Tag Archives: serving

Serving The God of Creativity

Or… why you should never stop coloring

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. ~ Genesis 1:27

I find myself asking, at what point do kids stop considering themselves an artist. And then I also find myself asking, “At what point did some adults think they were?”

There was a social media video going around the other day about the child of an artist who at the ages of a two or three had his paintings selling for thousands. I rolled my eyes, curled my lips and determined in my heart I wouldn’t be bitter. It was just ridiculous to me. This kid was literally throwing paint on a canvas and they are in awe of his talent. He may grow into an amazing artist, I won’t begrudge him that. And I wouldn’t tell the little fellow his art was subpar. But I would gladly tell the people paying thousands for it that their brain was subpar.

I’ve never been drawn to too many abstract artist. Although some I have found very talented. I could tell by the way they created it wasn’t about throwing paint on the canvas, but there truly was a method to their madness. By color and design, it was good. At least that’s my opinion. If you like abstract art, glory to God! I just don’t get it.

I’m going from the prospective of the greatest of all imaginations. God. He just didn’t throw paint on the canvas and call it a sky. The colors worked together. When He created man, He sculpted Adam and Eve in magnificence! Look at everything else on earth. It’s beautiful. None of it looks like an afterthought.

So back to my original question. When do children stop considering themselves to be artists? I don’t know for certain, and I’m sure it differs, but I would wager a bet, if I wasn’t Baptist, because we’re not allowed to bet. But if I was, I would wager a bet that it’s after the first negative critical experience.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m an encourager. I don’t criticize. Even if I think it. I may offer a suggestion to help someone, but I know that when someone creates something, they’ve usually done their best. And I can guarantee if they gave it to God, He would put it on His refrigerator. But He may not hang it in a gallery.

It’s taken me 30 years to call myself an artist. Not because anyone has ever criticized me, because that is the furthest from the truth. I have great encouragement in my life. But I have no self-esteem. And of the few negative nellies that have critiqued me, and they’ve just been a few. That’s all it took to squelch me down.  It’s what has kept me from making a living at the gift God gave me.

I stopped taking coloring serious. I still did it, but I didn’t take it serious. Most people just stop doing it all together, although it has made a reprise in recent years with the new adult coloring books.

Going deeper into the realm of creativity causes me to explore why we are less apt to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit telling us to do something, to create something new. Perhaps its because we fear that same critique of the world that we experienced as children that caused us to no longer view ourselves as artist.

You might be an artist of words, works, numbers. There are too many talents to list. What is your gifting and is it something that you should be using for the Kingdom, either for a living, or for a ministry. And why aren’t you using it?

How do we know if it’s Refrigerator or Gallery worthy? All good questions. And worthy of looking into the scripture to see what God says about who we are.

In His Image

He created us in His image. With passions like Him.

Psalm 139:13

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

He controls us and creates specific desires within us. He created us to create. I personally don’t know of a child who doesn’t like to create “stuff.” It’s engrained in us as babies from making a mess to making what we think is the most amazing piece of art ever! All six of my grands love creating, even though they may not all grow up to be artist. Praise God, they don’t know that. They just want to create.

I believe that as we grow that creativity takes shape into different amazing things. But creating is not just an artistic endeavor. Creating is doing a new thing.

Isaiah 43:19 says Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

God didn’t stop creating, why should we. He went from creating things, to creating paths and then using us to complete His work so that He can get the glory. I think people and churches get stalemated when we lose our desire to create, or we just don’t know the direction we should go. We’re satisfied with just showing up.

The church should be an ongoing project of getting souls saved and that takes many shapes and creative ideas.

I’m a project driven person. I need a project to feel purposeful. And I believe that’s how God created us all. Like Him, we are made to create.

Isaiah 43:7

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

That verse makes me very happy! I (and you) were created by God for His glory. Meaning that when He created us, He created us to do something. Not just sit in a church pew.

For His Glory

Where ever we are in life, we are there to bring glory to God in that place. In our churches, in our work and in our passions.

Isaiah 45:12

I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

God created all the earth and all of creation to glorify His name.

We have to have doctors, nurses, gas station owners, pharmacists and every other position in life to make the world go round and function. But all of those positions should point others to Christ.

Isaiah 45:8

You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the Lord, have created it.

All of Heaven and earth work in harmony.

This morning I picked up my fiddle that I had had to put a new “E” string on because I broke the old one tuning it. I hadn’t played it for a week or two and every string was out of tune. It sounded awful. But when I got the tuner out and put every string in tune, suddenly I felt like a musician again. That’s how life is. With artistry, with jobs and churches. We get out of tune. We lose our passion and purpose. We need tuned up. We need to find that creativity and desire to make something wonderful for the Lord. A new coloring page.

My grandson Logan was creating a Charizard. Which I don’t even know what is, other than it’s a Pokemon character. But it didn’t matter. It only mattered that his hand created it.

God wants to see some of your work, your best creative pieces. And there’s a reason that Christ said that we should come to Him like little children. Because it’s with that mindset that we feel free and welcome to create. Not judged.

Don’t squelch your creative spirit. God may just be getting ready to do something amazing with you.

Not By Accident

This was His word for me when I was ready to back out of His work again because I would be judged.  God told me this. He said “you’re past the age where you can throw stuff on a canvas and call it art. Be intentional. And do it.”

God doesn’t create things by accident.  He had purpose. So should we. Don’t ever stop coloring. There’s something about that child within that helps you to keep in check with Who’s really in control.

Ministry Isn’t An Afterthought

I seldom ever just draw for the sake of drawing. It’s likely with a blog or a request in mind that I doodle the “Jesus Chick” cartoon that I use so often. Today, I finished some work for the Bible College, began to process my thoughts about a blog topic and determine what might follow that as far as getting something accomplished for the Kingdom and then my mind drifted. To a place of just wonderment. A siesta of sorts. I know… I just came back from a siesta. Four nights of revival and two at the beach and the sad part is, I needed that siesta to remind myself that I need to take more siestas.

Most people who look at my life look at me as an “unemployed woman” who occasionally serves the Lord (which isn’t a real job according to most), sings a little on the side (which is technically goofing off) and is readily available to forget about the laundry and dishes (true story) and go off on jaunts across the world with her bestie and play with her grandbabies with the remainder of her spare time. I just wore myself out talking about my time off!

I thought, perhaps today, I’d share a little about the glamorous days of “The Jesus Chick.” If you’re in the ministry, you can no doubt identify in many ways. If you’re not, please use this as a catalyst to pray for those of us who “don’t have a real job.”

On Monday’s I pack my guitar and song books into the car and travel to our local nursing home. I sing and minister in word to about 10-15 long term care residents. I try to sing songs of their childhood faith so that they can chime in. What a blessing that is to see patients who can’t remember their name half the time, recall every word of “How Great Thou Art!” Sitting across from me is usually a very cranky faced woman. She breaks my heart. She knows religion but she doesn’t know Jesus. She’s bitter at the world and my music soothes her soul temporarily, but just like Saul, who hired David to soothe his, when the music stops… so does the peace. She doesn’t know peace. I carry that home in my guitar case. It gets heavy sometimes.

On Monday nights a couple of friends and I meet at the church for a Bible journaling class where we share our art, but more importantly we share our heart. We’re burdened for our people. We want our churches to grow, we want our friends and family to experience the fire of Jesus! During the day I prepare handouts for the girls and conversation starters. Everyone needs conversations of the heart. It helps us grow in our own faith when we sow seeds into the lives of others. Good seed. That’s important to know. Stay away from those who sow weeds in your garden.

Wednesday’s I have a teen ministry where I try to sow good seed and pull the weeds of the world from the lives of children. Good grief there’s a lot of weeds to pull. If it’s been a while since you’ve sat down with teens to have an in depth conversation about their life you’d be shocked at what they face and be awed that they can come out of it unscathed. Only in Jesus.

If you follow this blog you know I have weeks of abundant writing and weeks of less. It depends on how much life takes its toll on my time. I sing at every opportunity. Often times for secular events hoping that my words in song and my testimony in between will spark a conversation with someone in the audience.

Spare time is often helping other ministries with promotion and publication art. And then when the weekend rolls around it’s game on for Jesus! I teach Sunday School, sing solo and sing in the choir, organize events and take care of our own church publications and such.

Does it sound like I’m complaining or bringing attention to my works for Christ? I surely hope not. That’s not my intent. My intent is to allow you to see that ministry may appear that it’s an afterthought; especially for those who work “real” jobs. But carrying the burden for souls in a guitar case, a hymnal, a cyber church and the occasional back pocket or purse is a heavy load. There’s no time off from your mind. I speak not only of myself but of ministers all over the world. Serving God is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, I’m sure they’d say the same.

But sometimes you just want to fly away… or splat a mud puddle in cute boots.

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest.” PSALM 55:6

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

 

I Have an Issue with the Church

I’ve had it for quite some time. I just didn’t know how to verbalize it. But this morning I got somewhat of a grasp on my issue. It’s the same issue I have with my life right now. It’s what happens between the coming out and going in. The a.m. to the p.m. of my day. What am I doing for the cause of Christ? The early church didn’t have that problem, they were too busy trying to keep their heads off the chopping block. They knew what their purpose in life was, TELL THE WORLD ABOUT JESUS. But somehow between the cross and the crazy we call life in modern times we lost the purpose as a church. The church has now become this resting place for children of God. And while Christ did indeed stress the importance of rest, the rest was meant to prepare for the next leg of the journey.

When Apostle Paul got saved he made some people very uncomfortable. After all, he had been the one calling for the Christians to be killed, and now he professed to be one of them. It was no wonder they had an issue with Paul. But that didn’t stop Paul from pursuing the purpose that he now understood to be his, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS.

Chapter 9 begins Paul’s life post conversion.

He Joined the Church

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Paul knew that in order to grow in the grace of Christ and understand his new found faith, he needed to be with God’s people. So he joined the local church. That is step one following salvation. Find a local body of believers for whom you can serve with. That means, they too need to be serving, not just sitting.

He Joined the Movement

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Paul didn’t know all there was to know about Christianity, but through the Holy Spirit he was able to speak boldly in the name of Christ and face people who desired him dead because of it. Paul was more than a church member, he was a part of the movement.

I personally don’t see much movement in the church today. I see people going in and out of the buildings but outside of the church, the movement stops. Few are telling others about Christ and the discipling of young saints has all but stopped. If there are any young saints. When Paul began his journey, Barnabas took him under his wing and introduced him to the church and defended him. Barnabas helped to fuel the fire that he had witnessed burning inside of Paul. That is a missing piece in the church, there’s no fuel in the tank. How are we ever going to see a movement if people are not getting fired up?!

He Joined the Multitude

31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Because of the work of the church, the church had rest. That seems kind of oxymoron-ish doesn’t it. To work for rest? We wonder why this world is so crazy and full of strife? It’s because the church (as a whole) has all but stopped working. Our work is to show people where to find rest, and that rest comes in Jesus Christ. Once the churches of Judaea, Galilee and Samaria heard the preaching of Paul and the others, they obviously didn’t just rest in the pew waiting for next Sunday, it says they began walking and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.

The churches are drying up across America. It seems that at every bend in the road there sits an empty church house with overgrown grass and broken windows and it breaks my heart. The church is no longer a saving station but rather a rest stop. The church has lost touch with its purpose.

So what’s the answer? Give up on the church? Heaven’s NO! The answer is to follow Paul’s example. If you’re not part of a body of believers, you need to be. Once you’re there you need to serve, not sit. And never lose sight of the Mission… Muliply.

About what you’re S.O.W.I.N.G.

CHICK POINT 2

Its harvest time in many of the gardens of West Virginia. But because of the extremely wet season I’ve heard many of our farmers say that their gardens have been swampland for the most part, causing a few things to grow in great abundance and other plants to rot away leaving a disheartened farmer for all his or her labor. Life can be like that too can it not? I try so hard to be all “spiritual.” I mean really, I’m the Jesus Chick; if you give yourself that title you better be able to back it up with some proof! But the truth is some days I’m fruitful, and some days I’m just a rotten vine with little to show for what my Master has put into me. But that didn’t catch God off guard, he left me some instructions in the book of Galatians 6.

Apostle Paul wrote in the closing of his letter to the Galatians the results of poor gardening.

Spiritually speaking

Don’t throw rocks in someone else’s garden and think that you’re going to reap a bountiful harvest in your life. One of the greatest struggles for me, who tries to live spiritual, is the people around me who live like heathens. They frustrate and suck the life out of me. And they’re everywhere! I turn on the news and they are there, Facebook… they are there, in my family… they are there, in the church…. They are there, at the grocery store… they are there, everywhere. And then I hear the screeching of the tires on Apostle Paul’s car.

Paul said in verses 1-3

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Questions: Have I tried to restore them with kindness? Have I looked in the mirror? Have I tried to help?

Own it

If I consider my own garden, what have I planted in it? I need to spend more time proving my own work; studying the Word of God and living the Word of God so that I can be a testimony and a help to those who need Christ. I’m first responsible for me. It’s hard to judge the fruit of another person’s orchard when you take care of your own as you should, there’s little time for judging. And I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven we’ll not hear the words “Good job judging your neighbor,” come out of God’s mouth, but He will likely have much to say about the condition of the soil in our own lives.

4-6 ~ But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Whatever it is

We know the “whatevers” in our lives that are not healthy. Spiritually and physically we’re constantly gardening to the body and soul. From the time my feet hit the floor in the morning I begin either sowing to the spirit or to the flesh. If I turn on the television before I turn on God, flesh. If I eat donuts instead of cereal, flesh. If I care more about the physical house I’m building than the spiritual house, I’m sowing to the flesh.

7-8 ~ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Idle Farmers

I don’t think I say it in judgment, just in reality, that I see churches filled with idle farmers. They come to church to get the store bought goods. The stuff that’s prepackaged and ready to eat. Spread out on the table like a banquet for royalty to pick over and discard the unwanted fruit. Church is not a grocery store, it’s a farm store and conference center. It’s where we gather together to hear and learn the Word of God and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul took the time and effort to write a very long letter of encouragement to the church. It is said that because of Paul’s poor eyesight that he struggled to write at all, and yet he wrote the bulk of the New Testament. Paul truly cared about the church.

Paul said in verses  9-11  ~  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Nothing but the Cross

For me, work and service come easy. Often times it’s so I’ll feel vindicated or accepted by those I serve; both of which are wrong because in so doing I’m sewing to the flesh to make me feel better. I certainly need to serve but not to prove myself to anyone, I need only to prove to Christ that I am a new creature because of what He did for me on the cross. Many of the Jews who had gotten saved had a hard time separating the works of man from the grace of Christ. Even circumcision was viewed as a part of salvation. Sowing and reaping is not to bring our work before the Lord and say look what I’ve done, but rather to keep the harvest coming till the Lord returns. Then and only then will we discover what the fruits of our labor have been.

12-16 ~  As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Grace. Enjoy it.

If we sow seeds of grace in the lives of others, I believe we’ll reap and enjoy grace in our own lives, including forgiveness for all those times of sowing to the flesh.

17-18 ~ From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

 

The Shelf Life

shelf life

I don’t know how the food is at your house, but my refrigerator and cabinets seem to go from spanking new to spoiled overnight. I plan my next meal around a delectable piece of fruit only to discover that sometime between breakfast and dinner it has turned brown and shriveled up and is now ready for the nectarine nursing home. A half eaten loaf of bread is dry and stale, leftover casseroles are now penicillin want-a-be’s and I see dollar signs sitting where my culinary dreams once were. It reminds me of the shelf life of the Christian. Travel around much and in every church you see Christians from one extreme to the other regardless of how long they’ve been a member. Just this past weekend I met a saint of God who was as fresh off the vine as a Florida peach, and she had served God for decades. She was exciting and it was refreshing to witness God working in her life. So when I hear a child of God say “I’ve done my time,” as if serving God was a sentence and they’d now been released from the penitentiary pew I want to light a fire under them. Literally.

I don’t believe there is an acceptable age to be a shelf sitter. Age does not define your ministry, God defines it and transforms it as He alone sees fit. Why is it that people put themselves on a shelf and just sit waiting for God to clean out the pantry? I’ve seen shelf sitters from the ages of nine to ninety satisfied with the status quo and unconcerned about the state if the church, and then (as was the case this past weekend) I’ve seen those who are serving till the trumpet blows!

Life lessons are invaluable! Why would you dare to think that God can no longer use you when you reach the age of retirement? Or that younger people don’t have the desire to be in your presence. It’s then that you have walked the miles and have the experience to guide others safely through and your wisdom it far greater than what they’ll receive from the world.

For those who are “too busy making a living” that you have no time to serve, you’re denying yourself the opportunity to live! I’ve seriously watched you rush into a service and collapse in your seat, roll your eyes because the service has taken on its own life, being guided by the Holy Spirit, rather than dictated by a bulletin, and lift your wrist at precisely twelve noon only to discover the Pastor hasn’t even gotten to the conclusion. You pray the alter call does not last too long and then rush out the door so you’ll perhaps get an early jump on the work week. And then as your chest palpitates you pray to God it’s not a heart attack; when in reality it was probably the Holy Spirit galloping to keep up with you. You pray for peace, but never slow down to allow its presence to enter into your life.

And one of Satan’s greatest lies to the youth, “Do it later, you have so much time ahead.” Having lost a brother to an automobile accident at nineteen, I’m fully well aware that we’re not promised another second of time.

Christ’s parable rings true across our land from Luke 12…

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

A few things I’ve discovered about things sitting on the shelf too long. It rots and is good for nothing, it grows stale and tough as shoe leather, or it gets bugs in it. The same is true in Christianity. A Christian out of service sours, their tender spirit hardens and they allow unhealthy things to enter their life.

Don’t waste a minute of this precious life God has given us! Serve Him well friends.