He wants to do through me (and in me) for these sessions. God’s been faithful, now it’s my turn.

I believe He will bring honor and glory to His name in the way that He sees fit and I trust Him. If you’re going to succeed in any creative pursuit, the first step is to pray.

There once was a man with a great golden pitcher. He loved to use his pitcher to refresh the people all-around him. He poured day and night until one day he stopped. It wasn’t because he wanted to. Pouring gave his life purpose and meaning and it brought him great joy. He tried and tried to keep pouring, but to no avail. He simply could not pour anymore. The reason was simple…

His pitcher was empty.

I know the question that is creeping through your mind. “Why didn’t he just fill the pitcher?” It’s obvious, right? Then why don’t you do it? You see, if you’re like most creatives, especially Christian creatives, you want to help people and you live to be a blessing. We seem to thrive on creating and sharing those creations as well as helping and pouring into the lives of others. We’d do it all day every day if we could, but please don’t miss this because it is a principle that will serve you very well. You can’t pour what you don’t have. If you’re going to pour out, you also have to learn to let others, not to mention God, pour into you.

I know this pretty well. I’m right in the middle of a long period of much activity and I love it, but it comes with a price. My mind is racing all the time. This often keeps me from sleeping which makes me quite tired at times. Also my studio space is chaotic, because I am in “throw and go” mode. You know, that’s where you finish something, throw it to the side and start working on the next thing. As a result of that chaos, there are at least two things I intended to bring along for the conference where I am speaking, that are sitting home in my studio. I can do everything I need to do without them, but they would have been an asset to what I am doing. Finally, though most importantly, when I go to pray, my mind is so all over the place that even the Lord is not getting my full attention. That’s not going to work forever. I’m not empty right now. I still feel okay, but I’m definitely not full.

What to do? Well today I am going to let some people sow into me. I’m going to sit and listen to a few other speakers to see what I can glean from them. I’m going to enter into some unplanned, general conversations. I might even grab a nap in my room and I am going to spend some time with Jesus. I’m still going to seek to be a blessing, but I’m also going to attempt to fill my pitcher.

If I don’t, I can’t pour.

Some people say Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” A lot of people also say he never said that and I don’t know one way or the other, but whoever said it was on to something. The date of my birth was of course paramount for me, I wouldn’t be here without it. The day I found out why took a long time and actually probably came in stages, because of course there is more than one reason. Of course the day I said yes to Jesus was overlooked in the quote and yet, due to its eternal significance, should be the most important day, and it is.

As I look back over my life, I’ve had a few best days. April 23, the day I married my wife. March 31, the day my oldest son Brandon was born, November 13, the day my youngest son Chris was born and today, July 14. You see July 14 two years ago was the day this little man came into the world.

This is my grandson, David John. He is two years old today and he is my pride and joy. There have been days where I have lamented getting older, but in truth having a grandchild brings all that into perspective. I may be getting older, but I am also more blessed.

Yes, dear reader, this is one of my best days.

It may shock you to read this, but I always cringe when I hear that phrase. I know as someone in ministry, this should be my greatest goal and I guess it is, but for the most part I don’t think that’s what people mean when they say it. The thing is, the mind of Christ is really, really easy to find most of the time. The reason for that is simple. He published it. It’s the best selling book of all time and to know His mind, most of the time, one needs only to open it and start reading. Now I know some will want to take me to task here on the hard issues of the day and yes I know some of those are really difficult. Who told you it would be easy?

The reason I cringe though is because I have heard some people say things are “the mind of Christ” that cannot possibly be the mind of Christ because they stand in direct conflict with the Word of God. God and Christ are one and they are never in conflict. If you think you’ve found the “mind of Christ” but there is sin involved, you need to keep looking because you haven’t found it yet. People say God can do anything, but that is not completely true. God can’t fail and God can’t sin. Neither can Jesus.

I was at a church conference and people seemed to think that a favorable vote meant we had found the mind of Christ. Since when has a majority opinion always meant that God was behind something? It didn’t work at the foot of Mt. Sinai where Aaron was carving a golden calf while Moses was with God getting the commandments (but I already touched on that earlier). It didn’t work anywhere in the book of Judges. The people fell away as a group, cried out to God, got rescued, only to fall away again. As the old adage goes, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

Sometimes I think “seeking the mind of Christ” is a reaction not unlike disobedient children who don’t like what they hear from father so they decide to ask someone else. We need to remember the church of Jesus Christ is not a democracy. Voting has no power when God is control. His vote is the vote that matters and that’s okay because He is completely loving and completely perfect. He will let us go our own way if we want to. He will probably even come to the rescue when it fails, and it will fail, but never call our will the mind of Christ, because He always submitted His will to the will of the Father. “Thy will be done” remember.

The mind of Christ is to always, every single time to do the will of the Father. We find that will not in getting our own way but in being a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) submitting our will to the will of the Father.