Creativity : Create
(PRERECORDED MESSAGE 03/30/2020)
April 26, 2020
We’ve been looking at a statement, that we’ve all been agreeing with. The statement is this, and I’ve been playing off this statement during this series, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is, one of the most creative acts in the history of the world. That’s right. The gospel, the death, burial and resurrection, affords us creativity like we’ve never ever known before. We’re here to glorify God. That’s not easy to understand or accept because, God is Glory, and we just know even a little bit about Him. Because if we knew the essence, the grandness of His glory, we would fry a circuit here on planet earth. Yet, when we go to heaven, we’ll have new bodies, and it will take us forever just to understand His glory. Part of the glory of God, would be His creativity. Because the glory of God is the sum total of God’s attributes and, one of His main attributes is that of creativity. Every single person hearing my voice is, a creative genius. And we have an opportunity to tap into the resurrection power, that will give us the kind of creativity, to influence and reorder our world.
Our team has created an outline on your screens, a message map about what we’re going to talk about regarding creativity. You can take this and make a copy of it, color along, take notes because, something happens that’s really special, when we all take notes together. Wherever you find yourself, in your apartment, in your home, maybe somewhere else, you can just jot down these notes and I think, they’ll really, really serve you well because, as I mentioned earlier, creativity is who God is and it should be who you are, and who I am as well. God is the creator and we’re the sub-creators.
You’ll see on this outline “WHAT” What is creativity? I’ve gone through several definitions. Creativity is turning what if, into what is. It’s thinking intangibly, and turning that, into something tangible. I’ve been saying it’s the art of innovation and the application of that innovation. Whether you find yourself in a marriage, whether you find yourself with kids, whether you find yourself as a single parent, whether you find yourself in the corporate world, whether you’re a coach, a student, whatever you do, creativity should be you, because you are made in the image of our creative God.
Creativity, you’ll see in this first blank, Creativity Is Transcendent. It’s everywhere. You can’t get away from creativity. Yet the enemy has hijacked creativity. He’s blinded us from seeing creatively. All we have to do is look around and see, wow, all this creativity. The canvas of creativity, the vastness, the majestic nature of God, His sovereignty, His innovation, His love, is everywhere.
Take a look at yourself, look at your friends, look at your kids, look at your wife, we’re all are creative. We’re all innovative. We’re all made in the image of our creative creator. God is the creator. We’re the sub-creators.
Creativity Is Problem Solving. Whenever you solve a problem, you’re being creative. Maybe you’re looking at your finances and you’re going, “Wow!” And you solve a problem financially. That’s creativity. Maybe you’re doing math homework, that’s creativity. Maybe you see a certain pattern in a defense or an offense, you’re a coach, that is creativity. Maybe you need to move this employee from this area, to that area, that is creativity. Maybe you like to paint, and you see how light has hit this object and is bouncing off that object to another object, that is creativity. You’re solving problems. And that’s what God did. God saw our sin problem. He solved it by sending our sovereign, singular savior to die on the cross for all of our sins, and to rise again. Thereby satisfying, the demands of a Holy God and offering us salvation.
You want to talk about creativity, what? Creativity Is Unlearned. It’s amazing, talking to kids and seeing kids. I remember our kids when they were young, and now looking at our grandkids, they’re just walking and moving in creativity. Yet as we get older we just stop doing what we enjoyed doing as kids. I think we need to become childish. I think we need to just develop some of those habits that our kids, are walking and moving in. Just watch them, study them, check them out, and remember to applaud problem solving and creativity. That’s the what? Turning what if into what is, the intangible into the tangible. And just a leadership lesson. I would encourage you, if you ever are in a meeting or if you ever lead a meeting, try to answer those two questions. “What if?”, “What is?”, “What if?”, “What is?” It’s like the stairsteps, and great things will happen.
If you “What if” something, what if we tried this? What if we went down this road, what if we invested in this or whatever it may be. Then, “what if” turns into “what is.” The intangible turns into the tangible. And then once it turns to the tangible, you can measure the tangible, and then you “what if” into “what is”, and then you go up this incredible level.
I want to look at WHY. Why should I be creative? As we’ve been learning here, God is creative. It’s the first thing we know about God, and it’s the first thing we forget about God. God is creative. The Father invented it. God thought it up. It was His idea. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created…” And then in Genesis 1:26 (EYV), “God made man in His own image.” [(NKJV) Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image,’”] One of the character qualities we have is that of creativity. So, the Father invented it, the Son Modeled it, Jesus was the most creative communicator in the history of the world. And the Holy Spirit Empowers It. He gives us the power for it, and People Need It. All you have to do is look at God and you’ll see. Thumb through the pages of scripture and see how creative God was and is as He communicated to mankind. God’s Creativity Is Intrinsic. In other words, it’s self-generating and self-perpetuating. He doesn’t have to read a book about creativity. He doesn’t have to copy someone else’s creativity. He didn’t have to plagiarize. No, no, no. He is creative. It’s the isness of God. Also, it’s Independent. It’s who God is, creativity, and invitational. I said it’s invitational. He invites us into creativity.
Creativity, creativity, creativity, WHERE should I be creative? How about Spiritually, in your walk with God, in your prayer life, in your reading? We should walk in creativity. We should do different things as we get to know God. Sometimes we listen. Sometimes we sing. Sometimes we kneel. Sometimes we journal. There are all sorts of things that we can do on our side to walk in creativity.
Also, Relationally. As we live our lives in relationships with our friendships, and with our dating relationships, if we’re single, in our marriage, with our kids, we walk in creativity.
Vocationally, In the business world, we have the opportunity to walk in creativity. To think outside the box, to look at patterns and situations like no one else does, to bring up these ideas and to follow these ideas.
We also have to understand that work and creativity are inseparably linked. God worked. God spoke the heavens into existence. The Bible says, “After He created, He rested.” And he looked back and said as He saw his work, “It’s awesome. It’s great.” Have you ever thought about the work of creativity? It’s not easy to create. In fact, it’s one of the most draining things that anyone can do to think in a creative way. Yet, God has given us that ability to be satisfied with a job well done. When I’ve worked, when I’ve prayed, when I’ve studied, when I’ve created, when I walk off the stage, I’m like, “Wow, the reward of work and creativity.”
When you finish your surgery, the work and creativity. When the bell rings, and you’re done with your class, work and creativity. When you’ve finally finished that spreadsheet, work and creativity. When you’re done with yet another practice, work and creativity. God has given us this ability to work and to create. People think that creativity just happens in a vacuum. It’s just like, “Whoa, I just had this creative thought or this innovative idea.” It always emerges from order and from work. A great exercise would be to write down some areas like relationally, vocationally, and spiritually under the where part of this outline and write out some specific things you can do in your relationships.
This next thing that I’m going to talk about, number four, the first is what is creativity, the second is why, the third is where, the fourth is HOW. How do I unleash the creativity that’s already there? Okay, I’ve unlearned it. How do I learn it? How do I bring it back? Several things. Order, you must set forth some sort of schedule for creativity. And one of the things I would encourage you to do is build in what I call CT, Creative Time. Build in order. I would much rather have order and create from the order than for someone to go, “Oh yeah, Ed, just create.”
Also, realize the importance of Curiosity. Questions emerge from creativity. You show me someone that asks questions I’ll show you someone who’s creative. Years ago, I saw someone in a coffee shop, and I said, “Hey, what’s up?” And the guy goes, “Aren’t you Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship?” And I said, “Yeah.” He goes, “Hey, I’m starting a church.” I said, “Great, could I sit down?” So, I sat down, and I asked him just a couple of questions, and for the next 35 minutes, he talked about his philosophy and his thoughts about the church he was starting with 15 people. He never asked me one question.
Finally, I glanced at my phone, and I’m like, “Man, I’ve got to go.” I jumped in my car and drove away. And I said, “Lord, I pray.” I pray that’s never me. Ask questions. Get your ask in gear. Ask the right people the right questions, you get the right answers. But to do that, you’ve got to ask a lot of wrong people the right questions to see who the right people are to give you the right answers.
Also, the power of Play. There’s something about creativity in recreation that is unique. The more you joke around, the more you recreate, the more you do stuff that gets your blood flowing, read all the studies, the more creative you are.
Also, Copy people. It’s important to copy right. That’s why people talk about a copyright. I mean just copy people. It doesn’t mean you do exactly what they do, but you take what they do and put it through your creativity, through your creative sane, and you make it your own. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with the right people.
Something else I would challenge you to do to ramp up your creativity, Nothing. That’s right, nothing. One of the reasons we’ve seen so many creative things on social media that quarantine families have done, singles have done, is because a lot of us have gone through periods of time where we’re doing nothing. Now and then, someone will say, “Ed, how are you doing, man? I bet you’re really busy.” I’ll go, “No, I’m not.” “Well, what have you been doing?” I’ll say, “Nothing” Nothing is underrated, nothing is great. And you do have periods of time where you do nothing.
Something else is Sleep. Read about creativity, study creativity. Usually your most creative thoughts will come right before you go to sleep or right after you go to sleep. That’s the power of naps, the power of going to bed early. I always have my phone by my bed, or I have a pen and a journal by my bed. I get some of my best thoughts before I go to sleep or when I wake up. I try to put anywhere from 12 to 20 hours in every message I do, and normally what I’ll do is I’ll sometimes wake up super, super early. I’ll study for maybe an hour and a half, then I’ll take about a 20-minute nap, like a morning nap, and it is crazy, the creativity that God brings to me as I go through that discipline of sleep. So make sure you get a lot of sleep.
Something else is Laugh. You’ll see that on your outline. I don’t think we laugh enough. I think we take ourselves too seriously and we don’t take God seriously enough. We have an opportunity to do a lot of lecturing about creativity and one of the things I challenge people to do is just to laugh to joke around. I would say our best and most creative ideas at Fellowship Church have come through laughter.
Another application point would be Walk. The Bible talks about the spiritual journey being a walk. And as I’ve been researching creativity, those people that have creative ideas, who just sit as opposed to those who have creative ideas who walk, the creative idea of people that walk actually take creativity and do and believe and hear and know and learn things those who are sedentary never do. As you walk, you’re going to create. In my own life, many times I’ll just walk around our neighborhood and I’ll talk, or when I’m running, I’ll get on the phone and talk. You can tell I’m not running too fast. The ideas and the flow, it’s just amazing. And all the research points to this. Speaking of walking, the last time I was in Israel, someone was pointing to me where all Jesus and His disciples walked in one day. I was like, “Wow, that’s insane. Unreal.” The power of walking. And as you read the gospels, when Jesus would have IMAs, Intense Ministry Activities, after that, he would just walk with His disciples. Walking and creativity, it goes hand in hand.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most creative acts in the history of the world. We have to understand that gospel is about the Creation, God creating the heavens and the earth, God choosing to do that. Because we’re created in man’s image, we chose to do things our own way. We chose to become like God. So, from the creation you have the Fall of man, the sinfulness of man. We chose to rebel against God. God though, in His amazing love and grace, set forth this innovative plan by sending Jesus, one of the co-creators, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy spirit, to live life righteously, to die sacrificially, to rise bodily. Therefore, giving us an opportunity to know Him and to receive Him. We don’t just stop there. And for far too long, the church has just talked about the fall of man and Redemption, the fall of man and redemption. We just kind of twiddle our thumbs until God creates a new heaven and a new earth. Well, there’s another part of the gospel we have to understand. There’s the creation, there’s the fall, there’s redemption, then there’s the Restoration. That’s where we carry creativity into our area of the world.
Having said all of this about creativity, going through how creative our great God is, talking about innovation, talking about the art of it, let’s get super, super practical. Watch me, whether you are this tall or this tall and listen to these principles.
How do I ramp up my creativity? Number one, Ask God To Unleash It. You’re not asking him for creativity. You’re saying, “God, unleash the creativity that’s there.” That’s a high risk prayer.
Number two, Go Through Labor And Delivery. Labor and delivery, serious. You have conception and it’s easy to conceive a creative idea. But that idea has got to get pregnant and then you have labor and delivery, then you have to grow the idea. That’s why creativity and work and discipline go hand in hand.
Number three, Embrace Chaos And Conflict. We’ve been on this creative journey at Fellowship Church, is corporately now, for 30 years. And man, it causes chaos. Some people just don’t dig it. They want to go to boring churches and if you want to, see you later, this is not going to be our church. When we kicked off Fellowship Church 30 years ago, we simply said, “Okay, we’re going to do church the way the Bible talks about doing church.” One of the ways was to look at how Jesus taught. And if you take for example, the sermon on the mount, he used dozens and dozens of word pictures and metaphors and stories just in that sermon. Jesus also used the street language of the day, Aramaic. He talked in terms people could understand.
And that’s like my college teammate that I talk about so much, Scott. The church I brought him to after he become a Christian, they weren’t talking in Aramaic. They weren’t talking in terms my friend could understand. My Florida State basketball days were days that God leveraged in my life, I didn’t know He was for creativity. Because I said, “You know what, I’m never going to have Scott showing up at Fellowship Church and having the church use all of the language except Aramaic,” except language where people can understand. I don’t want people to come to Fellowship Church and leave and go, “Wow, Ed sure is smart.” I could care less whether you think that or not. Obviously, I’ve done four years of graduate work, some doctoral work, I’ve studied for 30 years,” whatever. I want people to say, “I understand Fellowship Church. I understand the words of the worship. I understand the film, I understand the children’s ministry. I understand what’s going on in the student ministry. And I understand, Ed, what you’re saying or what some of the other communicators are saying.” So that’s what we did.
The fourth thing, Concentrate Your Creativity On The Bottom Line. What’s the bottom line? What does it mean to put the ball through the net in your marriage? What does it mean to score in your career? What does it mean? What does the bottom line bring? That is where you create.
The fifth one would be, Don’t Let Your Finances Limit Your Imagination. “Oh man, if we had this amount of money.” “If we were a Fortune 500 company.” “If our church had all this money in some savings account man, then we would be creative.” No. Start right where you are. Don’t ever let your finances limit your imagination because I would argue that some of the most creative people and things and relationships and companies, don’t have the most money.
It’s great to see this outline, to download it. It’s great to take notes. But it’s time that we understood creativity is the art of innovation and it’s our opportunity because we have the power of the resurrection to get involved in the application of it. Invite your friends to this creative community. Get involved and use your creativity right here. Create in your corner of the world, whether it’s in the board room or the operating room. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field, whether you’re a single parent with three toddlers. Whoever it is, wherever you are, let’s create. Let’s walk in creativity. Let’s begin to restore our corner of the world as we create, create and create.
Creativity. God invented it. Creativity. Jesus modeled it. Creativity. The Holy Spirit empowers it. Creativity. People need it. People like you and me. Have you ever responded to the creativity of God? Have you ever responded to God’s creative gospel? Think about how creative the gospel is. God becoming a man, Jesus living this life, God arranging for the inequities in the sins of the world to fall upon his shoulders. Jesus spilling his blood because there’s life in the blood, for your sins and mine. Being buried, then rising again with resurrection power. Have you received this? You’re hardwired to receive Christ. You’re made to receive Him.