Ministry

CREATIVITY: GOD'S GIFT

So what is creativity and where does it come from? When God created the world, he created man and woman in his own image. He told them to be fruitful and multiply and to rule over all that he had created. As part of that rule God had Adam name the animals. This was one of the first recorded creative acts of man. He also placed Adam and Eve in the garden and gave them work to do. That work involved thinking, planning and decision making, all of which are aspects of the creative process.

After the fall we find that mankind’s creativity continued, although it was now stained by sin. In the early chapters of Genesis we see the rise of agriculture, the building of cities, the forging of tools and even the beginning of music. We read in Genesis 4:21 that “Jubal … was the father of all who played the harp and flute.” In short, we find the beginnings of human culture, as man began to put into practice the creative gifts that God had given him to fulfill his task of ruling over creation

And so God, the creator, is the source of all creativity, and in creating man in his own image, He gave man gifts of creativity also. 

Exodus 31:1-6 -Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts — to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.”

In Exodus 31:1-6 God is telling Moses who will be in charge of building the tabernacle. But the text also contains four very important principles for us as we consider Gods "GIFT OF CREATIVITY"

1. God chooses to whom he gives gifts. (1-2)

The first thing we learn from the text is that God chooses to whom He gives gifts. Look at verses 1-2: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.’” The word translated “chosen” in this verse is a word that means “called or commissioned.” You have heard of people commissioning art work to be done before. Well, here God commissions Bezalel son of Uri for the work of overseeing the building of the tabernacle. God had gifted Bezalel for this task. God chooses to whom he gives gifts.

We find this principle throughout Scripture. It is true of spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul lists a number of the gifts and then he says, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Cor.12:11). Hebrews 2:4 also speaks of “gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” 

But spiritual gifts are only one example of this. God is the giver of all gifts, and He chooses which gifts to give to whom. God did not create everyone the same. To some he gives artistic ability, to others musical ability, to others the ability to make things with their hands. God in his wisdom gave you exactly the creative gifts that he wanted you to have. Your gifts are part of who you are. They are part of the person that God created you to be. We should receive those gifts with thanksgiving and use them to the best of our ability. 

2. God gives knowledge, skill, ability and craftsmanship. 

The second thing we learn from our text is that God gives knowledge, skill, ability and craftsmanship. Look at Exodus 31 again: “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.” (Ex. 31:2-3)

Apparently this man, Bezalel, was a master craftsman. He was filled with the Spirit of God in knowledge, skill and ability to do the work of building the tabernacle. God had clearly chosen Bezalel for this task long before he revealed it to Moses. Moses didn’t just walk down the mountain and find that Bezalel could suddenly do all these things. God doesn’t work that way. God had been preparing Bezalel all along. And Bezalel would have had to work hard to develop those gifts as well. Still, God chose him for this task, and with that in mind, He “filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.”

Now we are not all going to be like a Bezalel. It seems that Bezalel was an extraordinarily gifted man. You and I will probably not attain to the same level of skill and mastery that Bezalel obviously had. And that’s okay. God not only chooses to whom He gives gifts; He also chooses how much of any gift he gives to each person. But the point is this. Whatever knowledge, skill and ability you have comes from God.  James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” 

Do you have knowledge in a certain area? Do you have special abilities? Do you have skills that you have been able to develop beyond what the average person can do in that area? God gave that to you. It comes from Him. God gave you your creative abilities, and you need to honor him with the gifts He has given you. God gives knowledge, skill, ability and craftsmanship.

3. God gives a wide variety of creative gifts. (4-5)

The third thing we learn from our text is that God gives a wide variety of creative gifts. Going back to Exodus 31, look at verses 4-5. When God gifted Bezalel, he gave him knowledge, skill and ability “to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.” 

Bezalel wasn’t just given one gift, say, the ability to work with gold. Bezalel was skilled in many mediums – gold, silver and bronze. He knew how to cut stones and place them in beautiful settings. He understood carpentry and how to work with wood. Apparently he knew much more, because verse five finally stops listing all his different skills and just says he was able to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. 

God gave Bezalel a wide variety of gifts. And that was all just one person!  Rom. 12:6 says, “We [all] have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” God in His grace gives a wide variety of gifts to all people everywhere. 

And so when we think of creative gifts, we should not limit ourselves to just thinking about the creative arts – painting, sculpture, writing, music, dance, design, photography, and so on. All of human endeavor involves creative gifts and abilities, from a simple setting of the table for dinner to the building of a vast cathedral. 

Every person is a creative person. It’s true. Anytime you put part of yourself into a task or project you are being creative. Anytime you organize or decorate something you are being creative. Anytime you solve a problem you are being creative. Anytime you inject humor into a situation you are being creative. Anytime you apply the knowledge, ability and skill that God has given you to the task at hand, you are being creative.

So when you think about creativity, don’t just think about the arts! God gives a wide variety of creative gifts, and He has given creative gifts to you, too. And there is a reason God gave you the specific gifts that make you who you are.

4. God’s gifts have a purpose. (6)

And that leads us to our fourth and final point. God’s gifts have a purpose. Look at verse 6 where God expands the creative task for building the tabernacle beyond just Bezalel: “Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.” (Ex. 31:6)

Why did God give Bezalel and Oholiab and all the other craftsmen their specific skills? I am sure they used those skills for many other things as well, but God also had a specific purpose in mind for them. God had given them all the particular skills they needed in order to build the tabernacle, and not just to build it, but to build it according to God’s exact specifications, as God told Moses, “to make everything I have commanded you.”

God gives creative gifts for a purpose. Part of that purpose is simply for us to fulfill our role as human beings made in the image of God.  

Too often we think of Christianity only in terms of the Bible, prayer, and church on Sunday mornings. But as important as all those things are, the Christian life is so much bigger than that. Christianity is all about being human to the glory of God. And so that means taking all that God has created in this world and all of human culture and creativity and then returning it to God in praise. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:4 “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” 

The church (believers) lost its influence in the world, because it lost interest in the world that God created. How sad! As Christians we should not only be interested in Christianity. 

Beyond the general overall purpose of reflecting the image of God in society by exercising your creative gifts, God also has some specific purposes for the gifts he has given you. Going back to the tabernacle in Exodus 31, God had a very specific purpose for the creative gifts he gave to Bezalel and Oholiab. How about for New Testament believers today? 

Eph. 2:10 says that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Isn’t that awesome? Just as Bezalel and Oholiab produced quality workmanship for the tabernacle, you are the workmanship of Almighty God. And God has not only prepared specific works for you to do, but he also created you with the specific gifts necessary to do those good works. Make no mistake about it. God’s gifts have a purpose, and God has a purpose for the creative gifts he has given you.

CONCLUSION: In summary: 1) God chooses to whom He gives gifts; 2) God gives knowledge, skill, ability and craftsmanship; 3) God gives a wide variety of creative gifts; and 4) God’s gifts have a purpose.

What should our response be to all this?

1) Always thank God for the creative gifts He has given you. Do not put down your gifts. Do not envy the gifts of others. Do not boast in your gifts. Rather, thank God for the specific gifts he has given you, and do so with a spirit of humility and wonder.

2) Develop and Use your creative gifts.Remember the parable of the talents? God does not want you to bury your gifts in the ground. If you have a sharp mind, develop it! If you have the ability to produce beautiful things with your hands, produce them! Work hard, and develop the gifts God has given you. The Bible says, “To whom much is given, much will be required.” Take the gifts that God has given you, develop them to the best of your ability, and then use them in loving service to God and others.

3) Engage in all the life God has given you for His glory. Remember, “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” (1 Tim. 4:4)  No matter where your gifts or interests lie, God can use you to bring him glory in this world. 

 

Mike Ramirez/ThroneStudio

Born in a single parent home, Mike' s mother raised 4 children ( Mike being the youngest) and they all serve in their own ministry. Mike started his ministry as a youth pastor since 1994, through life's journey his ministry ThroneStudio was birth on Easter of 2015. He took a step of faith and has been full time ministry since October of 2015. Along with his beautiful wife Lori they serve and are members of Cross Church in San Benito Tx. ThroneStudio is a ministry expressing the WORD through paint (live painting). His passion is to PAINT and PREACH the WORD! 

5 Things I've Learned Being A Pastor

1. Your work is never done

2. You can't do it alone

3. Build a strong team around you

4. You can say no

5. Never stop learning.
 

The more you learn, the better your team gets. Being a Pastor is totally different then being a leader in a ministry. As a leader you oversee one ministry. As a pastor you oversee the whole ministry. I have been a Pastor for two years and it been an amazing and difficult journey.

No one ever explains how difficult it was going to be or that there were going to be days that you feel you can't do it. Perhaps there are days that you just want to give up. But God always reminds me "I chose you and I didn't make a mistake." I wouldn't change anything I have gone through as a Pastor. Everything I have gone through has only made me stronger.

Before joining tribe a year ago, I felt like I was in a boat and I did not know which direction to go. When my wife and I joined tribe we didn't know what we were getting into but we knew God had a plan. We learned a lot. Not only did we try to figure out which direction God was leading, but also how to lead and mentor other people. There were ways that the Tribe helped to guide us and communicate with us and I started using those ways and resources with our church.

The most important thing I've learned is that you are never alone. There are other pastors and leaders that feel the same way I did. I didn't just get help but I was able to make new friends and mentors. More importantly, my wife and I continue to be part of a family that continues to grow. We ain't Tribe, We are family.

 

Hello my name is George Zapata Jr. Two years ago I became the Senior Pastor at New Wine Church in La Feria, Texas. I was previously served as Music Pastor. Education 2005-2006 Dallas Baptist University 2001 San Antonio College CNS. 

5 Ways to Reach Millennials

Recently, I’ve heard people coining this word, “millennial.” It’s a word that hasn’t been used unless you are in the classes of social studies, but I’m not here to give a detailed explanation of what a millennial is. To make a long definition short, I believe a millennial is someone living in today’s generation. Not just someone, but a youth, young person. You would think that everyone talks so highly of millennials, however everywhere I step, they talk so down about this generation. I feel like a lot of people today have lost hope for our future and destiny.

Believe it or not, the generation of today, are the world changers for tomorrow. We cannot disown the youth of today. We cannot do away with who God created.  If He hasn’t called you, He’s called them! As a youth director, part of a local church, and a tutor that is part of a public school I’d like to share with you 5 practical ways to help reach today’s generation.

1.     You have to believe for their future and not their past.

If you were to put yourself in the mind of a teenager, you’d always have someone remind you of your struggles and flaws, and never remind you of where your going. Often times I hear young people in the secular world who have people that they trust in their lives always look down on them. They say that they will never amount to anything because of what they’ve done or did. Where is the hope we have for them? If you work in the school system and or your local church and you’re heavily involved with youth, you need to be able to believe the best for them, not the worst. Students need to hear where they are going, not where they’ve been. That’s a mistake our world has. They remind them of their past, but as a leader you need to be able to remind them of their glorious future. Speak life for their future, and speak death to their past.

2.     You have to relate, not resist.  

Being involved in both youth ministry and education is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do. I once heard one of my professors quote during school, “in order for you to teach middle school or high school, you have to be able to relate to the students.” A lot of time we don’t understand what students go through because we don’t have the time to relate to them. In order for you to reach the next generation you have to relate to them. Don’t resist them just because they don’t meet your expectation for your leadership group. Don’t resist them just because they don’t know God’s word yet. Until you relate to them about what they go through, where they’ve come from, where they’ve been, you’ll then understand who they were, and who they will become. Don’t ever neglect them because you cant relate. Once you spend enough time with them, you’ll understand the potential they carry for your life and theirs.

3.     You have to have compassion, and not curse.  

It amazes me how many people will try to curse this generation. When nobody else is looking, people will speak death to someone they don’t even know, someone they can’t even understand. or someone who never did wrong. Where is the compassion this generation needs? We need to have compassion for those who are hurting, those who are wounded, those who are coming from broken families and broken pasts. If we are the hands and feet of Jesus, then compassion needs to be in our actions for this generation. Instead of cursing them, start being more compassionate for them.

4.     You have to build relationships, not rituals.

A lot of times we develop rituals to avoid the students that God has put in our life. What do I mean by rituals? We start doing things over and over again to avoid our relationship with those that God has called us to mentor and steward. I’m not saying to throw everything away and avoid your family. What I’m saying is you need to be able to balance your students and others into your life. If you are the youth pastor, youth leader, youth director for your church, please be there for them! They need you and they want to learn from you! One thing I love to do with my girlfriend, when we get the opportunity to, is to spend time with some students and invest in what we believe will be the hope of our future. We've learned to balance them into our lives. We've learned to treat them like family. We've learned to love them unconditionally just like Jesus would and did. That’s one method that I use that was taught to me by my former youth pastor. He always took the time to spend time with me, invest in me, and speak into my ministry. That’s what our students and this generation need. They want a great relationship with you. They want to be loved by you. Don’t ignore what God has called you to care for.

5.     You have to have faith for them, not fear.  

The bible clearly states that “God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but love, power and a sound mind.”  I know sometimes reaching out towards the generation of today comes with great fear. Fear can be the who, what, where, when and why. Who are we going to reach, what are we going to do, where can we do this, and why are we doing this? Don’t ever allow the enemy to put fear in your life, when God has called you to have faith for the millennials of today. Believe in them and have faith in them like God is does. We are the only way they can see Jesus. You be the light for them. You be the hope for them. It doesn’t matter how much faith you have, as long as you have faith God will use what you have and turn it into plenty.

I pray and hope that these 5 points bless you and your ministry. Our generation needs us. They want to be more like Jesus. What better way than to be in their life! Be blessed. 

 

Ryan De La Rosa serves under the ministry of Pastors Bill & Anne Moore at Livingway Family Church. Ryan oversees the youth ministry of Livingway Family Church in the Harlingen Campus as the youth director.  He is also a tutor with IDEA public schools in Brownsville, Texas. Ryan's goal is to see a generation filled with the Holy Spirit and know who Jesus is.

Harvest

This year we experienced a GREAT EASTER WEEKEND! One thing I have learned about ministry around here, is that EASTER Weekend is a HUGE deal for us!  It is an opportunity for us to REACH PEOPLE we have never reached and tell them about Jesus.

However, with that grace of reaching people and seeing hundreds attend our services and ministry comes the high price of stewardship and responsibility.  The Bible teaches:

·      To whom much has been given, much is required - Luke 12:48

·      God gives the amount of the talent - it is our job to multiply the talent - Matthew 25:15

The Bible states that “he gave to each according to his own ability” - meaning if God has given us this type of influence, favor, and grace, He is affirming our ability.

I have learned that after Easter Weekend - comes the WORK!

I want to share with you some quotes I read recently from a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick.  I don't think it was by coincidence that I thought on these things. He preached a message on John 4:34-38, where Jesus is talking about the HARVEST.  He is telling His disciples that the HARVEST is ready.

Here are some notes I gathered:

·      The HARVEST is hard.

·      Sometimes you have to go through things that other people will walk around.

·      If God gives you what you are praying for, you might lose a few friends.

·      Reaping ain't easy.

·      You can't reap what you don't recognize.  Harvest is a problem if you're not ready to reap.

·      Harvest is a problem if you're not willing to increase your capacity.

·      The harvest is often hidden in the things you hate.

I grew up in Itasca Texas and I remember when the corn fields or the cotton fields were ready, you would see the combines and workers working all day and night to pull in the harvest. There is a season to pull in the harvest because if you don't, you could lose your crop! I know the excitement of Easter Weekend has passed, but now comes the true test of commitment and stewardship - HARVESTING what God sent us.

So how does that look like for us?

·      Get to the know the people attending our services

·      Making phone calls to first time guests

·      Following up with saved people

·      Assimilating new people into the Serve Team

·      Stepping up our personal spiritual game to meet the demands of the season

HARVEST is a blessing, but it is also hard work. Don't be fooled into thinking we can stop now. WE CAN'T STOP. Eternity depends on it.  Families are in need of it. People are looking for it. A city is waiting for it.

Let's go get the HARVEST!

"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest?' Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for HARVEST!" - John 4:35

Abram Gomez is the Executive Pastor of Cross Church, formerly known as Valley International Christian Center, in San Benito, TX. He serves under the leadership of Bishop Jaime Loya and helps in leading the 2,500-member congregation. Abram is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Church Ministries. He recently earned  his Master’s Degree in Human Services Counseling with a specialization in Executive Leadership from Liberty University. Abram is the founder and director of Next Gen, a movement designed to mentor Next Generation Church Leaders. Abram recently received approval as a team member and representative for Nation 2 Nation University, a video-based ministerial school offering two and four year degrees.  His teaching is a part of the curriculum including Youth Ministry, Church Administration and Church Growth. Occasionally, Abram writes for Valley Christian Magazine, a regional periodical that covers the entire valley.  He and his wife, Rebecca, reside in Harlingen along with their precious daughter Isabella and son Jude.

Keys for an Effective Ministry Leadership Team

It was said best by John C. Maxwell, “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team”. The importance of that quote dug deep into my mindset as I sat at my computer for days on end trying to think of original and genuine words to speak about. I realized shortly after seeing that quote just how important it is to have a good team that is in sync with the goal. What is the ultimate goal by the way? All our goals may be worded differently but they should all ultimately lead to serving God. Why? Why should they? Because we must be sure that our goals align with God’s will for us. If they contradict the Word and character of God, they will not bring us happiness. Moving towards a focused group of leadership, our ministry should reflect the Word of God. The following keys will help you to have an effective leadership team:

1.     Creating a Team

We must pick out a solid group of individuals who understand the importance of their role in the church. Individuals who have a consistent and growing relationship with God, and are willing to be servants. John 13:12-15 states, “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you”.

2.     Staying Organized

Having an organized system is extremely important. Mostly because once we start digging into the next couple of keys for an effective team we need to have our vision clear as opposed to chaotic. In addition, the roles everyone oversees should be very simple to remember in order to refrain from mistakes. The best way to do this is to be patient with new leaders. Train them by setting an example, and by always being organized and prompt. There are methods such as keeping a planner, google calendar, and other applications that are helpful tools when it comes to staying organized. 1 Corinthians 14:10 states, “But all things should be done decently and in order.”

3.     Staying Focused

Writing down what the team values within the church, what is not working, and what they wish to see changed and done differently are very important steps. Everybody sees things with a different perspective, so being open minded allows room for improvement. Whatever your team’s goal may be, examine it carefully and be sure that the main purpose is leading back to Christ. We must be still and consult the Lord before we move forward. Seeking His guidance in any decision that needs to be made in our lives will allow us to make wise choices wile submitting to his will as opposed to being impulsive. Not only will we be fascinated by reaching our destination but we will also enjoy the journey. Habakkuk 2:2 states, “And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it”.

4.     Staying Faithful                       

It is known that “faith can move mountains”. Well I come to you as a living testimony that it sure can. We as a team need to have enough faith for our entire church. If we don’t, how could we expect anybody else to? We are leading. We are setting an example. Not only through our words, but our actions as well. We need to show our church members and youth that we serve a mighty God! A God who accomplishes the impossible. A God who is never-failing, trustworthy, faithful, loving, and always has our best interest in mind. If we truly believe that we weren’t made to live mediocre lives, then we can be an inspiration to those around us as well, and with that comes humility. The Lord’s will always exceeds our own, and we need to be sure that we have humble hearts that are ready to receive all the blessings God has in store for us. Times will get difficult and trials will come our way, but we must remain faithful because there may be a single moment that we live on faith alone, and someone is watching and learning how to do the same. That is a true Christ-seeking leader that has the ability to change someone’s life simply through their character. 2 Chronicles 15:7 states, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded”.

5.     Staying Committed, Diligent and Motivated

Before we even agree to be a leader, we need to make sure that we will commit. Regardless of how busy our lives can become; we cannot give up. If anything, we need to say no to things we may want to do but take us away from our duties of being a leader. This is the sacrifice of being committed to a task. If we want to see our church grow and accomplish our mission for that year, then we need to commit ourselves to the Lord. He will provide all our needs. We must not worry about anything but have faith that everything will work out for His glory. We must be diligent in our efforts. Any goal requires hard work for it to be achieved. Finally, we must stay motivated. We must ask ourselves why we are working so hard for our goal, and if our motives are selfish. We need to operate with healthy and selfless, hearts. Matthew 17:20 states. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

My name is Krista Isabel Cruz and I am twenty-two years old. I currently minister at Trinity Baptist Church, as the worship leader, children's minister and youth service assistant. I am a graduate of Texas A&M International University and will be attending Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California in the fall of 2017.