Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Patience, to me, is actually the opposite of acceptance. It refuses to accept a situation and settle for less than God's best. It is actively waiting with the expectation of the now and not yet. Patience is the grace that allows us to live in the dicotemy of an earthly reality, while acknowledging God's higher truths that trumph this reality. It is living with the expectation that heaven will invade earth in my situation. It is being faithful with my last assignment even when everything in side of me wants to find my own solution, abandon ship, stop pain, and find pleasure. It is the belief that God has a solution in store that I can not yet "see".
The promises of God often require much patience. Abraham did not recieve his promise until after he and his wife passed 100. We birth Ishmeals when we lack patience, and try to fulfill God's promises in our own strength alone. Mary carried the promises of Jesus being the Christ until he was almost thirty. Because she actively waited on God, he allowed her to be the catalist that initiated Jesus' ministry. As Bill Johnson has said, her hunger for God to act attracted heaven, and God allowed her to bring into her day something that was reserved for another. Jesus' response makes sense when he says "woman, it is not yet my time" yet Mary's "Do what ever he tells you to" response to the servants, begs heaven to answer with the miracle of water turning to wine. (Notice Mary did not go out and buy wine, but actively waited on Jesus to reveal the Father's goodness in her situation.)
Patience is powerful. Complacence is its enemy. It's the voice of mediocrity that tries to lull us asleep at the door of God's promises. It tries to get us to change our theology to fit our circumstances when bad things happen to good people and we don't know why. It questions if God is still good all the time even in our situation. Patience, our valient friend, is cheering us on to knock, and keep knocking when we don't have answers to our situations because His Word does not return void, His promises are true, and the door will be opened if we just keep patiently knocking. The veil between heaven's promises and earth's reality is wearing thin. Do you have the courage to refuse to accept that what we see as all there is and the patience to press through to breakthrough?
Friday, January 8, 2010
Update on the Prophetic Arts Trac...
Gary and I are learning about many kingdom values, including the necessity, as christian artists, for our art to flow out our connection with God so that it becomes an active way others can experience God, and encounter His truth and love. In order to be a prophetic artist that imparts identity, first we must first find our identity in Christ.
The importance of identity is stressed here at Bethel a lot. True identity is one of the by products of spending time with God and staying connected to his body. We are made in His image, so as we get to know the Lord we find out who we are and who he has called us to be. He uses his Word, spiritual leaders, church tradition, other members of his body, and the Holy Spirit as primary ways to reveal his heart towards us. As an artist, I find the issue of identity essential to releasing God's kingdom. If I don't know who I am as a child of God and am secure in his love for me I will try to earn his love, favor, and acceptance through striving, performance, and perfectionism. If I find my identity solely in my role as an artist, to often the criticisms of others cripple my creativity and self esteem, and I become blind to the Father's gaze of affection continually shining upon me and his whispers of love regardless of my successes or failures.
If I know who I am in Christ, what I do will flow from a place of identity and rest, please the Lord, and be successful by
His standards. I am most alive when I am connected to his spirit, aware of his presence, and actively tuning in to what he is saying and doing among his people. When I spend time with the God who is love, I learn what love looks like and how to love myself and others most effectively. What I do apart from Christ is all in vain anyway; without love I am nothing. Jesus even had to stay connected to the Father to lead an effective life and ministry here on this earth. Jesus only did what he saw his Father do. How much more do I need to stay connected and listen to who God says I am and what he is doing. What would Jesus do?... What ever He sees the Father doing. Jesus was also tested on the issue of his identity.
Today Bill Johnson was talking about identity and how when Jesus was baptized and commissioned for ministry, the Holy Spirit descended, a light shone from heaven, and the Father said "This is my son in whom I am well pleased." The next verses say that he immediately departed to the wilderness to be tested by Satan...
The goal is to remind myself of who I am in Christ, then create art that is an expression of my identity. Often times the result is art that reminds others of who they are in Christ and draws them into encounters with Him. Identity, identity, identity...Who does God say I am?
When I stay connected to the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, life flows forth form me no matter what I am doing. I become a breathing,walking, talking encounter with the Lord. When others encounter me, they should encounter God embodied through me. (No wonder we are called the body of Christ, because Christ's Spirit lives in us and He wants to touch people!) My art is similar, when I create it out of a place of intimacy with the Lord, we are creating together. It's amazing how crazy productive I am when I first soak in his presence, in his love for me, without an agenda, and continue to stay connected as I create. The same Holy Spirit that lives in side of me wants to touch others through me and art becomes a vehicle to accomplish this.
God is big, beyond my understanding, and can do what he wants. He likes operating out my box of human reason. Strangely enough he finds pleasure in partnering with me (us) to bring about his will on this earth. There was a testimony just this last month of someone getting healed of tunnel vision looking at a painting with the word Hope across it. I think God just wants to bless people anyway he can, He saw an opportunity in someone willing to partner with him. When my creations flow out of my relationship with the Lord verses me making it happen out of my own strength alone, the “product” that is created exponentially gains potential for others to encounter the presence of God and becomes an encounter waiting to happen often resulting in the miraculous. God can breath on anything he chooses, so I like to invite him to breath on my artwork so that it becomes a vehicle of encounter...that the deep Spirit of God in me would call out to deep Spirit of God in others.
He wants to co-create with us! Prophetic declarations through art, like prophecy, are God procreating with us. His seeds of truth (as wierd as it sounds from Greek his Sperma -Sperm) finds a home in us to grow into something that is evidenced in the physical relm. So when people think they are merely looking at my art, really the seed of God is looking for a heart environment He can grow in (good soil), and those who are ready are impregnated with vision beyond that of just looking at a painting. I facilitate planting the seed, but God is the one that can make it grow, and he chooses to do so in the soil of hearts that prepare an environment conducive to growth. I thought I was going to be learning about art, but really I’ve been learning about the core values of a kingdom artist who facilitates heaven invading earth.