By: Richard Gazowsky
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Christians who desire to be successful know that all ideas are supposed to emanate from Christ. But it appears that few understand how such a process occurs and, even if it does, it’s so random that it’s completely unpredictable. I’m beginning to discover that this is not necessarily true. God has actually laid out in Scripture a plan for you and I to plug into our own personal Jesus. But exactly how to plug in remains a mystery. Let me share with you what I’ve learned so far. (For those of you who are interested in going a little further in this area I have included more on this subject in the Monday Morning Blog.)
One of the Scriptures that reveal this truth of God is found in Ephesians 1. Bear with me as I go through this chapter and show you the revelation I believe Paul is trying to teach us. (I find it’s easiest to understand by reading the Message Bible, so I will be quoting from that translation.) “That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the Christians, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you ~ every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask ~ ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory ~ to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally.”
Paul commends the people in Ephesus because they have a good solid relationship with Jesus. This is important because many Christians have a relationship with their church, religious organizations, ministry team, para-church ministry, missionary, boss at work, organizational structure, or even a Bible study group ~ but their relationship with Christ Himself is actually secondary. We must make Jesus the top priority in everything. Paul is saying that God’s glory is going to make us “intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally.” This is really important. Let me explain.
If you have studied Scripture you realize that the carnal mind is at enmity against God. “It is not subject to his laws and neither indeed can be.” To put it simply, you and I are stupid when it comes to reasoning and discerning the things that God wants to tell us through Jesus Christ. It’s only His glory that is going to make us intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally. Again, the key to this relationship is knowing Him personally. It’s this personal intimacy that is going to allow the impartation of fresh ideas that concern the future of whatever endeavor you are about to engage in, be it business, social, medical, or otherwise.
“Your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for Christians.” Here Paul tells us that it’s time for our eyes to be focused and clear so that we know exactly what God is calling us to do. At first we may not realize how important this is. But when Jesus was on earth He said, “The Son can do nothing except He first sees the Father doing it” and this statement is repeated many times in the gospels. As our example, Jesus is telling us our eyes must be clear and focused to see what the Father is doing. It’s not about what we think is right, or what are already planning on doing ourselves. Instead, it’s what God is doing that’s important, so we can do exactly what He asks us to do today. If we listen to precisely what He is saying we will grasp the immensity of this glorious life He has for all us Christians.
I understand if what I’m saying you don’t get at first. God is asking us to allow Him to tell us what to do in every single detail of our lives ~ from where you are to go today, when, what appointments you keep, which friends to meet, what clothes you should wear, what food you should eat, etc. Every single detail of our lives can be directed by His perfect will. This is a relationship level with your personal Jesus that most likely goes far beyond what you’ve ever asked or thought about, and I completely understand if there’s initial resistance to this concept. But the more you put all of this into practice, the more you will understand how God’s Holy Spirit of love is living inside you and is wanting to guide you through every day. And, it’s wonderful once you get it. I believe Paul is trying to show us is that God’s presence is going to surround you with an intensity of this glorious way of life and will begin to move you to higher levels of authority, revelation, and power.
“Oh, the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him–endless energy, boundless strength!” Here Paul reveals to us God’s extravagance in desiring to fill us with endless energy and boundless strength. Probably the hardest element for me to conquer in myself is my anxious spirit ~ my desire to move ahead and get things over with quickly. For the last year God has really dealt with me in this area, about slowing down and letting patience have her perfect work, (“So I may be entire lacking nothing,”) to quote Apostle James. I would like to give you a real-life example.
This last Wednesday I was scheduled to go to Sacramento to speak to a small gathering of Christians. The night before I was to leave I had a dream. The Lord came to me, as I stood among some athletic men I knew, and said, “I want you to walk and get some exercise.” I responded with, “No, God. You know I’m experiencing some physical ailments that will hinder me from doing what You desire.” Immediately the scene disappeared. Then the Lord appeared again. I was now standing among just three of the young men. The Lord again said, “I want you to take a special walk right now.” I replied, “No, Lord, You can’t be talking to me because I have some physical ailments that will make that kind of a walk a hindrance.” This scene immediately disappeared again. The Lord appeared again but this time I found myself standing alone. The Lord said, “Richard, I am talking to you. I want you to take a walk in a special place that I will show you.” I said, “Oh Lord, then this is a message for me.” And the Lord said, “Yes.” I said, “Okay, I will obey.”
When I woke up that morning I immediately told my family about the dream, though I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant. I figured that sometime during the day God would ask me to take a random walk. But later that same day (before I was to speak at the gathering of Christians) a man who lived on a large piece of land unexpectedly invited me to his property. He then said, “You know, Richard, I’ve got a beautiful walkway that goes around my seventeen acres. Would you like to take a stroll around my property?” At that moment I realized that this is what my dream had been about and what Christ had told me to do (though at the time it had absolutely no purpose or connection with anything I’d previously planned to do.) Come to find out, the weather was pretty cold and bitter and the sun was beginning to set. It wasn’t something I would’ve naturally planned to do (even without my physical ailment). But now I knew that it was important to Jesus that I obey what He was telling me to do.
I started walking across the man’s property. After crossing a few acres I discovered that one of his next door neighbors had a zoo with camels and zebras in it. I was amazed to see such exotic animals in that area. I appreciated the immense effort that the owner had undertaken to accommodate such exotic beasts. At that moment Christ spoke to me about a conversation I’d had the night before. It was with a friend (at a wedding that I was officiating) on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. My friend happened to mention to me that in the past movies had mightily influenced the culture of Hollywood with their ability to simplify dialogue. He then made the point that major movie studios today don’t use the same kind of language to address issues and it makes the premises and storytellings of movies extremely thin. Suddenly God gave me a profound revelation.
A month or so ago God gave me a premise for a movie I was supposed to write, and the word was confirmed through “the mouths of two or three witnesses.” Now, out of the blue, He was speaking to me about a revelation of dialogue, a way of writing scripts in a new contextual way that would enrich moviegoers’ experiences and cause stories to live on from generation to generation. Let me explain some background information surrounding what I believe God was trying to tell me. You need to realize that there are certain elements that occurred in society that ended up bringing great periods of revelation, such as the Renaissance that swept through Italy. Like me, maybe you didn’t realize that Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rafael, and many masters of the Renaissance all lived approximately around the same time, and many of them knew each other intimately. I discovered that this great release of artistic genius was God’s timing, and that He brought several key elements together at the right place at the precise moment.
The first of two elements I’m referring to is the discovery of a new type of oil paints. Colors not only were vibrant, but were prepared with such excellence that the color vibrancies remained for over five hundred years. Artists were now inspired to commit vast amounts of their time and genius on a painting because instead of it fading out in just a few years (like those in the past) they would last for generations. The second revelation was the concept of perspective. Before this, most of the paintings on palace walls and church buildings had very little perspective. Since buildings weren’t seen as squeezing down to infinity at the horizontal level, this lack of knowledge in perspective made many of the early paintings about Roman gods and goddesses completely obsolete when the Renaissance exploded around the area of Florence, Italy. The pastors of the Christian churches no longer felt the need to preach against the heathenistic paintings that existed in Rome, Florence, and Milan. The new technologies of vibrant oil paints and perspectives made the past works of art obsolete. The pictorial revelations of Jesus Christ naturally burst upon the Italian culture and are still preserved today because of their quality and permanence.
As I continued walking the Lord showed me that Christians are about to enter into a time of great artistic influence, similar to the Renaissance. Except this time it will be birthed in the movie, music, and publishing industries ~ just as God influenced architecture, sculpture, and paintings during the Renaissance. God is asking you and I to plug into Christ because He is about to release, through intimacy with Jesus, the most profound artistic storytelling that has been known to mankind, and it will last for generations in the future. By it’s quality alone it will obsolete the motion pictures of the past.
Storytelling has always been a tremendous root of influence in our culture. For example, the story of Lion King was shown to us on the silver screen, and later portrayed in books and in plays. But it was also a vehicle used by schools to teach math and English, and has since become a cultural icon of our society. But this scenario is not wholly complete, neither is it set in stone. The technologies that were used to deliver Lion King to the masses, like the artwork before the Renaissance, have since been vastly improved upon. And we are getting close to the time when new discoveries, applications, and cameras will reach vibrancy levels of color and accuracy that will bring everything to new levels. With a lot of this I’ve just made some educated guesses. Not until the Lord reveals the complete picture will I know it’s the right time to release the “rest of the story”. But I feel it could be soon.
The key to all of this is what the Apostle James told the early Church, “Let patience have her perfect work that you may be entire lacking nothing.” One of the areas that we Christians must come to grips with is our anxious spirits in wanting to do things quickly. We must learn to slow down and let patience have her perfect work in us. Though it may take you a few years to write a book, isn’t it better to have the book distributed to billions of people rather than just your church family and friends? We must start realizing, like Michelangelo and the early masters that a chapel similar to the one inside the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Cathedral, needs to be painted. Michelangelo could’ve approached the project as something that would just take a few months. Instead, he slowed down and decided to paint a masterpiece that portrayed the entire story of mankind. He invented new ways to paint on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and it took four backbreaking years to complete the task. And, most of it was done while working under candlelight while high up on scaffolds. What an incredible effort he made! Even before the recent restoration it looked almost as vibrant and beautiful as it did when it was completed exactly 500 years ago, in 1512.
It was while we were writing this blog that we discovered that November 1, 2012, is the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo’s great art piece that helped usher in the Renaissance period. I don’t feel this timing is a mere coincidence. It is another sign that this year will be significant in its effect on world culture. May we all see the tasks that are set before us and, like the great masters, become intimate with Christ, so He can show us our parts in the new Renaissance that He is going to usher in. I will continue more on this subject in the Monday Morning Blog.
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”