Chuck Swindoll – Become a Lifelong Student of the Scriptures (Dallas Theological Seminary)

Dr. Chuck Swindoll, Dallas Theological Seminary Chancellor and Senior Pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX, encourages students to continue to pursue their study of the word throughout life.

Traits of youth who do not leave the church

This is a very helpful article on church leaders.com which gives 3 traits of those young folks who do not walk away from the church. It is written by Jon Nielson, who is the senior high pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. Read the article in its entirety here – http://www.churchleaders.com/youth (Photo credit www.workingworld.com)

*Trait # 1 – They are converted

The Apostle Paul, interestingly enough, doesn’t use phrases like “nominal Christian” or “pretty good kid.” The Bible doesn’t seem to mess around with platitudes like: “Yeah, it’s a shame he did that, but he’s got a good heart.” When we listen to the witness of Scripture, particularly on the topic of conversion, we find that there is very little wiggle room. Listen to these words: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17) We youth pastors need to get back to understanding salvation as what it really is: a miracle that comes from the glorious power of God through the working of the Holy Spirit.

We need to stop talking about “good kids.” We need to stop being pleased with attendance at youth group and fun retreats. We need to start getting on our knees and praying that the Holy Spirit will do miraculous saving work in the hearts of our students as the Word of God speaks to them. In short, we need to get back to a focus on conversion. How many of us are preaching to “unconverted evangelicals”?

*Trait # 2 – They have been equipped, not entertained.

Christ gives us—teachers—to the church, not for entertainment, encouragement, examples, or even friendship primarily. He gives us to the church to “equip” the saints to do gospel ministry in order that the church of Christ may be built up.

If I have not equipped the students in my ministry to share the gospel, disciple a younger believer, and lead a Bible study, then I have not fulfilled my calling to them, no matter how good my sermons have been. We pray for conversion; that is all we can do, for it is entirely a gracious gift of God. But after conversion, it is our Christ-given duty to help fan into flame a faith that serves, leads, teaches, and grows. If our students leave high school without Bible-reading habits, Bible-study skills, and strong examples of discipleship and prayer, we have lost them. We have entertained, not equipped them…and it may indeed be time to panic!

Trait # 3 – Their parents preached the gospel to them.

As a youth pastor, I can’t do all this. All this equipping that I’m talking about is utterly beyond my limited capabilities. It is impossible for me to bring conversion, of course, but it is also impossible for me to have an equipping ministry that sends out vibrant churchmen and churchwomen if my ministry is not being reinforced tenfold in the students’ homes. The common thread that binds together almost every ministry-minded 20-something that I know is abundantly clear: a home where the gospel was not peripheral but absolutely central. The 20-somethings who are serving, leading, and driving the ministries at our church were kids whose parents made them go to church. They are kids whose parents punished them and held them accountable when they were rebellious. They are kids whose parents read the Bible around the dinner table every night. And they are kids whose parents were tough but who ultimately operated from a framework of grace that held up the cross of Jesus as the basis for peace with God and forgiveness toward one another.

This is not a formula! Kids from wonderful gospel-centered homes leave the church; people from messed-up family backgrounds find eternal life in Jesus and have beautiful marriages and families. But it’s also not a crapshoot. In general, children who are led in their faith during their growing-up years by parents who love Jesus vibrantly, serve their church actively, and saturate their home with the gospel completely, grow up to love Jesus and the church. The words of Proverbs 22:6 do not constitute a formula that is true 100 percent of the time, but they do provide us with a principle that comes from the gracious plan of God, the God who delights to see his gracious Word passed from generation to generation: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Youth pastors, pray with all your might for true conversion; that is God’s work. Equip the saints for the work of the ministry; that is your work. Parents, preach the gospel and live the gospel for your children; our work depends on you.

John Piper – On Querying the Biblical Text

By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org (photo via julianfreeman.ca)

If the Bible is coherent, then understanding the Bible means grasping how things fit together. Becoming a Biblical theologian means seeing more and more pieces fit together into a glorious mosaic of the divine will. And doing exegesis means querying the text about how its many propositions cohere in the author’s mind.

If we are going to feed our people, we must ever advance in our grasp of biblical truth. And to advance in our grasp of biblical truth we must be troubled by biblical affirmations.

It must bother us that James and Paul don’t seem to jibe. Only when we are troubled and bothered do we think hard. And if we don’t think hard about how biblical affirmations fit together, we will never penetrate to their common root and discover the beauty of unified divine truth. The end result is that our Bible reading will become insipid, we will turn to fascinating „secondary literature,” our sermons will be the lame work of „second-handers,” and the people will go hungry.

„We never think until we have been confronted with a problem,” said John Dewey. He was right. And that is why we will never think hard about biblical truth until we are troubled by its complexity.

Habitually Disturbed

We must form the habit of being systematically disturbed by things that at first glance don’t make sense. Or to put it a different way, we must relentlessly query the text. One of the greatest honors I received while teaching at Bethel was when the teaching assistants in the Bible department gave me a T-shirt which had the initials of Jonathan Edwards on the front and on the back the words: „Asking questions is the key to understanding.”

But there are several strong forces which oppose our relentless and systematic interrogating of biblical texts. One is that it consumes a great deal of time and energy on one small portion of Scripture. We have been schooled [quite erroneously] that there is a direct correlation between reading a lot and gaining insight. But in fact there is no positive correlation at all been quantity of pages read and quality of insight gained. Just the reverse. Except for a few geniuses, insight diminishes as we try to read more and more. Insight or understanding is the product of intensive, headache-producing meditation on two or three verses and how they fit together. This kind of reflection and rumination is provoked by asking questions of the text. And you cannot do it if you hurry. Therefore, we must resist the deceptive urge to carve notches in our bibliographic gun. Take two hours to ask ten questions of Galatians 2:20 and you will gain one hundred times the insight you would have attained by reading 30 pages of the New Testament or any other book. Slow down. Query. Ponder. Chew.

Another reason it is hard to spend hours probing for the roots of coherence is that it is fundamentally unfashionable today to systematize and seek for harmony and unity. This noble quest has fallen on hard times because so much artificial harmony has been discovered by impatient and nervous Bible defenders. But if God’s mind is truly coherent and not confused, then exegesis must aim to see the coherence of biblical revelation and the profound unity of divine truth. Unless we are to dabble forever on the surface of things (content to turn up „tensions” and „difficulties”) then we must resist the atomistic (and basically anti-intellectual) fashions in the contemporary theological establishment. There is far too much debunking of past failures and far too little construction going on.

A third force that opposes the effort to ask the Bible questions is this: Asking questions is the same as posing problems, and we have been discouraged all our lives from finding problems in God’s Holy Book.

Rightfully Respecting God’s Word

It is impossible to respect the Bible too highly, but it is very possible to respect it wrongly. If we do not ask seriously how differing texts fit together, then we are either superhuman (and glance all truth at a glance) or indifferent (and don’t care about seeing more truth). But I don’t see how anyone who is indifferent or superhuman can have a proper respect for the Bible. Therefore reverence for God’s Word demands that we ask questions and pose problems and that we believe there are answers and solutions which will reward our labor with „treasures new and old” (Matt. 13:52).

We must train our people that it is not irreverent to see difficulties in the biblical text and to think hard about how they can be resolved.

I do not accuse my 6-year-old son, Benjamin, of irreverence when he cannot make sense out of a Bible verse and asks me about it. He is just learning to read. But have our abilities to read been perfected? Can any of us at one reading grasp the logic of a paragraph and see how every part relates to all the others and how they all fit together to make a unified point? How much less the thought of an entire epistle, the New Testament, the Bible! If we care about truth, we must relentlessly query the text and form the habit of being bothered by things we read.

Reading for Reverence

This is just the opposite of irreverence. It is what we do if we crave the mind of Christ. Nothing sends us deeper into the counsels of God than seeing apparent theological discrepancies in the Bible and pondering them day and night until they fit into an emerging system of unified truth. For example, a year ago I struggled for days with how Paul could say on the one hand, „Have no anxiety about anything” (Phil. 4:6), but on the other hand say (with apparent impunity) that his „anxiety for all the churches” was a daily pressure on him (2 Cor. 11:28). How could he say, „Rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16), and „Weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15)? How would he say to give thanks „always and for everything” (Eph. 5:20) and then admit, „I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” (Rom. (9:2)?

More recently I have asked, What does it mean that Jesus said in Matthew 5:39 to turn the other cheek when struck, but said in Matthew 10:23, „When they persecute you in one town, flee. . .”? When do you flee and when do endure hardship and turn the other cheek? I have also been pondering in what sense it is true that God is „slow to anger” (Ex. 34:6) and in what sense „His wrath is quickly kindled” (Ps. 2:11).

There are hundreds and hundreds of such seeming discrepancies in the Holy Scripture, and we dishonor the text not to see them and think them through. God is not a God of confusion. His tongue is not forked. There are profound and wonderful resolutions to all problems. He has called us to an eternity of discovery so that every morning for ages to come we might break forth in new songs of praise.

In 2 Timothy 2:7 Paul gave us a command and a promise. He commanded, „Think over what I say.” And he promised, „God will give you understanding in everything.”

How do the command and promise fit together? The little „for” (gar) gives the answer. „Think . . . because God will reward you with understanding.”

The promise is not made to all. It is made to those who think. And we do not think until we are confronted with a problem. Therefore, brothers, let us query the text.

Coming March 3rd 8/7C pm- A new History Channel Mini Series will feature the Bible- from Genesis to Revelation (Preview Videos)

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10-hour television mini-series premiering March 3, 2013 on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible from Genesis to Revelation come to life in a way never before seen. The final episode of the series will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus.

8:00 pm
Premiere
The Bible: In the Beginning/ExodusNoah endures God’s wrath; Abraham reaches the Promised Land but still must prove his faith in God; M… TV14 V | CCShow Site

source outreach.com via SermonCentral.com

Source for table below – http://www.outreach.com/the-bible/about.aspx

March 3, Episode 1 The Beginning – Noah, Abraham thru Jacob, Israel begins
March 3, Episode 2 The Exodus – Pharaoh, Moses, Red Sea and Ten Commandments
March 10, Episode 3 The Homeland – Joshua, Samson, Judges, David & Goliath
March 10, Episode 4 The Kingdom – David, Saul, Solomon
March 17, Episode 5 The Survival – Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, Jews return to Jerusalem
March 17, Episode 6 The Revolution – Roman occupation, Birth of Christ, John the Baptist, Jesus and Peter
March 24, Episode 7 The Mission – Jesus ministry & miracles, Pharasee, the Disciples
March 24, Episode 8 The Betrayal – Last supper, Judas, Peter’s Denial
March 31, Episode 9 The Passion – Nicodemus, Caiaphas, Pilate, Crucifixion, Resurrection
March 31, Episode 10 The Courage – Jesus returns, Holy Spirit comes, Martyrdom of the Disciples, John survival and exile to Patmos, Revelation

The Nativity

Mary did you know

The Bible Trailer

How to have quiet time with God

article and photo www.riversouthbay.org

Ever wondered what exactly it means or how exactly you would go about spending time with God?

I came across this article from the River Church of the South Bay that gives one of the best blueprints for spending time with God. What better time than with the START of a NEW YEAR to commit to prayer and study of God’s word. HERE is a great aid that helps just about anyone accomplish this task. Even Jesus had quiet time in prayer with God- “Very early in the morning, while it was till dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”  Mark 1:35 and how much more do we – “Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks”  Matthew 4:4

Topics addressed (with biblical references) are-

Why we need quiet time with God-

  1. We need nourishment from God’s word to grow.
  2. We need to hear from God daily.
  3. We need to draw close to God.
  4. We need the Word which is our best defense against sin.
  5. We need to be corrected when we sin.
  6. We need encouragement and comfort.

What is involved in quiet time?

  1. Bible reading
  2. Prayer time
  3. Journaling and bible note-taking

Then there are some great tips for a meaningful quiet time and then the steps to actually facilitate this quiet time.

Other articles (that can be extemely helpsul to new believers too) on the same website include:

How To Have A Quiet Time With God

Every relationship takes time to develop.  You have to spend time with someone to take that relationship deeper.  It’s no different with our relationship with the Lord.  Spend time with Him.  There is just no other way.  That’s why we encourage every believer to develop the habit of a daily time with God.  As simply as I know how to put it, a quiet time is time alone with the Lord.  If we do not spend time cultivating that one-on-one relationship with Him, we will eventually feel spiritually disconnected from Him, out of touch, restless, dissatisfied and unfulfilled.  After a while we will begin drifting away and are no longer influenced by His presence in our lives.  The fact is we all desire a closeness with God but often aren’t experiencing it simply because we aren’t spending time with Him.  After a while we say to ourselves, “I’m the same old person I’ve always been”, “I’m not changing”, “My relationship with the Lord is stale and stagnant”.  That’s why each day we need to set aside time to spend with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer in order to deepen our knowledge and love for Him that will result in real life change.

When I find myself worrying, it’s an indication that I am not spending time with the Lord.  When I find my mind wandering or my heart hardening to the things of God, it’s again, an indication that I am not spending time with the Lord.  The primary goal as growing Christians is to become “conformed to His likeness” (Rom. 8:39).  Another word for conformed is “transformation” which means “life change from the inside out”.  We can change a behavior or an attitude on the outside, but to change on the inside takes inner transformation.   Whatever is going on in your heart will be mirrored by your actions.  No one can fake it for long.  To change the inside takes a deeper relationship with the Lord.  What we also desire for is congruence.  We don’t want to live one way in public and another way in private.  It takes time with the Lord to bring these two into more alignment and consistency.  Romans 12:1-2 reveals that the only way to be transformed is to read, study and reflect on the word of God.  The two primary elements that are used to accomplish this are Bible reading and prayer.  I have written the following guide to help motivate you and give you the tools you need to begin implementing a quiet time into your daily schedule.

One author says, “In practice we often find ourselves to be “thirsty” Christians: either because we are failing to drink or because God is stretching our capacity for Himself and we need to drink more deeply”.  If you find yourself restless, dissatisfied, and unfulfilled, it’s because you are not regularly drinking in God’s word or you are not going deep enough in the well.  So I encourage you to use this guide and begin to spend regular time with God and drink deeply.           Todd Wendorff

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life”  John 4:14  NASB-U

“My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken” Psalm  62:1-2  NASU

“as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God”  Psalm 42:1  NIV

“The one who looks steadily at God’s perfect law . . . and makes that law his HABIT  –  not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice will be happy in all that he does”  James 1:25  Ph

“Bus his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night”  Psalm 1:2  NIV

Why Have A Quiet Time With God?

The Apostle Paul lists some very specific reasons for why we need to have a quiet time in II Timothy 3:16-17.  He says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”.  you will find all four of these reasons in what follows.

1.  We need nourishment from God’s word to grow.

Just as we need food for our body, we all need God’s word for our soul.  It feeds us spiritually.  No one eats just one meal a week.  Take in God’s word on a daily basis.

“Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks”  Matthew 4:4  GN

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good”  1 Peter 2:1-3  NIV

2.  We need to hear from God daily.

Relationships grow through good communication.  God wants to speak to us daily from His word.  He wants to reveal to us His direction and give us His insight for our lives.  God often wants to correct us in our ways.  We will need to come with an obedient heart and be willing to repent and learn what God wants us to change in our lives.

“Very early in the morning, while it was till dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”  Mark 1:35  NIV

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation”  Psalm 5:3  NIV

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God,; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”  Psalm 143:10  NIV

3. We need to draw close to God.

There’s a great worship song that goes, “Jesus draw me close, closer Lord to you, Let the world around me fade away… For I desire to worship and obey.”  Drawing close to God shuts the world out around us.  It allows us to focus on Him and sense His presence in our lives.  We live often by brail in our relationship with God when Jesus wants us to see Him clearly.  We say we love God but our hearts are far from Him because we aren’t drawing close.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you”  James 4:8  NIV

“Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples!”  Isaiah 34:1  NIV

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”  Isaiah 29:14  NIV

4.  We need the Word which is our best defense against sin.

If you were in a battle, you couldn’t defend yourself without a weapon.  God’s word is a sword that defends you from the enemy’s attacks.  When we have the word of God in our hearts, it acts as a shield and a sword against temptations to sin.

“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm… in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one … and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:13-17  NASB-U

“How can a young man keep his way pure?  By keeping it according to Your word.  With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.  Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You”  Psalm  119:9-11  NASB-U

5.  We need to be corrected when we sin.

Even though it is not easy to hear correction, we know it is always to benefit.  How can we change and grow without it?  God wants to bring correction in our lives when we win.  Are we willing to hear it and confess it before Him?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”  Psalm 139:23-24  NIV

“Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong”  Job 6:24  NIV

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said “I will confess my transgression to the LORD” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin”  Psalm 32:5  NIV

6.  We need encouragement and comfort.

No one can make it through the hard times without some encouragement and comfort.  We need to know that God cares for us in the midst of trials.  We go to His word to hear from Him and learn how He cares for us.

“My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?””  Psalm 119:82  NIV

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed”  Psalm 10:17-18  NIV

What Is Involved In A Quiet Time?

There are three elements of an effective quiet time:  bible reading, prayer and journaling.

BIBLE READING

Spend at least 10-15 minutes each day reading your Bible.  Choose a Bible that you find easy and enjoyable to read (see “A word about Bible Versions”)  Come up with a system of reading that works for you.  Below are some different ideas:

  1. Choose a book of the Bible and read one chapter every day.
  2. Start at the beginning of the Bible and read one chapter in the Old Testament and one chapter in the New Testament every day; you could optionally include one Psalm and one Proverb.
  3. Pick favorite passages or select from the “Suggested Quiet Time Passages” and read one a day.
  4. Purchase a Bible that is designed for daily quiet times (i.e. The One-Year Bible, Women’s Devotional Bible, the NIV Application Study Bible, and many more).
  5. You might want to include a biblically based devotional during this time — such as “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon, “Grace for the Moment” by Mac Lucado, “Moments with the Savior” by Ken Gire, “Boundless Love” by Woman of Faith Ministries, and many more.
  6. Choose a topic of the Bible and read various passages that relate to that topic.  You might choose Christlikeness, love, joy, patience, compassion, obedience, prayer, God’s word, or any other topic.  You can find the verses in a Naves Topical Bible.  Also look up a word like growth (spiritual) in a Bible Dictionary and read all the verses they list.
  7. Go to one of the websites listed and use the online resources to find subjects and topics to study.

Whatever you choose, make sure to always be reading God’s word.  There is no substitute for the Bible.  You can’t read the newspaper and come away blessed by God.  While you are reading, be open to how the Lord would speak to you.  Be careful not to turn your daily quiet time into only Bible study.  Remember, this is an appointment with the Savior.  He wants to meet with you and relate with you.  This is a personal time of relationship building with Jesus.  Let the word speak to you as you read and reflect.

PRAYER TIME

Begin and end your daily time with prayer.  At the beginning of your time, pray for God to open your mind and heart to what He has to say (Psalm 119:18) and that you will discover new insights from His word.  Pray for protection from distractions and attacks from Satan.  At the conclusion of your time with Him, pray that what you have learned will sink deep into your heart today.

After you have spent some time opening your heart to God’s word, close your time with prayer.  Here are some suggestions of things you might want to pray about (see also “Elements of Prayer”):

  1. Things you saw in the passages you read
  2. How you are feeling
  3. The events of the day
  4. Praising God for who He is (This is very important — Psalms offers many examples of prayer about who God is.  See Psalm 145)
  5. Thanking Him for things you’ve seen Him do
  6. Confessing things that are amiss in your life (Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart”)
  7. Needs and desires for yourself and others, including your Bible study group
  8. Silent time to just listen to God

Prayer is vital to deepening our intimacy with God.  Don’t overlook this important part of your daily time!

JOURNALING AND BIBLE NOTE-TAKING

Journaling is simply writing your thoughts and reflections about your life and relationship with the Lord in a notebook.  Spend some time writing your thoughts as you spend time with God in His word and prayer.  It can be as simple as writing what’s on your heart.  You can write about what God is teaching you in your Bible reading time.  You can also write about how you are feeling and struggling with.  Develop the habit of writing .  This habit reinforces what God is trying to tell you in your mind and heart.  I believe it is part of a good quiet time because it is a way for you to remember what God is revealing to you during that time.  Look back and see what God is telling you.  Have you forgotten and need to be reminded?  Do you see any patterns or consistent themes?

As you develop and build this time each day, consider writing down notes and thoughts from your time in a journal.  What did you learn?  How are you feeling about what you are learning?  What is God saying to you?  Here are some suggestions of things you can write about:

  1. What you have just read in the Bible.  Write down your insights and impressions from the Word.  Write down a verse or verses that were especially meaningful to you as you read.
  2. Any thoughts or impressions that God gave you as you were spending time with Him
  3. Frustrations, fears, experiences, and events that have happened in your life that are especially significant to you.
  4. Prayer requests and desires of your heart.

Great Tips For A Meaningful Quiet Time

  1. Set a consistent time each day to spend with Jesus.  Early morning or evening, children’s nap times, and lunch hours are typical times.  If your quiet time is scheduled, you are much more likely to keep it.
  2. Get free from distractions (such as, other family members, telephone, TV, email, etc).  Try to eliminate all sounds such as music that might keep you from hearing from God.
  3. Recognize that you were created to be in relationship with God and He desires to spend time with you
  4. If you miss a quiet time, don’t beat yourself up over it.  Realize that you got distracted or chose not to have that time that day.  Just start again.  The longer you wait to start again, the harder it becomes to make it a regular habit.
  5. If you quiet time is dry or difficult, try something new.  You might change the Bible version, change your location, listen to the Bible on tape, or change your routine of reading and praying.  Don’t fall into the trap of a routine that becomes rote.  God wants to spend time with you.  Take a walk or find a new spot to sit.

How Do I Actually Have A Quiet Time?

Using all the elements we have just described above, here is a formula for a great quiet time:

  1. Pick a quiet place to meet the Lord that will work for you.
  2. Have your Bible, notebook and pen with you.
  3. Start with prayer by asking Him to:
    1. Meet with you
    2. Set aside distractions
    3. Reveal to you His word for today
    4. Bring comfort and clarification for your life
  4. Read the passage of scripture you have selected for today.
  5. Write down some of your observations from your Bible reading by answering the following two questions:
    1. what does the passage say generally (What is it teaching me)?
    2. what does the passage say to me personally (What should I do specifically)?
  6. Write in your journal any other insights, thoughts, fears, concerns, praises, or feelings you have from your time with Him.

“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips”

7.  Respond to God in prayer in the following ways:

respond with praise and thanksgiving — “I praise you God for ….”
respond in repentance and confession — “I confess my sin of ….”
respond by asking for guidance –  “Lord, lead me today by ….”
respond with obedience –  “I will obey you in ….”Click here to download the quiet time page.  You can copy this page and make a notebook out of them or transfer these statements and questions to your personal journal or Bible study notebook. Article from www.riversouthbay.org

For Kids – an interactive NIV Bible website

New for kids: AdventureBible.com website!

… a great place for kids, educators and parents to have fun while learning more about God and His word. The most popular areas of the site are

  • Bible games- Scripture memorization, Bible trivia, books of the Bible, a map game and more
  • Downloadable Bible activities like crossword puzzles and word searches
  • Downoladable Bible reading plans
  • Most important – the Bible itself-

Educators can log in and access hundreds of teacher only resources. There are over 700 teaching aids and learning activities which are available for free (simply by signing up). They look like they are really high quality too.

  • You also get teaching visuals such as Bible maps and illustrations as well as visual timelines

Chuck Missler on the Book of Acts

Published on Apr 18, 2012 by 

John Piper – Why you should read the Bible even when you don’t feel like it

English: John Charles Ryle (1816-1900)John Piper writes at www.desiringGod.org and quotes from J.C.Ryle on why you should read the Bible whether you feel like it or not:

Don’t rest on past reading. Read your Bible more and more every year. Read it whether you feel like reading it or not. And pray without ceasing that the joy return and pleasures increase.

Three reasons this is not legalism:

  1. You are confessing your lack of desire as sin, and pleading as a helpless child for the desire you long to have. Legalists don’t cry like that. They strut.
  2. You are reading out of desperation for the effects of this heavenly medicine. Bible-reading is not a cure for a bad conscience; it’s chemo for your cancer. Legalists feel better because the box is checked. Saints feel better when their blindness lifts, and they see Jesus in the word. Let’s get real. We are desperately sick with worldliness, and only the Holy Spirit, by the word of God, can cure this terminal disease.
  3. It is not legalism because only justified people can see the preciousness and power of the Word of God. Legalists trudge with their Bibles on the path toward justification. Saints sit down in the shade of the cross and plead for the blood-bought pleasures.

So lets give heed to Mr. Ryle and never grow weary of the slow, steady, growth that comes from the daily, disciplined, increasing, love affair with reading the Bible.

Do not think you are getting no good from the Bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day. The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise, and are most easily observed. The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced.

Think of the influence of the moon upon the earth, and of the air upon the human lungs. Remember how silently the dew falls, and how imperceptibly the grass grows. There may be far more doing than you think in your soul by your Bible-reading. (J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 136)

Christian Doctrine 2 – Revelation: God Speaks

Lecture by Mark Driscoll. Last week we considered who God is. This week we will consider what God has revealed to His creation. God in His grace has given us an option greater than speculation. It is only through His revelation that we can even begin to know who God is and understand His purposes.

General Revelation: The personal act of God by which He makes Himself known through His creation, providence and conscience to humanity in general so that they might come into relationship with Him. (Ps 19:1-4, Ps 98:8-10, Rom1:19-21)

Special Revelation: The personal acts of God by which He makes Himself known by His redemptive word-work to many people son that they might come into relationship with Him. (2 Tim 3:16, Heb 1:1)

Theology: Let us begin our discussion with the revelation of God..

How is the inspiration of Scripture verified by the following:
The teachings of Jesus?
Prophecy?
Self verification and consistency?
What does it mean that the Word of God is sufficient?
What part did God play in special revelation?
What part did the human authors play in special revelation?
Explain the difference between interpretation and application.
What characteristics of God give us confidence in the cannon of Scripture?

Implications: consider now, the implications of God revelation to our daily lives.

Give an example of general revelation in your life and how God used it to reveal Himself to you?
How has God revealed Himself to you through Scripture in the past week?
How does faith in the Word of God effect how you live your life today?
What does it mean to submit to the Authority of Scripture to you personally?
In what areas of your life have you resisted the Bibles Authority?
Give an example of where you see the Word of God living and active today.

Prayer: Reflect on the truth of God’s Word, and who it reveals Him to be. Meditate on the grace of God that He would reveal Himself to us is such a tangible way as Scripture.

Pray for wisdom and understanding of the revelation of God in my daily Bible study.
Pray that the word of God would be living and active in my life.
Pray for a desire to know God through his Word.
Pray for those you know who have yet to believe that God’s revelation would penetrate their hearts.

Keith Green – The Story of a Radical Christian who was a friend of Leonard Ravenhill (a must read)

Meet Keith Green in this 1 1/2 minute video. Here is a brother in Christ that will challenge the way you think about yourself as a Christ follower. God took him home at the age of 28 but in the few short years he lived for Christ he impacted thousands of other people to not only follow Christ, but to devote their lives to spread the Gospel to the unsaved. If you are a Christian, this is one story you need to know (entirely). If you are not a Christian, you need to know this story too. Keith Green searched for religion in fame, drugs, the hippie culture, but in the end he found only Jesus could satisfy his soul, and he radically changed his life and devoted it entirely to Christ.

then a little bit more in this 7 minute video:

Keith Green- Go to the hungry ones

When Keith Green came to Christ, he believed he had to emulate Jesus and do everything Jesus did. When he preached on the streets, he brought home the homeless, the pregnant single teens and housed them, fed them and had bible study with them daily. This was normal Christianity to him. What an example he was. You can see the 60 minute documentary, narrated by his wife Melody, at the bottom of this page.

Go to the hungry ones and fill them with His bread,
They’ll leave their darkness as you shine the light He shed,
Point to His promises, believe in what He said,
And His joy will be manifest in you,
And the lost will be found as He works through you.

Out on the highways, there’s so many passing by,
Step out in boldness and watch the family multiply,
Pray up some miracles, lets open up the sky,
And His joy will be manifest to you,
And the lost will be found by the things you do.

Oh don’t you know that Jesus loves you,
So let’s go and spread His word,
Redeem the time while there’s still time,
Let’s share the call we heard, lets share the call we heard.

Is your house open to let strangers enter there,
Give to the least of them, show them someone cares,
And you may be entertaining Angels unaware,
And His joy may be manifest to you,
And the lost may be found as He works through you,
And His joy will be manifest in you,
And the lost, they’ll be found by the things you do.

Keith Green a radical Christian

His friend Leonard Ravenhill eulogized him at his funeral quoting something

Leonard Ravenhill (friend)

Keith Green fiercely struggled with : Are you living too much for time and not enough for eternity? (In spite of the exemplary way he was witnessing to people, Keith Green felt he was not doing enough). The next day at the burial, Leonard Ravenhill said, „Being yet dead, he speaketh.” There are two ways Keith speaks even today. One is through his recordings and two, is through the people he influenced for Jesus. Keith wanted people to know Jesus Christ personally in the way he had come to know Him.

An amazing story of a young man in the early 1970’s hippie culture, seeking spirituality in drugs, Eastern religions, and mysticism. In the end he started reading the red letter words of Jesus in the Bible, because he was attracted to the fact that Jesus said He was the only way and because he had read that all other teachers respected Jesus.

He would write in his journal one day, Jesus you are hereby accepted, but then found Christians unacceptable because they wanted him to believe the whole Bible and he only wanted to believe what Jesus said. By 1974 he was extremely confused and frustrated. His childhood friend asked him and his wife to attend an in home Bible study, which they weren’t too keen on; they felt they weren’t too keen on Christians, but they really liked the Jesus stuff. His friend dared him and his wife Melody to go, and so they did. The group was so crowded together and at the end when one of the leaders talked about how their sins could be cleansed and they could start with a fresh clean slate, Keith immediately accepted, never looked back, convinced he found the real thing. Keith felt like everything started new that night. His friends had never seen such a radical transformation, and immediately he started writing and singing for God.
But, his old fans were not happy at all. He started to sing and evangelize people. He prayed to the Lord to temper his radicalism so he could evangelize people without offending. He would tell his christian friends (the ones that invited them to the Bible studies) they needed to shape up their lives. He was like a bull in a china closet. He took the gospel seriously and had the audacity to put Christ’s teaching into practice.(Some of his songs reflect this-like the song- Churches asleep in the light).

He started bringing young lost kids off the street, where he taught them from the Bible and started writing and singing songs for Sparrow Records. He would chew people out when he would come out on stage when they would applaud for him.

His ministry grew so fast, they bought another home and rented 5 more homes because they actually took in homeless people, and evangelized them-mixing help of strays (single moms, homeless people) and discipleship of people that already knew the Lord.  Keith was the first to hold concerts nad not charge anything. He felt that was like selling the gospel. He challenged everybody to be in that ‘no compromise’  level. He next started an International Mission called Last Day Ministries.

In 1982 Keith Green dies in an airplane crash, along with two of his young children. He was only 28 years old. His messages were played on a screen at his funeral service and countless thousands committed their lives to missions because of Keith Green and 2 of those missions are still going strong today.

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1st collector for The Keith Green Story (FULL)
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Spiritual profiling of the 8 groups of people Jesus interacted with – 1st century by Tom Hovestol (essential read)

This is a very good and useful Bible study book and aid, that helps us understand how Jesus preached to different groups of people, and how it relates to our own efforts in proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples, by mirroring Jesus’s own ministry. As you listen to the author describe the groups, you will identify today’s own groups in most cases and will get insight as to why although He proclaimed the Gospel to all, still, Jesus did not spend a lot of time preaching to certain of these groups.

The book is written by TOM  HOVESTOL, who is the pastor of Calvary Church in Longmont, Colorado. A graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wheaton College, he served for three years as a teacher in Swaziland, Africa, and later as a pastor in Texas. He and his wife, Carey, are the parents of five children and reside in Longmont, Colorado.

From the Book cover:

Jesus’ world was far more religiously pluralistic than most of us imagine. He grew up and headquartered His ministry in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” He regularly rubbed shoulders with polytheistic and superstitious Romans, with philosophical and sophisticated Greeks, with hard-partying pagans, and with God-fearing Africans.

The Bible tells us that Jesus, unlike His fellow countrymen, did not avoid the despised and syncretistic Samaritans. Nor did Jesus shun the Jews who were considered persona non grata in the local synagogues, like those who worked for the occupying government, or who rejected Hebrew ways in favor of Greek, or who lived hellion lifestyles. Moreover, Jesus interacted with individuals representing all of the major sects of Judaism – Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, and Essenes. And these included a huge variety of spiritual expression from the emotional to the contemplative, from the spontaneous to the staid, from Bible-thumpers to compassion-lovers, from those who push religion to the four corners of their lives while others passionately seek to push it to the four corners of the globe.

Is there some way to categorize, organize and understand the varieties of spiritual expression that Jesus encountered? Is it possible that the kinds of people Jesus dealt with in His day are similar to the ones we face today? Are there prototypical and stereotypical religious patterns to which people gravitate? And why do we do so? If we lived in Jesus’ day, what spiritual “camp” would be most like ours? How would Jesus approach us? What would he do with us? What would our Spiritual Profile be?

Tom Hovestol discusses his book on Conversant life (Unfortunately only these 2 videos are posted and available, the third one has not been posted)
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1st collector for Tom Hovestol – Spiritual profiling interview
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Part 2

Other articles of interest:

  1. Some church history – Jesus and the 1st century historian Titus Flavius Josephus
  2. What’s News about Jesus – Ben Witherington, Darell Bock, Dan Wallace video discussion
  3. New Testament – Jesus, Canon, and Theology – Ben Witherington, Darell Bock, Dan Wallace video discussion

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