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Making God Ideas Happen
Scripture: Genesis 1:1; Ephesians 3:20; 1 Corinthia...
Track 7 of 9 in the Primal Christianity - Love4 series
Running time: 1 hour, 01 minute, 30 seconds.
Here is the challenge for the Church, if we are going to have an eternal impact on our culture, we just cant criticize it or copy it. We have to create it. If we are going to reach our generation with the Gospel, we cant appeal to logic, we have to capture their imagination.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Making “God Ideas” Happen

I heard this week on TV that it is estimated that the human mind processes close to 55,000 thoughts per day which equals to about 38 thoughts or ideas per minute. I went onto the internet to research that statistic and found that for many medical experts, that figure is a conservative estimate. The mind is an awesome thing when you stop to think about it. What is more fascinating is; everything that exists or ever existed in the past first started out in someone’s mind.

Victor Hugo said it this way: All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.

What do you think? Is there anything you have or own that wasn’t first a thought in someone’s mind or imagination? With this being true, how important is the human mind, how powerful is the human mind and how essential is it that we yield our minds over to the Creator who made it?

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Can anyone describe for me the thought process that went behind the opening fact found in the Bible?

The very first revelation about God in Scripture is that of a Creator. God is creative and is infinite in his imagination and thought process. How he thinks and how he creates is beyond anything we can imagine. I think it is awesome that we use phrases like “imagine that”, “any ideas about this”, what’s your thought about…”. All of these point to a reality about mankind, we too are creative beings. But God’s imagination goes way beyond what we could ever imagine. All we have to do is look at Creation itself to see how infinite his creativity is.

How many of you would classify yourself as naturally creative? Why or why not?

When asked that question, a great majority of people classify themselves as not creative. The reason for this is because we use a narrow definition of creativity. We limit the definition to areas of art, music, new inventions, and entrepreneurial ideas. But that is only a thin slice of creativity. The fact is, every human is vastly creative and we are especially creative in certain circumstances such as making excuses or rationalizing sin. For better or worse, most of us are a lot more creative than we give ourselves credit for.

Using that creative potential for God’s purpose is one way we can love Him with all our minds.

True or False: A lack of faith is not a failure of logic. It is a failure of imagination!

Mike, are you trying to tell me that faith is a figment of our imagination? Isn’t that the greatest criticism from those who oppose any kind of religion, faith is not real (logical), it is only in the imagination? The lack of faith is the inability or unwillingness to entertain thoughts of a God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20

Unfaithfulness is not a logic problem, it is an imagination problem. Too often Christians only have half-formed imaginations. When I talk about unfaithfulness, I mean the average Christian who lives his or her life day in and day out claiming to be a Christian but not expecting anything exciting to happen in their spiritual lives. The result, there is a lack of action for God in their lives. They live a life that is all about them. When they see people around them, they see an inconvenience more than they see an opportunity for God. A half formed imagination results in a half formed soul.

What does all this mean, when we get back to what the original church thought and to its original creativity and imagination, only then will the modern day church today understand what the true mission of the church is for this century. When they opened up their mind and imagination to all the potentials God gave them, they didn’t just try to share Jesus to their next door neighbor, they imagined that the entire world was their neighbor and within 30 years, spread the gospel to every known place on the planet. How did they do that? How did they ever imagine such an idea?

Here is the challenge for our church, if we are going to have an eternal impact on our culture, we just can’t criticize it or copy it. We have to create it. If we are going to reach our generation with the Gospel, we can’t appeal to logic, we have to capture their imagination. The trick is, how do we do that?

True or False: Creative churches are too liberal for my taste. Give me the old fashioned church, that is where God really lives.

When you hear the word “Church”, what are the IMAGES that come to your mind?

Did you notice that I asked you to do something with your imagination? Images are pictures in your imagination. Why didn’t anyone say “Creative” when asked about the church? What should be the most creative place on the planet? The church of course and yet most churches are way behind the curve in this area? One can tell because there is no growth.

Do you think MPCC is close to its creative potential?

In too many churches, creativity is seen as a dangerous thing. Why? Creativity breeds change. Change threatens the status quo. It is far easier to find something wrong with something new than to admit something is wrong with the old way of doing things.

True or False: Maintaining the status quo is not good stewardship.

Let go back to the first century, how creative were the first Christians? How did their creativity affect the world around them? How did it affect religions around them?

Criticize by Creating

How did Paul protest the things he didn’t like in his world? Did he picket? Did he go out and protest publicly against the government? Did he protest against the religious institutions of his day? How did Paul criticize those things around him? He criticized by creating.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

To Paul, his approach to sharing the gospel to everyone he met was an act of creativity. He wasn’t recreating the Gospel to fit the situation or culture he encountered, he was constantly recreating himself to better appeal to the culture he found himself in. To Paul, everything was an experiment. He started out with the one true fact that most churches miss, we are free to experiment and we are free to fail. MPCC should not be afraid to make mistakes. What we should be afraid of is not making mistakes because we are too afraid of making mistakes.

Every outreach is an evangelism experiment. Every small group is a discipleship experiment. Every Sunday school lesson or sermon is a teaching experiment. Every risk we take to move the gospel into our local community is an experiment. The beauty to all of this is, if it doesn’t succeed, we didn’t fail. Why? Because it was just an experiment. And if our experiment doesn’t succeed, then we find better ways in doing it and keep experimenting. All of this requires our imagination and creativity.

Idea Stewardship

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

It is fascinating to read the thoughts Paul had on the human mind and the creative process man uses. In Paul’s day he ran up against some of the smartest people in the world. In the letters to the Corinthians, Paul referred a lot to the human mind and how the Christian should think. The verse I just shared seems to come across with negative terms. Every time I heard this preached on the main idea was taking our sinful thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. But what about our creative thoughts and our imagination?

Someone define for me what stewardship means. Have you ever thought about the stewardship of your ideas?

This verse doesn’t just speak about capturing the evil thoughts and getting them out of your mind but capturing the creative thoughts and keeping them in your mind. Paul called the church to create culture and change culture by taking captive those “God Ideas” given to us through the Holy Spirit and then turn them into reality via blood, sweat and tears. There are two creations Paul is talking about:

The first creation: When the God idea is conceived
The second creation: When the dream becomes reality.
There is a lot of hard work in between.

Let me give you an example:

The first Jewish Temple ranks as one of the architectural wonders of the ancient world. It was built in the 10 century BC. The projects scope was so massive that Solomon employed 30,000 loggers and 80,000 stone-cutters. More than 3,000 foremen managed the 7 year project. Once completed the temple was the epicenter of Judaism. It was a place of pilgrimage, a place of sacrifice and a place of worship. But like everything else, it was the figment of the imagination. The whole history of that temple can be traced all the way back to an idea in the mind of King David. But it wasn’t David's idea.

1 Chronicles 28:11-12 Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things.

I am not sure how God downloaded the plans into David’s mind. I doubt if they were jpgs or PDF’s. Maybe they were mental images. Maybe they were detailed drawings. One thing is for sure, the idea was God’s and the plans were given to him through the Holy Spirit. The temple wasn’t a good idea, It was a God idea. And David took the idea captive. How? By building the Temple.

One God idea is far better than 1,000 good ideas. Good ideas are good but 1 God idea can revolutionize your life or change the course of history. God ideas aren’t manufactured in the human mind, they are placed there by God.

Is it easy to distinguish between a good idea and a God idea? Why? So how do we catch these God ideas?

Colossians 4:2-6 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

This is a critical verse. The idea of being watchful comes from the idea of the watchman who sits on the city wall keeping watch. They are the first ones to see attacking armies or traveling traders. They have the best vantage point and they see things no one else sees. This is exactly what happens when we pray. We see things no one else sees and we see things before others see them. Prayer heightens our awareness and gives us a 6th sense that enables us to perceive spiritual realities.

Prayer turns us into first class noticers. It helps us see what God wants us to notice. The more you pray the more you notice. The less you pray the less you notice. In Aramaic, the word prayer means “to set a trap”. We often times think of prayer as nothing more than words spoken to God. Prayer is a whole lot more than that. When we pray to God, He sends to us his ideas. If we are not watching we can’t capture the thoughts he sends our way. It is through prayer that we will ultimately determine our creative potential.

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me,

Everyone needs a watchtower. You need a place to go to get out of your routine. It needs to be a place where you get good reception from God. In your watchtower you allow yourself to dream God-sized dreams.

What dreams do you have for your ministry? What dreams do you have for MPCC?