Friday, December 13, 2013

Meet Jill Richardson

Jill Richardson is our featured John 3:16 author today. She has a lovely excerpt with questions to help us learn from Gollom! Enjoy., You, and the Spiritual World of Middle-Earth
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Hobbits, elves, and dragons have become common fantasy characters but do they have more relevance to your life than you think? Are they as real as, or the same as, people you meet every day? Maybe not literally, but J.R.R. Tolkien's famous characters bring to life real character qualities we all can learn from, whether good or bad. What can the bravery of a hobbit, the faith of a elf, or the greed of a dragon teach teens about themselves? How can their stories lead us to the real Kingdom where God is working out way more than a fantasy for his people? Dig in to these familiar characters and relevant Bible passages to find out. Come out understanding how to live your own epic story! To purchase from Amazon:
Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World of Middle-earth—

Meet the Author:
Jill's love for hobbits and elves comes from her time as a literature teacher and as a lifelong reader of great stories. She also loves an epic challenge and a chance for grace wherever they exist. Jill has a BA in English and Education and an MDiv in theology and is an ordained minister who has served as a worship, preaching, and discipleship pastor. She has published four books previously, as well as articles in national magazines such as FamilyFun, Discipleship Journal, and Today's Christian Woman.

Jill enjoys speaking on a variety of topics and has been very active on the MOPS circuit, as well as in junior high and high school classes. She enjoys speaking for retreats for all ages.

With three daughters, three cats, and (thankfully!) only one husband, she keeps busy otherwise with community theater, gardening, reading, scrapbooking, and traveling. Jill loves oceans, cats, chocolate, teenagers, her family, the Cubs, and God, not necessarily in that order.


From December 1 through December 16, the John 3:16 Marketing Network is hosting a Christmas Book Launch and Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World is a featured book. As part of the event, the Network is offering a $200 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner. For a chance to win, go to and enter the Rafflecopter (toward the bottom of the page). And be sure and pick up your Kindle version of Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World at

Excerpt: Chapter THREE

(GANDALF) Part 2

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them.
“Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them,“You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20.20-28).

What does James’ and John’s mom want? Why do you think she wants it? Do James and John agree with this request? How do you know?
Why are the other disciples mad when they hear about this?
How does Jesus say people in power usually act? Why do you think they act like this?
Are you ever tempted to let people “see” that you’re a leader? Do you ever want to show off some position you have? Why? How does it make you feel?
How do servants and slaves act? What is their job? What do you suppose they typically do in a day? 
Church people have created a name for the kind of leader
Church people have created a name for the kind of leader Jesus is talking about here: a servant leader. What exactly is that? Well, it’s what He says: someone “in charge” who chooses not to act like an overbearing jerk but instead asks other people, “How can I help you?” “How can I make your job better?” “How can I make sure you get credit for a job well done?”

That’s the opposite of how we think. We think we have to make ourselves look good. We think if we don’t make it clear who’s in charge, no one will give us the credit we deserve. We think like the other ten disciples: “Hey! Who do James and John think they are to try to get top spot?”

Do you know that Jesus, who, let’s face it, clearly has that top spot by a landslide, told His disciples they would do greater things than He did? He didn’t even try to keep all the glory to himself. He wanted it shared around. He wanted those who He taught to be able to shine brighter than He did. Why? Because the “big picture” mattered a lot more to Him than who got the credit. The point was to make sure as many people as possible heard about being saved and living for God. Jesus didn’t care who got the credit for that happening!
Gandalf knows that the big picture matters more than anything. Yes, the smaller picture of returning the Lonely Mountain to its rightful owners has to happen first. The reason, though, is that it’s part of the giant picture of returning all of Middle Earth to its rightful goodness. The dwarves’ adventure is part of the story, but it’s not the story. Individual glory has to take second place. (Thorin and Boromir never quite grasped that... and they died. A lesson to be learned there, I think.)
The best way to make any “big picture” plan happen, as both Gandalf and Jesus know, is to equip and encourage as many people as possible to do the job well, not to boss people around and always be in charge. Sometimes, we need to step out of the way and let other people do it. That might even mean being happy when someone else becomes the hero in the end.
If you were in charge of a group, what would you do to act like a servant? How do you think it would work?
Write down a place where you are a leader, whether it’s in an official position of leadership or as a role model to someone. List some things you can do to become more like Jesus tells us to be and less like everyone expects us to be.
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Bonus Question: What do you think it would look like if world leaders tried this radical idea?

Words to remember

“. . . not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
(1 Peter 5:3)

Hope you are finding good reading for yourself and those on your gift list!

Blessings, Carol

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