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

Aslan and Me: My Story In This Story – More About C.S. Lewis

Here’s a story from C.S. Lewis that captured my attention yesterday. In its simplicity, there is a depth of revelation.

“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I-could I-would you mind going away while I do!” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.

The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to-do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and me, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, not as if it was sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“They you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer.
“I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.
(Lewis, The Silver Chair, 17.)

1093249228_9cfdce9b84_zAt times, I’m like Jill. Are you?

This story resonates with every fiber of my being. Seeking to know Jesus, there are times and seasons that He orchestrates the narrative of my life so intricately to bring me face to face with Him.

I thirst to drink deeply of His presence leading me to His stream of life. There it is – but there He is, seeming to block my way to the very place He leads me. I can’t get to the stream unless I surrender to a greater, larger, deeper, multifaceted revelation of who He is. Up close at this moment, He is quite different. A lion of power, majesty and might, He stirs fear in me on every level.

Why is that? Have I, all this time, imagined Jesus to be something less than who He really is? Does my paradigm of life create a Jesus that is agreeable to my own limited understanding? I know a kind Jesus, a loving Jesus. Yes, He is all those qualities and more. A lamb that was slain, meek and gentle.

But standing before me is not the lamb, but the lion. It is the lion that stirs this fear in me. A lion that presents Himself in an unwavering stance, immovable.

He is not who I expected.

My heart is laid bare as I must choose to trust and surrender to get to the source of my thirst. Is He withholding from me? Playing some great trick on me?

Here goes my back and forth dialogue with Him.

“Can I trust you to be gentle and kind as I draw near? You won’t hurt me, right?” I ask.

His answer is still the same. “I make no promise.”

What kind of God is this?

I want to go forward but I wait a bit in case He changes His mind and opens up another way for me. That doesn’t happen because there is no way around this in this season.

Have I not said that I wanted to know Him? How did I actually think that would work out? Did I believe that He would bend to the imaginings of my own heart? Did I desire a God fashioned in my own image?

I believe I wanted a lamb but at this moment there is a lion.

It is time to get past myself, my own illusions about Jesus, created in my own mind.

What is my choice standing in this place? I am not backed into a corner forced to make a decision. Forced love is really no love. I am free walk forward or free to turn and run. His love for me remains with either choice.

He created this path for me because I cried out for more. I can’t go back now.

He is not a tame lion. If I did not know His love, I may just run or faint but I will do neither. I will enter this path and face this revelation head on.

I will trust, surrender and obey. There is no other way.

Debra

In Christ,
Debra

Rivers of Eden Ministry

Aslan Is Not A Tame Lion – C.S. Lewis, Imagination, and Creativity

What better place for God to lead me in my study on imagination than right into the life of C.S. Lewis? I can’t tell you how many times I watch The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe every year. When Aslan confronts the White Witch with a simple roar that sends her reeling, I love it beyond measure and find myself rising up victoriously in my spirit.

So are some thoughts, musings, and quotes about Terry Glaspey’s book, C.S. Lewis – His Life & Thought.

 “The figure of Aslan tells us more about how Lewis understood the nature of God than anything else he wrote. It has all His hidden power and majesty and awesomeness which Lewis associated with God, but also His glory and tenderness and even the humor which He believed belonged to Him, so that children could run up to Him and throw their arms around Him and kiss Him.” Dom Bede Griffiths

C.S. Lewis used the power of image stirring the imagination to run wild. His own imagination along with humor and creativity,all  invested in Biblical truth, still ministers to people of all ages. His passion  in telling an old story, still introduces many to God. Brilliant in theology and apologetics, He did not only rely on the preached word in a formal setting to convey Biblical truth. He used His imagination.

This journey into informed imagination is something I simply can’t get away from at this time. Each day I am challenged to explore it more and more and to begin to write more in a creative way. Let’s see what transpires over time.

What sets Lewis apart from Christian philosophers and theologians, and allows him to speak so effectively to so many varied people, is his ability to communicate in a way that is creatively compelling as well as intellectually satisfying. Lewis demonstrates the power of the imagination, which has been captured for the cause of truth. (Glaspey pg. 179)

The power of imagination in writing so as to convey Biblical truth.  Lord, can I please play my part in this in some small way?

In Narnia, Lewis addressed the child in all of us. As I have said before, I see that many disdain the simplicity of this approach. Have you ever just hung around in the background on Facebook when people get involved in heavy theological discussion?  I was only a fly on the wall as I looked down the thread. What I saw was quite often arrogance and pride. It made me think about my childhood growing up strict Catholic where the Bible sat on our coffee table, BUT we were taught to never presume to read it with any understanding. Just let the priests interpret it all for us. Has it changed today? Not always.

The simplicity of childlike faith enjoined with imagination, creativity, storytelling, art, music…will draw people to Jesus Christ.

Jesus was and is a storyteller. In my own intimate times of worship and prayer, I can’t recall Jesus ever getting into a theological discussion with me. Generally it is through image and creative words, pictures and visions. It is in the walking with Him that He reveals Himself to me creatively. His life forms in my own life’s narrative as I live, move and have my being in Him.

As I look back on my Christian life, I see it is precisely at the moments when I continually release my life into His hands, following the leading of Holy Spirit, that He beckons me to take a walk with Him. In childlike faith, I accompany Him on a supernatural adventure and journey. As Bertie Brits always says on Facebook, there is much to say on this. Keep following.

Debra

In Christ, Debra

Rivers of Eden Ministry

Arise Prophetic Teachers!

Tunnel_Of_Love“Imagination is what enables us to begin to comprehend the invisible God.” Rodger Nishioka

Jesus spoke in parables. They are simple stories used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. As His parables drew people into the story, the kingdom of God touched the heart and mind, along with engaging the imagination to reveal the Father. Heaven manifested on earth.

Images formed in people’s minds as Jesus preached. He spoke of doors, sheep gates, fire, wind, and lights. Jesus is the door, opening wide so that many may enter in and know the Father. Gates were meant to keep people out as well as let people in. There are so many stories peaking the imagination and stirring the heart.

Parables were a superior means of communication. While the Pharisees denounced this method, the people loved it. Images stirred the imagination to connect the heart of the Father to the people.

As a speaker, I see people connect with storytelling. Holy Spirit reveals the Word to me through study. Then Holy Spirit teaches me how to creatively bring it out. Through imagination, I embark on a journey to creatively expound that, which has been deeply stirred in me.

This is a visual generation. I believe as important as it is to preach the word, I also know that it is important to creatively express the Word – through many different methods and means. Prophetic teachers will arise to preach the word, engaging creative expressions alongside artists and musicians. They will arise alongside dancers and drama. What will be seen? A creative expression of the glory of God, orchestrated by Holy Spirit. Over the years, I have stood in this place in churches and conferences, and I can’t get enough.

Storytelling is not an inferior means of preaching the Word. It is a clear invigorating approach that reaches deep into our life, touching our mind and hearts through imagination. Storytelling enables people to enter the narrative and interact within their own heart.

The word is ALIVE. Parables and stories, along with other visual expressions of His glory through the arts, are fresh paths waiting to be explored today.

“Teach people to cultivate and discipline the imagination.” Quote from “Cultivating a Biblical Imagination.”

In the Body of Christ, creativity is springing forth from dry ground. So often, traditional religion is a safe place, being both positive and negative. While it informs and teaches through preaching the word, the Holy Spirit, the very orchestrator of heavenly expression, is left behind in favor of formality. The congregation sits as spectators, passively listening but retaining very little in the process.

Prophetic teachers will arise! Holy Spirit will breathe on the Word, making it come alive into the heart of the teacher in order to be imparted creatively to the listener. Teachers will arise with not only a listening ear but also the creativity to embrace heaven through revelation, dreams and visions, bringing it forth into the earthly realm.

Again, I would like to say that I know in part and I see in part. I write and I grow. I write and I see. Arise prophetic teachers!

Debra

In Christ, Debra

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

Creating Beauty While Living In A World of Chaos

I live in the world, but as a Christian, I am not of the world. My identity is formed in Christ in me. I am seated in heavenly places. I am a new creation in Christ. There are many verses to substantiate these claims in previous blogs. So let’s rest on this sure foundation – we are in Christ in the world.

Walking towards the lightThis world thrives in the midst of tension and chaos. Unsettling on every front, current events drive us either into a sense a fear or subtle escapism. In Christ, I choose to bow my knee to neither.

Perfect love casts out fear. As the love of Christ flows into my life, fear evaporates in the glory of His presence.

Escapism is also not an option. I am a creative realist – taking what life seemingly throws at me, I keep on moving. Life is too precious in Christ to admit defeat AND if there are days that get me down, I rise up and stay strong as soon as possible.

So many of my thoughts are flowing from an excellent article written by NT Wright, The Bible and Christian Imagination.

Here we have the world at large – both beautiful and ugly.

“Seeing one does not defy the existence of the other.” NT Wright

PaintbrushSo, it seemingly depends upon my spiritual vision more than my natural vision to live creativity, manifesting beauty through my life. If I gaze upon the reality of ugliness, which abounds on every side, beauty is hidden from me. Beauty does exist and it is beauty that I must gaze upon. It is beauty and truth that capture writers. It is beauty and wonder that excites the artist. We live by gazing upon the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ and reflecting His glory through our life and our creativity. I move in an opposing spirit to that which tries to weigh me down in chaos, death and destruction. It is beauty that astonishes the eye. Beauty grabs the heart to dream. Eternity calls us to come into its reality, here and now.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV)

I struggle. I suffer. Yet all things are working in Christ to display an exceeding weight of glory in my life, now and forever. I choose to look at the reality of eternity to interject beauty and truth into people that are downcast, distraught, abandoned or feeling insignificant and small. In Christ, I am light in the midst of darkness. Eternity is my reality. I am passing through all of this as a Christian. I keep my eyes focused on Christ and keep walking, being sure that I am called and chosen for such a time as this. Of that I am quite sure.

Imagination flows through an informed study and meditation of Scripture. That brings eternity right into the midst. It does not yet take me out of the world but opens my eyes to see by faith. I walk in my sanctified imagination to bring creativity into the earth.

While ministering in the poor areas of Eldoret, Kenya many years ago, the Lord specifically told me to preach on beauty. This astounded me and left me somewhat bewildered. As I looked around, I saw only poverty and lack. Many people living there hardly thought about beauty. Their concentration was on daily subsistence and living one day at a time. At least that is what I thought.

Deep inside I realized how wrong I actually was. Despite poverty and lack, people hold dreams and visions within their hearts. They often don’t realize it. They don’t feel the freedom to even accept the fact that they can dream in the midst of life’s trials. To preach on beauty seemed irrelevant and superfluous. Yet God kept telling me to preach on beauty so I did, off the cuff, which means flowing in Holy Spirit. I preached on gazing on His beauty. I preached on ascending in worship. I preached on displaying His glory right where they lived.

We are called to co-create with God and in God through revelation, ideas, and directions given to us in Holy Spirit.

To create beauty in the midst of tension, poverty, or lack.

To dream in the midst of encroaching darkness.

To engage with reality right where we are, living, moving and having our being in Christ.

To take our little corner of the world and to manifest heaven on earth, stirring up hope and possibility everywhere we are.

No one is beyond manifesting beauty and truth right now. No one. No matter how deep the inner and outer poverty we live in, we are called to gaze upon His beauty and reflect His glory. To show forth His beauty through the creative expression of Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Rise up today from fear! Creativity takes courage to rise up and to actually create! Start right where you are in Christ. One idea may challenge us to move out in a Holy Spirit faith direction. Lacking money or time does not divert our sense of purpose. Rejection does not hinder us. We live by faith in the Son of God who consistently tells us to dream big. He whispers that nothing is impossible in Him.

I write to inspire today. This subject is part of my DNA in Christ so I can’t shut it off or turn it down. Each time I write, I give small pieces and ask you to run with it. To finish this story within yourself through your own life. I always desire closure when I get close to the end of a blog post. I almost never get it for it is bigger than me right now. Creativity is my passion, my life. Enjoy! Think. Meditate. Dream.

Debra

In Christ, Debra

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