Creativity : You’ve Got It, Now Use It
(PRERECORDED MESSAGE 03/30/2020)
April 19, 2020
During this series, we’ve been unpacking this statement. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth was and is one of the most creative acts in history. I’ll say it again. The gospel of God, which is Jesus living perfectly, dying sacrificially, rising bodily, is one of the most creative acts in history. After that, it was like our great God just dropped the mic. Creativity, I’ve been studying and lecturing about creativity for a long time. I’ve written about it extensively and I’m a fellow learner.
The first time I ever really thought about our creativity and the fact that we’re made in the image of our creative creator, the time it really hit home with me was during the early days of Fellowship Church. I walked into a dingy gymnasium to see a basketball game. You know those gymnasiums; they smell of popcorn and everybody’s cheering. I was very interested in this basketball game because I was watching one of the best teams in the nation play.
They blew this other school out by 35 points. I mean, the people on this team were amazing players. Well, during the entire game, everyone was chanting the cheer, “You’ve got it, now use it. You’ve got it, now use it.” And they were throwing in a little … The place was rocking and even though they were up by 35 points, they were still singing, “You’ve got it, now use it.” After the game, when I was driving home, I just started reciting that cheer and thinking about it. Then I thought, wow, that’s the cheer that God is cheering in my ears and in the ears of all of his children. Our great God, in fact, all heaven, when it comes to creativity is cheering, “You’ve got it, now use it. You’ve got it, now use it.” You’ve got it, creativity, now use it.
God made us in his image, so the question is not how do I become creative? The question is, “What are the things that are keeping me from unleashing the kind of creativity that God desires me to walk in?” When I say creativity, what comes to mind? Some of you are like, “Well, I’m not creative. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I’ve never had an innovative thought in my life. I can’t paint. I can’t draw. I can’t act.” Sadly, we have relegated creativity to just the fine arts. We’ve relegated creativity to just the genetic marvels, just the Picassos and Renoirs and da Vincis and other creative geniuses, the Zuckerbergs and the Bill Gates of our land. They are creative, but they’re not any more creative than you. That’s right. You are a creative genius. Creativity can be defined as being consistently inconsistent. It’s the art of innovation. It’s the power to take the innovation and apply it to your lives, and that true power comes from the resurrection power that’s on tap for every single believer.
What is creativity? Creativity is the art of innovation. Yet, somewhere along life’s journey, we got a creative cramp, as we’ve been saying around here. Most of us, when we were kids, scored on a genius level as far as innovation and creativity, but as we become adults, those geniuses’ sort of plummet. They tailspin and burn and crash. We just become sort of boring, same old, same old, just stuck in a rut, just grinding it out.
God doesn’t want us to live that way. God wants us to ride on the crest of creativity, but too many of us are just sitting on the beach living a life of boredom. When it comes to creativity, when it comes to thinking about it, God is the inventor of creativity. He thought it up. He spoke the world into existence. He created us in His image. Thus, we should be creative. Obviously, we can’t create on His level, but we are to create. That’s what creativity is. Creativity comes from God.
Why should I be creative? Well, I just answered the question, partly. I should be creative, you should be creative, because we’re made in God’s image. God invented creativity. It was His idea, number one.
Number two, Jesus modeled creativity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-eternal, co-creators. Jesus modeled creativity. The gospel is so creative, God sending Jesus, becoming fully God and fully man, something we can never, ever totally comprehend. He died on a cross, spilled His blood for your sins and mind. God arranged, talking about creativity, for the sins of the world to fall upon the shoulders of Jesus. Death couldn’t keep Him down. He rose again, and because He lives, we, too, shall live.
Because of the death, burial, and resurrection, because the resurrection power is available to all of us, we have the ability to walk in a crazy amount of creativity, an insane amount of creativity. Whenever you see creativity in any entity, you need to go, “Oh, that’s God. That’s God. That’s God. That’s God. That’s God.” Whether people know it’s from God or not, you’re seeing God because we’re doing life on this canvas of creativity. All we have to do is look at the person next to us and we’re like, “Man, that person’s unique. They’re one of a kind, they’re different.” That’s creativity.
There’s no one that has the palm print or fingerprint like me. There’s no one that has my walk, my laugh, my talk, my insight but me. And you’re the same. You’re a creative genius, my friend. So am I. So, because you’re creative, create. Why? Because God invented it. Why? Because Jesus modeled it. Jesus, the master teacher, Jesus always using illustrations.
Recently, I was in Israel and I stood where Jesus preached the greatest sermon ever, the Sermon on the Mount. He used 50 different illustrations, 50 different word pictures when he taught. He taught from boat bows and beaches. He drew in the sand. He pointed to things that people could comprehend. Jesus was talked about in Matthew 13:34 (TLB), “Jesus constantly used illustrations … He never spoke without at least one illustration.” God invented creativity. I should be creative. Jesus modeled creativity. I follow in His footsteps. That’s why Fellowship Church is a creative church. It’s one of our values.
Number three, the Holy Spirit empowers creativity. God invented it, Jesus modeled it, and the Holy Spirit empowers creativity. The Bible says, 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” There is amazing, creative freedom where the spirit of the Lord is flowing. Now this freedom does not mean we just do anything. This freedom does not mean we can just chase this rabbit or chase that rabbit down the rabbit hole. There’s a context. There’s an order to creativity. God is a God of order.
Look at our bodies, order. Look at the world, order. Look at the church, order. From that context we have creativity, so you better believe you’re creative. God made you. Jesus modeled it. He’s like, “Don’t you get it? It’s about creativity. That’s one of the things that should snap the heads of other people when they look at you.”
Number three, the Holy Spirit empowers creativity I’m so glad that our church is a creative church. When I was at Florida State, and I talk about this a lot because that’s where God sort of planted my calling for the church while I was playing basketball there for the Seminoles, while I was at Florida State for the first time in my life, I was 19 years old, I prayed for someone to become a Christian and I prayed that God would give me the words to say to this person.
I was walking across campus one sunny afternoon. This guy was walking beside me, one of my teammates, and he’d been in a lot of trouble at an ACC school. He was kicked out for drugs and stealing, so we picked him up at Florida State. He said, “Ed, I want to ask you a question.” I said, “Okay.” And I’d just prayed this prayer the night before. He said, “Man, something’s different about you.” He said, “I’ve been watching you.” And then he said, “I want what you’ve got.” And over the next several hours, I had the opportunity to lead him into a relationship with Jesus.
Naturally, after he’d become a Christian, I said, “Okay, let’s go to church.” I was going to sort of a typical church in Tallahassee, Florida, and really for the first time in my life, because I had someone on my elbow who was a brand new believer, I begin to see church through this person’s eyes, and I’m like, whoa, the music … over this guy’s head. The words … over this guy’s head. The sermon … way over his head.
I felt such angst and even unholy anger, and I said to myself, “If I ever have any sort of leadership position in a church, I’m never going to forget this situation, and I’m always going to remember the seat that my teammate sat in.” And, friends, for 30 years I’ve thought about that man, his name is Scott, every time we’ve done anything at Fellowship Church. And sometimes people had the audacity to criticize Fellowship Church because we’re being creative. I’m like, “Look at God. Look at Jesus. Dissect the way He taught. We’re simply taking a page out of his playbook.”
If you don’t like creativity, then you don’t like God. If you don’t like creativity, then you’re not going to like Jesus. If you don’t like creativity, you’re not going to like heaven, and you’re going to quench the power of the Holy Spirit of God. God understood and understands creativity, that 84% of us are visual learners. He used a piece of fruit with Adam. He used salt for Lot. He used a boat for Noah, a sling for David, a whale for Jonah, and ultimately a cross to the world.
If you ever go to church and if you’re ever bored, don’t blame God. Blame the presenter. Sadly, the church has kicked creativity out. Study church history. Go back to the Enlightenment. During the Enlightenment, a lot of creatives left the church. Creativity has left the building. I’m so excited at Fellowship Church that we are creative and we’re just being like God. Why should I be creative? Because God invented it. Why should I be creative? Because Jesus modeled it. Why should I be creative? Because the Holy Spirit empowers it. Why should I be creative? Because People Need it.
My friend Scott is not in a great place today. I often ask myself, what if that church back in Tallahassee, Florida, had been creative? What if they explained things where he could understand? What if they did music that he could connect with? What if they thought about people who were brand new believers or those who were still testing the waters? What if? What if? What if?
That’s why the church should be comfortably uncomfortable, and when it comes to creativity, it’s about being comfortable. We’re comforted by Christ, but we’ve got to be uncomfortable for Him. That is where the art of innovation comes in. I’ve got to ask you, have you ever thanked God for His creativity? Have you ever thanked God for your creativity? Have you ever thanked God for the creativity of your spouse, of your family? Have you ever thanked God for the creativity of Fellowship?
Creativity. We’ve looked at what is creativity? Why should I be creative? Now let’s talk about where. Where should I be Creative? Where should I live out this creativity, because I’m a carrier of creativity? Just like people are carriers of this coronavirus, I’m a carrier of creativity, and it should be a highly infectious disease. Too many Christians, too many people that go by the label of believers are boring. One of the biggest fears I have as a leader is people showing up to Fellowship and being bored. So, as I’m preaching, if I begin to bore myself, I just change the subject.
We need creativity in our relationships. Let’s talk about marriage. People are always talking about romance in marriage, especially the women, romance, romance, romance. There’s even channels on television in our squillions of channels that just have romantic movies. What is romance? If you ask someone to define it, they can’t. They’ll give you an example of it, but they can’t define it. I can define romance. It’s creativity. It’s being consistently inconsistent. It’s the art of innovation.
What’s fascinating about marriage, and I’m talking to myself now, during the courtship phase or the dating phase or you’re talking or whatever, the cool phrases these days before you get married, you’re talking about creativity. Oh, my goodness gracious alive, so much creativity is going and flowing and moving and grooving. You’re just creative. The way you dress, the way you take care of yourself, the perfume, the cologne, everything. You’re surprising her and she’s surprising you. And maybe you like to go Duck Hunting and she goes along Duck Hunting with you. Maybe she likes to go to an Antique Mall and you’re like, “Oh, I love antiques.” Once you get married, though, you throw the creativity out of the door and guys are like, “You know what? I got my lady. I’ll just retire my creativity jersey and hang it from the rafters in my man cave.” The woman, she goes, “Well, I thought creativity and romance would go to another level, but it’s not.” So, she just kind of does what she does. Maybe you crank out a couple of kids and then you get into the humdrum of life. You lose the spontaneity, you lose the romance, you lose the creativity. You forget the date night. You forget the out-of-town trips or overnight trips. You forget the vacation for just the two of you. The woman begins to follow the kids in the minivan or the Suburban and they play all of the athletics, which is a full-time job, or club cheer. The man chases the career and does his thing, and then you have boredom, then you have predictability. Then, you throw in a attractive coworker or someone who really understands her. Maybe she connects online on Facebook or whatever, and then, of course, you call the lawyers in to pick up the pieces.
What’s the problem? Creativity. What’s the issue? Creativity. One of the great things I’ve seen in marriage and in family during this quarantine is it has forced us to be together and it has forced us to talk and its forced creativity and forced romance. That’s a good thing. We worship sports in our culture. The family worships sports. You say you don’t, but you do. You’re gone. You’re traveling, you’re moving, you’re out. You’re fast-fooding it just to get the gold ring of a scholarship or just to make that team or that group. It’s so interesting. Now, sports are gone for a while and it has forced us to concentrate on the things that really matter. Your sports team ain’t going to help you when the time gets tough. Your sports team is not going to cheer your marriage on. Your kids’ club cheer or soccer or AAU basketball ain’t going to do it when everything hits the fan. Creativity, creativity. We need to be creative in marriage.
We also need to be creative in child-rearing challenges. Do you challenge your kids to be creative? Do you study your kids and applaud them and go, “Man, try that, do that. Here’s some tools. Here’s some colors. Here’s this or that. Create.” Do you ever show them, wow, look how awesome God is? Look at that beautiful sunset. That’s God showing off. Look at the stars. Look at the difference between your brother and sister and mommy and daddy. Are you advertising that? Are you applauding that? Are you, Dad, leading your family to church to worship? Are you pointing them to the creator? How we need creativity in our families.
We also need creativity at the workplace. What kind of creativity are you bringing to the table? Are you doing enough just to get by or are you going, “You know what? I’m serving my creative creator and I’m going to bust it. I’m going to do the best I can. When I want to give up, I’m going to crash through that quitting point to show people how creativity and work are inseparably linked.” Are you doing that? Those are two areas that I would challenge you in when it comes to creativity.
Another one would be the church. We need your creativity right here at Fellowship. I wrote about this in my book The Creative Leader. I said the first time Lisa and I ever went to Las Vegas, we couldn’t believe the signage. We were like, “Man, look at the signage.” I said, “Lisa, you know what? Las Vegas has very little to say, but they know how to say it.” And I go, “The church, we have everything to say, yet we don’t know how to say it.”
You can help us say it and spray it and wheel it and deal it. You can help us with your creativity, with your innovation, with your work ethic, to be the creative entity that God desires. Walk in creativity. Wait a minute, don’t you hear it? “You’ve got it, now use it. You’ve got it, now use it.” God’s saying, “You’ve got creativity, now use it.”