023.2 Creative Expression, pt 4: Testimony

Before we move on to testimonies, we have to back up and cover some scripture of rhema and art
Acts 2:14 Peter asks crowd to give heed to his “rhema”

Acts 5:20 go speak to the people the whole “rhema” of this life. In other words, declare what I’ve revealed to you. You can’t speak “rhema” without the Holy Spirit accompanying you.

If the truest form of expression comes when the Holy Spirit inspires and accompanies it, then some of the worst forms of corruption of that come in the form of contracts concerning “worship music” and sermons. If we contractually obligate Christians to produce albums and teachings, then they are motivated by money and job security to fill space. The Holy Spirit can certainly transcend these human limitations, but why would we not reorient ourselves to work fully in communion with Him?

Godly creative exrpession is to art what Rhema is to Logos. People can learn the skills of art, and be really good at it. But doing those things in communion with the Holy Spirit connect to something deeper. Our relationship with God can inspire others to engage a relationship with God.

Testimonies
We emphasize communicating testimonies in creative expression. We have done this (Mark, Mark, and Jason are musicians), and we encourage it in others. Testimonies are authentic; they are a weapon; and the tell of what God has done. Testimonies declare that God is who He says He is, and that He is their Lord.

Psalm 66:5,16 Come and see the works of God, who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men…come and hear all who fear God and I will tell of what He’s done for my soul.

Expressing with Authority
People were moved by what Jesus preached because He taught with authority. It wasn’t just His conviction (which some preachers do not have), but that He did what He taught. He was passionate about what He taught – things that He knew, did, and had a deep conviction of. He lived what He taught. Deep conviction backed up with a steadfast walk shakes people.

People desire authenticity because it is a connection to something that can be known. It is proof that truth and love are attainable, that loneliness is not the only option. Authenticity in expression means that the expression is not just a product or filler, but that it bridges the gap between our experiences. This desire for authenticity puts a wedge within our religious experience. The modern church strives to be “authentic”, but kills that effort by its striving. Authentic followers are living sacrifices.

To be authentic, we need to find our identity, and we can only find that in Christ.

Godly creative expression is done with authority – it is done as an outpouring of what we know and do, it is done in communion with the Holy Spirit.

Why are you creating? Is it just to fill space? Is it to attract people to your self? Are you just adding bible words to chords? What inspires it? What is the motivation? What power is there in something contrived? Our creations have more power when they come from a place of authority – of an outpouring of our experience.

What is the vision of Godly creative expression? God’s vision for creative expression will depend on what His vision is for the church in a certain place at a certain time. He will be expressing what He is doing through mankind’s expression. If this is the case, then the church is missing out by programming and recycling “worship music.” The bible speaks of EVERYONE bringing a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song, for the purposes of teaching and edifying. This means that God can move corporately in a church BODY and express Himself at that time through new and old expressions. “Worship music”, or any artistic function within the church, should not be seen as entertaining, but in some way prophetic, in that it is expressing who God is and what He is doing.

If the creative expression of who God is and what He is doing is limited, stifled, etc., then its power is greatly decreased. The praises cannot be heard, the rebukes are not received, the encouragements are silenced. He cheapen the arts to “oh, that’s pretty” or “oh, that’s cool” or “i really like this song”.

So…how are urban renewal, reformation of the church, and reformation of creative expression all the same thing? Because they are all concerned with God’s patterns, having a relationship with God, being filled with His Spirit, walking in His ways. When we are in line with God’s ways, we are declaring His glory, we are expressing His diving attributes. When we do that, we will be ministering. You will be living out Isaiah 61. When we do this, our hearts are full of the good things of God, and they overflow in our various abilities. We do that together, corporately, as a body. Within this context, the only reason any art exists is because we have encountered our Lord and we can’t help but to express it, or we so desire to encounter Him that we call out in lament.

As the church has become corrupted in America, and Americanized the Gospel, it brought its arts right along with it and turned ministry into an industry. If we leave the world and allign our hearts with God’s, then we will find ourselves in the trenches of spiritual warfare, and shoulder to shoulder not only with our brothers and sisters, but with Jesus Himself, and that results in the restoration of dark places, including inner cities. As we live among those who need love and need the Lord, and humble ourselves, instead of exalting ourselves like the builders of Babel, then what we do create, express, and build will communicate who God is and what He does.

When we return to God’s patterns, we will be loving, we will be expressing, and we will be living the church the way that He designed.

Songs:

Keith Green – Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful

Shawn Groves – Blank Page

 

This episode originally broadcast live on September 4, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO

For more info:

www.sunministries.org

www.sunministries.blogspot.com

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

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