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Natalie R. W. Eastman

The Helpful Enneagram

A Tool for Personal, Family, Spiritual, and Leadership Development I'm always looking for ways to understand why and how I think, feel, and behave as I do throughout life, in all areas. Typically, it's because I'm trying to understand how I can think more clearly, feel more clearly and fully, and behave more consistently and productively. I also seek knowing how to have fuller and more loving and/or productive relationships, depending on whether we're talking about the context of work, family, God, or friends. I read and pray over the words and stories in the Bible daily (my ideal), or [...]

Going with the Flow, Part 1: Sentence Flow Diagramming

Assuming you've done your work with the <<preliminaries>>, here's the next step to putting your Bible study on steroids: doing a sentence flow diagram. I know, I know: totally unsexy. But, seriously, this is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE tool for studying the Bible(lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!!) because everyone who has a basic knowledge of English grammar truly can get a much clearer picture of a scripture passage with some very simple diagramming. Most translations are written, intentionally, in paragraph and verse form. By diagramming sentences according to grammar rules, you get to see how words, phrases, sentences, and even whole sections [...]
Lesser Known - But No Less Awesome - Christian Writers Retreats & Conferences - Image

2016 Lesser-Known Writing Workshops, Conferences and Retreats

There are opportunities for people who want or need to actually work on the craft of their writing in community with others, and I've come to know about a small bevy of them as a result of my expanding network among Christian writers. So, I thought I'd pass along some of the notifications I've received about the lesser-known opportunities to gather in more intimate settings than big writer's conferences. Below I've started a list of links to lesser-known opportunities for intensive craft development in smaller, groups of writers, editors, and publishers, often in someone's home, converted barn, or even private island (oh yes). I'm limiting this list to opportunities offered by Christian writers, editors, and publishers. I welcome additions to the list!

Announcement: Massive Website Updates!

by nrweastman
In the process of switching web hosts, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth - mainly by me. But I decided to make the best of it and have laid tracks for good stuff: merging blogs, linking websites, and making the flow between The Verity Initiative's resources much easier. Hence, you see a very different-looking URL on this website: natalieeastman.siterubix.com Eventually, you will see only natalieeastman.com; but for the moment, this interim site will be bridging the gap between what was and what shall be. In the new site, all ministries will be linked (Biblical Breakthrough, Your Biblical Breakthrough [...]

An Easter Gift for You

by nrweastman
Hello, friends! Somehow, despite personal and family health challenges for the past three months, I have managed to put together something for you about which I'm very excited. For those of you who were able to attend February's Your Biblical Breakthrough! Training Telesummit and followed the four lessons through to the last one, you know that I taught on how to use a Gospel synopsis Bible study tool. Oh dear, how I love those things. These simple-genius tools can open your eyes to things you never noticed before in the Gospels. Behind Door #1 With Easter in mind, as well [...]

A Note from Natalie – Easter 2016

by nrweastman
Hello, friends! I had wanted to get out an issue of "Dig Deep!" (The Verity Initiative LLC's sometimes-monthly, sometimes-not newsletter) much earlier, but our house has been a house of sickness for the past three months or so. If it's not been one person, it's been another! Fevers, coughs, vomiting... You name it, we have had it. Of course, illness always comes on top of the rest of life, canceling out nearly everything else, including work and ministry life (not to mention housework, although I'm not sure that's such a bad thing…). In fact, today I am dictating this entry from [...]

Julie Coleman on “Context”

by nrweastman
When Bible Interpretation Goes Wrong: Context Matters By Julie Coleman Location, location, location. It was our number one consideration when house shopping. Location largely determines the value and desirability of a home. A beautiful home too far from work or in a bad school district has little attraction to the buyer. It makes a huge difference where a home is planted. The same can be said about the location, or context, of a passage of Scripture. The reason we study the Bible is to glean truth from God—to discover His perspective, His instruction, and hear His heart. So the last [...]

Meadow Rue Merrill on Trusting God When Life Hurts, Act III: “Looking in the Word”

by nrweastman
  Trusting God When Life Hurts Contributed by Meadow Rue Merrill When our daughter Ruth, who had multiple special needs, died before her eighth birthday, my husband, Dana, and I were devastated. I don’t say “completely” devastated or “profoundly” devastated, because by its very definition devastation is total. There are no degrees. Rather, we experienced a black, bleak ruin where the flowering, fruitful garden of our lives once grew. Born in a hospital in Uganda and quickly abandoned, Ruth had spent much of the first year of her life in an orphanage before being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She then [...]
Sharla Fritz: Is Meditation Dangerous?

Sharla Fritz on Is Meditation Dangerous?

by nrweastman
Is Meditation Dangerous? Contributed by Sharla Fritz I remember clearly when a friend mentioned he was seeing a counselor who recommended meditation. “Clear your mind,” the counselor instructed. “Try to empty it completely.” Red flags immediately shot up in my own mind. “Empty your mind” did not sound like good advice in light of Jesus’ warning that an empty mind may be an invitation for evil to take up residence (Luke 11:24-26). So I warned my friend that this kind of meditation could be dangerous. But not all meditation is alarming and unsafe. Christian meditation doesn’t aim to empty the [...]
Malestrom by Carolyn Custis James

Q&A with Carolyn Custis James

When I first sensed a call to write the book that later became Women, Leadership, and the Bible, people -- and I mean an extraordinary number of people -- suggested that I needed to contact a woman named Carolyn Custis James. I'd not yet heard of her and she'd only published one book by that time: When Life and Beliefs Collide. I found her, got involved with something she'd launched called Synergy Women's Network, read When Life..., and have been blessed and stretched by her thoughtful approach to faith and thinking theologically ever since. Also since, she has published prolifically [...]