022.2 Creative Expression, pt 2 – In the Spirit

We continue to explore godly creative expression, focusing on how it must be done in the Spirit.

Purposes of music in scripture (continued from part 1)

  • Prophesying

  • Teaching/admonishing

  • Giving things

  • Edification

  • Community context

  • Declaring God’s glory – Isaiah 12:5

  • Praise – Psalms, Exodus 15 (The Song of Moses). Prophecy and song are two of the most used forms of praise in Scripture. Often, people respond in Scripture with songs and prophecy. They witness a move of God, and respond with expression.

  • Conviction and judgment – Deuteronomy 31, God gives Moses a song that will be a witness to them about their impending disobedience. Chapter 32 is the song. God Himself ordained the use of song to bring about conviction

  • Testifying God’s works – 2 Samuel 22/Psalm 18

  • Ministry – 1 Samuel 16:23; David would play music that caused an evil spirit to depart from Saul. Could also be seen as spiritual warfare. However, do not confuse this with playing songs in a church setting. Shouting, or singing, or playing music loudly does not force a demon into submission. However, song can most definitely be used as a spiritual weapon, when used in the Spirit, with authority. But it is not a magical thing that causes demons to vanish.

Unbiblical Practices
When we focus simply on praise, we miss a whole lot of amazing things that God uses music and other creative expressions for. Godly creative expression flows out of an experience with God. The modern distortion tries to present a song, and then cause people to experience God. We shrink this amazing gift down to the idea that a worship leader on stage playing a song will cause someone to experience God. This is an unfair burden to lay upon a person.

Emotional Manipulation
Music and other creative expressions cause emotional connections. This is simply part of our design, because these expressions reveal parts of our selves and communicate something. This does not necessarily equate to godliness. These emotional connections can fortify strongholds of pain in our lives and lead us into corruption. Also, misusing creative expressions generally compounds the pain that motivated us in the first place. The contents of our hearts inform our expressions, but the content of creative expressions nourish parts of our hearts, whether for good or bad. Music and other arts hold our affections. They give validation and amplification to our experiences. This is why reformation of creative expression is so important. God has given spiritually fruitful uses for these things to grow the Kingdom, and satan will continuously try to pervert them to bring destruction.

Idol Worship
Nebuchadnezzar used music to induce the worship of idols. The Israelites also used music in their worship of the golden calf.

Industry vs Ministry
The Christian music industry is just a music industry with limited subject matter. It is an economic machine of copyrights, salaries, marketing, trends, money, etc. If music is a ministry, why the drive to “make a living” doing ministry? Why can we not use our hands and utilize resources creatively, and minister as we live within our gifts? The way copyrights work, people sell over their expressions in the hopes of an industry to create profit off it. They no longer have control over their expressions. This puts money as a central motivation in the creation of creative expressions, which is a precarious position.

“Worship” in with church buildings is simply an extension of the music industry. Church buildings are public spaces and have to pay for worship songs they play. So now money becomes a factor in the playing of praise songs in a church gathering.

In the New Testament, we are all to bring something to the gathering, specifically including songs for the purposes of teaching and edification.

“Worship” is not singing some songs about God. It is something done in Spirit and in truth, and it involves being a living sacrifice. People try so hard to apply Romans 12:1 to songs on a Sunday morning service, and it doesn’t add up. Praise is wonderful, teaching and admonishing through song is wonderful, prophesying through song is wonderful. And they can be utilized in a lifestyle of worship. But singing songs alone is not worship. It cannot be separated from a life of obedience.

Reformation of the Arts

Reformation of the arts only happens when man’s spirit is renewed, and this only occurs through Jesus Christ. The true meaning of our words and expressions come from a spiritual place, and need to be filled with the Spirit. This has been lost in the modern day, that stresses secular wisdom and practices for preaching and forming “worship teams”, both of which often involve contracts.

The reformation of the arts will express the things of God. This doesn’t have to look like one specific form. God’s glory is manifold, and humans are complex and unique. It comes back to our heart and what comes out of it and what goes in to it.

What has been lost in all of this is the spontaneous impetus of the Holy Spirit to move on believers to create or express. Followers of God should be aiming to declare the glory of our Lord, and our creative expressions are deep and nuanced ways to express things about Him.


Rich Mullins – I See You http://kidbrothers.org/ https://youtu.be/XejzqulWj2k

Additional music

Enter the Worship Circle – All I Need www.entertheworshipcircle.com Used by permission.

This episode originally broadcast live on August 28, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO

For more info:



Theme music: “The Resistance” by Josh Garrels (www.joshgarrels.com) licensed by Marmoset Music (www.marmosetmusic.com)


022.1 Creative Expression, pt 1 – The Image of God

What is creative expression? How does God express creatively? How do humans express creatively? How has all this been distorted? We look at some big pictures to explore what it means to be created in the image of the Creator.

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1,3

God is the ultimate creator. Everything He has done has been an expression of Himself (Romans 1:19).

The whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3)! God’s creation declares His glory. Our creations should also declare His glory. So what is His glory?

We are the only creation created in the image of God. When we were created, we did not have the knowledge of good and evil, so we expressed nothing corrupt. But once we fell, our expressions changed from representing God to representing useless and base things. Idolatry is a perfect example of these. We perform worship for a creation rather than the Creator.

Apart from God, our creative expressions are misdirected and point towards things other than God. Once mankind was out of the presence of God, they begin making things – musical instruments and tools of metal. Is this a response aimed to compensate for the fact that they can no longer commune with God? Expression is no longer pure and directly connected, so are they looking for ways to “reconnect” with their Creator? When creative expression naturally flows out of relationship with God, it is spiritual. Separate from that, we are left to physical tools and physical means. This deteriorates from makings songs, to making idols, to making the Tower of Babel. Our creativity given us through the image of God now becomes the thing that gives voice to our pride in the invention of the brick. Bricks would later solidify our slavery in Egypt.

Outside of relationship transparency, we have to figure out a way to communicate what is going on; we need to find a medium. If we could simply and purely communicate, would we still have the desire to utilize the medium to create the expression? Is the whole purpose of creative expression to communicate God to others? To utilize a medium to cross a communication gap? We don’t know. There is plenty of singing in Heaven.

Corruptions in creative expression begin with the fact that there is a separation. And then they start to point towards other things. We also appear to have a desire to build and control. Is our drive to create the same drive that pushes us to overtake other people? Are we trying to manifest the “image of God” in our own power, apart from the Spirit? If this is so, then when this is redeemed, we can then bring about redemption, peace, and justice. Redeeming the “creative” drive in us, the part of the image that creates, builds, and manipulates, will declare the glory of God and end the distortion that leads to destruction, imperialism, and oppression. There is no way to “get back to the garden” without reforming creative expression.

When we empower and encourage people to express God’s glory in their own way, it can bring great unity in the Spirit through the diversity of the Body of Christ.

Our expressions come from what is inside of us (Matthew 12:33-37). Psalm 45 shows an expression that is inspired by God and directed to Him:

“My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”

Creative expression encompasses many things, but most practically the arts. We explored the specific example of music throughout scripture to see what role it played in the interaction between man and God.

  • David set aside men to prophesy with music
  • Many of the verses quoted in the New Testament as being prophecy of the coming Messiah are from Psalms.
  • The Psalms declare God’s character
  • Songs were used for teaching and correction
  • Song, and creation itself, were involved in the birth of Jesus, and creation testified at the death of Christ.
  • Music was shared with other members of the Body, often in giving thanks
  • Music was used to edify the Body, and is likened to spiritual acts such as teaching and speaking in tongues, which could be seen as other creative expressions

Next week we will continue to explore creative expression.


Beautiful Eulogy – “Instruments of Mercy” from their album, “Instruments of Mercy”; available at www.humblebeast.com. Used by permission.

Josh Garrels – “Colors”, from his album “Home” www.joshgarrels.com

This episode originally broadcast live on August 28, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO

For more info:



Theme music: “The Resistance” by Josh Garrels (www.joshgarrels.com) licensed by Marmoset Music (www.marmosetmusic.com)