FOR RETREATS or KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS
GodSpace Retreat (New!)
(based on Keri’s forthcoming book GodSpace: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God)
Think you don’t have time or space for spiritual stuff? That intimacy with God is impossible?
GodSpace offers seven nontraditional practices that will guide busy Christians in slowing down enough to pay attention to God.
We all sense that we need to slow down, that we should not be so busy. But we’re not sure why, other than a vague feeling that busy is kind of stressful. If we were less busy, if we had more space, more margin—what would go into that space? What are we missing by moving so fast, staying this distracted?
What if the way to create “God Space” in our lives was to live at “God’s Pace”?
This retreat guides participants in an important conversation about how their busyness injures their souls and keeps them from experiencing all that God wants to give them. It offers practical guidance and mentoring on spiritual practices that both slow our pace and create space in our overcrowded, cluttered lives. If we slow down, that’s only the first step. This retreat offers a next step: being intentional about our lives enough to make space for God, and what to do in that space in order to foster a deeper faith.
From the book:
The way to find some God Space, to make some space for God in my life, is to begin to see all of your life as being lived in the space of God. It’s like trying to put more air into your life—when it’s all around you. But you don’t notice it, and can even ignore it, if you are moving too fast, rushing around distracted. By slowing down, you can begin to see that everyday life is soaked with the presence of God, and you can see if it only you reframe it a bit. If only you stop, and breathe.
Topics include: (each can also be given separately as a keynote)
Sabbath: Space in my calendar. Participants will learn what Sabbath is (a chance to breathe) and what it is not (a list of restrictive rules). They’ve be given practical steps to move from a hectic life to a Sabbath Simplicity life, and will craft a written strategy for making small but significant changes.
Hospitality: Space in my home. Hospitality should never be confused with entertaining. Also, hospitality is not a spiritual gift, but rather, it’s a spiritual practice: a way for us to create some space for God to show up in our lives. As Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” When we see people in the guest room or around our table as Jesus, it changes everything. Participants will craft a list of ways to show hospitality even if they don’t like to cook or are introverted.
Worship: Space in the world. Worship is far more than singing. The Bible says using our gifts is our spiritual worship. Not to earn God’s favor but to align our soul and purpose with God. Participants will learn about how human beings are wired for awe, because God made us, and desires connection with us. Through the beauty, splendor and sheer awesomeness of creation, God reaches toward us, hoping to stop us in our tracks, to get us to connect and reflect and yes, to worship. Our response should be praise, but also, action.
Simplicity: Space in my soul. Simplicity is not about organizing your closets or decluttering, although this spiritual practice may lead to you let go of some of your stuff. Simplicity as a practice offers us freedom. It’s connected, according to Jesus, less to our stuff and more to our mental and emotional clutter. The biggest barrier to true simplicity is not a messy desk or overcrowded closet. According to Jesus, what keeps us from simplicity is the sin of worry.
Generosity: Space in my budget. How can we be generous, not just with money but with time, and with grace? What keeps us from being generous? Generosity is a spiritual discipline that is often, unfortunately, associated with obligation. For many, the discipline of giving is wrought with fear—if I give away some of my very limited resources, how I will ever have enough? Giving changes your perspective. You realize how much you have. When we are generous, we get a glimpse of the abundance of God. When we hoard out of fear, we live in a mindset of scarcity that robs us of intimacy with God.
Critical thinking: Space for faith & doubt. Why are doubts and questions essential for growth? How can we invite people in our care (whether that’s our kids, our small group, even our friends) to wrestle not just with what to think, but how to think? How can we walk with others through seasons of doubt? How can we let go of “supposed to” and embrace mystery? How does embracing mystery deepen our intimacy with God?
To plan a retreat, we recommend that you choose three topics from this list. Each session will be highly interactive.
Other retreat and keynote topics available:
Breathe Are you living your life at a sane pace? Or are you hurried, worried, stressed and overwhelmed? Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” But how, exactly, do we do that? Wouldn’t it be nice to just have a little space to catch your breath, to live in Sabbath Simplicity? That’s exactly what the Breathe retreat is all about. You’ll look at the physical, emotional and spiritual damage that a hurried life can cause. Then, you’ll look at very practical ways to create space for God in your hectic life. Participants will learn what motivates their hurry and over-scheduling, and learn to slow down, breathe deeply, simplify, and rest.
Overcoming Spiritual Loneliness. We live in a culture that is connected and wired, 24-7. Yet we often feel isolated and lonely. We think, sure, God loves the whole world. But does he even notice me? This retreat (or keynote) looks at the barriers to experiencing God’s love, and teaches simple but profound practices that will help us live in the reality of that amazing love. Participants will learn five specific practices for overcoming spiritual loneliness.
Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity
“In resting, you experience the abundant grace of God, a lavish gift never earned, only received.”
Does your life feel busy and chaotic? Does it seem you are you too busy to ever stop? Do you work and rest, or only work? In the Old Testament, God commanded us to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” In the New Testament, Jesus got in trouble with religious leaders because he kept breaking the Sabbath. Is Sabbath-keeping still relevant? If not, why did God include it in the Ten Commandments? What does it mean to live in Sabbath Simplicity? These are the questions we’ll explore together. Participants will come away with clear strategies for adding a Sabbath practice to their lives. This interactive retreat is Keri’s most popular topic. Watch a video of Keri teaching on this topic here.
How to Read and Understand the Bible
Do you want to improve the biblical literacy of your group? So often we read the Bible out of obligation, but secretly feel we don’t get much out of it. Or we get frustrated and so ignore the discipline of Scripture study because it seems difficult to understand.
This talk gives an overview of how we got the Bible, how to read and study it, and why that’s important. It introduces some basic study tools: a concordance, Bible dictionary and commentary, which will greatly enhance your experience of the bible. Participants will learn how to do a word study, and how to use study tools to better understand God’s word and grow spiritually as a result. A very practical and helpful talk.
Soul Oxygen An interactive workshop or retreat, Soul Oxygen offers hands-on learning about six spiritual practices. All six are designed to breathe new life into your relationship with God by offering fresh approaches to Scripture. Keri teaches on and then guides participants as they practice Deep Listening, Breath Prayer, Being There, Journaling, Solitude and Kindness. Based on Keri’s book of the same title.
Listen How can we listen to God? How do we learn to recognize the whispers of God, or the truth of God in the words of others? Participants learn how to develop not only listening skills but also to cultivate a listening heart. They will come away inspired to engage in the ministry of listening, empowered to grow spiritually, and encouraged to hear God’s voice. We look at three ways God speaks to us: through the circumstances of our lives (both joy and pain), through the words (and attentive listening) of others, and through spiritual practices such as listening prayer and meditation on Scripture. Download the workshop outline here. Based on Keri’s book, Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life. This topic can be given as an interactive workshop, weekend retreat or a keynote speech.
The Garden of the Soul How does growth happen? Like a flower, your spirit needs proper care and the right conditions to grow. How can you provide proper care and create the right conditions? This retreat includes teaching sessions, small group discussions and individual spiritual exercises, all designed to provide you with the tools to cultivate the garden of your soul. Learn how to work with God, and open yourself to his work in you, so that your soul can become like a “well-watered garden.”
Simple Compassion: Making a Difference
Do you feel God stirring in your soul, asking you to start really connecting your faith with your action? Do you wonder how your life can reflect God’s heart of justice and mercy, his concern for the poor? Learn how to turn those stirrings into action, and jump-start your justice journey.
This topic makes a life-changing retreat. It can also be a great keynote for a fundraising event, or launch of a justice initiative at your church. We look very practically at how we can become people who make a difference: who act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. The group discussions and reflection times will provide a safe, guilt-free environment for discussing, asking questions, reflecting and strategizing.
The Gift of Christmas Present Planning a holiday event? Whether it’s a Christmas tea, holiday brunch or year-end event, you want a speaker who will engage audiences with laughter and fun, but also remind them about the real meaning of Christmas.
Keri’s newest talk, “The Gift of Christmas Present,” looks at how we often don’t enjoy Christmas because we are thinking about all we have to do, or all the stress we associate with the holidays. This talk looks at how we can be fully present (rather than focusing on past problems or future to-do lists), and gives some practical tips in keeping the holidays sane and sacred. By being present, we can receive the gift of Christmas present–Jesus himself.
God’s Whisper in a Mother’s Chaos This talk focuses on helping mothers learn, in very practical ways, to listen to God’s still small voice. Moms will come away refreshed in their souls, encouraged in their calling, and equipped to continue to listen to God’s whispers.
Letting Go of Guilt So You Can Grow Based on a chapter in God’s Whisper in a Mother’s Chaos, this talk can be presented as a workshop or keynote. Understand what guilt is, why you feel it, whether guilt is ever good, and how you can create new benchmarks for growth that will enable you to let go of guilt.
God and the Feminist Christian: What does the Bible really say about gender roles, marriage, and a woman’s place in the church and family? Can you be a Christian and a feminist? How did Jesus see and treat women? This talk tackles a few of the “difficult passages” with solid Biblical scholarship, then redefines and reframes the conversation to help women embrace and understand their true identity in Christ. This talk clearly and simply explains an egalitarian view of Scripture and challenges audiences to discover and use their gifts both in the church, the home and the workplace.