This is Christine.
Her drink is bone broth (now there’s a first for Sips & Scripts!)
My favorite part of my talk with Christine was how many times she stopped to say, “All for you, heavenly father! All glory to you!” She just radiates the love and joy of the Lord.
If you aren’t familiar with Christine’s account on Instagram, The Four Four, let me just say that you won’t find anything else like it. And that is because Christine is not trying to copy or imitate any other account that is out there; she is–as she phrases it–“downloading” her content from the Holy Spirit.
Christine began The Four Four account as a response to God calling her to use Instagram as the vehicle for spreading the gospel. So she does, in her own way using multiple modes of artistic expression to spread the good news.
We chatted about the recent devaluation of art in American society and how there is no greater expression of who we are than when we embody our Creator and let ourselves create. I know you will love what she has to say.
THE POWER OF ART TO RESTORE
“I was severely ill with the very first strain of COVID in March of 2020 and as I was struggling to reclaim my health, the enemy attacked me. These were the things he was telling me:
Your life, your ministry, everything is over. You’ll be lucky to get out of this. PTSD will await you.
Everything was stripped away. All I could do, through rivers of tears, was worship— just listen to music and sermons and worship; it was my life buoy.
I remember telling God that if He healed me, I would do anything he wanted me to do.
I felt Him speak to me very clearly one day: I want you to preach the gospel through social media.
I was full of hesitation because I was still so sick. I could barely get on top of my physical/mental health— on top of being a mother. I didn’t feel like myself or super functional. In addition, I had not had social media for 15 years and was intimidated and concerned about the negatives of social media.
Over the period of a month or two, I kept going back and forth with Him, but the message was clear: I needed to start an online ministry via Instagram.
I said, ‘Ok, Lord. I trust you.’ And that is how our art-filled account, The Four Four began.”
THE POWER OF DOING ART AND MISSIONS AS A FAMILY
“My home life is the foundation for The Four Four.
As a family, we believe in working on missions for the Kingdom together. And that has looked different for us in different seasons; at one point, it meant serving together in children’s ministry for the church. At another, we were serving and evangelizing our neighborhood and hosting revival meetings in our home. So we always do life together, as homeschoolers, and Jesus is always there—in the midst of the messy.
So we jumped into this social media mission. I landed on the theme of God’s unity and the guiding verse was Ephesians 4:4:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (4-5).4-5
We made a homemade logo based on this verse:
I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t understand technology. But I thought— what do I have?
- I have my passion for Christ.
- I have a daughter who is an artist like me.
- And I have always been gifted with words (poetry).
And so we started on Easter Sunday, 4-4-21, which felt like such a confirmation of the Ephesians 4:4 motto. We like to preach what I call the “organic gospel” which means the gospel stripped away from modern politics and religious pretenses and simply focused on God’s Kingdom.
I started by writing up a sermon series, and my 16-year-old daughter would read it over and use her tablet to create the accompanying art.
And to be totally transparent, she is no different than any other teenager in that she and I have differing opinions sometimes. I never pressure her to put out a product if she doesn’t feel inspired— that’s not how our artful worship is meant to be created. But as far as 16-year-olds go, I am incredibly blessed that she is willing to collaborate with me on Kingdom art.
And because I was called to create this account by God, He has provided for every single bit of content! Because it is His and it is my offering of worship to Him, I have never doubted what my voice was supposed to be.
With every step, God shows me the next one. It’s all for Him and from Him and by Him. And that is my greatest joy. This account will always be a testimony to Him! Not to me. It is a testimony to His provision.”
THE POWER OF ARTISTIC COLLABORATION
“I love when genres and modes of art cross-pollinate (visual, auditory, etc.) because it gives more depth and substance to the message. If we can mix artistic styles and collaborate with different artists, it gives the audience an opportunity to be reached in more than one way.
I met the main artist that I collaborate with, Santi, in the most divinely organized way! Santi is in London, UK, and I’m in California, USA, so we had no other bridges into our individual worlds. But somehow, we connected on Instagram. I looked at his art for Christ, and loved his passion for the Lord, even though his art wasn’t exactly the same style as mine. We both are raw, but my art tends to be lighter and his is more dark and edgy. But I was drawn by the Holy Spirit to his work, and he was drawn to my poetry.
I got the sense that Santi was a worshipper even more than an artist, and remember God highlighted this to me so strongly! I could’ve teamed up with any other artist, but God linked us for a reason.
On a whim, I said ‘when I write my next piece of poetry, do you want to draw the art to go with it?’
The Holy Spirit gave him this amazing visual image to go with my poem. We were blown away by what God had done through the two of us, with the outcome of the final project.
And a couple of days later, I realized just how powerful that particular image was for my own testimony. It directly related to my experience of coming out of severe illness and surviving brokenness, and from so many hard circumstances and struggles I’ve had to walk through, and the triumph of the enemy ultimately losing. These are things only God knew and could have impressed on Santi’s heart to depict, because he didn’t know my personal testimony yet.
Our collaborations have always been by the Spirit, with all glory going to God!”
THE POWER WITHIN ALL OF US TO CREATE
“For anyone out there who might be reading this and thinking but I am not an artist— I want to emphasize that art is subjective, like beauty. No one can tell you that your art is wrong or bad. You can still creatively express yourself and get a message out there. And artists shouldn’t compare their art to others’—there is room for all expressions of art. Praise God!
Lately, I have been calling creative people to get their voice and art out there. We need to mobilize all the artists and creatives— without competition— to put the art out there. We need (and I believe are in) an art renaissance: a movement of beauty, light, truth, revelation and exploration that isn’t boxed, caged, or legalistically condemned.
We need to rally the artistic community right now. God will use a gospel-led renaissance in an incredible way. God will touch broken people with it— prodigals, too. We can help people fall in love with the Savior through art, because Spirit-led messages translated through the art will target individuals uniquely.
In light of tragedies like Uvalde (which occurred a few short days before this conversation took place), art can speak boldly, clearly and loudly into these dark situations, bringing reform, validation and expectancy of hope, because art appeals to love, passion, and inspiration– a language that everyone speaks.”
THE POWER OF WHAT ART CAN ACCOMPLISH
“We are made in our Creator’s image as creators. We are in our purest form when we are creating. We are not in a state of striving, we are in a state of being.
The whole point of creativity and the arts is that they are acts of worship to Him. It’s being with Him, and allowing the creative force that He is to flow through us for His glory and adoration which in turn, soothes us and connects us closer to him. Worship diverts attention away from distraction and puts the rightful focus back on Christ. On adoring Him. On trusting Him. On believing He is in control. and And when we get out of the way, we make space for Him to move and do what only He can do!
Art is a reflection of Him. A piece of Him. To be immersed in art and creativity is to be in his presence and be in that place of healing. Art can heal – our physical, mental, and emotional selves.
And last but not least, art brings heaven to earth. We are fulfilling the commission of “on earth as it is in heaven,” by engaging the creative storytelling realm. Art can penetrate the divide between earthly and divine!
In summation, The Four Four is leveraging arts as a vehicle for evangelism. We believe that every human being— believer, atheist, agnostic, etc. is impacted by love, passion, and inspiration, and the arts touch all of that in a powerfully deep way. This is why art is an effective vehicle for preaching the gospel. It’s a language that everybody speaks. Times are dark right now. But if people are open to love, passion, and inspiration, Jesus and the Spirit can get in there and enter through that door!
CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE POWER OF ART
Everything that Christine says about art rings true in my own experience. Engaging with art has been cathartic for me in different periods of my life.
The first time anxiety was severely impacting my life, I met with a Christian counselor. We worked through my triggers and underlying beliefs in a variety of ways. We prayed, we dug into past trauma, and she also had me create a piece of art that reflected a positive emotion.
I bought a little canvas and created a painting of the bottom branches of my childhood Christmas tree and the tree skirt. I chose this scene because when I was young, I used to slide my upper body underneath the tree and look up at the lights from that perspective.
I absolutely loved the feeling of being encompassed by twinkle lights and Christmas tree branches. I felt safe and full of joy and awe.
I still consider the act of creating that little painting as a memorable part of my healing journey. It should come as no surprise that engaging in creativity accesses parts of our brains that can mitigate stress, anxiety, and depression. God made it so. And thank goodness for that.
Creativity will look different for each one of us, but we are never closer to piercing the veil between heaven and earth than when we create.
With His love,
To connect with Christine and The Four Four, click here.
To connect with Santi, click here.