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
Click for a copy of Seeds of Faith for Women Bible Verses with commentary
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.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
The beginning of a New Year, not just any year. We come out of a tumultuous 2020, that still has a grip on the near future with the COVID virus.
We have a change in presidential leadership, there are many issues that are still unresolved with Black Life Matters, Climate Change, Global matters.
How do we celebrate? How do we move on to a new year with hope? What are your dreams? Do you still have them?
Do we need a different New Year’s celebration? Perhaps a walk in nature? Perhaps just looking out a window to the sky and resting a moment? Reading something that will instill us with wonder, inspiration? Can we hear the still small voice calling to us?
“But if we hope for what we do not have, we wait patiently.” Romans 8:25
May you have the patience to receive the hope, joy and peace that God wants each of us to have.
Isaiah 11: 1-3 and 6-7
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
Merry Christmas! How can we be merry with so much to fear surrounding us with Covid, with uncertainty of employment, illnesses and more?
Now more than ever we need to hold fast to our faith. To read our Bibles, be in community with people, share our stories and be there for one another.
Advent is a time of anticipation for the birth of Christ, to remember to dwell with him all our days.
We light the advent candles each Sunday with the first one being Hope, then Faith, then Love, then Peace and the last one in the middle to commemorate Jesus's Birth.
What better way to think of Jesus than with hope, faith, love and peace.
Let us bring these messages into our hearts that can help to calm our souls, strengthen us, inspire us.
Give him our burdens, we can give him our concerns and fears and ‘Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:7)
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
It is the month of November. A month to vote in a Presidential election where our country is much divided. It is also the month where we have a holiday designed to give thanks.
Let us hold fast to our faith through all that comes. May we listen to one another not with fear or hate but for understanding. Can we agree to disagree, but still walk in faith and hope? May we wear on our hearts our compassion and love for one another, helping each other however we can to remember those in need.
Let us remember the words in our daily living that will comfort and guide us.
“Even there you shall hold me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Hold fast to our Lord, hold fast to His love. Amen.
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do and he will bless you for it.” 1 Peter 3:9
We are certainly going through a time of upheaval where so many issues are congregating to put us at odds with our neighbors. Mask/no mask, Supreme Court nomination, climate control, upcoming election. Dentists are reporting that they have seen more cracked teeth than ever before. Another report is saying that people are losing their hair because of the stress we are experiencing. Does some of this have to do with how we are treating one another?
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
I pray for us as individuals, as communities, and our country. Wherever you are right now, may God give us wisdom, patience, and a right heart to love our neighbor as ourselves. Amen.
“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.
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