EMBODIED :: CaraMayan

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Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 2.17.09 PMToday I would like to introduce you to an embodied spiritual practice called  CaraMayan. CaraMayan is a way of moving to the Bible for exercise, fitness, worship and prayer.  It is a Christian alternative to Yoga and Tai Chi based on dance and pilates movement. It was created by my friend Mary Jones, founder of the International Christian Dance Fellowship. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and spending time with Mary, and it was an honor to sit under her teaching and fellowship over a meal. She is truly a treasure in the kingdom of God!!

Not sure if anyone’s coined the term “Physio Divina”, but perhaps today is the day we do! In Lectio Divina (sacred reading) we read a passage of scripture several times to savor its meaning. In CaraMayan we experience the same type of meditation, except through physical movement. May you be blessed as you put this into practice.

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EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #7, Hands Clapping

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Clapping – Restoration & Victory

Psalm 47:1-3 – Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet.

Christ the King is our victory. As we shout praises and clap our hands, he stands up against injustice and rights the wrongs in our lives. Let us use a voice of triumph — one that speaks truth, victory, restoration and freedom — even in places of our lives that do not appear victorious. God is in control. Christ is on His throne. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #6, Hands Flat

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Bowing Low, Prostrate with Hands Flat – Submitting

I Chronicles 29:20 – Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the LORD your God.” So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king.

I Kings 18:38-39 – (Elijah) Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD – he is God! The LORD – he is God!” Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #5, Hands to Heart

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands to Heart – Pondering/Treasuring

Job 23:12b – I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

Luke 2:16-20 – Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Treasuring and pondering means taking time to remember all God has done in your life, to consider what He has planned for your life, to look at those gifts/talents that are uniquely yours to do that which God has uniquely designed you for. It is being still and quiet before the Lord.  Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #4, Hands Together

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Together – Prayer

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

When we are anxious, our hands are wringing, but notice the attitudes of thankfulness and watchfulness that are to accompany our prayers. It’s not about what He can give us, but acknowledging and being thankful for what He has already given us and being watchful to see how He will answer our prayers, sometimes in ways we don’t expect. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #3, Palms Up

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Extended Palms up – Receiving

Ezra 9:5-6 – Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God and prayed: “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.”

Ezra is asking for grace and mercy from God. Verse 5a indicates that he is in mourning because of his sin. As we seek forgiveness, we receive forgiveness from God. With palms open before the Lord, we can fully expect to receive what God so lavishly pours out upon his people. We can also receive from others by allowing them to be the hands and feet of Christ when we are in need.

I Peter 5:7 – Cast all your cares upon him because he cares for you. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #2, Palms Down

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Extended, Palms Down – Blessing

Leviticus 9:22-23 – Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people.

As God gives to us, we give to others—we extend our hands to give to and to bless others. As Moses and Aaron blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared—as we bless others, we reveal the glory of God through the generosity of our actions. We are the hands and feet of Christ.

Luke 24: 50-53 – When Jesus had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his Sacred Hearthands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

As the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven, where he was seated at the right hand of the Father to rule and reign over heaven and earth, he extended hands of blessings to his followers to bless them. This blessing brought them great joy—joy that kept them continually in the presence of God. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #1, Hands Raised

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Raised in Praise, Prayer & Petition

I Kings 8:22-23 – Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”

Solomon is 1st giving words of praise to God; 2nd witnessing in front of everyone; and 3rd remembering God’s covenant of love.

I Timothy 2:8 – Therefore I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Here we find hands raised in prayer, and note that it is to be without anger or dispute in your heart. Continue reading

Moving Creatively Through Lent

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Yesterday I posted information on a new series called EMBODIED that starts this Friday, February 16th and goes through Good Friday. Embodied is a 7 week-long exploration of postures of praise & prayer to help us move mindfully through the Lenten season. I will be posting one posture each week (on Friday) to take us through the season of Lent.

In addition, to further help us move through Lent creatively, I will also be posting from the previously featured  “7” Virtual Art-Walk series each week on Wednesdays throughout Lent, as well as reflections from our church’s Lenten sermon series on Monday of each week. The 7 Virtual Art-Walk includes the artwork of Matt Durbin, the poetry of Sarah Wells, and music that all focus on the last 7 words of Christ spoken from the cross. And our church (5 Stones Community Church) will be working with passages throughout Ephesians to help us prayerfully remember and reflect on Jesus during this season. Continue reading

Yoga as a Creative Christian Practice

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Shoulder to shoulder with my Jesus tribe I know that I am accepted and loved, that I belong and that I have found a group of people who have experienced the great love of Jesus Christ…. on a mat… a yoga mat.

Raise PraiseYou ask me how? How can a Christian practice yoga? I mean, isn’t it Hindu? Aren’t you worshiping the sun or Shiva or a weird looking elephant dude… or something? I could tell you that the movements we call yoga in America are actually more closely derived from the exercise regimens of Indian palaces than from the ashrams who adopted them (Science of Yoga, W.J. Broad), but I’m not sure you’d believe me. So I’ll tell you what God told me.

First, let me clearly state that I recognize that not everyone can or should practice yoga. There are people who have had negative experiences with yoga, and I agree 100% that yoga is not the best creative practice for them to adopt. However, that doesn’t mean that it effects everyone in the same negative way (proceeding with wisdom, discernment and caution). For I have experienced the love of God in such strong, powerful and healing way on the mat, that I cannot go along with the notion that a Christian cannot practice yoga. Let me tell you what Jesus has taught me along my journey into yoga…

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #252 — Visioning the Invisible

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VisionAs we wind down our year of creative posts,  I want to direct you to a blog post from my friend Dave Weiss of AMOK Arts entitled “Vision… Can You See it?” This post is a short but powerful word of encouragement to artists and creatives about moving forward in the dreams, callings, visions and destinies to which God is calling you.

It is my prayer that as this year unwinds you will seek the Lord’s guidance and will for the coming year. What creative destiny has He placed on your heart? What has He called you to for the season ahead? Make yourself “present” to God and seek what he has for you in this present moment! Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #249 — What is Christmas?

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What is the true meaning of CHRISTmas? I know this can be a difficult season for many. There is only one way to be truly fulfilled in this season:

Clayton Jennings is on a mission to #TellTheWorld about the saving love of Jesus Christ. One way in which he does this is through powerful videos like the one above. Another way is through spoken word:

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #233 — Music & Memories

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Mark SchultzToday I’m sending you over to Dave Weiss’ blog at AMOK Arts to a post he did for CHRISTmas last year called Tell a Better Story: Mark Schultz… Different Kind of Christmas.

May you be blessed by this BEaUtiful song and the story behind it. And may you remember to reach out to those who’ve lost loved ones this past year with love, grace and compassion.

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #216 — Advent Illustrated

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Sara laughedI LOVE the idea I’m sharing today! Sara Laughed is a fun and creative blog and this year she is doing a Bible journaling challenge called Advent Illustrated. Throughout the Advent season (from November 29th to December 24th), Sara will share a Bible verse, starting with Genesis and extending to the nativity story. She will also provide creative prompts for folks who need a little bit more inspiration. Everyone is encouraged to share their art journal project on her Facebook page or on Instagram with the hashtag #AdventIllustrated. Continue reading

Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #209 — A Million Little Ways

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National Book MonthNational Book Month is winding down! I hope you’ve found some new resources to add to your creative library!!

Today’s book for your library is A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman. I gleaned this BEaUtiful gem of a quote from her blog post about how a five word email turned into a book:

“I don’t write as an expert – I’m not sure there is such a thing in deep matters of the soul. I write as a fellow image bearer, an intuitive observer and participant in the art of God.Million Little Ways

I see artistic potential in not only those pursuits the world would label artistic like painting and singing and dance, but also in small gestures done with great faith, like listening, waiting, and showing up.

There is an art alive within you and you don’t have to go anywhere to find it. Because the art alive within you was woven into the fabric of your soul when you were made in the secret place. Doubt, discouragement and distraction may be covering it up, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. When believers embrace the unique shape of their soul and move into the world as the person we most fully are, art comes out.”

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #201 — Gently Awakened

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National Book MonthWe continue National Book Month with more books for artists, creatives and worshipers!

Gently Awakened: The Influence of Faith on Your Artistic Journey by Sara Joseph is a wonderful book of transparency from the heart of an artist who has surrendered her gifts to God! Sara shares her passion behind writing this book:

“Aware of how testimonies always encouraged me, whether Gently awakenedI heard them in church or read them in a book, I wondered if perhaps my story would encourage someone else. This book is part memoir interspersed with color images of art and poetry. It is an account of some of my experiences as an artist and a testament to God’s incredible faithfulness. His unchanging character is reason enough for you to confidently pursue art as an expression of your faith.”

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #200 — Journeyartfully

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National Book MonthNational Book month continues with books for creatives, artists and worshipers!

Pattie Ann Hale is the author of Journeyartfully: Secrets for Living an Artful Life. Here is the description from her website:

“This thought-provoking and life-shifting book by artist and Journeyartfullyteacher, Pattie Ann Hale, is an invitation to live artfully. The artful life is a deeply spiritual life which brings those who will embark upon it into a deeper understanding of creation, God’s heart, community, and themselves. This book will open one to new doors of creativity, love, soulfulness and spiritual encounter through the sacredness of everyday living, seeing divine nature in the entirety of life.”

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #190 — Breath for the Bones

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National Book MonthOctober is National Book Month so from now to the end of October we’ll be focusing on books for artists, creatives and worshipers!

Breath for the BonesIn Breath for the Bones (Art, Imagination and Spirit:
A Reflection of Creativity and Faith) author Luci Shaw “challenges all of us to re-think how faith informs art and art can animate faith. Here is a fresh breath of encouragement to imaginative minds. . . . A clear guide to the theological framework of creativity and the call for active participation in God’s own creative life.”

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #189 — Windows of the Soul

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National Book MonthContinuing our book focus for the rest of September and October . . .

In Windows of the Soul, author Ken Gire proposes that art, poetry, scripture, movies, writing, nature, tears and depression are all windows given to us by God to see into our own souls. Imploring his readers to look with more than their eyes and to listen with more than their ears, he says:

“We must be aware, in all Windows of the Soultimes and in all places, because windows are everywhere, and at any time we may find one. Or one may find us. Though we hardly know it . . . unless we are searching for him who for so long has been searching for us.”

Published in 1996, it has helped readers find themselves through the many creative avenues that we hold so dear. My pastor mentored through this book during my time as worship pastor at our church. It’s a great tool for individual or group study, as well as for spiritual mentoring and direction.

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Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #188 — The Impressionist

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National Book MonthContinuing our September/October focus on books for creatives, The Impressionist is a novella by Tim Clinton and Max Davis all about becoming the masterpiece you were created to be.

The jacket cover reads:

Middle aged, disappointed and self-loathing, Adam Camp is anything but the picture of a successful man. With his wife threatening to leave him and Impressionisttheir son addicted to drugs, Adam teeters on the verge of absolute despair—questioning his own existence and purpose for living.

After an explosive argument with his wife, Adam searches for an escape as he sets out on a journey that will dramatically recolor his world. While walking through the city park, Adam is approached by an old painter. The mysterious artist convinces Adam to let him paint his portrait and what happens next is nothing short of a masterpiece.

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