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Tag: bible (page 1 of 3)

Biblical Patterns

Studying the Bible can be a daunting task.  The sheer size and amount of content can appear overwhelming to students who desire to know more.  While gleaning insights from individual passages is important, it is also important to understand the biblical patterns and how all of the content fits together.

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7 Simple Steps for Scripture Memory

Scripture memory is a steroid shot of discipleship.

Something happens when the Word becomes portable with you.  Your spiritual growth is exponential.  The discipline of mediating and memorizing Scripture turns God’s Word Bible from a book on a shelf to words on a heart.

Meditating on it day and night (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2), we lay these words on our hearts (Deut. 11:18) and they become the joy and delight of our hearts (Jer. 15:16).  We store it in our hearts so that can stop sinning (Ps. 119:11).  We are to have it dwell so richly within us that it comes out in what we teach to others (Col. 3:16).

I had many people tell me the importance of Scripture memory without providing a direction for me to begin.  

What I wanted to provide is a simple set of steps to begin you on this incredible path of Scripture memory.

7 Simple Steps for Scripture Memory

How do you begin to memorize Scripture?  Here is a path to get started.

  1. RESEARCH which important verses you need to memorize first.  Establish fighter verses for the weak areas of temptation for you.  Strengthen abstract verses you kinda know.  Include pivotal verses that you need to have prepared as a maturing Christian.  Make your prioritized list to begin.
  2. REWRITE the verse into some type of collection tool.  Choose if you want to go paper or digital.  If paper, collect some notecards or word cards on a key chain and write the verse on one side and the reference on the other.  If digital, find a great app to keep up your growing list and systematically review them.
  3. READ the verse out loud numerous times.  Staring at the verse helps you learn it, but speaking the verse helps you memorize it.  Open up your mouth and read it.  It trains you to speak it and helps your retention immensely.
  4. RECITE out loud by sections until you can say the complete verse.  Start small and increase the amount that you recite incrementally.  Cover up sections of the verse as you go to build up to the entire section.
  5. REFER to the book, chapter, and verse before and after reciting it.  Be meticulous in citing the reference before quoting it and after it.  After you master it, you just need to include the reference before or after, but you want the ability to pass on the reference to others so they can find it themselves.
  6. REPEAT the verse until you have mastered it.  Don’t check it off until you have successfully recited the verse out loud numerous times.  Get so comfortable with it that you can recite it with clarity and passion.
  7. REVIEW the verse through intentional accountability systems.  If you have a digital app, find one that allows you to have reminders that keep you on track.  If another option, make sure you have some regular habit of reviewing what you have learned and not lose it.  Include another person to check on your progress and keep you accountable.

Whatever your path is, your first step is to begin by memorizing one verse – get started today!

Scripture Memory and Discipleship

While reading Scripture is vitally important, oftentimes, we forget what we have read as soon as we have closed our Bibles.  The lost of art of meditating and memorizing Scripture is a key discipline in the life of the disciple.

We must discipline our minds to have the words of the Bible accessible even when a copy of the Bible is not available.

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15 Things You May Not Know About the First Christmas

We mainly focus on Jesus’ birth during the Christmas season, but the message of God taking on flesh to come and reach us is not an account that should only be reserved for 1/12th of the year!  It is part of the beloved gospel!

You may not be aware, but we get a lot of the account incorrect in our modern-day depictions of Jesus’ birth.  Here are 15 things you may or may not know about Jesus’ birth.

  1. Out of the 4 gospels, only 2 of them focus on Jesus’ birth – Matthew and Luke.
  2. Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience so he included plenty of Old Testament references concerning the Messiah’s birth that confirmed it for him that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.
  3. In his genealogy, he not only points to Abraham (father of Israel) and David (king of Israel), but he shockingly includes 5 women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary – all of who had intriguing stories into how they made it into Jesus’ family line).  It shows that if God could work through this family, he can work through yours!
  4. Matthew also shows a disgraced Joseph who decided to grace his betrothed, Mary.
  5. Joseph and Mary are depicted as godly, obedient servants of God.
  6. Matthew also includes the story of the Magi.  These men were astrologers who God got their attention in order to follow another light.
  7. The Bible never says how many wise men there were, it just said there were 3 gifts.  There could have been 2 wise men or 100.  We simply do not know.
  8. And, they do not belong in your nativity set at Christmas time.  Read the account and you will see they probably got to Jesus when he was around 2 years old.
  9. Luke most likely interviewed Mary for some of the facts and sayings he uses.
  10. His account reveals Mary’s cousin Elizabeth who has a leaping-bundle-of-joy herself.  She carried John the Baptist who was already gleefully turning flips is his mother’s belly at the Messiah’s coming.
  11. Mary is seen as a sincere worshiper humbly accepting the responsibility of birthing the Messiah all the while completely losing her reputation.
  12. The census that takes place is not by accident.  God orchestrates it to get Joseph to a tiny town called Bethlehem so that Micah 5:2 can be fulfilled.
  13. Probably born in a cave and placed in a stone troth to feed animals, Jesus was born in worse circumstances than most of us.
  14. The first men to get word of his arrival shows how Jesus changed everything.  These shepherds were unable to be a part of religious life since they were ceremonially unclean and that is exactly who Jesus came to first.  These hard-working outdoorsmen learned how to worship in the presence of their King.
  15. These shepherds were keeping their flock by night – which might indicate that Jesus was not born in the winter :/.

Jesus’ incarnation and arrival was so unorthodox.  And the world has never, ever been the same.

The Word [Free Resource for Your Church]

As a pastor, one of my greatest desires is to see our people grow in their knowledge of the Word.  If believers can make scriptural study a habit, every other good work will come out from it (2 Tim. 3:17).  That’s why it is so important to get them into the Word.

I want to provide some resources to you for free if they could benefit your church.

We went through a sermon series entitled, “The Word,” which was a 100-day focus on walking through the Scriptures together in daily Bible reading and sermon content.  Take the material below, change it, edit it, and make it better.

Series Overview

Here’s the simple basics of the series:

  1. Get your people to commit to be in the Word for 100 days – off the shelves and into our lives!
  2. Use daily reading plan of 50 days in the Old Testament and 50 days in the New Testament (you might think some passages need to be included or excluded, then make your personal adjustments).
  3. The reading is chronological so that it jumps around in books but progresses through the narrative.  You will hear the prophet’s sermon right after the event to which he was speaking.
  4. Preach from one of the assigned passages each Sunday and keep connecting the dots for the church.
  5. It allows the entire church to see the big picture narrative of the Bible rather than as mere isolated stories.

Links

  1. Here is the list of the 100-Day Bible reading plan – make any tweaks to it that you see fit.
  2. Here is the sermon series – as someone who has taught Bible in university classrooms, I do wish I would have started the series less academic and more pastoral.  It is an easy trap to fall into.  I also borrowed some texts from the week’s reading, and if I did it again, I would have preached strictly from each Sunday’s readings.

Sermon Overview

It was amazing to me seeing how the reading plan had so many of the Sunday readings on a topic that related to the importance of the Word.  I wish I could say I was that smart to figure out how to do it, but that is all God.  The first week was the reason for the series.  The second week was a summary of the Bible.  The third week served as the first day in the reading plan.

  • 8/6 – The Word: For the Bible Tells Me So (Ezra 7:1-10) – Similar to our context, Ezra the scribe lived in a time when the Word of God had been neglected.  How are we to reorient our lives to what the Bible teaches?
  • 8/13 – The Word: The Story of the Bible (Rom. 1:1-6) – The Bible is not a collection of disconnected, moralistic stories. It is the one overarching story of how the cross of Christ will rescue a fallen people.
  • 8/20 – The Word: Two Trees in the Garden (Gen. 1-3) – It didn’t take long before sin corrupted God’s good creation. While disobedience brought about brokenness, God revealed a plan to redeem what had fallen.
  • 8/27 – The Word: There’s a Ram in the Thicket (Gen. 22) – God miraculously gave Abraham a son but later commanded to sacrifice him. Instead of Abraham having to go through with Issac’s death, a ram in the thicket became a substitute.
  • 9/3 – The Word: God Meant It for Good (Gen. 50) – Once Israel died, his sons feared Joseph’s retaliation. While Joseph had been hurt by their evil, he viewed his suffering role as critical in the good God was doing.
  • 9/10 – The Word: Impatient Idolatry (Ex. 32) – Even though the people had gotten out of Egypt, Egypt hadn’t gotten out of the people. Growing impatient with God’s timing, the people used a gift from God as a replacement for God.
  • 9/17 – The Word: The Word of the LORD Was Rare (1 Sam. 3) – Samuel was called to be a prophet during a time when the word of the LORD was rare.  His ministry was established by God’s presence and determined by God’s Word.
  • 9/24 – The Word: Walk in His Ways (1 Kings 2) – As David neared his death, he gave final instructions to his son, Solomon.  Out of all the wisdom he could have given, he urged his son to walk in the ways of the LORD.
  • 10/1 – The Word: I Have Found the Book (2 Kings 22) – King Josiah stumbled upon the neglected Word of God and it changed the nation. We must blow the dust of the Bible and encounter God’s claims upon our lives.
  • 10/8 – The Word: The Great and Awesome Day of the LORD (Malachi 4) – As God’s people wavered in their devotion, Malachi promised that the promised Messiah was drawing near. This great and awesome day of the LORD would change everything.
  • 10/15 – The Word: Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16) – As Jesus began his public ministry, he gathered disciples in order to teach them how to live for the Kingdom. As he once encouraged them to be salt and light, we are called to the same lifestyles as his followers.
  • 10/22 – The Word: The God Who Washes Feet (John 13) – Before the cross, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in an act of humble servitude.  Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
  • 10/29 – The Word: Day by Day (Acts 2:42-47) – As the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples, the early church was born.  This body of believers met together day by day and saw God do amazing acts in their midst.
  • 11/5 – The Word: Doers of the Word (James 1) – Learning biblical information does not guarantee biblical transformation.  We must learn how to apply the Word of God into our lives.
  • 11/12 – The Word: Red and Yellow, Black and White (Eph 2:11-22) – In Paul’s description of the Church, he explained that Jesus’ cross broke down sinful, ethnic boundaries we established.  How are we to combat racism within the Body of Christ?
  • 11/19 – The Word: When Jesus Sat Down (Heb 10) – Priests could never sit down in worship because sacrifices would always need to be offered. Once Jesus offered himself, he sat down at the right hand of God for the task was finished once and for all.
  • 11/26 – The Word: All Things New (Rev 21-22) – What once was broken will be made right again. Jesus is making all things new

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Pray that this can be a resource for your church or a catalyst for an idea to get your church into the Word!