Sunday, March 09, 2008

Refresh Your Lessons Tip: Vary Bible Study Methods

As a regular Bible study teacher, women's ministry leader, conference speaker, and trainer, I know just how humdrum Bible study can become!


Yes, I said "humdrum."

Perhaps "humdrum" isn't quite the right word. "Routine" would be more accurate.

We develop our study habits (many good) and lesson-prep strategies and plow ahead with our plans day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I need to change-it-up. I need to try something different or challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone.

And when I do, I find myself relying more heavily on God than I might otherwise. And I soon sense His Spirit breathing fresh life into my soul (and, hence, my teaching).

Here are a number of resources I found that offer sound, sometimes creative, strategies for studying the Scriptures (without sacrificing a solid hermeneutic).

The Navigators Bible Studies Handbook

Discipleship Journal's Best Bible Study Methods

Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods

Discover the Bible for Yourself (Kay Arthur)

Living By the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible, Revised and Updated (Hendricks)

How to Study the Bible (Robert West)

How to Study Your Bible: The Lasting Rewards of the Inductive Method (Kay Arthur)

The Youth Worker's Guide to Creative Bible Study (Dockrey)

The Busy Mom's Guide to Bible Study (Welchel)

The Bible Study Teacher's Guide (Van Kampen)

I look to these titles (and others like them) for new (to me) strategies and fresh inspiration.

But if I want to invigorate my vision for teaching I'll turn to one of those books listed in the right margin in this blog under the "Ten Books Every Bible Study Teacher Should Read" heading.

In either case I find God using these resources to spark the creativity He's given me and to fan my passion for His word (and teaching) into flame once again.

I hope you find something here that will invigorate you, too.

'Til next time,

Monday, April 23, 2007

Identify What Restores You, Then Do It!

DH and I recently spent nine days in the Great Smoky Mountains, a trip that reminded me once again of what truly restores my soul.
It's taken me many years, but I've finally learned that being outdoors in God's Creation is what refreshes me most: woods, streams, lakes, gardens, mountains, hollows, coves, seashores -- as long as it's outdoors and relatively untouched by human hands (and away from the crowds) it will refresh my soul like little else.

For the longest time I thought that because other people were rejuvenated by things like service projects, getting together with friends, extended worship times, inspiring music, journaling, going to conferences, taking workshops, etc., that I had to be, too. And I tried. I really tried.

But those things, though I was better for them, drained me even more.

Then I realized that I needed to listen to how God wired me. And God wired me with a deep appreciation for all things outdoors; He made me so that I need the outdoors.

Not everyone is wired that way, and that's okay.

But I am.

And I'm finally feeling free enough in grace to make time for my "nature fix." I'm listening to the restoration song God has implanted in my heart, and I'm finding my soul restored.

What refreshes you?

It could be, like it is for me, reconnecting with the Great Outdoors. But it could be other things, too:
  • creativity (doing art work or hand work or crafts, cooking, writing)
  • music (listening to music, playing an instrument, participating in corporate worship)

  • relationships (being with people)
  • learning (studying, attending workshops, listening to teaching)

  • helping (serving others)

  • physical activity (swimming, hiking, bowling, kayaking, biking, working out)

  • other people's stories (reading biographies, listening to others)

  • spiritual disciplines (extended time in prayer, meditation, Bible study, worship, etc.)

  • quiet (just turning off the noise of everyday life

  • changing your pace

  • changing your environment

These are just a few; I'm sure you could name others.

The point is this: learn what truly restores you (not what others think should restore you), and then plan time to nurture that part of you. Make time for that which rejuvenates your spirit and encourages your soul.

You (and others, especially those you serve) will be better for it.

'Til next time,

Monday, March 05, 2007

Great Apologetics & Info Site

Wow... another helpful site. Just think of the resources we have today compared to even ten years ago!

For years I've recommend the Christian Research Institute as the place to go for information on apologetics (defense of the faith) and cults.

But as of today, I've found a second site that seems every bit as helpful and as biblically sound (at least from what I've read there so far).

Check out Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM, for short) at (just in case their name-link doesn't work).

It's user-friendly, well organized, and had information on just about every cult or false teaching out there, as well as sound answers for seekers about biblical Christianity. It also has thorough research sections on apologetics and religious movements.

It's worth a look. I hope you find it helpful.

[Disclaimer: I haven't read every page on every topic at this site, so I can't know everything said or cited there. But from what I see so far, CARM is biblically solid).


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just a Little Reminder...

Photo: a sparrow on my deck railing, February 26, 20 07

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. [Matthew 10:29-31, NIV]

Photo: a rose from hubby for Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his spendor was dressed like one of these. If this is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will ne not much more clothe you, O you of lilttle faith? So do not worry... [Matthew 6:28-31, NIV]
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Proverbs NOT Found in the Bible

I found this list in A Theological Miscellany: 176 Pages of Odd, Merry, Essentially Inessential Facts, Figures, and Tidbits About Christianity by T. J. McTavish (W Publishing Group, 2005).

It's amazing to me how many of the following sound biblical or are biblically influenced, but are not actually found in Scripture as stated.

So...for your enjoyment and information, here's the fascinating list.

  • Waste not, want not.

  • If the shoe fits, wear it.

  • Practice makes perfect.

  • Time heals all wounds.

  • Once saved, always saved.

  • Money is the root of all evil.

  • Cleanliness is next to godliness.

  • Spare the rod, spoil the child.

  • You can't judge a book by its cover.

  • God said it. I believe it, that settles it.

  • God helps those who help themselves.

  • You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

  • Children should be seen and not heard.

  • All good things come to those who wait.

  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

A fun exercise using this list might be to poll your Bible study group members to see how many these proverbs they identify as being in the Bible. My guess is that the average lay person would say at least a third of these are (when, in fact, none are as stated, though some are fragments of or inspired by actual Bible passages).

Enjoy! And have a good week!

'Til next time,