Online Bible Study

Online Bible Study

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Amazing Interview between James Paterson and his mother, Katherine Paterson

As you may know, Katherine Paterson was named the Library of Congress' National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She is the Newbery Award-Winning author of Bridge to Terabithia.

The article beings:

In what is surely not the first conversation of its kind, John Paterson sits across the table from his idol and mother, Katherine Paterson. Since the publication of his children's book, Katherine is now more than an idol, more than a mother, she is also a peer. His book, Roberto's Trip to the Top, is co-written with his dad, John Paterson, Sr. And if the time ever comes to adapt it for film, it will surely be produced and/or written by John's brother, David who did the same for Katherine's Newbery Award-winning novel, Bridge to Terabithia. This is a family business.

One of the questions/answers I most enjoyed:

JP: Speaking of books that you love, if you had to name four or five books that you would take to a desert island, what books would you name?

KP: This is such a hard question, because you want to get the most out of the books you have there. So I would take the Bible and the Oxford English Dictionary. Those will keep me occupied for some time. The Master of Hestviken by Sigrid Undset, which is a huge volume and I love it. I can't read it in the original Norwegian, but she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, as a matter of fact. And she has written Kristin Lavransdatter, but I think I prefer The Master of Hestviken. And then I have to take the collective poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, my favorite poet. And Gilead by my favorite modern writer, Marilynn Robinson.

Read more here:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Amish Values for Your Family - Book Review

When I first saw the title of this book, I was extremely excited to request a copy for review! Although I know very little about the Amish, I know they appreciate the simple things in life. The older (and wiser) I get, the more I agree.

A few years ago (on October 2, 2006) you may have heard about a shooting that took place in an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A man by the name of Charles Carl Roberts, IV, shot and killed 10 Amish girls, ages 6-13, and then committed suicide. What impressed me most was the grace extended to the man's family responsible for the shooting. In my opinion, that takes a huge amount of strength and courage; I don't think I would (or could) be as forgiving.

I also enjoy reading a fabulous blog by the name of A Holy Experience; written by Ann Voskamp. She shares the joys (and pains) of living in this fallen world - from the Amish perspective. I always enjoy what she has to share, and am amazed by the fabulous photographs.

In this book, author Suzanne Woods, shares the secrets of Amish family life. She also shares the Amish values: such as community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more - and shares how they can be your family legacy too (without selling your car or changing your wardrobe).

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. "It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful." -Mary Ann Kirkby

Read the reviews here.

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE
* A Signed Bill Coleman original
* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.

But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

Guest blog from Suzanne Woods Fisher for “Amish Values for Your Family” (Revell)

Five More Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:

Live humbly. This is the basis of the Amish life. They don’t waste, they reuse and recycle, they live simply and without luxury, they provide for each other’s needs. Daily life is embroidered with gratitude for all God has given them. Two prayers bookend every meal—a meal begins with thanks to God for the nourishing food, and ends with gratitude for what was received.

Amish proverb: “The blessing of sharing outweighs the blessing of having.”

The Lesson: Choose simplicity over clutter. Economy over luxury. And give thanks!

A task takes as long as it takes. It seems like such a paradox—the Amish are busy, yet unhurried. They have a deliberateness in their actions—one job isn’t more important than the other. And they don’t have televisions or computers or radios or telephones—which gives them more time to cook, fish at the lake, enjoy a good book, and spend with their children and grandchildren. They have time to slow down a bit—to smell the roses along their path.

Amish proverb: “Every day that dawns brings something to do that can never be done as well again.”

The Lesson: Reduce the time where attention is focused on electronics (computer! Cell phone! Television!) and strive to be more emotionally present when with others.

Success and Size are not related. The Amish have rapidly adopted to the demands of the modern business world. Their self-owned businesses are remarkably successful, but not at the cost of everything else. They view money as a tool, not the goal.

Amish proverb: “Love, peace, and happiness in the home is of infinitely more value than honor, fame and wealth.”

The Lesson: Never let ambition destroy life’s better goals.

They teach us not to seek vengeance but to forgive. The Amish take the Lord’s Prayer seriously—if they are asking God to forgive them their sins, they must be willing to forgive others who have sinned against them. Being a forgiving person is an everyday intention.

Amish proverb: “It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.”

The Lesson: No doubt you’re familiar with the Nickel Mines tragedy. If the Amish can forgive the killer of their children, can’t we forgive a friend for not inviting us to a party? Or a driver who cuts us off? Make forgiveness your default button. A habit. An everyday intention.

God has a plan. To the Amish, everything passes through the hands of God. Everything. Joys and sorrows, both. God is sovereign over all—from weather to illness to births to who’s in the White House. They yield to God’s perfect will, trust Him for what they don’t understand, and thank Him for what they do.

Amish proverb: “God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depth can hold my small affairs. His hand, which guides the universe, can carry all my cares.”

The Lesson: Trusting God isn’t passive—it takes a lot of work! But what peace and joy are available to us when we put our faith in the Almighty God. Everything, ultimately, works out for good.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation

I can NEVER get enough of His Word!

I was excited to be given the opportunity to review this DVD/workbook; although, to be honest, I wasn't expecting my usual standards - Beth Moore, Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, Heather Zemple, etc.

I was pleasingly surprised! Grace speaks with genuine knowledge and authority - and I have grown tremendously as a result of this study! I am forever changed and grateful!

Interview with Grace Fox

Has fear kept you awake at night? Has it hindered you from saying yes to a new opportunity? Has it caused you to make impulsive choices you later regretted? If so, you’re not alone! Fear is a big deal for many women. If left unchecked, it can prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. So, what’s the answer? How can we move beyond fear into freedom?

Author Grace Fox has partnered with Stonecroft Ministries to write a small group resource titled Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation. This resource addresses women’s common fears and gives biblical and practical strategies to move beyond them.

Fear seems to be an ever-present theme throughout the Bible. Describe the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.

Healthy fear steers us toward wise decisions and actions. It promotes self-preservation. For example, we look both ways before crossing the street for fear of getting hit by a car. In contrast, unhealthy fear hinders our ability to fully embrace life because it consumes us with negative thinking and what-ifs. The effects can literally make us sick.

How does destructive fear stunt our emotional or spiritual growth?

Destructive fear—the fear of rejection, for instance—might keep us from admitting to someone that we’ve been physically or sexually abused. Without receiving the help we need to deal with those issues, we never experience freedom. Our struggles might seriously hamper our ability to truly love and receive love in a marital relationship. This is just one example among many of how our emotional growth is affected.

Spiritually, fear can cause us to say no to God-given dreams or assignments because we’re afraid of personal inadequacy or financial insecurity. If we never step out in faith, then we never experience God’s ability to equip and provide in amazing ways. Spiritual growth comes when we say yes to God and “do it afraid.”

You suggest we need to place our focus on God and not on fear. In practical terms, how do we do this?

Several strategies that I’ve found helpful…

Memorize Scripture promises and meditate on them throughout the day and as we fall asleep at night. We are transformed as our mind is renewed.
Fill our homes with praise and worship music.
Spend time in God’s word on a regular basis, not just when we’re in a panic. The more we do so, the more familiar we become with His promises and the better prepared we are to face frightening circumstances when they come.
Talk to the Lord throughout the day. Invite Him into the mundane. Practice His presence. The more we get to know Him, the more we’re able to trust Him in the face of fear.

Most of us feel inadequate at times. You suggest we cannot use our inadequacies as an excuse for not participating with God’s purposes. How do we get past this?

We get past our fear of inadequacy by admitting we have it. Then we need to retrain our thinking to focus on God’s adequacy's rather than our inadequacies.

Tell God how we feel. "Help! I don't think I can do such-and-such."

Tell a trusted friend and ask her to pray for us.

Move forward. Do it afraid and expect God to equip us.

Describe this resource and how participants can receive the greatest benefit as they use it.

It’s a seven-week study filled with biblical teaching and personal anecdotes that can be used easily by either a small group of friends in a private home setting or a large women’s ministry. Each session begins by viewing a 25-30 minute teaching video. When the video ends, participants follow suggested Table Talk questions for about 15 minutes. Then they do the Bible study questions together. Each participant uses her own guide book so she can take notes and write answers. Facilitator’s notes are included. The study covers these topics:

an overview of fear
fear for our loved ones' well-being
fear of personal inadequacy
fear of rejection
fear of facing the ghosts of our past
fear of the storms of life
fear of the unknown future

Where can I buy this study?

It’s available through your local Christian book store, on Amazon,,,,, and of course, on Grace’s website, where group discounts apply. Visit Grace’s website for more information about her other books and speaking ministry.

For more opportunities for a FREE copy of this DVD & Study Guide set of MOVING FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM, please follow this CSS Virtual Book Tour on Twitter (@Christianspkrs) or Facebook (

I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD & Study Guide set from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (