Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dig Into Ecclesiastes with Stephanie Shott {A Bible Study Giveaway!}

One of the many reasons that I'm grateful for social media is the opportunity to "meet" new, incredible people. Included in those people is Stephanie Shott. She's funny. She's a family girl. And, most important, she's the "real deal" when it comes to a faithful sister in Christ.

When her new Bible Study on the book of Ecclesiastes came out, I jumped at the opportunity to bless you all with a chance to meet her too. The study is called "Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most" and today she's here to tell you all about it. Even more exciting, she's giving away a copy to one of you!

Stephanie, what is your new Bible study about and what you hope readers will get out of completing it?

We all want to know our lives count. And in our Christian conversations we talk a lot about living for eternity and having an eternal perspective, yet if we are honest, we often live as if this life is all there is.

Eternity is real and it awaits each one of us. There are no escape clauses.

Understanding What Matters Most is a six week study through the book of Ecclesiastes. It’s a journey that gives the reader an opportunity to personally sift the gamut of real life experiences and define their lives by what matters most. There are questions designed to examine the heart and inspire application.

Although many avoid Ecclesiastes, it is chock-full of wisdom - not only for Solomon, but for each of us. However, there are three overriding lessons I pray that each reader will walk away with.

1. We all long to define our existence with significance, yet the only way to truly do that is to make our eternity intentional. It’s a minute by minute choice of the will to filter the way we respond to life through the lens of eternity. I pray that Understanding What Matters Most will equip each reader with the necessary tools to do just that. We're all looking for answers, and Ecclesiastes really helps us understand how to make decisions and deal with our circumstances based on what is and what is not important in light of eternity.

2. The study of Ecclesiastes is certainly not for sissies! It deals with real issues and real life circumstances. I hope that readers will grasp the concept of eternity and the reality of our ultimate day of reckoning; I pray the truth of that reality will help them live each day in light of THAT day.

3. A more subtle but profound lesson we can learn from this study is to see the grace of God at work in Solomon's life and understand that same grace is available to us. Solomon was the wisest man to walk the planet, yet he blew it big time! Solomon’s life is proof that wisdom doesn’t always equal perfection! The beautiful truth is that God still used Solomon, even after he failed. I hope readers never forget that God is so much bigger than our failure - that His love for us transcends our ability to mess things up - that as long as we have breath, He still has a plan for our lives and the days we are given under the sun.

Sounds wonderful! How did God lay this book on your heart to write?

When I began writing Understanding What Matters Most, I didn't begin in hopes of publishing a book. Understanding What Matters Most was birthed from my own place of need. It was during a time when God had called us to the mission field and my 19 year old son didn't feel led to go. My maternal heart began to wrestle with the details of the call. I didn’t have a problem with the was the leaving that gripped my heart and clouded my view. Who was going to take care of him if something went wrong? What if he got hurt? What about our parents? I was trying desperately to make sense of that which didn't make sense at all.

That's when the Lord gently led me to Ecclesiastes and gave me a bird's-eye view of Solomon's own attempts to make sense of the details of his life. After he ran the gamut of life experiences, he understood what matters most. I knew I needed that kind of clarity. Not only for the circumstances surrounding our call to the mission field, but to help me walk through life with the imprint of eternity on my heart. My study of Ecclesiastes gave me the tools I needed to filter the essential from the non-essential in light of eternity. When God put it on my heart to send it to a publisher and they said yes, that’s when I knew He wanted to use it for more than just notes for a conference.

Who would most benefit from your study?

It’s primarily a Bible study for women. However, since I’m a veteran homeschool mom who remembers how hard it was to find a good Bible study for my children, I would also like to encourage homeschool moms to use it as a study for their high school students. What a great opportunity to walk through Ecclesiastes as they sit at Solomon’s feet and get a clear picture of how empty the pursuits of this life can be and how important it to live each day with eternity in view!

Awesome. How can my readers follow your writing or book you to speak at their events?

Where is the Bible study available?

Great! Thank you so much for taking the time to share, Stephanie. I'm so thankful you listened to God's voice and followed His call. I can't wait to see how He uses you and this study to inspire others.

Bio: Stephanie passionately conveys that women can trust Christ to be real in real life - regardless of where they are or what they are going through. From her own painful past, she reminds women that we are never too battered or broken for God.

Gifted and dynamic communicator, writer, and Women's Ministry Director. Down-to-earth speaking style is full of humor,enthusiasm,and a passion for God's word. Topics focus on: To know Christ, to grow in Christ, and to echo His heart to the world.

And now, Stephanie is going to graciously gift one of you lucky readers with one copy of this study. To enter to win please leave a comment in the comments with why you'd most like to read this study. Additional entry opportunities are available by 1) tweeting the link about this giveaway 2) sharing the post on facebook 3) following Stephanie's blog 4) officially following this blog (if you aren't yet). Be sure to leave a separate comment for each of the potential ways that you can enter to win with your name and email. The giveaway will remain open to anyone in the continental United States until Friday December 2 at noon central time.

***Congrats to #18! chose Tara (Created to be Beautiful), you are the winner of this wonderful new study. Enjoy! To all the rest, I pray you'll check into the study from one of the sites listed above :) ***


  1. This sounds like an amazing study. I love Ecclesiastes! Congratulations, Stephanie. I love Bible study. Mine released yesterday! Blessings as you teach and write. And thanks, Melissa for this great interview!

  2. I've been pondering a study on Ecclesiastes lately, and I've been eying Stephanie's new study. I would LOVE to win a copy!!

    ashley at

  3. I tweeted!!!/apichea/status/136920916583133184

  4. Melissa, I agree with you. Stephanie is the real deal! She loves Jesus and I would love a chance to win a copy of her new study!

  5. This looks like a really fascinating bible study and seem so pertinent to really understanding, in today's world, what are the most important priorities.

  6. Just retweeted about this! I'm already following you so excited to see this being shared.

  7. Officially following, Stephanie Shott's blog and added it to my bookmark. How did I not see her blog before??

  8. Following this blog via Network Blogs and Google Connect!

  9. I've never done a study on Ecclesiastes. That would be a wonderful gift. Thanks for the opportunity.

  10. I would love to do a study on this book of the Bible. It is a great book!

  11. I Am following your blog now also following you on twitter. I will tweet this as soon as I find how to do it lol

  12. Wow!!! I got this posted on Facebook and twitter!
    Judi @.

    Oh. I looked over the study and OH it looks wonderful
    I Hope I WIN. THANKS SO MUCH. !!!!!

  13. This study sounds great. I think sometimes I tend to pick studies that I think sound fun and subject that sometimes sugar coat the true topic, but lately I have felt God telling to look deeper an get into the subjects that really matter the most. Thank you for sharing this study.

  14. I follow stephaine's blog

  15. Love seeing all these sweet ladies excited about diving into Ecclesiastes! We all know Ecclesiastes is definitely NOT for the faint of heart so we've got some serious Bible study gals here! LOVE IT!!!

    Can't wait to see who wins! :-)

    Thanks again, Melissa, for having me on your site! Love how you shine so bright for Jesus! :-)

  16. Since my current Bible study just ended, I am in need of new one. Ecclesiates speaks volumes to me! My blog (which I just started in September) is called "CreatedToBeBeautiful"... I believe God confirmed this to me by using Ecclesiates 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time..." After a very difficult journey, God has taken me to a place where I am trying to find the beauty all around me and in my personal life despite all the pain and heartache. And 3:11 just happens to be the day my sweet baby Isaac was born (my promised gift from God). I would love do this Bible study, perhaps even with my almost 17 year old daughter (if she would be willing). She is a senior in high school who is searching for her happiness in the wrong places (scary as I watch her begin to walk the same path I did). Thanks so much!

  17. Tara ( ~ I love that ever-assuring verse and I love how the Lord used it to speak to you...and then confirmed His promise of beauty with your precious Isaac!

    My boys are now men (24 and 31 years old), so I also know how difficult it is when our children begin to seek significance in everything except that which will give it. I remember thinking not too long ago that I wish someone would have told me how hard it is to be a parent to adult children.

    Praying for you and I look forward to seeing if you win!

    Oh, and I just stopped by your website and am following it! Love your heart!

    Blessings to you and your family Tara!

  18. Thanks so much Stephanie... Oh, and I'm following your blog as well! :)

  19. Thank you, Thank you!!! It wasn't really "random"... It was such a "God-thing!" (He knew I so needed this) Many blessings to you all! :)

  20. Yeah! Congrats to Tara of!!


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