Sunday, January 6, 2013

Imagine: "Inspiration"

Here's the notes from the message delivered at New Life Community Church, Sunday, January 6, 2013.  This is the first message of a 4-part series entitled IMAGINE.  This title of this message was "Inspiration".  If you would like to listen to this message, you may do so by going to our website at  God bless!

Imagine, Part 1                                                                        Sunday, January 6, 2013

We are going to be looking at God’s Creative Process in you and me.  How God takes us to a new level.  It all begins with a picture on the inside.  God wants to transform our lives – to redeem us – to lead us.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)

God’s Creative Process
VISION          CALLING                  DREAMS
John Maxwell teaches the four steps to the fulfillment of a vision:
1.     THOUGHT it
2.     BOUGHT it.
3.     SOUGHT it.
4.     GOT it.

George Washington Carver:
When I was young, I said to God, god, tell me the mystery of the universe. But God answered, that knowledge is for me alone. So I said, god, tell me the mystery of the peanut. Then God said, well, George, that's more nearly your size.
George Washington Carver
As an agricultural chemist, Carver discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes.
God Gave Them To Me
Carver did not patent or profit from most of his products. He freely gave his discoveries to mankind. Most important was the fact that he changed the South from being a one-crop land of cotton, to being multi-crop farmlands, with farmers having hundreds of profitable uses for their new crops. "God gave them to me" he would say about his ideas, "How can I sell them to someone else?" In 1940, Carver donated his life savings to the establishment of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee, for continuing research in agriculture.

Throughout Scripture there is the pattern of God breathing forth His life.
In the next weeks we are going to look at how God creates – at the creative process.  Today is INSPIRATION. 
Next week will be REVELATION. 
The following week will be INNOVATION. 
We will end with TOGETHER.

The entire series is called IMAGINE.  This morning we will look at what the Bible says about our imagination and I must first off address some misconceptions.  Almost always the John Lennon song will come up when the term IMAGINE is used.  There is almost always a kick-back reaction when this subject comes up.  Here’s the reason why.
In the OT the word for IMAGINATION is used 9 times and 7 of them are evil. 
Hebrew word YETSER
Genesis 6:5 (Amplified):  The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.
Genesis 8:21 (NKJV):  And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
Proverbs 6:18 (KJV):  An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 
In the NT:
Romans 1:21 (Amplified):  Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.
II Corinthians 10:5 (KJV):  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

I am NOT talking about imagination is the same way John Lennon did:
That song says:
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
As created beings, one of our greatest treasures, perhaps the dearest fingerprint of God in us, is our ability to imagine.  – Michael Card

In my thinking, this is what I call the imagination. It is a bridge between the heart and mind. It seeks to re-integrate and reconnect them, since they were fragmented by the Fall. The imagination that has been surrendered to God for this process of listening to the scriptures, I call the "biblical imagination."  -- Michael Card
There is a good and godly way that God wants to use our IMAGINATIONS.
O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and prepare their heart unto You.  I Chronicles 29:18 (KJV)

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

1.     God wants to SPEAK TO YOU.

But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.  Job 32:8 (NKJV)

2.     Vision requires NEW WAYS of THINKING.

be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2 (NIV)

3.     Godly CREATIVITY belongs to us.

29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.  30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.  Psalm 104:29-30 (NIV)

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  Ephesians 1:16-18 (ESV)

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