Sign-up to receive Kathy's FREE E-Newsletter or Weekly Blog Posts

Archive | Bible study discussion

Let’s Celebrate God’s Lavish Grace!

Lavish GraceDo you need grace? Silly question, I know. We all need God’s grace every day. And every day He freely pours it out in lavish abundance. God’s grace is truly worth celebrating. That’s exactly what we intend to do!

Right here, throughout the month of August, we are going to celebrate grace – God’s lavish grace in our lives and the release of Kathy’s new Bible study “Lavish Grace.”

This post is a giveaway! Read all the way to the bottom to find out how to enter!

Celebrate God’s Lavish Grace

Here are a few of the things you can look forward to:

  • “Lavish Grace” Bible Reading Plan – Kathy has developed a 3-week Bible reading plan that highlights God’s lavish grace poured out, poured through, and overflowing. Begin the plan on Monday, August 8th, then stop by Kathy’s Facebook page on Saturday mornings for coffee and to talk about grace.
  • Weekly Coloring Giveaways – Kathy commissioned three beautiful coloring sheets to correspond with the three sections of the new Bible study. The first sheet will be available to download and print Thursday, August 4th. You will enter the weekly prize bundle giveaway by coloring your sheet and posting a pic of it on Instagram or Facebook with the hash tag #LavishGrace.
  • Facebook Live Launch Party – Don’t miss the big event! On Thursday, August 11, we will gather on Facebook from 7-9pm. There will be food (including recipes), giveaways (one every half hour), music, live video from Kathy’s house, great discussion, and lots of fun! RSVP now!
  • Saturday Morning “Grace & Coffee” Talks – On Saturdays August 13, 20, and 27, grab your coffee and join us on Facebook for a little “grace talk.” Kathy and a few of her friends will be guiding practical discussion about how to experience God’s grace and how to be women of grace. It will be real and raw. “Like” Kathy’s FB page so you don’t miss a thing!
  • The “Lavish Grace” necklace Kathy has partnered with Sheila Dresbach and Dandelions Lavish Grace necklacein December to create this simply beautiful reminder of God’s lavish grace. Kathy will be giving away 4 of these beauties during the Facebook Launch party. But you can also purchase one any time at Dandelions in December on Etsy for just $19!
  • Deeper understanding of God’s Lavish Grace – Throughout the month, right on this blog, Kathy will be sharing from God’s Word about practical ways to experience His grace and what it looks like to be people that share His grace. If you long to grow in God’s grace, you will not want to miss a single post.

Don’t Miss a Drop of Grace!

Check in here every Monday and Thursday throughout August to find out what’s happening. And of course, if you want to really dive deep into God’s grace, check out Kathy’s new Bible study “Lavish Grace.” Available for pre-order right now, it will be in stores any day!

Kathy wants to give away one copy “Lavish Grace” to kick-off the celebration! All you have to do to enter is tells us in the comments below that you plan to celebrate grace with us in August! Kathy will draw for the winner at 6am Thursday, August 6th!

Find out more about “Lavish Grace” by watching the video below:

YouTube Preview Image
Read More »

7 Signs She Might Make a Great Small Group Leader

7 Signs great leaderThe fall semester of women’s Bible study is now in full swing. You managed to round up enough leaders, but you certainly didn’t have many – if any – extras! And before you know it, January will be here and it will be time to secure small group leaders all over again!

Does the thought of recruiting a few new small group leaders cause you to sigh heavily? Maybe you have no idea where they’ll come from. Maybe you even secretly hope you won’t have as many ladies sign-up for Bible study.

Hang on just a minute! Don’t panic! If you have groups of women studying the Bible together, then you have groups of potential leaders. You just need to know how to spot the best candidates.

You can provide training in some areas like guiding discussion and dealing with different personalities. But other qualities cannot be so easily taught.

Look for these seven signs in potential new leaders. Although not a sure thing, they are strong indicators that you could have a great leader in the making!

  1. She cares about and actively serves other women (Romans 12:9-13).
  2. She is passionate about God’s Word and is committed to its study (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
  3. She takes discipleship seriously and is growing spiritually (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
  4. She is a woman of strong character with a good attitude and integrity of speech (Titus 2:7-8).
  5. She demonstrates faithfulness and reliability in her current commitments (Proverb 31:27).
  6. She is humble and teachable (James 3:13).
  7. She is a woman of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

What other characteristics do you look for in a potential leader? What qualities can be taught and which cannot?

Read More »

4 Personalities that Derail Small Group Discussion

It’s that time of year again. Many churches, communities, and neighborhoods are starting fall sessions of women’s Bible study. Last Thursday’s post and this one give practical help for leading small group discussion. Feel free to share with your church, Bible study leaders, and women’s ministry leaders!

small group discussionWe’ve all been in one…a group discussion gone “off track.” Challenging personality types can easily derail a productive discussion. Here are four personality types and some practical tips which will help everyone enjoy the conversation.

  1. Discussion Hog

The Hog – who has something to say about almost everything – dominates the discussion! If leaders don’t harness the Hog, others in the group will talk less and the hog will talk more!

  • Use body language: Don’t make eye contact and turn toward others.
  • Give minimal response to their comments.
  • Give a general invitation to the group after they have spoken such as, “Let’s hear from someone who hasn’t spoken today.”
  • Talk to them privately when all else fails. Enlist their “help” in encouraging the quieter members of the group to participate.
  1. Introvert

The Introvert is quiet and rarely, if ever, participates in the discussion. Introverts may be naturally shy, lack confidence in their answers, or feel over-powered by stronger personalities in the group. The leader’s job is to draw them out. We need to encourage them, but we may also need to modify the group atmosphere. For example, you may have to harness a Hog!

  • Use body language: Make eye contact and turn towards them.
  • Don’t call on them specifically, unless they tried to speak and the hog talked over them.
  • Make use of silence. Sometimes these “introverts” will speak up given enough opportunity.
  • Encourage them to participate again by affirming them when they do comment on in private conversation.
  1. Emotionally Needy

The Emotional Needy sees no end to the painful situations of life. From divorce and illness to wayward teens and the loss of a loved one, our group members are sometimes emotionally consumed by life’s trials. These types of needs are usually better dealt with in a different kind of setting. However, occasionally raw emotions need immediate attention.

  • Follow the Holy Spirit in each case.
  • Offer to meet with them outside of class.
  • Stop and lead the group in prayer for the individual, if you feel led.
  • Offer to help them find the right venue for their need, if it’s an ongoing situation.
  1. Challenger

The Challenger questions the leader on one or more statements in front of the group. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. Either way it’s important that biblical truth come to light and that the “challenge” doesn’t become an uncomfortable confrontation.

  • Ask them what Scripture passages teach their viewpoint.
  • Restate the Biblical evidence for your teaching.
  • Be humble, but firm on the truth: “Based on my study of this passage….. But I’m certainly not perfect. Let’s both do some more study on this…..”
  • Ask God to show you where you might be wrong!

Share your advice for dealing with one of these personality types! Or maybe you’ve had experience with another challenging personality.

Read More »

5 Challenges of Small Group Discussion

It’s that time of year again. Many churches, communities, and neighborhoods are starting fall sessions of women’s Bible study. The next two blog posts will give practical help for leading small group discussion. Feel free to share with your church, Bible study leaders, and women’s ministry leaders!

5 Challenges Discussion 2Start with a room full of women; add different personalities, various levels of spiritual maturity, and unique backgrounds. There is great potential for an awesome experience – or an awful encounter. Bible study discussion groups can be fun and rewarding for the members as well as the leader. However, situations sometimes pop up that can threaten the learning environment or the relationships.

Usually leaders ask a question, the women participate, and helpful discussion ensues. But sometimes, the road is a bit rough. The discussion may simply fall flat. Other times it gets away from the leader and takes on a life of its own. And then there are those rare instances when someone takes a wrong step and things completely fall apart.

I’ve faced many challenging classroom experiences during my twenty-plus years of teaching the Bible in various small group settings. Some situations were unique one-time experiences, but other problems I’ve encountered over and over. Try these “learned by experience” suggestions to deal with five common challenges.

  1. Responding to biblical error.

Generally, we shouldn’t correct someone in public. If the mistake is inconsequential – like mispronouncing Melchizedek – just ignore it. No need to embarrass the speaker. However, I gently correct in two kinds of situations.

  • If ignoring it will hurt someone else – Once in a ladies’ Bible study a young mother stated: “If you raise your kids correctly, they will never rebel.” Two godly mothers in the group were dealing with rebellious teenagers. You could see the anguish on their faces.
  • If it involves vital doctrine – Any statements contrary to foundational biblical truth, like the nature of God or how we are saved, must be corrected in the current discussion. As leaders, we are responsible to handle God’s Word correctly. However, don’t say “You’re wrong!” Instead ask further questions and read passages that present the truth.
  1. Responding when you don’t know.

An honest answer is always the best answer. Humbly admit you don’t feel confident in giving a good response, then promise to do further study and come back with an answer the next time. Don’t be afraid to ask someone else for help!

  1. Responding to detours.

Rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance to determine if a topic is worth chasing. If it is, be willing to adjust your class agenda. If not, graciously interrupt with a statement like: “This is so interesting. Can we pick up this discussion up after class?”

  1. Responding when you’ve lost control.

I’ve used one of two methods to regain control, depending on the personality of my group. Sometimes I’ve used humor to get their attention such as the “kindergarten” clap. Other times a direct “Let’s get back on track” is the best solution.

  1. Responding to the sound of silence.

Silence in a group situation makes many people uncomfortable and strong leaders know how to use it. Don’t be afraid to let a question hang. Often the women are thinking, so don’t break the silence too quickly. Make eye contact. After a moment repeat the question. If still no answer, then be ready to share your own.

More Help

The best way for leaders to deal with these – and other – small group situations will vary some depending on the personality of the group members. Ask God to give you wisdom to adapt your strategies to the individual. For further help, be sure to come back for the next post, “4 Personalities Which Derail Group Discussion.”

Have you ever encountered any of these challenges? How did you handle them? Have you faced a challenge not on this list?

 

 

Read More »

What is Fruit? – “Fruit of the Spirit” Lesson 2

This is the second in a series of lessons from Galatians 5:16-26 on the Fruit of the Spirit. You may view the entire lesson here or download it in Word or a PDF.

Fruit of the Spirit GalatiansWhen my kids were little they loved watching the Veggie Tales movies. Their favorite Veggie Tale characters were Bob and Larry – a tomato and cucumber, respectively. If you are also a Veggie Tales fan, you might want to sit down because I am about to shake things up. Larry and Bob aren’t vegetables! To be botanically correct, tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits! In fact, pumpkins and zucchini are fruit too.

The confusion over fruits and vegetables stems from the differences between scientific classification and how we use them in cooking. We tend to see “fruits” as sweet and “vegetables” as savory. In case you’re interested, here’s a definition I found at wisegeek.com.

Simply put, a fruit is the ovary of a plant, which means that it may contain seeds, while a vegetable is a plant part, which does not contain seeds.

It really doesn’t matter if we consider a tomato to be a fruit or a vegetable. But we do need a good understanding of the “fruit of the Spirit.” Over the next few weeks we will plant God’s truth about spiritual fruit in our hearts, cultivate our lives to receive it, and take action to help it grow! Today we’ll take a closer look at what the “fruit of the Spirit” is and what it is not.

Read our focal passage, Galatians 5:16-26.

The word “fruit” used in Galatians 5:22 is the Greek word “karpos.” According to Mounces Complete Expository Dictionary, “karpos” refers to the natural product of something that is alive. Literally, it’s used of the product of trees, vines, and crops. But it’s also used metaphorically to refer to the natural product of a spiritual being. Paul uses it to contrast what our sinful natures naturally produces with what the Holy Spirit naturally produces.

Plant: Prerequisite to Growing Spiritual Fruit

The obvious prerequisite to producing the “fruit of the Spirit” is the presence of the Spirit. Let’s see what the Bible says about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and His work in us.

Read Romans 8:9-11. Mark the following statements as True or False:

___ You can be a Christian without having the Holy Spirit.

___ If you do not have the Spirit you do not belong to Christ.

___ If you belong to Christ then you have His Spirit.

Read Ephesians 1:13-14. Check all the statements that apply.

___ We receive the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ.

___ The Holy Spirit “marks” us as belonging to God.

___ The Spirit is our “guarantee” that we will receive all God’s promises.

When we place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, God guarantees our salvation by placing His Spirit within us. Every Christian is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. (If you don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus or aren’t sure, read “How to Have a Relationship with Jesus.”)

Cultivate: Two Key Facts about the Fruit of the Spirit

Let’s get a better understanding of the Fruit of the Spirit by exploring two key facts.

Fact #1: “Fruit” is the natural by-product of the Spirit in a Christian’s life.

Read 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 from the New Living Translation below:

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

The Spirit has work to do in the life of a believer. According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, what is the work of the Spirit in our lives?

From the moment of salvation until the end of our lives on this earth, the Spirit of God works in believers to transform our nature and character into that of Christ’s. God’s goal for all His children is for us to be like Jesus (Romans 8:29). Therefore, the Holy Spirit is constantly working to rid our lives of the “acts of the sinful nature” (Gal 5:19) and conform us into the image of Christ. “Fruit of the Spirit” is evidence that our character is becoming like Christ’s.

Fact #2: “Fruit of the Spirit” is not the same as “spiritual gifts.”

We’ve learned that “fruit of the Spirit” is the development of Christ’s character in the life of a believer. Now let’s take a look at what this “fruit” is not.

Read 1 Cor 12:4-11. List the differences between “spiritual gifts” and “spiritual fruit.”

Although the Spirit is the source of both, His “gifts” and “fruit” are not the same. There are a multitude of different kinds of gifts but an individual only receives what the Holy Spirit determines to give. However the “fruit” of the Spirit should be common to all Christians. The word “karpos” is singular signifying that “fruit” is a unified whole. As we grow in Christ-likeness we will produce all the characteristics of His nature.

Grow: A Challenge to Know the Fruit

I want my life to increasingly produce the “Fruit of the Spirit.” How about you? As a solid reminder of what our lives should look like, will you join me in memorizing Galatians 5:22-23? Let’s do it?

Let’s talk. Will you take the Scripture memory challenge? How has today’s lesson helped you understand the “Fruit of the Spirit?” What stood out to you the most in what we discussed?

Read More »

Unshakeable Faith – Week One

Note: If you missed the introductory lesson for this online study of “Unshakeable Faith” you can view that here.  Download the PDF version of Week One here.

When I was in high school, a social slight felt like the end of the world. Now I know that rejection can be much more serious and hurtful than not getting asked to the junior prom. A departure of a spouse, a job layoff, or a broken friendship can make us feel unloved and discarded.

No matter how much rejection you may have faced in your life, never forget that God will never reject you. In fact, if you are a Christian – if you have entered into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ – it’s because God chose you! (Here’s more about how to have a saving relationship with Jesus.) Have you ever taken a moment to dwell on the incredible truth that God chose you?

Unshakeable Faith Trait One:

He Picked Me! – Secure in the God Who Loves and Chooses

Jesus chose a brash, impetuous fisherman named Simon to follow Him. Let’s read about how Simon met Jesus.

Read John 1:35-42. How did they meet?

 

What did Jesus say to Simon when they met?

 

In ancient Jewish culture, names were significant. They revealed character or represented a specific purpose God had for that person. The “Simon” Jesus met was outspoken and a bit unstable. The name “Peter” (aka “Cephas”) means “rock.” This name change shows that Jesus had a plan and purpose for the fisherman before they even met.

Jesus also knew that Peter would face many trials and intense persecution. Jesus changed his name to reflect the character Jesus would develop in him. From their first meeting Jesus began to transform the shaky Simon into the firm, stable Peter. Peter needed a rock-solid faith that would not be shaken when the hard times came.

Peter taught others what he learned from Jesus. He led the church in Jerusalem and he also traveled to visit other churches and spread the gospel. He practiced being a “rock” right up until the time he was martyred in Rome under Emperor Nero in the late 60’s AD. Peter’s letters – which we know as 1 and 2 Peter – are believed to have been written from Rome during the latter years of Peter’s life.

Read 1 Peter 1:1-8. According to verse 2, who takes the initiative in our salvation?

 

Believers are chosen by God the Father; our salvation is made possible by the sacrificial blood of Jesus the Son; and we move from spiritual death to life through the sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit. That’s a miracle only God can perform!

Read Ephesians 1:4-5 from the New Living Translation below.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.       Ephesians 1:4-5, NLT

Circle the words in the passage above that describe God’s action on your behalf. How did God feel about doing this for you?

 

How does it feel to be chosen by God for salvation and adopted into His family?

 

Believer, God chose you before the creation of the world. He picked you out for His very own, before you were even born. Like Peter, He saved you for a purpose: “to be holy and without fault (Eph 1:4).” You were chosen by God, saved by the blood of Jesus, and now the Holy Spirit is working in your life to transform into Christ’s holy likeness. Like Peter, God wants to grow your faith from shaky to unshakeable!

Group Discussion: What situation are you facing right now in which you need to remember that God loves you and has chosen you?

 

Note about the study: We will be studying deep truths of God, but the study will not be extremely time intensive. My goal is for you to be able to complete the reading and questions each week in about 15 minutes. So, even if you are participating in another study you can join in! Also, although no other material is required, the Bible study Unshakeable Faith: 8 Traits for Rock-Solid Living, would be great companion material. Get it now from Amazon.

 

Read More »

Torn Curtain

The moment Christ died everything changed. Even creation knew it and responded. The sun “stopped shining” and the earth shook. Christ’s death accomplished what centuries of animal sacrifice could not: It provided a way for people to be made right with God.

Can you imagine the reaction of the High Priest and the other religious leaders to the scene inside the temple? I’m sure they tore their robes in grief when they saw the torn curtain. The Most Holy Place was no longer hidden! The way had been opened for anyone to enter into the presence of Jehovah.

Before Jesus’ death only the High Priest was allowed to enter God’s presence in the Most Holy Place. Only one man, once a year, could go behind the curtain. But now, every believer can have “confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (Heb 10:19-20). Because of this great truth, the author of Hebrews encourages us to “draw near to God.”

What does it mean to “draw near” to God? What attitude should we have when we draw near?

Read More »

The new in the old

I love the symbolism God instilled in the tabernacle and the sacrificial system. So did the author of Hebrews! Repeatedly he’s told us that these things are a copy or shadow of the true spiritual things. He begins chapter nine with a description or layout of the Old Testament tabernacle. It lists all the furnishings and where they were located. All this pointed to God’s ultimate plan of salvation which He determined before the creation of the world: Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

What did you learn this week about the furnishings in the tabernacle? What ?significance do they hold regarding Jesus Christ and His role?

Read More »

Visiting heaven

Do you ever imagine what heaven will be like? Do you ever pretend that you are there, worshiping God before His throne? Picture the heavenly scene with me:

God, shining brighter than the most brilliant diamond, sits before you on His throne. Something like a glowing rainbow circles it. Twenty-four elders dressed in white, with gold crowns on their heads, sit on thrones around Him. Flashes of lightning shoot from God’s throne and rumbles of deep thunder shake you. Seven lampstands burn brightly in front of His throne. Before it all sparkling crystal spreads out like a sea. In the midst of this glorious scene, four winged, awesome creatures, covered with eyes, continuously praise the Creator:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty – the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come. Rev 4:8b, NLT

And when the creatures voice their praise, all of heaven joins in worship:

“You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Rev 4:11, NLT

Are you joining in the worship of the Lord Almighty?

In the book of Hebrews, we’ve learned that Jesus, our High Priest, gives us access to the throne room of God. (See Hebrews 4:14-16.) We can boldly enter God’s presence through prayer at any time. Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand in heaven, interceding with Him now on your behalf. (Hebrews 8:1-2.)

Do we truly recognize what a privilege we’ve been granted? How could picturing the true heavenly scene help us more fully worship God?

Read More »

Perfect, eternal, unchanging

I got the iPhone 3GS about a year and a half ago. I love it; it does amazing things. In fact, I am not technically savvy enough to use all its bells and whistles. Yet, several of my friends, with the iPhone 4, have asked when I’m going to “upgrade.” The iPhone 4 has even more features and capabilities than the phone I have now. The camera has a flash. I could “face time” with… “someone.”

Our culture has become accustomed to “upgrading.” As soon as something bigger, better, or brighter comes along we ditch what we have for the next great thing. Phones, TVs, cars, computers, and dishwashers are constantly being improved. These days, there isn’t much that is permanent. And nothing is perfect.

However, in Hebrews seven, we’ve learned that Jesus’ priesthood is perfect and permanent. His priesthood is the final upgrade to the Levitical priesthood. There will never be another intercessor between mankind and God because Jesus is the superior priest. His priesthood is the final, unchanging path to God.

What does it mean for you to know that you never have to look anywhere else for redemption? How does it feel to be completely secure in your relationship with the perfect, eternal high priest, Jesus Christ?

 

Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;  but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.  Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.   Hebrews 7: 23-27

 

Here’s the link to the video and lesson for Hebrews chapter 7.

Read More »