The Power of Creativity

I’ve always been intrigued by the account of Adam naming the animals in Genesis 2:19-20. Names in the Bible carry identity, nature, and purpose. We today have the benefit of hindsight.

We’d look at an elephant, for example, and know its nature and temperament. However, for Adam, it was the first time animals ever existed and God wanted him to creatively call out the nature of each living thing.

The Lord wanted to give Adam a sense of ownership in the Garden. He also wanted to partner with His son in the creative process and participate in defining the nature of creation.

I often wondered what was going through Adam’s mind as he set eyes on each animal for the first time. The first man, made in the image of the Master Creator, with the creative nature of God in him, creatively called out the identity and purpose of the animals.

The word ‘creativity’ comes from the root word ‘to create’. We usually associate creativity with people in the field of arts and media. We admire those gifted in that field, see them as extraordinary and become convinced that creativity is not one of our gifts. Thus, we so limit creativity’s expression and shut down the creative ability within us.

What if we’re all supposed to be creative regardless of our field of work? We all remember the school teacher who flowed in his or her creative potential in the classroom, filling us with wonder and inspiration. We were stirred with a passion for the subject and challenged to learn. Yet we also remember the teacher who was just going through the motions, draining the life out of every lesson.

Creativity paints a vivid picture. It tells a story and helps us see with our hearts. God is the Master Creator – creativity is His nature. We’re made in the image of God, He has placed a little of His creative nature within us. What if creativity becomes a way of life and an every day experience?

To be creative is to be on the cutting edge, to do new things or have new ways of doing things. We’re living in times when what we did in the past might not work in the present and the future. Innovation is key in this season. God is doing a new thing. Creativity is for inventors, entrepreneurs, politicians, entertainers, chefs, students, leaders, and even stay-at-home mothers.

Let’s explore a few keys that will help unleash the power of creativity within us:

1. Cultivating Childlikeness
Children are the most creative, imaginative, and free-spirited. They’ve a great capacity to dream and imagine, until growing up and the harsh realities of life tell them to be pragmatic. We stifle creativity when we learn that it’s safer to stay within the box. Instead of being original, we settle for conformity.

Pablo Picasso said this, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Childlikeness releases the freedom to be out of the box, imaginative, spontaneous, original, fun, and joyful. This relieves the burden of performance, productivity, and perfection. It often ends in unexpected moments of innovation and brilliance.

2. Overcome the Fear of Failure
A fear of failure tells us we’re not good enough, not creative enough, not talented enough. It causes us to devalue who we are and what we carry inside us.

We live in a performance culture, convinced that mistakes will doom us to mediocrity. We bought into the lie that creative people never fail, hence failure is proof that we’re not creative.

When we choose to create, we expose our fears. Our creative endeavours are acts of courage. We imprison ourselves to the status quo until we’ve the courage to step out of the boat. To live our lives as a creative journey is to be comfortable with risk and failure.

Creativity is a process of discovering who we are and what God created us to do, not a pursuit of perfection. Perfectionism is a facade we hide behind, because of our fear of failure. We must be comfortable with imperfections, vulnerability, and weakness. Trust that God has placed something unique and brilliant in us.

3. Be Filled with the Spirit
The craftsman Bezalel is recorded in Exodus 31:1-5 as being filled with the Holy Spirit. This happened as he was commissioned to build the tabernacle. It’s interesting that the Spirit didn’t just fall upon the priests or the prophets, but on the craftsmen who were making a structure that would house the presence of God.

When we’re plugged into the Holy Spirit and learn to communicate with Him, He reveals the heart of God to us. Creative strategies and ideas are downloaded. We begin to flow in what surpasses our own imagination and wisdom. We then paint a picture of God’s heart and nature to the world. People will look at us and wonder how we managed to do what we do and conclude that the Spirit of the Holy God is in us.

It’s time that we as believers don’t just play catch up with contemporary culture, but produce something that will transform culture. We carry solutions to the world’s problems and crises. What did God place upon your heart that you want to release to the world? It’s time to dream, take risks, and create.


Pastor Sng Peh Han

Buried or Planted?

This week, two seemingly unrelated events converged on the same day and shed some light into what I’ve been pondering. I received two packs of seeds from the National Parks to grow some edible plants at home, even though I didn’t register for it. I remembered saying to myself grudgingly, “Great! Now I’ve got to find some soil to plant those seeds.” Later that evening, I watched a war movie where the opening scene centred around a small group of US Marines at the cemetery in a sombre mood, surrounding the lowered casket of their fallen comrade.

The next scene showed the soldiers shovelling soil onto the casket, and then it struck me – burial looks no different from planting. Both require some digging and the ‘objects’ are hidden underground, covered with soil. However, for one, death means new life read more…

Rooooooooom!!

Every man who has gone through National Service in Singapore has his own favourite story to tell. Usually, they’re hilarious tales of being ‘tekan’ (disciplined) by their army sergeant. Mine was the room inspection.

It may sound unreasonable now but, back in the day (there I go again), the officer would suddenly show up in our room of 16 men in bunks without warning or appointment. The accompanying sergeant would shout “ROOM!”, the recruits would jump to attention and the officer and the sergeant would then inspect the room.

To the new recruits who had yet to appreciate the discipline, the gruelling drill looked more like an excuse for torture. The inspectors ran their fingers in the most obscure areas like the underside of the table or the top of the cabinet. In a room of Ah Boys who were read more…

Don’t Forget Your Mission

I’m glad the elections are over! Don’t get me wrong, I believe the exercise of our votes is the most fundamental act of a functioning democracy, and it’s a responsibility that we need to take seriously.
 
At the same time, a week is about as much of social media political frenzy I can handle. All of a sudden, everyone has a degree in political science. The coffeeshop political pundits come out in full force. Dubious exposé about various candidates surface, and sound bites suddenly defined a whole person’s life. Of course, elections come with its own share of funnies:
 
“Everyone told me to vote wisely, but I couldn’t find ‘wisely’ on my polling card.” Nandos announced, “We too have an East Coast plan… we now deliver to the East Coast!”
 
read more…

God Is On His Throne

No nation has been spared as the novel coronavirus came onto the global scene like a tsunami. Some have likened the ‘Circuit Breaker’, the nation’s comprehensive stay-home notice for all Singaporeans, as a time of confinement.

A confinement is traditionally associated with a mother recuperating from childbirth. It’s during this period that her strength is given time to renew, and her body to revert to its original state. And, if any thought that things would return to normal post-confinement period of 7 April to 1 June, we all now agree that things are never going to be the same for quite some time, even as we’re now in ‘safe transition’ Phase 2.

Resilience is key as we see the goalposts shift. And it isn’t just here in Singapore, millions are battling a loss of normalcy in their daily lives and read more…

A Plumb Line Cornerstone

As a young boy growing up in rural America, I was around a lot of building projects. Though I couldn’t do much, I’d carry things around the site, help hold a board, or a tool, or take measurements. Occasionally, I got to pound some nails.

Sometimes I’d get to hold or check the plumb line. This simple yet remarkable instrument was used to ensure a vertical line was ‘true’ or plumb. It was employed to make sure what you built wasn’t crooked; that, as the structure grew taller, it wouldn’t topple nor resemble a ‘Tower of Pizza’ (oops, Pisa – effect of being quarantined for too long!).

‘For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel, They are the eyes of the Lord which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.’ Zechariah 4:10

The read more…

The Pain of God

We’re already at the halfway mark of an unprecedented year – a year that nobody in their wildest dreams would have imagined playing out the way it has. Prophets in days past had given us inklings of such probable scenarios, yet the suddenness and magnitude of the devastation which ushered in this new decade was beyond human imagination and comprehension.

The shakings prophesied in the book of Hebrews certainly made a tumultuous entrance with a global bang, shaking everything that could be shaken, and violently!

Thus, it was with a sober spirit that I earnestly pursued the Father’s heart during the 50 days between Passover and Pentecost, inquiring of Him with an expectant heart and open ears. And He graciously revealed not just His plans, but a facet of His heart which took me by surprise. I read more…

Convenient Christianity?

In this ‘new normal’ of the post-Covid 19 era, companies, organisations, and churches must rethink their strategies and reinvent themselves from being a ‘physical organisation with digital presence’ to a ‘digital organisation with physical expressions and locations’. We’re very grateful that our weekday programmes featured on our social media platforms, our online teaching classes, and weekend services have reached people and places far and wide.

Now, with most things being accessible online and on-demand, I can have them delivered to me without leaving home, whenever I want it. But herein lies my concern – the ‘Oh, so convenient’, on-demand, instant gratification mentality.

I’ve not heard of anyone who changed their world (secular or sacred) and impacted their generation by living a ‘convenient life’. All paid a high price to see their dreams, visions, and burdens come to pass.

Imagine waking read more…

Happy 25th Anniversary!

Andy Goh is a pilot who has been in Cornerstone for many years. This week, he posted on his Facebook page a bulletin from the church dated Dec 10, 1995. That brought back so many sweet memories. I love that he has kept this for over 25 years and, if you want to buy it, I hear he is selling it at $10,000. Good buy! Mint condition. 
 
I recall in those days, our bulletins were photocopied, our songs were projected on an overhead projector, and we all had funny haircuts and wore strange clothes. Who could forget the bright and loud fuchsia pink and yellow blazers our ushers donned while proudly serving? But what was so timely was, just a few days ago, we quietly crossed our 25 years as a church. June 2, 1995 was the read more…

Radical Discipleship

Recently, while reading the Acts of the Apostles and preparing to teach a class on it, two characters in the book caught my attention – Stephen, the first martyr of the New Testament Church, and the Evangelist Philip (not to be conflated with the Apostle Philip) were not part of the apostolic leadership. Some may even argue that they’re peripheral to the main narrative of the Book of Acts. Yet their significant acts left a deep impact on my heart.

Stephen was described as being full of faith, power, and the Holy Spirit. He did great wonders and signs among the people. The men who opposed him were not able to resist the wisdom and the anointing by which he spoke. They were cut to the heart as Stephen preached, Saul being one of them. As they stoned him, the read more…

A Mind-Blowing Truth

It seems so easy to gloss over the weightiness of Scriptures because we’ve become so familiar in our Christian walk. I think one Scripture deserves much more attention from all of us.

“To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Rev 1:5-6

With one and half verses and 37 words, John the Revelator postulates something so profound and earth-shaking (I don’t mean to exaggerate here, but I mean it earnestly).
 
Consider the magnitude of what Christ has done for us here:
 
He loved us.
He washed us from our sins.
He washed us with His own blood.
He elevated us to become read more…

Words of Truth

I’ve heard this said, “Don’t mix your words with your mood, you can change your mood but you can’t take back your words.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently complimented our Prime Minister for controlling the Covid-19 situation effectively. It said his words turned out to be meaningful compared to other leaders. Two months after his first speech, we got over some huge bumps in the ‘controlled’ environment.

He communicated the situation to Singaporeans and I don’t think they’ve an easy job manoeuvring through some of the landmines. But what was key was their commitment to communicate, to keep the country in a state of peace and security amid uncertainties.

Our Lord Jesus was a master communicator and people were always amazed at His authority, power, and insights. His words evoked mental and emotional read more…

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