I had an opportunity to interview author, speaker, and Bible teacher Pam Gillaspie of Deep & Wide Ministries .
Pam will be speaking at the Women’s Winter Warm-Up
at Faith Evangelical Free Church of Waterville, Maine
on Friday evening March 7th and Saturday March 8th
Pam Gillaspie’s area of passion is helping people learn how to read and study the Bible for themselves.
Pam has authored two books: No More Excuses: An all too practical guide to reading through your Bible and most recently Ablaze: Igniting spiritual passion for life through reading God’s word. Following our women’s conference I’ll be teaching a weekly Bible Study based on the great material from Ablaze.
Carla: Pam, please tell us how you came to have such a passion for God’s Word?
Pam: It’s an interesting story actually. I spent a whole lot of my life having a relationship with God that I like to describe as “from the neck up.” I believed the facts in my head and I tried to read the Bible because I knew that I “should,” but it was always a chore. Then one day at McDonald’s of all places, everything changed. At the time, I was in my mid-20s and was discipling a high school girl who had come to know Christ through the youth group at our church. Each week, I’d pick her up early on Tuesday morning and we’d have breakfast together. That particular morning, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “So Pam, you’ve read through the whole Bible, right?” And you know what? I couldn’t give her a straight answer. I had a college degree in Biblical Studies, but I had never read through God’s Word for myself. Something changed in me that day. I realized the duplicity in my life. I said I believed everything in the Bible, but I had never taken the time to actually check it out and read it for myself. It was then that I asked God for the desire to read His Word and the strength to actually make it through it, because by that point, I realized that there was no way I could do it on my own.
Carla: Why do you think reading the Bible is so important?
Pam: I think the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, put it best when he said that “truth has stumbled in the streets.” In my lifetime we have gone from a basically moral to an amoral society. We, as a culture, no longer think there is such thing as truth. If we are not intentional about knowing truth for ourselves, we will be deceived and we will live defeated and joyless lives. I realize that there are a whole lot of people who get second-hand truth, that is truth that comes through a pastor or a priest or a teacher or author. And nine times out of ten that may be okay, but we are setting ourselves up for trouble if we rely on someone else to spoon-feed us what they believe to be truth. What happens when they are wrong and we have no way to discern it?
Carla: Tell us about Deep & Wide Ministries –
Pam: The purpose of Deep & Wide is simply to encourage followers of Jesus Christ and seekers of spiritual truth to learn and apply God’s truth for themselves through the wide reading and deep study of His Word, the Bible.
Carla: Why do you think people today have such a hard time reading the Bible?
Pam: That’s a tough question, and I think the answer differs from person to person. However, that said, I see a lot of common stories and problems among people. We tend to get stuck in bad paradigms when we approach the Bible. We think, for instance, that we have to read it starting in Genesis and going straight through to Revelation . . . that’s tough. I don’t know if you’ve check recently, but Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers all show up together, and so do Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. It is VERY tough to read straight through. We think that we have to have the perfect time and place to read. We forget that we can take this Book along with us. Sometimes, we just decide that it is too hard and give up. And you can’t forget that there is a spiritual element to this battle. Satan has a very vested interest in keeping people out of God’s Word.
Carla: We’ll be learning more about these and other common barriers people have to Bible reading and study at the women’s conference in March. You’ll also be debunking some lies that keep people from persuing a passionate relationship with God.
This is the basic concept behind your new book Ablaze. Tell us more about it.
Pam: Ablaze is different from most books because it is entirely about reading another Book, the Bible. The basic idea that I present is that people today are searching high and low for spiritual passion and meaning in life, but we consistently overlook the most obvious place to find spiritual passion and the answers to ultimate questions, and that is the Bible.
Carla: Pam, what is spiritual passion?
Pam: It’s the fire that keeps you going to complete your tasks and to do so with godly perspective and wisdom. Spiritual passion is what fuels us for life’s journey as well as daily struggles. But such power can only be sparked and spread through growing intimately familiar with God through His Word.
Carla: This sounds like an appropriate topic for our Winter Warm-Up – “Hearts on Fire”! We look forward to seeing you in March!
The Women’s Winter Warm-Up at Faith Evangelical Free Church of Waterville is on March 7th & 8th.
Registration is $22 and includes a Saturday bag lunch.
Please visit www.fefchurch.org/winterwarmup for details.