Creativity

I'm not a creative person. I never really have been. When I was in Elementary School, the extent of my drawings were stick people outside of a box with a door (a house), and a window at the top (but if you point an X in that window upstairs, the house quickly became a barn.) I'm 26 years old now, and stick people are still my go-to drawings. I'm not ashamed of it; I'm not a creative person and I've accepted it. 

My wife Julie on the other hand, is one of the most creative people I know. She is all the time working on some kind of project to make our house look better. When we lived in Harrisonburg, there were weeks where it seemed like I was walking with her to our dumpster to grab someones else's left-for-dead furniture. She would spend hours turning this sun dried, paint peeling, splinter causing entertainment center into a beautiful, vintage, sellable piece of furniture. When I initially looked at these items, I didn't see past all the flaws and mistakes in them. The fact that they were at the dumpster were enough for me. But Julie saw something else, something that could be remade. 

But my purpose in writing this isn't to say that you're simply made new. While that is completely true, and I'm convinced that everyone needs to hear it. The reason for this post is to suggest something a little bit different. You see, as humans, no matter how creative some people are; we are very limited. Beethoven could only reach a certain limit. Vincent van Gogh could only paint as much as his eyes would allow. George Lucas only made Star Wars as great as he could. Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford; are all men who invented awesome things that make life a lot easier for us today. But creativity has a limit for us. We can create basically anything we can possibly think of. Think back when you were a kid and your imagination went wild. Someone gave you a rock and a wall, and you were instantly the Cy Young winning pitcher for Southern WV. 

I'm rereading a book titled, "The Explicit Gospel." Matt Chandler, the author of this book, says this, "If you're a writer, you can write only as well as you understand language, diction, grammar, and the general art of writing. If you want to paint a picture, you can paint only as well as you have developed you skill. using whatever paints are available to you, in only the colors and combinations that already exist." 

“He doesn’t need raw material. He makes raw material.”
— The Explicit Gospel pg. 24

"God doesn't need raw material. He invents raw material." This quote blew me away when I first read it. Think about it, read it a second or third time if you need to. God, the one who we are called on to serve didn't need a creator. Not only that, he doesn't need a blueprint or council on what to do. He doesn't need to read, "Make a Universe for dummies." Instead, he simply speaks things into existence. The grass, trees, plants, rivers, lakes, oceans, hills, mountains, earth, planets, stars, universe; all are things that God SPOKE into existence. If God wanted it, he said it. He didn't need some type of physical matter to begin with, he simply needed to say it. 

If that same being, the one who can speak things into motion, made the world and said it was good. What do you think it says about us, who are made in his image? 

Genesis 1:27, "So God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." 

Take rest today in the fact that we serve a God who has ZERO limits, and created you in his image. 

 

Yours in Christ, 

Philip

Expectations

Browns vs. Cardinals 

Browns vs. Cardinals 

I'm a huge Cleveland fan. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm extremely dedicated to my Cleveland sports. That means the Browns, Cavaliers, Indians, and even the Gladiators (90% of the you will end up googling who they are.) When you are a Cleveland fan, you go through many emotions, most of them are the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) and it's each year. Some years are better than others, and we always hold on strong. 

Since I love all the Cleveland sports, I can celebrate the fact that this past year, the Cavaliers won the NBA title! This is the first title for the city in 52 years, and it was a glorious and historical moment. I'll spare you the details and relive the moment alone. But to me, personally, the only thing that would get more excited than that is.....

WHEN the Browns win the Super Bowl.. I capitalize "WHEN" to emphasize the fact it will happen. 

There is something about Cleveland Browns football that just gets me excited each and every year. I find a new reason to amp myself up each year; mostly because by the end of the year I'm already attempting to find a positive.. The Browns aren't very good, and I'm okay with that. I always root for the underdog, so being a Browns fan just kind of fits my personality. 

But my reason in writing this isn't for my unhealthy love for Cleveland sports.. Like I said, every year we face a new challenge. This year for instance, we are 2 games into the season and we have already lost our starting QB, our backup QB, starting Center (the guy who gives the QB the ball,) and a promising rookie on the defense. Going into this season we had, and still have, high hopes. We have completely restructured the front office, hired one of the top HC candidates, and drafted very well! We have the reason to be very excited, more so than other years! But our disappointment seems to have came a little early this year, and I think a lot of us can relate to this outside of football..

When Christ-Followers begin their journey, they are usually on a "spiritual high." Their energy is high, spirits cannot be broken, faith is strong, and we are excited as ever to do this thing. But then that sin we are struggling with is still there? We get laid off at work? Our relationship continues to fall apart? The list goes on and on... And we are quickly asking ourselves, I thought this Christianity thing was suppose to make my life easier? 

The truth is - it isn't. Following Christ isn't always easy. You're called to live to a higher standard, you're told to forgive people, that some would consider unforgivable. You are meant to do things you do not want to do, and are called to not do things you want to do! What's the deal! 

We do not always understand it and probably never will. We serve an infinite God who has infinite wisdom, and we are finite beings with limited minds. But the fact that we get to serve him, thats the drive that we need to strive for! 

1 Peter 4:13, "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 
James 1:2-3, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your produces perseverance." 

You see, according these verses, we do not need to see our trials as a negative, but rather a chance to grow in ourselves. Being a Christ-Follower, we are not supposed to act like we have it all together or that we are perfect. We are all people, that without Christ being the final blood sacrifice, would be bound to sin and death. Because of GRACE, we aren't anymore. We have a higher calling in our life. We get to rejoice in sufferings; not only because of our potential growth, but because we serve a God who got it worse than we ever have. If nothing else, take it as an encouragement to pick yourself up and lean on God. 

Yours in Christ,

Philip Mullins