Welcome! Today it is an honor to introduce guest Cindy Bultema. I met Cindy almost three years ago at my first ever speaking conference. Cindy was kind and gracious, fitting my meeting in with her packed schedule. As I was very new to intentional faith and to the career, Cindy’s sensitive guidance and tender prayer were such gifts to me … and still are. It truly takes community to live a faith-filled life. I am grateful for Cindy who allows her story and her freedom to draw others to Him.
Q&A with Cindy Bultema
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your new study and why you chose to use Corinth?
Live Full, Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World is a six-session Bible study book and DVD series based on 1 Corinthians. I love how God’s Word contains instructions on every (yes, every) situation we might face in life—even instructing us on how to live set-apart lives right in the middle of today’s confused culture. Whether women have been studying the Bible for decades, or are still trying to figure this “Jesus thing” out, I hope they’ll find relevant material that meet them right where they are on their spiritual journey.
I picked 1 Corinthians because Paul wrote this letter to church members living in the “Sin City” of their day. (So when you see 1st & 2nd Corinthians, think 1st & 2nd Las Vegas!) The church members in Corinth were surrounded by immorality, idolatry and indulgence, much like our culture today. Together we can learn from Paul’s wisdom to the Corinthians as he addressed issues such as identity, unity, purpose, purity, as well as overcoming temptations. Good stuff!
2. What was one of your favorite “ah ha” moments regarding this study?
Wow! So many! I think one “ah ha” moment was the fresh realization of how much our beliefs shape our behavior. If we really desire to live full and walk free, we must have our beliefs based on the Word of God.
This is very personal to me. You see, when I was in my teens, a peer scrawled on the chipped bathroom door of the girl’s restroom at my high school—“Cindy is a fat red cow.”
Unfortunately, those words defined me for the next two decades, attached to me like a sticky nametag. “Hello, my name is Cindy. I’m a fat red cow.”
I didn’t know the Truth yet, that God calls me something very different—
the apple of His eye,
a princess of great price.
So I believed a bathroom stall scrawl, and gave it tremendous power over my life and behavior. I allowed those words to chisel my worth and carve up my value. Whenever I thought about my body or my looks, I flashed back on those ugly etchings.
And when we believe the “lying labels”—as we often do—we start to behave in a way that lines up with that false belief. If we think we are (fill in the blank), we will soon begin to act that way.
For example, if we believe our bodies are worthless, we will begin to conduct ourselves in that way: overeating, drinking too much, starving ourselves, or maybe even engaging in unhealthy sexual relations.
But when we believe the Truth of who God says we are, we begin to experience the fullness and freedom that is ours in Christ. Woo Hoo!
We will never live full and walk free if our beliefs are based on the messages of the world. We must know and think God’s truth-filled thoughts on every situation.
Wrong thinking leads to wrong living—every single time.
3. What do you hope readers glean from Live Full, Walk Free?
Freedom in every area of their life—including their sexuality. I often meet women who are weighed down by the pain and humiliation of their sexual pasts, even many years later.
I’ve shed tears with countless friends who expressed feeling intense guilt for premarital sex, having an abortion, affair, or other sexual sins.
I’ve walked with beautiful women who disclosed their excruciating stories of childhood sexual victimization. They know it’s not their fault, they should “move on.” They’ve tried to live forgiven and free, yet, they can’t shake the shame.
Unfortunately I think sex is one of Satan’s favorite lures. Clearly he’s using sexual sin to hook our culture: Porn is rampant, sexting among teens is commonplace, and we can’t even go to the grocery store for salad fixings without seeing sexual images on the covers of checkout magazines.
For many women, living in our sex-crazed culture has drastically impacted one’s ability to live full and walk free. Trust me: I get it. For a girl like me with a past like mine, I know what it’s like to be burdened with regret, disappointment, heavy hurts.
No judgment here, only grace.
This I know based on the authority of God’s Word: no matter what you have done, or what has been done to you—Jesus Christ came so you might live full and walk free. You are not the one woman who has outsinned the grace and mercy of God. There is no one too far gone from God’s amazing grace!
4. What is one of the most challenging aspects of writing a bible study?
The hardest part for me in writing a Bible study is overcoming unbelief.
I love God’s Word, I delight in sharing it with others, and I have no doubt God uses His Word to transform lives from the inside out. That’s the easy part.
But when I sit down to write a new lesson, I need fresh mountain-moving size faith to believe that God might use me—messy, mom jean & hoodie wearin’—me. I mean, I believe God to do mighty and amazing things through everyone else, but to think I have something meaningful to put into print is where I get stuck. I need to trust Him more. I waste a lot of time wrestling with God about this one.
I’ve finally surrendered to the idea that if God can use a donkey, He can use a ginger like me.
5. During the writing of this study, you and your husband traveled to Greece. What were a few of the highlights from your trip?
Yes. My husband John and I were blessed to travel with the New York School of Bible on a study tour. I learned so much. It was such a gift to learn even more about the city, people and culture of ancient Greece. The more we understand the background, the more the Bible comes alive!
For example, in Corinth, there were numerous temples. While I was there, we saw the ruins everywhere. The Corinthians would have been as familiar with temples as a modern city dweller would be with skyscrapers, or a rural person would be with silos.
So when Paul talks about temples in the book of 1 Corinthians, his words would have provided them with a very real visual image. Except this time, Paul was saying something different about temples. As in shockingly different.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul writes:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God?”
After hearing Paul’s words, the Corinthians would have instantly imagined what a temple looked like: domed ceilings, glossy columns, stone floors.
In other words, fancy. Elegant. Important.
Paul is telling them, and you and me, that our body is a temple, a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit.
6. You are an excellent speaker who is in high demand. Can you provide a few tips for those who are getting started as speakers?
The #1 tip I always share is start with a prayer team. Prayer is the work, and I recommend starting on your knees.
Building a foundation in prayer is crucial.
Next, prepare your message. What is it you desire to share? Who do you want to share it to? Why? Work on preparing a solid message, so when the door opens, you’ll be ready!
Additionally, I’d encourage anyone wanting to get started as a speaker to spread the word that you have a message to share! Let your family and friends know if they hear of a moms group/church event needing a speaker, to please keep you in mind. Lastly, I highly recommend attending Speaking Conferences. Not only are conferences a wonderful way to grow as a speaker, it’s an amazing opportunity to network and connect with other speakers. Many of the women I’ve met at Speaker’s Conferences are some of my closest friends today.
7. Can you offer a prayer for those of us who are struggling to live set apart in these turbulent times?
thank You for my dear sister. Lord, how I ask that You would remind her in the deepest places of her heart and mind that she is lavishly loved by you. Please open her eyes to the purpose and plan that you have for her life. Help her to let go of anything she is holding onto that is getting in the way of the full, abundant life that You desire for her. God, I thank You that because of Jesus we can live victoriously—regardless of being surrounded by immorality, indulgence, and idolatry.
I pray that my dear friend would cling to Your Truth always—including when temptation comes, or old habits try to resurface. And for all of us seeking to live set apart lives in our sin-soaked world, may we know Truth, live Truth, and share Your powerful Truths, in love, with others everywhere we go.
We love You, Lord, and we bless Your powerful and holy Name. In the life-changing, delivering name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you—Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her beagle Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school.
Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World is a six-chapter journey through 1 Corinthians. A six-session DVD is also available providing additional teaching from Cindy to enhance your study. For a FREE chapter of Live Full Walk Free, a set of A-Z scripture cards, and other resources, visit Cindy’s blog here: http://www.cindybultema.com/live-full-walk-free/.