Posts Tagged ‘glorify’

I love doing art in the church and I hope it doesn’t sound braggadocious to say this, but a lot of other people love what I do. That makes me very happy but there is something that is a little awkward and I could actually use your help with it. You see, the natural reaction to people loving what I do is to pay me a compliment and to be really honest, I like and appreciate that. Affirmation is always nice, but how should I respond?

I mean I really want to give glory to God for everything I do. Without Him nothing I do would work and He deserves all the credit. At the same time, I want to acknowledge the acknowledgment. I sometimes say, “Praise God” but I don’t want to come off sounding like I am correcting the person or trying to fake some sort of religious piety. Then sometimes I simply say “Thank you” but I wonder does that claim credit and glory for myself? I don’t want to appear in any way aloof because I’m not. I’d love to hang out and chat with these people all night because I appreciate them immensely. At the same time, I usually have an hour of cleaning and packing before me so I have to keep it short. I don’t ever want to appear prideful and I certainly don’t want to throw around some sort of false humility because God allows me to do some great things.

Basically here’s what I want to do, I want to be gracious and let the person know I genuinely appreciate the fact that they stepped out to affirm the work that I did, because I do. I want to encourage each one to use what God has given them, I want to encourage them to enter into a deeper relationship with me through various channels so I can continue to encourage them. Even more I want them to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus, using their gifts to serve Him. Most of all, I want to make sure they know I credit God for every good thing in my life. That’s a lot of thought around a simple compliment.

Am I overthinking it?
How do you respond when someone compliments your work?

So most of the readers of this post will probably acknowledge that their creative gifts come from God, but did you ever consider why they were given? Today I want to explore that a bit, in the context of the Scripture.

1. To beautify. When God created everything, he said it was either good or very good. Then sin came along and started to corrupt and destroy. The world we live in now while still being beautiful is a shadow of what it was intended to be. If you are gifted to beautify, you have the potential to give brief glimpses of the world as God intended.
2. To illustrate. You don’t have to be a visual artist to illustrate. Think about Jesus. We have no records of him painting a picture or making a sculpture, (other than creating everything, but I digress) what he did do, and it’s recorded all over scripture, is paint pictures with Words. He used simple stories to illustrate complex concepts, and that is something we can do as well. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Illustrations help people to understand a message and the message we have is too important not to be illustrated.
3. To tell the story. When Jesus said therefore go and make disciples. He meant it. We are in this world to let people know about Him. To communicate the message os the Word of God. To be sermons in shoes. We are His ambassadors entrusted with the message of how to be reconciled to God in Christ. To point the world to a God who loves them. To do this we need to tell the story of God, Jesus, his interaction with and love for humanity and what He has done for us.
4.To serve. The Bible says, “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others.” Serving is one of the key examples Jesus gave us as He walked the earth. One key “visual” Jesus gave us was in John 13 when he washed the feet of His disciples. In this act, he was illustrating. He was showing us that if He, the creator of all things could stoop to wash the feet of His creations, we should bow to serve others and He promises we will be blessed if we serve likewise.
5. To provide. Yes we are gifted to provide for our own needs, to work, to earn a living. He loves us and has not left us empty handed. We however must not fall to selfishness even in this. This gift is not just for us but so that we would provide for the needs of others.
6. To build up the body of Christ. The Bible speaks of certain gifts being used to prepare God’s people for works of service to build up the body of Christ. The church, the body of Christ is a living organism and living organisms grow and reproduce. When we use our gifts to serve and help others we draw them to Christ and into the body. The side-effect of this is that they add their gifts and talents to the body which expands the ways we can reach, touch and bless others.
7. To worship. When it’s all said and done, isn’t that why we’re here. To praise the one who created us all? When we bring our gifts to God in worship we are using them in their primary context to honor the One who gave us all.

And finally there is an overarching principle to all of this. Our gifts are given that we might glorify God and point others to Him, doing His will in this world. We do this so people might “see our good works and praise our Father in Heaven.” Ultimately this should be the motivation behind all of our creations.

I know this is a long post and it is far from an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. How do you use your gifts and how can those gifts glorify God?

When you know why you’re gifted, it’s easier to appropriately use your gift.

I was talking to my coach about my passion for ministry. I described art as my tool, one I feel I’ve been given to share the Gospel and see people come to Jesus and/or find their God given purpose, their ministry “tool” if you will. My passion is not the art, it’s the people and it’s Jesus and it’s introducing people to the one who redeemed my life an all that comes with it, including the art. My coach stopped me and told me it was the first time he heard me refer to art as a tool. That made me a little sad and apprehensive. This is always the way I have felt about my art, but I must not have been communicating it. The fear was that I haven’t been doing that here and if I haven’t, I’ve misled my readers.

Let me make it really clear. I love to make art. I do it nearly every day. I’d love nothing more than to use this gift for the rest of my life, but it is the means to an end and not the end in itself. My tool is art, my purpose is to use it and all my other gifts to point people to Jesus and help them find His purpose for their “tools,” whatever those tools may be. This blog is pointed toward artists of all stripes in the church, because you are my tribe. People with a common interest, but please remember, we have been given our gifts for something more than just creating, our gifts are given to bring glory to our Creator.

At least they should be…

Okay I’ll be the first one to admit, I didn’t have a lot of time to think this out, I woke up with it and acted on it. I just had a dream. I don’t claim it to be prophetic and I pray it wasn’t. In my dream I was at a mall when a message came over the loud speakers to evacuate the mall. I began to move for the exits when they announced that a germ had been released into the mall, I was running, then walking, then I wanted to run but couldn’t, I started to panic, then everything went black and I woke up. Not a great dream, but it birthed a great dream.

As I woke up, I started to pray. I started to ask God to protect us and keep that kind of stuff from happening, to overcome these kinds of threats in our world and these thoughts started to flow. I started to think what is terrorism. Sometimes they are large acts that hurt a lot of people, but sometimes they are relatively small acts (in scope) that make a lot of people afraid. I started to think of the beltway shooters from a couple of years ago. If you know one of their victims, your loss was great and I don’t mean to minimize it at all, but they shot a very small percentage of the people who drove those roads. The larger effect was they made everyone afraid to drive in the area. A relatively small act created massive chaos. That’s what terrorism does, it spread terror. It makes us afraid.

The next thoughts were how do we combat that? At first I thought of great acts of heroism, and I’d like to hope if there was ever a time when I needed to be heroic, that God would give me the grace to step up and do it. On my own I’m not that brave. Then I had a different thought. Heroism is hard and we all (or at least most of us)have doubts whether we would have the courage to be heroic, but if small acts of terror make a lot of people afraid, what would small acts dedicated to bringing joy do. Would joy spread like terror spreads? I think it would. The thought of the word Joyism came to mind. I din’t know if that’s copyrighted, and I hope it’s nothing dirty if it is, but what if we did that. What if we devoted ourselves to doing one thing each day that? I know people have often talked about random acts of kindness, I know this is nothing new, I don’t claim any originality in this, and any glory to come of it goes straight to God. The challenge is simple, do something that will bring someone joy and maybe, just maybe, joy will spread and the more people to do it the more joyful we will be. After all the Scriptures say perfect love drives out fear and as a small speck of light turns back the darkness, so small acts of love can turn back our fears.

We all talk about changing the world and we usually get intimidated because that seems too big. A lot of times this makes us do nothing, so pray for and look for an opportunity to do something small to make someone’s day better and then keep doing it. And whatever you do, do it with great love to the glory of God. Spread the Word about Joyism. Small things done with great love WILL make a huge difference. Share your comments and stories here.

I love when I get comments on this blog, (hint, hint). I especially love to hear that a post spoke into someone’s life and gave them something they needed for the day. I was replying to one of these posts yesterday when I had a revelation of sorts. Helping others helps me.

You see I wish I could say that these helpful posts are moments of brilliance from me. That’s not the case, my moments of brilliance cannot help but be disappointing. While I have devoted a lot of my life toward creative arts ministry and while I love to share with all of you, the truth of the matter is, the best stuff, the stuff that helps others the most, doesn’t come out of my expertise, it comes out of my brokenness. It comes when I am struggling with something and really seeking the Lord. All I do is try to share what the Lord has given me. Helping others helps me, because God helps me when I need help and come to Him.

If you have been helped by anything on this blog, it’s God who deserves the glory. If you’ve been helped by a post, please share it. I don’t even need the credit, just use what I’ve been given to help others. Also remember this, If you’re going through a struggle, remember God is always good, and he will help you through, He may even use this struggle to allow you to help someone else.

Helping others helps you.