Tag Archives: new year

Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day

Barna released their Year in Review recently that reported only 19% of Americans are what you call “engaged” in the Bible, meaning they read it at least 4 times a week & believe it to be the actual & inspired Word of God.  No wonder the American church is spiritually anemic!  Good news is, it can turn around TODAY.

As we enter another new year, we’ve been thinking of ways to get the kids we shepherd (our own as well as SS class & Wed night small group teens) to not be overwhelmed or discouraged in their Bible reading.  We all know, if you don’t have some kind of a plan, it won’t happen.  The BEST thing we can do for these kids is get them into the Word.  So…we looked for a flexible plan.  Here’s what we found.

Bible Reading Checklist-2015  

Note: We didn’t create this. The person who did put it on as a freebie but super complicated to share format, so I just made it a link here to simplify.  To give credit, here’s the original link if you’d like to get it that way.

This plan is great for a few reasons.  First of all, you can start wherever you want & go wherever you want in Scripture rather than feel like you have to start in Genesis & get bogged down in the Pentateuch (again).  You can start on January 1st or 10th or March even.  You won’t get frustrated by “being behind” or “reading ahead”.  If you hear a Scripture mentioned in a sermon or class & want to go home & dig further, DO IT.  Mark it.  Then as the year goes on, you can see the parts you’ve not hit & get busy reading those gems!  It may take three years (if you read one chapter a day) or you may “binge read” & get all the prophets read through in two weeks.  Doesn’t matter.  Just don’t neglect those letters from Paul or Psalms.  They are ALL important!!  “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

Keith likes that this plan has a prayer printed right on the sheet to remind you to start & finish by talking with your Father.  This is not just another item to check off the list  & get puffed up about.  This is a relationship you are building.

If you read as a family, you could mark those boxes in one color & your personal reading in another.  This way you can keep track of what you’re doing all in one place!  Nice.

So, print it out (we copied it front & back so it’s on one sheet & tri-folded it to make a bookmark) & hand it out to those you shepherd.  We think our kids will be encouraged as they see those boxes get colored in over time & actually see how much of the Word they’ve read. And we’ve already been able to pull it out to show the kids in SS how much we’ve read so it gives all of us accountably as well as an opportunity for them to see this is a life long pursuit.  It is exciting & fun!  It is VITAL.  It is the most beautiful, amazing, & life-giving Book.  Encouraging you to set those you shepherd on the personal God-seeking journey early & JOIN THEM. : ]

PS – We also encourage the kids to listen on their iPods.  It does speak to you differently when you hear it vs. when you read it.  Some people have a harder time reading & get so caught up in the letters they miss the message.  Even if that’s not you, it is interesting to see what jumps out when you hear bigger portions while you are on a jog or washing dishes.  It is worth doing if you’ve never tried it before.  Here’s a link to a few free ones: ESV New Testament, KJV & ESV complete Bible, or listen on line here to the entire NLT Bible.  That’s just what I found in a quick search.

Leaving you with an oldie but oft forgotten goodie that every preschooler I’ve ever taught has loved to sing way too many times.  (If you teach your littles this song, just be sure you explain the whole grow & shrink spiritually thing to them. They’ll take it literally otherwise!)  May the Lord richly bless the reading & hearing of His Word in 2015!


Respect Dare #6) Respect Your Body

Seeing as how it’s the new year & all, thought it a good time to get back into this blogging thing. And what better way to start than with another entry in The Respect Dare. And the topic is timely, too – taking care of yourself. I know this steps on some toes, including my own, and it certainly isn’t politically correct, but it needs to be said.

Taking care of your body is a form of worship to the Creator, the One Who dwells within you if you have received Him as your Savior. It is also a way of showing your husband how much you love him & respect him; enough to make it a priority. Some women love to exercise – good for them. Some of us don’t always find it the most fun way to spend an hour or more consistently. Some can stay slim without effort – again, good for them. Some of us need to pay attention to how much food we take in & what kinds so as not to gain an outrageous amount. Some women look great in whatever clothes they throw on; some even look a little “too good” if you know what I mean. Some of us need to take a long, hard look in our closets & the mirror. Dress to please HIM, not just you. What does he like & not like you to wear? Ask him; you might be surprised.

When I exercise, I do it because I know this old body is not my own. God made my body fearfully & wonderfully, & I am a steward of it. If I trash it either by smoking, taking drugs, overeating, or just laying around not keeping it up, what does that say? When I monitor what I eat, make wise food choices, & deny myself the junk I really want, I am crucifying my own desires to the glory of God. These areas are not easy for me – I pray my daughter has it come a lot more naturally for her. But when I make these efforts, it speaks volumes to my husband. He SEES that I love him because he knows it’s not easy for me, but I’m doing it anyway. He appreciates the health & better self-esteem I have when I do these things, too!

Here are a few verses to mull over in this area…

I Corinthians 3:16, 17 –
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 –
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

1 Corinthians 7:4 –
“The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.”


Tom

If you get a chance, please pray for Tom tonight. (He’s mentioned just the other day in the last quote here.) His sweet wife passed away in her sleep last night unexpectedly. This is the second wife he’s lost, the first to cancer I believe. They made a great couple – he sings bass solos & she accompanied on the piano. It’s going to be a long, hard 2009 for him.

Tom & Doreen

(Tom & Doreen together praying.)


“Shift Happens”

Keith & I found this over Christmas break. Appropriate for the new year…

The tower of Babel comes to mind.