I have noticed a few different churches putting artists on the stage during worship, it really interested me and i thought, what a great way to express worship, I found another post by a lady called "Mindy Painter" (handy name :)  anyways, id love to hear thoughts on this.

I once heard a story of someone being physically healed, the moment
they laid eyes on a painting that had been done during a time of
worship.  Wow!! How amazing is that?!  God uses art to bring healing!

A few months ago, I was asked to paint during worship—something I had
never done before.  My initial reaction was, “How can I do this? I
never paint with an audience.  What if I make a mistake?  Everyone will
be watching!”  I quickly realized that my concerns were all about my
performance and insecurities.  On the contrary, this was supposed to be
about worshiping God.  I needed to get out of the way and allow the Holy
Spirit to move and direct me.  It wasn’t about pleasing people, or
coming up with an incredible piece of art.  This was supposed to be a
selfless offering to my Savior.

Before the service, a group of us gathered to pray and get a sense of
what God might be doing.  I prayed for pictures, colors and ideas to
put on that blank canvas.  Sure enough, a simple picture repeatedly
entered my mind.  The Spirit was totally leading!!!

As the service began, I walked over to the blank canvas, which was
hanging slightly out of view, on a wall off to one side of the room. 
The music started, and all my concerns, fears, and insecurities
instantly vanished!  It was spectacular!!  With each brush stroke and
layer of paint, the Holy Spirit was leading me.  I was facing the wall,
my back to everyone, feeling such freedom, singing my heart out, raising
my hands, and PAINTING!

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the
Spirit of the Lord is, there is
[Corinthians 3:17]

How does this work practically?  No matter your skill level, I would
encourage you to try this at home.

  1. Have some worship music playing in the background.
  2. Spend some time in prayer, waiting on the Holy Spirit to guide
    you and give you pictures.
  3. Go for it!!  Do whatever type of art you most enjoy…
    drawing, painting, sculpting, collage, writing, photography,
    graphic design, sewing.  There are many options.

If you’d like to try doing art during a worship gathering, I would
recommend setting up the canvas or work area out of main sight.  I know
that it can be cool to watch art being done on stage with the band, but
it can also be incredibly distracting. At our church, we have the art
area off to one side of the room.  That way, people are able to fully
focus on God rather than watching the artist’s every move, and when they
are done engaging in worship, they can have a look at what has been
created.  Also, don’t feel the pressure to have a completed work of art
during one worship-set. Take your time. It might be several weeks before
you are finished. Lastly, remember your art is an offering of worship
to God.  Once you finish a piece, let it go.  It shouldn’t matter if it
gets displayed for the whole world to see or covered up so that someone
else can create something later.

It is all about God!  May he be glorified in our art!!

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I think at the end of the Day it HAS to come back to your heart.. i honestly think that God looks past so much stuff and looks into our hearts, the attitude of our hearts. I get what your saying about the church trumpeting everything to show they are doing church right, but i would much rather go 'God, hows my heart? is it in the right place? am I doing this out of the right attitude and is It Blessing YOU" in the end thats all that i think matters, I mean I never want to stop Trumpeting every healing and every answered prayer but i want it to be in Glory to God, never a "yeah im doing this right"....
But everything that God expects us to know about how He's judging our heart is in the Word. It's the ONLY guide we have. Anything the Holy Spirit might convict you of comes from there.
The fruit of the pharisees was their teachings...
Agreeing with some of what you are saying, and there are those churches that are shams. As Brad says it's for Gods glory not ours and that is one major way of testing things out. If it is for the artist , then no, it's not acceptable. If it's for the Pastor or a section of the church, then again no, remove it as it is tainting the church.

There are some people that use church as a springboard to their live styles and careers. Even some who have made "church" their career ( a couple of pastors I know have done that - there is no calling to the service for them).

If it makes you uncomfortable then seek God on the subject and let Him sort it out. Seek the artist out and walk with them(if you are really interested in finding out their heart); and get the bottom of it. Then you MAY be changed to include it or exclude it.

Stevo, I am glad for people like you as you do challenge things and get people to think further than where they are. We need that in the church today as we have definately gone off course in many ways. but, we are released to worship God in many ways, not just in music or song.
Somewhere in here, the topic of free will (and the extent of God's power to save) surfaced and has become the point of question, and it looks like some misunderstanding. I had been thinking of starting a new discussion on the stuff we think other Christians don't believe (but they actually do, just the language is different). We spend so much time mending fences and so little on gates. Perhaps this type of discussion arouses deep feelings about freedom, and that is why some of the responses are especially passionate, and defenders against excess of freedom are getting their guard up.

If anything, this discussion has radicalized me in the direction of freer expression during worship, and freer thinking as to what makes a meeting a worship service. The Body nature of worship does place limitations on individuals. The eye doesn't to what the hand does; but it works with the hand, and doesn't wander off looking at a chick when the hand is supposed to be guiding the steering wheel! But the Word gives us a great deal of liberty in its silence about what we are supposed to do when we gather. Jesus showed us through the corn-husking on Saturday incident that even God's Word must be interpreted, in favor of its guiding principle, for men to love one another. The Pharasaic mind opens the Book, but shuts men out of the kingdom of heaven; Jesus, on the contrary, said that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man (not to waste on friviolity, but certainly to enjoy the rest).
Any activity can wander off into idolatry; that's why God gives people, through His Spirit, the ability to discern, and a community to help provide discernment.
Man takes rest and pleasure in the works of musical art which we present each Sunday. We make pious noises that they are just "for and to God"; but I don't know why we must make such disclaimers about ourselves. He wants us to enjoy beauty; and artistic beauty that discovers his glory, I personally think, is worthy to be created and displayed as much as the sounds that come from drum, guitar and synthesizer.
and everybody said........

Amen. ;)
Amen !!
This reply is not about whether or not we can enjoy art in a Christian setting, it's a question about the appropriateness of some of it:

Greg - when you said "Any activity can wander off into idolatry; that's why God gives people, through His Spirit, the ability to discern, and a community to help provide discernment", I immediately thought - "whoa to those through whom the stumbling block comes."

Some of the older liturgical traditions have a well defined set of statues and icons in their system and many of their adherents have wandered off into idolatry with these things. But other traditions have no such images and the only idolatry the members will run into is of their own making. But at least their leaders have not placed a physical object in front of them that intentionally represents some aspect of God.

So when we say, "I painted this dove to represent the Holy Spirit" or "This fire represents God's power", haven't we just given a cause for stumbling to the ones who are weaker in the faith? Is this any different from creating a statue of Jesus on the cross that people bow to? (And people do bow to statues of Jesus.)

You might say, "But Stevo, you're fixated on your guitars, is the maker of them responsible for turning you into an idolater?" That would be a good next question, so my answer is that the statue of Jesus is intended to represent God in some way while the guitar is not. I must guard against loving my guitars above God, nut none of them claim to represent God in any way. As such, there is a very clear line of distinction between the guitar and God. But a statue of Jesus - it's meant to represent Jesus in some small way at least, otherwise, why make it?

One big proviso - I'm only referring to art or sculpture that portrays God or His character as some other thing like an animal or something in nature. It exists today in this current worship art movement, but it isn't all of it. I have in mind things like doves for the Holy Spirit or fire for God's power or a fish for Jesus. How are they not idolatry?

Hey, just fuel for thought - operative word being fuel.
Making God into man's image. This IS going on in churches today here as well as overseas. Man is making God fit into what man wants; with all the limitations as well.
At the end of the day each individual has to check their own spirit and be accountable to God for what we do and for what we don't do. As a creative people we are to love God with our whole body mind and spirit(soul) and with everything we create - dance, art, music, singing, prayer and acting plus other ways. If you moved the art of canvas and painted the walls in an act of worship, then is that wrong too?

As it has been mentioned a cross is ok if it reminds you of what Jesus did ( but you don't worship that- since it's you choice not too), but to some a cross is a stumbling block to them as they understand it differently. But sometimes you will offend someone, somewhere, somehow. You can't keep looking at people to gauge if you are right or wrong . Only god's Word and God's spirit can you get through this world, and only by that discernment can you either paint or play or sing in worship.

Either art or music or dance etc - all these things can be a stumbling block or release for others in worship. The are churches that don't have music or dance or even singing in them. Others have all that and more and are growing in God and number.

If you are in the right place ( only the individual knows) then step back and let God reach others with what you are doing. If it's not the right thing , then you will know real quickly then you have to ask God what He wants.
again, awesome word allan,

sometimes I think the way God moves through christians is shut down by other christians not understanding or it not fitting into their religious box.

This is kinda off topic, but still kinda related..
One of my friends said "God wants us to live by Presence over Principle" (before this opens a can of worms let me explain) haha ...

So Jesus lived by presence, he only did what he heard the father tell him. this is by presence, by principle would be, "jesus spat in the dirt and rubbed it in the blind guys eyes, Now if read that and then said, well the principle behind healing a blind guy is spitting in the dirt and rubbing it in his eyes coz we read that what jesus did, but not hear God say " if you do this he will be healed" thats living by principle, and not presence, as we havnt heard it from God.. Now he also says that if you are not hearing the spirit, then that is the time to go by principle but still to go after "doing what you hear the father say" anyways, i really dont want to start up a crazy fight here, but I just love the thought of people worshiping God in their way that they KNOW blesses his heart. Living by the spirit
Truly fuel for thought! I reread the 2nd commandment in its three forms in the OT, and checked some commentaries, which prefer to refocus on the notion that what was forbidden was to try to represent the invisible God. This is puzzling, because the list of forbiddens includes things in heaven (birds, sun, moon, stars) and on earth (land animals) or water (fish, whales, sea dragons, etc.) But certainly any attempt to picture God falls short of His glory, the only true image being Christ himself (see Colossians).

Think of common pictures of God the Father. From cartoon to Sistine ceiling He is drawn as a frowning Zeus with thunderbolts in his lap and really unkempt hair, the father always looking for an excuse to beat his children. Jesus manages to look clean-cut even with the flowing beard, a truly nice guy and safe with children (except with classic artists, who sometimes saw Him upsetting pigeon-tables and such). It's no wonder that nonbelievers often talk highly of "God and Jesus".

But I doubt seriously that Michelangelo had the slightest thought of downsizing God with His picture of His finger touching Adam's, nor did the Holy Spirit, symbolically coming down like a dove at Jesus' baptism. The fingers synapsing merely illustrates that it was God's hand which had formed Adam; the dove, a familiar symbol of purity. No symbol suffices for everything. If we try to picture a Dove sending Ananias and Sapphira to the cooker, it doesn't work (not too many paintings of that scene!)

We honor God by capitalizing His name. Paul used lower-case "theos" and "pneumatos hagios" to describe the Father and Holy Spirit, but does capitalize "Iesous" the Son -- all names of people are capitalized in ancient Greek. If we asked Paul why he didn't upgrade God's name, he doubtless would say, "I'm writing in Greek, and this is how you write Greek." The vast majority of those who bow towards the statue of Jesus or kiss the Bible would say, "I'm showing respect." Idolatry is the last thing on their mind.

Just a little more fuel for the bonfire:)
Interesting - Did the Holy Spirit look like a dove? It's hard to tell if the simile intended portray bodily form like a dove, or human bodily form with the point of comparison being the descending part. But even so, no dove we create is THAT dove and therefore it's a likeness and potentially an idol.

Lots of things have been surmised about Micky Angelo and his faith and motivation for doing the chapel painting. Do you suppose it was mostly about wealthy patrons and getting paid? Sadly for me, the thought of any human endeavor of that magnitude being "pure" is foreign.

Greg said: ""The vast majority of those who bow towards the statue of Jesus or kiss the Bible would say, "I'm showing respect." Idolatry is the last thing on their mind."

- Perhaps, but isn't the very act of bowing to any likeness of God the part that's abhorrent, regardless of the heart intent? He never said, "you can make a statue of me an bow to it as long as you're thinking of me" - right? I see nowhere that any kind of likeness of Him is allowed for any reason.

But give me your thoughts on this - if a guy commissions a new official symbol in the church and it's a certain statue of Jesus, and some of the members are weak and treat it as an idol, not being able to even pray without it in their hands, isn't the guy who commissioned it partly responsible? Or can he create a waiver form, indemnifying him from all responsibility?


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