It is good to return to the things that are good. It is good to allow ourselves greater depths and breadths in worship. It is good to reflect the greatness of God.
At Neighborhood Church we are reentering into a season in which the arts are not only acknowledged, but encouraged and developed. This isn't about "pretty" or "performance," but rather about allowing the Holy Spirit deeper access to our spirits. Beauty is of God's very nature. Look around. Your soul breaths deeper in the vastness of His creation and the beauty that ministers to us in those moments of immersion. Artistic expressions reflect that which is happening within the artist. If there is great turmoil and unrest, it bleeds out into the artist's work. If there is great sadness and hopelessness, it is shared via the artist's medium. Equally, if the artist is in communion with the Holy Spirit, in full surrender and worship, that too with be communicated through the piece. And its message perpetuates at His impulse. That within itself is a miracle and truly beautiful.
The paintings I have been creating during worship at Neighborhood Church have ministered to me personally. Each one is an act of submission, trusting the Lord to do what He wants with my hands, my eyes, my talents. My desire is that His voice is heard in the paint and strokes and finished product. With each sitting, I expect Him to do great things. To speak to His people. And I encounter His presence and deep love often. However, I have also experienced insecurity (painting in front of people is FAR from my creative and introverted method), and doubt, concerned about the "success" of the piece (no pressure, right?!). Yet after worship has ended and I take a seat with my family, I step into a different role, one of spectator. I am able to be ministered to by what the Lord has done. And there is often relief, peace and surprise. Not that the art is great, but rather, there is a message, something to behold, something to hear. And I am grateful the Lord acts despite my fleshly doubts.
I am also blessed by those of you whom have approached me during worship, communion (which lines up right behind me), or the dance break, expressing words of encouragement and sharing your insight to the painting in progress. Your words have ministered to me. Thank you.
Several of you have also asked what the plan is for the pieces once completed. (Drum roll.....) They are now on display and available for purchase! If you have been ministered to by one (or more!) of them, you may now take them home, to your work place, or give them as gift. The money received is going to both the church and the artist in order to buy more quality supplies and also to establish the Arts Worship Ministry (real name TBD) at Neighborhood. On Sundays, you may find Daniel Blackman, or me if you're interested in a piece. Or during the week, you may speak with the church office.
We believe in reaching out TO and THROUGH artists, extending Jesus to the community and beyond. We believe the Lord is waking up and preparing artists to use their talents to express His message of love and hope to people of all walks of life. Chico is a wonderfully artistic town that needs the hope and redemption that Christ's love brings. It's ripe for the picking!
Final note: if you are a creative and have been sensing God's prompting to become part of an arts uprising, please contact us. We would love hear what He is doing in you and if you wish, walk alongside you in your art. You may contact the church office, and they will put us in touch with you.
We are excited to see God's plan unfold and His greatness to be revealed through the arts!