Deadwood at the Art Museum



Recovery Run- Breakthrough 2013

Where does my hope come from?

Recovery isn’t easy. From everything that happened in 2013 a group of pastors, media professionals; and community leaders came together and discussed their MAP for Denver and the Front Range. After a year that the state was tested by fire, election and economic stress Impact and Breakthrough groups asked the question: “What is your cornerstone verse in 2013?” Another of the 15 leaders assigned to “thinking and doing unto others as they would like to have done to them,” wrote this verse down on the wall: “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, a plan to give you hope and a future and to prosper you.” The verse in Jeremiah 29:11 expresses hope and for the Breakthrough 2013 group it makes a lot of sense. For 15 days Breakthrough 2013 explored the ideas of bringing hope to the range and beyond through the discipline of evangelism; special needs ministry; a media that feeds the culture; prayer and prayer walking; summer missions and community building. “Each one of us took a hope verse,” said one of the leaders and explored how that verse works in the five areas of influence that we have.”

Hope within despair and hard times

Am I correctable?

“Though He slay me,” says Job, yet I will hope in Him. Even so I will defend my ways before Him.” There is a thin line between the words “trust and hope.” For if you don’t trust someone in a relationship, there is little hope to build on. “He will also be my salvation for if I were a hypocrite, I could not come before Him.” This is a telling part of the Book of Job. His friends have asked him to confess his sins and begin to blame the sins of his youth. Job defends his record and he asks God to examine both his mind and heart. Asking God to examine our motives is exploring God’s motive in His plan for us. Confession is a prayer when we go to God and ask Him to show us where we have not addressed a sin that has been in an obstacle in our lives. Ask any sincere Roman Catholic how they feel after confessing their sins and the common phrase is, “I have hope again,” Yes, hope is restored during our deepest and darkest confession. Ask any parent or child who has been corrected and has a “correctable spirit,” and many will say “their correction leads to new challenges that lead to change.” This is a microcosm of the the “transformation process.”Hope can be applied to evangelism, special needs ministry, media that feeds culture, prayer and a cornerstone to community building and rebuilding.  Where does your hope come from? Read Job 13:15 and the whole chapter to understand the building block of correction.

People get ready-Faith X-press

Can we rise from the ashes?

The word “hope” appears in the New and Old Testaments 150 times with the word “planning” as a root in the translation. Listening to two straight weeks of studying the word “hope” was a great exercise. From an art standpoint their were diagrams and paintings. From a poet, poems that reflected the psalmists worldview. From a place of special needs work and expressing our faith for concrete thinking people, hope becomes a tangible expression with a quote from the psalmist: “No one who puts their hope in God will ever be put to shame.” When communities start to rebuild from the ashes they are rebuilding in hope. When the lives of people with disabilities start again in group, host and family homes, when they hope in what God is doing, the past of the institution, the post traumatic shame that they experienced begins to heal with the hope each one has in God. Words like “steadfast,” and “love,” “promises,” “peace” leads to “joy,” that can be expressed in message, mission and music. The approach that Jesus takes is  to show people “where hope is.” Hope can be found in the New Jerusalem, the new home that was built out of the ashes of the cross, and built up through the resurrected Christ. Can we rise from the ashes? Through the risen savior- “Yes we can!”  “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame.” Psalm 25:3

Reporting stories of upright good

What is the message, the mission and the music?

Our media coverage is a “vain hope for safety!” Neither shall it deliver any by it’s strength.” The media executive smiled when delivering his verse. it was from the psalms and during that time there was a country called Media, however the psalmist was talking about “bayonets and what we invest in when it comes to national, local, or personal security. The emergency broadcast system is also a vain hope. When we report a news story, or we look to the media, we are hoping that people may be delivered by the God who gives us a message, a mission and speaks through the music. In the day the Psalmist writes, “A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by it’s strength.” (Psalm 33:1).  In an age where people put their hope in guns, words, news organizations and networks, or religion it is all a “false hope, a vain hope, that delivers no one,” the media executive says. He continues “The earth is full of God’s upright goodness,” (Psalm 33:5) “Doesn’t it stand to reason that we should report on God’s upright goodness that far exceeds Satan’s stories of downright evil?” The challenge is to find and report stories of upright goodness. But even at the trending report shows that people read more gossip than gospel. “It’s a retraining of the palette,” the executive says. “The Bible is the historic bestseller,” he continues, “but we live in a culture that is obviously Biblically illiterate and we have to change that trend.” There is no hope in stories of people who “come out,” and there is no hope in what calls relevant and news in categories such as “Hot celebrity daughters!” “Our responsibility,” the media executive offers is to “report stories that mirror God’s goodness in the world and to give people a source of hope.” This is obviously the difference in being a trusted messenger as opposed to being a foolish one. (Proverbs 13:17)

Restored Driftwood

Can our orchards produce fruit?

The musician in the Breakthrough 2013 begins to strum and pick a guitar. Leading praise on a prayer walk from Colfax and Emerson to the base of the State Capitol. He begins to sing: “Your world as an orchard- this town needing nurturing- Dead branches for the pruning, painful yet- there’s room for growing.” When Stevie Nicks sang that “I built my world around you,” there is a sense of classic co-dependency in the lyric and heard in her voice. A sad statement until you apply it to God. If we build our world around God it is building a world with a foundation of hope. “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word,” the psalmist writes and the musician leads (Psalm 119:74). After the prayer walk the group meandered to The Denver Art Museum. Walking up to the fourth floor the exhibit of African art displays ‘People as Driftwood.” Not to over spiritual-ize the analogy and yet discussing the idea that God’s people are often compared to branches and trees that reach out to a hurting world. “I am the vine, you are the branches, all those who live in me, will bear great fruit,” John 15:5 communicates giving, growth and guiding growth. Driftwood is dead wood, scattered, divided, and sold into slavery, out of fellowship, out of friendship. The breakthrough question is: “How can we restore driftwood back to life?'” The artistic, creative approach was to take driftwood and put them into community. The artist collects driftwood used to make new musical instruments used for worship! Bruce Cockburn sang that “Dying trees still- will grow greener when you pray.” Hope for driftwood is praying Psalm 42: “Why are you so downcast, O my soul! Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, For I will yet praise Him-my Savior and my God!”

One thought on “Deadwood at the Art Museum

  1. Pingback: Deadwood at the Art Museum « East Coast Cafe-Triology

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