Quality Art

God is restoring creativity and the creative arts to His people. He wants those who are called by His name to lead the world in the pursuit and practice of art. As he is restoring the arts, we need to be aware of what is broken, what he is fixing so that we can move forward in His restoration. Marriages that are broken do not get better by sweeping the past under the rug, or drawing a line in the sand and moving on. Behaviors and patterns of behavior need to be recognized, addressed and repented of before true, lasting restoration can take place.

The first broken area has to do with the quality of art that is coming out of Christianity. I’m sure this is going to offend some people, but we have to recognize certain things so that we can have a clean break from them. I’m just coming out and saying it. If you are a fan of Christian bands, you might want to stop reading here.

Getting from Here to There

I don’t know if its due to the age group that I constantly find myself engaged with, or if its a trait of a generation seeking greatness and meaning, but over and over again I meet people who are stuck, stung, and snagged by one question.

What does God want me to do?

The question in itself sounds noble. But the more I hear it, the more I realize that it only concerns God on the surface. Scratching through the letters and the cadence, covered by the words and punctuation is an impatience. A need to know NOW what God has purposely hidden.

The thing we must realize is that God is a character builder, not a transportation engineer. He is less concerned with getting us to our destinies than we think. Ultimately, God can get us where we need to be in an instant, just ask Philip or Enoch. He can catapult us to the PLACE of our destiny whenever He so desires. What takes time, is character building.

  • God built character in Israel when He had them circle the desert again and again and again.
  • God was building character in David when he fled from Saul again and again and again.
  • God was building character in Abraham when he had to wait for a son for years, and years, and years.
  • God was building character is Jacob when he served Laban for 7 years, and 7 more years, and then more years.
  • God was building character in Moses when he was in the desert for years, and years, and years.

God is into building character.

And while He is building our destiny in the future, He is building character now.

I think that we often want the whole plan laid out before us. And we look at the people in the Bible who had these great pronouncements of destiny over their lives as the example. But we forget that often there were years and years where there was no pronouncement, the pronouncements were few and far between,  and very often the pronouncements were not specific.

Look at Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. His destiny was to raise the Son of God. At what point was he told his destiny? About 9 months before the birth of Jesus, and even then, the pronouncement wasn’t a detailed account of things to come. Then there was a huge pronouncement around the birth. Then a dream to go to Egypt. Then some time passes and another dream to come home. I’m sure that during the time in Egypt, Joseph asked God “When do we get to go home” and God was silent. God is more often than not a “just in time” God. He could have come and sat down with Joseph and said “Hereth is the dealth. In 9 months Mary will give birth to My son and it will be in Bethlehem and not how you expect it, but now you will expect it because I told you. Then, in about a couple years, you will have to flee to Egypt, but you will be there for 3-4 years and then come home, but not to home, but to Gallilee, yada yada yada.”

That type of detailed account is what so many of us seem to be asking of God. But He has no track record of answering that kind of question.

What Joseph demonstrates is that he obeyed what God told him in the past (the law) and that he would obey what God tells him (in the present). By doing those two things, God got him to the place of his destiny.

If we do what He told us, and do what He tells us, we will get where He plans for us to be. That is the key. Character is built in the now. Obedience builds character. If you haven’t done what He’s told you, dont look for Him to tell you something else. If you can’t do what He tells you, dont expect to reach your destiny.

What if Joseph couldnt be trusted to do what God tells him? He would have left Mary. Or  perhaps he obeys that part, but not the dream to flee to Egypt. Or perhaps he ignores the command to come home, or the one to go to Galilee…

Do what He’s told you. Do what He tells you. And you’ll get to where He wants you. You destiny is directly tied to doing the tolds and the tells.

Preach the Gospel, its necessary…

Many of us Postmodern Christians love to use the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi “Preach the gospel, if necessary, use words.” I get why we love it. It gives us freedom. It means that we can fully embrace lifestyle evangelism on the authority of one of the heroes of the faith. It gives us ammo to our oft held belief that we should be examples of Christ and not ram the gospel down anyones throat.

But its wrong. Its not true. Its not from Assisi. Its not Biblical.

Redefining Worship: Cut to the Chase

In the interest of not dragging this out and getting on to the creative stuff, I’ve decided to just go ahead and lay out what I am thinking worship is. I’ve come down to 5 things that I think make up the essence of worship. I’m just gonna lay them out here and then double back and explain them a bit.

1) Fear of the Lord 2) Obedience 3) Availability 4) Purity 5) Excellence So what does that mean and why these 5? I am sure there are more, but these 5, at least to me, biblically represent worship–the core, or essence of worship. These things, when put together, add up to a wonderful whole that leaves very little out.

Redefining Worship: Step Two, Availability

When God wants to do something, he looks throughout the earth to find someone willing. When we worship, we are telling God, “Here I am, here I am, pick me, pick me!” He doesnt have to look far because he would trip over us just getting out of the throne room.

That, to me, is the heart of worship. The major word used in the Old Testament for worship is also translated bow, bow down, obeisance, reverence, and fall down. In the New Testament, the dominant word means to kiss the hand, bow on knees with the head to the ground; the root implies the word picture of a dog licking the masters hand.

If obedience is step one, then availability is step two.

All These Things

Just a quick note to answer a question that has even been bothering me. Why am I writing about worship when we could be talking about Christians in culture, and the arts, and what not. I mean, isn’t that the focus of Renovo.

And the answer is that if we are to see a Renaissance, if we are to see God’s people rise up and take their place as leaders in the creative arts, if we are to tap into the creativity of the Creator, we have got to understand what worship is and what it is not.

See, when we get it, when we understand worship, then all those things that we are seeking are opened up to us. We are admonished to “seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added”. Actually, we added the word seek. The original Greek pretty much says “when we place the Kingdom of God first in our lives, when we place His righteousness first, then all these things will be added.”

So we have to get worship first. And the thing that has struck me is, before be can get worship, we have to understand what it is. Hence the discussion.

Redefining Worship: Step One, Obedience

We are told in various places throughout the Bible that we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, and that praise is our spiritual sacrifice. No longer do we need to bring the bull, the ram, the dove, we can offer a sacrifice by lifting our voices to God.

So the praise of our lips, the worship of our hearts is the equivalent to the temple sacrifices.

Samuel tells Saul that “to obey is better than sacrifice”.

Redefining Worship

I suppose that when I say redefining, I mean re-redefining. Worship has been redefined for us and we have to decide if we like the new definition or not. Personally, I think the direction that we got started on was fantastic, but either we got stagnant, or the enemy snuk in and mucked about.

Starting with the good. Worship has been redefined apart from a style of music or instrumentation. The guitar has *almost* universally (in America)  been given a pardon from its status as satan’s tool. Drums are welcome (drummers are questionable. Just kidding…), bass is present, and singers arent defined by their range. 

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Disciple, husband, father..in that order. Dreamer, thinker, inventor, musician, orator, wordsmith, entrepreneur...not in that order. 2x Peoples Choice Ice Cream Champ.

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