Christian Praise Dance is much more then movement and music. It is a journey into the heart of God such that we enter as dancers, and come out as praise dancers captivated by His love for us.
The focus of our teaching centers on helping you discover that deep intimate place in the Heavenly Father's heart as well as becoming more aware of the barriers that keep you from that intimacy.
- The Religious Spirit
- The Religious Spirit
- Growing in Intimacy with God
- Rediscovering the Love of Abba Father
Unmasking the Religious Spirit
By Daniel Holmes
The term “religious spirit” comes from the spirit in which the religious leaders of Jesus day operated. Jesus referred to them as “experts in the law” who, among other things, “crush people with impossible religious demands” (Luke 11:46) They knew nothing of intimacy with God and prevented others from knowing the same. Although they were learned in the Scriptures they did not know the God of the Scriptures. Instead they made knowing God an impossibility by heaping rule upon rule on the people. The result was that the people believed God was always angry and disapproving of them. Shame and guilt plagued them as they were constantly being accused of falling short of the mark.
Even Peter, one of Jesus disciples, had quickly given ground back to this religious spirit. Paul, in Galatians 2, tells of how he publicly rebuked Peter because he was eating with the Jews for fear of what they would think of him if ate with uncircumcised Gentiles. In other words, Peter was starting to believe that Christ’s work on the cross was not enough and that one also needed to be circumcised for forgiveness of sins. Peter had so quickly forgotten that “a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ and not by obeying the law” (Galatians 3:16)
This same religious spirit lives on in our day seeking to gain ground in our lives. Its main objective is to draw us away from intimacy with God our Father. It seeks to move us to live from a legalistic righteousness that “earns” the righteousness and favor of God through obedience. This is especially true for the praise dancer. The freedom and intimacy so openly displayed is offensive to this spirit that only wants to crush and lay heavy burdens on others.
This spirit draws us away from the Heavenly Father by causing us to stumble and then accusing us. Guilt and shame overwhelm us. We believe the lie that the Father is disapproving of us and we run far from Him. Although we know we are forgiven, we buy into the belief that we have to “prove” to God how sorry we are and we promise to do better the next time. However this circle of failure repeats itself and we feel even more unworthy of the Father’s love. A downward spiral away from God is set in motion.
Expose Its Influence in Your Life
What ground has this spirit gained in your life? Are you developing the habit of constantly running into the arms of the Father in all circumstances? Have you forgotten that “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to cleanse you from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) Apart from deliberate wilful sin, that religious spirit has no grounds upon which to accuse you. We are completely forgiven, not based on how we feel, but on God’s declaration that we are.
Yes, we all have areas in our lives that we struggle to overcome. Is this not the reason that God calls us overcomers, for in due time, He will bring us to that place of overcoming. If you feel condemnation you are listening to the wrong voice. The Father never condemns “those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)
Forgiven and Dearly Loved
He does not disapprove of you. He is only as far as a hug away. You are forgiven and dearly loved! So put on your dancing shoes, and worship the Lord with all your might. “Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law” (Galatians 5:1)
Unmasking the Religious Spirit: Part 2
Rules, Rules, Rules
By Daniel Holmes
Born to be free
There is such freedom in the art of a young child. Provide her with colorful paints, big fat brushes, a paper canvas, and she will create masterpiece after masterpiece for you. No one ever taught her that she is supposed to paint between the lines, that red does’t go with purple and that you should’t let the paint drip on the canvas. She don’t know there are any rules. She only knows to paint… not, how not to paint. Created to be free, she plays and paints from that place.
The worship of rules
There is a place for rules, but the religious spirit lives and breathes them. They not only love them, they get really bothered by those who break them. The Pharisees were not watching Jesus closely to learn from him, or be in awe of the miracles He was performing. They were watching for one reason only...to see if and when He would break one of the rules.
- Why are your disciples not fasting?
- Why are you healing on the Sabbath?
- Who do you think you are to forgive others?
- Why do you eat and drink with sinners?
Freedom in Him
As a praise dancer, we should take time to ask God to reveal areas in our life where we have allowed that spirit to find ground. For good reason Jesus warned the disciplies to "beware of the yeast of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducess".(Matthew 16:10) It will rob you of your freedom in Christ as a praise dancer. Do you reconize and of these voices?
- "You are so full of pride when you dance."
- "You need more training before dancing in church."
- "You don't really love God so why pretend you do. Go sit down."
- "Remember that sin you fell into yesterday. Better not worship today."
- "You dance is a distraction to the people trying to worship."
The yeast of the religious spirit condemns. The bread of Jesus brings life. Learn to recognize whose voice you are listening to. Freedom does not mean to rebell against leadership in our churches and dance as we may outside of the boundaries they have asked us to respect. Some churches ask you not to dance on the platform, others, not at the front, and still others, not at all! . However, to the extent we are permitted to worship in dance, we should not submit ourselves to this religous spirit in it's attempt to cripple us in our outward expression of love to God.
Growing in Intimacy with God
By Daniel Holmes"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for thee, O God." (Psalms 42:1)
Born for Intimacy
It has been said that the best way to have a relationship with God is to have a relationship with God. It really is that simple. It is no different growing closer with Him then when we pursue a friendship with another. All the elements, such as trust, consistent quality time and open and honest communication, that are necessary for any relationship between two people to grow, are the same keys that take us closer to God. Once a deer has found the water it so longs for, it is of no difficulty for it to drink it. In many ways, building a relationship with Him is a very natural thing for us to do. We were created for the that purpose. We know how to make Him our friend.
Longing and desire for Him is foundational to going deeper into this intimate life. Those who long for Him are not satisfied with simply going through the motions of a relationship. They desire to totally depend on Him for everything. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). The weak, the lonely, the hurting, cling to Him for they know His strength, they have discovered His voice, they have learned to trust Him completely. He has become their solid rock, a tower of strength, the all-embracing love of the Father. In essence, they have experienced Him. They will not settle for knowing only about Him, but to know and be known. Even in the driest of times, their hearts constantly cry out for Him
Kissed By God
To experience Him is to be kissed by Him. Once kissed, one is never same. Once having drank of His love and presence, a longing rises up within that is never satisfied with anything less then knowing Him. Paul’s prayer, in Ephesians 3:18, was that they would know the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love for them. Yes, they knew about His love, but Paul wanted them to go deeper and know God beyond mere knowledge of that love. He desired that they would know Him as intimately as a man and woman experiences each other. This longing never fades for those have come to know Him. They can never go back to life as it was.
Called to Intimacy as Praise Dancers
It is of vital importance, as a Christian praise dancer, to pursue that more intimate place with God. If our dance is to be an outward sign of our inward love for Him then we must make it a point to develop and mature in that inner place. You can begin this journey inward to the heart of God by pursuing Him as you would any person. Here are a few ways to begin:
- Have a open and honest conversation with Him about where you feel your relationship with Him is at.
- Write a love letter to Him.
- Write in your journal as if you were writing a letter to your best friend.
- Find a quiet spot alone and dance just for Him and His pleasure. Don’t stop until you really know that He is there watching.
- Choreograph a dance together. Pray through every line of the song, waiting for Him to give you a peace about each move.
- Take a scripture verse and pray into it holding on to it until you know He has taken it, with His hands, and placed it deep into your heart.
- Make a decision to pursue Him until you know, as Paul prays, the love of God for you.
The list is endless of things you can do. Why don’t you add some of your own thoughts and ideas that come most natural to you. Remember, God promises to reward you if you seek Him earnestly believing that He really does want you to come closer. (Hebrews 11:6)
Running Back into the Arms of the Father
By Daniel Holmes
Christian praise dance -the outward expression of our inner heart.
It is our longing to love and be loved by a God who asks us to call Him "Abba" It is the same word a Jewish child uses when referring to her father. He literally asks us to address Him as "Daddy". It breaths of of an intimacy with Him we are neither familiar nor comfortable with. The term carries with it a sense of strength, provision, belonging, and safety. A child is born simply knowing that her father is her source. She expects and believes he will love, protect and provide for her...at all times. How quickly it melts our heart to see a young child love her father with a uncalculated kiss...or simply wave a flag hardly know what an act of worship she dances out for her Heavenly Father.
Christian praise dance - lost
As we grow, for one reason or another, we run from that love and intimacy with our Heavenly Father. We somehow learn that to be loved means to perform. We fall into sin and we run from Him fearing His disapproval...sometimes for years or even a life time. We try harder to live a good Christian life or either give up. Likewise, our praise dance takes on a complexity and a competition that isolates our hearts from what we once knew as children. It is no longer enough to simply wave a flag as an act of worship. We must spin and leap, use more "anointed" flags, craft more moving choreography, learn the most contemporary dance steps...and we seem pulled to do this for the praise and approval of others.
Christian praise dance - rediscovered
The Father's love never wavers. He never condemns. He waits until we have... fallen low enough to be picked up, been broken enough to be healed, been despised enough to be loved, sinned enough to be forgiven, emptied enough to come back home to the Father, and performed enough to want to once again dance for the love of Him as we had in the past. Christian praise dance the love of the Father rediscovered.