Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Christian romance novelist, home schooling sons, Spanish resources…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!

In these potpourri editions of The Mailbag, I’d also like to address the three questions I’m most commonly asked:

“Do you know anything about [Christian pastor/teacher/author] or his/her materials? Is he/she doctrinally sound?”

Try these links: 
Popular False Teachers /
 Recommended Bible Teachers / search bar
Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring It Out on Your Own
(Do keep bringing me names, though. If I get enough questions about a particular teacher, I’ll probably write an article on her.)

“Can you recommend a good women’s Bible study?”

No. Here’s why:
The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?
The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

“You shouldn’t be warning against [popular false teacher] for [X,Y,Z] reason!”

Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections


I was saved in 2011 and am seeking direction on how to live my new life in Christ. Prior to my conversion, I was a romance writer (think: Harlequin). The writing bug still haunts me. I love writing and I’m attempting to write a Christian romance novel. I don’t feel like writing Christian non-fiction would be a fit for me. I have a strong creative desire for writing and graphic design. Is there a place for my fiction work for women? I’m praying about it. Any thoughts you have would be welcomed and helpful in how I pray about it.

Aw, a kindred spirit! Maybe that’s why this question warmed my heart so much, or maybe it’s because it’s profoundly touching and encouraging to hear from any Christian woman who is genuinely seeking how she can best glorify God with the gifts He has given her.

As I was contemplating your question, my husband’s favorite verse kept coming to mind:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

The verse itself is appropriate to the situation, but so is its immediate context. Whatever we do – whether it’s something as significant as our vocation or as mundane as eating supper – we should do it in a way that glorifies God, represents Him well to others, and leads people toward Christ.

How many Christian romance novels have you ever read that do those things well? Not many, I’m guessing.

One of the ways the Holy Spirit leads us is by the way He has wired us. God has fearfully and wonderfully created each one of us with unique talents and abilities. We are bent toward some things and away from others. It brings honor to God when we submit to the way He created us and use the gifts He has given us to serve others and to serve and glorify Him. Perhaps your bent toward writing fiction is God’s way of leading you to write fiction that glorifies Him and points people to Christ, and to do it well. That’s something you could pray about.

As you plan out your next storyline, ask yourself some questions like:

✏ Is there a way I can pull back the curtain on God’s glory here?
✏ How can I point the reader to Christ in this scene?
✏ Is there a (rightly handled, in context) passage of Scripture I can add here?
✏ How can this character set a biblical example (of what to do, or not to do) for the reader?
✏ How would I summarize how this finished product brings glory to God and points the reader to Christ?

I would encourage you to continue praying and asking God for wisdom and guidance. Take advantage of every opportunity (writing-related or not) He sends your way, and steward it for His glory. You might also find my article The Mailbag: Christian Fiction Recommendations to be of interest.

And don’t forget: Look back over the parables in the gospels. Jesus authored a lot of God-glorifying “Christian fiction”! :0)


For mothers who homeschool their sons, what are some ways to get more masculine influence during daily school lessons (when fathers are usually at work)?

Honestly, and speaking as a mom who has home schooled three sons, I wouldn’t worry about it unless your husband is absent from the home (military, work travel, etc.) for extended periods of time or doesn’t come home at night until the kids are already in bed.

I mean, think about it, the typical family structure since the dawn of Creation has been for Mom to stay at home and raise and nurture the kids (girls and boys) and for Dad to go out and tend the crops or make the widgets or close the business deals, and there’s nothing in the Bible that indicates that your boys will be lacking male influence because of this. The manliest men in Scripture were raised this way. Jesus was raised this way.

If your sons are spending time with Dad when he comes home in the evening and on weekends, if he’s reading them stories and throwing the ball around with them and taking them to monster truck rallies and having them help rake the leaves and wash the car and things like that, they’re going to be just fine.

I would encourage you to instead steward your energies toward walking out in front of your sons what it looks like to be a godly woman, because that’s part of God’s ingenious plan of giving boys such a close relationship with their mothers during their formative years. Every day, you are training them up to be godly men and husbands by showing them the kind of woman they should be looking for in a wife, and how their future wives and children should be treated.

Don’t worry, and entrust your boys to the Lord. He will take care of all of you.

You might find my article The Mailbag: How Can Christian Moms Raise Godly Men? to be helpful.

(And not to leave out moms of girls, here’s Avoiding the Creepers: Six Ways to Raise a Biblically Strong Woman)


My new daughter-in-law is learning English, but her first language is Spanish. I’d like to give her some good, doctrinally sound books and resources in Spanish. Where can I find these?

I would check Grace to YouLigonier, and HeartCry Missionary Society (Paul Washer). I know they all have books and resources (sermons, articles, etc.) in Spanish, and if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for on the site, you can contact them directly, and they can point you in the right direction.

And keep an eye on the comments section of this article. I’m sure my readers can suggest some great resources in Spanish, too.

Thanks for being such an awesome mother-in-law!


I am Lutheran. My church is very Scripture-based. I have been asked to run for church council for education. Do you think it is against Scripture?

Hello, you lovely Lutheran lady! I’m afraid I am too ignorant of what a Lutheran church council for education does to say whether or not it’s against Scripture.

I’m intrigued by the idea of “running” for a position of service in the church. I’m not sure actual campaigning for the position is in keeping with doing things decently and in order, but I guess that would depend on how it is done. And perhaps what you mean by “running” is that you’ve been nominated and you have to be approved by a vote of the church, but there’s no actual campaigning involved? I can’t see any biblical problem with that.

But I’m guessing the main thrust of your question is whether or not a woman should be serving in this position. As I said, I don’t know how this council functions, so I can’t give you a thumbs up or down. The best I can do is to tell you that as long as the position doesn’t require you to teach Scripture to men, exercise authority over men, or do anything else that’s unbiblical, and as long as your husband (if you’re married) is OK with you filling the position, it should be fine.

Let me offer you a couple of other resources that might be helpful:

1. Check out my articles Jill in the Pulpit and Rock Your Role FAQs. They may help give you a better idea of whether or not you should take the position.

2. My go-to guy for all things Lutheran is Chris Rosebrough. He is a doctrinally sound Lutheran pastor and host of the Fighting for the Faith podcast. I would recommend you contact him. He does a bit of traveling, so if he’s not able to get back to you right away, I would suggest you join the Facebook group that supports Fighting for the Faith and ask your question in that group. There are oodles of good solid Lutheran members who could probably help.


I’m praying for you…Here’s an encouraging word of Scripture…Here’s how God has used your writing to work in my life…

I have the best readers in the world – the best. I can’t imagine that any other writer has readers who are sweeter and more encouraging than y’all are. Hardly a day goes by that one of you doesn’t love me well by dropping me a few words that are so much kinder than I deserve.

I just want you to know that, while you may not think that’s much of a ministry, it is. It keeps me going and keeps me sane on the days when all the crazies are attacking and I feel like quitting. Your kindness matters. And I know it matters to all the other  people in your life that you’re being kind to, too – your family members, your friends, your co-workers, even strangers on the street. Don’t grow weary in the well-doing of ministering encouragement to others. It matters.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has offered me gracious words over the years. You are very much appreciated and loved.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Mailbag Turnabout- Readers Answer Fellow Readers’ Questions

 

Last Friday, I wrote an article about the blessings of social media for Christians. One of those blessings is thinktanking:

There are a lot of godly people out there who have read a lot of books, listened to a lot of teachers, know a lot of Scripture, and been through a lot of experiences. Harness their knowledge and share your own.

And I thought- what better way to demonstrate and make use of thinktanking than to enlist the help of my blog and social media readers to answer the questions of fellow readers that have me stumped or that I’m unable to research at the moment?

So today, I’m sharing a few of those questions and asking my readers to help answer them in the comments section. (I’ll chime in a little, but I’ll mostly be relying on your answers.)

To the “Askers”
Please keep in mind that I have readers from all sorts of doctrinal schools of thought, and varied levels of discernment and spiritual maturity, who may be answering your questions. While I’ll do my best to weed out any false doctrine/false teachers before posting their answers, you must do the work of comparing everything to Scripture before believing it or using it as a biblically trustworthy resource.

To the “Answerers”
To answer a question, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and answer in the comment box. If you’re new to the blog or have never read the comment parameters in the Welcome tab, please do so before answering. Answers violating these parameters will not be published. Please make clear which question you’re answering. Helpful hint- more people will read your answer if you keep it fairly brief. Links to useful, biblical resources are encouraged. Your answer might be edited for length or doctrine.

All set? Here we go!

1. Do you know of any doctrinally sound resources for visually impaired people?

As far as books, descriptive videos, etc., I just don’t know. I can tell you that Bible Gateway has a page of audio resources, including audio Bibles (click the drop down- I’d recommend ESV, NASB, HCSB/CSB, or NKJV. You’ll want to avoid NIV and MSG.) and devotionals (listen discerningly, some of these may not be doctrinally sound).

Any readers out there familiar with biblical resources for our visually impaired friends?

2. Can you recommend any doctrinally sound “Christian living” (relationships, modesty, stewardship, suffering, etc.) books or materials specifically geared toward college-aged (late teens-early 20s) young adults?

Though I have no doubt they’re out there, I’m not familiar with any of the books/materials specifically written for this age group.

Which young adult books or materials would you recommend?

3. Do you know of any doctrinally sound books or resources in Russian or Latvian?

Bible Gateway has Bible translations in a variety of languages including Russian, but I cannot speak to how accurate any of them are. I know that prolific, doctrinally sound authors like John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul have had their books translated into many languages, so I would suggest checking the Grace to You and Ligonier online stores or possibly e-mailing them for more information. Beyond that, I have no idea.

Anybody experienced in Russian/Latvian or know a missionary in that area who could make a good recommendation?

4. Can you recommend a doctrinally sound church in any of the following areas:

Harrisonburg, Virginia
Wichita, Kansas
The United Kingdom
(this reader is also looking for “any faithful teachers, bloggers, charities, businesses in the UK.”)

Each of these readers has already been directed to the Searching for a new church? tab at the top of this page. It contains several good church search engines (including churches pastored by Master’s Seminary grads). This is a request for recommendations of churches, ministries, etc., you’re personally familiar with.

5. “I home school, and we participate in Classical Conversations. I’ve noticed some problems with my CC group: unruly children/lack of discipline, and some concerning unbiblical beliefs and practices. Are these problems that are common in other CC groups?”

I home school, and, while I have friends who participate in CC, we don’t, and I’m not very familiar with it. My guess is that there are going to be similar problems in any home school group (or, for that matter, any group that involves parents and children).

Home schooling readers- any input here?


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Blog Swap

Who’s Up for a Blog Swap?

blog-swap

Hey, blogger-type people- if you’ve been around for a while, you’ll recall that I had a feature last fall called “Blog Swap.” I’m ready to get back in the saddle with it, so I’m on the hunt for bloggers who are interested in swapping guest posts.

I’m especially interested in content that’s a little different from my normal fare such as recipes, crafts, DIY, home schooling, singles, book/movie reviews, men’s interest, photo blogging, nutrition, exercise, etc., but content that’s similar to mine is welcome as well. Also, I’d love to hear from some of our male bloggers out there. Here are the blog swaps I’ve done so far so you can get an idea of how it works (check the comments section of each post for the link to see how the blogger I swapped with handled the swap on her end).

If you think you might be interested, click here to find out more, and drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com.

Looking forward to swapping with you!

Blog Swap

Blog Swap

 I have a few Blog Swap slots to fill for November and December. If you’d be interested, please read the information below and drop me an e-mail. I’m especially looking for Thanksgiving and Christmas items (DIY, recipes, crafts, kids’ activities, party ideas, date night suggestions, creative writing, etc.) but other topics would be great, too.

 

blog swap

Got a blog? How would you like a little more exposure? How about a blog swap?

Sometimes blog hops and link parties can have so many contributors that your blog/article gets lost in the shuffle and you end up reaching fewer people than you’d planned on. With a blog swap, you get 100% of the audience’s focus.

It’s essentially an exchange of guest posts. You post one of my articles (I’ve got nearly 400 to choose from) with a link back to my blog and I’ll post one of yours with a link back to your blog. It’s a win-win for reaching more people. (Quick stats: I’ve got 300+ subscribers here at the blog, 550+ followers on Facebook, and about 30 followers on Google+, and I do link Blog Swap articles to those two social media accounts.)

Details:

1. Blog Swaps run as a semi-regular weekly feature on Mondays (the day may change in the future).

2. I’d like for my article to run concurrently on your blog, but if you have a conflict, no problem. You can run it any time the week prior to the Monday your article is scheduled to run here.

3. Send me up to five of your best articles to choose from. You’re welcome to choose any of my articles you like. (Just let me know if you need help/suggestions.) Fair warning-if you’re new, you should know that nearly all of my articles have to do with biblical topics, and all are written from a biblical perspective.

4. Any subject matter is fine as long as neither your article nor your blog in general violate Scripture or scriptural principles. Recipes, crafts, DIY, marriage, home schooling, singles, parenting, book/movie reviews, men’s interest, photo blogging, nutrition, exercise, etc., are all welcome.

5. If you submit articles of a theological or biblical nature, please also include a statement of faith. (It’s fine to link to your denomination’s or church’s statement of faith on their web site and say, “I agree with this.” Click on my “Statement of Faith” tab above for an example.) I cannot publish articles/blogs that I find to be in contradiction to sound doctrine.

6. Got friends with blogs? Please share this around!

Think you’d be interested in doing a blog swap with me? E-mail me at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com with your name, links to up to 5 articles, a brief description of your blog, and your statement of faith (if applicable).

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Blog Swap

Blog Swap

blog swap

Got a blog? How would you like a little more exposure? How about a blog swap?

Sometimes blog hops and link parties can have so many contributors that your blog/article gets lost in the shuffle and you end up reaching fewer people than you’d planned on. With a blog swap, you get 100% of the audience’s focus.

It’s essentially an exchange of guest posts. You post one of my archived articles with a link back to my blog and I’ll post one of yours with a link back to your blog. It’s a win-win for reaching more people, and you don’t even have to write a brand new article.

Details:

1. I’d like for our articles to run concurrently, but if you have a conflict, no problem. You can run my article any time the week prior to the day your article is scheduled to run here. We’ll work out a mutually convenient date.

2. Send me up to five of your best articles to choose from. You’re welcome to choose any of my articles you like. (Just let me know if you need help/suggestions.) Fair warning-if you’re new, you should know that nearly all of my articles have to do with biblical topics, and all are written from a biblical perspective.

3. Any subject matter is fine as long as neither your article nor your blog in general violate Scripture or scriptural principles. Recipes, crafts, DIY, marriage, home schooling, singles, parenting, book/movie reviews, men’s interest, photo blogging, nutrition, exercise, etc., are all welcome.

4. If you submit articles of a theological or biblical nature, please also include a statement of faith. (It’s fine to link to your denomination’s or church’s statement of faith on their web site and say, “I agree with this.” Click on my “Statement of Faith” tab above for an example.) I cannot publish articles/blogs that I find to be in contradiction to sound doctrine.

5. Got friends with blogs? Please share this around!

Think you’d be interested in doing a blog swap with me? E-mail me at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com with your name, links to up to 5 articles, a brief description of your blog, and your statement of faith (if applicable).

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!