Biblical Imagination – Michael Card (The last one slipped away on me!) Read on!

The last post slipped away by mistake before I even started. Read on!

“I would be cautious of using the word ‘imagination,’ for with an UNINFORMED IMAGINATION Jesus is merely a FIGMENT of our IMAGINATION.. But when the imagination is surrendered along with the heart and mind, it becomes a unifying bridge that opens the scriptures in a new and meaningful way.” Michael Card Biblical Imagination

I am getting my thoughts from Michael Card’s article on Biblical Imagination. My study time is taking me into a deep well or revelation. What prompted this journey? To some it may be an obscure subject, somewhat inferior to other forms of expression. NT Wright says it better than me:

“The arts, the imagination, our capacity to create beauty ourselves, is not simply incidental to what it means to be human. For generations now, many Christians have really believed, and acted on the belief, that the arts, the imagination, are the pretty bits around the edges, the kind of decorative border, whereas the middle, the main bit, whatever it is, is the kind of solid, stodgy, chunky bit in the middle which is Christian truth, dogma, belief, and ethics, and all that stuff, and then you can kind of go away and play sometimes around the edge if your lucky.” 

Tunnel_Of_LoveWithout freedom of expression in the lives of Christians, we might as well relinquish our passions to Hollywood or Madison Avenue to convey creativity. Wait, they already are doing this. Why? The church has either copied the form of the world or retreated so far back into a shell of ambiguity that we have lost the luster, the grace and the glory of Jesus Christ manifested in us and through us.

I was a frustrated creative who allowed this passion in me to be subjugated/crushed under people’s opinions, deep rejection and insecurity. Now….I am enjoying this journey, hoping to see creativity restored to Christians so that God’s glory will amaze and astound us in unique expression.

Michael Card’s article above is worth reading. Some great quotes moved me right into Holy Spirit revelation. As I am read, my notes do not always reflect what is being said but what I am hearing and what Holy Spirit is revealing to me.

The subject of imagination can be quite touchy. Many Christians would rather be entrenched in routine week by week as a spectator in a performance based church setting.  I know there is a better way but it will take brave leaders who are surrendered to the glory of God, without trying to legislate it or manipulate the flow of meetings. It will take creative leaders who raise up new expressions in a gathering besides just the usual: songs, preaching, maybe altar ministry.

ColorfulLooking at Scripture, I can see that imagination is generally presented in a negative sense. Yet, as I read the article, my eyes were opened to SEE that it is not the word imagination but actually the problem with the heart as most references in Scripture reference heart or imply heart when speaking about imagination.

“When we imagine, we are working with our hearts and minds to create images. Working in concert, they are connected by a bridge, which is imagination. Imagination seeks to re-integrate and reconnect the mind/heart from the Fall where they were fragmented.” Thoughts from Michael Card

Well there you have it. Imagination is excellent but as in all things, our focus is Jesus. We desire to bring Him glory. We follow the leading of Holy Spirit who seeks to glorify the Son. We engage with Scripture, alive and real, allowing its narrative and story to grasp our heart. This is done through study, prayer, meditation, and in worship. Images come, Thoughts form and the Word of God is alive.

So here is what I imagine. A group of people flowing in unity in Holy Spirit as the divine leader. One mind, one accord to being glory to the Son. Preaching flowing from interpreting the dance. Artists revealing process as they talk of dreams and revelation. Prophetic songs flowing from psalmist who open the heaven’s wide so that corporates we may ascend into His presence. Step by Step……..I love walking in this direction. Some of this will be flowing in Kenya on the next trip.

There is so much more to come as I am just starting out. More study on imagination. Then at some point, Holy Spirit directs me to study the Renaissance.

DebraIn 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!

Courage in All Ways – Especially in Being Creative!

creativity-takes-courageCreativity is courageous. It is a necessary element needing to be infused into the Body of Christ. Not staged or produced but infused. The alternative to Holy Spirit creativity, as expressed through God’s people –robotic Christians who know form and structure but never touch the heart of Jesus Christ. There has been enough of that.

An excellent paragraph from NT Wright:

“But the arts, the imagination, our capacity to create beauty ourselves, is not simply incidental to what it means to be human. For generations now, many Christians have really believed, and acted on the belief, that the arts, the imagination, are the pretty bits around the edge, the kind of decorative border, whereas the middle bit, the main bit, whatever it is, is the kind of solid, stodgy, chunky bit in the middle which is Christian truth, dogma, belief, and ethics, and all that stuff, and then you can kind of go away and play sometimes around the edge if you’re lucky.”

Creativity will always challenge the status quo and disrupt business as usual.

DebraIn Christ, Debra

Be Intentional – Be Creative

Be IntentionalThere’s a great Twitter chat on Sunday nights at 6pm (PST) – #beintentional. When I can, I tweet along and gain great insights from others in the chat. It’s led by @natejturner and it changes from week to week, always focused on some aspect of being intentional in our lives. There are 9 questions and people respond to each question with #beintentional in the tweet.

This past Sunday the subject was about being intentional about being creative. I love everything about creativity so I am going to keep flowing in that vein this week – revelation that is coming to me by Holy Spirit, insights gained and actions walked out in faith.

Here are some great quotes from Sunday night:

Creativity is a spark in the darkness. @bhsteeler

Creativity is the expression of Christ in you, through you – unique, creative. @westbrookdebra1

Creativity is the crossroads of talents and imagination. @ncbluegrass

Creativity fuels innovation for products, structure and culture in everyday life. @natejturner

Creativity isn’t some magical/mystical process, rather creativity is 90% effort and 10% waiting for the right connection. @natejturner

It is all about risk. Or willing to get uncomfortable. Some play it safe and stumble in to greatness. Others create it. @bentaylor

Creativity inspires us to take risks, try new things; helps us manage resources better; builds connection. @DeannaFoong

Creativity is only recognized by attempting creativity. It’s developed, strengthened, and recognized only by practice. @blake_odgers

Creativity is ContatgiousCreatives – those who dare to dream and are passionate to change. @hope4shame

Creatives are learners so be constantly curious. @natejturner

You must purpose to look at or respond to a thing outside of what is considered the norm. @ncbluegrass

Creativity is only recognized by attempting creativity. It’s developed, strengthened and recognized only by practice. @blake_odgers

Creativity should not be restricted to certain tasks. If you choose to be creative, it turns into a lifestyle. @JohannavanEeden

DebraIn Christ,

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,

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!

Creativity – Habits of Highly Creative People

Collage 2I write a lot about creativity. I think a lot about it. I have walked in the creative process in many different ways. And, I love creative people. I also believe that all of us have a distinctive path of creativity in front of us if we will take the risk to dream and explore. As I walk in this path, I find that I discover things about myself that I never knew before. When I step out of the boat and respond to Holy Spirit, many exciting adventures await me.

At the bottom of this blog post is the article,  “18 Things that Highly Creative People Do Differently.” I read it carefully because I love articles like this. I looked at the 18 characteristics and then looked at me. How did I compare?  The article is at the bottom.  But, here’s the list of the habits of creative people and how I may or may not fit in. How about you?

1. They daydream. Yes, I do. I find myself seeing in pictures. As a visual learner, I leap into the picture and daydream. That often births something within me – a word, a blog post, and idea.

2. They observe everything. Yes, I do. I take a journal practically everywhere I go, along with a book and my camera. I see and snap pictures or write because observation births ideas in me quite often.

3. They work the hours that work for them. Recently, when I was up in Canada, a wonderful prophetic woman sat down by me and said, “God is going to order your time.” To me, it was as if she was in my journal. I am finding out that my time is God’s time and so, I order my time according to His path for me as best as I can throughout my day. I find that for me, the best hours in the day for writing are from 6-9 am. That is when I pray, journal and so much more. How about you?

Spiral4. They take time for solitude. Definitely me. Most people who meet me think that I am an extrovert just because I am outgoing. In reality, I am also an introvert. What does that say about me? People tend to drain me if I am in crowds too long. I not only take solitude, I require it. My husband is so in tune with me. He knows when I just need to get away. I don’t fear being alone. I actually love it at times.

5. They turn life’s obstacles around. Hmmm, still working on this one.

6. They seek out new experiences. Yes yes yes yes……I am a traveler. There is something in me that likes to nest for a while then I long to be on the road.

7. They ‘fail up.” Another hmmmm. I try to keep trying to not take failure and rejection so personally but at times, I “fail down” for a few days. BUT, I am also very resilient and I don’t stay down. I hope I can accurately say this about myself.

8. They ask the big questions. Yep!!!!

9. They people watch. Hellllllloooo! Yes………….when we lived in Abu Dhabi, I basically spent 5 days a week at various Starbucks where I wrote, read, and watched a lot of people. I only wished at that time I could have learned to lip read what people were saying in Arabic…………..:)

Spiral10. They take risks. I do but here’s the deal. I did a lot in seasons past. Then I entered season of my life where I didn’t  take risks. I needed some deep healing from the Lord. Well, now I am transitioning to another season of taking risks. We may be moving soon…..big risk but we believe it is from God so may be jumping out of the boat. Woo-hoo!!!

11. They view all of life as an opportunity for expression. This is “the self-indulgent me.” I do see life as my opportunity for expression. I rearrange furniture constantly. I don’t like driving the same way to places. I am always taking new routes. I mix things up a lot. Where did I get that from? That can be good but sometimes I believe people around me would like me to be more ‘stable’ at times. Or so I think.

12. They get out of their own heads. Still thinking about this one a bit.

13. They lose track of time. Yes, when I am involved in something I love. If I dislike what I am doing, then time drags and I can get so bored.

14. They surround themselves with beauty. Yes, yes AND it does not have to cost a lot of money. Style and taste are not dependent on how much you earn or who you know. I shop, constantly looking for what is ‘me’ for I won’t even hang a painting or print in my house unless it reflects who I am.

15. They connect the dots. Okay, I am a good discerner and can put the puzzle pieces together at times. But, negativity was a big wound in my heart. Needed healing and God is good. So now I can connect the dots in a new way without being cynical or sarcastic.

16. They constantly shake things up – since I was a little girl.

Collage 117. They make time for mindfulness. I call Him Jesus and my time is spent with Him in meditation and worship on who He is, how glorious He is and how much I love Him.

18. They follow their true passions………….this one resonates with me the most. Yes!

So here is the article. Now, read it yourself and see how you stack up to these insights about creative types. Great read.

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraPlease pray and consider having Rivers of Eden minister in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. This is our year of release wherever and whenever God opens His doors bringing His grace and His glory through us to those to whom we are called in this season. You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter.