New Voices: Keri Folmar

By Trillia Newbell

It’s all about the Bible for Keri Folmar, a law graduate turned Bible devotional writer.

Folmar is the wife of John Folmar, senior pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai, and the mother of  Ruth, Chloe and Andrew (ages 14, 12, and 10 respectively). Living life in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Folmar writes, leads, and teaches ladies’ Bible studies, in her church alongside her husband as well as discipling women and doing hospitality.

Folmar and her husband have been married for 15 years sharing life and ministry together. She says, “It has been a great joy to sit under his preaching and partner with him in the gospel.  He edits everything I write to its great improvement.”

Let’s get to know Folmar and her work through our New Voices Q&A:

Q: Tell us about your writing history.

Folmar: My first job after I graduated from law school in 1992 was as a family issues liaison with a presidential campaign for which I wrote about the candidates’ positions on family values.  After the campaign, I worked as press secretary for a Christian political organization and wrote press releases on the positions of political appointees, bills going through Congress, and executive orders by the President.  I then worked for Congress where I wrote bills, speeches, committee reports and amicus briefs for the Supreme Court.

 

Q:  When did you discover you enjoyed writing?

Folmar: I’m not sure I’ve discovered the joy of writing yet!  Sometimes it is agonizing for me to put things down on paper.  However, I enjoy the thinking and reading involved in writing.  The type of writing I enjoy most is inductive Bible study.  I love to ask questions of the Scripture to pull out meaning from the text and then ask questions of myself to apply the meaning to my life.  I also enjoy writing expositions of texts of Scripture because it requires meditation that forces the words deep into my heart.

 

Q:  Why do you write?

Folmar: I write to encourage women to go deeper into the word of God and to, thereby, find their joy in the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.

 

Q:  People often wonder how moms make time to write. How do you do it?

Folmar: My children are in school so I try to carve out a couple days during the week (on a good week) when I can devote the time they are in school to writing.  Since my kids don’t get home until after 3:00 p.m., I want to devote the afternoons and evenings to them, and my brain is barely working by the time we put them to bed at night so I am incapable of writing then.

 

Q: If you were to sit down with a blogger what is one piece of advice you’d give them?joy cover

Folmar: My one piece of advice for Christian women writers is to never take the Scriptures out of context.  Whether you are writing on a particular passage or using a verse for a proof-text, make sure to figure out the author’s intended meaning of the text before you use it or apply it.  Using Scripture without thinking through the meaning in context mis-teaches readers and saps God’s word of its power to change hearts.

 

Q:  Are you working on a project?

Folmar: Cruciform Press published Joy! A Bible Study on Philippians for Women last June (2012).  I am currently in the editing process of another Bible study for women on the book of James.

 

Q:  Why is this topic important to you?

Folmar: As the Westminster catechism says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”  We glorify God and enjoy him by knowing him and living for him.  Studying Scripture is how we both know God and know how to live for him, for he has revealed himself through his Son Jesus on the pages of Scripture.  Therefore, there is no better way to use our time and energy than Bible study.

Inductive Bible study is a method that allows the Bible to speak for itself.  It encourages women to think deeply about what the Bible says, what it means and how it applies to their lives.

I’ve seen many women deepen in their love for the Lord and have their lives transformed as a result of this type of Bible study.  One woman wrote to me, “I have learned so much and have been challenged to think more deeply about how the gospel works itself out in my life.  It has been exciting to me to see women go deeper into the Word and to see lives transformed by truth.”

It is exciting to watch the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, do its work!  I pray these studies will cause more women to hunger for God’s word and grow in their knowledge of him.

 

Q: Let’s get to know you better. How did you become a Christian?

Folmar: I grew up going to church off and on but hearing about Jesus from my Grandmother Ruth.  I don’t know that she taught me about being a sinner. But she did love the Lord and tell me about him.  I began to hear the gospel at youth group in middle school and may have become a Christian then, but I was conflicted, wanting to live like a Christian at times but being pulled by the world at other times.  I lived on a spiritual roller coaster until college when I chose to go the way of the world, although I still would have called myself a Christian.

After college, I worked for a year before going to law school.  The summer before I started school again, it became clear to me that I knew what the Truth was but was not living it.  I was confronted with a choice:  to live for the world or follow Christ.  I knew I would be miserable without Christ so I made hard decisions and clung to him.  At the same time, I was learning the Doctrines of Grace, and God was becoming much bigger in my eyes.  I realized I had been treating God like my cosmic Santa Claus.  I went to him when I had needs or wants.  However, I was created for his glory, not he for mine.  He is the sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe and is worthy of all worship.  I realized that Christianity wasn’t a religion of dos and don’ts but a relationship that is enabled by grace through Jesus reconciling sinners to the Father through the blood of his cross.  I deeply repented and believed on Jesus, and God changed my life.

 

Q:  What is your favorite leisure activity?

Folmar: I love travelling with my family and seeing new sights. Because we live in the Middle East, we have been blessed to be able to travel to different parts of the world and see the beauty of God’s creation in nature and in different cultures of the world.  I also love lounging around and reading good books, especially biographies of godly women in history.

 

Q: When you get discouraged (by sin, life, whatever it may be) is there a favorite Scripture you turn to?

Folmar: The passage I have been using most recently to spur me on is Philippians 3:8-11, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

This passage calls me to see any gain or loss, any suffering or worldly success as loss compared with the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.  It gives me reason to treasure Christ as it reminds me of what Christ has done for me in the past—his death which secured righteousness for me to bring me to God—assures me of what he is doing in me now—the power of his resurrection is working in me to make me more like him—and causes me to look forward to what he will do for me in the future—the glorious day when I will be resurrected from the dead to see him face to face.

I have been meditating on and praying this passage for my sisters and brothers at church, my children, and myself.

After living in the Middle East and seeing how women are treated, I love to read and study the passages where Jesus is relating to women.  Jesus doesn’t treat women as unclean or worthless, he shows them love and compassion.

The woman with the issue of blood is one example in Mark 5.  The woman is a social outcast who has spent all her money in trying to become well.  She is unclean, according to Old Testament law, and cannot touch others without spreading her uncleanness.  In fear and desperation, she squeezes through a crowd of people risking the shame of exposure in the hope that a touch of Jesus’ robe will heal her.  As she touches Jesus’ robe, rather than making him unclean, she feels her blood-flow stop.  Mercifully, Jesus has healed her and made her clean.  And he does not let her get away anonymously.  He calls her “daughter” and assures her that because of her faith in him she has been made well.

Oh, that Muslim women would come to know the love and kindness of Christ!  He will not turn them away.  He can make them well—eternally!

keri folmarMore About Keri

Keri Folmar is the wife of John Folmar, pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai, an evangelical church in the United Arab Emirates.  Her primary role is supporting her husband and mothering her three children, Ruth, Chloe and Andrew.  She also enjoys discipling women and leading and writing Bible studies. Before marrying John, Keri was a lawyer and served as the chief counsel for the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution where she was the staff writer of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.

 

 

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