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Is the Bible really error free?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode 8

For some of you, your answer to this question may be a no-brainer. Or, maybe you are currently wading through theological waters to find the answer to this question. Either way it is important not only for you to know your answer to this question but also WHY. In this quick podcast episode, Chris and I chat about whether or not the Bible is really error free.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • Whether or not the Bible claims to be error free
  • What to do with the supposed errors in the Bible
  • An example of how Katie came across a passage that didn’t seem to line up and looked inaccurate
  • Three reasons to hold tightly to the inerrancy of Scripture

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

  • Are there errors in the Bible?  – This brief article from NAMB gives quick explanations for 16 different categories of supposed errors.
  • What is Inerrancy? A quick and helpful Ask Pastor John audio interview.
  • Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem – This is a resource packed with loads more than just info about Biblical inerrancy.
  • Is Inerrancy a Historical Doctrine? In this video interview, Keith Whitfield sits down with Nathan Finn to talk about inerrancy and church history.A helpful look at the understanding of inerrancy throughout church history


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post. 

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

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Pre-Order Philippians

Well, the internet has been my nemesis this week. Many of you have noticed that my website has been DOWN (ugh) which also means I have had to scrap my plans (double-ugh for this inflexible Type-A) and veer toward plan-B. (Which didn’t really exist, so it was less of a plan and more of flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. Ha!) My attempts at plan-B included a pixellated video with spotty sound, a hand-held super-shaky video, and yet another with the wrong orientation. When all was said and done, it felt like an ineffective way to communicate how I wanted! So, I’ve decided to start over and try this again. (Don’t worry, all of those who entered to win on Facebook WILL still retain their entries!!)

Enter to Win an Early-Bird Gift Pack

  • WHAT: I’ve put together 5 amazing product-packs that I will ship out to continental US addresses. Details for each pack are below!
  • WHEN: Because of all my site issues, I’m extending the giveaway to go through the weekend. I will choose a winner for each pack on Monday, December 11.
  • WHY: To celebrate the upcoming release of my latest Bible study, Philippians, a 6-week FOCUSed15 Bible study, which will be released on January 22, 2018! Yay!
  • HOW TO ENTER: 

What’s in the Gift Packs?

A full description of each gift pack is below! Each pack also includes a coupon for 25% off one of my Everyday Bible studies. If you want to see and hear more about each packet, you can head to the crazy videos on Facebook. Just click the image of any one and it will take you where you need to go!

Links to items below may include affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I receive a tiny portion of any purchases made. Thanks!

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I’m working on bringing you several fun (and FREE!) digital goodies as a thank you for all who pre-order Philippians. More details are coming soon, but you can let me know now that you pre-ordered and I’ll send them to you as soon as they are ready.


THANK YOU For your support. It means so much to me!!

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What do I need to know about Ecclesiastes?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #7

We’ve been working through the Wisdom Literature this season. We’ve hit on the book of Psalms as well as Proverbs and now it’s Ecclesiastes’ turn!

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • The AUTHOR, AUDIENCE, and AIM of Ecclesiastes.
  • The similarities between VH-1’s Behind the Music and the book of Ecclesiastes.
  • The main themes in the book.
  • How a meals at Denny’s and Ecclesiastes led Katie to marry Chris.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post or watch the Facebook Live video version.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

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7 Prayers For the Lost

I’m so excited for these new prayer request bookmarks!

For a long time my prayers were limited to the few memorized prayers modelled by others. Thank you for this food. . . We praise you for the blessings you’ve given us. . . Forgive me of my sins. . . Be with me today. . . Give me strength. . .  My prayers had a tendency to sound the same, as I was simply parroting what I’d heard from others. These words seemed neither effective or very “spiritual” but it was all I knew.

Through the ministry of Cru I learned much about what prayer can and should be. From the posture of my heart and how to base my prayers in Scripture, to practical how-to’s and the theology surrounding it all—the teaching and training I received during my college years opened up a whole new world to my prayer life.

Lately, I’ve been convicted of my lack of faithful, persistent prayers and my soul has been stirred toward praying more and more specific, Biblical prayers for myself, my family, my church, and the world around me. I’ve been collecting references and lists and beginning to gather together some sort of system in order to enjoy a more faithful and purposeful communion with God. I’m hoping to have everything settled by the new year, and as I gather and organize, I will share my lists with you!

Heart Prayers for the Lost

The first list available is prayers for the lost. With the holidays around the corner, many will be interacting with and getting extra time with family members and friends who are without Christ. I’ve titled these prayers “Heart Prayers” as each request is geared toward God changing the hearts of those who need Him.

Here are 7 Biblical prayers to pray for those who need Christ:

  • Compassion – Mark 6:34: Jesus, give me your heart of compassion for the lost around me — especially those who are difficult to love.
  • Enlightenment – 2 Corinthians 4:4: God, remove the blinders that keep them from seeing the light of the gospel and the glory of Christ.
  • Clarity – 1 John 5:20: God, give them understanding, so that we would know that you are the true God and the only way to eternal life.
  • Receptiveness – Acts 16:14: God, open their heart to hear and be attentive to your teaching and calling.
  • Protection – Hebrews 13:9: Lord, I ask that they would not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; strengthen their heart by grace
  • Repentance – 2 Corinthians 7:10: God, grant those who are far from you a godly grief that produces a genuine repentance that will lead to salvation.
  • Satisfaction – Psalm 16:11: Father, show them that your presence will bring fullness of joy. Only through you can they experience lasting pleasure.

Over time, my hope is that these Scriptural prayers become engrained on my heart and embedded in my mind, so that whenever I think of a lost friend or family member, these prayers are ready to go, even if I am not in front of my prayer journal.

Download the Free Bookmark

I’ve created a pretty bookmark for you to print out and use in your prayer journal! This resource (along with TONS of others) are free for my newsletter subscribers. Just fill out the form below and I’ll send you the link right away.

On My Shelf: Prayer Resources

Links below contain affiliate program links. At no extra cost to you, I receive a portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

What prayers do you pray for the lost? Share them in the comments so we can add those requests to our lists!

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Everyday Hope – Online Christmas Bible Study

Ready or not, Christmas is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re still trying to get your feet on the ground from all the back-to-school madness.

I love the holiday season for many obvious reasons, but it can also be a stressful, unsettling time. Between all the extra activities, gift shopping, and traveling to celebrate with family, my time with the Lord often falls to the wayside. If this sounds like you, you’re in good company.

Busyness may be our reality but it doesn’t have to be our excuse. I invite you to join me through my Bible study, Everyday Hope, this Christmas season. If you can carve out 15 minutes, 5 days a week, you can do this!! Simply grab a few friends to study alongside of you and maybe even text one another in the mornings to add a layer of accountability. Or, you can join the Bible Study Hub and study alongside hundreds of women. In this private Facebook group I’ll have daily check-ins for you and live videos to cheer you on along the way.

To jump in, all you need is a copy of Everyday Hope and to decide if you want to study with “real life” friends or online at the Bible Study Hub (I’ll send you a link to it once you fill out the form below and confirm your email). You can purchase Everyday Hope at your local LifeWay store (call ahead to make sure they have it in stock!), on Amazon (Prime ships QUICK!!), as well as several other online retailers. Nook, Kindle, and ePub versions are also available for immediate download.

If you’ve gone through one of my studies before and you leave a new review, you can get 25% off at New Hope.

 

Links above may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

Join the Online Study Group

  • WHAT: Studying through Everyday Hope (4 weeks – 5 days a week – 15 minutes a day!))
  • WHEN: November 27th – December 22nd
  • WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group or form your own group with friends
  • HOW TO JOIN: Fill out this form, and then purchase a copy of Everyday Hope.

Are you in?! Who will you be studying with?

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One sweet tool to get your kids in the Word

I have yet another excerpt from a fun resource for you today! My almost ten-year-old, Anna was SO excited when we got our copy of the Big & Little Coloring Devotional from Rachel Swanson. Michael, my 7-year-old, has enjoyed it as well. I’ve used it one-on-one, as well as letting both of them color while I read aloud. The devotionals give us a conversation starter to use while we color. It’s a sweet way to enjoy some quality time together. (Don’t miss the giveaway below!)

So, what makes this book different from other coloring books on the market? Rachel shares her heart behind what makes the Big & Little Coloring Devotional so special.

  1. This book is not just a “mommy and me” book, but geared for daddy’s, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any “big” person who knows what it’s like to care for a child. Therefore, the devotionals and illustrations are carefully crafted so that boy’s and daddy’s love it too! (It’s not all flowers and butterflies.)
  2. The pages lay opposite enabling face-to-face coloring! No more elbows in the way or left-handed woes. This layout encourages eye-contact, conversation, and connection.
  3. The devotionals are SHORT! Just enough to open your mind to the context of the verse.
  4. The binding and pages are high-quality and for the price, you simply can’t beat it.
  5. The child illustrations are simple while the adult illustrations are slightly more intricate, making coloring just right for both parties involved.

Here is a devotional excerpt from Big & Little Coloring Devotional. Enjoy!


I slumped down in tears, overwhelmed.

It was just too much. All of it. The dirty house. The crazy kids. The never-ending demands, responsibilities, and non-existent thanks. I secretly wanted to run away from it all.

My phone chirped. A text from a friend checking in on my day. I laughed sarcastically, at the timing.

I lightly shared how it could be better. After a few more pleasantries exchanged, I couldn’t help but be real and let it all pour out. Instead of guilt I received elegant grace through words—the encouragement I was longing for and needing to hear.

How beautiful it is when words are spoken at just the right time. So don’t hold back, you never know when you’re random text is being received at the perfect time.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” (Prov. 25:11 NASB)


How can you see yourself using this tool? Leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy! Next week I’ll choose a random winner from the comments!

Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Order your copy of Big & Little Coloring Devotional here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

 

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Everyday Obedience – Join the Online Study Group

My latest Bible study, Everyday Obedience—a 4-week study of Colossians 3:1-17is my favorite of the Everyday series. Why? Because this passage is FILLED with critical theology that must take up residence in our heart and minds if we want to experience life-long transformation and intimacy with God. Truths that will truly transform your spiritual life.

I’ve said it again and again, and I’ll say it as long as I have breath—the greatest measure of spiritual growth is NOT what we look like on the outside. The yardstick of maturity in Christ is how accurate our view of God is. Because, actions can be faked. Behavior can be modified. But seeing God for who He truly is? It alters us. Understanding the truth of all He’s done for us so that we can be in His presence and enjoy Him forever? That is life-changing.

In Everyday Obedience, I’m not going to waste your precious time by piling up more commands for you to heed. I have no desire to give you yet another list of rules to follow. Besides, I’m assuming you already have more than you can manage. Throwing more obstacles into our path will not help us toward victory. More rules do not intrinsically lead to more obedience. Simply trying harder doesn’t work.

You and I can never obey perfectly. Ever. The rule-following, try-harder life leads to either burnout and frustration, or self-dependence and man-made righteousness. Neither of which leads to the abundant life Jesus promises.

In this easy-to-use, 4-week study, you’ll learn how to let go of the lifestyle of guilt-based behavior and discover the secret to a joy-filled, shame-free, everyday obedience. Each day’s work can be completed in as little as 15 minutes a day and it will teach you how to study the Bible as you work through it.

I’ll be leading an online group through Everyday Obedience and I hope you’ll join me! I’ll have daily check-ins for you and live videos to cheer you on along the way. There is a thriving, amazing group of women in the Bible Study Hub—a private Facebook group I’ve created to encourage and equip you to ENJOY God’s Word. All you’ll need to do is join the Bible Study Hub (I’ll send you right to it once you fill out the form below and confirm your email!) then grab a copy of Everyday Obedience. You can purchase one at your local LifeWay store (call ahead to make sure they have it in stock!), on Amazon (Prime ships QUICK!!), as well as several other online retailers. Nook, Kindle, and ePub versions are also available for immediate download.

Links above may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

Join the Online Study Group

  • WHAT: Studying through Everyday Obedience (4 weeks – 5 days a week – 15 minutes a day!))
  • WHEN: October 23rd – November 17th
  • WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group
  • HOW TO JOIN: Fill out this form, and then purchase a copy of Everyday Obedience.
  • BONUS GIVEAWAY!!: Leave a comment below and share this post with a friend! I’ll pick a random commenter and social media sharer to receive a package of goodies!!

 

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Five Ways to be Saturated in the Word

Over decades of ministry I’ve noticed quite a few trends that have been true in every station the Lord has led us. From the 19-year-old college student to the seasoned 91-year-old, the area of prayer is one where many people want to pray but don’t know how. Most either remain silent or default to a string of words they’ve heard someone else utter—and I totally GET THIS! I used to be terrified when it came to prayer. I didn’t want to pray out loud, and my private prayers were short and aimless.

There is a great void for most Christians when it comes to praying specific, Biblical, and powerful prayers. I’m so grateful for my friend (and fellow Auburn fan!) Teri Lynne and this GIFT she has given us in the area of prayer. Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most is her earnest and engaging invitation for moms to join her — not as perfect pray-ers but as humble daughters of the perfect Father, interceding on behalf of the girls they love.

WITH TERI LYNNE AS A GUIDE, PRAYING FOR GIRLS EQUIPS MOMS

  • to identify and understand five key areas of their daughters’ lives
  • to apply biblical truth to challenges and obstacles their daughters will encounter
  • to pray with boldness and confidence using Scripture as the solid foundation for their prayers
  • to engage their daughters in understanding and applying biblical truth to their own lives

Containing 200 Bible-based prayers as well as suggested activities and conversation starters, Praying for Girls is a must-have tool in every mom’s arsenal. Though this book is for “girl-moms” there is much that can be applied to our own hearts. I’m excited to share an excerpt from this new, incredible resource.


Every morning I move, bleary-eyed and stumbling, from my bedroom to the kitchen where Scott already has the coffee brewed. In our home there are no less than six ways to make coffee. Hands down, the best coffee is from a percolator. Remember those? You put the water in and it bubbles up through the coffee grounds.  Since it takes longer to percolate coffee than it does to brew it in the coffee pot, we don’t use ours all the time. But when we do, it’s definitely worth the extra time.

As a little girl, I faithfully memorized Bible verses for Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. Honestly, I know very few of those verses today. The process was sort of like using my Keurig—quick and effective. I love my Keurig. I am thankful to be able to make a cup of coffee in just a couple of minutes because some days that is all I have.

But renewed minds are like percolated coffee. It’s a slower process than simply memorizing Scripture. The Word, like the water in the percolator, moves through our minds, touching each thought, desire, and dream.

When we allow the Word to percolate inside our mind, it saturates every part of us.

Over the years, I’ve found there are few simple ways I can keep myself on track in this area.

1. Read. It sounds incredibly basic; but, I’ve learned that there are a whole lot of women who don’t regularly read the Bible. Not because they don’t want to or don’t think it’s valuable, but because of time. But because we get busy or distracted and never sit down to do it.  Here is where technology is our friend—we can listen to Scripture on our phones while we do dishes, nurse a baby, or drive to work.

2. Rewind. If I am reading a passage and it doesn’t make sense, I go back a little farther. Reading the verses or even chapters around what I’m studying help give context I need to make sense of what I’m studying.

3. Reflect. I give myself space to reflect on what I’m learning. I don’t go from one Bible study to the next with no time in between. In fact, the deeper I’ve studied, the more time I give myself to reflect on what I’ve learned before I jump into the next study. It is important to give ourselves time to reflect. I often use Saturday mornings for this practice.

4. Repeat. One of my favorite ways to dig deep into a passage or book is simply to read it over and over. Repetition is a great way to let the Word sink deep into our hearts and minds.

5. Restart. Let’s be honest here, sometimes this is where we are. We’ve gotten off track for whatever reason and we don’t need guilt. We just need to pick up our Bibles and restart.

When we are faithful to invest time in learning the Word and to allow our minds to be renewed and shaped by what we read, our children will learn from our example.

Whether my coffee is percolated, brewed, or fixed in my Keurig, it is always good. So, on the days when you have lots of time to let the Word simmer and soak in deep, cherish it. And when you are in a grab and go season, trust the sufficiency of the Word to meet you where you are and accomplish what God intends. And for the days in between (which are really most of our days), savor the Word and allow your mind to be renewed by the truth God offers. And invite your children to grow in those same habits.

Prayers

Lord, in a culture that esteems conformity, may _________________ choose to be transformed into Your image. May she seek the renewal of mind You offer that she will be able to understand and live in Your will for her. (Romans 12:2)

Lord, I pray You will put Your Word deep inside _________________. Write it on her heart, embed it in her mind. I pray she will know the beauty of being Yours, of knowing You are her God. (Hebrews 8:10)

This excerpt is from Teri Lynne Underwood, Praying for Girls, Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2017, and used by permission.

 

Want to win a copy of Prayers for Girls?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Teri Lynne Underwood is a pastor’s wife, ministry speaker, and Bible teacher. As the mother of a teenage daughter and the founder of Prayers for Girls, a popular online community for mothers of daughters, Teri Lynne is a cheerleader for girl moms and the author of Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most. You can connect with Teri Lynne on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

Order your copy of Prayers for Girls here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

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How do I incorporate prayer into my study time?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #6

Today we tackle how to incorporate praying while we study the Bible. There are many potential ways to do this. In this 15 minute episode, Chris and I share what works for us!

Three ways to incorporate prayer into your Bible study time:

  • Before you study:
    • Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18 ESV).
    • Before you begin to study, take a moment to ask the Spirit to illuminate your time in the Word.
    • Approach God’s Word with a HUMBLE heart.
  • While you study:
    • “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45 CSB).
    • When you come to a verse you are uncertain what it means, ask God to open your mind to understand it!
    • Study God’s Word with a DEPENDENT spirit.
  • After you study:
    • “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22 ESV).
    • Once we’ve identified the main idea of what we are studying, we need modify our lives to what we’ve learned.
    • Leave God’s Word with a posture of RESOLVE to obey what we’ve seen.

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

(Affiliate links are present. At no extra cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!)

ADDITIONAL PRAYER RESOURCES:

  • Val Marie Paper – These are the prayer journals I use. I CAN’T WAIT for the 2018 journals to get here. I’ve pre-ordered mine!!

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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Free Ephesians Reading Plan and Scripture Print

There are two needed ways to study the Bible, and it’s important for us to engage in both types of study.

  1. The Bird’s Eye View – This is where we get a quick yet needed lay of the land. This “arial” view grants us the big picture of the Bible. The goal here to enjoy the book as a whole. It is NOT time to glean everything out of it that we can.
  2. The Bug’s Life – This is where we can dig in and dissect the parts, notice the details, and begin to process what it all means.

Reading plans are designed to provide us with The Bird’s Eye View. Both perspectives are needed over time, but it is important that we keep the goal of each in mind.

Many of you are already a part of the Bible Study Hub, a private group for those wanting extra accountability and encouragement to get (and STAY!) in the Word on a regular basis. I’ve been mapping out opportunities for BOTH of these ways to study the Bible. As one who tends towards The Bug’s Life, I’ve really enjoyed the addition of these smaller Bird’s Eye View reading plans to my study time.

Join 12 Days in Ephesians

I’m excited for this new study tool! The 12 Days in Ephesians reading plan is simple, flexible, and geared toward helping us get a quick overview study of the book of Ephesians.

  • WHAT: Reading through Ephesians (15 minutes a day pace)
  • WHEN: October 9-21 (Includes a day of CONTEXT)
  • WHERE: The Bible Study Hub Facebook group
  • HOW TO JOIN: Fill out this form!

Once you sign up and confirm your email, I’ll send you a welcome packet via email which includes:

  • 12 day reading plan through Ephesians
  • BONUS: Printable reading plan bookmark
  • BONUS: Free 4×6 Ephesians Scripture print
  • BONUS: Printable Journal Pages tailored for the Pauline Epistles with study options if you want to go deeper

 Are you in? Have you studied Ephesians before? What do you enjoy the most, The Bug’s Life or The Bird’s Eye view? Share with us in the comments!