WHY READ HISTORICAL BIBLICAL FICTION?
How Reading Historical Biblical Fiction Enhances Our Understanding of the Bible
“Lisa Larsen Hill, I want to thank you so much for bringing Book Club to our Church. You have no idea how much that impacted my life. Just finished 54th books yesterday. Thanks again for Tessa Afsha(r)sic and Francine Rivers, Angela Hunt, Marek Halter, Cathy Gihlke, Cossette, Linda caddy, ...etc. can't name all. God speaks through those books. Amazing Grace. Right now, I'm reading "Mary of Nazareth "by Mark Halter. You guys are awesome servant of our Lord.”❤❤🤗👍🙏🎄
This is an excerpt from New York Times Bestselling author Angela Hunt. I thought it was a great piece to share with you on Seeds of Faith for Women path of using Biblical fiction.
To read the entire piece, please go to Angela’s website at www.angelahuntbooks.com.
“What a trustworthy biblical novelist does is take the scripture and bring it to realistic life with layers of color and texture and sensory details. We research the historical time period and read dozens of works written in that time period whenever possible, so we can get a feel for how people actually wrote, lived, and spoke.
Why not forget fiction and read only the Bible? Because the human spirit resonates to STORY. When I was a little girl, before they had invented children’s church, I had to go into the adult service with my parents. As a four-, five-, and six-year-old, I tended to fidget and often put my head in my mother’s lap to sleep. But whenever the preacher said, “Reminds me of the time when . . . ” I sat up, all ears and wide awake. Why? Because those words signaled the beginning of a STORY, and I loved story. Nearly everyone does. So why read fiction based on biblical events?
- Because a trustworthy author will not violate Scripture.
- Because the fictional elements should be logical and based on historical facts.
- Because human nature is consistent over time. We often think our problems are unique, and we’re relieved to discover that we aren’t alone. Others have been in similar situations.
- Because historical fiction helps us better understand the culture and history of familiar story events.
- Because we learn from the lives of other people.
- Because God Himself recorded stories, and Jesus taught with them since humans are hard-wired to appreciate story. Who would know that better than the God who created us?
God gave us Scripture, and the doctrine of biblical sufficiency states that the Bible gives us all we need to know about God. But it does not give us all we want to know, and our quest for knowledge is a God-given gift. We yearn to know more, and well-written biblical, historical, and contemporary fiction can meet that need.
So don’t hesitate to open your heart and mind to a well-written biblical novel. You may be surprised to learn a truth you had never before considered.
Encouraging women’s faith journeys
Read about Seeds of Faith in the LI Herald
Our current vehicles to accomplish our mission are the following:
Seeds of Faith for Women Historical Biblical Fiction Stories that Inspire. All you need to start a group:
Using award winning authors, the focus is on how stories of women in the Bible can affect and inspire us today.
To learn more about starting a group and a recommended book list, click here.
Daughters of Abraham Gatherings
Daughters of Abraham brings together a group of Christian, Muslim and Jewish women to have thoughtful and meaningful dialogue. We explore our faith commonalities while understanding and respecting our differences, as well as mutual trust and collaboration.
To learn more, click here.
Events and Speaking Engagements:
Seeds of Faith for Women, Inc will host an annual retreat featuring a guest speaker on some aspect of faith.
Take a look at current events and past conferences, click here.
Speaking engagements/Guest Preaching/Biblical Story Telling: Bringing the Word to Life
Lisa has for over 25 years been a guest speaker in the pulpit, preaching for ministers on vacation with credentials as certified lay speaker and Biblical storytelling experience. Biblical story telling is an oral tradition of retelling stories from the Bible. The modern version is a discipline and process that instead of memorizing is described as ‘internalization’ or ‘committing to deep memory’ so that the teller is well versed with the setting and the context.
To learn more or have Lisa speak at one of your events, click here.
Monthly Bible Verse
Join me in memorizing a verse/s each month and let me know your favorites.
Want the Monthly Bible Verses to study?
Click for a copy of Seeds of Faith for Women Bible Verses
Click for a copy of Seeds of Faith for Women Bible Verses with commentary
Let your light so shine!
“No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in will see the light.” Luke 8:16 ISV.
This verse took on new meaning to me while reading and enjoying “The Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and their writer, Douglas Abrams. It is a book for our times. Both famous men have had their share of challenges and yet they exude joy. So many great nuggets of advice. I’ve listed a couple below.
“The more we heal our own pain, the more we can turn to the pain of others. The more we turn toward others, the more joy we experience, and the more joy we experience, the more joy we bring to others.” Dalai Lama.
“To be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Joy is contagious, as is love, compassion and generosity. We cannot bring peace if we do not have inner peace.” Douglas Abrams
When I think about the quotes above with this month’s bible verse, it highlights the importance of sharing our individual light God’s instilled in each one of us. Our light is contagious and brings not only joy to others, but to ourselves. So let your light so shine! May it be so.
The people walking in darkness
see a bright light;
on those who live in a land of deep darkness. Isaiah: 9:2 NET Bible
Last year I adopted a practice I learned from my fellow writers of choosing a word for the entire year. In 2021 I chose Trust.
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding and He will make your path straight.’ Proverbs 3:5.
Little did I know how much I would need this word, after learning my husband’s diagnosis of bladder cancer. I leaned into this word, asking for prayers from our friends and family. We are very thankful that they found the cancer at stage 0 and after six uncomfortable treatments the cancer disappeared. He will still need more treatments to ensure it doesn’t return, we are very hopeful.
In church on Christmas eve, I heard, as if for the first time, the verse from Isaiah and chose my Light or did it choose me? Our last two years of Covid and its variants brought much darkness. This verse spoke to me of hope. See the light, be the light, shine the light, share the light, reflect the light. The words, light or shine is in the Bible with 76 verses.
My monthly messages will be with this theme. The first step is to see the Light. Hold on, just knowing the presence of God is with us even when we think he may be asleep in the boat. He will not let us drown. I pray for you to be a witness to the Light that it may be a hand in the darkness to bring you to the Light.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
It is now almost two years since Covid started and we face another unknown with a variant. We have been in a dark place also in our country with brother against brother, sister against sister.
But there is light, everyday people are choosing to be one for others, doctors, nurses, front line teams, and charities receiving historically high donations. Hold on to the light, know that God is with us and will never forsake us. He is in charge of this world.
Trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight! Proverb 3:5-6
Blessings to you and your family as we enter the season of Advent. Let us rejoice and be glad in it, the light of the world is coming.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Did you know you know that you encourage others with the way you greet them, express appreciation, give a motivating word, stop to listen to a sorrow, offer a prayer for strength, or give your time and resources?*
Lucinda has two devotional books that focus on a word a day. Today’s word was Encourage. It’s amazing how a devotional can be so appropriate for the day you need it. Couldn’t we all use some encouragement right now and how simple it can be to give encouragement. Lucinda retells the story of Peter who is befriended by Onesiphorus and shows up at prison to claim he was a friend.
2Timothy 1:16-17: May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.
Let us take these words to heart and be inspired to encourage someone today.
*Lucinda Seacrest McDowell, Ordinary Graces (Abingdon Press 2017)
Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord.
They will be like trees planted by the streams, whose roots reach down to the water.
They won’t fear drought when it comes; their leaves will remain green.
They won’t be stressed in the time of drought or fail to bear fruit.
Recently I hosted a meeting for Daughters of Abraham with the theme: Being comfortable with the uncomfortable. We are living with uncertainty on a daily basis. Our reaction to uncertainty is what is teaching us at the moment. Here are some quotes to stimulate your
Be comfortable with uncertainty because nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. -Pema Chodron
Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. -Eckhart Tolle
As you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.-Eckhart Tolle
The group began with an icebreaker:
What is a soul trait or value that you want to develop in these uncertain times and why?
Some of the values that were shared:
• Patience in all things, waiting for God’s guidance.
• Truly listening to one another with compassion and not anticipating what to say.
• Do your best and then rest, and let God do the rest, trying not to fix everything.
• Serenity, being at peace and not entering into the chaos or adding to it.
• Trusting God to be with us every step of the way.
What is a soul trait or value you want to develop?
May we all learn together to be happy trusting in the Lord.
Ephesians 3:16-17 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love.
It is September. How did the summer go so quickly? Usually a time of excitement, September marks the fall...back to school, many activities and commitments. One of my favorite writers, Lucinda Seacrest McDowell has a book called Dwelling Places, a seasonal devotional. She begins with the word Dwell. She tells us, “In the original language of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for dwell is yashah, which is translated ‘to dwell, to sit down, to remain.’ How can we possibly do this?” Yes, how can we? I started a practice of reading her devotionals every morning and dwelling with God after. Soon I found I craved this time to just be, be with God. Can you take the time to dwell with our Lord? To make God the most important part of your day? For me it is like breathing fresh air. Come, sit and be. Be refreshed, renewed. May it be so.
Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
My husband was called after his annual exam that he needed to see a specialist. Two and a half months later it led to an exploratory surgery for bladder cancer. The result was the best bad news we could have, it was stage 0 but with fast growing cells. I am so grateful for the stage and concerned for the treatment for the next several years.
I think family and friends go through the stress of waiting, hearing, understanding, and being by their side as well as the patient, at least that was with me. I clung to my faith and prayed. Asked God to forgive my doubts and worries which I seemed not to shake. I am instilled with respect for how my husband took the news. He is braver and more positive than I think I would have been and again thanked God for this lesson.
For those facing uncertainty, waiting for results, or getting them and are scared, we are not alone. Our Lord will go with us wherever we are, wherever we go. Sink into His arms and find peace. May it be so.
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:15-16
How are you feeling these days? Are you feeling a bit freerer, like things are coming back to normal? Are you enjoying being outdoors more and being with people again? Some friends have told me that they are having a hard time relating to people, they’ve been isolated for so long. Some are still nervous or concerned about the new variant of Covid. Some are visiting family for the first time in over a year and hope that joy and love can surround them. Wherever you are, this message lets us know, we are in God’s hands no matter how dark it may seem or how bright the light is around us. God knows us, loves us, and carries us by name. Feel His care, His power, His shelter, His joy for seeing us happy.
I hope you have time to enjoy a peaceful pace this summer. May you know you are in His hands.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
Ahh, summer. A time for us to take these verses to heart. If we look at Jesus as a model, he often went to the mountains or a garden to pray, to restore, to rest.
How do you find peace, restoration? Being with friends? Praying? Taking walks? Looking out at the ocean or lake? After all that has happened this last year, it is time to find some still waters to restore your soul. Be well and at peace. Amen.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
May 1st would have been my mother’s 88th birthday, she passed 10 years ago.
I owe so much of who I am to her teachings and the way she lived her life.
She demonstrated how one can get up from tragedies, but not just get up but thrive.
She instilled in me my faith and for this I am forever thankful.
She was the wind beneath my wings. Do you have someone in your life that has helped you? Someone who helped you learn about God and to trust that you are never alone. I pray you know someone and you are mentoring someone who can learn from you. Amen
John 13:34-35 From the Message
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples — when they see the love you have for each other.”
Jesus says these words after he has washed the disciples’ feet and broke the bread and shared his cup of wine commissioning it to us. He then told Judas to go and do what he must. His last lesson, his life’s mission he tells us to love one another. Jesus knew what was ahead, yet he never veered from teaching about love. A simple message but one that today seems so difficult to carry out with so much division. Yet can we start with kindness? Patience? The first verse of the Love chapter in Corinthians I 13 starts, ‘Love is patient and kind’. What would the world be if we just did those two things? May we understand the message of love and live our lives as Jesus asked of us. Amen.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” NIV Mark 6:31
Rest. Jesus invites us to come with Him to a quiet place and be restored. Couldn’t we use this right now?
It’s been a year since the Corona Virus started. We’ve been through so much. Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s terrific book, ‘Life Giving Choices: 60 Days to What Matters Most’, writes about the above verse. “lt’s clear even our Lord embraced this principle-self care is necessary in order to be restored and equipped for the tasks ahead. Immediately following that season of withdrawal and strengthening came the feeling of the five thousand!”
There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are getting there.
Take time for you, in prayer, in solitude, in communion with others to be Renewed and be able to respond to all you need to do in life.
May it be so.
“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12
Where I live we are experiencing an all-day Nor’easter. This seems to be an appropriate scripture. All around us we are experiencing storms. Challenging weather, job losses, death of loved ones, or even the simple desire to hold a newborn grandson or granddaughter but right now it isn’t possible.
We know from the Bible God speaks in many different ways. Sometimes we need a more ardent voice, but God knows what we need. We can take solace, in these words, that there is a still small voice speaking to each of us, where we are, whatever is our situation.
However God speaks to us, it is in what we do with what He says that makes all the difference. When we surround ourselves with His word through reading, joining others in prayer, using the talents He has given us, we will recognize His voice and more likely be able to answer with our actions.
May you hold fast to His word and find comfort and inspiration to go forward.
President of Seeds of Faith for Women, Inc.
For more than 25 years, Lisa served as National Senior Vice President of Sodexo’s Innovations2Solutions Marketing and Creative services. With a team of more than 100 employees encompassing research, culinary, sustainability, wellness, technology, and workplace experience, the team won combined 28 Spirit of Sodexo awards, 15 Diversity Awards, and twice won the prestigious Best Concept award from Food Management Magazine. Lisa was featured in “Seven People to Watch in the Industry” in Restaurants and Institutions Magazine. She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Communications/Educational Broadcasting, and also studied at the Universities of London and Amsterdam. She is married to her best friend Roger Hill.
When I left the corporate world after more than 30 years, I wanted to pursue a life-long ambition of using my talents to support, mentor, facilitate women’s growth through my Christian faith. I asked God, “What’s next?”
On a long journey celebrating retirement, I discovered historical fiction about women in the Bible. Returning home inspired, I distributed 15 copies of one novel and asked if the recipients would join me to review. I prepared questions and facilitated a discussion group that had multi-generations of women. As commitment to learning and sharing grew our collective faith, the answer to my question “what’s next” became apparent: Seeds of Faith for Women, an organization committed to helping women grow in their faith journeys.
My decades in corporate leadership roles required research, project planning, and people skills I now turn to fulfilling this vision of supporting women in their spiritual growth journeys. I ask that you join me in celebrating life and living it abundantly by learning the stories from the Bible and sharing your thoughts and ideas about how they can instruct us today.
- Established Seeds of Faith for Women as a non profit 501 c (3) with Board of Directors.
- Co-Created and Launched with Fredda Klopfer and Mojdeh Hassini, Daughters of Abraham in 2019
- Creating, Supporting and Inspiring Seeds of Faith Groups that meet regularly throughout the calendar year.
- Holding Annual Seeds of Faith Conferences with award winning authors or speakers.
30+ years of working in Corporate America in Senior Leadership Roles:
- Member of the top 500 in 420,000 employees.
- SVP of Innovations2Solutions & Creative Services: Led 100+ team in various departments.
Member of Network of Biblical Story Tellers since 1997:
The Network of Biblical Storytellers, Int'l. is an international, ecumenical organization whose mission is to encourage everyone to learn and tell biblical stories.
- By memorizing the biblical story, then staging and telling it, transforms the written word bringing it to life.
- “I have heard the story of Christ’s birth many times, but today, I heard it for the first time.”
Christian Seminar Leader
- Led Women’s Day apart retreats since 2012.
- Led Lenten series workshop 2017.
Certified UMC Lay servant since 1999
- Provided leadership, care-giving ministry and witness.
- Led meetings for prayer, training study, and discussion in Spirit Builders.
- Confirmation, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School since 2009
Certified UMC Lay speaker since 2000: Sea Cliff Methodist Church, Lake Ronkonkoma Methodist Church, Port Washington Methodist Church, and Congregational Church in Manhasset
- Conducted services of worship and presented sermons.
- Used Biblical Storytelling as effective means of communication.
Kiwanis: Vice President 2015-2017
- Co-Chair of Klothes for Kids 2015-2017: Back to school program for under privileged children.
- Chair for Annual Kiwanis MiniMart 2017 to present: Special Events Coordinator for Street event with 200+ vendors, largest fundraiser for North Shore Kiwanis