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.

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.


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:



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


023.1 Creative Expression, pt 3: Logos and Rhema

Creative expression includes most things people think of when they think about art. We are going to start by reviewing some of the big picture ideas we got to in parts 1 and 2 of this discussion.

First obvious signs of creative expression after the fall

Jubal the first musician, Tubal-Cain working with metal. We see records of people desiring to express creatively after the fall. Prior to the fall, man and God have perfect communion. After the fall, communication is impaired.

In the Garden, we had perfect communion. We were fully known, and we knew God in a very intimate way. So will there be creative expressions in Heaven? We will sing, we know that much. And God is creative, and we are created in His image. Are there parallels between creative expressions and spiritual gifts? Obviously spiritual gifts come from God and express who He is. But there will be a day when some pass away, and they won’t be necessary, at least not in our current comprehension of them. They are for ministry and to build us up into the fullness of Christ. What purpose would they serve once we are in that fullness, together with the Father?

So instead of looking at creative expression as a compensation for lack of communion, is it something that is fully realized in unison with God? Is it something that we do WITH God, and in doing it with God, it becomes its true form, and works toward the will of God?

Is redeemed creative expression meant to EXPRESS God or EXPLAIN God? Likely, both.

Is creative expression out of union with God inherently corrupt? While they can be very honest, essentially yes. We had mentioned the urge to build and control related to the urge to create. These are parts of our image of God and part of His purpose for us, that we should be little creators who rule the world on God’s behalf, and with Him. When those are corrupt, we end up building Babels. When we exercise our own creative energies apart from God, it can exalt our pride.

While there is much to be said for all humanity’s creative efforts, the kind that will build us up will in some way point towards the Creator of all. Can our communion with God, our longing for Him, our desolation apart from Him, our questions and doubts, our pains and loss, inspire expressions that bridge the gap created at the Fall?

So after looking at all the ways music specifically was used in Scripture, for godly and ungodly purposes, and exploring lots of modern corruptions, how do we get back to God’s design for creative expression? How do we reform it?

The Bible displays a spiritual connection to expression, and servants, especially Paul, desiring to communicate in God’s ways.

Creative Expression, Rhema, and Logos

Martin Luther believed that the Gospel was Jesus – essentially anything that communicated Jesus was Good News. If everything that could be expressed about God in human form was Jesus, then there is some merit to this idea. There are some who believe God’s expression of Himself has ceased, and is contained entirely in Scripture. Some believe God is always communicated Jesus in some way. Not writing a new Bible, or replacing the Bible, or negating the Bible, but that God expresses Himself and communicates the Good News of the Kingdom always in many ways.

Logos and Rhema are two greek words that get translated as “word”. However, the represent two slightly different ideas, both of which relate to creative expression.

Logos is most famously used in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Here, he is clearly referring to Jesus.

Rhema is most famously used in Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

While their literal definitions are very similar, their uses in Scripture show a difference.

Logos is the word, it is declaration. Rhema is revelation. Logos is concrete and clear and trustworthy. Rhema is expressive and fluid, yet still never contradicts the Logos. Rhema is not simply allegorical interpretations of Scripture. It is revelation of God. Sometimes it involves reading scripture. Sometimes it simply happens in ministry, no where near a Bible.

How does art relate to rhema? As God redeems His people, He fills them with His Spirit, grants them rhema (revelation of the truth), and inspires them to express it in way similar to how He expresses. This could be seen as taking what Scripture says, and creatively expressing what it means.

God supernatually revealed the design of the Tabernacle, then He sent His Spirit to empower craftsmen to accomplish the design.

When we are faithful and obedient, we are declaring the character of God. God reveals Himself to people in certain ways at certain times. Sometimes as a burning bush, sometimes as thunder, sometimes as a pillar of cloud, etc. Why? Why does He choose different forms, different expressions? Even in Scripture, there are many literary forms. Why does He choose poems in place, and geneologies in another? Why did Jesus come in human, tangible, physical form to live an observable, historical, concrete life, and yet also grant confounding visions to John? Because He is expressing in forms that express Him, to the recipient, and to others to come after. Because He is the creative Creator. Because there is so much of Him to express.


Newsboys – God is Not a Secret

Nichole Nordeman – I am

Additional music

Ben Pasley – Rugged Old Hand http://www.benpasley.com/ Used by permission.

This episode originally broadcast live on September 4, 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)