Bible Quiz. Two words that would strike fear in the minds of every student 3rd-12th grade who goes to LTC (Leadership Training for Christ) and attends a Church of Christ in the general area of North Texas. Okay—joke. BUT—there were some incredible memories that came with the blessed time that was LTC, churches would come from all over Texas and participate in events like Choir, Song Leading, Drama, Puppets, Signing, Art, Speech, Bible Quiz, and so many more. Every year we would spend a few months on a specific book of the Bible and take part in these events that had to do with the book and theme of that year. It was a great way to do things with your church and meet students from other churches.
Fun fact, my favorite year was Unstoppable, which was my first ever year to participate in LTC as a 3rd grader to study the book of Acts. Highlight of this year was doing Video Bible Drama with my friends in which I can barely remember a single thing about that year’s video except for the fact that the quote “I am just going to crawl into a hole, shave my head, and never come out!” came from this experience. Which as an eight year old has got to be the funniest thing to ever be said. To this day the cast of that incredible movie will still get together and joke about it.
Along with Video Bible Drama I tried many other events during my time such as Live Drama, Choir, Song Leading, Signing (like twice), Speech, other ones, and Art. Yeah, I did art. Surprised? Probably not. I did painting, oils, and sculpturing. One year I did Lego sculpturing (which was like 3rd tier compared to my best friend Tyler who’s Lego skills would rival EVERYONES). Another year I did actual sculpturing. Alright I think I am getting carried away with memories again…
Anyway—I started painting recently. Not consistently or religiously, but painting as a way to artistically put myself out there in a new way. I mean, I haven’t painted or done these sort of projects since those early years of LTC. (I think my last Art event was like when I was twelve). I also do not think I struggle with putting myself out there, but it has been interesting trying some new skills to learn and practice, in fact one of my goals for this school year was to try new things and hone those new skills. So—painting was decidedly one of those things.
“Mitchell, why put more on your plate and start this goal of wanting to try new things in your last year of college?”
I wanted to see what skills I could try and practice that would give me the tools to talk to God in a different way. And that is not a cheap way to answer that question, I actually wanted to do that. Now—I am in no way talented as an oil paint artist, as you can definitely tell in the title photo. BUT—it has been a great way to practice different creative instincts. (if you want more on my personal beliefs regarding Art/Theatre/Entertainment and God check out a blog I wrote earlier this semester)
“I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the trive of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs…I have given to all able men ability, that they make all that I have commanded you”Exodus 31:2-6, ESV
If you have talked to me about anything having to do with my interest in art of any sort I have nine times out of ten mentioned this verse. I love this verse so deeply because it it so empowers God’s people to be commissioned to create and build things for Him. Granted, I am not going to rewrite the Bible and say that God has continued doing this for everything and everyone! No. That is not the case. But, this is not the first case where art is used to express adoration for God. Take a look at the Psalms.
“The psalms express the emotion of the individual poet to God or about God. Different types of psalms were written to communicate different feelings and thoughts regarding a psalmist’s situation. Psalms of lament express the author’s crying out to God in difficult circumstances. Psalms of praise, also called hymns, portray the author’s offering of direct admiration to God.”Thomas L. Constable, Notes on Psalms
To add personal commentary, I believe that the Psalms are definitely a creative outlet that includes the Spirit of God, either as the subject, the audience, or even both.
And so—honesty hour. I have written Psalms since high school, more as poetry and never as musical composition. But this semester I got more serious with my artistic expression with Psalms, so I decided to spend time writing and composing my own Psalm, and to stay true to this blog, which is publish consistently in order to practice my own writing so that one day I can write on an even bigger level, I will publish the words that I have so far for my Psalm.
Oh hear my prayer, O God, Hear my Cry, O God, Your grace abides in me i have tried to believe Yet i will worship You, O God Where are you dear God i’m lost without you God i’ve grown into my anger i’m weightless without my Anchor i long to worship you dear God To sit and wait in silence for the One who calls me by name. The life that you died to save has been shackled in shame. And this power that is grace has overwhelmed my grave. O i long for You my God i have no else my God Maker of Creation My hope for Salvation i will forever worship You my God.
This is what I have so far, still working on specifics, and there is still some lyric changes I am looking at as well as music changes I am making (basically I am not completely confident in anything to but it shortly). But currently this is what I am looking at as my first published Psalm. That is weird to say, but yes, I am sticking with it.
So in some ways I have been hosting an LTC convention in my head for about 5 months but it has given me so much space to see how I can allow God into all areas of my life. But it has also given me the tools to see the different creative genes that God blesses His children with. I mean—on paper, this DEAF guy should not be able to write music, yet through the power of God I have found that there is always space for the Spirit of God to work.
In no way have I completely figured out how to completely and utterly have the Spirit of God instill His creativity into my being. I mean—that would be a lot to ask, having the ultimate Creator instill His Spirit in me. But I think we should constantly be looking for ways to connect with His Spirit. Try something new, you might just see what is ultimately perfect to connect with Him, or the worst case scenario: you created something and put yourself out there.
Why shouldn’t we try something that may just get us closer to God?