I never thought that the difficult times I found myself stuck in would result in a Bible study. As a young pastor’s wife, I found myself digging deep into the book of Ecclesiastes looking for answers to the questions that overwhelmed my life: How do I prioritize my life? What things should I focus on? What do I do when things don’t work out my way? How do I avoid having regrets later on?
Those questions and the answers I learned paved the way for my first book Without Regrets. Since then, I've experienced the amazing truths that God has for us in the Bible and I am passionate about sharing those truths with others in a way that they can apply those truths to their lives. I write Christian Daily Devotionals, including a devotional for the day, as well as Bible studies and I love to share and to pray for people through my Facebook Page and on Twitter. I also enjoy the opportunity to speak and encourage others whether it's a small study group or a large women's conference.
I grew up in Valley Center, Kansas and received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I've been married to my husband D Burchfiel for 17 years and we enjoy our 2 children, Rebekah and Andrew. We currently make our home in Wichita, Kansas where D is the Associate Pastor of Ministries at Summit Church www.summitchurchkansas.com.
A Little Q&A with Kristi
What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
I've just finished a manuscript over the book of Philemon. I've titled it Piecing Together Forgiveness and I'm looking forward to working through the publishing process to see this one come to life. Forgiveness is such a difficult issue for so many people and yet without it, we can end up bitter and angry. God uses this small book of Philemon to help explain forgiveness and understand how to actually apply that to life. This 6 session study is currently scheduled to be available early 2015.
Tell us something about yourself. (Where are you from, what is your background, how long have you been writing or anything we might find interesting about you?)
I grew up in the small town of Valley Center, Kansas. After moving away to go to college, I met and married my husband and he began serving in churches as pastor. I then went through a really difficult time in my life personally. Even though I had a relationship with Jesus Christ for many years, I found myself struggling to make sense of why God was allowing these circumstances in my life. Through my struggles and anger, I found answers and comfort through God’s Word. Since then, I’ve been focused studying and learning from the Bible and then sharing those truths with others, which led me to start writing Christian devotional.
I also work full time and have several hobbies. I haven’t met an art or craft project I didn’t like, although I’m certainly better at some over others. I enjoy meeting and speaking with my local Toastmasters group. I also absolutely love spending time with my husband watching a movie or sporting event or just spending time talking. I have two young kids who keep me constantly laughing and busy running in lots of directions.
What inspired you to write The Decay Within?
I’ve always been fascinated by the lesser-known books of the Bible. I firmly believe that the message of the Bible is completely cohesive and seen throughout all the books. Even so, some books are more frequently referenced in sermons and studies. I chose the book of Amos because it’s one of those lesser-known books, and it has an incredible message. Amos addresses a group of people who have ignored God and fashioned their own lifestyle which, on the outside appears successful, but when examined next to God’s design for each us, fails to measure up.
So many of us have been in similar situations where we try on our own to make ourselves appear successful, while never feeling complete. This incompleteness is the decay that is within each one of us when we try to build our life on anything outside of God’s plan for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. I want people to open their eyes to this decay and find the way to exchange it for God’s promise of life throughout. The prophet Amos pointed out the warning signs to the people of Israel and he detailed how we can root out this decay through repentance and be made right with God, experiencing His promise.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am always doing Bible study and reading. I write a Christian devotional for the day that is available on my website and my Facebook page. These are the basis for The Daily Devotional Series e-books. As for my next Bible study, I've been looking at the book of Jonah and I'm really excited about the things that God is teaching me through that book.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
The most important thing for me was actually finding the answer to the question, “Why do I write?” Once a writer finds their own answer to that question, they will be close to discovering their passion. It’s important to realize that when people purchase your book, they’re not buying a book, they’re buying you and what you represent; your passion. For me, I am passionate about Christian devotionals and other bible toold to help people practice their faith in God on a daily basis.
Each author needs to know their passion because it will dictate how you approach everything else regarding your writing and marketing. Whatever the passion, you must be able to define it. Why is this so important? People are drawn to passion. People recommend books because they feel a connection with the passion of the author. Your passion is the foundation for everything else you will do as an author.
Have patience and don’t lose sight of your message. As I worked through the publishing process and things seemed to take longer than I had anticipated, it became easy to get distracted with frustrations. However, I believe in the message of my book. For everyone working through the publishing process, remember what your main message is for writing the book in the first place and hold to that.
What is a Christian Devotional?
We can start by looking at both of those words. The word Christian refers to being a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. The word devotion is defined as earnest attachment to a cause or profound dedication. As such, a Christian devotional is a something that teaches people to live out their dedication to Jesus Christ.
What’s the difference between a Christian Devotional and a Bible study?
By definition, there’s not a lot of difference, since the Bible is a key way that we can be taught to live out our dedication to Jesus Christ. However, traditionally, there have arisen some differences in how these two terms are used.
A Bible Study, whether it’s an online Bible study or a written book, is often described as more in depth. Frequently bible studies cover larger portions of the Bible, such as an entire chapter or even a whole book, but will take those sections and look at each part in detail. A good Bible study will not only teach the truths in that passage based on any number of bible study tools or reference materials, but it will help readers make application to their own lives so they can live out the truths they have learned.
A Christian Devotional, in the traditional sense, is often shorter (though it doesn’t have to be) than a Bible study. For me, I think of a devotional traditionally as having more of an overview of a passage with just one focus point, whereas a Bible study focuses on multiple points in the same passage.
Why do you write an online Christian devotional for the day?
Personally, I like to have something to learn and focus on each day, but I can’t always remember multiple points. This is why having a devotional for the day is so important to me and why I write online devotionals for women and men. I want to help people to take time to study God’s Word, even if it’s only briefly, so they can have a truth they can focus on for the day. Because of this, I keep my online devotions short, and while I read through an entire chapter of a book each day, I focus on one main truth and give some kind of response, typically described in a prayer back to God, detailing my commitment to practicing that truth in my life that day.
Why do you write Bible study books?
Christian Bible studies are great ways to really spend some in depth time studying multiple points and truths from the Bible. A Christian devotional that has been turned into a Bible study often holds a wealth of possibilities. For me, I like my studies to include questions and blanks and opportunities to personalize the information. Having the bible study tools to be able to see the truths from scripture and then apply those truths directly to your own life is a great first step in living up to the true definition of Christian devotional. Bible studies often can be done alone or in a group. The ones that I have written are perfect for either option. Having a group can be extremely beneficial because you have not only additional input and insight, but also accountability to help us live out the truths we have just learned.