Christmas Giving & Giveaways

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. – Mother Teresa

Giving is one of the most beautiful parts of the Christmas season. As Karen Ehman explains in her book, there’s more than one way to give. Yes, people primarily think of gifts, but giving of one’s time is often even more valuable.

A friend shared a story how someone had decorated her tree and house for Christmas a few years ago after she had her baby, and that gift of time meant more than any present.

Are you looking for opportunities to give? Am I? Let’s not be so wrapped up in our own schedules that we miss opportunities to bless others.

To paraphrase Mother Teresa, how much love do we put into our Christmas giving? Let’s load others up with love this year.

Drum Roll, Please!

Congratulations to Jann, the winner of the Listen, Love, Repeat book pack giveaway!!

Thank you to all who commented, shared, and participated. Even if you didn’t win, Karen’s book would still make a great gift this season.

Another Giveaway – Free for All!

Today and just today, my book Captive Beneath the Bahamian Sky is available FREE in kindle version (regardless of whether you have Kindle Unlimited or not). This is the first book in my series Wings of the Dawn, a young adult Christian suspense trilogy.

Click here to download your free copy. Merry Christmas on me!

Next Week

I’m super excited to share a beautiful, biblical Christmas craft idea with you all next week. If you enjoy making items to share at Christmas, you won’t want to miss next week’s post.

Have a blessed week!

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Load others up with love this Christmas. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Free YA Christian Suspense on Kindle today – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

 

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Book Giveaway! Listen, Love, Repeat

christmas-giveawayHow many of you find that listening and loving come naturally? Before you answer, take a quick quiz with me:

  • T/F: I always actively listen when my friends are talking with me, instead of anticipating how I’m going to respond.
  • T/F: I can remember all of the prayer requests from Sunday school class.
  • T/F: If I can remember last week’s requests, I prayed for them regularly throughout the week.
  • T/F: I make a point of being nice to the kid in class who is socially awkward and unpopular.
  • T/F: I welcomed the new student/coworker instead of racing off to my next class/meeting.

I wish I could say “true” to all of those (that apply to me), but the truth is that sometimes, I can’t. And maybe you can’t either.

Perhaps unintentionally, we become so busy with living that we’re swept up in our own little worlds and unaware of the hurts and needs of those around us.

That’s the problem Karen Ehman addresses in her book Listen, Love, Repeat. Her bottom line is that we need to be intentional in listening to and loving others.

About Listen, Love, Repeat

When I first picked up Karen’s book, I was intrigued by the sub-title: Other-centered living in a self-centered world. She talks about our “selfie-centered” culture and sets about to combat this mindset with the challenge to “live alert.”

… to become a person who thinks of others first takes great effort on our part. It requires us to live alert (18). – Ehman

She calls for Christians to cultivate sensitivity to “heart drops” or “when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or heart heart” (15). Do we pay attention when others share their interests and needs, or are we too busy to notice?

Karen builds upon the premise of Matthew 22:36-40 and outlines what she calls a Three-Step Life Plan:

  1. Love God.
  2. Love others.
  3. Love yourself.

Then, she spends the rest of the book outlining the major categories of people who cross our paths and develops ideas for how we give of ourselves to them.

She’s quick to clarify “the why” for loving people. Our motivation shouldn’t be that others notice us but that they notice our Savior.

We need to remember our why: the reason we love and serve and give thoughtful gifts and do good works. It is so that others will see Jesus. They may look at us, but we hope they see him (100). – Ehman

An ideal Christmas gift for Christian women

Are you not sure what to give your mom, sister, or friend for Christmas? I recommend Listen, Love, Repeat for godly women (and godly young women, too) who want to make a difference right where they are but maybe aren’t sure how.

Karen drives home the reality that we pass people every day who are hurting and in need of Jesus’ love. Some of them may even live in the same houses with us.

Blending the biblical with the practical, Karen offers easy recipes to share with hurting families, simple ideas for making someone’s day, and personal stories of victory and failure.

Christian women who love Jesus and lead busy lives will find this book refreshing and challenging. The beauty of Karen’s message is that we can serve God and love others right where we are.

Because Jesus wasn’t about doing big things. He was about doing the right thing. And often for him, the right thing was noticing one simple soul (19).     – Ehman

Listen, Love, Repeat is a book that will keep giving long after Christmas.

Book Pack Giveaway

I’d like for you to have a copy of this resource to use yourself or share with someone you love. It would make a great study for your small group, Bible study, or with your mom or girlfriends.

Merry Christmas early! I’m giving away one gift set, which includes:

  • (1) Copy of Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman
  • (1) Study Pack, complete with a six-session DVD and Study Guide

Four Ways to Enter

To enter, simply do one of the following: 

  • Leave a comment below. (It can be a comment about this post or something as simple as: Please enter me into your drawing.)
  • Subscribe to the Think True Thoughts newsletter.
  • Share this post on Twitter and tag me @kjhogrefe.
  • Share my Facebook post with your friends.

The winner of the random drawing will be announced on this blog next week. I hope this resource will be a blessing to you as it has been to me.

~ Kristen

Special thanks to The Blythe Daniel Agency for making this book pack giveaway possible!

 

Tweetables

Book Giveaway! Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Listen, Love, Repeat is a book that will keep giving long after Christmas. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

Olympic Dreams, Baby Steps

I always get excited about the Olympics and will probably watch more television this month than I will the rest of the year combined. After all, it’s not every day that I can watch our gymnast teams compete or Kerri Walsh Jennings and her new teammate take on the most intense volleyball players of the world.

As the athletes marched together opening night, their faces revealed so much. Some were screaming with excitement; others were almost bawling.

They’ve worked so hard for a chance at their Olympic dreams. We enjoy the privilege of watching them perform, but we don’t see the countless hours and early mornings that have led up to this moment. These athletes had to be intentional every day to take the steps and make the sacrifices necessary to reach this opportunity.

That made me think. What steps does God want each of us taking to reach the dreams He’s planted in our hearts?

#1: Desire God more

Wait a minute, Kristen. I thought you were going to talk about steps we can take to achieve our goals?

That’s right. If we’re God’s child, then should not He inspire our dreams? Who better to teach us and train us for the journey than the Dream-Giver Himself?

The only way we know God’s best plan for our lives is to spend more time with Him in prayer and in His Word. Seeking His will on a daily basis is essential for walking the path He wants us to travel.

He invites us to do just that.

‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

#2: Be willing to work hard

No one wakes up one day and accidentally becomes an Olympian. If we’re serious about achieving our goals, we need to roll up our sleeves and get busy.

Did you know God’s Word both commands and commends hard work?

Yes, God calls us to give our best.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might … (Ecclesiastes 9:10a NASB)

He also promises to reward our best.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV)

So why would we give anything less than our all?

#3: Do the next right thing

I’ve probably mentioned before that the next right thing is my daily motto. The reason is simple: I’ve learned that sometimes my long-term plans just don’t go as planned. I can’t control tomorrow, but I can focus on the task at hand.

You know what? That’s okay. Proverbs 16:9 explains why:

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. (NKJV)

I’d rather have God redirect my steps as He sees best than always get my own way.

Parting Challenge

Think about where you were four years ago and where you are now.

What have you done with the dreams God has given you? What baby steps can you take this week to work toward the goals He’s laid upon your heart?

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Olympic Dreams, Baby Steps – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

What are you doing with the dreams God’s given you? – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Book Drawing Winner!!

Congrats to Ashley for winning the random drawing for Little’s Know What You Believe. I also want to say a big thank you to all who posted comments and subscribed to my newsletter during the book giveaway. I appreciate you all!

 

Do You Know What You Believe? Book Giveaway

You’re playing sports with friends or participating in a summer camp when all of a sudden, someone recognizes you. “Hey, I’ve seen you at youth group,” or maybe, “You’re the girl who goes to that Bible club, right?”

Um, yes.

“So do you really believe that stuff? I mean, about Jesus being God?”

You stand straighter and reply that you do.

“But if Jesus is God, why does he allow these terrible things that are happening?”

If someone asked you that, would you know what to say? Or as we saw last week, could you explain why attending church is important to you or why God’s Word remains relevant?

If you couldn’t, you’re not alone. Many teens and adults have only a basic knowledge of their faith.

The Need to Know

The Apostle Luke wrote his gospel to a man named Theophilus for one purpose: that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed (Luke 1:4 NKJV).

Likewise, the Apostle Peter challenged his readers:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear … (I Peter 3:15 NKJV)

Don’t you want to know with confidence that what you believe is the truth? Don’t you want to be ready to share your faith with others?

I do.

When I was a teenager, my Sunday school class did a study on Paul E. Little’s book Know Why You Believe. I still have my marked-up copy and checked Amazon to see if it’s in print any more. It is, along with two other books by Little: Know What You Believe and Know Who You Believe. The What book talks about foundational tenants of our faith including the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, Jesus’ death, people and sin, the Holy Spirit, the church, and more.

A Giveaway for You

I wish I could give you and every teen in my youth group a copy of these books, but for now, I’m starting with one copy of Little’s Know What You Believe.

Between now and Sunday, leave a comment below or subscribe to my newsletter, and I’ll enter your name into a random drawing.

The winner will be announced in next week’s post.

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Do you know what you believe? Book giveaway! – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Book Giveaway – A classic that will strengthen your faith – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)