We have such a creative God. I look at the created things of this world and even at myself and I am amazed! Awestruck wonder. How does God do this? I mean create something out of nothing.
We are created in God's image. Amazing! And part of that is re-creating and designing beautiful images, scultures, paintings, stories, architecture, landscaping, drama, music... to glorify God. At Urbana12 I attended the Art Lounge. I feel so at home when I am able to be around other artists who use their gifts and talents in proclaiming the wonderful God and creator that we serve and especially those who can creatively proclaim the message of Christ.
Bette is an arts staff with InterVarsity. I sat in on one of her design discussions as she presented a painting series and opended it up for critique. It is a vulnerable thing for an artist to open up their creation for others comments. But Bette handled it with grace. It was amazingly devotional to consider the stories she told through her art. It made the viewer consider himself/herself in light of eternity and presented God's story in a way not always understood by someone just reading the words in the scriptures. Can you see God's story in full view? Eternity past and eternity future? A small moment in that plan enters Christ, he finished the work he came to do and now we wait for a future without sin, without pain, without death. We wait. Art opened up a new perspective on eternity. But art takes time to consider. We need to slow down wait, listen, feel and respond. I wish I could post Bette's painting here, but I don't have her permission. If you are gifted with any type of creative talent - I encourage you to use it devotionally. Meet with God. Worship Jesus. Allow others to do the same even if they do not have those gifts.
Jesus be glorified through art!
A few words from Urbana really stuck with me and challenged me.
A woman who had been to urbana in 1967 as a college student along with her husband (they were not married at the time). She said, though her husband had died in the mission field in the past few years. He really died in 1967 when he told Jesus 'Yes' and gave all of his life to the Lord.
In America, we seem to have so much. We often do not see many costs of following Christ in America. Our crosses are relatively light in comparison to the crosses others bear around the world. Christians who face death, poverty, joblessness, illness, homelessness and family turning on them. We only see a shadow of those things in the United States currently. But I was struck with the idea of giving my life, my body, my blood totally to Jesus. Now I have always known Jesus and have faithfully followed him and proclaimed him most zealously. But there is something that struck me - because I have feared death. With recent deaths of some in our community - it just brought to the forefront of my mind the idea of death. What about all of my dreams? What about reaching thousands of people for Jesus? What about my unbelieving family, friends and the multitudes of students that needs Jesus? What about my wife and my beautiful daughter? I cannot go yet. However, we are not the ones who can determine the number of our days. Our lives are in God's hands. The number of our days, are in God's hands. There is no fear in death, because Christ has overcame death. There is no fear of judgement, because Christ took upon himself the judgement that we deserve. Death is rest in Christ. Our lives now is a dot, a mist in comparison of eternity with the Lord.
The uncertaintly of what is ahead may bring fear and confusion, but if our hope is in Christ and we trust him - we can have that rest now with no fear. When people suffer, when they are faced with hardship, death and the brokenness of the world - they long for Jesus and his Kingdom even more. Let us serve Christ now and have peace and hope in his return.
Another speaker by the name of David Platt - said "Jesus doesn't need us to accept him. We need him to accept us." David was calling us to follow Christ whole heartedly even to the point of giving our lives for him. We need Jesus!
Let's pray together that the Lord will draw near to us, that we will rest in him and follow him always. It will take endurance and focus, because Jesus is known to travel some rough roads. But he is always there beside us.
What has Jesus been challenging you with lately? Sit in silence for a few
The fall 2012 semester flew by and I am now just taking some time to reflect. I love attending conferences and Compelling is InterVarsity's statewide student conference which is held each November. Student leaders, luke-warm follwers of Jesus and unbelievers attend - all of whom encounter Jesus and come away challenged, changed and looking to take a next step of faith in following him. As staff members we too encounter Jesus, although we also have a lot of work to do and can become tired. This is where I am and have been off and on the last couple months. I love to see students lives transformed, but in the process my life and my families lives often come short of the fulfillment and peace that Jesus desires for us too.
I am learning the importance of "Sabbath." Resting in the Lord in the midst of high demands, great needs and an ever increasing task list of good things to do for the kingdom of God. It is where we are caught by the desire to meet needs, real needs of those around us and who need practical help and spiritual healing. But all of this comes from God, not from our own ability, talent, compassion or even spiritual power. Relationships need time. Our relationship with others can only succeed as our relationship with God continues and is nurtured and made a priority on a daily basis. I hope this is what my students learn from me. However, I cannot just tell them, I have to show them by the way I live. So pray with me to rest in the Lord, so that this generation of students will learn to do the same.
I'm struck by the lessons I learn from my 20 month old, Kysa. Even though she is so young, I see her immitating Laina and me. One day I was eating dinner and then I noticed Kysa watching me intently and copying each motion I made. I lifted my cup, she did the same. I brought my fork to my mouth, she did too. I laughed and she did too. What I do says so much more than what I could say to her. Her vocabulary is small, yet she learns so much from my actions. Lord help us, so that she will learn to walk in the way of the Almighty God. I watch the Lord and follow after Him. Kysa watches me and Laina and follows after us. It is our hope and prayer that she will follow after the Lord too.
Follow Christ always.
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