Note from Christa: I heard Jennifer speak over five years ago when my church invited her to one of the women’s programs. I was touched by her honesty and challenged by her call to seek a relationship with Jesus through prayer. Since then, I’ve purchased each one of her books and through them learned more about myself and about the God who loves me. Don’t pass this one up.
Jennifer Kennedy Dean is Executive director of The Praying Life Foundation and a respected author and speaker. She is the author of numerous books, studies, and magazine articles specializing in prayer and spiritual formation. Her book Heart’s Cryhas been named National Day of Prayer’s signature book. You’ll find articles and daily quotes from Jennifer at the National Day of Prayer website. Her book, Live a Praying Life, has been called a flagship work on prayer.
Jennifer was widowed in 2005 after 26 years of marriage to Wayne Dean, her partner both in life and ministry. They are the parents of three grown sons. Jennifer makes her home in Marion, KY.
An Interview with Jennifer Kennedy Dean
You are known for your extensive research and your fresh insights. Do you have a method for gleaning new concepts?
Of course, the truths are not new, but I think I sometimes am able to frame old truths in new ways. I always find that when I put the words of Jesus into their original Hebraic setting and experience the scene through the viewpoint of His real-time audience, some new little fragment of truth finds its way into my thinking. I like to let the Scripture breathe. To let it sit in my heart until its full aroma has time to emerge. There’s the hard-core research, and then there’s the marinating. Turn your imagination loose and unfurl your curiosity, and listen to the living Word.
You have a series of Bible studies in the format of Set Apart, designed to be interactive. This series of studies has video series and leader’s kits available. What is the advantage to this kind of format?
I try to produce a new Bible study with video series every year. I like the interactive format because I like to pull the reader into the Scripture to experience the Word. I like to challenge the reader to interact with the thoughts and ideas and to take the time to absorb them and apply them, rather than just to read. The other thing I like about this format is that it can be done by an individual, or as a group. In the video series, I like to be able to teach the main points of the material and set the learners’ up for a productive week of personal study. I love feeling like I get to be part of your Bible study group! The kits have lots of other resources for leading a small group in the study.
Several of your studies have theme songs that go with them, as Set Apart does. How do these songs come about?
I have developed a song-writing relationship with a talented musician named Roxanne Lingle. I write poems, we turn them into lyrics, Roxanne composes and arranges the music, and Roxanne records the songs. For Set Apart, we have the theme song in the form of a music video, which is a new addition. In the leader’s kit you have the audio track, accompaniment track, lead sheet, and the music video. The theme song becomes an important and worshipful part of the study experience.
About the Book:
(Marion, Kentucky) – In a world of self-love and materialism it’s reassuring to know that God’s Word has a better plan for living. Renowned author and speaker, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, provides insight to the life of Christ, specifically the Sermon on the Mount, in her new book, Set Apart: A 6 Week Study of the Beatitudes.
Through careful study of the Hebrew traditions of biblical times, Dean leads participants into a deeper awareness of this early ministry sermon series by Christ.
Jennifer guides readers to a heightened understanding of each beatitude, correlating the Ten Commandments with the Sermon on the Mount to tie these Old and New Testament principles together. Dean shares how living the Set Apart Life is an exciting and life-changing spiritual journey. Participants surrendered to Christ will see a total transformation: outward actions of holiness as well as inward attitudes of joy. Believers following along in this workbook will experience the life God intends. This blessedness comes from seeking and knowing God. Anything outside the realm of Jesus Christ results in emptiness–the ultimate opposite of blessing.
Each chapter includes interactive questions for readers to answer, emphasizing God’s desire to reproduce the character and attitudes of Jesus in each Christian’s life. Along with the Bible study book, there is a Leader Kit that includes six DVD sessions and a CD with bonus material for small-group leaders. Jennifer’s website, http://www.prayinglife.org, provides opportunities for previewing the Set Apart materials and extra resources for pastors and leaders.
Adapted from Set Apartby Jennifer Kennedy Dean
“I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9-10).
My weakness is my greatest asset in the Kingdom. My weakness is where God meets me. My weakness is where Christ’s power is most clearly displayed in me. Only when I am confronted with my own helplessness can I experience the power of Christ in me.
“Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness.” (O. Hallesby, Prayer)
I recently had the tiniest glimpse of how powerfully helplessness speaks. A few years ago, I lost my husband to brain cancer. During the final months of his illness, he became utterly helpless. The man I had leaned on for 26 years, whose strength I counted on, was now dependent upon me for his every need. During those weeks, my ear was tuned to his every sigh, his every restless movement, every change in his breathing pattern. If I had to be out of his room for even a few minutes, I had a monitor with me so I could hear him if he needed me. When he was strong, I was not so attentive. His needs did not fill my waking moments, when he could meet them himself. His helplessness spoke louder than any word he might have spoken. Because of his helplessness–because I knew he could do nothing on his own–I was on watch day and night.
My experience is but a pale shadow of the reality of the Kingdom, but still it helps me understand how my weakness is the opening for His strength. The fact of my helplessness is the only prayer I need. It speaks louder than eloquence.
Let your helplessness and your weakness be the offering you bring to Him. He is not waiting for you to be strong. He is waiting for you to recognize that you are weak.
Jennifer Kennedy Dean provides an informative video commentary to introduce Set Apart content.
You’ll be encouraged by the music video produced especially for Set Apart. http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=d155726c8c57d0b6f7a8
GRAND PRIZE DRAWING
Please leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win the following items from Jennifer. If you are a leader (small groups, book club, Bible Study, Women’s Ministry), please note that you are–you will automatically be entered in the contest. If you are a member of one of these groups at your church or community, mention that you are a group member.
You will be entered to win:
A Set Apart Leader’s Kit (video and leader resources and a student book) retail $79.99
A copy of Fueled by Faith (retail $19.99)
Jennifer will have a live web event just for your group
THIS BLOG TOUR COORDINATED BY KATHY CARLTON WILLIS COMMUNICATIONS. A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THE BOOK, SET APART, WAS GIFTED TO ME IN EXCHANGE FOR RUNNING THIS TOUR ON MY BLOG.