Life_of_the_BodyThe Life of the Body
By: Valerie E. Hess

Available for purchase on or

Preview the intro and chapter one of Life of the Body here:

Jesus had a body. Beginning with this simple reminder, spiritual formation experts Valerie Hess and Lane Arnold look at how we relate as physical beings in a material world and how that forms our inner life. Includes topics such as worship, eating, environmentalism, seasons of life, self-care and more.

“There are a handful of books that I couldn’t stop thinking about after I put them down. The Life of the Body is one of them. It is thought-provoking, insightful and well-grounded. . . . If you want to push yourself toward who you are intended to be, let this book challenge your assumptions.” (Keith Eigel, Ph.D., cofounder of The Leaders Lyceum )

“The risen Christ said, ‘Touch me and see.’ Valerie Hess and Lane Arnold illuminate the truth that resurrection life is lived in and through our bodies. As the authors reclaim the long-neglected relationships between spirit, mind and body, we discover grace-filled ways to discover life abundant in Christ. I heartily recommend this book.” (Karen Wright Marsh, executive director, Theological Horizons )

“Do body wisdom and spiritual formation belong together? Two experienced Christian teachers of spiritual formation say yes. Valerie Hess and Lane Arnold give us an energizing workout for the weary soul, suggesting ways to discard the burden of bad ideas and false behavior in favor of energetic Christ-living that works on many levels. An encouraging book.” (Emilie Griffin, author, Souls in Full Sail and Green Leaves for Later Years )

“In a gentle, humble, yet firm way, Valerie and Lane have ventured into a subject where few authors have dared to go. I appreciate the way they challenge us as persons with individual bodies and members of Christ’s body to examine our issues and embrace the healing offered in Christ.” (Richella Parham, )

“Through the wisdom of their words, through numerous probing questions and through embodied spiritual exercises, Valerie and Lane artfully show us how, in love and obedience, to present our bodies as living sacrifices to our Lord who sacrificed his body for us. In a day when the physical body is used as a tool for selfish pleasure or neglected as excess baggage on a more ‘spiritual’ journey, Life of the Body provides a sturdy corrective and a refreshing way forward. The hopeful result that the faithful reader can expect, along with the apostle Paul, is that ‘Christ will be exalted in my body.'” (Howard Baker, instructor of Christian formation at Denver Seminary and author of The One True Thing )

The Life of the Body is a timely gift to the body of Christ, which, even today, stands guilty of the tendency to split off the body from the whole notion of spirituality. The authors’ work is richly informative and educational, highly practical and–to my own embarrassment–personally convicting! A much-needed corrective to our misguided understanding of what holistic formation is about.” (Wil Hernandez, Ph.D., Andrews Chair in Spiritual Formation at Spring Arbor University and the author of Henri Nouwen and Spiritual Polarities )

The Life of the Body skillfully illustrates how God mediates transforming grace through the God-created body and its senses. Carefully researched and winsomely written, the book offers constructive protocols for formation into Christlikeness and optimal health. Here is an engaging contribution to vital spirituality and physical wellness, or total-person shalom.” (Bruce Demarest, senior professor of Christian formation, Denver Seminary, and author of Seasons of the Soul)

Spiritual Disciplines Devotional: A Year of Readings

Spiritual Disciplines Devotional: A Year of Readings
By, Valerie E. Hess

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Preview an excerpt from the Spiritual Disciplines Devotional in the 2010 Formatio catalog:

 Have you been longing to learn more about spiritual disciplines but haven’t known where to start? Through brief daily readings and simple ideas on spiritual practices, this book will introduce you to the core disciplines of the Christian faith.

The word discipline sends up a red flag for some of us. It may sound like a joyless routine that will add another burden to an already full schedule. The truth is that practicing spiritual disciplines will lead to the joyful, rich life God wants for us. We are not trying to earn our way into God’s favor, but rather we are trying to develop “holy habits” that will make us better at living the life Jesus invites us into. These habits teach us to respond to God first and then to the people around us in ways that begin to look more like the ways Jesus responded when he was on earth.

Each month, the focus will be on one of the twelve core disciplines of the Christian life. This will allow you to soak in the rich principles behind each practice in a brief daily format. Within each discipline, there are readings for five days of the week, providing “built in grace” should you need a day off. Each session contains a Bible verse, a short teaching on the discipline and a practical application called “Living It.” As a bonus, on the fifth day, there is an optional “Living It Together” idea that you can use with your family to help your children begin to understand and practice the discipline as well.

By devoting just ten minutes a day to reading and practice, you can set yourself on a journey full of lifetime riches. Make this the year you discover the disciplines and create holy habits in your walk with God.

Habits of a Child’s Heart

Habits of a Child’s Heart: Raising Your Kids With the Spiritual Discipline
By Valerie E. Hess and Marti Watson Garlett

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Gain the tools and specific ideas you need to intentionally develop the spiritual disciplines in your child’s life.

Everyone knows that children learn the most by watching their parents’ example—by doing what they do. Why would learning about spiritual things be any different?

The best time to learn anything—especially the spiritual disciplines—is as a child. In Habits of a Child’s Heart, parents not only learn the spiritual disciplines for themselves, but they also discover how to practice them with their kids and teens.

Broken down into bite-sized, age-specific exercises, the foundations of the Christian life will become lifetime habits. Practice the spiritual disciplines as a family by:

Serving others in a practical way
Fasting from TV or video games
Simplifying schedules and possessions
Developing new habits of worship
Meditating on specific Bible passages

These are essential skills your kids will take with them wherever they go long after they grow up and teach the same lessons to their own children.