Byron Spradlin

Artists In Ministry & Missions

Category: Discipleship (page 1 of 7)

Got Imagination?

The Biblical Role of Imagination and Imaginal Intelligence

The Hebrew term for imagination is either yatsar or yetser. It is a term that is use, for example in the passages in Jeremiah related to the Potter’s trade (e.g. Jer. 18:3). 

Yatsar means to fashion in the mind before forming in time and space. That is, to fashion in the mind also holds in its meaning the capacity to imagine, to invent, to form, to frame (in the mind’s eye); and the emphasis of the term is in the ability to see something—that could be real and true—in the mind’s eye BEFORE it is actually formed in time and space. Yet, though it is ‘seen’ in the mind before it is actually created, the assumption of the term is that the thing “fashioned in the mind” will actually at some point in time be formed in reality (e.g. Jer. 18:4, “But the pot he (the potter) was shaping from the clay was made in his hands; so the potter formed it (first in his mind fashioned it a different way to be made—then began to form it again, after having thought of its new form) into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (NIV, author’s expanded explanations).

Hebrew concept of imagination includes two dynamic applications:

  1. with regard to the human capacity to invent or make something, imagination is ‘the capacity to see what could be but is not yet.’ An example of this human capacity is Jer. 18:4, “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (NIV).

  2. with regard to the human capacity to interact with transcendence, imagination is ’the capacity to see through what is known into the realities beyond what is known.

A profound example of this second dimension of imagination—facilitating interaction with transcendence—is the exercise of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (NIV). One who believes ‘faithfully’ in God looks on the revelation of God has given (culminated in God’s revelation of Jesus, God Incarnate); and though not knowing ‘all’ there is to know about God’s saving work, knowing enough of God’s work in Christ (Christ’s real and earthly life, death and Resurrection), to place one’s hope in all the realities of salvation one has in Christ, most of which “we do not see” (Heb 11:1b). That kind of ‘faith’ is not blind faith’. It is true faith; though much of what goes into that faith is beyond the capacity of the human to ‘completely’ grasp.

Paul says the same thing in Romans 11:34: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (NASU).

Jesus implies this same “faith principle” when speaking to His disciples after His Resurrection, when He said in John 20:29, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (NIV).


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The 2 Basic Dimensions of Ministry

Ministry has two basic dimensions—

  1. you dealing with God about people (centered in your daily worship communion with God), and

  2. God dealing with people through you (the assignments you receive from God out of your growing communion with Him) . . . then, your artistic abilities will be a means by which and a context in which God will expect you to function in order to develop contact and relationship with people with whom you are intentionally looking, by faith, to effect and serve for His purposes. That effect, and that sort of service—if it is truly ministry on God’s behalf—will entail a supernatural transaction (energized by God’s Spirit, not by you), and will result both in …

                1. spiritual impact in people’s lives through the ‘service’ you render; and in

                2. people coming to find salvation in Jesus through seeing the Lord more clearly—and hearing Him—through your ministry service, whatever that particular ministry service might be.

Therefore, your artistic ministry will only be fully and biblically developed as you go beyond “the doing of your art”. Your arts ministry will develop a fuller biblical design as you increasingly develop ways wherein and around which you will be …

            1. identifying and developing people you can mentor towards their own growth in Jesus; and …

            2. resourcing the local and regional church (equipping the saints—Eph. 4:11-12) out of the specialized fruit-bearing capacities you have progressively demonstrated in your past ministry track record.

Besides simply your abilities to perform an artistic expression or endeavor—if you are really focused on ministry, and growing in more developed ministry—you will be developing specialized areas of biblically based resourcing around at least four (4) areas :

  1. spiritual formation issues,

  2. biblical ministry issues (related to theology and strategies of the arts in ministry),

  3. artistic skill areas, and

  4. technical aspects specialized and related to arts ministry strategy.

When your focus is set on ministry, when your ministry is articulated in Kingdom terms (and not in musical or artistic media terms), your artistic orientations become the environment in which you premeditatedly intend to connect with people about the realities of God—and when you are faithing that He, the Lord, will graciously and supernaturally move through you—then it will be clear . . . to you and to others . . . that you have truly entered into the realm of ministry through the arts.

Anything else, and you may end up simply being yet another clanging cymbal

Byron


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A Blueprint for Itinerant (Traveling) Ministries

A Blueprint For Itinerant [Traveling] Ministries

Paul lays out … in Acts 14: 21-28 … for anyone who has a “traveling” ministry, a ministry with an itinerary outside one’s local congregation, that is very helpful.

Note the following seven (7) components in Paul’s Outline for traveling ministries:

        1. Connect … with people [implied]

        2. Declare … God’s reality and His accessibility through Jesus

        3. Win … people to Christ as you can

        4. Strengthen … the believers

        5. Give Permission … to potential ministry initiators [In Paul’s case he was formally appointing congregational leaders. You most likely will not do that. But you CAN pray for and encourage those who seem to be ready for ministry to get on with that ministry.]

        6. Repeat the process … of doing the above five actions in other places

        7. Report back … to your home church and other churches that know you, love you and are supporting you


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Business, Occupation, & Ministry. Do you know the difference? Part 2

Occupation: What is it?

1. Occupation Defined:

  • How you make your living
  • How you gain provision to live

2. Occupation Varies:

  • You may make your living several ways at the same time
  • You may work several jobs at the same time

3. God is the provider

  • GOD supplies your PROVISION
  • Deut. 8:18

4. Market-place Occupation is good because . . .

  • God expects you to work at something to earn provision
    2 Thessalonians 3:10
  • God is the provider of all wealth
    Deut 8:18 “It is God who is the creator of all wealth

-Your provision from a ‘market place occupation’ is a good thing because it comes from God [note the context of ‘Israel, and how God provided for them in the wilderness]

5. God expects everyone to have at least one occupation

  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10

6. In a fallen world, most often your occupation will NOT be your God-given CALLING–but you will always be & do your CALLING in the midst of your occupation if you are an integrated Christian and a balanced human being.

  • Paul’s example: 1 Cor. 9 & 2 Thess. 3

7. The biblical norm for carrying out ministry is being bi-vocational . . .

  • Earn your money in the market place and do your calling all around it: again note Paul. 1 Cor. 9 & 2 Thess. 3

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Business, Occupation, & Ministry. Do you know the difference? Part 1

Business: What is It?

1. Business Defined: selling products, performances and services for value in return
2. Business Goal: financial profit
3. Business Funding: profits & investors (who intend to make a profit on their investment)
4. Business Success Criteria: financial profit


5. Business ‘Goodness’ Criteria [Spradlin suggests]
that you serve God not Money— Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (NIV)
that you love God not Money— 1 Tim 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (NIV)
that you make friends with ‘unrighteous money”— that is, you control it and use it for Godly agenda, rather than it controlling you and using you for world-system agenda.

Note—from this passage [an others] we see that:
Jesus says … Money has an “unrighteous” dynamic.
Jesus says … Believers must ‘make Friends” with it.


6. Business Power verses Kingdom Power
Where is Focal Point of Power in Business? MONEY
Where is Focal Point of Power in God’s Kingdom? FAITH-ing
Money—at it’s heart can be ‘evil’ (Jesus says), in that it is the focal point of power in the natural realm
Holy Spirit—at His heart is the heart of God. We must come under the control of the Holy Spirit (e.g. Ephesians 5: 18)—the focal point of power in the spiritual realm.
Only by allowing the Holy Spirit to become our power base, can we learn to take control [ “make friends with”] ‘unrighteous money.’


7. Ministry in Business? YES !!!
You can do Ministry in and through your business. But categorically speaking, Business is different than Ministry.
You can fail at Business (not make a profit) and still be successful at Ministry
It is very important to keep the technical distinction in focus about Business—selling things’ and it always involves ‘making money’ or it is NOT business. It is also absolutely important to hold in focus the technical definition of Ministry—serving God and His Kingdom purposes. These purposes are always—at the core of their essence—FREE. If you fail to make and hold clear and focused . . . the technical distinctions between business and ministry, you WILL continue to be confused. And confusion will bring you great frustration and the certainty of damaged business and damaged ministry as well.


Join me next time for: Occupation: What is it?

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