HOPE FOR ALL SEASONS

Today’s guest post is from Renee Fisher. Renee and I met when she submitted a story for Mentoring for All Seasons, which you’ll find on page 265. You’ll enjoy Renee’s reflection on . . .

Hope for All Seasons

By Renee Fisher

Seasons change. I never realized the spiritual significance of the changing of seasons until I learned how to cultivate a life of my dreams.

Jesus is quoted twice in the Gospels talking about spiritual seasons in Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV) and Luke 12:54-56 (NIV):

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times”

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”

It doesn’t take much effort to walk outside and determine if it’s going to rain that day. It does, however, take time to learn how to pray and read the Word to determine which spiritual season you are in.

Your ability to praise the Lord despite your circumstances has the power to awaken your dreams, including the dreams of future generations.

Dreams, like seasons, change often.

If you are unsure how to cultivate a life of your dreams, ask yourself these four questions to determine how to move forward.

  1. Summer: My dreams are ripe. Even in the heat of summer, we can relax and take a much-needed vacation. We can taste and see that the Lord is good (see: Psalm 34:8).
  2. Fall: My dreams are harvested. We can mature and save up for the winter season knowing that we are rooted and grounded in love (see: Ephesians 3:17). We can choose not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel (see: Colossians 1:23).
  3. Winter: My dreams are not dead. Winter brings a much-needed break, although it might feel like coming to a screeching halt. We may feel uncomfortable with the process of solitude and silence, but it will help us uncover what’s in our hearts. To admit, like Elijah, the answer to the question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (see: 1 Kings 19:9, 13).
  4. Spring: My dreams are newly planted. We may not understand, at first, that the storms and rain are actually a blessing to drive that tiny seed deeper and further under the soil to die so that it can come back to life. We can plant in tears knowing we will harvest with shouts of joy in a future season (see: Psalm 126:5).

Spiritual seasons can be tricky. It took me almost an entire year to realize I was in a winter season last year, and to acknowledge that my dreams were not dead—just waiting for spring.

This spring, I thought that my dreams were coming back to life, only to have a mound of dirt piled on top of me so these baby dreams can grow for a later harvest in a future season. It’s so complicated that I sometimes feel like giving up. Will my desires ever be met? But, if I’m honestly asking myself that question—I already know the answer. Of course they will! God has been faithful before and He will again.

I don’t know what season you are in, but don’t quit! Don’t run away! You can bloom where you’re planted.

“There will always be flowers for those who want to see them.

There will always be dreams for those who want to live them!

QUESTION: How do you mentor a woman who’s in a different season than you?

*1 Quote from Henry Matisse

In Hope for All Seasons, Renee Fisher tells us not to give up whatever season you're in right now.

 

Renee Fisher is a spirited speaker, coach, consultant and author, who published her first nine books in under eight years. A self-proclaimed “Dream Defender,” Renee is passionate about calling dreams to life in others. A graduate of Biola University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her handsome husband and their fur child named “Star.” Connect with Renee Fisher on Facebook, Instagram, and her Website.

*Excerpt from Unloved: Finding Freedom by Embracing Your Inner Critic, a short but powerful eBook that empowers women to find freedom by embracing their inner critic. You can purchase on Amazon for $2.99 here: http://bit.ly/UnlovedBook

Hope for all Seasons is an excerpt from Renee Fisher's book Unloved.

Could Mentoring Have Protected Young Actresses?

How Could Mentoring Have Helped Hollywood actresses speak out sooner if the older actresses had taken the time and effort to mentor them?

“Let’s forget about ourselves and worship Christ the Lord!”

Singing this stanza in church yesterday, reminded me of mentoring: a mentor selflessly thinks more about helping her mentee learn to worship Christ than she thinks about herself and the time and effort it might require.

Last week, we learned the awful truth that many in Hollywood—older, seasoned actresses and actors—as well as politicians, knew or had an idea of what a wealthy influential producer was doing sexually to young actresses. But everyone kept quiet until a reporter’s well-researched story finally went public. The perpetrator’s pride, wealth, and influence led him to believe he was indestructible and could bribe or ruin careers of anyone who threatened to expose him, and it seems it worked for years.

Many young actresses defiled and intimidated into believing that giving into his sexual demands and overtures was the only way to advance in the industry. Most became successful by Hollywood’s standards—wealth, Oscars, awards, movie contracts, fame—but at the cost of their own dignity and self-worth. The irony, and yes hypocrisy, is that most of Hollywood lectures and ridicules conservatives, while fostering this travesty in their own camp. Ignoring despicable and decrepit sexual abuse.

Why didn’t these young women speak out sooner? Probably their naivety, intimidation, and desperate desire for a career in Hollywood.

Why didn’t older actresses mentor them with encouragement that they were better than succumbing to this man’s overtures? So many professing “feminist” actresses and female politicians demanding higher pay and better roles for women, didn’t stop this man preying on these young actresses.

Others in Hollywood joked at Oscar presentations, in private, at Hollywood parties where many liberals attended regularly, about what many admit, “Everyone knew or surmised what was happening.”

Some victims tried to speak out but were hushed. No one wanted to hear their story or take them seriously, and the more they protested the fewer parts they received.

Now women are feeling empowered to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and even rape; but it took a male reporter to bring down a sexual predator while the women who knew kept silent.

Reading the Book of Psalms, I see so many Scriptures documenting what’s happening right now: the foundation of deceit, sin, pride, and worldly ways crumbling . . . it always does . . . eventually.

 I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.

In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.
Psalm 36:1-4

What if someone had mentored these young actresses from God’s Word?

Spread Your faithful love over those who know You,
and Your righteousness over the upright in heart.
11 Do not let the foot of the arrogant man come near me
or the hand of the wicked one drive me away.
12 There the evildoers fall;
they have been thrown down and cannot rise.
Psalm 36:10-12 (HCSB)

Do not be agitated by evildoers;
do not envy those who do wrong.
For they wither quickly like grass
and wilt like tender green plants.

Trust in the Lord and do what is good;
dwell in the land and live securely.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him, and He will act,
making your righteousness shine like the dawn,
your justice like the noonday.

Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him;
do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the man who carries out evil plans.

Refrain from anger and give up your rage;
do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.
For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the Lord
will inherit the land.

The wicked person schemes against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him.
13 The Lord laughs at him
because He sees that his day is coming
.

The little that the righteous man has is better
than the abundance of many wicked people
.
Psalm 37:1-9, 12-13, 16 (HCSB)

What if someone cared enough to get involved in the actresses lives, lead them to the Book with all the answers for every situation, and assure them the wicked don’t prosper in God’s economy? Helped them see the choices they make to advance their career stays with them forever—but maintaining their dignity and pride also stays with them forever.

What Can the Church Learn From Hollywood?

This Hollywood “scandal” has uncovered a topic to discuss right now with the young women in our churches. Instead of focusing on the evils of Hollywood and politicians enabling this horrific discovery, let’s use it to talk to young women about protecting their own purity. How often do you hear sexual purity talked about from the pulpit!? The definition of sin . . .any kind of sin!?

How many boyfriends pressure women and young girls to have sex and they succumb fearing he will dump them or ridicule them to peers? How many abortions result because no one stepped into these young women’s lives with God’s truth, assurance of options, and how to live virtuous pure lives? How many, even in the church, have given up on the concept of purity with the attitude: everyone is having sex, there’s nothing we can do, and it’s inevitable? How many Christians have accepted the ways of the world instead of the ways of Jesus?

How is this any different in our churches from the powerful producer seducer and the seasoned actresses staying silent because they didn’t want to get involved, felt it wasn’t their place, or didn’t want to jeopardize their own careers?

I wrote a blog post about this very topic in January 2017: Love Your Body: Revive Sexual Purity.

Jesus wrote to believers about the ways of the world. Isn’t it our job as Christian men and women to help protect the next generation from the evil one? John 17:15 is our assignment from the Lord.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

In Mentoring for All Seasons, I have tips to help mentors deal with sensitive issues to protect children and women mentees by not ignoring sin in their lives. I also quote Dr. Owen Strachan from his article “What the Future Holds,” in Tabletalk Magazine, August 2015, 22. Dr. Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and president of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, warns what will happen if we don’t:

we will minister to a people who are suffering the effects of rampant sin. There will be profound moral and spiritual consequences of the new sexual secularism. America is in the midst of a spiritual un-awakening. In everyday terms, this means that human suffering in America will increase. Children will be less protected. Families will feel pressure to pull apart. Marriages will prove harder to sustain. Lostness, the chief form of suffering in this world, will spread.

What lesson can the church take and apply from Dr. Owen’s prediction?

How could mentoring prevent his predictions?

What could you and I do?

PS: I’m having cataract surgery October 17 and 31. I appreciate your prayers for a smooth recovery, but while I’m healing, I’ve invited wonderful guest bloggers to share their thoughts and stories with you, until I can return to writing. I hope to be back with you soon.

Excerpts from Mentoring for All Seasons used with approval from Leafwood Publishers.

If you received this post by email, please leave a comment here.

Older women should teach and train the younger women.

 

 

Mentoring in a World Forsaking God

Mentoring in a World Forsaking God discusses the need for bringing God's laws back into our world not gun laws!

We all woke up a week ago to the tragic news of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. Those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior began to pray. We prayed for the families who had lost loved ones senselessly and for those who watched their friend or family member die in their arms. We prayed for those fighting for their lives in hospitals and the doctors and nurses going without sleep and rest to save as many as possible.

We heard the heroic actions of so many and the amazing, fearless first responders who walked into danger, not knowing if they would walk out, and we praised God for them. The very courageous police force, the subject of recent unjustified ridicule and disrespect, were the very men and women everyone relied on to stop the carnage. Because that’s what they do . . . regardless of skin color, gender, religious beliefs or political views—their goal and mission is to save lives, even at their own peril.

It didn’t take long however for the liberal media, Democrats, and Hollywood to politicize this tragedy. Pointing fingers, nasty words, criticism, turning their platforms into a political agenda even as many lay dead and hundreds wounded.

As our president called for prayer and unity, many chose harsh words of disunity. They turned a tragedy into an opportunity to create more strife and grief in our country. Not one of the opportunists praised our president for calling for prayer and putting flags at half-mast—the very flag that has been the subject of protest and unpatriotic shameful rejection.

But the comment I can’t shake from my mind, I heard on a news clip “We don’t need more prayer, we need more laws.” God and the value of prayer discounted and replaced by opinions and verbal attacks. The name of God used only in exclamation not reverence.

Last week, I wrote about Steve Scalise’s shooting. He gave all the glory to God and prayer for the miracle of his survival and recovery. When asked in an interview if he had changed his mind about the 2nd Amendment, he said, absolutely not. Had he not had armed security with him on that baseball field, all might have died.

I’m not going to argue the 2nd Amendment, but the blatant hypocrisy of liberals arguing that more gun laws are the answer to violence and evil is misguided and misinformed.

  1. Hollywood glamorizes violence, bloody shootings, death, and random killing—the more gruesome the better—to depict graphic and horrific ways to take lives for the shock value and “thrill” for box office dollars. Stars live in alarm-protected homes with bodyguards and heavy protection.
  2. Then you have those people glamorizing the assassination of our president and supporting riots and protests, not condemning Antifa but encouraging them. People like Nancy Sinatra tweeting “murderous members of the NRA should be executed by a firing squad.” A former CBS lawyer saying she “was not even sympathetic” for those killed in Las Vegas because “country music fans often are Republican gun toters.” Right out of the terrorists’ and shooters’ playbook: kill those who don’t agree with you.
  3. Late-night so-called “comedians” becoming liberal politicians attacking the administration and the country.
  4. These same people want to remove every mention of God and the “original law”—the 10 Commandments—from public places, schools, courts, the public square, and yet, think more manufactured laws will trump “thou shalt not kill.” “Thou shalt not lie.”
  5. There’s no agreement on additional laws needed, ignoring the fact that criminals and evil people don’t follow laws.
  6. Football players politically and publically disrespecting our flag, the National Anthem, the police force, and our President.

To have their liberal voices heard in protest, they divide the country even more by blaming everything on our President, gender, race, political party, denouncing our history . . . everything and anything except what would really make a difference—turning our country back to God.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” Luke 11:17

And that’s what our enemies see right now, a divided country ready for a fall.

THE ONLY GUN LAW WE’LL EVER NEED:

Thou shalt not kill (Deut. 5:17 KJV)

Christians Can Make a Difference

“One day Jesus told his disciples a parable to show that they should always pray and never give up.” Luke 18:1

I would encourage you to read the story Jesus shared with his disciples of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8.

In Mentoring for All Seasons, I have a chapter on Mentoring in a World Forsaking God, and you may remember that I wrote a book last year Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten. The world needs to remember God and we can make this happen.

We live in tumultuous times in both the church and the world. Confusion and fear reigns among newer believers who don’t have a solid foundation in the truth to help them discern evil from good, lies from truths, abnormal from normal. If more women would reach out to each other with understanding, prayer, and biblical truths, there would be far less fear, backsliding, and sin in women’s lives.

Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, every generation has lived in a fallen evil world. One of their sons killed the other one and since then, what one generation does in moderation, the next generation does in excess. Just as the apostle Paul saw the need for mentors in his day, we desperately need mentors today. Yet, many who should be stepping up to mentor and teach the next generation are falling away from Titus 2, just as quickly as our world is falling away from God.

What Can We Do?

So how do we ordinary Christian women make a difference in today’s confused and fallen world? As mentors, we speak, teach, and train the truth to our mentees, straight from the Bible. We must daily read our Bibles and let God’s Word speak, teach, and train the truth to us so we can respond to life’s issues from God’s perspective. Together M&M’s learn spiritual wisdom and scriptural principles to help navigate the moral decline of our culture, and in some cases, the foundation of the Christian faith.

We can’t lose hope.

We can’t ignore what’s happening around us.

We can’t live fearfully.

We can pray for revival.

We can pray for everyone blinded by lack of faith in God . . . yes, all of them!

We can pray for the victims of evil.

We can ask God what He wants, us, His people, to do. What action does He want us to take?

We can share Jesus because we live in a time of uncertainty.

We can reassure our children and grandchildren that they can make a difference in this world too.

We can live by the 10 Commandments in our personal lives, and know that it’s not by law we’re saved, but by the grace of Jesus. We don’t follow God’s laws because we have to, we follow them because we have Jesus in our heart.

We live as godly role models in a world that has forsaken God.

Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.

24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. Galatians 3:23-24 NLT

 

Excerpts from Mentoring for All Seasons used with approval from Leafwood Publishers

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, and signed by Janet at our website store.

Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten also available at Christian bookstores, online bookstores, Amazon, and signed at our website.

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The Miracle of Steve Scalise: A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Steve Scalise gives God the glory for the miracle of his recovery and tells how he prayed sepcifically and put everything into God's hands.

You probably remember three months ago when Republican House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, was shot down by a deranged man trying to kill Republicans. Scalise was practicing on a ballfield with other Republicans preparing for an upcoming congressional charity baseball game. Several others were also shot on that June 14 morning, but Scalise’s wound was almost fatal had it not been for the quick actions of fellow players.

Scalise sustained a single rifle wound, entering his left hip and passing through his right hip, also known as a trans-pelvic gunshot wound. The round did substantial damage to bones, internal organs, and blood vessels. After extensive medial inpatient rehab, he returned September 29, 2017 to the floor of the House of Representatives, still on crutches. He will continue rehab now as an outpatient, so he’s still on the road to recovery. But following is how Scalise started his speech:

When I was laying out on that ballfield, the first thing I did once I was down and couldn’t move anymore, is I just started to pray and I’ll tell you it gave me an unbelievable since of calm knowing at that point it was in God’s hands. And I prayed for very specific things, and I’ll tell you pretty much every one of those prayers were answered and there were some pretty challenging prayers I was putting in God’s hands. But He really did deliver for me and my family, and it just gives you that renewed faith and understanding that the power of prayer is something that you just cannot underestimate. [Applause] So I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen.” Listen to this live Steve Scalise on his return to the House of Representatives 9/28/17

What a testimony to the power of prayer as Mr. Scalise publically gives God all the glory for seeing him through this horrific ordeal, right from the moment it happened. He understands that his life was touch-and-go from the ballfield to the hospital, and if there had not been someone who knew how to give aid before the medics arrived, he probably would have died on the grass that day. But he didn’t die, and he knows it’s a miracle! Even more impressive, he’s telling the world that God still performs miracles!

Have you thought of that recently? Have you remembered all the miracles God has done in your life? He performs them every day. Have you told others about them? In Forsaken God: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I have a chapter “Honoring His Wonders and Miracles,” and in the Introduction, I write:

Memory builds faith.

Memories preserve the mighty works of God, but how many godly men and women failed to write down, or tell of, the miracles they saw God perform? How many works, deeds, and miracles has God done in your life … in my life … in the lives of our families … that we took for granted and never shared or acknowledged? Miraculous acts of faith lost to the next generation and lost to us when we need most to remember God’s goodness to help us through a trial or tribulation.

The power of prayer in mentoring relationships is remember how good God has been to us in the past.

Prayer & Praise Is An Integral Part of Mentoring

My tagline for mentoring is Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, the subtitle for Mentoring for All Seasons. Have you seen God at work in your life? Has He performed a miracle? Then just like Steve Scalise, share your story! Someone else may need encouragement in a particular season of life and walk with the Lord, or maybe needs to know that God is real.

A mentor, sharing her testimony and the power of prayer helps another woman discover the answers to her life issues are through prayer and the Bible. Mentoring is always a two-way relationship as they search the Bible together, pray for God’s guidance and wisdom, and wait for answers. Proverbs 3:5-7 (NLT) clearly tells us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.

As a mentee learns to depend on God and His Word in her life seasons, through the guidance, prayers, and support of her mentor, she can then help another woman going through similar seasons. Thus, the cycle of life and mentoring carries down through the generations: God’s plan for the propagation of Christianity and the church.

Prayer and Praise Journal Helps Record Prayers and Miracles

I suggest that mentors and mentees (M&M’s) always pray at the beginning, during, and end of their time together. The Bible and prayer is the foundation of spiritual mentoring. In the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, prayer covers every aspect of the ministry and M&M’s are matched through intercessory prayer.

Sometimes a mentee might feel uncomfortable praying if praying a loud is new to her. That’s fine, the mentor can pray for both of them, until the mentee feels comfortable. All my books have a Prayer & Praise Journal. In Mentoring for All Seasons, you’ll find it at the back of the book to record prayers, as well as God’s answers. And that’s where you begin to see the power of prayer. So often, we forget what we prayed for when God answers or we forget to go back and thank God. Recording prayer requests helps us remember God’s goodness.

Another way to use the Prayer & Praise journal is to help the mentee start praying. She can just read the prayer requests and praises aloud.

The beauty of Steve Scalise’s testimony reminds us we all have an open door to God’s ear and He is the God of miracles. We don’t need a pastor or someone else praying for or over us. God hears the petitions of His people, on our own, or when two or three are gathered together in His name. When He answers, be sure you give Him all the glory.

Have you got your copy yet of Mentoring for All Seasons? It’s available now at all Christian bookstores, online bookstores, Amazon, and signed by me on our website shop. I’d love to hear how God is using it in your life and the life of your church to bring about a revival of mentoring and Titus 2.

Thank you to everyone who left comments and emailed me with answers to my questions about the Ketogenic Diet in last weeks post. I’m still stumbling through starting and am not in ketosis yet. It’s a huge learning cover for me, so if you have any more tips please share!

Love Your Body: Let’s Mentor Each Other On the Ketogenic Diet

Love Your Body: Let's Mentor Each Other on the Ketogneic Diet.

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

If you’ve followed my Love Your Body posts on the last Monday of the month, you know I’m not a fan of “diets,” especially those that limit or reduce a particular food group. I’ve heard of the Ketogenic Diet, as probably many of you have too, but always dismissed it since it goes against everything we’ve ever learned about eating large amounts of fat. I’ve always eaten healthy fat, but only in moderation and have enjoyed good heart-healthy blood tests over the years.

Now I’m suffering from a neurological disorder and on the sixth medication trying to control it. Many of you were following me earlier this year when the fourth medication led to numerous kidney stones and horrendous surgery. Since going off that med, I’ve tried two more and we’re running out of options if this one doesn’t work.

So I did what many of us do and started researching more to see if there was anything else I could try. Mind you, I had read and read about this condition and felt like I was doing everything the doctors and I could do, but still the symptoms or adverse reactions to a medication continue.

Then suddenly last week, while back on the internet, I saw this: Sometimes going on a Ketogenic diet can help. Whoa, why hadn’t that appeared in any of my previous research? I contacted my neurologist to see if they had any success with this diet and they hesitantly said, “Some, but you would need to be followed by a Pediatric Dietitian and it will not replace medication.” I was surprised about the “pediatric” part, but it could be because they’ve only used it with children, which my research showed was easier for kids to follow this diet than adults. I thought that was interesting.

Since many of you know my first career out of college was a Registered Dietitian, I felt confident I could figure this diet out on my own.

I mentioned the diet to my endocrinologist and he said, “Oh it’s just the Atkins diet, but it could really help your LDL levels” (which had suddenly started rising). He encouraged me to try it.

This diet is also supposed to help reduce causes of cancer, and since I’m a three-time breast cancer survivor, this peaked my attention too.

When I started checking out the diet on different websites, I became more and more confused. It’s not the old Atkins diet. Then a dear friend loaned me a big book by a doctor, and I’m trying to wade through it. I have so many questions, and I’m hoping some of you who have successfully been on this diet could mentor me and others thinking about also trying it.

Here are some of my questions. Please write in the comments at the end of this blog, if you have answers:

  1. Did you gradually go on the diet, how did if feel when you started, and how long did it take to go on it completely?
  2. What did you follow to know foods to eat and foods to avoid?
  3. How do you know if you’re in Ketosis? What do you use to test?
  4. Any websites or books you suggest reading to learn more and find recipes?
  5. Did you see any changes in your cholesterol or LDL levels?
  6. How do you feel after being on it for a while?
  7. I’m not trying to lose weight, but did you lose weight?
  8. Did your family go on this with you, and if not, how did you make it easy to cook this way just for yourself? Because if your family eats high fats and doesn’t reduce carbs, that can be bad for their health. I did figure that out, and I don’t think hubby is going to do this with me.
  9. How long did it take you to see results?
  10. Did you go on this diet for health reasons?
  11. What tricks do you have for eating out and staying faithful, especially with the holidays approaching?
  12. How do you prepare kale?

I could go on and on with questions, but I know your answers to these questions will help me get started, and maybe help others who have been considering going on it too.

Don’t feel you have to answer all these questions to respond, but I would love to hear from you in a comment below, so we could all learn about your experience on this Ketogenic Diet.

Also, feel free to ask more questions in your comments, because I’m sure someone is going to have the same question and/or know the answer.

This is Mentoring!

I hope you’ve had an opportunity to pick up a copy of my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Mentoring is just what I’m asking us to do in this post . . . share our experiences with those who are in a new season of life. You may be younger or older than me, but you can help me learn more about the Ketogenic Diet. Then I can pass on to others the knowledge and help you’ve given to me and everyone reading this post.

Always exciting to see your new book Mentoring for All Seasons at LifeWay bookstore

I had fun last week stopping by our new LifeWay Bookstore in Boise to take pictures of Mentoring for All Seasons with the manager of the store. It never gets old seeing your “baby” on the shelf, and it was right in the front on the “New Release” shelf. If you have a LifeWay Bookstore near you, why not stop by, pick up a copy, and support your local Christian bookstore.

I didn’t hear from any of you last week, but the publisher is offering an incredible discount on 5 or more copies of Mentoring for All Seasons through the end of December. You can use it yourself, share with your church, your women’s ministry, small group, or whoever would benefit from the book. Contact me and I’ll send you the information.

You can also purchase on all the online bookstores, Amazon, or I’ll sign and personalize it from our website store.

Ok, remember two are better than one, and I need your help figuring out this Ketogenic Diet. I hope many of you will leave comments and give me some advice.

Two are Better thank one because if one falls down the other can pick them up!

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Happy Birthday Mentoring for All Seasons!

Happy Birthday is celebrating the release of a new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God's Faithfulness

Last week was a super exciting week here at About His Work Ministries! We had a Big Birthday and Release Day celebration for the birth of my “baby” Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. In honor of this long awaited day, my hubby grilled salmon: my favorite food!!

Many have followed me on this year-long journey from writing the book last year in a very short four months, then the physical setbacks I had earlier this year with a concussion and then kidney surgery during the final edits. Praise God, nothing could stop His plans for Mentoring for All Season’s release day September 12!

Happy Book Borthday to Mentoring for All Seasons that released Sept. 12!

It’s been an amazing week of sharing this release on social media and guest posting every day, sometimes twice a day, on friends’ blog posts. This book is the culmination of what God has taught me over the past twenty years, when He took a woman who had no experience in women’s ministry or had never written a book or done any public speaking to start a ministry that has now blessed innumerable women and churches!

I was just an ordinary woman who said “Yes” to the Lord, and as they say, the rest has been HIStory. Some have heard or read my testimony, others may wonder how did Woman to Woman Mentoring come about? Who am I to write a book to help women mentoring each other in all seasons of life? Honestly, I’m surprised too: that God would choose me for such an honor to serve Him in this way.

So I thought today, I would share with you a little of the origins of my story.

I never planned to become a writer, speaker, or for sure not go into ministry! But isn’t that just like the Lord to direct us onto the paths He wants us to go, and we have a choice whether to follow Him or go our own direction. In my thirties, I chose my own path, but the Lord guided me back. I rededicated my life and His prodigal daughter returned with all my heart. Little did I know the plans He had for me.

Soon I was attending Fuller Theological Seminary getting a Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership, while managing an insurance agency and being a new bride with a blended family. I prayerfully attended a Women in Ministry Leadership Conference, hoping the Lord would reveal where He wanted to use me when I completed seminary, as long as it wasn’t in women’s ministry. Since I also had an MBA, surely it would be in business. Trying to create my own path again.

The Lord did speak to me, but not how I expected. I was enjoying a cup of coffee, waiting for the evening’s worship and teaching to begin with Jill Briscoe, when I heard a voice . . . “Go, and feed My sheep.” I looked around, but no one was speaking to me. I thought, “What sheep? Where? And what would I feed them if I found them?” Again, “Feed My sheep.” I muttered, “OK,” and spent the rest of the evening wondering what I had just agreed to do. Feed my sheep is my testimony in my new book Mntoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God's Faithfulness

I couldn’t wait to call my husband and excitedly share what I heard from the Lord. My godly husband suggested we pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of “Feed My sheep.”

The next morning, the workshop instructor taught from John 21:15-17 where Jesus tells Peter, feed My sheep. Her topic was “Shepherding Women in Your Church.” The Holy Spirit was answering our prayer. But women Lord?!

Returning home, I asked everyone to pray for me to find my sheep and for direction as to what to feed them when I found them. The first sheep bleat came from a business associate asking me to mentor her. I didn’t have a clue what “mentoring” meant, so I read the late Lucibel Van Atta’s Women Encouraging Women [out of print] and learned it was simply sharing my life experiences—the good and the bad—and God’s faithfulness through it all. I wondered if perhaps feed My sheep might mean mentoring women?

Soon I was also mentoring a young woman from my stepdaughter’s small group, where I had become a mentor to the group. Seemed like enough “sheep.” But then a life-altering encounter. The Lord divinely placed the Pastor to Young Adults at our church, Saddleback, and me simultaneously at the gym. I worked out daily, but this was the only time I ever saw Pastor Brad there. As we chatted, he mentioned that many women in his young adults group were asking where they could find a mentor.

As if God was sitting on my shoulder, I suddenly poured out my “feed My sheep” story. Pastor Brad said he thought I should start a mentoring ministry at Saddleback Church, not just mentor two mentees. What!? I wasn’t equipped to start a mentoring ministry. I had to read a book to figure out how to mentor. I did meet with the Pastor to New Ministries, who agreed with Pastor Brad and he handed me a “12-Step Planning Guide to Developing a Ministry at Saddleback.” With both pastors’ encouragement, I began going through the process of starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

The Lord blessed our mentoring ministry and other churches started calling asking how they could start one. I couldn’t tell them everything over the phone, so I resigned from my insurance career, and wrote a Kit for churches to start a mentoring ministry. Today, God has taken the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry into churches around the world through the DVD Leader’s Kit, Woman to Woman Mentoring How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry. I continue to have the opportunity to share Woman to Woman Mentoring through my speaking and writing ministry, About His Work Ministries. I had no idea “feeding sheep” would go beyond Saddleback Church—even to international sheep.

Woman to Woman Mentoring is the Lord’s ministry following His mandate in Titus 2:1-8: one generation of Christian men and women must teach and train the next generations. When I let God guide, He allowed me to participate in something much bigger than I ever imagined. He changed my heart. He gave me a passion for the issues women deal with and wisdom in helping them turn to the Lord and to each other to navigate life’s seasons. Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, is a book for both mentors and mentees in every season of life from tweens to twilight years.

It’s been twenty-two years since I heard “Feed My sheep,” and I’m still feeding and mentoring them as the Lord leads.

Thank you for all your support and prayer, and for those who shared your stories, both as mentors and mentees, in this book. For those who have participated in church mentoring ministries or enjoyed mentoring in your personal lives, bless you for living out God’s direction for women in Titus 2:3-5.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Since the book released, there are so many stories already of women knowing other women who share their story in the book, and I encountered many while writing it. For example, I mentioned Lucibell Van Atta’s book was influential in helping me learn about mentoring only to discover that she was my friend Poppy Smith’s mentor! Poppy shares their story in the book along with 65 other mentors and mentees.

So it’s time to ask . . .

Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you through a new life season?

PS: If you lead a women’s ministry, mentoring ministry, and/or would like to share with your church, a special discount offer for Mentoring for All Seasons from the publisher, please contact me.

*Some parts of Feed My Sheep are excerpts from Mentoring for All Seasons, shared with permission of Leafwood Publishers. Pages 22-29 has more of that story and the birthing of the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is now available at all online bookstores, Amazon, Christian bookstores, and signed by me at my website store.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. She is also the author of Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning Blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

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Why Does God Want Women Mentoring Each Other Through Life’s Change?

While chatting with several women at the July 4th church potluck, the conversation turned to menopause. The women were going through it now and struggling with the changes in their bodies. I have to admit, I’m so glad to be on the other side of that season of life, even though I did go through all the symptoms again when I was on Tamoxifen after breast cancer. My friend’s discussion of menopause symptoms brought back memories of never knowing how many nightgowns I was going to go through in a night or wondering if my face and neck would suddenly turn red and blotchy while speaking.

But I also remembered a conversation I had with an elderly woman in our church about menopause when I started Woman to Woman Mentoring twenty years ago. You can be sure in my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, there’s a chapter on menopause! Here’s a sneak preview into that chapter:

When I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, an elderly woman said she felt the church let her down when she went through menopause. Someone in “the church” should have prepared her for the body and emotional changes she would experience. Since I was a few years away from menopause, I made a mental note, because if this was so important to her, it must be a season mentoring should address.

Then I went through menopause! I called everyone I knew my age to see if what I was experiencing was “normal.” I finally found a Christian book on menopause, which I later gave to another clueless menopausal friend.

When I told my girlfriends lamenting menopause about this, they eagerly asked if I still had the book?! I said no, but it’s definitely a season covered in Mentoring for All Seasons. Menopause is one of those seasons where one woman can share from her life experience what helped her and be there to pray and encourage a younger woman going through “the change.” You’ll laugh, cry, and truly relate to author, speaker, and a dear friend of mine, Pam Farrel, who shares about her own midlife years and how she became a mentor to many women by starting a “seasoned sisters” group.

Another friend who shares in Mentoring for All Seasons about being mentored during early parenting years is now also in menopause, and she’s started a Facebook group called Menopause Maidens.

We know that life is full of change in every season, but God has given us the tools to help each other through them. We just need to be willing to do what he asked of us in so many places in the Bible: reach out and mentor each other. I was incredibly blessed to have sixty-five women, including some of you, share mentoring stories—both mentees and mentors—in Mentoring for All Seasons. These women had experienced the blessings of mentoring, as mentors and mentees, and wanted to encourage other women that they can do it too, and it’s a fabulous blessing! I also give God’s perspective from Scripture to use in mentoring and tips in how to mentor and be a mentee in all seasons, along with sharing biblical M&M relationships.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecc. 3:1

I could use your help in spreading the word, however you feel led!

  • Pray for God to take Mentoring for All Seasons from coast to coast, from woman to woman, to equip them to do what He has asked of every Christian woman. Not just to be a mentor, but to seek a mentor also. We’re always coming out of a season to mentor from that experience and going into another season where we need a mentor!
  • Share with your friends, church, women’s ministry, social media, blogs, websites. It’s now available for order on Amazon. You can read more about the content of the book there and order a copy for yourself.
  • Tell me what ministries we should share this book with? Do you have a contact or know who we should contact?
  • Do you have a blog where I could be a guest blogger or you would post a review?
  • What other ideas do you have?

If you’ve followed me on this Monday Morning Blog for very long, you know God has given me a passion for evangelism and mentoring. Many women become believers, but they have no idea how to live the life. Or they hit a difficult season and feel alone or distanced from God. You know this was never God’s plan. So won’t you help me turn my small contribution into a revival of women mentoring women!

“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, before you know it, he brings us alongside others who also go through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5

In reflecting on the many women in my life who have helped me through all kinds of seasons . . . I’ve been blessed to have many women speak into my life and influence me in different ways. From the way I entertain using their examples of hospitality to my deeply, personal involvement in my friends’ lives, I have had beautiful, courageous women of faith who were there to teach me and train me. They helped me with my floundering anxieties as a young mother, supported me as friends during my children’s busy school years, and many are faithful friends who have stood by my side in ministry for decades now. Where would I be without these generous hearted friends? I’m grateful I’ll never have to know. Joneal Kirby, founder of Heartfelt Ministry, endorser and shares a story in Mentoring for All Seasons.

Available for Order and on Kindle

Or signed by the author!

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning Blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.

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Are You The Woman Today You Want Your Daughter to Become?

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’ve been writing, editing, and proofing a new book, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Last week, I turned in my final proof edit to the publishers, Leafwood Publisher, as I anticipate it’s September 12, 2017 release. Then I learned the exciting news that this book is now on Amazon ready for preorders! You can order now, and as soon as it’s in stock at Amazon, you’ll receive your pre-release copies. The more preorders, the more they bring in stock. Will you help me get this book into the hands of mentors and mentees, those wanting to know how to be a mentor or mentee, and Women’s Ministry Directors to guide women in all seasons of their life.

This book will guide and equip women from tweens to twilight seasons in how to biblically mentor or be a mentee! I think it’s the first book of it’s kind written for both M&M’S! One endorser has already said every Women’s Ministry Director needs this book in her library. As the summer goes on, I’ll share more tidbits about this book for all women.  So drum roll please . . . I’m unveiling the cover!

The Mothering Season

When I speak to women about mentoring, I tell them that their first mentoring responsibility is to their daughters if they have daughters or nieces. They’re the role model for these young girls and they’re mentoring to them what it looks like to be a woman today: either a woman of the world or a woman of the Word. And then, I ask the question: Are you the woman today you want your daughters to become because they’re watching you, and as much as they don’t want to be like you, they will probably become just like you at sometime in their life.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how during my backsliding years, my daughter wanted to be just like me. I realized some of the poor choices she was making were a reflection of the poor choices she was watching me make.

That was a huge revelation to me that I needed to make some changes in my life. When I did rededicate my life to the Lord and start living a godly life, she didn’t want any part of it. She liked the way we were living more by the world’s standards than by God’s ways. And that’s the story I talk about in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I went down on my knees and prayed Scripture for her daily for six years; all the time showing and role modeling for her the blessings of being a rededicated woman of faith.

I’m happy to say our story took a happy turn and Kim did eventually give her heart to Jesus, and she has done a much better job than I did raising her three children in a Christian household. She’s mentored them in character qualities that her two daughters and son are obviously noticing. For a school project, 3rd grader Sienna was to write why her mom should be in People Magazine. I must admit, I was troubled by this teacher’s choice of a magazine that 3rd graders had no business knowing about or writing an article for, so I was relieved when Sienna said she had no idea what People Magazine was, anyway!

But what did impress me were the character qualities Sienna wrote that she saw in her mom. My daughter is a fitness instructor with a fabulous figure, she’s gorgeous, dresses stylishly, and always looks beautiful. So when Sienna decided to write about why her mom should be on the cover of People Magazine, she easily could have talked about these superficial, outward qualities, but at eight-years old this is what she wrote, exactly how she wrote it, no edits from Grammie:

My mom should be on the cover of the People magazine. My mom’s name is Kim Mancini. My mom is medium height, has brown hair, and her eyes are brown. There are so many reasons why my mom should be on the cover of the People Magazine.

One of the amazing things about my mom is that she is trustworthy. My mom trusts me all the time. My mom does not lie. My mom is trustworthy with my whole family. Now you know why my mom is trustworthy.

My mom is the most honest person in the world. She is honest with me. She once said, “Do not be scared that’s not real.” My mom is honest with my grandparents. There is no doubt, my mom should be on the People Magazine because she is so honest.

My mom is so helpful. My mom helps me when I am hurt. My mom helps me with my homework. She helps me get ready for school. My mom should win an award for being the best mom ever. My mom is the best mom in the world.

By Sienna

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Sienna’s mom, is trustworthy, honest, and helpful. Later she wished she had included hardworking. Isn’t that what every mom wants all her children, not just her daughters, to say about her?! Good job Kim.

What would your kids write why you should be on the cover of People Magazine?

The Mancini family. Sienna is next to her brother

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5 Ways to Have a God-Glorifying Small Group

Last week as I was shutting down my computer, I noticed a Facebook tag from my dear friend and fellow author/speaker, Pam Farrel. Pam leads a group called Seasoned Sisters, and you’ll be able to read all about how she started this mentoring group for women going through midlife in my new book Mentoring For All Seasons when it releases in September this year! Pam shares in it several stories about being mentored and being a mentor during transition seasons of her life.

Several months ago, Pam told me her Seasoned Sisters group wanted to read and discuss my latest book that Pam endorsed, Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten. They purchased the books, and then I got a message from her that more women wanted to join the group as the word got out how much they were enjoying my book. You know how this encouraged me and warmed my heart since my vision for Forsaken God? was for Christians to make a change for God in our culture by simply remembering how good God has been to them in their own lives. There are discussion questions after each chapter for group study, and the book isn’t just for women: it’s for all Christians!

So back to last week’s Facebook tag. Pam was meeting with her Seasons Sisters and they sent me a live video to say “Hi” and tell me what Forsaken God? has meant to them. Several comments: “Very timely! I don’t want to watch the news; I just want to read this book.” “Forsaken God? will put the headlines in perspective and give you God’s view.” Here’s the short video for you to watch yourself.

One woman said she had given the book to a waitress. I was blessed and encouraged. If you read last week’s blog post 10 Ways to Change Our Culture, you know my heart for motivating Christians to take a stand for God in their sphere of influence. I’m praying some of you thought there was at least one way you would apply to your life.

The Value of Small Groups / Bible Study Groups / Life Groups

Small groups or Bible study groups or life groups, whatever your church calls them, are the perfect place to mature in your faith and encourage each other to take your faith public, as we’re told to do in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

My husband and I met in a small group at Saddleback Church. He was the co-leader of a business group that included men, women, couples, and singles. It was my first experience in a small group, but Dave and I have been leading small groups and support groups (such as Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter) ever since. Sometimes we lead together, other times he might lead a men’s group and I’ll lead a women’s group. We’ve led groups at a mega church like Saddleback, and at the small church in the mountain community where we now live. Our favorite groups are couples groups.

Like every small group, some of our groups ran smoothly with everyone committed, and others had problems that we had to address for the good of the group. Here are five key areas where God taught us through trial and error how to have a small group that glorifies Him and enriches the spiritual life of all the group members.

  1. Create a safe place with confidentiality – Do members of your group feel like the group is a safe place where they can share openly without condemnation, criticism, or worrying that what they say will leave the group?

Prayer time can unintentionally become a gossip session. Members should feel confident that prayer requests or comments made during the meetings are not discussed outside of the group, without permission from all individuals involved.

Spouses should not share stories about each other without receiving permission, whether or not their spouse is present. To keep the group accountable in this area, when a spouse starts to talk about his or her spouse, the leader can say something like, “That sounds like a hubby [or wife] story. Hubby [or wife], do you want us to hear this?” And if he or she says no, then nix the story.

  1. Don’t Try to Fix Each Other – Are members trying to solve each other’s problems or give unsolicited advice?

Members shouldn’t try to speak into each other’s life unless asked to do so. Often a member just wants to share a difficult situation and is solely looking for compassion, understanding, and prayer. The group should listen respectfully, and possibly offer constructive and empathetic comments from their own experience, as long as those thoughts are biblically sound, and above all, encouraging. No quick fixes or “you shoulds.”

Sometimes members with difficult issues can dominate the entire meeting and that might be appropriate if someone is in an immediate crisis. But if this becomes a pattern, the leader/facilitator gently suggests that the member might benefit from speaking with pastors at the church or offer to talk privately and pray with him or her after the group.

  1. Set Clear Expectations and Request Commitment – Is everyone committed and giving priority to meetings and communicating in advance when they aren’t going to attend? Do all members have clear expectations of what they’re going to receive from the study, and are they in concert with the group?

Will it be a social fellowship group vs. a Bible study group, or a combination of the two?

Commitment and making meetings a high priority is imperative. Members shouldn’t have an “I’ll-be-there-if-I-can” attitude. Your goal is to become a spiritual family growing and doing life together, respectful of each other’s time and efforts.

There’s nothing more discouraging as a leader than to prepare for the group and then start receiving the phone calls and emails, often at the last minute, that members aren’t coming. One way to share the commitment and ownership of the group is to pass the facilitating of the group among the members. So it’s not always a leader/members group, but a group with everyone having a part in facilitating the meetings.

Make sure you have a group covenant that clearly states the purpose of the group and allow everyone an opportunity to express his or her expectations. This is also a good place to reemphasize confidentiality and commitment expectations.

  1. Maintain Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit—Do you spend enough time in the Word and let the Holy Spirit lead or are you rushing through studies to reach a goal?

Regardless of the focus or purpose of the group, everyone must be reading from the Bible every meeting. Members need to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer during the meetings and during the week for spiritual growth to occur.

It’s important to end at the agreed expected time so people can plan, but don’t be overly concerned how much material is covered each meeting. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and expose just the right discussion for growth in everyone’s life.

  1. Encourage Active Group Participation – Is everyone doing his or her outside study material between meetings and participating in the discussion? Do some people never talk and others do all the talking?

It’s important for the health and growth of the group that everyone comes prepared if there is homework or reading between meetings, and that each member has an opportunity to participate in discussion.

A good way to engage people who tend to be quiet is to ask them to read a Scripture, and if it applies to a study question, that’s an open door to read their answer. Or to prevent them from feeling pressured to respond first, after some initial group discussion on the question, the leader/facilitator can invite their input. These suggestions also are effective in preventing the group from relying on the same group members for answers and discussion.

Small groups are vital to the spiritual growth and maturity of a church congregation, whether the church is large or small. It’s easy to get lost in a large church and not feel accountable, but a small group makes a big church small. In a small church, like where we are right now, small groups expand the ministry and teaching during the week and can make a small church seem like a large extended family.

What other things have you found to be a problem and/or helpful in keeping your small group effective and maturing together in Christ?

*************

All my books have discussion questions for groups. I’ve also written a Face to Face Bible Study Series for women. There are seven in the series and each one is a perfect length for summer study. Or there’s a First Place 4 Heath Bible study God’s Best for Your Life.

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8 Reasons to Make 2017 the Year of New Connections

christmas-accident

Happy New Year! I know I promised I would be back with my Monday Morning Blog this morning, but you know how we make our plans but the Lord directs our steps. Well I’m not sure He directed my steps on Christmas Day around 4:00 PM when I stood up to go charge my cell phone and play a game with the grandkids, and the next think I remember was the sound of my head hitting the edge of a wooden chest across the room. To hear the story from my shocked hubby and daughter, I stumbled and literally flew across the room and my head took the full brunt of the fall.

Well with a nice gash in my head, off to ER we went and came home with 5 staples in my head. I’m smiling in the picture above because they put about 10 shots of Novocaine in my head, which always effects my whole bod,y so I was literally feeling no pain until the middle of the night, as my daughter and hubby had to wake me up all night.

Anyway, it seems now I have a concussion and constant high pitched ringing in my ears, so later today I’m having a brain MRI just to be sure I didn’t do any major damage. I could use your prayers for that. But God is so good that I had in my files this wonderful guest blog from Shirley Brosius, who just happens to be talking about the Joy of Connecting and even mentions mentoring as a  New Year’s goal. Shirley and her mentees Kim and Janine tell their story in my book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, releasing with Leafwood Press later this year. So enjoy this wonderful post from Shirley and I hope to be back with you next Monday.

The Joy of Connecting

By

By Shirley Brosius

Women who say they don’t need to connect with other Christian women don’t realize what they’re missing. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

I currently enjoy two mentoring relationships. I meet weekly to discuss Christian books with Kim and Janine, two women young enough to be my daughters.

2016-shirley-with-kim-and-janine

I chat weekly about writing and spirituality with Michelle, a young mother who lives a few hours from my home.

shirley-with-michelle

Here is how these women and I sharpen each other.

  1. We inspire one another. For instance, Kim set a New Year’s goal to control her thought life, and that inspired me to set a goal to not say anything this year that puts someone else in a bad light. Lofty goals, we know, but at least we’re trying.
  1. We pray for one another. If I’ve asked for prayer for something coming up during the week, I’m sure to get a text from Janine at that specific time, telling me she’s praying. I value her prayers.
  1. We accomplish more together than we could individually. When we decided we wanted not just to study together but to serve together, Kim, Janine and I dubbed ourselves Friends of the Heart and developed a website. We have now spoken to more than 10,000 women over the last ten years. Neither one of us could have developed such a ministry on her own.
  1. We know we’re not alone on the journey. We relate to each others challenges and walk each other through tough times holding hands.
  1. We rejoice with each other. I might feel like I’m bragging if I tell a friend that an article was accepted for publication, but Michelle and I know the struggles of writing, so we can genuinely rejoice together when one of our articles finds a home.
  1. We hold each other accountable. At times we set weekly goals and check on each other the following week: Did you make that call? Did you read your Bible today?
  1. We enjoy each other. With Kim and Janine, it’s fun to meet over a cup of tea or coffee, and in between meetings, we keep in touch by phone, e-mail or Facebook. Not a week goes by that we don’t laugh about something—often funny stories about Kim’s classroom antics or a corny joke that Janine can hardly share for laughing. I visited Michelle this past summer, and we plan to get together again this fall. She has become a special friend.
  1. We alert each other to life. I’m way ahead of them journeying down that road, and they watch me relate to adult children and keep in touch with grandchildren. Not that I’m a perfect model; sometimes I serve as a model of what not to do. And I learn about today’s world through their eyes.

Now I realize mentoring relationships may not appeal to everyone. But everyone can plug into some sort of group. I attend a Bible study at my church, and I’ve watched our group knit and share more deeply as the years go by. I also appreciate discussing spiritual direction in Sunday school classes.

If there’s no group that appeals to you, start one—a book discussion group, a young moms group, a teen moms group. You might ask someone to partner with you to pray. It’s always a blessing to hear someone else pray for your needs. Or like the women I’ve mentioned, ask an older woman to mentor you; if you’re an older woman, offer to support a young woman who might benefit from your expertise.

So get connected. You’ll be challenged and blessed. Don’t be afraid of deepening relationships within the body of Christ. After all, God made ministry a group project.

Read more about Friends of the Heart in Janet’s new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness releasing later this year.

Please comment to let us know other ways you’ve made valuable connections with other Christian women.

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www.friendsoftheheart.us