Click the link below to download the PDF.
A brand new celebratory year will be starting in just a few days!
Whether you participated in last year’s Celebration of God or not, we’re so glad to have you with us today.
Today we’re talking about a brand new Christian holiday called Creation Week. It’s the very first holiday of the celebratory year, and it’s pretty awesome.
Now, if you’re not familiar with Creation Week, I want to direct you to the description of this episode. There you will find a ton of helpful links that will provide you all the information you need to get ready for Creation Week.
Also, if you’re new to The Celebration of God, don’t forget to listen to our introductory episodes. Each of them will explain what The Year Long Celebration of God is and how you and your fellow followers of Christ can better give God the worship He deserves.
But before we dive into our worship-focus for this episode, I want to remind you that I would be honored to visit your church and speak to the them about the topics of worship and discipleship. There’s nothing more impactful than life-on-life ministry, and I would love to serve you and your community in that way.
Just check out AMBrewster.com to learn more.
And while you’re logged in to the world wide web, check out our free episode notes, transcripts, and holiday resources at CelebrationOfGod.com.
Now, let’s talk about how celebrating Creation Week to the glory of God can help us make the most of our year.
So, a number of years ago I was reading through the Creation account in Genesis, and I was convicted that many Christians are not taking the Creation Mandate seriously enough.
In Genesis 1:28 God says to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
But — instead — many of our practices are wasteful and destructive.
But — here’s the thing — God hates waste.
Now, we’re going to talk about this more in a moment, but I want to frame today’s discussion by leaning heavily on the Creation Mandate and our responsibility to worship God via our care of the earth.
Christians should be more environmentally conscious than any other group on the planet because God’s children were specifically mandated to steward it.
And yes, I recognize how easy it will be for some people to reach for the pause button right now because they grew up in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and were taught that only hippies and liberals care about the environment. But, in the words of Jack Sparrow, I need to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket.
In the very first book of the Bible, in the very first chapter, to the very first man and woman, God outlined His 5 step plan for man as it relates to the earth He had just created: be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it.
You see, God created this earth, and He commanded man to care for it and use it for His honor and glory. That was part of the way that God wanted mankind to obey Him . . . to worship Him.
God, not Green Peace, has called us to ecological stewardship. God, not Greta Thunberg, is the reason we need to reevaluate how we steward this planet.
But — after saying all of that — you may still have your reservations about me. You sat down to listen to a podcast about celebrating God, and now you’re wondering with what is this tree-hugging, dirt-worshipping fanatic trying to brainwash you. But, really, friends, we need to acknowledge some of God’s truth on the subject, and genuinely see how it may affect our families.
1. The Creation is Good.
Contrary to ancient philosophers, this mortal coil we carry is in fact a beloved creation of God. The Creation account dispels any notion that this universe was anything other than “good.” Yes, since then it’s been mangled by sin, but nowhere in the Bible does God lead us to believe that His creation has somehow lost the value it had when it was perfect. Yet there are two things in particular that drive many Christians away from creation.
Modern technological advances have reared a generation of young people completely detached from the living creation. I was the director of a camp for seven years and cannot tell you the number of children I’ve seen blanch at the thought of sitting in the grass to eat a picnic lunch. It’s sad that nature has become this place that must be tolerated in the few short seconds it takes to get from building to a vehicle and back again.
This is why I strongly encourage you and your disciplees to spend time in nature. Should you do this during Creation Week? Of course! But should you do it every Christ-honoring opportunity you get? Definitely.
Another consequence of our post-industrial age is that most of us don’t need to know how anything is made in order to enjoy it. I’ve joked that in the advent of a zombie apocalypse, I would be relatively no good in trying to rebuild this country in that I have no skills in carpentry or engineering cell towers. But I do know about food production . . . and I think that’s more important.
Unfortunately, most people I run into have no idea about farming, gardening, hunting, fishing, beekeeping, or anything else that can meet the basic needs of human sustenance. Sometimes the ignorance is understandable in that the person has never had to think about it, but sometimes the ignorance is intentional, and that’s sad.
Our Creation Week celebration should remind us that the creation is good because its Creator is good.
And that’s why . . .
2. God Wants His People to Steward the Earth.
Part of God’s stated purpose in creating man was that we should “rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” The Hebrew word translated “rule” means literally to exercise dominion over and subdue. It’s a strong word with a precise definition.
Man was created — in part — to possess this creation. This mindset, however — removed from the entire canon of Scripture — may produce an abusive ecology of stripping and wasting. But the Christian knows he must not subtract a single verse and interpret it apart from the rest of God’s revealed truth.
For this reason we must dig deeper than the common passages concerning the environment.
Therefore, I want to talk about Intelligent Stewardship.
Leviticus has much to say about rotating crops, letting the land rest, and allowing plants to grow in healthy, profitable ways. Nothing should be attempted ignorantly. We see in Scripture that wisdom learns, understands, applies that learning to life, and then learns some more. We must be knowledgable about this earth and how God desires it to work.
But we also need to talk about Efficient Stewardship.
It’s true that I Corinthians 14 is talking primarily about the use of spiritual gifts in the church, but it’s also clear from the entirety of Scripture that God is a God of order. This cannot apply only to speaking in tongues and prophesying. He created the world in an orderly fashion, He desires worship and service to be orderly, and He commands us to redeem the time and count the costs. When we disrupt the normal created order to mass-produce unhealthy products for the grasping fingers of consumer-oriented mini-kingdoms, we dismiss the way God intended His creation to function.
We should also talk about Gentle Stewardship. Our concept of fairness is generally not biblically informed, and yet the command to be gentle applies not only to people, but it also has application to our animals. In I Timothy, Paul acknowledges the practice of not muzzling an ox as it threshes because even the animal is deserving of remuneration for its work. He was specifically quoting Deuteronomy 25:4.
Now, please understand, we do have the right to kill animals in order to put food on our plates and provide for our necessities, but I believe the Lord is not glorified by inhumane treatment of animals. There is no reason to cause an animal to suffer by spending its entire life lying in its own feces just so everyone can have bacon on Saturday.
So, with this kind of stewardship in mind; stewardship that is intelligent, efficient, and gentle, I developed the concept of Sanctified Sustainability.
And — like everything in The Celebration of God — this is less about things and more about God. This is less about the earth and more about the biblical principles concerning wastefulness. This is about worshipping God by not wasting what He has planned for us this year.
So, let’s talk about how understanding and following the Creation Mandate can help us have an enriching Creation Week . . . and also — the rest of the year.
1. God is to be worshipped, not nature.
Please hear my words: DO NOT MAKE AN IDOL OF CREATION. I don’t care how worthy the cause, if you devote more time and energy and money to it than you do to Christ, you are worshipping the creation instead of the Creator.
Romans has some very uncomfortable things to say about people in that position. Our ecology — along with everything else — must be motivated by our love for God. We should work to reduce pollution because we love God. We should protect endangered species because there’s absolutely no Christ-honoring reason they need to be wiped out.
God must be at the center of all we do. He is the motivation. His glory must be our sole goal.
This approach teaches us that nothing is more important than God’s will. Everything we do needs to conform to His purposes.
2. Waste is to be avoided at all costs.
As I mentioned earlier, waste is a sin.
Christians are to do our best at all times in all things. Wasting food, money, time, holiday celebrations, and resources is a sin.
This is reason enough to cook only what will be eaten. This is why we shouldn’t buy clothes simply to throw them out when our favorite designer creates a new line. This is why we use the technology with which God has blessed us to spread His truth, not merely binge watch our favorite shows.This is why it’s displeasing to the Lord when we selfishly consume the pleasures of our vacations for our own glory.
Now, I really want to sit on this point for a few minutes because humans are, above all things, most wasteful. And the theme of this episode is about not wasting our new celebratory year.
So, let us count some of the ways humans waste their lives:
A. We squander the basic resources God generously bestows on us to accomplish His will.
Our heavenly Father lavishes us with money, land, houses, appliances, furniture, vehicles, devices, recreation, and food. Some families scrape pots, keep bees, grow food, shop at resale stores, reduce, reuse, and recycle because God has commanded that they be stewards of this world. They want to be intentional, sustainable, stewards of God’s creation. They recognize that all forms of wastefulness are sin. Whether it’s money or time, we must redeem it.
During The Year Long Celebration of God where we recognize that God deserves our worship every moment of every day, we must realize that how we use and steward our possessions is either going to glorify God or it will glorify ourselves.
Taking time during Creation Week to talk about the amazing tangible gifts God’s given us is great, but we should also talk about how we can steward those gifts in a way that pleases Him. And that conversation needs to continue past Creation Week and impact the rest of our year.
But it’s not just possessions we tend to waste.
B. We waste the time and talents given to us to praise our Savior and point all eyes to Him.
I am daily burdened by the people I meet pouring their entire beings into sharpening their minds, building their skill-sets, and earning their degrees just to get a job. It’s sad. We have such a higher calling.
Have you ever noticed that in the Bible it doesn’t matter whether they are a king, evangelist, beggar, or prophet — it only mattered what they did for God.
No one’s vocation means anything outside of its usefulness in accomplishing God’s plan. This doesn’t mean a singer has to sing only sacred songs, but it does mean that God had better get the glory.
Consider that while you sing to God during Creation Week, but also consider it when you sing at church and in the car.
C. We fritter away the daily grace and Spirit empowerment the Lord provides.
God has promised moment by moment escapes from temptation. Every morning a daily helping of mercy waits for us beside our beds. The Holy Spirit is constantly interceding for us with petitions we don’t even know we need. Jesus is our perpetual advocate before the Father. And yet despite all that, we return to our sin-vomit. And then we ask God where He was when we “needed Him most.”
God hates it when we waste the empowerment He provides. The only way we will be able to worship God every day this year is by His grace and power. We desperately, eternally need Him in order to please Him.
This reality is one of the foundational building blocks of our entire faith, and we must not allow the reality to be wasted.
D. We waste God’s absolute truth in the market place of ideas, hastily trading it for pathetic lies.
From the words “In” to “Amen,” the Bible contains every command, principle, proverb, and answer to life. But instead of washing our minds with Its truth, ever-minding Its precepts, and utilizing Its life-changing power . . . we log on to Twitter to be told how to live. We’d sooner pattern our lives after our favorite fictional characters than after the God-Man, Jesus Christ. We bow at the shrine of the PhD and offer incense to our woke professors even when they speak contrary to God’s revealed will.
We cannot hope to celebrate God during Creation Week or any other week of the year if we’re going to wastefully substitute His Truth for Failure Philosophies.
And, lastly . . .
E. We throw away God’s gift of salvation by rejecting it or hiding it under a bushel.
This is the greatest waste of all. Of all the beauty in the Bible, the Gospel stands as the pinnacle of all-encompassing truth. Yet, we hide it under the commonplace bushels of our cubical walls, backpacks, and status updates. Even worse are those who take the shed blood of Christ and pour it onto the ground as an act of rebellion toward God and hatred of His sacrificial act of love. The greatest waste in the universe is the rejection of salvation.
But for those of us who are professing followers of Christ, when we don’t engage in evangelism and discipleship, we’re wasting the Gospel.
That’s why we put such a huge emphasis on not only personally worshipping God all year, but also helping others do the same.
When I teach my kids that waste is poor stewardship, it engrains in them a mentality that’s all too foreign to America. It not only teaches them to use their resources wisely, but it also instills contentment.
Instead of destroying their toys because they’re too rough and inconsiderate, they learn to cherish what they own. Instead of buying the newest game system and just throwing the other away, they learn some business skills as they sell the old system, or — better yet — they learn to bless others by giving it away. Instead of filling their rooms with toys and clothes and technology they rarely use, they learn to enjoy what they have to its fullest. Instead of squandering spiritual realities like protection from sin, peace, grace, and the plethora of other promises God offers, our disciplees learn to thrive in them.
Alright, so Sanctified Sustainability says that God is to be worshipped, not nature, and waste is to be avoided at all times. But it also teaches us two other lessons.
3. Resources must be used to the best of their ability.
Allow me to focus my illustration on creation. Of course, this truth is applicable to all we do.
Why do we spend so much money on grass? Have you ever really considered the resources you pour into keeping your lawn looking like a shag carpet? To what end? Aesthetics? What if each lawn became a garden with multiple purposes? What if it not only was a gorgeous display of God’s creation, but also produced food and encouraged beneficial animals and insects to flourish there? I’m sure your money could be used in greater ways for the cause of Christ than merely keeping your lawn pretty.
This mindset is as valuable for us and our disciplees because we must learn to weigh carefully what we’re going to do with our money. Yes, how we spend our money is also an act of worship. Are we pleasing the Lord with the stewardship of our funds, or are we sacrificing to the god of self?
I love challenging my son and daughter to consider the spiritual realities behind their purchasing. Do they need it or want it? If they want it, is it a good use of the limited funds they have? If they purchase it, do they realize what their responsibility is to not waste it because they’re bored with it two days later?
Please understand, I don’t prohibit my children from buying trinkets, but I do help them navigate the mental labyrinth necessary to live in light of God’s Word in an advertising-soaked society trying to exaggerate their discontentment and coax them to purchase things that will be a waste of God’s resources.
And finally . . .
4. Abuse must stop; conservation must start.
I dislike animal mills because not only do they mass produce unhealthy, low-quality meat for the protein-packed menus of obese Americans, but they also subject the animals to appalling conditions.
Again, I don’t support PETA, and I think people go way too far personifying animals, but I don’t believe the Christian can truly glorify God when he eats if he blithely ignores the fact that God’s creation is being abused to provide his heart-disease on a bun.
This is also the reason I keep bees. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating up to 3/4ths of the food we eat, and yet no one can figure out why all the bees are dying. I say,“no one,” but of course, I mean “no one with something to lose by admitting what’s really killing the bees” has any idea. Conservationist and environmentalists seem to know that GMO’s and pesticides are to blame, and yet we turn a blind eye to the problem because the average Christian American is too lazy . . . to learn. What needs to happen before we step up?
I love the repercussions of this philosophy in my life, home, and church community because, not only does it teach kindness, generosity, and gentleness to God’s Creation (including humans), but it also demands that we do our research.
You see, the Christian must never commit to a life-choice without knowing the spiritual implications. We really are like sheep. We just do whatever the sheep in front of us did without questioning why. But the Bible repeatedly demands that we be wise, discerning, thoughtful, and careful. Eating or wearing or buying or utilizing something without researching can land us in compromising situations.
I believe this is why so many professing Christians are okay with homosexuality and abortion. They haven’t really studied what God’s Word says, so they parrot the talking-head they like the most.
We mustn’t do that, and — if we love our fellow disciples — we mustn’t allow them to meander through life that way without reproof.
I love to hear my counselees present biblical rationale for their choices. I thrill to watch my son weigh the world’s thinking against the Bible’s wisdom. We need to teach other followers of Christ to enjoy learning and excel in research, or who knows what they’ll embrace.
So, as we prepare for Creation Week, here are some important points.
1. Make sure you check out CelebrationOfGod.com to download our Creation Week Bible reading.
That resource is very important for preparing our hearts before the holiday as well as celebrating during the holiday itself.
But . . .
2. We need to ask ourselves a heart-probing question. Are we going to take seriously God’s command to rule over this world with all of the biblical requirements of a faithful steward?
For many of you, this may be a call to buy organic, raise bees, have a garden, or start a blog to teach people about sanctified ways of eating, living, and sustaining what God has given us. Those are specifically creation-oriented applications.
But for most of us, the call to Sanctified Sustainability is a call to do 3 simple things:
1. Know God’s Word.
If you don’t know God’s thoughts on our stewardship responsibilities for this planet, how can you keep them? If you don’t know how God expects you to steward your spiritual resources, you’ll never experience the joys He has prepared for you.
2. Understand the truth about your food.
There’s a two-fold application to this point.
First, can you “eat or drink . . . all to the glory of God” if you don’t know your food has been abused, made unhealthy by over-ambitious genetic engineering, or created in a wasteful manner?
And second, consider your spiritual food. As we fill our physical bodies with physical food that will only hurt our health, we also neglect the spiritual food of Scripture study and prayer. We’re physically and spiritually emaciating ourselves!
Glorifying God with our physical food requires doing some research, but glorifying God with our spiritual food is so much simpler. He’s already told us what the healthy diet is . . . now we just need to consume it.
Pray without ceasing, fall in love with spending time with God in the Scriptures. You won’t regret it!
And . . .
3. Don’t waste.
There is no excuse for any of us to add to landfills because we feel we “need” a new couch when our old one is perfectly fine. Sell it. Give it away. But consider whether or not that’s the best thing God want’s you spending your money on.
Also, imagine the sadness that will overwhelm our hearts when we stand before our Lord and find that though we cared very much for sharing the gospel and providing for the needy, we greatly displeased our God by not glorifying Him in our eating and drinking and day to day living.
But even more important than all of that, don’t waste God’s gift of salvation. Don’t waste the time He’s given you. Don’t waste the spiritual gifts with which He’s blessed you. Don’t waste the grace and power He daily offers for you to worship Him . . . instead of yourself.
Waste is an act of self-worship; redeeming and stewarding in a Christ-honoring way is an act of God-worship.
And that’s what all Christians should want for this new celebratory year.
I hope you’re looking forward to the new celebratory year. I pray you’re excited about starting the Season of Mercy. And I hope you’re gladly anticipating celebrating God during Creation Week, Labor Day, and Grandparent’s Day.
If so, please check out CelebrationOfGod.com. We’re redesigning the website to be easier to search, and we’re always adding new content and resources to help you glorify God better every day!
And since Labor Day happens on the second day of Creation Week and Grandparent’s Day is the very next day after Creation Week, it’s important to prepare for all three! And you’ll be able to discover all of that at CreationOfGod.com.
And one way you can help your fellow disciples glorify God better every day is to share this episode on your favorite social media outlets. Introduce your friends to The Celebration of God so all of you can worship God together this year.
You can hold each other accountable, you can edify and encourage each other, and you can be used by God to sharpen each other.
And the fact that we have a God Who invites us to participate in the maturity and growth of His people is definitely worth celebrating.
And — speaking of that joyous privilege — join us in two episodes as we discuss part four of our “What is Worship?” series. We’ll be talking about Unified Worship and the fact that God does expect us to help each other worship Him better.
If you haven’t heard the previous three parts, be sure to listen to those before part 4 goes live in a couple weeks.
And — of course — join us next time as we talk about a holiday we didn’t really discuss in much detail last year.
Until then, do your best to worship God every moment of every day between now and then.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.