SOURCE: Good to Great in God’s Eyes by Chip Ingram. (Page 108)
SOURCE: Good to Great in God’s Eyes by Chip Ingram. (Page 108)
SOURCE: The Journey of DesireJohn Eldredge, , page 84.
“What was your story about today?” (a father to his child on the way home from worship)
“The character we are going to talk about today in our Bible story is ________.” (a Bible class teacher to her students)
“Turn in your Bible to the story found in ________.” (a preacher of God’s word)
These statements and many others like them have been on my mind a lot lately. I keep hearing the accounts found in the Bible referred to as stories, and the people within those accounts referred to as characters in a story. We even talk about buying a Bible storybook for our children or grandchildren – right along with the fictional storybooks we may also buy for them.
Please forgive me if you think I’m being picky. I really don’t mean to be, but because we live in such an entertainment-saturated world, I want to make a point in this short little post.
The accounts found in my Bible are not stories, and the people who lived through those accounts are not characters in a book.
When I open the pages of my Bible I read about real flesh and blood people who lived hundreds of years ago and encountered some events in their lives which I’m not sure I could have handled. Noah and his family come to my mind, along with Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Daniel, Paul, Jesus and this list could go on and on.
They lived through events in their lives which we only read about. If we aren’t careful, we will begin to think of them as fictional characters and not as real flesh and blood people. We may begin to think about the happenings in their lives as fiction and not true accounts of real events. We won’t identify with the reality of what they encountered or suffered through as they maintained their belief in the one true God. We won’t recognize the mistakes many of them made (which serve as examples for us) if our view is that they are characters in a story.
Many are caught up in a world of fictional people and events via books, magazines, comics, TV, movies, video games, etc. Satan delights when people spend countless hours in this type of entertainment because they are filling their minds with many things that move their thinking away from reality.
Be careful how you refer to what or whom you are reading or teaching about from your Bible. They aren’t characters in a story. They are the people and the accounts which the men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote about so that we could know our way to God.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
AUTHOR: Donna Faughn
Spring has sprung in Alabama. Flowers are blooming. Trees are budding. Pollen is overwhelming.
It really is a beautiful time of the year as life is seen all around.
It is the time of year to stop and enjoy beauty. As flowers open up, it is gorgeous.
But have you ever considered how differently flowers can be treated, and how it relates to the different ways some treat the Bible?
Here are three ways we can view flowers that are similar to how some people view Scripture.
This is usually me as it pertains to flowers. I do not know much about flowers, but I like the beauty of them when they bloom in the springtime. So, because I like that beauty, I just look from flower to flower, visually jumping here and there, but not really concentrating on any one flower.
How many people treat the Bible the same way? They jump from passage to passage (and, quite often, the same few passages), but never think about the context or the larger picture of what is going on? They are not allowing the full picture of Scripture to be their focus, just the “pretty” parts they personally like.
You take a botanist to a flower garden and you can learn some stuff! That scientist will be able to tell you more about a flower than you thought was possible to know. Often, though, it is just academic stuff, maybe the latin name or how the systems inside the flower work. All of it is interesting, but it may not help you appreciate the flower itself very much.
Again, many people treat the Bible this way. Certainly, there are intellectual matters to consider as it pertains to Scripture. We must be thinking as we come to the Bible.
But if it is all “academic,” we are missing the point! Yes, our minds need to be renewed (cf. Romans 12:2), but that renewal must lead to a changed life. To put it in terms we often hear in Bible study, there must be interpretation, but there must also be application.
You and I may appreciate a flower for its beauty this time of year, but a bee takes it to another level, doesn’t it? That bee sits down in the flower and takes in the pollen. The very life of this bee is dependent upon the flower and regular interaction with it.
That must be our attitude toward Scripture! We need to dig deeply into the Bible and find that our life seems incomplete without it. We need to hunger for the righteousness it gives (Matthew 5:6), and get our life from it (see Psalm 119:25).
So, how do you treat Scripture? Are you just a tourist, just floating here and there, but never taking in the full picture? Are you the botanist, learning all the academic jargon, but not letting it change you fundamentally? Or are you the bee, making certain that Scripture sustains your life?
If you are serious about digging deeper into the Word of God, here are some resources I have used, both in the past and some I continue to use, that help me in my Bible study, especially as it pertains to marking notes in my Bible. Maybe you can find something here to help you drink more deeply from the Scriptures.
Study Guide to Greater Bible Knowledge [Book by Wayne Jackson. Amazon carries this book, but it is very expensive. I would call a local Christian bookstore and ask about it, or contact ChristianCourier.com.]
Grasping God’s Word [Textbook by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. Note: The link is to the latest update (2012), but if you can find the 2001 version at a used book store, many say it is better than the update. It is the one I use.]
Notes from the Margin of My Bible [Book by Wayne Jackson. Again, Amazon only carries expensive used copies. Ask a local Christian bookstore for this wonderful volume. I treasure mine!]
ChristianCourier “Notes” search. [Wayne Jackson has released many of his “notes from the margin of my Bible” on the Christian Courier webpage. The link takes you to a search result for all of them.]
“Bible Marking Topics” [Series of blog posts by Kathy Pollard on Come Fill Your Cup]
Pigma Micron pens [The best pens for marking your Bible. Archive quality, and they do not bleed through the pages. I keep one on my Bible at all times, ready to make a note!]
Crayola Twistables [I have not used these yet, but am getting ready to. They replace a highlighter and do not bleed through pages as much.]
The 66 Podcast [Drew Kizer and Andrew Kingsley walk through the Bible. Great material for Bible study and you will find yourself taking some notes along with them.]
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn
SOURCE: For Better or For Kids by Patrick & Ruth Schwenk. (Page 220)
(Player not displaying or working? Click here to listen.)
Books, books, books! We love books! As we get near the end of 2016, Adam takes this week’s podcast to share with you his 10 favorite books that he has read this year. Find the list below if you are interested in ordering any of these volumes for your reading in the coming year.
To see every book I have read (so far) in 2016, click here.
We had two honorable mentions, as we did not include Jim Faughn’s books (for obvious reasons of bias toward them!). But you will want to check out God Give Us Christian Homes and Why Did My Savior Come to Earth? for your own study.
10. God’s Game Plan by Aubrey Johnson
9. Be the Dad She Needs You to Be by Dr. Kevin Leman
8. He Wins, She Wins by Willard Harley
7. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
6. Faith: Responding to Jesus (2015 Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies lectureship)
5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
4. I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian by Thom. S. Rainer
3. The Domino Effect by Tim Lewis
2. How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews
1. The Sender: A Story about When Right Words Make All the Difference by Kevin Elko and Bill Beausay
To subscribe to A Legacy of Faith by email for free click here.
In past years, we have released a couple of gift guides that were very random (one year, we even included a toy car-making machine!).
This year’s gift guide is meant to be more focused, as most of the ideas listed below are meant to instill the Word of God in the hearts of your family. A couple of things are for more specific groups of people, but we hope you find everything below to be helpful in learning God’s Word.
[Disclaimer: Any links below that take you to Amazon are affiliate links. All other links are not affiliate links.]
Polishing the Pulpit Flash Drives. In past years, Polishing the Pulpit has had some flash drives with all the audio lessons for attendees. However, after the convention, there are some drives left over, and they keep them available for sale, so long as supplies last. They are $100 each, but each contains over 400 lessons! To learn more, call PtP at 877-338-3397, or visit this page.
God, Give Us Christian Homes [Book by Jim Faughn]. Every family needs encouragement. Jim Faughn wrote this 13-chapter book to help families, or to be used in a Bible class. It would make a great gift for a family, or just a “gift to yourself,” for your family to study together. Currently, it is $11.95 on Amazon and can be found here.
Shaping Hearts for God “Class in a Box.” We use Shaping Hearts for God as our curriculum at 9th Avenue from 4s-5s through 4th grade. However, their “Class in a Box” is designed for 2s and 3s and can easily be used in a family devotional setting. There are two “classes,” and each is $39.99. Talk about a great gift for a young family that you see trying to teach their kids about God! Find out more and make your order here.
Shaping Hearts of God Bible Timeline. Okay, so this would take some space in a house, but if you know a family who homeschools, or who has a room where they hold family devotionals, this would be an awesome gift. It is a LONG timeline that shows the history of the Biblical narrative in a wonderful way. (Personally, this is my favorite thing that Shaping Hearts for God puts out.) The timeline is $29.99 and can be ordered here.
A gift for your elders: Rest in Green Pastures. Why not get your elders a small token of your affection? This book is written by elders, for elders. It is a quick read but provides so much encouragement. On Amazon, it is currently $12.00, and can be found here.
Advanced Reader: Amazing Skin Designed by God. Our kids love the “Advanced Reader” books from Apologetics Press, and this one is fresh off the presses. These books are for smaller kids, but even up through “tween-age” will probably find them interesting. This book is only $2.00 and can be ordered through Apologetics Press here.
Advanced Reader Series. If you want to dive into the whole Advanced Reader series from AP, you can order all 8 books in the series for the price of seven. For $14.00, that’s a great investment (and can be a wonderful stocking stuffer). Order them all here.
Pryor Convictions, The Book of Genesis. We are currently using this book in our family Bible time and we love it! Each of the 13 lessons is designed to be taught over the course of a few days, and includes a reading guide, review questions, crafts, games, activities, and more. The books produced by Pryor are intended for home use, so you will find them very useful. A great gift for a family. The Genesis book is $14.95, and you can find out more here.
CD: “One Voice: Praise & Worship.” Even though we are living in the age of Bluetooth, our family still listens to a lot of CDs when we travel. This is one of our favorites. It contains wonderful old hymns of praise sung by an amazing male quartet. This would make a great gift for a gift exchange or a quick, last-minute gift at a party. It is $15.00 here.
Hymns of the Heart. Okay, if you don’t mind, I’m going to include my own book here! This book walks readers through 35 of the Psalms and is meant to help the reader learn more about the wonderful God we serve. As of this writing, it is $11.41 on Amazon, but they regularly mark it down from that. You can find it here.
One Word Study Guide. These devotional books walk readers through one Biblical word (e.g., “grace,” “God,” “justification”) each week. Written by ministers of the churches of Christ, the goal is to share five short devotionals about each of the words, one for each week of the year in 2017. Many churches (including 9th Avenue) are going to give these out, but if your congregation is not, it would make a wonderful gift for someone. And, even more amazing, the book–which is tremendously designed and put together–is only $3.00. Order several copies here.
Well, there you go! We hope you find some of these resources to be great gifts…or you just decide to get some for your own family!
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn