Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reflecting Him - A Review

Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It is a ten-week women’s Bible study by Carol McDougal.

Life is not about me, but all about Him. Do you have trouble remembering this throughout your day? Do you see Jesus in your everyday activities, or do you just call on Him in an emergency?

Like Jesus’ parables, which teach important lessons by creating visual pictures for the reader, Reflecting Him uses familiar objects and situations such as pottery, the human sensory system, and the sun-earth connection and draws comparisons that help women become aware of Jesus' working in various areas of their daily lives.

This study has a unique component - a Reflecting Him Study Group on Facebook. Individuals working through the study on their own can still get the benefits of a group discussion. More than 200 people are in the group already and the discussions are really taking off.

The study has a unique and convenient lay-flat format, so you can write without that annoying bump (you know the one we're talking about.)
Each week is divided into five days (lessons), supporting the central theme for the week. This fall a leaders guide, videos, and music will be released to accompany the study.

About Carla

Carla McDougal is the founder of Reflective Life Ministries and Share Fair, an annual conference for connecting, equipping, and encouraging women in ministry. She speaks at women’s events, retreats, and conferences in the U.S. and internationally.

Carla married her high school sweetheart, Fred, and they have four children ages 16 to 23 and live in Magnolia, Texas. Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It (WinePress Publishing, 2010) is Carla’s first book, although she’s been involved in leading and teaching Bible studies for more than 20 years.

Carla writes a Monday morning e-votional at her blog, Carla's Corner.

Want Carla To Lead a Lesson for Your Bible Study Group?
With every group purchase of 25 or more studies before August 1, Carla will lead a tele-lesson (over speaker phone) for one of your group meetings. Please email to purchase books. Mention the blog tour and tele-lesson at the time of ordering.

You can purchase Reflecting Him through Amazon, or Reflective Life Ministries.
As a part of this blogtour, I received a free copy of Reflecting Him

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Father's Legacy

Do you know farmer MacDonald of Glen Coe in Aberdeenshire, Scotland? Although he lived during the early 1800's, I believe he has had a huge influence in your life. I believe his legacy has shaped the Christian faith of the 21st century.

How many of us have thrilled to the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis? His allegorical series has enthralled readers, listeners and movie-goers for generations. We have nodded and "amen"ed our way through the pages of The Screwtape Letters as we saw in the fictional correspondence between demons-- ourselves--falling prey to the enemy. Lewis' fictional and philosophical works have brought truths of the Christian faith near to the thinkers of our time.

Lewis did not believe in God until he was in his 30's. Coming to faith from atheism he latched onto the writings of George MacDonald, son of the farmer of Aberdeenshire.

Lewis, thirsty for truth, found a wellspring in MacDonald's fantasies and fairy tales.

He said this of MacDonald's writings, "I dare not say that he is never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself.I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master; indeed I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him."

MacDonald's writings reflected his deep faith in a loving Heavenly Father. Where did MacDonald learn of the deep love of God? At the knee of his own father, the farmer of Glen Coe.

In the dedication to a book simply entitled, George MacDonald, Lewis had this to say about the roots of MacDonald's faith. "An almost perfect relationship with his father was the earthly root of all his wisdom. From his own father, he said, he first learned that Fatherhood must be at the core of the universe. He was thus prepared in an unusual way to teach that religion in which the relation of Father and Son is of all relations most central."

And, of course, the Father and Son he refers to are God, our heavenly father, and Jesus Christ, His son.

Indeed, George MacDonald inspired many other authors as well such as J. R. R. Tolkien, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L'Engle.

It was C.S. Lewis who wrote: "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later," said Lewis, "I knew that I had crossed a great frontier."

G. K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that had "made a difference to my whole existence." Elizabeth Yates wrote of Sir Gibbie, "It moved me the way books did when, as a child, the great gates of literature began to open and first encounters with noble thoughts and utterances were unspeakably thrilling."

This Father's Day know that you are making a difference in your child's life. And you never know who you might be influencing in generations to come. You are leaving a legacy.

For more spiritual refreshment visit Spiritual Sundays.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

REmarkable God

Recycling began as God's idea first.

Woven into the rhythm of creation is the process of life, death and renewal.

When our our children are very small, we point out brilliant butterflies which symbolize new life. These beautiful insects enter our world with a flash of color after first being hidden in coffin-like cocoons where they transform from clumsy caterpillars.

Every kindergartner brings home a Styrofoam cup, filled with dirt and a promise. A tiny seed-- which when broken and given proper care--brings assurance of something living and green and, at that age, mysterious.

Renewal, rebirth, recycle.

As we study upper level science we learn that no chemical, or even energy itself, is ever truly lost or destroyed. Just broken down and restructured and reused.

Our spiritual life is much the same. The same God who created the world is the God who is always in the business of using the broken pieces of our lives to renew and rebuild.

Redeem, restore, regenerate, resurrect.

In God's economy there is nothing--no hardship or situation--that God cannot use to work for good in our lives.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Rom 8:37-39)

On a larger scale, our world and culture through the ages cycles through periods of light and dark. It seems that on the heels of sorrow, sickness and war, God brings great seasons of spiritual renewal. Never can that spiritual life be sustained without continued relying on Him. So mankind falls again and out of brokenness we turn to Him, the author of real life and healing.

Our hope and joy is that the end of our world's story has already been written.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away...,
"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.
He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,
and God himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away."
And he who was seated on the throne said,
"Behold, I am making all things new."
(Rev 21:1-5)

For more spiritual REfreshment, join Spiritual Sundays.

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Get a Teen's Attention

While picking up my teenager yesterday after a party, I paused to chat with another mom. We stood several yards away from the noisy group of kids who weren't ready to go home just yet. The teens had their conversation going and we had ours.

The other mom and I talked for a good ten minutes about summer plans, the weather, my recent vacation. Somewhere in there I mentioned watching the reality show, "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant."

We were laughing about the show and how anyone could not know they were pregnant. The silence from across the driveway became deafening.

We looked up to see the entire group of kids staring at me.

"No! Not me! I'm not pregnant" I burst out. "I was talking about the TV show." My own child looked the most stunned and needed an extra dose of reassurance.

Never think they are not listening. If moms can have eyes in the back of their heads, teens must have bionic hearing even after listening to all of that loud music on their Ipods.