Right now South by Southwest (SXSW) is going on in Austin, TX. It is a collection of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences. Basically artists from all over are flocking to Texas' capital city to display and teach their talent and industry that is about creative arts. This conference has been in existence since 1987 and has grown every year, but just recently became some kind of national household name. It is pretty exciting to see and know how the arts are being celebrated.
I wouldn't call myself an artistic person, but I am inspired and love creativity. I have said before that God is creative and instills us his creative power as his image bearers. So I love the idea that people celebrate a god-given talent, even if they cannot see it that way.
I have been to conferences many times in my ministry career that are centered around theology, equipping for churches, church leadership, and personal spiritual renewal. I have always left those conferences with an immense sense of God, his blessings, and new ideas to come back and implement within my life or my ministry. In all of these conferences I have been inspired by others who have used their gifts and talents to encourage and excite others for Kingdom work.
There are so many vendors/musicians/teachers/participants/seminar leaders at SXSW. I would bet that there are tons of Christians attending this grand event too. It makes me giddy with excitement knowing that under everything that is going on, God is still in control and has absolute sovereignty.
We might tend to look at such an event and find all the ways that things opposed to our conservative Christian view is displayed at the music/film festival or on the actual streets of Austin. I understand that people can use the talent and skill that God has given them and use them to illuminate themselves or the world. However, there are some amazing artists in our world that use their talent and skills to give glory to God.
I wonder what would have more impact at such a conference:
Scenario 1: Stand on a self-made platform on the streets of Austin with a bullhorn and preach against the sin that is obvious around you
Scenario 2: Enter into SXSW as a dedicated Christian artist and display the gifts God has put in you, rather than substances, people, fame, ego, or other worldly pursuits.
Many believe that in order for God to be heard, it must be loud and overt. And yet there was that time that God revealed himself to Elijah in the form of a whisper. We should be a healthy presence of Jesus Christ in the world around us. We should come out of hiding and our gated, guarded, isolated Christian only communities and sit in the midst of the world that is around us and have faith that not only will God not leave us, but we will not leave him. Sometimes I think Satan has used the idea of "Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals" to drive us into hiding where we become impotent to bring about change and do Kingdom work.
As we think about SXSW let's remember that when the world is loud, God is on the scene and louder, even if it is a gentle whisper. I am praying for SXSW that people will see God, even when it isn't overt. I pray for the Christians who are attending the conference to become light, not a nuisance that is quickly dismissed, but a source of engagement for those who are searching for something to fill the God-shapedSometimes we forget to look for God in the places where we would least expect Him. And yet...He's there!
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God Is... by Michael Mercer
God Is... -God is... is a book that takes a look at Genesis and portrays six true images of God. There are many ways we think about God that are unhealthy and even destructive. These six images help turn our attention to who God really is and how we might follow him more closely. Click the Lulu button below to download your copy!