Archive for Spiritual Disciplines

3 Ideas to Get More from the Bible

3ideasWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10, NKJV).

Ezra provided us with a great model, not only as a teacher of God’s Word, but also for the hearer. This short verse, tucked away in the Old Testament, provides us with three ideas to get more from reading and studying the Bible.

WHAT DO I DO? If you’re a Bible study teacher, Ezra’s example reminds you to…

  1. Prepare your heart as you seek God’s will;
  2. Obey God; and
  3. THEN you teach God’s Word.

The Bible is meant to be obeyed. Teacher, as you prepare to teach each week, be sure your preparation includes a desire to know God’s will, not only for your hearers, but also for you own life. Like Ezra, you must be willing to obey what God says in His Word, before you stand before your class/group and teach. As you prepare your heart and seek God’s will, you will get more from the Bible as you obey and make necessary changes in your own life.

If you’re a student in a Sunday School class or in a small group, then you too must be willing to approach Bible study with a seeking heart, sincerely wanting to know God’s will. Then, be willing to obey what God is teaching you.

3 Steps to Leading Your Members to Read Their Bible Daily

bibletools

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? We all know the importance of reading the Bible. It is our only offensive weapon in the spiritual war we engage in daily. When Jesus was tempted, He used the Word as his response each and every time. But you have to know it to use it. Here are three steps to use in building a habit of daily Bible reading.

WHAT DO I DO? Consider these ideas:

  1. Have a planned time. Set aside a specific time daily for reading. It doesn’t have to be a time on the clock either. It can be tied to something else you do every day. Choose to read right after breakfast or right before bed. I am an advocate of reading in the morning (even though I am not a morning person by any means). Pick a time and stick to it.
  2. Have a planned text. There are reading plans of all sorts out there to help people chose what to read each day. I always encourage people to start with a chapter of Proverbs each day. There are 31 chapters and you can read whatever chapter corresponds to the day of the month. When you get through them all, it is OK to read them again. There is a lot of wisdom in Proverbs and you will find that different ones stand out each month as you read.
  3. Have a planned talk. Ask someone to keep you accountable each day by asking you what you read. We all need a little motivation from time to time.

Get a New View Toward the Bible Passage

biblesBy Fred Creason, Leadership Strategists, Wyoming Southern Baptist Convetion

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? I grew up with the King James Version of the Bible.  In the 1970s I came into contact with other translations.  At first, I was scared.  Could I trust these new translations?  Then, I became excited.  The new translations offered fresh insights into what the Bible said.

We all like comfort.  Some of us would wear the same clothes all the time, if our spouse would let us do it.  Some of us would read the same Bible all the time too.  It feels good in our hands.  It looks good to our eyes.  But, too often, it has little impact on our brain.  We see the same things all the time—over and over again.

WHAT DO I DO? One of the best ways to gain a new view toward a Bible passage is to read another translation, or several translations.  Some translations focus more on surface structure.  They try to communicate, as literally as possible, the actual components of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text.  Other translations focus more on meaning.  They try to communicate, as freely as necessary, the actual meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text.

As teachers, we should read both kinds of translations.  If our preferred translation focuses more on surface structure (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV), we should consult translations that focus more on meaning (NIV, NLT, HCSB).  If we prefer a more dynamic, meaning-focused, translation, we should consult more formally equivalent translations.

The end result can be life-changing.  We see the Bible in new and fresh ways, and we communicate that freshness to our students.

3 Ways to Challenge Members to Develop Spiritual Disciplines

by Jeff Musgrave

prayerhandsWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Paul reminded Timothy to “train for godliness” because it has value in every way. Training requires discipline, however, discipline isn’t a pleasant word for most of us. The Christian life demands that we be disciplined if we want to grow.

WHAT DO I DO? Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Start small. The easiest way to get overwhelmed is to try and do too much at once. Pick one spiritual discipline and work on that first. Make time for a daily devotion or prayer time perhaps.
  2. Be accountable. Just as most people do better at physical training when they have a trainer to help keep them on task and going, a spiritual trainer can help keep us stay disciplined in our spiritual activity.
  3. Track your growth. Consider keeping a journal or record of your activity with spiritual disciplines and recording what God is doing in your life through them. Keep a prayer journal with prayers you have prayed and answers God has given for instance.

Most of all, don’t give up. If you fail, start again. Spiritual disciplines aren’t easy, but they are worth the effort.