Radiant Retreat Videos

Last weekend I had the privilege of teaching an amazing group of women at my church’s women’s retreat. There is no way these videos can adequately capture what took place in the hotel conference room that quickly became holy ground as God’s Spirit swept through and dazzled us with the stunning brilliance of our radiant God. But I am so excited that my little Flip video camera was able to capture the teaching so that whether you were able to attend the retreat or not, you can be dazzled as well. One advantage you have over those of us who heard these messages live is that you get to watch them  in your pajamas with a giant cup of coffee. We’re a little jealous. 😉

Listening Guide (if you want to take notes as you listen)

Session 1 – “God:The Source of Radiant Living”

Session 2 – “The Holy Spirit: The Sustainer of Radiant Living”

Session 3 – “Our World: The Purpose of Radiant Living”

Fall Study Resources Now Available!

Shelter AI just created a page containing all the resources for the Bible study I am currently teaching. Now the weekly study guides, lecture videos (and eventually audio), and listening guides are just one click away. Isn’t technology wonderful?! Here’s the link. Enjoy!

Fall Study Resources

Living in the Shelter of a Sovereign God {New Bible Study!}

Note: If you are reading this via email, you will need to click on the title (which will take you to the web page) in order to view the video.

Shelter AFour a.m. study/writing sessions, a collection of empty coffee cups surrounding my laptop, and a dining room table covered in papers and commentaries can only mean one thing – Bible study starts back in just a few weeks! If you are in the Brandon, FL area I really hope you’ll join me on Tuesday mornings or Wednesday nights beginning September 3rd and 4th. (For those who don’t live in the area I am hoping to be able to provide audio of each session, but the room where I teach is notorious for its technical difficulties. Much prayer is needed . . . haha! I will definitely post the study guide as a free download as soon as it is complete. You can pray for that too!)

Here’s a short “sneak peek” video for the study. If it’s something you’d like others to know about, would you do me a favor and share it? I sure would love to see some new faces in Bible study this year and social media is a great way to spread the word!

 

You can click here to pre-register for the study. (Not required, but recommended.)

And to wet your appetite just a little bit more, here’s the basic outline for each week of the study:

Living in the Shelter of a Sovereign God . . .

Week 1: When your family is a mess (various passages from Gen. 25-36; Gen 37:1-4)

Week 2: When the bottom falls out (Gen. 37, 38)

Week 3: When temptation overwhelms you (Gen. 39)

Week 4: When your hopes are dashed (Gen. 40)

Week 5: When you are promoted (Gen. 41; 47:13-26)

Week 6: When it’s hard to forgive (Gen 42-47:12; 50:15-21)

Week 7: When you have to walk by faith (Gen. 48-50)

Week 8: When you need to see Jesus (Joseph as a type of Christ, various passages)

In case you are wondering – yes, I am really, reeeeeaaaaally excited about this one! In fact, the only thing that could possibly make me any more excited is seeing your face as I teach. 🙂

 

I just HAD to share . . .

I clicked on this link this morning and I’m pretty confident it will prove to be the best five minutes of my whole week. In it, John Piper talks about the importance of marinating in God’s Word. Yep, right up my alley! My favorite part: “A godly life is lived out of an astonished heart – a heart astonished by grace . . . ”

When you read your Bible, are you seeking an astonished heart? Am I? We should be!

For those seeing this via email, you may need to click on the title of the blog post to see the link.

Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/askpastorjohn/must-bible-reading-always-end

For My Fellow Read-Through-the-Bible-in-a-Year Failures

images[2]Confession: I am a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year failure. A repeat failure to be exact. As in, I’ve given it my best shot several times and have never finished on schedule. Not even close. Not even once. I did it in two years one time, but that was when I was single, still living with my parents, and my biggest responsibility was maintaining a proper Florida tan. Needless to say, those days are long gone!

Every January for the past decade someone in my life – a pastor, Sunday school teacher, mentor, or friend – has challenged me to read through the Bible in a year. And every year I try really, really hard. I print out the reading plan, put in in the front of my Bible and convince myself that this is the year I will actually succeed. But by the time February rolls around I’m still hanging out with Abraham when I ought to be watching the Israelites cross the Red Sea on dry ground. I’m pretty disciplined to read my Bible almost every day, but somehow I never seem to read enough to keep up with “the plan.” I get hung up on a certain verse, or I have to stop and ponder a particular truth, or a passage utterly confuses me and I stop to do some research, or my eyes won’t stay open because I stayed up too late the night before, or my sweet little boy decides that he wants to wake up an hour early – you know how it is.

This January was different. For the first time in many, many years I didn’t print a one-year reading plan and I didn’t buy a special one-year Bible.  Instead, I got myself three bookmarks – one for the Old Testament, one for the Psalms, and one for the New Testament. Each morning I get up, get my coffee, sit down in my special quiet time spot, and simply pick up where I left off the day before.

I read a Psalm or a portion of a Psalm first. Reading a Psalm is a good “warm up” for me. It focuses my attention on the Lord. Aside from that, I can’t think of a better way to start the day than with some praise. Well . . .  coffee, then praise. When it’s really early reading the Psalm out loud is usually my only hope for staying awake. You know, since it takes a few minutes for the dark roast to do its job.

After I’m finished in the Psalms, I find my bookmark in the Old Testament and pick up where I left off the day before. Then I do the same with the New Testament. I close by jotting down at least one truth from my reading in a notebook. Sometimes I get through a whole chapter or two in each Testament. Sometimes I only get through a few verses. But with my bookmark plan, it simply doesn’t matter. What matters is that I get up . . . that I sit before the Lord . . . that I marinate in His Word . . .  that I listen intently to His voice . . . that I surrender to His will . . .that I marvel at His grace.  That stuff isn’t necessarily a function of how much you read; it’s a function of how well you read (i.e., how well you listen to God’s voice and apply His truth to your life).

A one-year reading plan is a really good thing. The last thing I ever want to do is discourage anyone from making that a goal! It’s one of the best ways I can think of to get a “big picture” view of God’s Word. It’s something I definitely want to accomplish before Jesus calls me home. But I’m finally convinced that it isn’t the “holy grail” of spiritual maturity. I’ve finally let myself off the hook for never successfully checking all the boxes of my yearly printout on time. I’ve finally accepted the fact that it’s okay to hang out with Abraham a little too long. Moses and the Israelites will still be living their lives in the book of Exodus whether I get there on schedule or not. (For a girl who is task-oriented, always likes to be on time, adores detailed schedules, and always plays by the rules, this is huge! We’re talking major growth here, people! You should stop right now and clap for me.)

If you want to be successful at “marinating” in God’s Word, I sincerely believe you must have a plan. But for that plan to be fruitful, it has to be doable. It has to accommodate the ebb and flow of your life. If you are a mom with young children, it must allow for a lot of interruptions.

Today is February 6th and I just finished up with Noah and the Sermon on the Mount.  For the first time ever, I’m okay with that. Why? Because my bookmarks are moving, God is speaking, I’m growing, and “life” is no longer interrupting like it used to.

Don’t have a reading plan? Is the one you have not working? Get yourself some bookmarks, a pen, and a notebook. Commit to “marinate” every day and watch those bookmarks move ahead at whatever rate works for you.  When something stands out, write it down. Keep it simple and keep it going. One year may not be enough time to get through the Bible, but I know from personal expereince that it’s plenty of time for the Bible to get through you. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

 

 

 

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