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Faith

Free Online Bible Study Group

Studying God’s Word might seem like a challenging spiritual discipline, set apart for bible teachers and preachers. But it isn’t. And while it can certainly be difficult at times, it is something we are all able to do, with a few simple skills, and a whole lot of practice.

You don’t have to be a scholar or a married to a preacher to really know God’s Word. What you do need is commitment to spend some time in the Word, a simple study method to use during your time in the Word, and a community to keep you accountable and help sharpen you after your time in the Word.

  • Maybe you’ve tried to study God’s Word on  your own before only to quit a few days in because you were overwhelmed and frustrated.
  • Maybe you love studying God’s Word, but haven’t found community with others who share that same passion.
  • Maybe you have never tried to go any further than a quick devotional reading each morning, but know that there is so much more of God to be found on the pages of scripture.

If that’s you, know that you are not alone.

I haven’t always known how to study God’s Word. And, even after I learned how to, I haven’t always been able to sustain the motivation to keep going.

Until…

I found myself surrounded by other women who wanted to dig deep into scripture with me. That kind of accountability, paired with a few Bible study skills helped me to grow in both scriptural knowledge, and obedience to what God was showing me through my Bible study times.

Ya’ll, I believe that if we could catch even the slightest glimpse of God’s character through the pages of scripture, we would find obedience far easier than we ever dreamed it would be, and our hearts would be filled with the deep affection for the God who authored every word on those pages.

Which is why I am starting a free Bible study this fall. I want to help encourage you in your faith by giving you some tools to study God’s Word. I also want to surround you with other women who have the same hunger and desire, so that you are continually spurred on in your pursuit of Christ.

Want to join me? Here’s what you need to know:

  • The group will start on September 5th, 2016
  • We will be using Katie Orr’s Everyday Peace (4 week study, 15 minutes per day)
  • You will be in a FB group alongside other women who want to grow in their faith through their own Bible study.
  • There will be weekly discussions through our FB group, and I will post videos each week, going over the study material.

Amazon will be shipping books out by the end of August. If you pre-order a copy before July 30th, you get some awesome freebies (pictured below) along with your order.

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Free Scripture Prints

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Free Greek/Hebrew Word Study Worksheet

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Free Inductive Bible Study eClass

 

 

Purchasing your Bible study is the only cost for joining my group!

Order Your Study Here

Once you’ve ordered your book, you can claim your freebies by filling out this form!

Then, just sign up here for my group. Once it gets closer to the start date, I will send out details on how the group will run, and include the link to our new FB group!

If you want to grow deeper through more intentional time in God’s Word, in community with other women, for FREE, this is group is for you!

  1. Grab your study here.
  2. Snag your freebies here (only good until July 30th).
  3. Sign up for my group here.
  4. Tell your friends to join along with you!

You can build a sustainable Bible study habit. Growth, knowledge of the Word and intimacy with God are not for the super spiritual. They are for everyday believers like us. Which is why I love Katie’s studies. She takes us to the Word, teaches us how to mine for truth, and God through the Holy Spirit teaches, convicts and encourages our hearts, as He reveals His character to us.

Can’t wait to dig in with you all!

*This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure statement here.
In Faith

Be the Church

be the church

Have you seen the news lately?

Terrorists killing hundreds.

Another police shooting with riots as the response.

Believers across the globe being pushed out of their homes and countries, because they claim Christ.

The world’s darkness seems to be all there is at times. And as believer’s the whispers of, “come Lord come” roll quickly off our lips.

But, there is still more to be done for us here, so He hasn’t come yet.

How then, do we respond to the loss, the death, the fear and the sadness?

Scripture speaks clearly to this…

We mourn with those who mourn, we pray for those who are suffering and for those who are persecuted because of their faith. We offer whatever help we can, just as the good samaritan did, caring for one He was supposed to hate.

And then we bring hope. We share the good news. We remind those around us, or maybe tell them for the first time, that there is salvation, eternal peace, and life everlasting; only found in Christ. That feels exclusive, but it’s the truth. It is their deepest need, ours too. It is the only source of true hope, the only light in this deafening darkness.

It isn’t enough to get angry, put our thoughts online and then sit back. We must act in accordance to our words, even if that means praying in the quietness of our homes for those that are suffering.

And doing good in the name of doing good falls short too. Outside of Christ, there will only be more suffering, hopelessness, fear and ultimately, eternal separation from God. In Christ, there is hope, peace and joy that is not dependent on our circumstances. Let us not withhold those things from those who so desperately need it.

I write this not to shame or condemn, but to remind myself, and those who call themselves believers, what it looks like to live as though our lives have been transformed. No one reading this needs more of a reminder than I do.

So, Christians, pray.  Because prayer is the foundation of all action for the believer. Do not be fooled into thinking it is passive and lazy.

And then, obediently do what God asks of you. That might be to give, to go or to pray some more. This isn’t about enlisting you in a certain cause, campaign or fight. This is about encouraging us all to be the church. We can’t be Jesus, but we can be the church, His representation to the world.

When I feel overwhelmed by the sadness, the darkness and what feels like complete hopelessness, may I boldly go to my Father, and then wilfully do as He asks me to do.

The struggle is real, but oh so necessary. Will you go to Him with me?

In Faith

The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference Recap

Gospel Coalition Women's Conference Recap

7200 women singing In Christ Alone will undoubtedly bring you to tears; which is basically how I spent much of my three days at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference.  My tears came with joy, conviction and a ginormous hope.  That hope has always been there, but lately, it feels as though it has been sleeping way down deep, in the crevices of my heart.

During the conference there were exactly 0 attempts to stir emotion. No rally cries, no repeated lines of worship for effect, and no overly emotional pleas to change. There was simply God’s Word, people who were committed to teaching it, and the most gospel-rich songs one could imagine. There was much discussion among my friends about how refreshing it was to experience true emotion, that could not be conjured up by humans, but that could not be suppressed in light of the character of God.

To say last week was refreshing would be an understatement.

I wish I could write out everything I learned, but it will take me a while to process through it all. This conference is like drinking water from a theological fire hydrant. Every speaker requires your full engagement, both in mind and spirit. Each of the girls I went with, left with pages and pages of notes. There were few breaks, and little time to socialize. At the end of each day, you basically wanted to eat and go to bed. At the end of three days, I left wanting to dig deeper into God’s Word, cling more tightly to the cross, honor Him in everything He calls me to, and do things, both big and small, that will have an eternal impact for the kingdom of God. There were lots of small practical things I left with, along with quite the haul of deeply discounted books. I even made a few new friends at a meet-up hosted by Grace Laced and Deeply Rooted.

If you are at all able to attend this conference in 2018, do it! The links to all of the main sessions and workshops just posted today. I will be going back through everything I attended again (I am telling you, there is so much to go through), in addition to listening to most of the other workshops I couldn’t get to. I will highlight where to start below, but I encourage you to work your way through as many of them as you are able to!

You can find the Pre-Conference, Plenary and Workshops Here!

The Pre-conference

This series was great; it’s focus was prayer. Listen to all 3 of them!

Plenary Talks

All of these were fantastic. They go through the book of 1 Peter in order. So, my recommendation is to listen to them that way. However, the ones that stood out most to me were:

  • Jen Wilkin
  • Mary Wilson
  • John Piper

(The Panel on the Persecuted Church was amazing. It wasn’t part of the 1 Peter Series, but is something every believer should listen to.)

Workshops

Each attendee is allowed to attend 3 workshops. I went to:

Raising an Alien Child (Jen Wilkin)

I basically love everything Jen does. There was a lot of good, practical things to consider for parents as we seek to raise children who are not at home in the world. I love Jen’s down-to-earthness. If you are a parent, this is a must-listen-to. Also, it should be noted that my sweet friend Kristin went over to Jen at the end of the conference and got a selfie with her…which the rest of us thought was awesomely hilarious. Kristin, you are the best!

Sojourner Citizens (Jennifer Marshall)

Jennifer Marshall works for the Heritage foundation and speaks knowledgeably and practically about the believer’s role as citizens of the U.S. I really love how she gives you an overview of theological concepts as they relate to politics and then breaks it down into specifics for you.

Living Our Theology as we Disciple Others (K.A. Ellis)

This workshop wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, but K.A. Ellis is a phenomenal speaker, with tons of wisdom on a number of things. She walks you through applying God’s Word to life, by walking you through a real life example.

Other Workshops I Plan to Listen To

Cross Shaped Discipleship (Panel)

Standing Beside the Persecuted Church (Mindy Belz)

When Women Pray Together (Megan Hill)

Deepening Our Walk With Jesus (Melissa Kruger)

The Thorns and Thistles of Our Work (Kathleen Alsdorf)

A Peculiar Glory (John Piper)

Help Me Teach 1 Peter (John Piper and Nancy Guthrie)

I will eventually work my way through almost all of the workshops and plenary talks, because, as I have already nauseatingly overemphasized…this stuff is just so good!

And…because I love you all, I am hosting a giveaway! All you have to do to enter is head on over to my Instagram account and follow the guidelines :)

Giveaway

 Get Listening Ya’ll!!! I am serious. Like now.

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get back in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, you can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do.

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Quickstart

Promoting a Healthy Body Image for Your Teen Daughters

As believers, the easy way to view body image is through the lens of scripture. We know that God created each of us in His image. He delights in who we are, and is not concerned with our outward appearance. As we talk to our daughters about how they see themselves, this needs to be our starting point and foundation. However, there are several other ways we can promote a healthy body image among our girls, building on this framework.

How to Encourage a Positive Body Image for our Daughters

Don’t talk negatively about your own body.

Body image is something that girls create based on the things they see and hear around them. Media today gives our girls plenty of fodder regarding what they should look like. At school, their friends will have plenty to say about what everyone else looks like. Our girls are bombarded with all types of messages about what they should and should not be, in terms of their bodies. Which is why it is so important that they never hear those things from us. If we are talking about how big our thighs are, or how much we hate our nose, they are going to think that it is normal for people to feel bad about the way they look.  While this is a real struggle for me, I’ve seen my girls pick up on my negative patterns, and have been convicted about my role in perpetuating that cycle.

Talk about food as fuel, and exercise as something you get to do.

I try really hard not to talk about foods as either good or bad. Instead, I tell my girls about the foods that fuel us and the ones that don’t. I try to get them to connect what they eat to the things they want to accomplish throughout the day. If they have a long practice, or lots going on at school, they will need lots of fuel. So, they can have a few things that aren’t necessarily fuel, but they need to be sure to stock up on the things their bodies need to run well. In addition to that, I want them to look at exercise as a way to be strong so that they can better live their lives. I never want them to associate exercise with some kind of punishment for eating badly. Exercise is something they get to do because they are healthy and able. It is a gift God has given them, so they get to use it to honor Him as they strengthen their bodies to serve others well!

Be careful in how you describe other women.

When we describe other women as thin, pretty, in-shape, or overweight, we allow those markers to seep deeply into our daughter’s thinking. When outward appearance is the first descriptor we use to talk about someone, it slowly creeps into our girl’s minds as the most important thing. When I can, I really try to stay away from things like that. If I am being honest, I am terrible about this. But, I want my girls to continue to grow in character and grace, and I want them to at LEAST think those things are as important as their outward appearance. This is not easy, but is something I am really working towards as a girl mom!

Comment regularly on who your daughters are, not what they look like.

My husband and I both tell our girls they are beautiful, regularly. However, over the past couple of years, we have worked really hard on telling them the ways we see God working in them. We talk about the ways we see them growing in character and the ways God is using them in their context. We let them know how kind and gracious they are and try to keep the talk about their appearance to a minimum. We do want them to feel beautiful, because in God’s eyes, and in ours, they are. But, we are working really hard to create in them a hunger to be a person whose beauty radiates from within. A woman who is confident in Christ and able to live out of that identity is truly beautiful. We strive to communicate that to our daughters, every chance we get.

At each of these points, I have failed miserably, multiple times. But, as God grows me in my own pursuit of a healthy body image, He is helping me change the ways I communicate with my daughters. While the struggle for our girl’s body image is a tough one, God’s ability to heal and restore what the world taints, propels me in fighting for the hearts of our girls.

 

——

Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get back in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, you can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do.

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Quickstart

On Saying Goodbye

On Saying Goodbye

Coming to Bangkok was never my dream. While many of the expats we encountered in our time overseas lived for adventure and loved to travel, I never really cared much for that. Instead I have always longed for the deep relationships that only come from staying planted in one place for years.

Which is why my sadness over leaving took me by surprise. If I’m being honest, I am pretty excited about this upcoming move. It feels like the perfect fit for our family. While there is a lot that is unknown, God has already begun clearing a path for us. On top of that, I never really loved living in Bangkok, and I often missed my friends and life back home. Yet, for the entirety of our last day in BKK, I felt myself getting all teary-eyed thinking about leaving this place. With every “last” came a deeper twinge of sadness.

Last massage, last pedicure, last trip to “our mall”. Last brunch with this friend, last dinner with that friend. Last time we would eat at this table. Last time with our beloved, although once hated by me, dog. The goodbyes got progressively harder, and my sadness grew deeper with each one.

As I thought through how strange these feelings were, I realised that this had in fact become home for us. And while this wasn’t my dream life, it had been a pretty good reality for our family. There were people here we loved, and places that were special to us. Bangkok marked one of the biggest steps of obedience we had ever taken as a family, and God had been so faithful to us throughout our time here.

And while we are going back to what really feels like home, saying good-bye was hard. Really, really hard.

Leaving our friends, home and favorite places behind brought an outpouring of tears I did not expect. And that dang dog ya’ll. Although I couldn’t stand her, or any dog for that matter just a few short months ago,  she had become part of our family. Saying good-bye to her felt like leaving a piece of our heart in Thailand. (I cannot even believe I wrote that people. Seriously. Who have I become?!?!? I need an intervention.)

I know we will see many of our Bangkok friends again. I am excited to see our old friends in South Carolina. I look forward to getting to know some new ones, in Nashville. I am also looking forward what God does in our family and ministry with this next step of obedience. But for today, and maybe for a few more days, I am just going to be okay with the sadness. While it  is a bit more than I had imagined it being, the tears remind me that God built connections here. I wouldn’t be sad if there was nothing to leave behind. So, I am thankful for the sadness and the good it represents. And while the U.S. will always feel like home to me, I will miss Bangkok and the life we built there with shaky hands and hesitant hearts. 

God was the one who called us there, and He is the one calling us back. He gave us such a sweet community, some friendships that will remain forever, and a worldview that can never be diminished. God did things both big and small in our lives and in our hearts in the Land of Smiles, and we will forever look back on our time there as an Ebenezer of His faithfulness.

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