The Power of Imagination Captured for the Cause of Truth

“Lewis demonstrates the power of an imagination which has been captured for the cause of truth.” C.S. Lewis – His Life & Thoughts Terry Glaspey

16094430832_535298c313_zLewis’ imagination flowed through His work. The fantasy and beauty of Narnia manifests the eternal truth of Jesus Christ in the flow and form of the movie. The power of imagination is wonderful. It takes me to a glorious place in the Spirit where I find myself entering into the story. Isn’t that what it is all about? I enter the story and my life narrative is transformed. .

“He presented many of the classic themes of Christian doctrine in a new and imaginative way. Lewis has created a world believable in its own right, and yet has illustrated Christian themes in that world in such a way that they seem fresh and unexpected to those reared in the “Christianized’ Western culture. They have a reality all their own.” (Glaspey- C.S. Lewis-His Life & Thoughts 49)

I get it. When I read this paragraph, my spirit leapt inside. To speak in stories, experiences, or parables undergirded with Biblical truth and eternal truth in creative ways. That’s it for me and that is what is forming in Rivers of Eden. We seem to be on the edges with just a bit of understanding but Holy Spirit is graciously guiding us in the right direction.

When we ministered in Kenya, we created an environment in Holy Spirit that seemed to resonate with the glory of eternity. I spoke words of spirit, life and truth. I moved outside the context of teaching from a formal, predictable stance. I knew what I wanted to convey and trusted Holy Spirit to capture the imagination of people for the cause of truth.

The words pulsed through the atmosphere and ushered in a heavenly glory. The words formed a reality of their own right before my eyes. The kingdom was in our midst. I did not have to explain it for it revealed itself through the creative expression of Christ in me. The words opened up the people’s spirits and when they surrendered to eternity, Jesus ministered to many.

Old Book FlowerI demonstrated the power of my imagination, which was captured for truth, Jesus Christ. You see, sometimes the beauty of the Word is often displaced by our own ability to always want to make it make it understood or meet the needs. Leaders take it upon themselves to micromanage the Holy Spirit and to orchestrate the flow in their own wisdom. The atmosphere is then stripped of glory and the people are stripped of their imagination. I don’t try to analyze the spiritual atmosphere or try to meet the needs of the people. I prepare, pray and mediate and the flow in Holy Spirit. I want to just surrender to Holy Spirit and allow myself to be a vessel of glory.

When I watch the Narnia movies or read the books, I do not engage with them through only through my mind/intellect. If I did that, I would miss the overarching beauty of story. I allow the words and images to touch my imagination. They take me into a place where my heart is then engaged to see Christ and to know Him. That is what is needed today in the Body of Christ – to allow people to engage with the beauty of Scripture in ways that require courage on the parts of leaders to go off the grid of tradition.

To capture the imagination for the cause of truth requires us to be brave and courageous. Released from fear of man, may we write and speak from a sense of identity, infused with creativity in Christ. May we flow outside the boundaries of what only our mind can comprehend to places in Holy Spirit that open up wide vistas of spiritual experience in Christ. May we flow in word and spirit so that the reality of kingdom is alive in Christ in our midst. Creativity abounds in Christ.

Debra

In Christ,
Debra Westbrook

Rivers of Eden Ministry

Creativity flows from BEING Me, in Christ!

Creative

Creativity flows from BEING ME.. in Christ!

In Christ, I live.

With Brave Wings, She Flies

In Christ, I move.

images

In Christ, I have my being.

I create from my BEING, who I am, even if I don’t yet see the finished product of “Me”. I don’t wait until I arrive at some self-designated point of perfection. I create in the messiness of my life.  I create in the midst of process – my life – changing, growing, as He lives His life through me.

Creativity flows from imperfection. That’s life. I rise above the rubble of my insecurities, doubts, guilt or shame to enjoy the journey each and every day. The alternative to this is just existing, not living. Authenticity takes courage and risk, coming out from behind the mask, in process, not perfect and owning it all as being me – good, bad and otherwise.

The beauty of my humanness shines through as Christ lives His life through this imperfect vessel. In going from glory to glory, I relish the process of being where I am right now, at this moment. It is in this moment, creativity flows in many ways, first and foremost in a creative life, surrendered to Holy Spirit and the spontaneity of adventure.

I am in process, on a journey, a journey in Christ, with Christ – a life not static but dynamic. Day by day, always an adventure into the glory of the revelation of His life flowing through me. Christianity is exceedingly creative, if you just let Him BE in and through you, the way He wants to live His life in you.

When did Christianity ever get so boring for so many? I will unravel the lies that have tried to pull me down into conformity and fear for so long now. I will arise into the freedom that is mine in Christ, and help others to see their creative life in Christ. So here it is January 1, 2015. Happy New Year! The journey begins………

I care not for perfection. I love process and putting myself out there, authentic and real. That is what I can give to a generation younger than me-> a mom, grandma, lover of Jesus, creative, explorer, adventurer, filled with wisdom and failure, able to reach out and not be afraid to make mistakes, wanting to laugh at myself through it all, and hoping that my destiny is intertwined with those younger than myself so that I can give a bit of myself in the process. Creativity in Christ will awaken a generation of Christians who want no part of religion yet are so in love with Jesus that they want to journey in Him and with Him wherever He leads. Until next time.

DebraIn Christ, 
Debra

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.