Friday, April 13, 2007

Dinner with the Staff

Tom Hackett, the director and founder of Alternative Missions, came to have dinner with our staff last night and I am very encouraged. Ever since I first met Tom in 1988 on a Short-Term Missions trip as a youth with my home church, I have always loved to hear him share his heart. When I first met him, I said to myself, “I want to work with him.” I first came down to Mexico as a “full-time” missionary in January of 1996 to serve here in Cofradía. Now, almost 20 years after meeting him for the first time, his enthusiasm and heart for missions and reaching the world impacts me even more today.

As he was sharing his heart, I was thinking of a chapter in a book I was reading in the morning. The book is called “Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel” by Ronald Allen and Gordon Borror. Chapter 2 is called, “Art and Heart in Worship.” It talks about how we are to combine Art and Heart in our worship to God. As we respond to God, which is what Worship is, we all have different talents, gifts, interests, and ways of life. All of those things would be our “Art.” But if we do those things without a Heart for God, that’s all it is…Art. On the other hand, some have discouraged others saying that being “artistic” is not “Christian” because it’s “weird” or we could get wrapped up in our art, losing sight and time of “serving” God. Here is a quote from the book,

“While it is not our purpose to judge heart motive, we can but wonder why one could not dedicate his art to the glory of God as an expression of worship. This is a fulfilling of the godly attribute of creativity. Art form need not dominate heart condition; it simply must come under the control of the Holy Spirit and support the heart in the praise of God.” (pp.22-23)

So, the point is to combine Art and Heart in Worship. Art without Heart is just Art. Heart without Art is doing away with the creativity God has placed in each one of us. Years ago, I used to think that art was drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. But it’s not just that, it’s the creativity that God has given each individual whether it be in any of those or music, song, dance, technology, service to others, helping the little old lady cross the street, etc.

Since Worship is not just a service we go to on Sundays but a way of life; how, then, can we reach our world in our Worship to God? Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (NIV). God is in control, not us. We live our life for Him the way He has made us and gifted us and He will be glorified. In John 15 Jesus says, “I am the vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful” (NIV). So, since Jesus, we are in a Vine Age. And this is what Tom was talking about last night at dinner.

Vine Age-or the Alternative Church- is a ministry of Alternative Missions that Tom and some others have started through a Think Tank called the Innovative Missions Group in order to reach the world through the internet. We live in a day that the internet is crucial (unless you live in a place like Cofradía) for many people. It’s the means of communication; emails, text messaging, etc. This is creative, this is using “Art” to worship God and reach the world. This has been Alternative Missions’ motto since it was founded; “Creative Ways to Reach the World.”

There are many things that VineAge/the Alternative Church has to offer you if you are a Christian, have a heart for God, a desire to reach the world for Him, and internet access. There is a lot more to this than what I have explained, you can go to the site for more information and I have added a link at the right. Let’s work together in our creativity to glorify God and reach the world for Jesus! What is your “Art”?

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