Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Whose Painting Your Picture?

A quote popped up on my news feed today from my friend Jeremy Miller who is an artist.  I have not been able to stop thinking about it.

The quote is by Henry Ward Beecher.... "Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures."

While this is true about every artist, I could not help but think of "The Artist, The Creator".  Scripture tells us that we are made in the image of God.  But this quote.... it literally paints a picture in my mind.

To think of being created in God's own image is sometimes hard to fathom, but how incredible is it to think of God dipping His own brush into His own soul, to paint and create His own nature which is You!  For me that word picture is just amazing.  I imagine God painting and creating every one us to look like Him, but at the same time creating all of us to be uniquely us.

Even when an artist repaints a picture he has already created, it is never exactly the same as the original.  So it is with God.  We are created in His image, but we can never be exactly the same as God, only Jesus can do that.  But I love that as an artist, God created each of us in his own image, but created each us in ways that are unique.  Ways that give each of us unique gifts and ways to reach others.  Each of us has been through something that has made us unique.  That uniqueness is how God uses us to reach everyone.  One of us cannot reach everyone, but each of us through our uniqueness has gifts to share with people who may find themselves walking a path similar to ours.  And through our differences we become One in Him and that's what allows us to reach everyone.

Celebrate your uniqueness.... because God painted you by dipping His brush into His own soul to create you!  And then, keep your eyes open... because God will put people in your path that only "your painting" can reach.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well"  Psalm 139:14 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Are You Willing to Sacrifice?

I haven't written in a while.  But today I read an article written by my son-in-law, Warren Gray, that was published for Mavs Moneyball.  As I'm sure you know, I love all sports!  MAVS included! So of course, I read the article. (I would have any because it was written by Warren!) If you are a MAVS fan, check out Warren's article here.  

Not only do Warren and I have a love for sports in common, we also have a love for the Lord, a love for His church and a love for His people in common.  Warren's article talks about a "what if" situation where as a fan would you not watch the MAVS for an entire season, including playoffs, if it meant they would win The Finals.  As I read his article, I could not help but relate it to how we as people sometimes see the church.  As people in church we always want things to be going "what we call well" or maybe "our way".  We want to always be on top or at least what we think it means for the church to be on top.  Which typically means we want things to be going our way or done or way.

But just like in sports, we don't always have things going our way... because there is someone else in charge.  For the MAVS, it's Mark Cuban... for the church it's God.  Sometimes when we think things are not going the way we think they should be, our first instinct is to bail.  Kind of like how people's first instinct is to bail on their favorite sports team if they start losing.  But if you bail, you don't get to be a part of all of the good things that might happen "at the end of that particular season".  You don't get to see the end game.  No matter what we may think of any given situation, God is always in control... even in and especially in, our churches.  And if we want to see where God is taking us, we have to stick around and be a part of the valleys if we ultimately want to see what is happening up on the mountaintop.

No doubt, sometimes the valleys are hard and sometimes they are long, but isn't it worth it to stick together through the valleys so that you can be a part of the mountaintop? God's word is full of times of difficulty that culminate in mountaintop experiences.  But you always have to go through the valley on the way to the mountaintop.  To me... the mountaintop is worth the wait and the sacrifice it requires.

I ran across a quote from Patrick Mead this week... And it has been fitting for more than one occasion this week.  (I love the way God works like that!)  

"God doesn't take the broken pieces of our lives and put them back together again; He rearranges them into a new mosaic, a stained glass window thru which His Son can shine."  

He does the same thing through the broken pieces of our churches.  And what are the broken pieces of our church.... we are.  The church is not a building.  The church is the people that are inside of it.  The church is you.  And if we commit to sticking together and sticking around until the mountaintop, we will be part of a beautiful masterpiece that His son can shine through out into the world.