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Archive | women’s ministry

How Humility In Your Time of Need Changes Everything

A big thank you to today’s guest Tricia Goyer! If you want to hear more about how Tricia walks out her faith in every day life – and how you can too! – check out her soon-to-be-released book “Walk It Out.

Walk it outThe other day I was cooking dinner when my six-year-old son rushed into the kitchen.

Beads of sweat slid down his red face. “I’m so hot. You never get me anything to drink.”

I stirred my spaghetti sauce with one hand as I turned to him. “Excuse me?”

His voice rose in a full, high-pitched whine. “You never give me anything to drink!” He waved his hands and dropped to the floor.

I took in a breath and then released it, telling myself to keep my voice steady, calm. “I’d be happy to get you a drink. I just need you to ask.”

He kicked his foot against the floor. “But I want a drink now!”

“I know you do.” I peered down at him. “And as soon as you ask the right way I’m happy to get some some ice cold water.”

And then my son stood, smiled up at me and asked so sweetly for a drink of water … NOT!

Instead, he whined and fussed more. Finally, I asked him to leave the kitchen.

You know what? He never did ask. In fact, he didn’t get anything to drink until fifteen minutes later when we were sitting down to dinner. He was so bent on complaining and whining—in feeding his discontent—he didn’t want to release his control in order to ask me for help. I would have gladly given him the drink he requested if only he asked in the right away.

Feeding Our Discontent

I wish I could say this is just a little kid issue, but I’ve been there myself. During my teen years I lived in that storm of discontent. I complained when things didn’t go my way. I worried. I fretted. I fought.

I even took matters into my own hands when I found myself facing an unplanned pregnancy at age 15. My own fears and worries led me to a choice I now regret—I had an abortion.

It wasn’t until years later, at age 17 when I was pregnant again, that things took a turn for the better. It’s then I humbled myself and turned to God. By this point I realized the whining, complaining, and acting out wasn’t getting me what I wanted or needed.

At six months along, I wrapped my arms around my growing stomach and prayed, “Lord, if you can do anything with my life, please do.”

God showed up big time. He not only gave me Himself (which is the best!), He has also led me on a journey where radical, and wonderful things, have happened. This has included marrying a wonderful Christian man, having two more kids, starting a crisis pregnancy center, mentoring teen moms, adopting seven more children, and writing over 70 books!

It Starts with Humility

God didn’t just offer me a cup of cool water when I asked. He opened the floodgates of blessing. But it took me humbling myself and seeking Jesus to meet my needs.

This reminds me of a Scripture I was reading just this morning, “I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’ You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life,” Lamentations 5:55-58.

Mumbling, complaining and griping are easy, but they rob us of having our greatest needs met. Yet when we humble ourselves and turn to God, things will change for the better.

When we call to the Lord, He hears us. When we turn to Him, He comes. When we call to Him, He reminds us that He is present and we have no reason to fear. When we place our needs in His court, Jesus redeems our life.

It took a lot to humble me as a teen—two unplanned pregnancies in fact. Yet I’m thankful that I learned back then that when I turn to God He will meet my needs. He will meet them in more wonderful ways than I ever expected.

You can read more about how God can show up radically in your life in the book Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time (http://amzn.to/2wi1Cwi). If you pre-order Walk It Out before October 1, you’ll also receive 30 Days of Prayer as You Walk It Out FREE! Details here: http://www.triciagoyer.com/walk-it-out/

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11 Biblical Principles for Meaningful Friendships

friendshipGod created friendship. And He works through true, meaningful relationships to help us be all He intends. As we learned in Monday’s post, we need to first clear the hindrances to friendship. But what’s next?

The following principles for making and keeping real friends come straight from Scripture. Use them as a guideline as you purposefully work to make good friends and be a good friend.

11 Biblical Principles for Making and Keeping Friendships

  1. Take the initiative (Acts 18:1-4) – One of my closest, life-long friends picked me to be her friend before I was really even aware of her. Janet and her family were new to our city, so when they joined our church she wanted to make friends. She introduced herself to me and immediately began to pursue a friendship. Janet taught me to take the initiative. Yes, it can be risky, but the rewards can be great!
  2. Practice forgiveness (Colossians 3:13) – True friends don’t hold grudges or remember offenses. Instead they are flexible and quick to forgive. Contemplating God’s forgiveness can help us when we struggle to forgive others.
  3. Guard your tongue (Proverbs 16:28, Ephesians 4:29) – Loose lips ruin many friendships. Careless words hurt feelings. Gossip fosters division. Confidences broken destroy trust. Before we speak, let’s pause to consider whether our words will tear down or build up.
  4. Be a “good” friend (Ephesians 4:2-3) – Christ-like character fosters deep, long-lasting friendships. Qualities like humility, gentleness, patience, and endurance create a solid foundation on which to build life-long friendships.
  5. Extend hospitality (1 Peter 4:9, Proverbs 25:17) – Sometimes we are quick to accept hospitality, but a little slower to give it. Let’s make time to not only invite our friends to our homes, but to also make them feel welcome. On the flip side, Proverbs 25:17 warns us against taking advantage of our friend’s hospitality.
  6. Stay close in hard times (Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 27:10, Romans 12:10) – A true friend remains loyal when trouble comes. Even if other “friends” fall away they stay devoted and help in any way possible.
  7. Nurture them (Ephesians 5:21, Philippians 2:3-4, Romans 12:10) – Friendships will wither without a continual outpouring of time, attention, and resources. Let’s show our friends we care about their needs and their interests with purposeful acts of kindness and generosity. Our friendships will flourish.
  8. Listen to them (James 1:19) – It takes lots of practice to keep our mouths closed and really hear what others are saying. But this habit is well worth developing. When others feel “heard” they feel valued.
  9. Sharpen them (Proverbs 27:6, Proverbs 27:17, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 10:24) – The best kind of friend is not merely a “yes man.” Godly friends nudge others closer to Jesus.
  10. Pray for them (Job 16:20-21) – Our friends need our purposeful prayer support. Not just casual, occasional prayers, but fervent intercession with God on their behalf.
  11. Love them (John 13:34, John 15:3, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 1 John 4:7) – This is actually harder than we might think. God calls us to love our friends like Jesus loves us – not in mere words, but with intentional actions of love that may often cost us something.

Have you seen any principles in Scripture to add to this list? Feel free to comment! 

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3 Hindrances to Meaningful Friendships

friendshipsWe moved in June and I am in the process of building new friendships. I’ve had lots of practice making friends over the years. Over the last 33 years, our family has moved seven times for my husband’s job. Each time I left friends behind. Each time we settled into a new neighborhood with new neighbors. Each time we joined a new church with a new church family.

It didn’t take long to learn that if I wanted to enjoy meaningful, solid friendships I could not waste any time. I had to be intentional about making make friends and I had to be a friend worth having.

Sadly, today’s fast-paced, shallow culture hinders the kind of friendships God desires us to have. In Thursday’s post, we will look at biblical principles for building and keeping friendships, but today, let’s touch on a few things we’ll want to avoid.

Three Hindrances to Meaningful Friendships:

  1. Busyness – Does it seem you never have time to enjoy long conversations with the friends you have now? Do weeks go by without seeing your local friends face-to-face? Honestly, most of us make time to do what we really want to do. If you think you are just too busy to foster deep friendships, try keeping a time log for a week to see just where your time goes. Perhaps you’re serving in some areas where God has not called you. Or maybe you’re allowing too many activities for your children to dictate your life. Purposefully build some margin into your life. Your friendships are vital to your emotional and spiritual well-being.
  2. Fear of transparency – Although we cannot “go deep” with all our friends, we do need a few with whom we can share anything. We need people who can hear our hearts and understand. And we need friends who will hold us accountable when we are out of line. Yet, too often we are afraid to allow other people to know our flaws. We want them to think we have it all together. But we desperately need friends who will challenge us to be all God wants us to be. Yes, it can be scary, but test the waters. Choose one personal thing to share with a select friend and see how it goes!
  3. Breadth of acquaintances – In our social media world it’s easy to confuse quantity with depth. Thousands of shallow “friends” mask the lack of real, deep friendships. Let’s limit our time with our online friends and get out in the real world.

God created women to need other women. Meaningful friendships help us be all God intends for us to be. Let’s make friendship a priority! Come back Thursday to discover 11 biblical principles for solid friendships.

Do you feel you have enough true friends? If not, what do you feel is getting in the way?

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Find Hope in the Psalms

hope in the psalmsFeeling discouraged? Need a bit of hope? There is no better place to go to find hope and encouragement than God’s Word. And the book of Psalms is a great place to begin. (Note: This post is a giveaway! Read to the end to find out how to enter!)

Recently, I received a copy of a great new Bible study from my friend Pam Farrel. Pam is one of the authors of “Discovering Hope in the Psalms.” Pam and her coauthors, Jean E. Jones and Karla Dornacher, have created a truly creative Bible study experience. The material guides the reader to not only dig deep into 10 separate psalms, but it also helps the reader artistically express what she is learning and draws her into worship.

Below, as stated in the book’s introduction, is the authors’ purpose for writing:

Our desire to share the riches of hope from Psalms with you is the inspiration behind the creation of this journey. By the end of our time together, you’ll know how to pray and hope in dark times and how to rejoice and act wisely at all times. You’ll grasp eight hopes from Psalms that will draw you closer to God and will brace you in troubling times. You’ll confidently interpret the psalms and hold on to their messages as lifelines.

Even though this book is filled with creative ways to express and apply what we’re learning, this is not a “fluffy” study. The authors obviously want us to be filled with the meaty truth of God’s Word. What a great combination – a main dish of deep spiritual truth served with creative, expressive sides!

I have started this study myself. I plan to be sharing some of what I learn -and create! – here and on social media. It’s not too late for you to join me. Order your copy today and we can work along together! Or… Pam Farrel will be leading a study through the book live on Facebook. Follow this link to find out how to sign up! I’ll be there when I can.

Why the Psalms?

The book of Psalms is a collection of praises, prayers, and songs. Hebrew poets wrote them – many by David – under God’s inspiration over the course of about 1,000 years. The intent of the psalms is that God’s people would use them to worship Him.

Here’s a bit more from the study:

The Psalms extol God’s goodness and power. They voice our gratitude and hopes, our sorrows and longings. When we sing or pray them, they teach us eternal truths and commit us to godly actions and attitudes. They draw us near to God… Although worship is our gift to God, when we worship with psalms, something happens within us: Hope soars, and we are transformed. The psalms proclaim the hopes to which we have been called, and in our attempts to bless the living God, we find ourselves blessed.

Makes you want to dig into the Psalms doesn’t it? Also wanted to share with you a glimpse of one of the beautiful creative aspects of this study. Each week of study includes a full page illustration by Karla that creatively expresses that week’s Psalm. (The pics below illustrate the truth of Psalm 1. The color is mine!)

Psalm 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is a giveaway! The authors and Harvest House Publishers have graciously made a copy available for me to send to one of you! The drawing for the winner will take place at noon central time on Wednesday, August 23rd. You can enter the drawing up to 3 times. Here’s how:

  1. Comment on this post and tell us which psalm is your favorite and why.
  2. Share this post on Facebook, then comment again here to let me know you shared.
  3. Share this post on Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram and comment again here to let me know you shared.

In order for your name to be entered multiple times, you must make each comment separately.

 

 

 

 

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9 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Bible Study Material

Bible studyThis post first ran in August of 2014. But the tips for choosing a Bible study still apply!

I have dealt with Bible study from almost every conceivable angle. I have studied my Bible and used Bible study materials for decades. I have participated in countless Bible study groups. I have led Bible study groups. I have organized women’s Bible study for several churches. And I have written Bible study curriculum.

Yet, there is one question I still must grapple with again and again. “What study material should I use?” Whether you are a ministry leader selecting material for a group or an individual choosing a book for your personal study, your question is the same. “What study material should I use?”

With so much great material available, the answer is seldom easy. The sheer abundance of choices can be overwhelming. Add to that the scope of your options – everything from looking at classic TV shows with a biblical lens to in-depth, exegetical Bible book studies – and the task becomes daunting!

9 Tips for Choosing Bible Study Material

However, these tips can get help you narrow down your choices. The following tips were written from the women’s ministry leader’s perspective but are also applicable to the individual Bible student!

  1. Establish your purpose – Recall why you study the Bible and keep that foremost in your mind. Through His Word, God reveals Himself, His ways, and His will. Our primary goals should be to know and experience God more deeply and to allow Him to make us more like Jesus. A good Bible study will have the same goals for its readers.
  2. Contemplate the needs of the students (or yourself) – For instance, do they need the doctrinal basics or are they ready for something deeper? If part of your purpose is to appeal to seekers, consider a study on a topic such as parenting. Young moms have different life needs and interests than empty nesters. They also have less time! Make sure the topic and the time required will fit your group.
  3. Consider the experience of your leaders  – Less experienced leaders will benefit from a study that has a solid, helpful leaders’ guide. Those with more experience won’t necessarily need one. If your leaders are inexperienced or not confident, look for a study with lots of leader helps! If you plan to study on your own, consider your own level of experience. For instance, if this is your first time to do a Bible study, fewer weeks may be better to start.
  4. Enlist a few trusted friends – Enlist 3 or 4 women who have lots of Bible study experience to help you in the process. First, ask for study and author recommendations. Then later, after you have gathered a few possibilities, ask them to help you read through and review the selections. If you are an individual, ask trusted friends for their recommendations.
  5. Do a little research – Visit your local Christian bookstore and browse the Bible study section. If you’re looking for a very specific topic, check the non-fiction or Christian living section. Many trade books now include group discussion questions. Also do topic searches on online bookstores like Amazon and ChristianBook.com to find lots of options!
  6. Explore a few new authors – During your research, take a look at a few authors you’ve never used before. We all have our favorites, but different voices can bring freshness and encourage us to look at timeless truths in new ways. Visit the authors’ websites, check their “statement of beliefs,” and check out reader reviews.
  7. Gather some options – After your research, narrow it down to a handful of options and purchase a single copy of each. Review those choices with the help of your enlisted friends.
  8. Check the doctrine – Just because a book is published by a Christian publisher doesn’t mean the author’s doctrine will line up with your church’s understanding of God’s truth. Some things are insignificant like how often we should partake of the Lord’s Supper. Others – like how we are saved – are non-negotiable. Make sure the material is on solid ground!
  9. Confirm the material encourages spiritual growth – Go back to your purpose to make your final decision. Some material can be engaging and even grow our biblical knowledge, yet not encourage application and growth.

 Cover it all with prayer and you’re ready to select the next Bible study for your women. Happy studying!

What tips do you have for choosing new Bible study material??

 

 

 

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Color Grace for a Chance to Win

Coloring giveawayIf you could color grace, what color would it be?

A couple of years ago, I asked my Facebook friends: “If grace were a color, what color would it be?” The response was overwhelming! Many said “blue” because grace is “fresh” and washes away our sins with the Living Water of Jesus. Others said “red” because God extends His grace in the “blood of Jesus.” Still others said white, yellow, green, purple, and just about every other color you can imagine.

What color do you imagine grace to be?

I would love for you to show me the way you would color grace! To celebrate the release of my new Bible study “Lavish Grace,” I commissioned three beautiful coloring sheets that correspond with the three sections of my new Bible study, “Lavish Grace.”

Color Grace for a Chance to Win!

The first sheet is available to download and print today! Help me spread the word about “Lavish Grace” and 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.

Click here to find out more and download the first coloring sheet.

Delightful Dangles earringsStart coloring and posting pics of your colored sheets! Entries for the first sheet will be accepted now through August 10 at noon. This week’s winner will receive: Delightful Dangles Earrings from World Crafts artisans and a book bundle from New Hope Publishers.

A big thanks to New Hope Publishers and World Crafts for partnering with me in the “Lavish Grace” launch. You can find out more about the free trade products at World Crafts. Select your own beautiful piece and save 20% off your purchase of WorldCrafts products with code KH16 through January 31, 2017!

More Grace to Celebrate

In case you missed Monday’s post, you will want to check it out so you don’t miss any of the excitement happening this month. I want you to be a part of everything! Giveaways, chatting, fun, and lots and lots of GRACE. Download your Lavish Grace Poured Out coloring sheet now!

So, what do you think? If grace were a color, what color would it be? And why?

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Sex Trafficking, Hope, and a Bracelet Giveaway

Bracelet giveawaySadly, the following story is not only true, it’s just one of many like it. There are currently 24 million women and children enslaved in sex trafficking across the globe today, many of whom are trapped in brothels in India and Nepal. This story is told by Vision Beyond Borders, a Christian ministry that works to rescue women like Anna (named changed for protection) from sex trafficking in Nepal and India. Keep reading to find out how you can help. And comment for a chance to win a beautiful bracelet made by a woman like Anna.

Anna was raped by one of her mother’s relatives when she was just 10-years-old. Although initially imprisoned, the relative was later released when Anna’s mother accepted 20,000 rupees (about $200) from him as payment.

When Anna was a little older, she was followed home by three men who raped her again, then abandoned her on a dirt road. When Anna told her mother what happened she would not believe her. Just like she ignored the worsening sexual abuse by Anna’s stepfather. Not only did Anna’s mother refuse to help her, she verbally abused Anna herself.

Vision Beyond BordersIn desperation, Anna decided to run away. She left home with two friends and some other girls who told them they knew of a better place where they would be safe and able to make money. They took her near Nepal’s border with India where Anna then worked in a dance bar. She was the youngest girl working there and the customers touched her inappropriately. But Anna desperately needed money.

Not much later, the police found Anna and her two friends. But the girls who had taken these three young girls to the dance bar could not be found. Later, the police discovered that the older girls had planned to sell Anna and her friends in India, where they would earn a greater profit for their youth.

Anna was imprisoned for several weeks while her case was reviewed by several non-government organizations. When her paperwork was finally completed, she was brought to the Vision Beyond Borders safe house to recover from all she had endured. By God’s grace, Anna is doing well and has recently come to know Christ as her personal Savior! She recognizes God’s great love toward her, and He is healing her from the pain she’s endured.

Now 15 years-old, Anna is in school and is also learning skills in hair styling and jewelry making in the safe house. She is one of 16 girls currently in the safe house, including the 5 year-old daughter of one of the girls. Many of the girls share similar stories and have been sold by family members due to the lack of respect for women in their Hindu culture.

All these girls have come to accept Jesus as their Savior. Their transformation after salvation is miraculous! Some of the girls want to be in Christian ministry and others businesswomen, but they all love sharing about the Lord and radiate His joy and faithfulness.

sex trafficking in Nepal

4 Ways You Can Help VBB Fight Sex Trafficking

  1. Pray for the continued healing of the girls in the safe house and for their Hindu families (Download 15-day prayer guide).
  2. Purchase bracelets made by the girls to support their futures. Each piece was handmade in the VBB safe house in Nepal. One hundred percent of the proceeds go back to helping them.
  3. Go on a VBB mission trip to India or Nepal.
  4. Donate to the Vision Beyond Borders ministry to women.

This post is a giveaway! Comment below for a chance to win a bracelet made by one of the girls at the VBB safe house in Nepal. Leave a short prayer, words of encouragement, or simply tell us what color bracelet you’d like to win! Giveaway closes on Wednesday, June 8th at 5pm.

 

More about Vision Beyond Borders ministry to women:

VBB works in Nepal and India to rescue women in the sex trafficking industry and help them discover new lives in Christ. They provide safety, training, and healing and guide them into jobs and businesses to eventually support themselves. Sine VBB’s safe house in Nepal opened in 2014 more than 30 women have been rescued. VBB also operates a hair salon in India that’s a ministry base for women. Vision for Women is working to expand into other countries as well.

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4 Tips to Stay Connected this Summer

It is hard to stay connected with other women through the summer. Last June, I met with some of my Bible study teachers. When Megan arrived, she settled in a chair, looked at the ladies gathered around the table, and with a sigh announced, “I have missed being with women!” The rest of us felt the same and it was only the second week of summer!

Summer is a great time for families and relaxation. But the erratic schedule and unique dynamics of the season sure puts a strain on women’s ministry and women’s relationships with each other.

stay connected

Whether you’re a women’s ministry leader trying to maintain contact with the women of your church or a busy mom who needs adult conversation, you can proactively work to stay connected through the summer months. Then when “normal” returns in September, we won’t have lost the momentum of ministry and our friendships will still be warm. And you can do it from wherever you happen to wander this summer by taking advantage of technology and social media.

Stay Connected through the Summer

Here are a few ways to continue ministry, maintain contact, and foster relationships during the summer:

  1. Bible Study – Organize or participate in an online Bible study group for summer. Use a closed Facebook group for women to share insights and ask questions anytime that works for them. (See this post for a few suggestions!)
  2. Prayer – If you are a WM leader, organize your women into small prayers groups. Assign a leader to keep things moving. They can share requests via group texts or email. If you’re an individual, message a few close friends and start your own prayer group!
  3. “Spontaneous” Fellowship – Whether you’re a women’s ministry leader or just a gal missing her friends, don’t be afraid to be spontaneous! Use your women’s ministry’s social media accounts to publicize “spontaneous” fellowship events or message a few friends. For example, plan a picnic at a local park for moms and their kids. Since families keep a super flexible summer schedule, don’t publicize the event in advance. Instead, blast social media with invitations the night before and the morning of the event. Keep it simple! Invite them to bring their kids and a sack lunch. The point is simply to get your women together.
  4. “Meet” New Friends – If you’re a women’s ministry leader, take advantage of your ministry’s social media accounts to foster relationships between the women of your church. Once or twice a week, introduce a woman and her family to the women of your church. Share a photo, hobbies, and interesting facts. The goal is to encourage the women to connect with each other and make new friends. If you’re an individual, purposefully work to expand your circle of friends. For example, make a play date with a mom and her kids who are new to your neighborhood or ask a casual acquaintance to meet for coffee.

With a small amount of effort, you can keep ministry moving and your relationships growing, all summer long!

I would love for you to share some ways that you purposefully work to stay connected with other women through the summer!

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Lavish Grace is Coming

Lavish GraceHave you underestimated grace? God’s lavish grace is not “just enough” and it’s far more than “sufficient.” His grace washes through and over every aspect of a believer’s life. It’s like a free-flowing river that knows no bounds. Yet, sometimes we fail to jump in!

A few years ago, God began to show me my desperate need for His abundant, lavish grace. In every day, in every situation, and in every relationship. So, I began studying about it in His Word and talking about it at women’s events. Then the next thing you know, I’m writing a new Bible study. And you guessed it, the new study is about God’s exceedingly, abundant grace.

This writing journey has been particularly personal. God has given me lots of opportunity to put what I’ve studied into practice. Of course some days it’s felt like two steps forward and one step back. And I’ve had the incredible blessing of witnessing God’s grace at work in the lives of people very dear to me.

So, it is with great excitement and anticipation that I announce:

Lavish Grace is coming August 1st!

Lavish Grace is a 9-week, in-depth study through Paul’s experiences with and teachings on grace, designed to help us discover the riches and abundance of God’s grace for our lives today. Lavish Grace includes contemporary examples of God’s grace at work in the lives of women today to help you also embrace God’s amazing grace. The study is divided into 3 sections:

  • Poured Out – Explore God’s work of grace in our eternal salvation, continued spiritual transformation, as well as our call and equipping for ministry and service.
  • Poured Through – Discover what it looks like to be channels of God’s great grace, not just stagnant pools.
  • Overflowing – Learn how to rest in and rely on His grace in the inevitable times of trials, struggles, and difficulties.

You will hear a lot more about Lavish Grace and all the exciting book launch activities in the coming weeks. But here’s a bit of a teaser: Online study opportunities, giveaways, Facebook party, coloring contests, and more! I would love for you to be a part of it all. If you can help get the word out about God’s lavish grace – host a blog, share on social media, lead a study – let me know in the comments below!

Praise for Lavish Grace

Kathy has beautifully woven an account of how the grace God so incredibly pours into us, and practically shares with us ways we can exhibit grace to others. You will be blessed by this book! I know I was.  Jennifer Rothschild

If you want to renew, revive, and rejuvenate your life with God’s lavish grace, then the pages of this book will shower you with hope and help you embrace the exuberant, abundant grace-filled life we all long for! Pam Farrel

Kathy Howard does more than point out our need for grace; she teaches us to not only pour it out, but also to lap it up. A must read for a needy world.  Kathi Lipp

If you’re ready to understand and embrace this life-altering love in a fresh way, then don’t hesitate to take this grace-walk with Kathy. Gwen Smith

Kathy Howard pinpoints what each of us needs—a fresh awareness of God’s grace. Debbie Taylor Williams

A few links to check out:

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3 Bible Studies that Impacted My Faith

People often ask me for Bible study recommendations and usually I have some suggestions. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of experience with Bible studies from many different angles. I have been a student of the Bible and a “consumer” of Bible study curriculum for almost 30 years. I have also taught Bible study, chosen curriculum for church ministries, and written Bible studies.

But recently, a conversation I had with a friend got me thinking about the Bible studies that have had the greatest impact on my own life. I want to share those with you today.

First, I want to emphasize that our first source for growing in our faith and in our knowledge of God is His Word. The Bible should always be our primary study book. The Holy Spirit is our teacher; we need no other. But God has also given us gifted teachers with great biblical insight. Their material can supplement and enhance our personal study of the Bible.

I’ve lost count of the number of study books I’ve used over the years. However, these three stand out because each of them profoundly affected my faith. They guided me into a deeper understanding of Scripture. Each provided multiple “aha” moments by connecting some biblical dots or making me aware of an aspect of God’s character or ways I had somehow missed before.

They are deep and thoughtful. It’s obvious the authors walk closely with God and take the teaching of His Word very seriously. I know two of the authors personally and their lives match their writing. And although I trust their teaching, I also check everything they write against the Bible. So far, I have not been disappointed.

Here are my top three:

  1. Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby & Claude King – This study highlights truths from Scripture that helps readers know how God works in the world and how He relates to us.
  2. Live a Praying Life by Jennifer Kennedy Dean – This study wipes out our misconception about prayer by pointing us to what the Bible says about its purpose and working.
  3. Believing God by Beth Moore – Too many Christians settle for belief in God when we could believe Him.

I have done some Bible studies over the years that have encouraged me in a particular area or increased my knowledge of God. Others have wasted my time. But these three address foundational truths of our faith and directly impacted my relationship with God. The first two I’ve done more than once, and I know I would benefit from doing all of them again.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you done these? Are there others that God used mightily in your life?


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