Monday, February 25, 2008

Want to read the Bible "together?"

I think between the group of us P31 gals we've gotten most the questions about She Speaks answered. I realize I never typed out my whole process of how I came to be writing and speaking with P31 but it would be a very long post and maybe I will get to it one day. But honestly I'm more excited to get back to the subject of studying the Bible because I want to run something by you.

On Friday I tried unsuccessfully 3 times to post a response to your questions and comments in my "How do you study your Bible" post. Since I never was able to before I had to go on with my day, I thought about you through out the day and an idea began percolating.

So many women have expressed to me a desire to read the Bible and connect with God regularly but they just don't know how to go about it ... or they could use a little accountability in getting it done on a regular basis. Sound at all like someone you know?

I started wondering, would it help you if we could do it "together" several days a week for a month or so? We could all follow a plan I'd provide so we're all reading the same portions of scripture at the same time. I'm thinking maybe we'd move through each of the main women of the Bible. Then we could come here and check it off our to-do list by posting an "I'm done" once we've completed the day's reading.

We can even share in the comments any questions, insights, or reactions we have to the readings. That way we can also learn from one another after we've read the text and reflected on it ourselves. Along the way I would post some comments, some study helps, or some journal activities you could try.

This would be in addition to the other reading/studying I'm already doing. So I want to be clear from the outset that I would not be teaching an online bible study for us so much as hosting it by providing a plan, a forum, some direction and some accountability. I think it could be a fun experience!! I'm all about drawing women closer to the heart of God and to one another.

So what do you think, does this interest you? Would it help you to stay accountable to reading God's Word? If not, that's fine, it won't hurt my feelings. But if you are interested, jump on board and join me in March.

UPDATE: I'm so excited about all of you that have decided to do this - and its still not too late if you've visiting from my "Making Time" devotion today. In fact, any woman can join in at any time during the 6 week study. Beginning this week (March 10th) we'll be going through women of the Bible in chronological order, covering 3 women a week for about 6 weeks. *Everything you need to participate in reading the Bible with me will be posted here on my blog. So if you want to start (or just learn more), look in my side bar to the right under "Archives" and then click on "March 2008" and it will take you where you need to go.
And if you just want to check out other ideas of mine for spending time with God, you can search my blog for the words "time with God." Its my prayer that you will make it a priority to press into Him and be blessed in the process.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another She Speaks answer

Hi Gals. I'm back as promised to answer the following question:

"My big question is this, just how do you start? In otherwords, how do you get churches, women's groups, etc. to see you as a viable speaker when your experience speaking is very minimal?"

I believe with all my heart that God wants you to share your story of His loving faithfulness and that He will orchestrate opportunities for you to do so.

That can be with people you already know, and with people you meet in the coffee shop or hair salon in your everyday life. It may also be with several people all at once in scheduled times like small group meetings or ministry events. Pray for God to open doors of opportunity all around you.

Meanwhile, volunteer for speaking roles in your own church - lead a women's Sunday School class, small group, or Bible study. Your local church is a valuable place to serve and gain experience, and your pastor and women's ministry director can recommend you to the network of churches they know. Word-of-mouth recommendations from people that have heard you are invaluable.

Also look for places outside your church to get involved and serve such as community bible studies, Christan support groups, or MOPS groups. These are places that provide speaking opportunities, but also that connect you with women from other churches. Let these women know of your willingness to speak at events around your area. You could ask them to take your business card to their women's ministry director.

Its been said you've got a good message that you're presenting well when one speaking engagement leads to others. Often times I will speak in one city and someone in that audience is visiting from another city or church. They will go home and tell their church about me. Then I'll be asked to speak for this church, sometimes even years later. So once the ball gets rolling, it can generate some momentum and create widening paths.

Some helpful tools to have in addition to the recommendations of others are a demo recording, a speaker bio sheet, and a place on the web where people can learn more about you. They aren't necessary at the start but will become needed as God expands your work. She Speaks can teach you more about this.

One of the inspiring things about attending She Speaks is meeting so many women - on that same path as you, with the same passion as you - and hearing their stories. Each one of us at Proverbs 31 and each one of the attendees at the conference have a different story to tell in answer to your question about getting started. But there is one common denominator in all those stories and in all of our "starts." That's God and His unfailing plans.

So again, I encourage you to pray to the One that created you for His pleasure and purposes. Pray to the One who gives you reason to speak. Pray and ask Him to bring about the good plans He has for your life as you seek to glorify Him in words.

And let me know how it goes at your first speaking engagement!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

?s on writing or speaking

Hi and welcome. I'm writing to answer some of the questions received on the Q&A on Lysa TerKeurst's blog about P31's annual She Speaks conference for aspiring speakers and writers. Lysa was so swamped with questions, she asked me to address a few of them. (If you were checking back in to see my answers to your bible study questions on my earlier post - sit tight as I will get back to that and I've got some good ideas for you!)

I'll start tonight by answering the several people who asked:

"How do you decide between speaking and writing? I'm torn on which track to take."

When you register for the conference you'll have to declare a track and that will automatically determine some of the sessions you'll attend. But you also get to choose many of your breakout sessions and you can choose those from either track! The great thing about She Speaks is you are able to customize your conference to suit your needs.

I'll also mention that many people attend this conference more than once. So another option is to concentrate in one area this year and get started doing that. Then come back next year, or when you're ready, to try your hand at the other.

Others commenters wanted to know if you have to do both writing and speaking to be successful:

"I have more of an interest in the two have to go hand in hand though. I love to blog - I write most every day but have never considered myself a "writer."

"How do you decide between books or speaking? I DO NOT like formal writing, but know that God did not bless my son just for my family, but for us to share his story and the healing power of Jesus Christ in our lives and we went through."

You do not have to do both to be successful at one, though they do often go hand in hand. You can speak in your church and around your city or region without needing to publish your words. You will probably need to know a few things that She Speaks can teach you in order to get this going but you don't have to become a "professional writer" in order to speak to groups of women if God has called you to speak.

For those of you who are more interested in writing - the thought of speaking in front of a group of women causes you to have to breathe in and out from a paper bag - let me assure you that you can write for websites, e-zines and various magazines (like the P31 Woman) without needing to travel around as a public speaker. But you'll need to have good writing on viable topics and She Speaks can help you with this.

"Can I get my book idea published without being a speaker?"

If your sights are set on publishing a book, I can tell you that a book publisher will be more likely to take a chance on you and your book idea if you are out there speaking on the topic. This is because your speaking helps to market the book. There are plenty of exceptions to this rule so don't think it impossible, but that's the rule of thumb. Also, this isn't the case as much for fiction writers.

Likewise, if you are a speaker dreaming of giving your message in front of thousands, you will most likely need a successfully published book before being invited to that speaking engagement. This is because your book lying on beside tables across the country will help to draw attendees to that stadium (which costs lots of money to rent). Again, there are exceptions but this is typically the case.

All you need to do right now is pray over it and ask God to reveal to you what your next step is and be obedient to that, allowing Him to manage the rest. If you think She Speaks may be your next step, then go ahead and register ... oh and be sure to introduce yourself to me when you're there! :)

Stay tuned as my next posts will tell you some of my journey as a speaker/writer and will also answer the question: "My big question is this, just how do you start?"

Stay tuned for She Speaks answers

Welcome if you've popped over here from Lysa's blog and the Q&A about She Speaks. I have two different birthday parties to attend today (and a cake to bake) but I'll be back tonight to answer some of your questions regarding speaking and writing. Meanwhile, have a look around and I'll be back soon.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I have written not 1, not 2, but 3 different posts this morning in answer to your bible study questions ... only to accidentally delete it each time before I was done. I keep managing to hit something on my keyboard that closes me out of the post I'm creating with no draft saved.

Now I have to go on to the next thing on my schedule, so hopefully I can get back here later today and manage to finish a post - or not.
I'm trying, girlfriends!

Monday, February 18, 2008

How do you study your Bible?

One question I get a lot is how do I study my Bible?

For a long time I didn't really - I just read Chrisitan books that had portions of scripture already digested and explained for me. Now, don't think that I'm knocking the value of Christian books ... they have been invaluable to my walk with Christ! And they continue to be. However, I also needed to get into the Bible myself and allow God to meet me and teach me there. It felt hard to get started though.

Then one of my mentors told me a very a freeing thing. She said, "Don't worry about the where or the how, just open your Bible every day and read something." "Ask God to make that time beneficial, and trust that He will do so even if you don't feel like its very effective at the moment." I started doing that - and many days I sensed that I had experienced something of God in those moments of time. Other days, well, not so much, but I didn't let that deter me.

Soon I began using pre-packaged Bible studies. I've enjoyed some by Beth Moore like Jesus the One and Only, and also Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God. I attended BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) a couple of years, and CBS (Community Bible Study) one year. These were more instensive than I was used to, but the great thing was childcare was provided which made it possible for me to go. I know how hard it is to make time for Bible study when you have little ones at home. These studies all helped me to see the value of moving beyond my just-open-and-read approach, although I still do some of that.

In more recent years I became a little more intentional about digging into the Bible myself without a book or prepackaged study to guide me. I guess I was looking for a more organic experince. I've been exploring different methods for this, and found many of them valuble. Some help me to memorize a verse easily. Others help me to follow a theme over the course of time. Others still, help me to understand the full context of a particular verse or teaching. If you search my blog for the tag "time with God" you'll find a couple posts about it. Let me know if you'd like to hear more ideas from me on this topic.

The better I undersand God's word and thinking - really encounter and understand it for myself - the easier I find it to apply and obey. If you read my devotion at P31 today, you'll realize my daughter and I are actually a lot alike!!

I'd love to hear what works for you. What tips, tools, or resources can you offer for studying the Bible on our own? What's your Bible study journey been like - where are you on the road?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lover of My Soul

Do you think of Jesus as your groom, your fiance, the lover of your soul?

Have you ever thought about, or approached Christ in prayer, in such romantic and passionate terms? Or does that idea make you squrim and wonder if that could really be what the Bible means when it speaks of Jesus as our promised husband?

The book of Hosea is a short book in the Old Testament. Its the story of a prophet who was told by God to marry a prostitute. She is hard to handle and frequently goes off with other lovers, but God calls Hosea to continue loving and pursuing her. It serves as a metaphor, a picture of sorts, of Christ's unrelenting love for us, no matter what. And it is a passionate, even jealous, love. Check out some of these verses from the book:

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there." ~ Hosea 2:6-7

"Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them." ~ Hosea 2:6-7

"In that day," declares the Lord, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master' ..." "I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion." ~ Hosea 2:16, 19

I've been amazed at the response from Him when I've approach the Lord in prayer with this view of our relationship in mind. He is tender and loving, and will touch my soul at depths I scarely knew I had. Has anyone else experienced this?

I didn't for a long time because I never dared to think in these terms. I didn't know how to integrate the fact that I'm a married, mortal woman with the fact that Jesus is my eternal lover, and soon-to-be husband. Its astonshing when you think of all that implies.

I love this quote from the book Captivating, "You are the one who takes his breath away by your beautiful heart that, against all odds, hopes in him."

I encourage you to try this, try praying and asking Jesus if you take his breath away. Declare your love for Him and ask Him to show you this side of Himself. Ask Him to embrace you and reveal Himself to you as your passionate bridegroom. And praise Him, for when He reveals Himself to us on these terms, its probably one of the most amazing things we'll ever experience.

If you missed my devotion on this topic today, check it out here at the P31 devotion blog.

I'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences with this - and I hope this post inspires you to seek Christ's heart in a fresh way.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Have you heard about She Speaks?

Hello cyber-friends. Miss me? I've been missing you. Some of you we're so sweet to email and check on me becuase I've been MIA lately. The flu hit my household - and it hit hard. Yuck!

My speaking engagement went well, so thank you if you prayed for that. Prayer makes such a big differnce. My book project is comming along S-L-O-W-L-Y but well. I'm enjoying the process, but wish that it were moving along more quickly than it is. I have to remind myself there are no shortcuts to places truly worth going in life.

I'm wondering if you have a desire to speak, or to write, for God's glory? If so, I have a terriffic resource to tell you about. Its P31's annual She Speaks conference and it takes place this June in Charlotte, NC. There's a track for aspiring speakers, another for writers, another for women in ministry positions within their churches, and a new one for teen girls who want to influence their generation. If that intrigues you, check out the link! And I'd love to see you there.