Archives for August 2011

Guest Blogger: Christine

Christine is a dear friend of mine.  She has some great words about bible study!!

A Journey into BSF

Last September, I joined BSF – Bible Study Fellowship.  BSF is a nine month bible study (Sept-May) that meets weekly to dive into God’s word.   I have heard of BSF from some women in my church, and a few of my friends who I considered to be “hard core” Christians – the bible scholarly type.  In other words, not me.   I was afraid that I would be embarrassed because I didn’t have enough bible verses memorized, or  that if I did join – I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the work.  The list goes on and on… I had a ton of reasons for NOT joining.    A good friend of mine encouraged me to come and just “check it out”.  No judgment if I decided it wasn’t my thing.  So I went.  And it has literally changed my view of God.

Last year we studied the book of Isaiah.  We spent 9 months walking through every verse of this amazing book of the old testament.   In a nutshell, I learned about God’s faithfulness to his people.   I learned about His purity, and about His unfailing love.  What stood out the most to me was the uncompromising message of judgment and grace, and how it must be proclaimed!    Studying the book of Isaiah through BSF taught me more about God’s character than any other bible study I had ever done. 

I love the 4-step approach that BSF takes to studying the bible.   It is systematic, and thorough.  It challenges you to go deeper, and gives you the tools to understand what you are reading. 

Step one:  Study on your own.  Each week at BSF, the small group leader gives you a handout with questions for that week.  The questions will lead you through a section of the bible – usually 1-3 chapters.   The questions are divided into 6 days, and each day should take 20-30 minutes.   I did what I could with the time I had each week – and found myself feeling blessed with however I got the work done.    I decided I couldn’t be legalistic about how, when or where I studied.  The fact that I had a bible open, and I was spending time with God was what mattered. 

Step two:  Discuss.  After spending the week studying on your own, it’s time to come to class and share your findings.  I loved this part!  I was free to share when I felt led to share, and could stay quiet when I needed to just listen.  Some questions are specific to the bible passage, other questions asked how we have applied a particular truth to our own lives.  Love it.

Step three: Listen.  After the discussion group, we would gather as a big group to listen to a lecture on the same passage.   This is where I felt I really got a firm hold on what the bible was teaching. 

Step four: Read.  At the end of the lecture, you receive a set of notes to read on the passage of scripture.  This last step cemented in what I learned. 

I found myself absolutely delighting in God’s word.  I felt drawn to my study each week.  I know that the Holy Spirit gently nudged me to open my heart and my mind to BSF. 

This year’s study is on the book of Acts.  I know this study will be rich and full of promise.  If you’d like to join a group, I want to encourage you to check out the website this week.   Groups start the week after Labor day – go to www.bsfinternational.com , and click on “find a class”.   

I am feeling that familiar “nudge”, that yearning to learn more about my God.  I can’t wait to get started.   Want to join me?

Sharing The Good Stuff: I Am Second

Written By Jen

I Am Second is powerful.  My kids like YouTube Videos.  Do you?  Honestly, I am torn.  The unknown influence scares me and I don’t always like how it pulls us out of the present.  I admit, there are some that make me laugh, some that are educational and, some that are beautiful. Well maybe I do like them.  The reality is video is streamed into our house daily.  Some of it is good, some of it is a waste, but this, this, is worth watching, in my opinion.  I want my kids to watch this, and myself and my husband and you too.  I was encouraged.  I love to hear people’s stories.  I would love to hear your story too.  Check this out…

I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you. The authentic stories on iamsecond.com provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second.

Which one did you like?  Do you recommend any? Oh, how I want to hear your story.  I am a fan of I Am Second.  Very cool.

 

   

Commenting on GraceFULLhome

We have been posting for over a year now, first on our blog CLOSER, and now on GraceFULLhome.  GraceFULLhome is about real life.  Our stories, our relationships, and our walk with God.  Jen and I feel very called to share our hearts and what we are learning with you!

We met this week to discuss the blog, what we can improve, tweaking our posting schedule, etc.  We are so thankful for all the encouraging comments we get, which mostly come in the form of emails to us on our personal email addresses.  The comments connect us to who is reading, how what we are writing affects you, and what things we should keep writing about.

So, we have a favor!  Would you be willing to post comments, thoughts, observations directly on our blog?  If you click the orange leave a comment link directly below our post it will open up a text box.  One reason we would prefer you to post directly on our blog is that it allows other readers to see the “community” we have.  You can comment to each other and to Jen and I.   Let’s get to know each other!

If you get this on email, which a large part of our readership does, would you consider clicking on the blog link above the email to quickly post a comment?  You can also see the other things we have going on on our blog, like the daily pictures or scripture verses.  You can also poke around on our archives for recipes or devotionals.

We would love the feedback.  So, here’s our first feedback question for you to comment on:

What do you like to read about most on our blog?

Is there anything you would like to more or less of?  What would make you look forward to reading our posts?

Also, we have started Tweeting.  If you click on the TWITTER link on the top of our blog you will see the community there.  Would love for you to join!

Thanks again for all of your support.

Love,

Amy and Jen

My Life : I am an Angry Bird, Fire Away!

Written by Jen

This is me! I have been feeling like an angry bomb bird lately. I am creating a bunch of other angry birds in the house too.

I have been getting angry lately.  It seems like all my buttons are being pushed.  When people around me are angry, I respond to them in anger.  For example, my child asks me for something, I don’t answer the way they want, they get angry then, I get angry.  I have a friend who is angry about a situation in life and she shares her anger then, I get angry at her anger.  Seriously Jen?!  Getting back into the grind of school is taking a lot of nagging and the answer “no, this is not summer break.”  Saying “no” makes me angry, especially when it is challenged repeatedly.  Are you wondering if I am PMSing? NOPE.  Just annoyed and angry. UGH!!!  I am all out of anything kind to say.  I am annoyed at my response.  Why can I not control my annoyed feelings, my anger?  Why do I get sucked into the tornado of anger?  I wish I had an answer for me.  Honestly, it makes me really sad because this is not who I want to be.  I read this the other day and liked it.  I keep mulling it over in my mind.  I have some work to do and I need to spend some time with Jesus, CLEARLY.  Any thoughts blog friends?

This is from Neil Anderson in his book Victory Over The Darkness

“The New Testament clearly states that we are saints who sin.  Children of God who say they don’t sin are called liars (see 1 John 1:8).  We are not to judge one another; instead, we are called to accept other believers as children of God, and to build up each other.  Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may GIVE GRACE to those who hear.”

Mr. Anderson goes on to tell a story of his childhood where he ditched class and thought he got away with it.  The next day the principal called him in and chewed him out.  Then he said, “I have arranged for you to be home Thursday and Friday.”  He was shocked.  Suspended from school for two days for skipping a class?  He was not looking forward to seeing his parents, and the ride home was miserable.  He thought about playing sick for two days, or hiding in the woods when he should have been in school.  He couldn’t do it, and he knew he had to face his authority figures.  He went to his mother, because he knew there would be some mercy there. “Mom,” he said, “I got suspended from school for two days for skipping a class.”  At first she was shocked; then she smiled and said, “Oh, Neil, I forgot to tell you.  We called the school to see if you could stay home Thursday and Friday to help us pick corn.”  If he knew that, would he have dreaded seeing his parents?  Would his school bus ride home have been miserable? Of course not, but he didn’t know that staying home Thursday and Friday was already justified.   That is how many Christians live their lives.  They live their lives as though they are walking on glass.  They can’t make any mistakes because if they do, the hammer of God will fall on them.  Dear Christian reader, the hammer fell.  It fell on Christ.  He died “once for all” our sins (Romans 6:10). We are not sinners in the hands of an angry God.  We are saints in the hands of a loving God who has called us to “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). (Victory over the Darkness, Anderson; 2000)

Thanks Neil!  I needed to hear that. A friend of mine challenged me to read this book.  I am slowly making my way through it.  It’s deep and it’s chipping away at deep layers of rock around my heart.  It is on my recommendation list of books.  That’s me tonight.  Not real pretty:)  Trying to remove the hammer from my kung fu grip.

Recipe : Peanut Butter Blossom

Written By Jen
My friend Susan made these for our cookie exchange this year and I just couldn’t get enough of them.  I think the key to this cookie is keeping the cookie small, a one inch ball.  It makes the cookie just the size of one bite, so you get all the flavor at the same time.  This is, I think, the BEST recipe for peanut butter blossoms, a classic American cookie.  Thanks for sharing Susan!

 

Peanut Butter Blossom
Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
Sugar to sprinkle
48 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, shortening, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and egg; mix at low speed until stiff dough forms.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
2. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Immediately top each cookie with 1 candy kiss, pressing down firmly so cookie cracks around edge.  Remove from cookie sheet.

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