Saturday, April 25, 2009

He will be first

I've been extremely frustrated with my school work recently because everything I do requires me to be creative. I don't get to copy something from a book and turn it in. I must copy what is in my brain and expose it to the world to see, evaluate, ridicule, reject, or ignore. Maybe this doesn't seem like a very big deal, but I'll explain why it is to me.

I am not content to create anything without meaning. I do not think it is possible. Nothing is arbitrary, even when you mean for something to "not have meaning" that is a meaning in itself!
I am doing a lot of designing, for advertisments, for artistic compositions... etc.
I design things with specific purpose. I create compositions by thinking of what I want to communicate and usually pictures come into my head when I visualize my thoughts... that is were my art work comes from... the pictures in my head that express my thoughts.
So this means that everything I create holds some part of me.
This scares me. I think that's completely logical for me to be fearful. It's like a small portion of my heart for other people to critque.
But more than the fear of people knowing me, is my fear of being "appreciated"
Art is not something to be "appreciated" but something to be accepted and understood.
Don't get me wrong... There is a place for the kind of art work that just "looks pretty", but I would challenge the definition of art as something more than eye candy.
So my fear is not of someone critiquing my technique, or my use of color, my fear is that my work, that is part of me, will not be given the value that I give it myself; that my work will be misunderstood for something it is not; that I will not effectively communicate my heart; that people will not realize that it is my heart. The object becomes me; not a canvas, but my heart in acrylic form.

How does the Lord fit into this?

God is an artist. He created the entire world. I do not think any of His creation is arbitrary either! If I am sinful and human and I am not satisfied to make work that does not hold meaning, do you think that the Holy God of the universe created anything without meaning?
And can I say that I do not think God sent his Son into the world to be "appreciated", but He sent him so we would accept Him, and understand who He is!!
He has put his heart ever before us! Everything He created is an expression of His being! Although fallen and defaced, this Earth still bears the unmistakable marks of a Master Sculptor.

I asked God to be the Lord of my school.. He is showing me that He will be first.
This is what He's taught me so far
I desire to have my work express who Christ is in me.
to be a replication of His masterpieces, of His heart...
I want to only create in a way that reflects what His creation originally reflected!

I want my art to be a mirror that only ever shows God's truth. His Glory.
It is for Him.
It is to make known who He is.
And only ever for these things do I want to create.
Cause me to be unable to produce something if it is not true.
Cause me to fall into a creative slum if I cease to glorify you in my work.
Block my words. Blind my eyes. Break my hands.
If they will not create for You. They will not create at all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Relational Kingdom of God

I was out sharing last thursday. There were three of us, so we took turns walking in pairs of two while the third person prayed. During my time praying I realized a few things I'd like to share.

I was walking and looking at people, and I realized

I can understand the big picture of salvation, and what that means for the world, and I can understand how the body of Christ functions, but the kingdom of God is about individuals. 
The kingdom of God is about that one man's story, about that woman's hurts, about that child's dreams, and how God wants to take them and make them into something beautiful that glorifies Him! God is concerned about what that lady had to go through this morning while trying to get her kids to school, He is concerned about the payroll check that didn't go through for the guy working construction and trying to provide for his two kids that don't know their mother, He is interested in the picture that the child drew for her sister, He is thinking of the teenage girl who wants so badly to be loved that she destroys her body through the way she eats or doesn't eat... 
His heart is moved to compassion for the weak, the broken, the sinful...
The kingdom of God is not about "people" in the general sense, but about each individual person in the relational sense.
Understanding that, be moved to compassion by the things God cares about; each person's stories, hurts, the sins that continually trap them. 
God desires to free them so he can lavish
His love on them.
Forever Engulfed by His grace, His forgiveness, His freedom!!!
I believe that is His desire.
When someone is loved, it shows by the way they act. You can tell when someone is loved, their whole attitude is different! Just look at a woman who is newly engaged, she radiates! 
Every individual person on the face of the Earth is loved by their Creator in a very real, very passionate way. Every person should be able to radiate in the same way that our newly engaged lady does!!!
Even more so!!!
The love of our Savior is infinitely more valuable, more passionate, more REAL, then the love of another human could ever, or can ever be.
Do you believe that? Really, truly  believe it?
It is true.
It is more real than the chair you are sitting on.

God's love is just as real in a strangers life, as it is in mine.
I can do nothing without Him.
His desire is for people, so my desire must be for them as well.
He has passionately and lovingly proposed to every person, and He asks me to make his proposal known.
I am relaying His affections.
His affections are not determined by status, appearance, power, money, knowledge, education, infirmities, talents, personalities, or anything else we may noticed about a person.

Also, have a quiet time at the valley west mall sometime. Sit on the coach, watch people.. read God's word.. and when it says, "Preach the word in and out of season"
... You have no excuse not to obey.

Because of Your Love

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities , but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:29-31

Paul finishes writing 1 Corinthians 12 by saying he will show the Corinthians a more excellent way to pursue the higher spiritual gifts, then he talks to them about love. I had never before noticed that the reason he is writing about love has to do with spiritual gifts. When Paul writes, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal", he is making reference to someone desiring the gift of tongues. Likewise....
"And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing."
refers to someone having or desiring the gift of prophecy.

"Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless."
1 Corinthians 13:8-10

Prophecies have passed away, the gift of tongues is inactive, knowledge continues to pass away, the gifts that remain are gifts of love.

What does that mean for us today?

"All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills."
1 Corinthians 12:11

All gifts are empowered through the love of God that is made manifest to us through the Holy Spirit!

The goal of every gift is to build up the body ("To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good")

Without love, we are nothing.
God is love.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" 1 John 4:7-8

If God is love then it would makes sense that every characteristic of love is a characteristic of God because love is His nature.
God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, He always trusts, He always hopes, He always perseveres. God never fails.

I think the goal of all this is that when it comes down to salvation the goal is love, is for us to know God; to know God is to know love.

People are vessels which can emit tremendous amounts of love. God made us that way. God is a god of order, of balance. This capacity is not a one way capacity, since we have the capacity for love, we must also have the capacity for hate, for pain, for rejection, and anything contrary to love.

You are an instrument.
What will you emit?
Can you emit light?
What enables you to emit light?
There is only one light, anything else you choose to emit is toxic to the world around you, to the people around you. If you choose not to emit light, you poison yourself, the Christians around you, and you continue to suffocate those who already are starved of the light.