Psalm 70—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Will Whittington

My name is Will Whittington. I am currently based out of Denver working as a freelance photographer while a college student. I got started about eight years ago when I wanted to capture images of my friends skateboarding one night. I had a small digital camera that I had found in a drawer at home. I have always felt that I had a message to convey. I wanted people to experience the joy I felt from skateboarding and, eventually, from the world around me. Photography gave me the outlet and ability to make this possible. I had begun to beg my parents for a real DSLR camera, and after learning how to develop film at a school summer camp, I was just hooked. The process of creating something that could evoke feeling in a person was the most incredible experience. My school used to have offices to run for, like president, vice president, etc. In 6th grade, they ran out of offices, so the admin decided to create a school historian. This was my shot. I made a deal with my mom that if I could win, she would give me her old Canon Rebel XTI DSLR from 2001. She accepted the deal and it was on! I whipped up an incredible speech, proposed it to my class and ended up winning by one vote! My mom agreed to give me the camera and every single day after school I went to the skate park to capture my friends skating. I eventually took my camera everywhere I went to be able to capture life itself. Since then I have progressively been shooting more and have also trickled over to a little bit of design. Everyone is an artist, and everyone is creative. From the outfits we choose to the captions we write to the food that we cook, art is among us. I hope that my images will allow you to think and interpret your own thoughts and motivate you to see the world around you in a more creative manner.

PIECE

Photography

PROCESS

I created the image from a waterfall that I shot in the mountains.

Psalm 70 is a short and simple Psalm but is powerful in that God reveals His power and our need for deliverance. The image I kept seeing in my mind throughout this Psalm was that of “outpouring.” The black around the fall is meant to symbolize the enemy that surrounds us—those who seek to devour us. Our days easily start out with the stresses of life and anxieties of the world and it so easily consumes us. For me, it often feels like I will never get out alive, but God’s great deliverance and outpouring of love never ever ceases to be faithful. God prevailed mightily through the cross, and the outpouring of Jesus Christ’s blood on our behalf is the source of my rejoicing and life, like water pouring forth from darkness into my dry soul that’s thirsty, needy and desperate for His grace.

Psalm 69—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: EB Combs

I am Elizabeth (EB) Combs, a Texas native who, through God’s good graces, met my husband Jonathan Combs before making my way up to Colorado with him. We’ve now been based out of Denver for three plus years, enjoying rich blessings and working alongside our good friend, Rachel Nichols. Our work focuses on identity design via The Whistler & The Well, and photography via The Great Northern.

Piece

Photography

PROCESS

I photographed the lovely Preethi Rajaratnam for my response to Psalm 69.

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. (Psalm 69:1–3 ESV)

The visual of these deep waters in the beginning of Psalm 69 struck a chord within me. The Psalmist’s relationship with water is not a positive one—it expresses a sense of hopelessness. While water can be extremely powerful and overwhelming, our God, can change the waters—whether calming a storm or parting a sea—He quite literally can put an end to water’s daunting power. This relationship lead me to focus on the element of water for this piece, specifically dark water, due to the brooding tone in this Psalm.

Psalm 68—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Kat Archuletta

Kat Archuletta was born and raised in Castle Rock, Colorado. She is a multi-faceted artist who has a passion for creating and learning new ways to express her creativity. She has spent time living in Arizona and Alaska and in a van on the road outside of Colorado, learning the ropes of being a self-sustained artist outside of the world of art degrees. A spirit for adventure, creating, and a longing for connecting to the human spirit has always been what she felt was her calling in life. That purpose has been made more clear since her true relationship with the Lord has begun—not exactly in what direction, but that it is what she’s called to. She is looking forward to the adventure the Lord is calling her into, and the depth in which the Creator facilitates her creativity through worship.

PIECE

Encaustic

PROCESS

The medium of this art is encaustic, a ratio of beeswax and Damar resin mixed with different pigments—the building up and melting down layers of wax on a canvas.

This medium was actually brought to me through studying Psalm 68, where I was attracted to the verse “as wax melts before the re, so shall the wicked before God.” In deciding different ways to depict that, the Lord led me to a wax-based medium.

In studying and reading Psalm 68, there was an overwhelming presence of the gospel in it from start to nish; beginning to end. How perfect is that? The piece itself takes verse 4:

Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name YAH,
And rejoice before Him.
(Psalm 68:4 NKJV)

That is the center, that is everything. It continues into verse 26, “Bless God in the congregations, the Lord, the fountain of Israel.” Christ is the unending fountain, the water of life to the world. From there, the black and brown colors represent man, wilderness, and sin; red is the blood of Christ; blue and white is the water of life; yellow, gold and anything shimmering is His glory, to which we are called in His name; in His sacri ce and resurrection.

“Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered” (v. 1). Comparing this to what Moses said every time they set out with the ark in the wilderness (Num. 10:35), we’re encouraged to die daily and “Let God arise” and be rst in out hearts, carrying Him with us in our lives through our sin and through our struggle. Overall, Psalm 68 reminded me of God’s heart, His love, and His unending trials in letting us know His heart and His love for us.

Psalm 67—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Jonathan Combs

I grew up in the dusty hot plains of Texas. With little beauty and adventure in the actual landscape, I was quickly drawn to photography and graphic design as an outlet. My wife and I have lived in Denver for over three years crafting branding identities and taking photographs for small businesses.

PIECE

Scuplture (Wood & Glue)

PROCESS

Psalm 67 is a short, to-the-point praise of God for bringing a harvest. I wanted the piece to re ect this simple idea of farming and working with your hands, all the while relying on God to bring the growth.

There is nothing added by me, rather I used the materials given to me create meaning. The mostly- uniform rows, cut by hand illustrate the rows of crop in a eld and the pointed edges created by alternating and ipping the pieces allude to wheat and other grain crops.

“To God be all the glory” is what I wanted to display by transforming the wood panel without adding anything new. I also wanted to tie myself to the hand labor that it would have been to farm and harvest for the Israelites. I used a hand-held circular saw to cut the pieces, allowing the lines to be imperfect and chip. The only thing I added was glue to keep the pieces together.

Psalm 66—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms artwork and download artwork guides here.

Person: Jennie Pitts

Jennie is originally from Austin, Texas and graduated with a BFA from Baylor University in 2011. She started her own business in 2014—“Jennie Lou Art”—and now works as a full-time artist in Denver. She specializes in “live wedding/event painting”, and custom pieces. Her studio is in the RiNo Arts District at the Globeville Riverfront Arts Center (G.R.A.Ce.). Find out more information on her website: jennielouart.com.

Piece

Acrylic

Process

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
(Psalm 66:5-7 ESV)

In prayer, I kept coming back to “He turned sea into dry land, they passed throughthe river on foot”, and then, “whose eyes keep watch on the nations”—as I painted, I focused on God’s perspective from the Heavens, as he keeps a close watch on His people. My hope is for this piece to be a visual reminder of how God brought us out of Egypt, and even still, continues to bring us out of our own slavery. I can often feel
small and overwhelmed by circumstances and sin, only to remember the hope I have in Christ to help me in my weaknesses.

Psalm 66 reminds us of God’s severe mercy in choosing to save His people from destruction. Meditating on his continual faithfulness towards a faithless people changes hearts, and humbles the rebellion in all of us—“let not the rebellious exalt themselves.” This piece illustrates that despite how small we may feel in God’s presence, he hears our voices and listens to our prayers—“But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer” (v.19).

The painting is abstract in style, meant to loosely depict the ocean and a small sanctuary of dry land. The gold-outlined “dry land” with tiny dots of various colors represents Israel and the diversity of God’s people. The ocean surrounding it is made up of rich and powerful deep blues/turquoise/white brushstrokes and water “washes”. The rich juxtaposition of the tumultuous ocean and the quiet land are meant to point to the ever-present power and covenantal love of God towards His people.

Good Friday to Easter—Holy Week 2017 Video & Photos

We gathered with Fellowship Denver on Friday, April 14 to remember the death of Christ. That following Sunday, we celebrated as all the powers of hell gave way to the power of Jesus as He defeated death forever, rising again.

These events are critical for us. The death of Christ was atonement for our sin against Him. His suffering takes place in place of ours. His seperation from the Father on that cross prevents us from ever being separated from the Father. Likewise, His resurrection is our proof that, just as He rose, so shall we who are in Christ. Just as we sing in the Easter Hymn Christ The Lord is Risen Today, “Made like Him, like Him we rise; ours the cross, the grave, the skies.”

Photos by Alex Priebe, video by Sam Ryan:

Holy Week 2017 Artwork

Our artwork for Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday) were done by Bruce Butler. Bruce is usually seen at Park Church either co-leading his Gospel Community or playing electric guitar as we worship through singing. However, by trade he’s a graphic designer and he agreed to work with us to illustrate these three critical days in our Christian Calendar year. Read the following, written by Bruce, to learn more about the artist and his art.

Who I am

I am a graphic designer and musician from the East Coast. In 2012, I moved to Denver from Buffalo, New York to be closer to family and began designing for WorldVenture, a missions organization in Littleton, CO. I’m currently designing for Olsson Associates, a civil engineering consulting firm in Golden. I co-lead a Gospel Community near Sloans Lake and, in my free time, I enjoy playing music, cooking with friends, and spending time with my nieces and nephew. You can see more of my work by following me on Instagram at @madebybruce or visit madebybruce.com.

Piece

Biblically, the word “hand” represents an ownership, power, or control yielded by its owner. In each of the pieces, I used this “hand” imagery to illustrate humanity’s role in Holy Week, as well as the underlying tone of each day. The trapezoid is meant to represent a triangle with one side missing, highlighting one of the most overwhelming aspects of Easter: that Jesus not only stepped out of the infinite to become man, but that on the cross He chose to break eternal communion with the Trinity to take on the wrath of God that we deserved.

For Palm Sunday, Jesus was ushered in to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9) with the waving of palm branches. But this celebration was the beginning of a storm brewing. By the end of this week, these same people were calling for His blood. The hand waving the branch represents the world—and even the Church—often worshipping who we want God to be, and not whom He has revealed Himself to be.

For Good Friday, we are reminded that our redemption came at a great cost. The storm that had started earlier that week erupted on Friday. After having been seized, beaten, and given a rigged trial the previous night, Jesus willingly continued his walk to the cross. Without getting into the gory details, flogging was a barbaric act that most victims didn’t survive. Though it was not the hands of the religious leaders holding the whips, when the crowd chose to release Barabbas and crucify Christ, their ownership in Christ’s death was stamped over the whole event.

And lastly and most importantly, with Easter we celebrate that He’s alive; that despite our misplaced worship and rebellion, He used His ownership, power, and control to run after us and pay the debt we owe. The storm has been broken up by the light. In seeing Jesus’ open, nail-scarred hand we are reminded that we play no part in earning our place before God, but it is offered as a gift.

Click on an image below to enlarge.

Process

When asked to create this piece, it was a bit daunting knowing this is the event that is the culmination of our beliefs as well as something millions try to artistically reinvent yearly. The idea of it being based on hands and ownership came before choosing which style I would attempt. Because of the “grittiness” of Easter week, I decided to lean more towards a textured, illustrated style. Though I usually favor more digital art, I was inspired by artists like Dave Quiggle and Sam Larson to broaden my technique and include vivid colors, textures, outlined strokes, and hand drawn techniques like stippling. I started in Adobe Illustrator, making thin templates for the branch, hands, and whip, and printed them. I then added the detail in pen and also did an entire page of just clouds and lightning. I imported these into Photoshop by taking a picture with my phone and erasing the background white layer.

The rest was done in photoshop using several textures.

Click on an image below to enlarge.

Book Review: You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith

Finally, here is a book on Christian discipleship that takes seriously the biblical vision of the human person.

Tapping into the reader’s imagination from the beginning, Jamie ushers us into a consideration of how our loves direct our living. Thinking matters, no doubt. But the object of one’s affections – what a person implicitly envisions as “the good life” – is the ultimate commander-in-chief of the life of every individual and society.

Further, our loves are shaped by the different habit-structures, or liturgies, in our lives. What are the implications of these two fundamental realities? This concise yet content-rich book will tell you.

Delving into corporate worship, church tradition, family, education, and vocation, Jamie explores the innovative and formative possibilities for true, and therefore holistic, Christian discipleship.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Purchase You Are What You Love, here.

yawyl

Bread & Wine 2016 Event Recap

Around 300 of us gathered at Moss Denver on November 30 to celebrate our fourth annual Bread & Wine event.

Why do we return to this celebration year after year?

Our tagline for Bread & Wine is as follows: An evening to taste and see the glory of God through his good creation. Let’s unpack this a bit.

Think back to the last meal Jesus shared with his group of disciples before his crucifixion. There in the upper room, God incarnate grabbed two of the most basic elements of mealtime – bread and wine. And with a couple sentences he breathed new meaning into them: “Take and eat; this is my body… Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus selected common elements to represent the drastically uncommon – God’s reconciliation of His people to Himself through the labor of His Son.

But wait. Could there be another layer of import woven into Jesus’ actions that night?

It’s fascinating that Jesus chose elements that required human activity and involvement in order to create. Truth be told, he could have used barley instead of bread, grapes instead of a Grenache. His selected symbols for his sacrifice on the cross could have been items that exist within untouched creation, apart from the work of people.

But they weren’t. He chose bread and wine – elements that necessarily require the work of human minds and hands – to represent his reconciling work, work that actually created the family of God.

This demonstrates the value God places upon the activity to which he has called us. Certainly, the sovereign Lord of the cosmos is Himself working salvation for his namesake through the narrative of human history. And yet, he knits our individual and localized stories into this grand narrative, ushering us to play our part in restoring all things through our daily actions.

In short, God’s redemptive and unifying grace is communicated and established through human interaction with one another and the created order. And it is in these places that we see the very glory of God. But only if we’re looking for it.

That’s why we host Bread & Wine each year. We need regular reminders to experience our dynamic world as one that is “charged with the grandeur of God.” These reminders need be more than verbal; oftentimes we need embodied practices to teach our souls what our intellect may already grasp.

This particular evening we highlighted the role and reality of hospitality in the renewed Christian family. You see, this “bread” was broken for us, and this “wine” was poured out for our sins, that we may be brought near to our Father. Like the prodigal son from Luke 15, we have run away from the Author of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in order to glut ourselves on cheap substitutes. But through the meal of Jesus’ body and blood, we are recreated into the family of God.

Now, compelled by this infinite hospitality shown to us, may we step into our daily lives portraying this same gracious welcome, making use of the material things at our disposal to sacrificially love those around us.

What a beautiful, merciful, and creative God we serve!

Photos of the event taken by Melanie Fenwick.

Advent Fasting Guide—Week Four

Below are some ways to engage with God during this season of Advent, particularly through reading, praying, and singing. We pray that God meets us in these disciplines! If you want to read about why we’re in a season of fasting during Advent, read “A Call To Fasting During Advent”.

Read
Isaiah 58:1-12 | Micah 6:8

Pray
This week we want to encourage you to do a prayer walk either in your neighborhood or by your work or school. What’s a prayer walk? It is what it sounds like: praying while walking. We’re used to associating prayer with a closet or a church sanctuary, not city streets. Some have described prayer walking as “on-site intercession” or praying “on-site with God’s sight.” It helps us pray in a new way in the neighborhood God has placed us, seeing new things we might never have seen, and immediately bring them before God in prayer. It breaks us out of our routines and gets us out of the church’s four walls. It reminds us our neighbors are real people and there are real issues to talk to God about for our neighborhood. God’s heart is to see His kingdom come and His will be done in the Highlands as it is in heaven, and prayer is one of the main ways we participate in His work!

While you can always prayer walk alone, we encourage you to go in groups of two (or three max). Before heading out, pray for the leading of the Spirit as well as spiritual protection and insight as you go! Briefly plan where you are going to walk, but don’t be afraid of adjusting that as you walk. Remember that as you go, don’t be creepy & don’t make a scene. It’s also helpful to re-group once you come back to discuss what God might have spoken or done while you were out praying. Here are a few directives as you go:

  • Pray Scripture. While not necessary, some choose to pick a particular Scripture to pray as they walk. You can even read the Scripture out loud and then expand on that passage in your own words.
  • Pray out loud. Proclaim and speak out the rule and reign of Jesus over dark places. Jesus is Lord even if those in the neighborhoods don’t recognize Him as such.
  • Pray as the Spirit leads. He might give you discernment, a word of knowledge, or insight into something that you can pray about. Be responsive to whatever He might be speaking.
  • Pray aware of your surroundings. This includes people as well as your senses. Observe houses, buildings, posters, signs, graffiti, anything that might direct your prayers. If God opens the opportunity for a conversation with someone, engage with them telling them that you’re walking around praying for the neighborhood and ask them if you could pray for them.

Sing
This week we’ll be singing through a song based on this idea of and longing for justice written by Sojourn Music called “Let Justice Roll Like A River”. It’s a prayer of corporate confession, a prayer of intercession asking God to bring about His justice, as well as a personal prayer for God to use us as His instruments of justice and love.

Let Justice Roll Like a River?
Forgive us, Lord, for passing by when children cry for bread
?Forbid it, Lord, that justice lie in tatters, cold and dead?
Outside these walls run desperate streets where greed is law and life is cheap?
We bar the doors, refuse to see, or hear the words You said:

Let justice roll like a river, like a river let it roll (2x)

Convict us, Lord, we dance and laugh ignoring those who weep?
Correct us, Lord, our golden calf has lulled our hearts to sleep?
The gap between the rich and poor grows ever wider, shore to shore?
There’s racial hate, religious war and wolves among the sleep

Indwell us, Lord, and purify our hands to work for You?
Enlist us, Lord, to serve nearby and ‘cross the waters, too?
Your image-bearers on the earth will never know how much they’re worth?
Unless we love and help them first and show the way to You

Let it roll (4x)