Archive for General

An Exciting Turn of Events

In 2015 I stepped down from my position at TrainingAuthors.com because I felt like God was calling me back to ministry. I had helped build TrainingAuthors.com from the ground up, so it was really hard for me to do, and it took an entire year for me to really come to grips with it and surrender that decision completely to God. However, I am so glad that I did.

I have been working on getting back to the root of the ministry God called me to, discipling and encouraging Christian women and teen girls. I have been struggling with how best to do this online. Starting from scratch is never easy. But this week God knocked my socks off.

I received an e-mail on Sunday night from the owner of FindYourTrueBeauty.com, the ministry that published my first book in 2010. I knew God had called her to minister to a different group of people, and that ministry hadn’t been overly active for several years now, which is part of the reason I was so lost on how to move forward. But in her e-mail she wanted to know if I would be interested it taking over the ministry completely.

I was floored.

It’s exactly what God had placed in my heart. You know, one of those God sized dreams that you don’t think could ever really happen and you would never dream of actually asking for. I get teared up every time I think about it.

So, I am writing today today to tell you that I am officially the new owner/director of the ministry FindYourTrueBeauty.com. I am working hard on updating the website, our books, etc. And it will be a long process of getting everything up to speed, but I would love for you to check it out and let me know what you think.

Find Your True Beauty

Let’s Get Candid

I’ve been working hard behind the scenes for months on my new ministry for Christian women, CandidlyChristian.com. My goal was to create a safe place where women could be honest about their faith, failures, and forgiveness. Let’s face it, life isn’t always neat and tidy, being a Christian doesn’t change that.

Those of you who know my testimony, know that God has used the honesty of other Christian women to grow my faith more than anything else. Knowing that other Christian women don’t have it all together is a huge blessing. Knowing it’s okay to be less than perfect, what a relief!

I will never forget the first time a Christian woman admitted to me that she didn’t have it all together. She wasn’t just any Christian woman, she was our pastor’s daughter-in-law, super fit, a stay-at-home, super mom who was part of the worship team and an international missionary. I’m telling you, she was everything a good Christian should be, and she knew her Bible inside and out.

And then she confessed that she struggled with depression. That she questioned her faith because of an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness. This was super woman, and she struggled with some of the same things I did.

Another time the woman who hosted our Bible study confessed that her house wasn’t always as clean as we saw it each week. In fact, she said if we showed up unannounced at any other time during the week, that it would be a wreck.

Again, a huge burden was lifted. Not because I rejoiced in their struggles, but because it made me realize that struggling was okay.

Who knew it was okay to be less than perfect?

Her candid confession was a balm to my soul.

Many other candid confessions have followed. Some of them speak to me, others make me hurt for the women who are going through them all alone.

When I’ve shared my own candid confessions with other christian women, I usually get one of two responses.

Encouraging Support or Utter CondemnationIMG_1518

Sometimes well-meaning christian women come across the wrong way. Most of them don’t mean to, but it happens from time to time. And it happens often enough to make us scared to be honest.

If you are a Christian woman, I would love to have you join me at CandidlyChristian.com: A safe place to be open and honest about faith, failure, and forgiveness.

Let’s Get Candid!

 

 

 

 

2015 – Called by Christ

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is drawing to a close. Earlier today, I blogged about some of my professional accomplishments from the year, but, overall, the end of 2014 was tough for me. I had a ton of stuff going, and no clear direction on what I wanted to do or why I was doing any of it. I was in a rut and getting deeper all the time.

However, I took the last couple of weeks off to enjoy the holidays and reflect on some things. I really didn’t have time to do this, and still have some unfinished projects that I was hoping to have done before the new year, but it was so worth it!!!

After much prayer and reflection, I am excited about what’s to come!

My 2015 Theme

One of my mentors always has a theme word or phrase for each year. Last year, I semi adopted her theme as my own, just because I saw it so much and we work together so often. However, I knew that going into 2015 I needed to be my own person. I needed to know what God wanted from and for ME.

So I prayed about it… a lot. I tried to force some themes that I thought sounded good, but God kept whispering, “That’s not it.” However, I finally stopped to listen long enough to clearly hear what God was saying and I’m happy to announce that I have a theme.

My theme for 2015 is Called by Christ.

Christian Banner with Bible and Cross

I know Christ has called me to do great things for Him. Some of them I will be recognized for, others I won’t. That’s fine. The main point is that He has called me. I’m not working for nothing. I’m working for the glory of Christ and I have been called by Him to do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 is my theme verse for this year:

“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

I chose this theme, because it reminds me of my purpose. It encourages me and gives me strength. This is a theme that God has been whispering to me for months, and I have scattered notes written about, but I haven’t taken the time to embrace it. And that’s what I want for 2015. I want to embrace my calling, and let the assurance of God’s will for my life wash over me. Renewing me day by day.

With that theme in mind, I am ready to embrace 2015 and all that it has in store. I’m ready to give my all to prove worthy of my calling, knowing that my salvation rests securely in my saviors arms when I stumble and fall.

What is your theme for 2015?

 

Give Thanks to the Lord

Thanksgiving is one of the very few times each year that the entire nation takes time to give thanks. To give thanks for friends and family. To count their blessings. Each day I read Facebook posts about what my friends are thankful for.

It’s great.

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” 

~ Psalm 107:21

Throughout Scripture we are called repeatedly to give thanks.

However, sometimes I feel like we have missed a key factor (or maybe two).

If you look at all the verses in the Bible about giving thanks, they all relate to giving thanks to God. Not just being thankful, but for being thankful to our Creator.

“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”
~ Psalm 136:26

Moreover, we tend to be thankful for all of the good things we have. When we count our blessings, they are always things that make us happy.

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Earlier this year I led a Bible study through the Beatitudes, and one of the first things I learned, was that blessed doesn’t mean happy.

Blessings don’t always come in pretty packages.

Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you,
and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:
for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.

~ Matthew 5:3-12

Jesus taught us to give thanks to God in every circumstance. Not just when we have a house to live in and food on the table.

Give Thanks to the LordI actually learned this week that the pilgrims (who started this whole Thanksgiving thing) dug 3 times as many graves as they built houses (and houses held more than one person, graves don’t). Yet they still chose to give thanks.

They still set aside a day to praise God for all He had done.

No, they weren’t thriving, but they were still thankful.

Can we be like that? Can we give thanks even in the midst of heartache?

I don’t know where you are this Thanksgiving–what you are going though. But I encourage you to stop and thank God for what you do have, even if it’s not wrapped up in a pretty package.

Here’s another fact for you:

Did you know the biggest blessing we could ever dream of, came through what was the most heartbreaking event in the history of the world?

The biggest blessing we have is the gift of Salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

That blessing came through His life (where He was scorned), His death (when He was beaten, hung on a cross, and abandoned), and His resurrection (where He achieved His victory).

If you have never seen The Passion of the Christ, but it depicts that blessing in a very real way. Just knowing what our Savior went through to save us, to save me, I can’t even imagine.

But He can.

And He did.

So, no. Blessings don’t always come in pretty packages. But true blessings are eternal.

I encourage you this Thanksgiving, not only to be thankful for what God has given you, but also to be thankful for true blessings that come from above.

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

I invite you to go deeper into the beatitudes this Thanksgiving with my book, “Blessings from Above.” In it, I share modern-day examples of biblical teachings. Each of the eight chapters is short, includes questions to ponder, and was designed to bring Christ’s message home.

various pumpkins on wooden background

This post is part of a blog hop for Christian Indie Authors. Check out what other authors have to say by visiting BooklyBooks.com/thanksgivinghop

We’re also sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Here are my 3 favorites (click the recipe name to be taken to them on AllRecipes.com):

  1. Easy Herb Roasted Turkey: This is by far the best turkey recipe I’ve ever found. It’s so flavorful and juicy! I cook mine in an oven bag and it always turns out perfect.
  2. Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  3. Sweet Potato Casserole

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”

~ Psalm 69:30

 

{Cover Reveal} Letters from Christ

I am excited to announce that our study through the letters of Revelation will be available in both print and eBook format within the next couple of weeks. The official launch date is December 2nd and I’m excited to be able to share the cover with you today.

Check it out:

Letters-From-Christ

I also wanted to let you know that I have a small number of advance review copies available. If you are interested in reviewing this book before it comes out, you can sign up as a reviewer below:


Revelation-Kindle-Cover

VeggieTales Review & Giveaway

Beauty and the Beet Our family loves all things VeggieTales. It’s an obsession I picked up in middle school and passed on to my children.

Who doesn’t love a wholesome family film and silly songs – right?

Anyway, we got their newest film, “Beauty and the Beet,” in the mail yesterday and watched it right away.

It was a HIT!

The message in this one was on unconditional love. That’s something all Christian parents try to teach their kids, and I really think this film knocked it out of the park. I’ve never seen it covered so well.

Here’s a little bit more about the film:

This brand-new VeggieTales musical stars Kellie Pickler (American Idol, Dancing With the Stars), who brings her unmistakable voice to the role of Mirabelle, a sweet-potato singer whose family band is on the brink of superstardom.

BEAUTY AND THE BEET blends the irresistible charm of VeggieTales with a heartfelt message about unconditional love. The DVD also includes Mac and Cheese, a giddy new “Silly Songs With Larry” segment in which Larry the Cucumber reveals the surprising and heretofore untold history of his family’s unexpected contributions to Italian cuisine.

BEAUTY AND THE BEET is just the start of the fun in store this fall for VeggieTales fans, because the gang will also star in a brand-new Netflix original series, VeggieTales In the House, which premieres Thanksgiving weekend.

Check out the trailer for “Beauty and the Beet” below: 

Enter to Win

So now that you know all about how awesome this movie is, you HAVE to enter to win a copy for yourself! …okay, you don’t have to, but I know you want to.

Check out all the entry options to win below – only one DVD will be given away, if you don’t win you can order a copy from Amazon, or pick one up at Wal-mart. Whatever way you go, leave a comment and let me know what you think of the film!

The giveaway kicks off October 18th in honor of our youngest son turning 10! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  

 

 

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

{Update}

Hey Y’all! I just wanted to share a few quick updates with you today to let you know what we’ve been up to.

Group Bible Study Guides

Most of you know that I write the Bible study guides for the ladies’ Bible study at my church. You can now download the study sheets for free here on our website. Find out what studies are available here: http://www.paulandheatherhart.com/bible-study/   I’ll be adding more later, so keep an eye out and spread the word.

Book Review Program

Reviews are a huge part of getting books in front of new readers. If you have a blog and are interested in reviewing books for us, you can sign up for our Book Blogger Review Program and be the first to read any new books we write here: http://www.paulandheatherhart.com/books-by-hart-blogger-book-review-program/

DVD Giveaway

We are also giving away a DVD on our website for Teen Guys. It’s for the movie Ragamuffin. It’s about the life of Rich Mullins, and honestly, it has some really great insights on the condition of your heart. It prompted me to do some more research on the Ragamuffin Gospel. I was actually amazed to find people tearing apart Brennan Manning (the one who coined the term) for being a sinner. That’s the whole point of the Ragamuffin Gospel.

Manning believed that the one question God would ask us when we get to heaven is, “Did you believe I loved you?” He believed there were only two responses to that question:

  1. “Yes, Lord. I did believe that and I tried to shape my life around that belief.”
  2. “No, God, I didn’t. Because ______.”

Do you truly believe that God loves you – the way you are right now today? Not that He will love you only if you do xyz, or whatever, but just because you are who He made you? This has been a recurring theme of messages that I’ve heard lately. Any way, it was an awesome, thought provoking movie and I highly recommend it. You can enter to win your copy here: http://findyourtruestrength.com/do-you-have-the-faith-of-a-ragamuffin/

What’s Next?

I’m working on a new Ladies’ Bible study through Revelation, outlining a novel, and planning to launch a newsletter to make it easier to post updates such as this and stay connected with everyone among other things.

What about you? What have you been up to this summer?

When Tragedy Touches Our Children

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

~ Luke 18:16

I was listening to the radio this morning after dropping my children off at school. The show hosts were talking about someone who’s have a rough go of it, and asked if we knew anyone that seemed to be getting hit with a lot. My first thought was of one of the ladies here in town (her whole family, really). Her son lost his home in a house fire two weeks ago. Her daughter has cancer and is suppose to go in for surgery this week or next. And her grandchildren (her daughters 3 kids) were in a car wreck last weekend. The funeral for their 8 year old little girl is today.

And then I thought Bethany. I use to babysit her when she was a spunky little 4 year old. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012 – just a sophomore in high school. Her tumor (who she jokingly named “Phillip”) is inoperable. She’s already outlived her life expectancy, but had to stop taking the medicine that helped keep it contained. I found out on Friday that it’s spread. A lot. There’s nothing the doctors can do for her. And I remembered that Bethany has always been a miracle child. The doctors told her mom and dad that she would be born with autism. That they would be better off having an abortion. Bethany doesn’t have autism – but even if she did, she’d still be wonderful in every way. Doctor’s don’t know everything.

Then I thought of another of my friends. Her 2 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Her tumor was operable. They got a lot of it, but she’s still going through chemo. Her fight isn’t over – it’s just beginning.

And then I realized, that all three of these tragedies involve children. Which brought me to Jesus’ words in Luke 18, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (v. 16). I don’t know that I’ll ever read that verse again without thinking of the message our pastor preached this past Sunday. He walked us through Scriptures that showed why he believed that the 8 year old little girl I mentioned in the beginning of this post is in heaven with God today. She hadn’t outright accepted Christ as her Savior. But she did come to church every Wednesday night, Bible in hand, and she asked questions. She was hungry for more of Christ, even thought she didn’t fully grasp the scope of the Gospel from what he could tell.

We all sin and fall short the glory of God, even little children. But Jesus welcomes children with open arms. They might not understand everything God has done for them yet, but they don’t reject it either. It’s hard to lose a child – or even think there is a possibility of it. Yet we can know that Jesus is waiting with open arms.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

~ John 16:33

I’d like to close this post by asking you to pray. Pray for this family that is going through so much. Pray for Bethany and this other little two year old girl that are fighting brain cancer. I don’t know God’s plans. But I know Jesus is waiting with open arms. Bethany already knows and loves Christ. The two year old girl I mentioned is part of a Christian family and their faith is what’s getting them through. Jesus is carrying them. But they all still need prayers (the girls and all three families). Prayers for strength. Prayers for healing (both physical and emotional). And prayers for the non-believers in their lives who don’t have hope through these trials. Prayers for peace.

If you’re in a spot where life seems to be throwing more at you then you can handle, here are a few books that I recommend:

Prayers for Emotional Healing by Stormie Omartian

The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering by Randy Alcorn

If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil  by Randy Alcorn

If God Is Good: Why Do We Hurt? by Randy Alcorn

Ninety Days of God’s Goodness: Daily Reflections That Shine Light on Personal Darkness by Randy Alcorn

Trusting God When Bad Things Happen by Shelley Hitz

Healing for the Broken Hearted by Shelley Hitz