Shaping The River Into Words

My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the king, shaping the river into words (Psalms 45:1 Message)

Creativity is expressed through the overflow of a heart. The heart bursts open, spilling forth in adoration and worship. In this psalm, a poem forms, shaping the river by its words. The river flows in the power of this psalm, touching lives and hearts along the way. What a glorious picture in creativity in Christ!

Typewriter CreativeCreativity flows from me as I focus on Christ. It manifests in numerous ways as His beauty and glory touch my life. Out of the overflow of my heart, I capture the moment in writing. This is my creative expression. Words form within me as I worship Jesus and they flow today in this blog. These words shape the river of His anointing in my life, the river that flows abundantly through my life.

My passion – to challenge people to BE the creative expression of Christ in the earth today as Christ is in us, the hope of glory. He promises us rivers of living water flowing through our lives. Living water manifests through diverse and creative ways. Creativity flows through many channels – the arts, education, business, and so much more. The Creator lives within us. It’s time for us to create and show off the glory of a living Christ.

The river of His life flows through my words in the power of Holy Spirit. What about you? How does creativity flow through you? Do you write? How about paint? What about music? Do you educate children and adults in creative ways? Do you administrate in creative ideas so fellow workers are challenged? Please don’t say that you are not creative. That denies the reality of Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Ladder to skyIn Christ, I am called to manifest His glory being in the world but not of the world. This is freedom. In Christ, I live and move in this freedom, not of the world in its fear, anxiety, doubt or chaos. In Christ, I am eternally seated in heavenly places. This is reality that is experientially flowing through my life each day.

It is religion that silences freedom of expression. It is religion that clones us into manageable robots, not pliable and fluid as Christ lived. It is religion that shuns creativity because creativity in Christ cannot be contained in any way. It flows out, sometimes violent in its expression, always radical, and sometimes quiet and graceful. Religion thrives on the order of man, displacing the flow of Holy Spirit. Just look at Jesus’ life – His flow, creative miracles, spontaneity in Holy Spirit. Study His life and see how creative He was and still is in the lives of His children.

Grace sets us free. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, not to be bound in slavery or any laws that restricts and binds us to performing in order to receive from God. I am passionate about this. Grace awakens me to the person of Christ Jesus and in Him, there is creative expression to flow in Holy Spirit. (Some great reads: Andrew Farley: The Naked Gospel or God Without Religion and Paul Ellis: The Gospel In Ten Words)

Creativity in Christ Jesus awakens us out of slumber. We can flow in God’s redemptive purpose in the earth today in a variety of diverse and unique ways. Holy Spirit has been given to us to reveal the life of Christ through our lives.
God is not limited in any way, no matter where we live, our financial status, race, gender, or age. Christianity is an adventure and a journey into bringing heaven into earth today. His story of redemption reaches out to me in unique ways as I allow Holy Spirit to open my eyes and open my ears each and every day. His ways are endlessly creative. More tomorrow.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

Rivers of Eden would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact us here or on Twitter. Enjoy reading the Timeline of our Life!

Sit Down, Relax, Do Nothing!

VenturaFor my own well-being, I need to consistently unplug from people, computers, and TV. It’s good to be out of the mix. Noise rattles the thinking process into its submission of overload and distraction. Chatter is the subliminal sound of constant chaos as I spend excess time on social media. I can lose myself and not even know it. That is a scary thought.

Another quote by Austin Kleon from Steal Like An Artist:

“Creative people need time to sit around and do nothing!”

I need to be alone at times doing nothing. My friends often think of me as an extrovert. I definitely can be outgoing. I engage in conversation easily. Yet, if I spend too much time extroverting with people, I lose focus, get tired, start getting antsy and look for a door to get out. My life is somewhere between introvert and extrovert. I believe it’s called ambivert. Excessive prolonged exposure to being in the mix makes me tired. I consistently need time to sit around and do nothing.

Me, a pen, my journal or tablet, the ocean, my office, or Starbucks – I dial down in time and find stillness. God knows I need this.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

 “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything (Psalms 46:10 Message)

Busyness – the current buzzword of so many people:

I’m busy.
I’m too busy.
I am so busy.
Busy, busy, busy.
Can’t – too busy.
Can’t possibly – too busy.
No time! Too busy.

Busyness – the hard taskmaster who leads us as a slave in the midst of excessive demands. Our lives hunger for meaning. Internal forces drive us forward to find this as external forces create a path of endless distraction where we never quite arrive at what we are seeking.

Busyness sounds admirable, important, and essential in life. Yet, busyness aborts creative thinking for those who need quiet times to come apart. It is in stillness and just doing nothing that creativity thrives. Creativity abounds here! In the midst of dialing down, creativity is forming – an image, ideas, revelation in Christ.

MalibuI spend time each day in the stillness, being with Jesus Christ. He is my source of creativity. My creativity is enhanced and encouraged as my identity is formed in Christ. That takes time and relationship, being with Him, in His presence.

Since I was a child, God wired me to come apart, unplug and learn to be in order to find ME. I remember times of being alone and loving it.

Growing up on the northwest side of Chicago, beautiful cherry trees stood tall and strong in my yard. Their branches joyfully carved out seats just for me to sit and read. With a book and some snacks in hand, I hoisted myself up into a new world, spending hours reading and thinking. I was a bit quirky, but I needed this time alone. Is your child wired this way? Parent them into times of quiet.

On dark winter nights as snow sparkled in the moonlight, I ran outside into the yard to make snow angels. For hours, I raced around, falling down, getting up. I would often look up into the sky, just being, thinking. I needed these times to flow in creativity of thought and action.

My memories of childhood remind me that God wired me to BE unique and creative in His Son, Jesus Christ. In childhood, creativity flourishes. As a child, I flowed beautifully in awe and wonder. Perhaps many of us need to get back to being childlike again in our faith, in our creativity, in our lives. Playing with God in the beauty of His holiness, learning His creative ways in relationship will do wonders for our lives.

At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me. (Matthew 18:1-5 Message)

Children are creative, playful, innovative, spontaneous, joyful, adventurous, contemplative, risk takers, and more. As creativity is resurrected in Christ, childlike faith will arise to create again. Let’s face it. Christianity is rarely innovative or creative. Why is that? Perhaps we are taking our cues from the world in all its busyness, trying new programs, mimicking or copying what the world is doing to succeed. Jesus is simply telling us to come apart with Him to BE and just do nothing.

There are so many creative thoughts that flow from this reality. Many more blogs to write with more creative encouragement and challenges to come.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

Rivers of Eden would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact us here or on Twitter. Enjoy reading the Timeline of our Life!

Less Is More

Focusing on what enriches my life also means deleting what is nonessential for me or wastes my time. All the possible clicks, links, images, likes, and favorites leave me stressed and distracted, thinking I am missing something by letting them just scroll away. Without an internal censor, I get lost in information oblivion. This pulls me down into the mundane and I lose my creative edge.

Creativity is Subtraction

  (Image via Flickr Creative Commons)

According to Austin Kleon, the author of Steal Like An Artist, “Creativity is Subtraction.”

His quote: “In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important to them. Nothing is more paralyzing that the idea of limitless possibilities. The idea that you can do anything is absolutely terrifying.”

A great verse comes to mind:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious––the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies (Philippians 4:8-9 Message)

The source of my creativity is Jesus Christ who made all things. All things hold together in Him. There is an endless flow of revelation available to me as I am seated with Christ in heavenly places. Revelation downloaded into my life is the creative spark that activates my faith to do, go, write, sing, paint, move, and live in Christ. It’s a matter of flowing in sync with Him for MY life, not anyone else’s. For me, creativity is about subtraction so that my focus on Christ is simple and clear. Get rid of what appears good to find what is excellent for my life. It differs for all of us.

In the creativity of Christ flowing through me, I engage in life wherever I go for He is in me. I open myself up to see Him, hear Him, and watch Him move in unique ways. Christian books, movies, and music – I love some of it but I often find much of it lacks true creative innovation. In a creative world, staying focused just on what is labeled ‘Christian’ is not enough. It never has been but religion tried to get me to think it was. The sacred can be found right in the midst of the secular when my eyes are open to see God move in the way that He wants to move. Don’t misunderstand me. I love the word of God, worship, prayer but those entire things can and do become very mundane unless energized in Holy Spirit.

Austin Kleon also says, “Keep all your passions in your life.” I failed at this one. When salvation in Christ became my life, I was studying fashion design. Colors, fabrics, designing, sketching – I was right in the midst of it all on a daily basis. I finished the program but when I finished I started to believe this passion for design and creativity was not holy enough, not sacred enough. So I walked away. I sold everything and set up my design room as an office. I then told everyone that God told me to do this so that I could now follow His path for my life. This sounded so spiritual. After all, at that time in the church, design was fleshy and worldly. I left my passion for religion. I didn’t have to separate myself. I only had to allow Him to flow through me in whatever He called me to do for Him. Jesus did not tell me to stop this creative flow. Religion put pressure on me with laws of constraint instead of freedom in grace. The creative spark in me died that day but God is restoring all those lost years and redeeming the time, NOW.

Creativity is ContatgiousMay we spiritually wake up to the revelation that Christ in us is the spark of creative genius that should flow through His body worldwide. Creativity is not something to be ignored as if it takes a second place to more worthy theological pursuits. Creativity flowing through Christ in His children and all then, the world sees the beauty of Jesus in and through our lives.

Be brave. Be courageous in Christ. Be creative.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.

Excellence, Creativity, Innovation – This IS Christianity

Christianity is about journey and adventure. It is not static but dynamic. Corporately, we are to be overflowing with excellence and innovation as we tap into Christ in us – revelation abounds in the eternal realm AND we are seated in that heavenly realm.

When I walk into Starbucks, which I do quite often, I always feel good. I love the ambiance of the store itself along with the unity and positive attitude of the employees. I often meet people there and have wonderful times of fellowship. Even more than Starbucks, I love Apple stores. The other day when I took my Mac in, I kept gazing at the images of the new iPhone 6 on the wall. Its beauty and simplicity grabbed my attention. I turned to Marvin and said, “Do you see how they captured the shading on that picture? They had to tweak the picture of the phone in different ways to get that just right shading to make it look sleek and sophisticated.” I notice things…being visual many things catch my eye and I just gaze and get lost in the color, design and form. I now own an iPhone 6, trading up from my 4 – somehow I missed the whole 5-generation.

What about Christianity? Is it too much to believe that in Christ, we are on the cutting edge of innovation? Then, why aren’t we? Where are the innovators who have attuned their ear to heaven? Quite possibly, most have left the church because there is no room for innovation and creativity there.

I won’t go into a rant here but I believe that if some churches at large were compared to businesses, most would be bankrupt for lack of vision, finances and creativity. Or, they would eventually go out of business because they are knock offs of some other ministry or church and can’t sustain in this type of changing environment.

What to do? Open up to new things – movies that challenge, books that exude the life of Christ even when the author doesn’t know Him, friends that don’t want to have anything to do with Jesus yet you know they just don’t want what the church has shown Him to be………there are so many opportunities to stretch and live again. Jesus moved, traveled, flowed…that is why we are told to live, move and have our being in Christ.

Right now, I am reading one little book that is challenging my creative life in a big way. It is simple, but filled with life. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. He gave an idea to ‘blurb about a book’ on a blog…I will be doing that tomorrow.

My Creative Flow:

Rise of the Machines – Human Authors In A Digital World by Kristen Lamb

God’s Astounding Opinion of You by Ralph Harris

The Well-Played Life by Leonard Sweet

Twitter – I deactivated FB for a few months. Loving the change of pace on Twitter. Went to You Tube to learn all about Tweet Deck, how to effectively use Twitter.

Movies: The Mockingjay – Part 1 – Loved it but it was different from the first two for sure. A bit slower perhaps in preparation for Part 2. I actually had a great afternoon watching the first two in order to catch up and remember.

Be bold. Be creative. Move out and live in Christ!

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.

Excellence

Excellent – exceptional, marvelous, outstanding, wonderful

Excellence is not what I do or achieve in life. Excellence is my life, hidden in Christ. The outworking of His life through me in the power of Holy Spirit is an excellent life. Nothing less than Him.

I am to BE excellent in a world that is easily satisfied with the common, in addition to the perverse and the shallow. As Christians, are we to be satisfied with the common good as our standard when an excellent Christ lives in and through us? I am raising the bar in my life, not to perform, but to BE in Christ wherever I am and in whatever I am doing. Excellence in Christ in me changes the atmosphere wherever I go.

Soaring Eagle

Image vis Flickr Creative Commons

Excellence is not rooted in elitism, or thinking that you are better than, richer than, smarter than, thinner than (fill in the blank). To be excellent is to be the best you – not linked to performance, appearance, or even intelligence. Excellence is rooted in being the authentic YOU in Christ, who you are created to be.

The previous blog, A Discriminating Palette, shared my heart about restricting my diet from junk food, both spiritually and naturally. I can’t waste away taking in massive amounts of information or looking at endless images on social media that do little to build me up or enrich my life. My hunger and thirst shall be satisfied in Christ.

And Jesus said to them, “ I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:35 NKJVS)

In Christ, I partake of His excellent divine nature, which sets me apart from that which is common and ordinary.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJVS)

The excellence of His power is hidden in lives that appear to be ordinary. Remember, excellence is not determined by outward appearances but by inwardly conforming to the life of Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:7 NKJVS)

In Christ, I am seated in heavenly places, giving me access to eternal revelation, plans, purposes, thoughts, ideas, creativity, innovation and move.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7 NKJVS)

Living an excellent life in Christ seats us in heavenly places, above the deteriorating conditions that surround us each day, hoping to uproot our source of peace. The destruction that we see in the earth today opens our eyes to see that we are in the world but not of the world and thereby can influence and change the world in the reality of Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Living an excellent life, we are able to be the beautiful expression of Christ no matter what our physical conditions. What emanates from us is a language of excellence and glory that transforms and changes lives around us. Be excellent in wisdom and in grace – pursue that which builds up, edifies, challenges, confronts, glorifies Christ, flows in love and mercy, takes a stand, and moves against the grain of shallow cultural thought which trends to the masses each and every day. Be excellent.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.