Creativity for the Creator

Notre Dame–that beautiful, ornate cathedral that was severely burned this week–was a beautiful testament to a bygone era. Notre Dame cathedralConstruction on that amazing building was started in 1163 and took almost 200 years to complete!

For perspective, that means that Notre Dame Cathedral has been standing for about 400 more years that the United States of America has been a country!

Granted, it’s gone through updates and additions, but Notre Dame–along with many of the cathedrals in Europe–were built in an era when art was considered sacred. It was an act of worship to make something beautiful that was given back to the Creator.

‘Then God said, let us make {humans} in our image and likeness…” (Genesis 1:26)

One aspect of our creation…”in His image” is that, when we were created by God, we were endowed with characteristics that reflected Him. One of those characteristics is creativity and the love of beauty! 

Add to that the dedication, skill and labor necessary, and you can see that buildings like Notre Dame were, in some respects, acts of worship. 

Look at some of the pictures of this magnificent building:

At some point over the years, however, we lost that. These became increasingly empty relics–testament to a bygone era, before the ‘enlightenment’ and the ‘age of reason’. Now, we look at them as artifacts to be treasured, not so much as places to be inspired to worship.

I am amazed at the number of people who have given and will give in order to restore this cathedral to its splendor.

I am even more amazed at how passionate we can get for a church building–that most of us have never been to–yet many of us don’t have anywhere near the same passion for the God it was dedicated to–a God who is very much ALIVE!

The very thing that inspired at least some of the original artisans, craftsman and laborers to working in a spirit of worship, and therefore giving their very best has now become simply an homage to history, worthy of writing a check, but nothing more.

Even more importantly, the God who was the subject of their worship, and their reason for ‘creating’ this beautiful place is absent from the lives of many who were in tears this week over its burning.

“These people praise me with their words, but they never really think about me.”–Isaiah 29:13, CEV

My hope and prayer is that this fire at Notre Dame will be a cataylst for revival among those who say it ‘matters’. For those who are only into historical relics, I doubt this will have any lasting impact.

My prayer for those who are Believers in Jesus is that this will cause them to take stock–to consider their own lives, and how their ‘worship’ of God can, and should, effect every area of life…and that the most beautiful, creative ‘work of art’ is a life that is surrendered in worship to Almighty God!

Romans 12:1(NLT): “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Today, may we ‘worship’ Him creatively, thoughtfully, and fully!

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The Church On Fire

Yesterday in Paris the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral burned…

People from all over the world watched as the spire with ‘the bells of Notre Dame’ fell. Some mourned, some cried, some prayed and some sang.

There were those who mourned for the building–an 800-year-old structure that seemed to be one of the most recognizable and revered churches in the world. To anyone who appreciates architecture, history, and even stained glass, it was a beautiful structure.

But, of course, it was more than that.

This was a building which was a church…a place where millions have visited, and many thousands have worshiped.

For some, the symbol of Notre Dame represents more than a specific Roman Catholic cathedral in a specific city…it represents the Church, in general. The fact that it burned…is symbolic of what’s going on in ‘The Church’ all over the world.

Whether you are Roman Catholic, or Protestant, these are tumultuous times in the life of the Church…and I believe that, what the Lord would ask us who believe is this: ‘What are you worshipping?’

It is possible, after all, to ‘worship’ THE BUILDING…and all it represents–without really ‘worshiping’ the Lord who is the Reason for the building.

It is possible to ‘worship’ RELIGION, and all it represents…and to miss the One that our religion was founded upon.

I believe one message from God for those of us who are believers today is that He is not confined to a building!  

God, after all, is Lord of the Universe–He cannot be contained in a building!

Therefore, He is worthy of our worship, praise, surrender and obedience no matter what happens to our buildings.

This week, Christians around the world will celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

He is the Lord of Creation, the One who gave His life to pay for our sins, and the One who gives us LIFE–Full Life and and Eternal Life–through faith in Him. He is the One who deserves our focus, our prayers, our full-on-worship.

Colossians 1:15-20:

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Those are the truths that we are called to fix our minds on today…and That is the reality that enables us to worship Him fully–not just during ‘Holy Week’, but at all times!

No building can contain Him, and He is worthy of our praise and worship everywhere we go.

The burning of a beautiful, historical cathedral during holy week can do one good thing: It can remind us that our hope is not in our church buildings, and our hope is not even in our religion. Our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the grace of God, took our sins upon Himself and paid for them with His life. He conquered sin, death and the grave…and HE–and He ALONE–deserves our all-out-worship!

May we focus on  Him today!

 

 

 

Take the Faith Step…

Have you ever noticed in your life of faith, that God will call you to ‘step out in faith’ before He comes through?

That really is be design.

After all, as Hebrews 1:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for anyone who comes to Him must first believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.” 

The belief and the seeking must come first…then the blessing of the ‘reward’–in this case, a close relationship with Him–comes later.

Proverbs 3:9-10 says: “Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the first-fruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

Giving to the Lord first–before anything else–is the kind of worshipful faith that God will then bless.

 

In Elijah’s day, he was sent to a widow. The drought that Elijah had pronounced, because of the evil of king Ahab and the worship of false gods in Israel was already severe, and this widow was gathering some sticks to make a fire so that she could make a small loaf of bread with the little she had left, and she and her child could eat it as their last meal and die.

Pretty bleak times, indeed!

Yet, what did Elijah say?

1 Kings 17: 13-14:

“Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”.

He told her to step out in faith…to give him (the Prophet) bread first, and that the Lord would supply her needs!

What did she do?

vv. 15-16: “She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”

God wants us to live, by faith! He often demands that we demonstrate faith–in His love, His Word, His character and His promises–before He comes through.

Live by faith today–first and foremost, faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross…but more than that, live by faith, trusting in God to come through, according to His promises.

It’s the most ‘excellent adventure’ that there is!