A Simple Bible Study Method For the Family

Excellent post written by Rhonda Owens at ForTheFamily.org

Family concept on colourful stones

My parenting journey has been peppered with amazing friends — fellow parents who, like my husband and me, long very much to “impress [God’s commandments] on [their] children.  Talk about them when [they] sit at home and when [they] walk along the road, when [they] lie down and when [they] get up” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

The difference between some of these sweet friends and us is that on a scale of 1-10 for family devotional creativity, they are actually on the scale; we are not.

In all fairness, I did try my hand at planning a bible study object lesson which included a lamp, unplugged. And ice cream.

{The ice cream was a last minute addition. You know, because ice cream makes everything fun, right?}

Note that I said I planned “a” bible study object lesson.  My enthusiasm waned when everyone got more excited about the ice cream than the lesson.

And that’s how it has gone for us over the years: we’d try a devotional idea here, attempt structured family Bible study time there… but we just couldn’t seem to find our rhythm.

More candidly, it seemed that no matter how hard we tried, our efforts seemed kind of lame when compared to fellow parent friends whose devotional times with their children seemed outlandishly fun and meaningful.

{Side note: it’s always a good idea to compare our parenting styles with our friends’ parenting styles, right? NOT!  But that’s the subject of another post.}

Our ideas simply didn’t measure up to the dramatic depiction of David’s slaying of Goliath {complete with homemade sling shots} or the creation of no less than 40 handcrafted Easter ornaments {each accompanied by a Bible verse, individually wrapped, ready to be opened for every day of Lent, and THEN hammered theatrically onto a handmade cross} or the Christmas Advent calendar prepared with 25 selfless acts of love to perform as a family to teach lessons in being the hands and feet of Christ.

{Find out what Rhonda discovered worked best for her family…which also happens to be identical to my family – over at ForTheFamily.org}

The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 5 {Never Walk Alone}

Book Club header week 2 chapter 5

Welcome back to the Women Living Well Book Club!

Chapter 5 Discussion

sally clarkson community

Image via Sally Clarkson

In Chapter 5, I list the 4 ways I have found community, accountability and friendship within the church.

1. Women’s Bible Studies – raise your hand if you have been in a women’s Bible study!

Women’s Bible Studies are not all created equally. Depending on the leader, the book choice and the group that attends – experiences can vary.  For me personally, this has been a huge piece of the puzzle of my spiritual growth and connection with other Christian women.  I LOVE Women’s Bible Studies and highly recommend you join one or start one in your home or at your church!

Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

2. Mentorship/Discipleship Ministry – When I was in 9th grade I was mentored/discipled for the very first time. I talk about this mentor named Holly in my book.  Holly and I met – one on one –  on a weekly basis for 2 years when I was in high school.  Holly was only 2 years older than me – but she had a huge influence in my life. She held me accountable for my daily Bible reading and walk with God and she listened, counseled and befriended me.  When she left my high school youth group, to attend the Moody Bible Institute – it wasn’t long until I followed in my mentors footsteps and joined her on her dorm floor as a student too!

Holly took the time to invest in me.  Who can you invest in? You are never too young!  And now she is a missionary in the Ukraine {she continues to inspire me through her life} and the last time she was home on furlough – our kids played together – here are some pictures below.

Holly Rist 2011

Holly's visit kids

3. Titus 2 Worshops – connecting with older women - If you are a young woman, the Bible says we NEED older women and if you are older- the Bible says you need to be with the younger women.  We need each other.  We need your wisdom, insight, leadership and example.  Young ones – if you don’t have an older woman to learn off of  - pray for one.

Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

4.  Good Morning Girls – (the background story) When I started the very first Good Morning Girls Group at my home church  (which was previously titled the ’6AM Club’) in 2007 – it was all about accountability.  I knew I needed accountability for my daily quiet times and that is just what Good Morning Girls provided for me.  This sweet group of 5 ladies emailed each other every.single.day for years and years.

first GMG group

But little did we know that our little group of 5 would one day in August of 2009 – turn into 120 Good Morning Girls here on Women Living Well!  These groups kept on multiplying and multiplying, to the point that I needed some on-line help to manage it all and God brought an angel name Angela who jumped right in and began loving and leading Good Morning Girls groups.

IMG_3529

2 years into GoodMorningGirls.org – I was so overwhelmed with 2 growing blogs and speaking and writing a book, that I took a back seat and Angela took the lead. And Oh.My.Word. – that girl (with the help of an amazing team of talented women) has turned this on-line ministry into something beautiful!!!  This winter, GMG enrolled 13,000 women in our on-line Bible Study – Praise God!

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Let’s Discuss:

Here’s a – very brief – 1 minute video of my closing thoughts on this section of the book – “Your Walk with God”.

(if you are reading this in the feed – click here to view the video)

1.)  Tell us about a Bible Study you have  been involved in or a mentor or a Titus 2 Woman in your life, that you have connected with on a spiritual level.  How did that affect your spiritual growth?

2.)  Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (posted above), how can you apply this in your life?

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapter 5″

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Bloggers:  Are you blogging your way through this book club with us?  Then link-up your blog post below.
**
Please note that this link up has changed for the next 7 weeks.{if your linked-up post is not about the book club it will be removed}



 

The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 4

Book Club header week 2 chapter 4

Welcome back to the Women Living Well Book Club!

Here’s the links from past posts:
The Weekly Reading Schedule
Chapter 1
Chapters 2&3
“Your Walk With God” webcast & Extra Resources

Let’s Discuss Chapter 4

The world is changing rapidly. It’s amazing for me to consider that my kids have no idea what a typewriter or word processor looks like.  They simply don’t know a world without tiny devices that both entertain and answer all their questions.

Changes from the Media Revolution

 

Our kids are not familiar with those thick JC Penney Catalogs or record players or phones attached to walls.  Remember when we had to purchase film for our cameras…and flashes!  Then we waited 7 days for the pictures to develop and half the pictures were of people with their eyes closed!  My kids can snap 100 pictures in an hour on their iPods, crop, twist and turn them and have them printed on our printer in 2 seconds flat.

The onslaught of the media revolution has changed the landscape of our lives.  So, we must ask the question – how has this affected our walk with God?

I make clear in chapter 4 that media is amoral.  In and of itself, it is neither good nor evil.  It is our use of it, that determines its morality.  Each believer must discern and follow their own convictions

“Jesus lived in a different culture and context than we do.  Never before have women carried access to ALL the world’s knowledge on a tiny device in our purses!”  pg. 36

And this is where the danger lies.  I admit in the book that I struggle with being an information glutton.  As I hop from blog to blog, and Facebook to Twitter – I tend to gather more information than I can process or use and all this information crowds out the voice of God in my life.

Information is a cheap substitute

 

Let’s Discuss:

Below this video are our discussion questions for the comment section – please share your answers and thoughts there.

Here’s a 4 minute video of my answers!

(if you cannot see this video - click here)

1.)  Pause for a moment and list all the media you currently use in a week.  Now consider and sort through it, which of the media draws you closer to God and which of the media pulls you away from God.

2.)  God has not called His children to seek information; He calls us to seek Him.  Read Read Matthew 6:33 and Hebrews 11:6 {again} what are we to be seeking?

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapters 4″.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

“Your Walk With God” Webcast & Extra Resources


Book Club header Week 1 Webcast - Resources

What a great first week!!!  You all did such a great job giving feedback here and on the forum and out on facebook!  Way to go!  Next week we will continue the discussion about our spiritual walk – but until then, I want to provide you with some resources.

First, the Webcast below features Angela, Whitney and Jennifer (and me) from GoodMorningGirls.org talking about “Your Walk with God”.

Session 2 Speakers

The first 21 minutes is Angela’s keynote and the last 25 minutes are a couch discussion that I had with the GoodMorningGirls.org contributors.  I know this is going to encourage you!

(if you cannot view the video – click here)

The Good Morning Girls are launching their winter Bible study THIS Monday!!!  The title of the study is “Intentionally Focused”.  Check out all the details >>>here.  We’d love to have you join us!

Intentionally focused

 

Some other resources for your spiritual growth:

JenThorn.com – this is my roommate from college and this girl LOVES her theology.  Need some help digging deeper into scripture – check her out!

Other posts I’ve written on this topic:

Putting My Prayer Life in Order

How to Study Your Bible With Colored Pencils

My Children’s Devotional and Spiritual Growth Books

A Solution for Keeping Your Little Ones in Bed {so you can have your quiet time}

A Vlog Demonstrating My Bible Study Tips

How to Take Sermon Notes on Sunday

I hope something here encourages you.

Chime In: Do you have a favorite on-line resource – please share it with us in the comment section!

Walk with the King,

Courtney 

 

The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapters 2 & 3

Book Club header chapters 2&3

Welcome back to the Women Living Well Book Club!  If you are looking for the weekly reading schedule – click here.

Now let’s dig into Chapters 2 & 3!

Chapter 2

 John Piper Discipline to rise early

During our discussion of chapter 1, a lot of women said the #1 hindrance to setting aside time to be in God’s word was “busyness”.  We are simply too busy…or so busy – we aren’t carving time out for God.

But you will find in Chapter 2 “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Meditating on a Passage of Scripture” written just for you (this guide was also featured over at DesiringGod.org. If you do not have the book read it here) .  There ARE ways to soak in God’s word even if you are busy.  You simply have to want it.

This guide is just one way you can study scripture – there’s a whole host of ideas listed on page 19 for you.  The key is to understand that without a plan –  plan to fail. Planning is the key to living a disciplined life that includes a daily quiet time.

 chapter 1 quote 3

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 opens with the topic of your prayer life.

when you are praying…andrew murray

Tools I’ve used to grow in this area are prayer journaling, prayer walks and fasting.  I would love to hear from you about your prayer life!

Let’s Discuss:

Below this video are our discussion questions for the comment section – please share your answers and thoughts there.

Here’s a 5 minute video of my answers!

(if you cannot see this video – click here)

1.)  From Chapter 2:  When, where and how are you studying God’s word right now?

2.)  Read Luke 5:12-16 – what was Jesus doing here?  How can we, as busy women, follow his example?

3.)  From Chapter 3:  How can you improve your prayer life this year?

Prayer:
Father, may I never forget the powerful and amazing ways You provide for me as I thirst after You and Your word.  Teach me to wait on You wtih patience and eager expectation as I go about serving my family. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapters 2 & 3″

Bloggers:  Are you blogging your way through this book club with us?  Then link-up your blog post below.
**
Please note that this link up has changed for the next 8 weeks.{if your linked-up post is not about the book club it will be removed}



The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 1

Book Club Week 1 chap 1 Header

Welcome to the Women Living Well book club!

Today’s reading assignment was the Introduction and Chapter 1.

Voices The Great I AM

The book opens and closes pointing to the fact that we have to INTENTIONALLY shut out the clamor of this world so we can hear the voice of God.

My daughter was sick this past week – throwing up! Blak!  I knew she was sick the minute she lost her appetite.

And I wonder – Have you lost your appetite for God’s word?  Is your soul sick?  Has another voice crowded out the voice of God in your life?

The key to being women who live well – is to keep coming back to the living waters over and over and over and over again.  Never stop drinking from the living well!

Discussion: Chapter 1

Chapter 1 begins with John Piper’s quote below.  This quote comes from his book titled: When I Don’t Desire God (available for free on pdf here).

John Piper Quote

The first Biblical character found in my book might be considered a strange one – he’s not typically the center of a children’s Sunday School lesson or pastor’s Sunday morning sermon.  It’s Enoch, whose name means “devoted” or “dedicated”.  This guy FASCINATES me!

Genesis 5:24 tells us “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”  Hebrews 11:5 tells us, before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.

So how in the world did he walk with God so well, that God decided to pluck him from earth rather than waiting until he died?

John MacArthur says “the term walk expresses the idea of moment by moment fellowship with the Lord.”

Scripture says Noah walked with God and Abraham walked with God. And I want it to be said of me “Courtney walked with God.”

I want that!

So how do we get that?

solitude

Let’s Discuss:

Below this video are our discussion questions for the comment section – please share your answers and thoughts there.  Here’s a 5 minute video of my answers!


(if you cannot see the video – click here!)

 

1.)  On a scale of 1-10 (10 = great; 1 = stinky) , how is your walk with God right now?

2.) What would you say is your greatest hindrance to carving out time to meet with God in your busy day?

3.)  Grab your Bible and read (or google) Hebrews 11:5-6.  What does verse 6 state that we must do and believe if we want to be like Enoch?

4.) What is one intentional thing you can do this week to begin creating space and solitude to earnestly seek after God?

Prayer:
Father, help me to carve out calm in my day so I can hear from You clearly.  I want to be like Enoch, walking closely with You, my King. Amen.

I want to hear from you – what are your thoughts? Share them in the comment section below.

For Discussion on the Forum:  Do you have questions or thoughts you want to share from Chapter 1 — head on over to the forum and write them under the “Chapter 1″ thread (this thread is at the very bottom of the forum).  

Too Busy to Get Into God’s Word – 7 Tips for Busy Women

7 Tips for busy women

If you have followed my blog for long – you know that one of my favorite authors and theologians to both read and quote from is John Piper.  So imagine my surprise when I received an email from his ministry!!! {Bah!!!  Don’t tell them but I screeched,  jumped up and down and ran to my husband’s home office and said – “you won’t believe this!” Then I proceeded to email my parents and sisters and tell them and then I group facebooked my closest blogging friends and told them too!  Then I played it real cool in my emails back to them. lol!}

Honestly, being on the Rachael Ray Show was nice and all – but being featured on John Piper’s website at DesiringGod.org!!!!!!!  Well, there’s just not enough exclamation points for this!!!!!  This is far more exciting to me!

So please – come visit me there today where I am writing about 7 Ways for Busy Moms to Get In the Word. Then stick around and browse through their other posts. I can get lost in all the resources there – they are SO fabulous!

{Thank you DesiringGod.org for this opportunity!!!!  I pray that my readers who have not discovered your ministry -  love and learn and grow along side of you, as I have.}

Walk with the King!

Courtney

Solution For Keeping Little Ones In Bed {so you can have your quiet time}

 

Lately, I have seen a lot of status updates on Facebook from parents that mention their small children – toddlers and preschoolers – waking up WAY too early in the morning. And I know that when the children wake before mommy wakes – a quiet time is sure to not happen. Children need our full attention so having our eyes on the Bible is not best when our eyes need to be watching them!

I know there are mothers desperate to get their quiet time in, in the morning. So this post is for you! I have two solutions – we will start with #1!

1. My sisters taught me a trick that they both used. I tried their trick and it worked!! Cover the last two numbers of the clock with a piece of paper. Then write on the paper the hour that you would like your child to come out of their room in the morning. In our home, it has always been 7. Then teach your child to match the two numbers! When the two numbers match they can come out of their room. At bedtime, I would show them how the 7′s were matching (they usually went to bed around 7:30pm) and I’d remind them to not come out of their room until there was a matching 7.

I’d lay books beside their bed and they had permission to get up and read or play quietly in their rooms – just not come out until there was a matching 7. Sometimes there were rewards for obeying. If they mistakenly came out, I gently took them back to the room – showed them that the numbers were not matching and encouraged them to read and play until they saw matching numbers. This took time and training to get them to this point – but once they got it, it was so worth the training time! This is still the “rule” in our home to this day.

(If you have tried other solutions to no avail AND you have tried #1 – go to solution #2!)

2. Do not try to have a morning quiet time alone…oh I know it’s painful to not have that time that you dream of having – but some seasons of life do not permit this possibility. Either you have to get up very very very early (which may make you sleep deprived and not such a nice mommy or wife) – OR simply give yourself grace during this season of life. Read the Bible with your children during breakfast or lunch or wait until after they are down for afternoon naps or bedtime, and then spend quality time with Lord.

Please remember, this season of life is NOT forever. Add ten years to your children’s lives. If you have a 1, 3 and 5 year old in ten years they will be 10, 13, and 15. You will not be bathing them, cutting up their food, and dressing them forever. In ten years, the opposite will be happening. Perhaps they will be preparing the food for you and doing the laundry to help you!

So persevere during this season of life. Remember Philippians 3:14 – “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Press on sweet sisters and mommies! Strain toward the prize. We are not home to heaven yet. These days may be hard – but we have great hope in knowing that one day all the pain and trials we face will be over and we will step onto the shores of heaven!!! Oh what a glorious day it will be!!!

Walk with the King!