This summer has been an amazing one for new book releases. I got my hands on a pre-released copy of Play With Fire and was
both encouraged and inspired by author Bianca Juarez Oltoff’s story of
transformation by fire. We all experience trials and endure circumstances we
wish we could escape. Bianca went through her own fires and discovered refinement,
passion and a loving God in the midst of the flames. If you missed my full
review of the book, you can check it out here.
Last week I spoke with Bianca about her debut book
Play With Fire.
We also talked about the A21 Campaign,
Propel Women and of course Adele. "Hello..........."
Check it out below and be sure
and order your copy of Play With Fire today while it's hot off the press!
Bianca, you travel the world teaching and speaking for
the A21 Campaign and for Propel Women. What do you love the most about your
work and what are you looking forward to in the months and year ahead?
I’m really excited because this is the year we have had
the most amount of rescues in A21 history. I am excited to know we aren’t
slowing down, we are taking ground. And that comes with a cost. There are a lot
of sacrifices our team has made but we are very excited about the men, women and
children we get to rescue out of slavery! We have a lot of great things on the horizon
with Propel Women. We have launched curriculum that can be used in a church, home or office space. We have a couple groups from
google who are meeting. We have a group from Chick-fil-A who meet online. They
post a video online and all get together on google hang out to discuss the
topics on hand. What we’re really excited about is there are so many great
Bible resources for women, but what about the practical side of
things? There’s always a layer of Biblical foundation of course, but we really
want to go after the heart of what are some of the felt needs women are facing
today? And so our first curriculum on personal leadership, is dealing with
issues regarding balance, prayer life, conflict, personal dreams, goals, etc.
Those are topics people are really excited to open up and discuss. We just
released our 3rd edition of the curriculum last week. We also have
several events coming up on the horizon this upcoming year. It’s definitely a
What prompted you to write Play With Fire and what is
your hope for all who read it?
I wrote Play With Fire out of my desire to see those who
feel their faith is nothing but an ember, to see that ember erupt into a
huge flame. And for those who feel as if they are living a half-baked Christian
life believing and thinking there is more to life that God has for them but
just not knowing what that is. My hope is that this book gets into the hands of
people who feel like they want the Holy Spirit to radically change their life
and that is what this is birthed out of. Fire is symbolic of danger but fire
can also be symbolic of transformation and that’s worth going after. I want people
to know that trials and tribulations that seem like they are going to destroy
them are actually the places where they discover the presence of God.
In Play With Fire you share about a couple individuals
from your childhood and young adulthood who had profound influence on you and helped
shape your perspective of God. What are some of the markers of a Godly mentor
I think there is a level of humility and accepting and
acknowledging what you don’t know that I’m attracted to. The people who have
made the most profound influence on my life have been people who just simply
found a place to discover who Jesus is, just the tip of who Jesus is, who God
is. I’m attracted to humility and hunger. Those are the two values I look for
in people I want to follow and learn from.
How can we encourage loved ones who feel as if they are
walking through their fire today?
I love when we come alongside and just be in the pain
with people. Sometimes we don’t need a Biblical prescription, sometimes we just
need community. Like when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he didn’t turn
to Peter, James and John and say, please quote the Torah to me. He said please
pray with me. Stay awake with me. I think sometimes we underestimate the value
of the ministry of just being present and standing with people during trials and
tribulations. And then the other thing is, once they know their friends are
willing to stand with them, look for those windows to hold onto the promises of
God. There are times you remain silent and just bear the pain and there are
other times we speak boldly and declare the promises of God. We remind them of
who God has called them to be. We remind them of the plans God has for them and
we remind them that our God is faithful. So presence and promises are powerful
in standing with someone who is going through the fire.
In Play With Fire you talk about worship in the
wilderness. You describe a turning point when your prayers changed from crying
about your circumstances to crying out to God, the One who could meet you in
your circumstances. How important was this shift for discovering fierce faith,
unquenchable passion and a life-giving God?
Throughout scripture there is power in crying out. We see
it in the life of David and we see Paul cry out to God as Abba father. We see
this phrase of crying out in Isaiah and throughout Jeremiah. I think it’s
healthy to cry out to God but we have to be careful our crying doesn’t become
complaining. And when we are going through these proverbial deserts or seasons,
it’s very easy to cry out but if there isn’t response, crying can easily turn
into complaining. When we are angry with God and angry at the situation we
become bitter buddies, just frustrated with life and we start doubting the goodness
of God like the Israelites did. They let their forgetfulness affect their
faithfulness. They forgot their faithful God took them out of slavery. They
forgot their faithful God promised them there is a promised land for them. And
when we go through those seasons, we have got to talk ourselves straight. Talk
ourselves into believing, wait a minute, I know who I am, I know whose I am, I
know what I am called to, and nothing is going to thwart this. I have to hold
onto the promises of God because even though this is not a good situation, I
know that all things work for good. And I may not see it today, I may not see
it tomorrow, I may not see it this side of heaven but I know that God is going
to redeem this situation.
What are you currently reading and what music do you have
on repeat right now?