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
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 with commentary
“You will surely forget your trouble, you will remember it as waters that have passed away.” Job 11:16
“For in hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:24-25
We are now going on our seventh month of this virus that has altered our lives in so many ways. How are you coping? Have you found ways to keep faith, to keep your hope alive? For those that can, may you have inspiration and resources to help. For those who need help, may you find it.
I get my strength from appreciating God’s gift of nature, from looking up at the sky and seeing everyday a new canvas of clouds, sun or rain. Hearing that still small voice in the wind. Sometimes just sitting and looking, not reading or on a phone or a computer, just sitting. Let us find a way to be patient and know we are not alone, God is with us. Be still and know.
“For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, says the Lord”. Jeremiah 30:17
Recently several of my friends have had time in the hospital for major emergencies which is scary enough but add Covid on top of it. One day all is going along as best as we can through these challenging times and in a moment it can all change.
One may question why is all of this happening, and why are bad things happening to good people. Perhaps you have read the book of this title by Harold S. Kushner? Here is what he says:
‘Maybe God does not cause our suffering. Maybe it happens for some reason other than the will of God. The psalmist writes, “I lift mine eyes to the hills; from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1–2) He does not say, “My pain comes from the Lord,” or “my tragedy comes from the Lord.” He says “my help comes from the Lord.” Harold S. Kushner from When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
Every night my husband and I pray for each one of our friends by name and know in our hearts that prayer is vital to our lives. We are living through some dark times but we know that: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ John 1:5.
Whatever you are experiencing now, fear of the future, anxiety of livelihood, fear of illness, grief, know you are not alone. I also had a health issue and I kept saying this verse just before a surgery, it calmed me and gave me strength. May it help you. Amen.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)
I found this verse on Tessa Afshar’s facebook page and thought it was appropriate for where we are as a country, Covid 19 new rates of infection, Black Lives Matter, the division in our world... Our children growing up are experiencing such a time as this.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
May God see into our hearts and give us the direction to guide our hearts, minds, souls, feet and generosity in doing what we can to love our neighbor as ourselves. Let God open our eyes to what we have done and what we need to do.
Peace be with you.
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. James 3:18 from The Message.
Every day seeing our news, we just think it can’t get worse and it does. Our hearts are aching we are in such a state of shock, anger, fear, deep sadness, and concern of how we will go forward.
Help us Lord.
Help the friends and family of George Floyd. You have promised for those who are in mourning that they will be comforted. Please give them comfort.
For our neighbors who are still experiencing prejudice, injustice and inequality due to racism, please Lord we don’t even know what to ask for first, there is so much to be done. Please help all of us to see our neighbor, to reach out, to understand the pain, outrage, frustration, humiliation, and fear. Guide us all to do the right thing to stand up and help one another. Help us to change the way things are to the way we can live with peace and respect for all.
Help us Lord.
Give us strength, give us courage, give us faith in each other that together we can change. Please give us the wisdom to answer the call of who is my neighbor and then to go and do likewise.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
If we ever needed peace in our hearts and souls, it is now during the coronavirus. This valley we are walking in feels like there is no relief. Yet we are seeing brave examples of courage, kindness, and selfless acts in so many ways. Our doctors, nurses, front line and back of the house hospital staff, our truck and bus drivers, grocery store workers, police, fireman, essential workers all everyday literally giving their all. Let us pray for them, let us contribute what we can whether that is masks, food, rainbows in the windows. It is a time to spend with our daily thoughts and prayers reflecting on the positive, the small progresses to help one another. Do not be anxious, the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds. Be at peace.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the path of righteousness for His names sake.
Even though I walk thru the valley of death,
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies
Thou anoints my head with oil, my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all of my days
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Take heart in these verses, our Lord is with us with all we are going through. Here is a sermon I gave on these words (click here). My husband Roger introduces the 23 Psalm. May it give you some peace. Amen.
God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
These days it’s very hard to read the newspaper and not feel powerless against all the trials that are happening, it can be overwhelming. More than ever do we need to be in communication with our God? To listen with our hearts and so direct our steps. What can we do with the gifts and talents God has given us to answer our purpose, our calling? Can this help us on a daily basis by moving forward with what we can contribute? May you consciously make time in your day to “Be still and know....” Peace.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
Cor I:13 4-18
When I was growing up, I memorized the whole chapter of Cor I:13. Seems like a fitting verse for February.
It is such a beautiful reminder of what we are suppose to be to ourselves and our neighbor. For this is what God wants from us, to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Imagine if we could do this... I find it helps to have this one in our hearts especially when someone cuts in front while driving, or someone is rude to you... maybe we don’t know why that person is in a hurry could it be a doctor? Maybe the rudeness comes from a hurt or a health challenge in their life. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, Love never ends. Amen, May it be so with you.
But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands. Psalm 31: 14-15
On New Year's Eve, my husband and I review our year, write the key things that happened and what we want to see for ourselves for the future. For our 20th anniversary, I made him a scrapbook of all these notes and our Christmas letters which also serves to highlight our adventures. Now it is easier to remember so much as I usually take photos and it is a great way to review the year.
I just read a blog by Edie Melson, who I can highly recommend if you are a writer. She suggests choosing a Bible verse for the year ahead and one word to help with God's direction for you. So this is the verse I have chosen and Trust is my word. How about you? What verse speaks to you? What word will you chose for 2020?
Blessings to you and your journey.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
This month can be hectic with presents to buy, wrap, send. Demands at school, work, home. A sentimental feeling about Christmas that tries to make all things wonderful and lovely even if it puts one under so much stress. An ever expansive to do list that seems to grown instead of diminishing. Reflections of Christmas pasts which can be laden with wonderful and possibly difficult memories. We tend to make it all more complicated that it really needs to be.
It is the 50th year of Charlie Brown’s Christmas, where he yells out, “Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?” And our wonderful Linus takes center stage and tells the story from Luke.
This month let us remember what it is all about. The scripture above celebrates this Christ child who came to earth and gave us the biggest present of all!
May your days be Merry and Bright, and may all your Christmases have His light!
My times are in your hands. Psalm 31:15
Recently this verse was on a daily devotional. Somehow I didn't recall this verse and yet I think it is so powerful. When I say it, it feels like I put order in my day. It also wakes me up to remind me how am I spending my time? Do I realize what a privilege it is to be in God's World? Do I spend my time accordingly knowing I am in God's hands. How do I organize my day, what do I prioritize, how do I spend my time effectively knowing this is the day that He has made. I started saying this verse throughout my hours and it has helped me to answer these questions. Sometimes it is just in trying. I hope this verse can help you as we start to enter into the wonderful season of the Holidays. May we make them a part of times in His hands.
“We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His Love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5
After 35+ years in Corporate America, I feel that perseverance was something I understood and worked many hours toward in very challenging times, especially when we went through reorganizations. With increasing leadership responsibilities, I saw how important character was in motivating and supporting people. Character is not something you can learn from a class or a video, it may influence you but character is something that is built over time.
When you Google how to build character one entry says:
Be Humble. Humility is the beginning of wisdom.
- Live out your principles and values. Whether it's “love others,” or “do the right thing,” living by your principles will make decision making easier and your character more steadfast.
- Be intentional.
- Practice self-discipline.
- Be accountable.
- I have always loved these verses, because it's a progression of life. We all go through trials that sometimes last longer than we would want. These trials build our abilities to cope which builds our character that leads to hope. What comforting words to know that there is hope in all this world - we have the Love of God. What is your definition for Character? May the Holy Spirit guide you to living your life with Hope. Amen.
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