Posts Tagged ‘imagination’


A project that has been on my mind for years, and it’s time. I call it The Imaginative Church. The idea is pretty simple. I want to see the church embrace their imagination to find new ways to communicate the unchanging truth of God’s Word. I already have worked up a lot of this material in various forms, but I am finally going to curate it into a compendium of (hopefully) useful information. Stay tuned, and in the mean time, which cover do you like better?

A.

or B.

Share your vote in the comments.

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nc1aLast Night I did my new presentation on what may be my favorite verse in all of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the news has come.” I was trying to think of a good painting to do with it. I’ve already done butterflies and frogs exploring the metamorphosis concept of complete change, but that wasn’t quite right, So I went at it a completely different way.

First off I did something I almost never do. I started with a white surface. I usually speed paint on black. I started off by doing a very simple line art self portrait. What the congregation may not have realized is I was really gobbing on the black paint. Then I added some sky blue around it. What they didn’t know. was it was my intent from the beginning to wreck the painting. Taking paper towels I smeared it into a cloudy mess and then quit. When I began to speak, I spoke of how we basically start as a clean slate, but then life happens and we sin and we get splattered by the effects of sin and it makes a mess of us. I then talked about what it means to be a new creation in Christ—the way He transforms and renews and redeems us.

nc1bAt the end of the message I painted a picture of Jesus over the mess. The reason, when Christ redeems us, He allows us to put on His righteousness. The finished project was a little less successful than I like. For some reason my surface started to warp and it was falling out of the easel. Speed painting while holding your surface with the other hand is not easy. Nonetheless, the painting which took a total of about 8 minutes for both phases demonstrated what it was supposed to demonstrate and I was pleased.

Here’s the point, in Christ there is grace and forgiveness, but there is also transformation. Your past does not dictate your future. You can be redeemed. God can take your life and make it into something new. He can take the best of you and make it better. He can redeem the rest of you and turn it into a powerful testimony. God created you and He can also recreate you and when He does (and He will if you ask Him) you will be a new creation.


dry-bones-live-liveLast night I got to do my new message called inspiration. As many of my regular readers know, I believe waiting for inspiration is a terrible idea (most of the time) I believe we need to seek it out and occasionally hunt it down. We need to seek God and believe that He will speak. Inspiration (at least the best kind) comes from God and He has been doing it for us since the very beginning when He breathed His live into our first father, Adam and he became a living soul. That’s what inspiration is God breathing life into us and into the things that He allows us to create.

In scripture we see this in Ezekiel 37, where God leads Ezekiel into the valley of dry bones. There God instructs Ezekiel to speak to the bones, to prophesy, and the bones come back to life. They rise up and become a mighty army. This is a prophecy for the nation of Israel but I think it’s for us as well. As we look at the condition of our nation and even the church, it is clear we are not in a great place right now. We need something from the Lord. We need His to breathe new life into us again. We need Him to speak into our lives oh and one more thing. We need His Word.

You see Scripture tells us that all Scripture is God breathed. that it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Over and over I see people, even in the church, that would like to leave portions of God’s Word on the cutting room floor. The thing is truth is a very powerful thing and a very fragile thing. Add a little to it, take a little from it and it is no longer truth. This God breathed Word is life to us. We are not supposed to change it, it is supposed to change us. We need to reconnect to the source of our power. We need to recommit to the Word of God. If we do, God will breathe new life into His church and we will return to being the mighty army God intended us to be. An army in a battle that is not with flesh and blood but with the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. A battle that is as real as anything you see in the news, and the source of most everything you see on the news. And that army will be the one that the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against.

The photo above is the painting I did with the message. It’s done in two phases and takes a total of 12 minutes. It’s based on a much more detailed painting I did for this stop motion video (which took days to complete). The message is part of a series called Imagination, Inspiration, Perspiration, New Creation, Re-Creation. I’d love to bring this series to your church. Contact me for more information.


In our world there seem to be an almost infinite amount of things we can be worried about—things that can strike fear into our hearts. Terror, the economy, even the upcoming election, all these things and many more can send us cowering into a corner. In the midst of everything, we have this command from Jesus to now worry:

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Like everything else Jesus said, it’s absolutely true. Most of what we worry about never happens and even the stuff that does happen is largely out of our control. No use allowing our fears to limit the size of our world. What is fear really? It’s imagination misused. We imagine the worst and the worst is what we end up with. On the other hand we serve a God for whom all things are possible. This should allow us to see past fear to infinite possibilities and when we see infinite possibilities we can stop cowering in fear and start working toward solutions.

The first step in any problem, whether real or imagined, is prayer. Take your worries, your fears and your actual problems to the One who knows everything. This is a first response not a last ditch effort. Then trust, obey and move. In every problem, God can. God is capable. We just need to be faithful and remember the first five letters in faithfulness are F-A-I-T-H.

Let’s imagine better and then work to make it so.


A few months ago I was asked to present at a church planters conference. I was given two different topics. Did I want to speak on Hope or Imagination? I said, “Yes!” I really wanted to speak on both, but they had another person to take the opposite. Still I had the choice. I chose imagination, because I was struck by this thought.

“You can have imagination without hope. We see it all the time, but you can’t have hope without imagination. In order to have hope, you have to imagine something better.”

Imagine better. With God all things are possible.


A few days ago I posted a post on imagination along with a creative challenge. Well yesterday I worked up a few sketch paintings for the presentation I am thinking of doing in my presentation. I am not sure I am sold on this idea yet and I will paint them in the opposite order if I go with this.
screamagination
The idea is the two sides of imagination. Using Scream by Edvard Munch as the basis, I wanted to contrast the faith and fear sides of imagination. Sometimes we look at something and begin to imagine all the negative possibilities which puts us in a pave of fear, other times we imagine the positive and see a whole realm of possibilities. It’s when we choose the latter that things really come together.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with.


In two weeks, Lord willing, I will be presenting at the Church of the Brethren Church Planters Conference. I was asked to speak on a favorite topic of mine, Imagination. I love to speak on imagination because it is at the core of everything creative. Let’s face it, every great thing ever created started out in someone’s imagination. Before anything is created, it must first be imagined. And of course the best things imagined come from the imagination of God.

As I was considering how to bring this message, I was taken back to Romans 4:17 “As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” This is referring to an interaction between Abraham and God. Abraham is old, over 80 and childless when God comes to him and tells him that his 70 year old wife is going to bear him a son. This seems impossible in itself, but we should also consider that it took ten more years to come to fruition. It is before all this happens that God tells Abraham (actually Abram at this point) that he will be the father of many nations. Childless at 80 and will be a father of nations. It’s impossible and yet we can see that nation today. God calls into being things that were not. And he still does.

So what should be our response to our great God as He calls forth the seemingly impossible in our lives? Well let’s consider what Scripture says about Abraham. James 2:23 says “”And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God.” What if the only thing separating us from God’s will for our lives is a lack of belief. It’s this simple really. God is still God. He is still in the business of calling into being things that are not and He is still working in the lives of people who will believe. The question then is will you believe and follow.

I can’t speak for you, but I want to be a friend of God. I want to live out His will for my life. This means when He puts something into my life that fires my imagination, I want to go. I want to do it. It might seem impossible, but I learned a long time ago that God is really good at chains of events. What I need to be good at is faithfulness. Taking the first step and trusting Him with each one thereafter. This imagination we have is a divine spark. It is very likely God moving us into His will. We need to discern, we need to pray. We need to make sure it’s not just my imagination, and then we need to move. Oh and by the way, if it is just my imagination, if my heart is on doing His will, He will steer and move and correct. He will keep me on course.

The best side of my imagination comes from God. Yours too, so trust Him and act.