Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
"Make God Look Great. Create."
By Stephen Altrogge
You’ve either got it, or you don’t, right? You’re right-brained or left-brained, into art or into computer science, a painter or a mathematician. Creative folks do creative things, like paint, write, and walk barefoot through the woods. Non-creative folks do non-creative things, like make spreadsheets and money.
Everyone is creative. Creativity is hardwired into our DNA by God himself. All of us were made to be creative people. Creative juices run hot through our veins. All of have an irresistible, divinely-inspired impulse to create, organize, and fashion.
We see this clearly in Genesis 1:27, which says: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.God, the greatest of all creators, the One who fashioned the Sun, and the humpback whale, and the Great Dane, made us in his image.
The Divine image has been stamped upon us. We alone are made in the image of God. God has given us the glorious task of representing him on the earth. Of showing the world what our God is really like. Of showing the watching world that our God is a creative master who loves to bring beauty out of chaos.
When an accountant takes piles of raw data and fashions the data into a meaningful sales report, he is reflecting the image of God. When a woman works the raw soil and causes it to bring forth flowers and vegetables and herbs, she is reflecting the image of God. When an electrician corrals the wild, dangerous electrical currents into light bulbs, he is reflecting the image of God. When a writer assembles letters into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into books, she is reflecting the image of God.
Every man, woman, and child is creative. When we create, it pleases God, because He sees us reflecting his image. He sees us “imaging” him to the rest of the world. God loves to see his image shine throughout the world.
But creativity is hard work. It takes work to create a poem or garden or car engine or piece of furniture. It requires killing our laziness and working faithfully over extended periods of time. It requires a willingness to receive criticism with humility. It requires sweat and elbow grease. It requires diligence and faithfulness. It’s easier to not make anything at all. To be a consumer. To suffocate the creative gifts that God has given us.
John Piper writes,
If you are God, your work is to create out of nothing. If you are not God, but like God — that is, if you are human — your work is to take what God has made and shape it and use it to make him look great. (Don't Waste Your Life, 139)
That’s why I wrote the ebook Create: Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff. It’s meant to be a divine kick in the pants, of sorts. It’s meant to inspire you and motivate you to use your creative gifts for the glory of God. To help you stop making excuses and start using your gifts.
You have creative gifts. You are a gifted musician or mechanic or teacher or dancer or woodworker or organizer or landscaper or quilter or preacher, and God wants you to use your gifts for his glory. He doesn’t want you to waste them or hoard them. He wants you to use them to benefit those around you and to bring him honor. He wants you to steward your gifts, not waste them.
Your church needs your creative gifts. Your family needs your creative gifts. Your friends need your creative gifts. You have gifts that no one else has. We need your gifts.
So stop making excuses and start making stuff for the glory of God!
Stephen Altrogge is a husband, dad, and writer. His most recent book is entitled, Untamable God: Encountering the One Who Is Bigger, Better, and More Dangerous Than You Could Possibly Imagine. He also writes regularly at The Blazing Center. Stephen is a contributor for desiringgod.org.
REFLECT & RESPOND Youth Edition
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s creation – his work of art – is masterpiece. God is like the ultimate artist; the ultimate painter and sculptor. He is the most creative and has made us to be creative, like Him.
Exodus 35:31-32 states, “And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze.”
12 years old and up: 1. Go to the home improvement storeor paint store and pick up some paint sample tabs with at least 3 – 4 shades on each tab.
2. Give each child/teen a paint sample tab and have them individually or in pairs find verses in the Bible about creativity and good works and then write them on the color blocks of the tabs.
3. Encourage the children/teens to tape the tabs to their bathroom mirror so that they can see them every day and remember that God created them to be creative.
12 years and younger:
1. Create a prayer rock with younger children.
2. Talk about the gift of creativity and show examples of decorative prayer rocks.
3. Use Psalm 92:15, “He is my Rock!”
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
"Created for a Purpose"
by Taraea L. Griffith
Lord thank you for creating me in your image.
You know the plans that you have for me.
Plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope, and a future.
I am clay and you are the potter.
I am the work of your hands; you created my innermost being.
You knit me together in my mothers womb.
I praise you Lord because I am fearfully and wonderfully made and your works are wonderful.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made, in the secret place when I was woven together.
In the depths of the Earth your eyes saw my unformed body and all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Your thoughts are precious toward me and the sum of them are vast.
If I tried to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand.
All creation will praise you O Lord and the Saints will extol you.
As you teach me to number my days may I gain a heart of wisdom.
Thank you Lord for creating me for your purpose that I might show your power so your name may be proclaimed in all the Earth.
I am your treasured possession and I am forever grateful for it in Jesus name, AMEN.
Sources: Genesis 1:22, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalms 139:13-18, Psalms 145:10, Psalms 90:12, Psalms 40:5, Isaiah 44:2,24, Isaiah 64:8, Ephesians 2:10, Exodus 9:16, Exodus 19:5b
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world
" The Greater Purpose"
By Ashley Russell
What does it mean to be "created for a purpose"? I've thought a lot about this recently. What is my purpose here on earth? Why did God create humans and once we find that out... how are we to fulfill "that", whatever "that" may be.
First and foremost God created us to glorify Him.
Isaiah 43:7 says "everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” If God says we are created for His glory, then how can we create for His glory?
God created each of us uniquely so we can use our gifts and talents to bring glory to Him. He wants us to use those talents to display His glory. Being an entrepreneur I often find myself thinking about how my work can glorify God. My mind is constantly thinking of new businesses to create, how to develop this new idea, how to make this idea better. It's constant in my head! But I believe God created me this way for a reason. He made me creative in certain ways so that He can shine through me.
I agree with the above devotional in the sense that no matter what you do during the day, it can bring glory to God. Whether you an accountant, teacher, stay at home mom, or chef, doing what you love will bring honor and glory to Him. After all, God did give you those gifts for a reason. Give thanks to God for blessing you with talents and gifts.
Each one of us has something different, a different brain structure, and all of that works together for the greater purpose, which is to glorify God!