Shortly after posting this comment on Twitter, I was contacted by the BibleGateway team for an interview.
Their response: We think the Bible Gateway App is a great tool for Bible reading and study. But when we read about somebody using it to complete dozens of Bible studies and a theology degree, we had to know more. So we got in touch with Women’s Bible Cafe to learn a bit more about the work they do, and how the Bible Gateway App helps them do it.
The interview was very enjoyable and the article is now published. Read it here: https://goo.gl/PZPt1c
If you have any more questions about how I am using BibleGateway.com please comment below!
People often ask me how I read 100 books in a year, so I’m sharing my tips to encourage you to read inspirational books. Even though I work full time, have two busy teenagers at home, I’m finishing my Biblical Studies degree at Liberty University, and I lead a large online ministry…I’ve continued to pursue my passion of reading. Our Book Club Director Heather C. King read TWICE as many books in 2015!
10 Tips to Read 100 Books in a Year
Tip #1 Never waste time!
Using my smartphone or iPad, I carry Kindle ebooks everywhere I go. The books synchronize to my last page read. When I find myself waiting at a doctor’s appointment or car repair shop, I’ll thumb through my book collection and find something to read. Waiting room magazines are typically outdated and gossip-centered, so I carry healthy books in electronic format.
Tip #2 Lower the Cost!
Just as I don’t like wasting time, I also don’t like wasting money. So each morning I jump on Amazon and look for free and discounted Kindle ebook deals. I share these deals with others via http://lifeversebooks.com/newsletter
Tip 3# Free is Good!
After searching free books on Amazon each day, I then search NetGallery for pre-published books. I’m able to download these to my iPad (or Kindle device) and read prior to their actual release date. In exchange for the free book I’ll write an honest review on my blog at LifeVerseBooks and also on consumer sites such as Amazon. My local library doesn’t carry many Christian books so borrowing is not available to me. With free Kindle books I never have a due date!
Tip #4 Join a Book Club!
My local leadership group reads one Christian book per month, and we meet the first Saturday of each month to discuss the book. It’s exciting to read with like-minded people and then discuss key concepts from your books. At WBC we have an online book club with more than 11,000+ women at http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCbooks/
Tip #5 Turn off the car engine and read during carpool!
If you’re a parent like me then you’re carpooling kids all over town. Arrive early for pick-up, turn off the engine and wait in the carpool line with other parents who arrive early and read books. Watch the clock and before the kids are released, close your book and pay attention to the traffic and kids. I typically arrive 20 minutes early and read for 15 minutes, twice a day. Some people listen to audiobooks on long car rides or commuter trains, just make sure you’re not listening as you drive.
Tip #6 Turn off the television!
While television is relaxing entertainment, it often fills my mind with negative images and thoughts. I’ll limit my viewing time, especially before bed at night. When I read an inspirational book before falling asleep, I’m more rested and relaxed for the next day. I’d rather spend five hours a week reading books than five hours watching television- but that’s because I enjoy reading books. Set a goal to read 20 minutes a day and soon you’ll have less television and more books. Rarely do we see articles “How to Watch 365 Hours of Television in a Year” but I think it’s easy to do! One hour a day, 365 days a year… it adds up over time!
Tip #7 Set a timer on social media!
It’s easy to get online and lose track of time, so I set a countdown timer on my phone and when it rings I get offline. To be more productive, twice a year I record all of my activities for two weeks. Using a calendar format, I write down everything I’m doing and after two weeks I add the minutes into time blocks. Then I limit the unproductive activities (social media, electronic games) and increase my productivity (reading books).
Tip #8 Read more than one book at a time!
I get bored easily, so reading multiple books keeps me entertained and encouraged (like channel surfing with the television remote control). I’ll read one chapter from each book, switching between topics and expanding my knowledge. When a book is really good, I’ll put the other two books aside for a few days and plow through the five-star book instead!
Tip #9 Explore different authors and topics!
I learn fast so when I read the same author or topic repeatedly, I get bored and can even predict the next chapter or ending. To offset this conditioning I explore different authors and topics. The books I read are non-denominational. The Holy Bible English Standard Version is my plumb line and when I disagree with the theology or teaching of a book author, I fact-check with the Bible itself.
Tip #10 Read in front of others!
Books are conversation starters! Reading is healthy and expands your vocabulary. Since kids learn from our behavior, we model habits they’ll adopt later in life. After reading 100 books in front of my kids and husband…my husband who reads “one book a year” is now reading beside me, discussing with his local small group, and sharing what he’s learned. My teenagers are reading too! Read for yourself and others will follow.
Bonus Tip: Store your books in the free Kindle Cloud Reader instead of your device. Only download the books you’re currently reading to save memory on the device.
Bonus Tip: When I finish a book, I copy my book highlights into a document file so I can retrieve them later. You can find your book highlights at http://kindle.amazon.com
Now it’s your turn! Post a comment below and share your tips too!
Resources for Reading 100 Books in 2016
Many women have been asking about my Simple Prayer Box and sharing my photos with their friends. I started this a few years ago when my I selected “simplicity” as my one focus word for the year. I wanted a simple method to organize my prayers and remind myself to interceded for family and friends. I’ve made a few changes since then and here is the prayer box I’m using today.
How to Create a Simple Prayer Box
You’ll need these items for your prayer box:
- Index card file box with key
- Index card blank tabs
- Index card 1-31 tabs (optional)
- Index cards
I found my file box at Walmart and another one at the local office supply store. You can also find them at Amazon in pretty colors: pink, white or silver and black. I was not able to find the index blank tabs locally so I bought them online. See resources below if you cannot find the items where you live.
How to Use Your Simple Prayer Box
Organize your box using the index tabs. Here’s how I have organized my box using these tabs:
- Ministry leaders at Womens Bible Cafe
- Ministry Leaders in other ministries
- Scripture Verses- (Beth Moore SSMT my memory verses)
- My Bible study small groups
- Church- my local church, other churches, pastors
- Fasting- when I am fasting I keep cards on my prayers and answered prayers
- Prayer Room- these are the women who post prayer requests online
- Country and Government
- Daily tabs 1-31
Behind each tab I keep the names in alphabetical order, it’s easier for me to find the name of a friend and add her prayer to her card. If someone has a scheduled surgery, mammogram, doctor’s appointment, job interview, etc.- I use the numbered tabs and move her card there so I remember to pray for her on a specific date. I also use the numbered tabs to remember birthdays. Under monthly tabs I keep a record of the dates to celebrate the life of a loved one, anniversaries, or special events.
During my quiet time with the Lord, I pull a stack of cards and pray through them. If I am convicted of a Scripture verse, I write it on the prayer card including the date. Several of my friends have breast cancer, so I keep all their names on a single card and set aside time to pray for them as a group. When prayers are answered, I write this on my card.
You could write the address, phone number and email of your friends on the top or back of the card. Then as you are praying send them a text message, or if you have the time, a handwritten card. Don’t complicate this…as you create your own prayer box pray and ask the Lord how to keep it simple so that you will use it.
I’d love to see photos and ideas from your own prayer boxes, so please post them on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. These are wonderful gifts ideas for your girlfriends and Bible study leaders. It’s also a good activity for local small groups to create their boxes together.
As promised, these are the resources if you can’t find the items locally.
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Do not buy index cards at Walmart, I discovered the paper is really thin and doesn’t hold up well. If you want to save money, split the cost of the blank tabs with a friend, or don’t use the 1-31 tabs. Keep in mind this is something you’ll use for years, so the initial cost is small compared to the long-term use!
Much love to you,
Last month I went Bible shopping with my family and we had so much fun! One lady was there looking for her first Bible and said “Your family is so entertaining, I’ve never had so much fun!” All I can say is that we looked like characters from a popular reality television show with the initials “DD.”
My kids needed Bibles for summer camp. My 12 year old daughter is upgrading from her purple princess Bible with crystal beads. I showed her a Life Application Study Bible in small size and she says “Mom, I don’t need THAT!!! All I want is Bible with just the words, nothing else!”
My teenager daughter rolls her eyes, says “I don’t need one, they share the verses on the screen anyway!” When her sister picks out a cool Bible suddenly she “needs” one too.
My husband says “I love my Bible, and I don’t need a new one because I bring my iPad to church.”
I scan the rows back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I picked up every Bible that caught my eye; most were pink or purple leather. I look at the translations, I say “this one is too heavy” or “the print is too tiny.” Finally I find one that is called “Large Print Compact Bible” and the cover is so beautiful, I MUST have it. My husband asks “How many Bibles do you own already?” The woman observing us just burst out laughing.
I explained to my captive audience “I have the first Bible I learned from, my Life Application Bible Large Print and it’s too heavy for church. So I bought a Thinline Bible for church and the print is so small I can’t see it. Then I have my Inductive Study Bible and the chapters do not have descriptions, you need to write them in yourself. I have my Leadership Bible, Commentary Bible (s) and my all time favorite is the Spirit-Filled Bible but it’s not in the translations I like using right now.” I forgot to mention that I also have Greek-Hebrew Keyword Bible, probably because I never use this one.
Finally my husband and kids get to the cashier and she asks “Do you want your name embossed on the cover?” So my husband yells across the Christian bookstore/coffee shop “Honey, do we want the kids names printed on the Bible?” I yell back “Well, they are going to summer camp with 700 kids so it would be nice.” As the kids Bibles are being embossed, I decide on a Bible to purchase for myself (the one in this photo). My husband yells, “Honey, do you want yours embossed too?” I yell back, “No thank you. The cover is so pretty I don’t want to mess it up.” He pays for my Bible and then says “Happy Mother’s Day” to which the jaws drop on the people around us. He continues “I know Father’s Day is tomorrow so today’s the last day to get you a gift.” I am hysterical with laughter while the other Christians in the store are hiding smiles behind their hands.
The kids are delighted and we finally left the store with three Bibles, two which are embossed with names.
Yes, we were THAT family Bible shopping 🙂
If you are getting started and this is our first online Bible study then you will want to read this. Below are some of the answers to the most common questions about online Bible study.
Books and Workbooks for Online Bible Study
- If your workbook has not arrive yet, you will have time to catch up on the reading. The first week of small group is an introduction session and we are not discussing the book yet. The second week of small group is when we discuss your reading assignment.
- The workbook has 5 daily lessons and there are 7 days in a week. So you have two extra days to catch-up if you miss your daily lesson.
- Often the books are printed as trade books and Bible study workbooks. We use the Bible study workbooks, also called “member book.” When you order the item the product description will say MEMBER BOOK.
- You are responsible for your own workbook. We are a 100% volunteer ministry and our leaders buy their own workbooks for study. We do not buy books for you.
- Some women like to put a coil edge on their workbooks, or have the spine removed and then they put the book into a 3-ring binder.
- If you are international, you will need an electronic version of the workbooks. You can find free reading apps from Lifeway- CLICK HERE.
Bible Translations for Online Bible Study
- Please use any Bible translation of your choice.
- In the front of each workbook, on the copyright information page, the author has listed the Bible translation she is using for the workbook.
- When you are filling in the blanks and have a different Bible translation than the author, use an online Bible to assist you. Try BibleGateway.com, Bible.com or BlueLetterBible.org
- We are non-denominational and our leaders and guest use a variety of translations for online Bible study.
Video Sessions for Online Bible Study
- Video sessions are copyrighted material, just like the movies you watch on DVD. It is illegal to share these videos online.
- The videos are optional for online Bible studies. You can find them by attending local church Bible studies or purchase the videos for individual use.
- To fill in the video sessions of your workbook, you can find “Answers to the Viewer Guide” at Lifeway. Look under Leader Kit, support materials.
Small Groups For Online Bible Study
- Our small groups currently meet via Facebook. This is a private Facebook group and only the members of the group can the group content. You need to request to join the group and one of the leaders will approve your request.
- You will select your own group based on your schedule. The schedule is posted in our facebook group.
- On the day you want to attend the small group, you will visit the private facebook group and look for the group photo. The leader will post a photo with the day and time of the meeting, and the discussion will take place right under the photo.
- All groups have open attendance, so if you miss a group then you are invited to attend another group during the week. The group discussions start Monday and end Sunday. We start a new set of discussion questions on Monday. Each group has the same questions so you only need to attend one group meeting per week.
- The leader will post questions and allow time for everyone to answer and participate.
- Small groups last one hour.
- After the first small group meeting, the leader will take attendance and create a list of the members. She will pray for you during the week.
- This is what the small group leader photos look like
- When you see this photo in the Facebook group, you will see the leader start introductions and the discussion right under the photo. It’s exciting and fun! If you stay with the same group long enough then you will discover friendships as you study and pray together.
- To join a facebook group, visit our ministry page and look for the “chatroom” links: http://facebook.com/womensbiblecafe
Odds and Ends For Online Bible Study
- We alternate long studies with shorter studies. So if we are leading a 10-week study then we often follow with a 6-week study.
- If you are not interested in the current study we are leading, then consider some of the other online Bible studies offered by ministries such as Girlfriends in God, Proverbs 31 and Precepts. We encourage you to attend a local study such as Bible Study Fellowship or Community Bible Study.
As with each of our online studies, we encourage you to keep a spiritual journal. You can purchase a journal or create your own. Here are a few samples to help you get started with your first spiritual journal for Bible study.
Stasia has her journal divided into sections labeled Prayer, Memory Verses, Discussion Questions, and What God is Speaking to My Heart.
- Memory work. Some I have in my brain, some I do not, all need to be reviewed for me to continue to be resting in the Father’s Loving Embrace on a daily basis. I go through all the verses weekly. I use 3 by 5 cards… which I lost in the move so I have to rewrite them. THIS particular list came from a simple little book called 100 Bible Verses Every Christian Should Know. It was a pretty good book.
- Front of journal. I move from front to back as a journal so to speak. I use these pages to note what the Lord is showing me. I use MANY post its through out the week… and post them in the pages. At the end of the week I compile them and re write each one into the journal. This give me opportunity to praise the Lord for things that have been resolved by the end of the week, or to just giggle at my own human-ness… (just being honest ladies)
- Back of journal. Since the leadership training years ago I move from front to back keeping a journal (like a diary) and from back to front as a prayer journal.. when they meet in the middle I get a new journal
- Reminder cards. Cards I keep in the pocket to remind me of WHO God is… (Stasia made these cards for herself)
Michelle has divided spiritual journal by name and prayer needs.
Divided by Name or Issue
Dating the prayers or her conversations with God
Hole punch large index cards
- She is using index cards and a binder from Office Depot
- She created a section for her husband, herself and each of her kids.
- She is dating the requests or “conversation” she is having with God day by day. “I’m not rewriting something that is already there, but I am adding to it as I go along,” she says.
- She bought extra large index cards and hole-punched them to fit. She can take them out or move them around and rearrange them .
Sheree has a very simple method. She says, “I wanted to share my simple Spiritual Journal that I setup for my study, for those of you, like me, who still journal the old fashioned way.”
“This is just a simple spiral notebook, and you can buy sticky tabs to label the sections of your journal. This spiral notebook came with the multi-colored sticky notes that will be handy to mark your favorite places in the Bible study. The front cover will hold our Scripture memory cards that are found in the back of the Study Workbook. Each week during my daily study, when I open my journal, I will see my Scripture Memory card for that week. Then the next week, I’ll add the next Scripture reference card for that week’s memory work. The first few pages of my journal is labeled “prayer requests,” and it has several pages of “things to do” which is where my prayer requests will go. Just thought I would share this simple tool with you.”
Lastly, I’ve divided mine into daily lessons, weekly summary, prayer requests and small groups. I keep a list of all the women participating in my small groups, and then pray for them by name during the course of the week. I also keep attendance in my groups… and send weekly event reminders to the women who are growing spiritually with me through Bible study.
These are just some of the ideas for creating a spiritual journal, we’d like to hear yours too! Post a comment below and encourage others!