Create-A-Day: your daily dose of creativity #214 — God’s Creative Gift

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National Book MonthAs we wrap up end our tribute to National Book Month, I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce my own book. “Last but not least” as the saying goes!

I wrote God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You in obedience to God’s calling in my life. Frankly, many of the topics I wrote about were thoughts and ideas that wouldn’t leave me alone until I had gently guided them onto paper. It is designed as a Bible study and devotional, great for individual or group study. It is not just for artists but creative folks of all forms, mediums and venues.

The Word of God is vital to our lives. It has much to say to all of us, and more than that, it has much to say to artists and creatives! Discover what God’s Word has to say to you as his masterpiece, his poem, his BEaUtiful creation! If you click here, it will lead you to my store where you can purchase a copy of my book signed with a personal blessing just for you! You can read more about my book here.

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Create-A-Day 2015: your daily dose of creativity

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Just as One-A-Day® Vitamins help restore the nutrients we deplete in our bodies, so too do we need to refill, replenish and renew our creative souls. So in 2015, I will be doing a daily* post to undergird your ministry, to lead you to resources to nurture the creative spirit within, and to draw you more deeply into your worship of Jesus Christ. Starting in January, watch for “Create-A-Day” blog posts. My goal is to provide you, the creative Christian, with over 250* resources to help you develop your ARTistry, CREATivity & capacity for BEaUty. What kind of resources? Books, worship arts ministries, video series, websites, conferences—all geared towards artists, creatives, worshipers and people serving in worship and creative arts ministries.

Whether you are a musician, singer, composer or worship leader; a painter, sculptor, sketcher, photographer or graphic artist; an actor, playwright or film producer; a weaver, potter, seamstres or silversmith; a writer of poetry, prose or non-fiction; a dancer, flagger or abandoned worshiper, I hope to post resources that will help you as you develop the creative gift God has placed within YOU!

So, visit my blog every day* to see what creative resource I’ve hunted down for you. You can stay connected daily by following me on Twitter or Facebook. Or better yet, sign up to receive email updates by clicking the button to the left. We’ll watch the resources pile up as the year unfolds!

** I am a proponent of family time and Sabbath rest so don’t look for posts on weekends or Holidays.

Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You, a devotional book with Bible studies to nurture the creative spirit within and to serve as a resource for creative Christians, artists, musicians and worshippers. She has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader, and creative arts director. She has coordinated artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts and has had the opportunity to perform, teach, choreograph, preach, coordinate and lead workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. She has also recently released a devotional CD called Song of the Beloved.

Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.

“God’s Creative Gift” Inspiring Prophetic Art

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I am deeply humbled by Colleen Brigg’s words in this blogpost about prophetic art. God is calling his artists to rise up, to speak, to make His glory known in this earth. Thank you Colleen for demonstrating courage—the courage to explore, experience and encounter God through your artistic work (which is amazing BEaUtiful)!!

Colleen Briggs

Whatever It Takes; 2014; 28" x 20"; watercolor. Whatever It Takes; 2014; 28″ x 20″; watercolor.

“Art is the language of the soul.” With these words, one of my lifelong friends exhorted me as I wrestled for years with an insatiable need to express myself visually. For decades I tried to suppress this language, feeling it could not urgently or adequately address the evils I witnessed in the world. It felt too slow and clumsy to reverse urgent emergencies such as poverty or abandonment. But it was a language that swelled within my being and refused to be silenced. Aristotle said, “A soul never thinks without a picture.” My own soul craved color, texture, pattern and images; and no matter how fast I trotted around the world or how passionately I tried to speak in other ways, it was a soul-whisper that would not be denied.

At times when I surrendered to my native “tongue,” images hounded me…

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“God’s Creative Gift” Book Review by Artist & Speaker David Weiss

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Book review of my book from Dave Weiss of AMOKArts

AMOKArts


For the last month and a half I have been using God’s Creative Gift-Unleashing the Artist in You: Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within as my devotional and it has been a real blessing. I got the opportunity to meet Jody Thomae in May when I did Pictures of Jesus at her church Five Stones Community Church, but we actually met online when I saw a Facebook post about this book and decided to look into it. It’s a really wonderful book.

Jody Thomae manages to walk the thin line of having a book that is both scholarly and accessible. This is a very intelligent look at God’s work in His artists today by looking at our very creative God and biblical accounts of creativity. The book’s chapters each begin with an in depth look at their topic and then five devotional studies digging deeper into the…

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YOLO You Only Live Once – Choose the Front Row

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My friend Merri (great name, right?) sent me this captioned photo the other day. It got me giggling… smiling… and then thinking…

The ladies in the front row caught my eyes first—their skirts a-billowing and laughter erupting! They are caught by surprise by the rushing wind, giving them a joyful thrill. One lady has ahold of her hat and if you look closely, the other has hers tucked between her knees. And, oh my! There might be a girdle or two showing. But they are happy, oh so happy!

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The “Nature” of God: A Meditation on Psalm 19 (Excerpt from “God’s Creative Gift”)

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An excerpt from “God’s Creative Gift–Unleashing the Artist in You: Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within.”

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4a)

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Photo by Gayle Martin

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“Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within” Series

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For signed copies of my books,
check out my Square Store!

As Christian creatives, artists, worshipers, and those who appreciate beauty, we must enter into the Word of God on a regular basis in order to hear God’s voice firsthand, for ourselves. We must study, know and memorize His word so that we can recognize His voice among all the other voices in this world. We must know the choreographer of our steps… the designer of all our designs… the Creator of our creative heart, soul, mind and body… the author and perfecter of our faith.

And we must know Him intimately.

The Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit series was written as an end towards this goal… to encourage those who are moved by artistry, beauty, creativity and worship to dig more deeply and mine the treasures contained in the Written Word of God so they can understand more fully the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ. While these books are filled with wonderful information about the Bible, they were designed to transformational, not informational in nature.

There are two books in the series: The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful and God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You.


The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful

“So much beauty for ashes and diamonds in the rough are offered through these well written devotional pages. A must for those broken creatives who need to find hope to be restored!” ~ Randall Flinn, Founder/Artistic Director of Ad Deum Dance Company

What if you could gather up all the shattered and scattered pieces of your broken heart and surrender them to a Master Artist who would then piece it back together into a BEaUtiful work of heART? A powerful kind of…
Kintsugi of the Soul

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a lacquer mixed with powdered gold. When an object is broken, rather than discarding the damaged and broken, the pieces are mended, and cracks are filled with precious metal and, in many ways, make the object more beautiful than it was at the start. As a philosophy, it is rooted in the inherent beauty of all objects, no matter what they’ve endured.

The philosophy behind kintsugi is the same one that inspires this book.

Kintsugi is a powerful metaphor of Jesus Christ, the Master Artisan, filling and healing the shattered places within. As the broken places are tenderly pieced back together and repaired with his golden healing balm, they become a beautiful place where God’s glory is revealed in our weakness.

Book Front

Cover designed by Donna Godwin

The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful is my second book in the Bible Studies to Nurture the Create Spirit Within series. In it you will discover a path to wholeness, healing, and restoration with a focus on artistry, beauty, creativity and worship. Based on the Formational Prayer Model developed by Dr. Terry WardleThe Creator’s Healing Power is an in-depth and interactive Bible study exploring the connection between healing and creativity, prayer and redemption, surrender and beauty, worship and wholeness.

Designed in an 8.5 x 11″ workbook format, The Creator’s Healing Power is designed as a devotional Bible-study that focuses on a creative process towards wholeness, healing, and restoration. Each chapter is comprised of two sections: the beginning of each chapter is intended as foundation for the subject area, and the end of each chapter has a series of five devotionals related to that subject area. The chapters are as follows: Awakening, Resting, Confronting, Lamenting, Encountering, Journeying, and Adventuring. Each chapter includes poetry, coloring pages, and testimonies from fellow artisans on the healing journey.

Are you ready for Jesus to restore the broken places within?

You can find a Bible study excerpt from the book here and another excerpt here.


God’s Creative GiftUnleashing the Artist in You

“A necessary book for every creative spirit.”  —Sarah M. Wells, Writer, Author & Poet

God's Creative Gift by Jody ThomaeGod’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You was written as the first book in the Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within series. It is a devotional resource for the creative Christian, those in worship arts ministry, and those moved by artistry and beauty. It is intended for both professional and lay artists, for the casual crafter and creative hobbyist, for those in both sacred and secular settings. It is for those who see things where others do not, for those whose imaginations cannot be confined by religious dogma and tradition. It is for musicians and singers, painters and sculptors, dancers and dramatists, writers and poets, craftsmen and women, carvers and weavers, graphic designers and film editors, photographers and filmmakers, architects and designers. Whatever your craft or artistic bent—whatever the level of expertise—if you are a Christian artist or creative, this book is for you.

Originally I had planned to write a book specific to the area of sacred/liturgical dance, but as I began to write I found that much of what I wanted to say applied to all area of the arts. I began to see that movement was as much a part of the visual arts as painting and that painting was as much a part of dance as movement. I began to see the creative and the Creator in the architect and the weaver, the singer and the songwriter, the sculptor and the welder. I began to see inspiration for craftsmen and women of all types of mediums and materials—silversmiths, woodworkers and jewelry makers. I realized that video editors, filmmakers, graphic designers and photographers all captured beautiful, sacred moments in a way that was divinely artistic. God opened my eyes to see that the “artist” was so much more than just those who work in the area of fine arts. I also knew that God wanted to inspire all of these people, not simply because they were creative, but because they were made in His beautiful image.

The book is designed as a seven-week devotional Bible-study that focuses on unleashing the artist within each of us. It is designed to help you draw your creativity and inspiration from a Deeper Source. Each chapter is comprised of two sections: the beginning of each chapter is intended as foundation for the subject area, and the end of each chapter has a series of five devotionals related to that subject area. The first chapter looks at Genesis 1 and the role of Creation and creativity in the life of the artist. The second chapter looks at John 1 and the role of Incarnation in the ministry of the artist. Chapter three begins to explore the idea of a Theology of Beauty. Chapters four and five cover, respectively, the Priestly and Prophetic Roles of the artist. Chapters six and seven focus on the creative process as a way of Prayer and Seasons in Your Spiritual Life.

It is my prayer that these subjects, their related devotional studies, and the transparency with which I write will help the creative Christian know the Master of All Creators more intimately. My hope is that you will “embody” these ideals in order to understand why every action, movement and step; every vocal inflection, mime or character portrayed; every note, harmony and song; every brushstroke, color and hue; every pinch of clay and turn of the wheel; every word, metaphor or literary device; every graphic, photo, angle and frame; every choice you make as a creator of art, has meaning—for the audience, the artist and, most importantly, the Divine Artist who is glorified through our humble creative offerings.

You can read an excerpt of one of the Bible studies here.


 Where to find my books . . .

For a more personal option, signed copies of both books can be purchased at my Square Store, where my resources are available most affordably. Additionally, God’s Creative Gift is available through: Wipf & Stock Publishers,  Amazon and in Kindle Format and The Creator’s Healing Power is available through Amazon and Kindle and is offered FREE through KindleUnlimited/KOLL.  If you would like to purchase discounted, signed copies of the books for your creative / worship arts group study, contact me directly at jodythomae@zoominternet.net for bulk rates.


Want to know more about the books?

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I’ve posted excerpts from my books so you can get a feel for them. One is a meditation on Psalm 19 about the “Nature” of God from God’s Creative Gift. You can find that here. The second is a reflection on a very difficult passage of scripture, the rape of Tamar found in II Samuel 13, which is from The Creator’s Healing Power. You can find that here. An additional excerpt is available here.


What others are saying . . .

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God’s Creative Gift is an “incredibly insightful and inspiring book by Jody Thomae [that] is a must for all Believer-artists. I have been enriched by reading through each page and hearing deep truth from the heart of a fellow laborer in the arts.” And The Creator’s Healing Power is “highly recommended!! So much beauty for ashes and diamonds in the rough are offered through these well written devotional pages. A must for those broken creatives who need to find hope to be restored!”—Randall Flinn, Founder and Artistic Director, Ad Deum Dance Company, Houston, Texas

God’s Creative Gift is, simply stated, a beautiful gift for the people of God. Integrating Scripture, experience, and insights from a broad spectrum of scholars and practitioners, Jody Thomae provides a pathway to freedom and well-being available through creative expression. She reveals that we, the creative gift of the Father, hold within the potential to unleash beauty and healing creative gifts as acts of worship to God and healing to one another. An amazing thought!” —Dr. Terry Wardle, Institute of Formational Counseling, Ashland Theological Seminary

“In God’s Creative Gift, Jody Thomae emboldens every artist—amateur and professional, aspiring and accomplished, bold and hesitant—to embrace the power and potential of creativity in all its forms as a mode of worshipping the Creator. Through enriching chapters and devotional studies, artists will grow in deeper understanding of themselves and God’s relationship to their creativity. A necessary book for every creative spirit!” —Sarah M. Wells, author of Pruning Burning Bushes

“This is a wonderfully insightful book [of] excellent theological and biblical reflection that invites its readers to know themselves as created in the image and likeness of God, the Divine Artist. The ‘Digging Deeper’ sections, which enable readers to embody the various themes of the book, add style and grace to her work.”  — Robert VerEecke, SJ, Jesuit artist-in-residence, Boston College

“I own a Christian Dance & Fitness facility and used this book as my Faculty Bible Study book. What a break-through! Some faculty members are gifted in dance, fitness, music, promotion and this book ministered to each of us and our specific fields/giftings. By the time we got to the end of the book dealing with seasons we were in tears. Week after week the Holy Spirit spoke directly to our need, as if we had each individually wrote a special request to Jody on the topics that were covered. Validation! Just to know we aren’t alone in the struggle and definitely not crazy in what we are experiencing in ministry – that alone set us free! If you are in ANY form of Arts Ministry I HIGHLY recommend this book. Blessings to you Jody and everything you endured to come out with this gold nugget. For the passion, endurance and obedience it took to publish this book – the faculty of Faith in Motion in Marion, IN are forever grateful. To God be the glory!” —RaChelle Fears-Neal, owner, Faith in Motion Christian School of Dance

“Jody Thomae is a wonderful creative worshipper that I connected with after ordering her book: God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You which is by far the best Bible Study for creatives AND encouragement I have read in years!”  — Cindy Fort of 12 Tribes Ministries

The Creator’s Healing Power “is a much-needed resource for Christ followers. Many of our church traditions have a strong focus on left-brained theology and teaching, and have left us bankrupt in the area of using the creative process for healing. This resource reads less like a textbook and more like a field manual for those of us in the wilderness of this healing journey. Jody provides clear landmarks for this journey. Prayer, Scripture, poetry, music, art, and sound teaching provide the structure for an intentional pathway of healing. I recommend this resource highly and pray that many will find themselves drawn to the healing light of Jesus through its pages.” — Amazon Reader “Cherished One”

“There are so many books to read and so little time to take it all in. So I skip through different genres, topics, and themes, as my moods change. Many books are quickly forgotten, others offer something, and still others become memorable. If I can glean one good idea that matters from any book I read, then I consider it having been worth my while. The Creator’s Healing Power has more than delivered, falling into the category of a book I will cherish.
It is a Bible study workbook and a slow read, not because it is dense and difficult to understand, but because it is rich. To truly benefit from this book you must work your way through it slowly and thoughtfully. I found it to be more insightful than the usual Bible study, which often tends to be unidimensional.
Intended for creative Christians, this book tackles transforming the brokenness of the human spirit into a work of beauty by yielding to the Holy Spirit. The author has applied the truths in the Bible to her own life and this book is the fruit of her insight gained from experience. This is a well written book that will encourage, uplift and deepen your walk with Jesus.
Following her prompts and references to outside resources like YouTube videos will truly enhance the slow, mediative pace of the journey that she takes the reader on. The theme of restoring the broken to beautiful is gently and delicately dealt within its pages. This book is truly anointed and well worth the read. I would highly recommend it if you are a Christian and would like to, as she puts it, ‘nurture the creative spirit within’.” — Sara Joseph, Artist/Author, Gently Awakened.  Developer / Administrator, http://www.christian-artist-resource.com.


Book Reviews

In Review, “The Bookshelf”
Worship Leader Magazine (May/June 2014, p. 106):
Jody Thomae
 “God’s Creative Gift” from Wipf and Stock

With God’s Creative Gift: Unleashing the Artist in You, Thomae offers encouragement and helps artists of all descriptions mine suppressed creative impulses, embrace hope that may have been diminished by inner self-doubt or outer criticism and to release the beauty hiding or hibernating within. She weaves together Scripture, personal stories, prayers, and references the art and writing of authors, worship leaders, and dancers, delivering a detailed script for devotion and discovery with both suggested “readings” and “listenings.” Writing as an empathetic pastor—and a poet—she explores creativity, incarnational ministry, a theology of beauty, and both the priestly and prophetic roles of the artist. Thomae provides disciplines for deepening your life of prayer and creates a deep and rich experience. Both for individual and group study.”—Andrea Hunter

You can find out how other artists and creatives are interacting with my book by checking out my media page here.