Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

This week on social media, a friend posted a great quote:

“The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more professional dancers or artists. [It’s] to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives.’ Kelly Pollock

While I agree with everything written here, I wish more had been said. I used to work for an arts education organization and there was one thing that bothered me. It seemed there was an unwritten pressure from schools to prove that studying the arts would make students better at things deemed “more important,” like math. What a shame! You see, I believe the arts bring beauty and meaning to our world. Further, it is in creating that human beings manifest part of the image of God we are here to bear. The arts also help us to express the complex things that are going on inside us and helps us to get those things out. My friends who teach in the arts, are not just making kids good at math, they are making the world a better, more beautiful place by virtue of teaching kids to make art. The arts for art’s sake do a lot of good in our world and they should not be reduced in importance to how good they make us at other things.

As I was thinking about this, though, I hit a struggle. You see, I use art in my ministry and if you asked me, I would freely tell you that the arts are a tool I use to communicate the Gospel. Is that really any different from what others might say about the arts? I’ve decided it is and to really help you understand, I’m going to tell you a story.

Once when my son Chris was little, we had a family birthday party for him. Someone in our family got him one of those toys that requires a lot of batteries. This relative decided to have mercy on my son and us, and also bought him the king sized pack of batteries and they gift wrapped them as well. Normally we would give the gift first, and then the batteries, but somehow the packages got shifted and he opened the batteries first. He was such a kind and grateful child, that upon seeing what was in the package, he said with all the glee a small child can muster, “BATTERIEEEEEES!” I was so happy to see him react in such a way. To him batteries were a big deal, even before he had something to put them in.

As I was thinking of this story (which Chris has never lived down), it all came together. Batteries are not a great gift on their own, but the “real gift” was powerless without them. With my ministry, for some people the art is the battery that empowers the story. For others the story empowers the art, but both the art and the story are the gift. Likewise in your creative pursuits, for some people, your God-given gift will be the big thing and for others it will empower the big thing to do it’s work on their hearts. I think that’s why the Bible says, “Each one should use whatever gifts…”  The role your gift plays is in the hand of the Father and the heart of the recipient. Our job is to give the gift, whether it’s the gift, or “just” the BATTERIEEEEEES.

Assignment: What are your batteries and how do you charge them? How can your gift “charge” someone else?


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Exodus 31:2-4

The passage above is a listing of Bezalel’s gifts. What are your gifts and how can you use them to glorify God.

There’s this enigmatic figure in the Bible named Bezalel who should give all of us creative types both great joy and a challenge. We read about him in Exodus 31:2-4 (ESV)

“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.”

This guy must have been amazing. There are some people who even believe he was not just a man, but what theologians call a christophany, an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. In other words some people believe that before Jesus came in the flesh as a baby, me made an appearance as Bezalel. I doubt this because the Bible makes reference to his father and his ancestry. Still his gifting is beyond remarkable. Look at all the passage says about him.

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God.” It is notable here that Bezalel is the first person listed in all of Scripture to have been killed with the Holy Spirit. So much for those who want to split hairs between gifts and talents. This Spirit filled craftsman was given so much, and the purpose of that gifting was to do artistic craftsmanship to the glory of God.

“Ability and intelligence” This carried through the theme of the Spirit of Skill from yesterday, but please note something else, intelligence. Not only did he have creative ability, but he was given the wisdom to use his gift well, in a way that honors God. Brothers and sisters it is not enough to be good at what we do, we must also exercise wisdom as we use those gifts.

“with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” God allowed him to know how to do things. Think about your creative gift. Surely there is a lot of work involved in building and developing what you have been given, but so much of what you do almost feels instinctive, like second-nature, doesn’t it. When people ask me how long I have been doing art, I can’t really specify a date, it’s always been with me. That’s because God has given us the knowledge to do certain things and do them well. Doing them well is key, that brings us to craftsmanship. This implies God has also given us the ability to bring our best to the table. I’m reminded of Proverbs 22:29 Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. Your gift was given to you by the ultimate King to serve before the ultimate King, so bring your best to every assignment.

From there we get the laundry list of all Bezalel’s abilities: to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.” In short, God made Bezalel really good at a whole lot of things. He has likely done similar things with you. Artistic people tend to gravitate toward multiple creative pursuits. This too may well be by design. Rather than list these out, I want to look at why Bezalel was given these gifts. He was given these tasks to lead, supervise and do the work of building the Tabernacle. His gifts were given for the purpose of drawing people into worship and glorifying God. If you are a Christ following creative, it’s likely the same for you. Now this doesn’t mean you have to do all your work for use in the church, (though you should offer your gifts to the local church as often as you can) but it does mean that what we do should in some way glorify God, open doors to the Gospel, etc.

The point is, your creative ability comes from God. Use it in ways that will please him.    

This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Exodus 28:3

What is the spirit of skill, and how might that spirit be manifesting in your life?

I never noticed this before of course I use a different translation most of the time, but my wife is working her way through the Inspire journaling Bible which is ESV, but this verse really hit her this morning and I thought it was worth sharing and contemplating.

It’s found in the book of Exodus where God is giving instructions for making the priestly garments. Check this out from Exodus 28:

3 “You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood…”

Did you ever think of your abilities as a Spiritual gift? Looks like they are and if you think about it, you know this to be true. Sure you’ve worked hard at developing your gifts, but why do you have gifts to begin with. Every good gift comes from God. I love how this verse refers to a “spirit of skill.” Other translations call it a spirit of wisdom, but the fact remains, what you have, you have because God gave it to you. This means your skills have purpose, but not just any purpose, a spiritual purpose. How are you putting your gifts to work?

This opens up a world of possibilities. What if we teamed up, and brought all these skills together to the glory of God? What if we decided to seek out the divine purpose in our gifting? What if we allowed God to take total control of everything He has given us?
I thing the possibilities are endless. Let’s stop trying to divide gifts and talents and let’s trust that the giver of all good things is working in us on purpose to work toward His divine purposes.

What if your skill comes from a Spirit of skill?

We see the stories everywhere. Stories that aggravate us, hurt our hearts, paint us Christians with a broad brush. But what can we do? Well this kind of thing is not going to be changed by Christians acting badly. Most of the things we are tempted in response to do will just exacerbate the problem. What this culture needs is what we have always needed, Revival. We need to reconnect with Jesus.

The best way to combat a negative story is with a positive story. It all comes back to the Gospel. We Christians have got to be about the business of sharing the Gospel and speaking God’s truth in love. Creatives, the Gospel story is a better story and we have been given the abilities to share it. It is time for us to work together to get this story out in a way that speaks truth in love. Write the story. Write the song. Make the art. Make the film. Put on the show. Post the video. Team up. Pair up. Work with people with different gifts. Be the creative body of Christ. Find the venue. Put it our there. Tell the story.

Your testimony is powerful. The Gospel is powerful. It’s STILL “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Share it.

This video is something to behold. I don’t know if you’re a Will Smith fan… doesn’t matter. I don’t know if you’ll agree with his every point… doesn’t matter. Here’s the take away. You get no where by doing nothing. The only way any of us succeeds is to put yourself out there. Make the most of every opportunity (the Bible commands that) and go for it.