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Look Over Here!

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Redirecting attention off of something and onto something else is powerful. It’s a common practice of parents, marketing, and politicians.

Jesus used this communication technique to redirect the attention of His disciples. He not only put their vision onto something, but He also took it off something. He was training them to be leaders, by training them to follow His example.

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”
Luke 4: 35

Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Luke 21: 27-28

What we are looking for is what we are living for.

What are you in pursuit of today? Is it directly tied to the calling God has on your life?

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
Matthew 6:33a

Summertime = Bibletime

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Summertime = Bibletime

The rhythm of life changes during the summer. Vacations. Weekend excursions. Kids around the house more. Summer nights outdoors. The change in pace is a welcome one.

For many of us, Summertime provides extra opportunities to spend time with family and friends. What if you make it a goal this season of life to spend that time spent together in the Bible?

Some suggestions for the Summer season:

  • Start each day of your vacation reading the Bible together around the breakfast table.
  • On your road trip, listen to an audio Bible (try the book of Acts).
  • Before starting a hike, or around the campfire read a portion of scripture about God’s creation (Psalm 8, 19, Genesis 1).
  • Pack a Bible in your beach bag or backpack and enjoy reading outdoors in a new setting. Take turns reading a chapter out loud.
  • Get a Bible trivia game, form teams and play once a week to encourage one another.
  • Have each family or group member on the same Bible reading plan and make it the topic of conversation over a shared meal.

Bible reading isn’t about getting brownie points or being puffed up with Bible knowledge. It’s crucial for every Christian because there is a direct correlation between it and spiritual maturity.

For the more ambitious, Summer can be a great time to grow in Bible reading consistency. Set a personal goal to read a minimum of 20 minutes everyday. Be fastidious and protective of your goal and use a Bible reading plan if necessary. Set daily reminders, make sure you have easy access through Bible apps and printed editions. You might consider starting with one of the four Gospels, one of the 66 books your church is studying, or one of the Old Testament prophets you have never read. The point is, just start and stay on track. Studies show it takes 60 days on average to develop a new habit. Use this Summer to grow in this crucial spiritual discipline.

The challenge in writing any blog about Bible Literacy is that you are writing and therefore interacting with a group of readers. However, if the Church has hope in reversing the current trends, it will take individuals like yourself modeling the habits of Bible reading and encouraging others to get engaged with the scriptures everyday. Community and accountability can both be beneficial toward solidifying a daily habit of Bible reading.

So while publishers may focus on fiction as a summer escape, we suggest you consider engaging with the history, poetry, suspense, adventure, love stories, dramatic endings and more found in the Book above all books. Read the Bible everyday and as Peter said, …grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18a, NASB).

The Importance of Biblical Literacy Pt. 5

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C.H. Spurgeon once said, “The answer to every objection against the Bible is the Bible.”

When engaging in a spiritual discussion, how quick are you to go to God’s Word? Jesus gives us a striking example when he was posed a question by some Jewish leaders who wanted to hear his opinion on a complex religious issue. They were using it as bait for a trap.

Being God though, Jesus was not intimidated by them or their question. He simply replied in Mark 12:24, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” He then continues on in verse 25 asking them, “….have you not read….?” (look up the entire chapter of Mark’s Gospel for more context)

Jesus corrects the questioners by implying that if they had been reading the scriptures, they would’ve known the answer.

In Luke 4:17-21 we also read of Jesus reading scripture to other listeners.

17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,

BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.

HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,

AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,

TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

There will likely come a time in all of our lives (our kids included) when people ask questions to try to trap us in our religious beliefs. At those times, may the investments of reading the scriptures and having them read to us equip us for the moment. It’s not about sharing our own opinion, but in the same way Jesus responded, let’s use the Word of God.

The Importance of Biblical Literacy Pt. 4

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Proverbs 3:1-7 depicts a beautiful picture of a relationship of learning between a parent and a child.

Prov. 3:1     My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;

2 For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.

3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

We often read this and (rightly) focus on the child, commanding them not to forget their father’s instruction. But think of it from the other angle. As parents, are we regularly and intentionally turning our kids’ attention toward Biblical wisdom?

If we are following the model of Proverbs, we are regularly investing ourselves in our children, and thus we are training them up with a love for God’s Word. By introducing them to the wisdom of the Bible, we are pointing them to the banquet table and wellspring where they can feast and drink of the goodness of God.

Biblical illiteracy is spiritual famine. But unlike how we feed and fuel our bodies, the sustenance does not enter through the mouth, but rather through the ears and eyes of the heart.

With children, this happens through repetition. When it comes to the Bible, the more we read to our kids, the more they read to themselves, the more opportunities they have to grow spiritually. The Bible is the lamp to keep them on track through their journey of life.

While it can be easy to give the role of Biblical instruction to Sunday school teachers, we need to be saturating our kids with intentional Biblical instruction ourselves.

The Importance of Biblical Literacy Pt. 3

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It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to find out that recent surveys on general Bible knowledge have shown a decline in Biblical literacy. Sadly, these statistics are true for the church as well.

One of the best ways to stem the tide on these statistics is to train kids with the knowledge of the Bible. Kids are sponges. Take language learning for example. Kids can learn a complex language as a toddler in a matter of months. It takes adults years of study to master a new language.

But the Bible calls us to do more than just teach our kids the Bible. As parents, we’re called to teach our kids to love the God of the Bible (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). This doesn’t mean we abandon Bible literacy among children. Actually the opposite is true. We should teach our kids to love God by teaching them the Bible.

The key to this is training kids to love the Bible. In an article by Biblica, Paul Caminiti says this regarding the issue, “A Bible lover will become a Bible learner, but a Bible learner will not necessarily become a Bible lover.”

Psalm 19:10 describes the Bible as “more desirable than gold” and “sweeter than honey”. As parents, we need to find ways to place this sweet honey in front of them so they can taste it for themselves (Psalm 34:8).

The Power Bible provides a gateway for kids to enter and discover the world of the Bible in a fun and engaging way. Never sacrificing accuracy, the Power Bible is based on the New American Standard (NASB) text. In the visual age we live in, the fast-action pace of the comic format Power Bible grabs kids’ attention and keeps it.

Find out more about the Power Bible here. 

Why We Created The Preacher’s Bible

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After fifty years of studying and expositing the Word of God verse by verse, using a variety of Bibles—none of which had all the features I prefer—I was asked, “If you could create the perfect Bible for pastors and Bible teachers, what would it include?” This edition, The Preacher’s Bible, is the result.

Of course, the most important feature of any Bible is the biblical text itself. The ideal Bible for preachers should include the most precise translation of Scripture available. For decades I have taught from the New American Standard Bible. Based on the best original manuscripts and following the principle that God’s Word should be translated literally, the New American Standard is, I believe, the best English-language version of the Bible. Using it in The Preacher’s Bible was an easy choice.

Preachers also need a Bible that is easy to read from the pulpit. I like single-column pages with large type. Displaying the verses line by line instead of in paragraph form, and with the verse numbers clearly off set, is also ideal. Those features have been incorporated into The Preacher’s Bible.

A Bible taken to the pulpit should also be supremely functional at the study desk. The Preacher’s Bible includes wide, blank margins for jotting cross-references, notes, and outlines that are crucial for interpreting the text. The paper in this edition, thicker than in typical Bibles, is designed to prevent handwritten notes from bleeding through the page. The reinforced binding and fine leather cover ensure a lifetime of use. Over time, the preacher will accumulate a study Bible of his own making as he has been taught by the Spirit. The Preacher’s Bible will become a written legacy of the biblical interpretation and emphasis that has marked both the private study and public ministry of the preacher.

My prayer is that as you use The Preacher’s Bible, it will become a lasting, precious record of the illumination of the Holy Spirit in your life and ministry.

The Importance of Biblical Literacy Pt. 2

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Most surveys in the last 10 years about Biblical Literacy in the US have been trending downward. You may have seen some of the stats:

  • Fewer than half of adults can name all 4 Gospels.
  • 60% of Americans can’t name 5 of the 10 Commandments.
  • 12% of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

The best way to stem the tide of Biblical illiteracy is to train kids to read and love the Bible.

However, just knowing this isn’t enough because it needs to be put into practice. And that can be the most challenging part.

Here is some good advice from Jon Nielson, author of Reading the Bible with Your Kids. We believe if you put this into practice, you’ll strengthen the bond of faith and family by making the Word of God central in your household.

  1. Pick a regular time and place for Bible reading.
  2. Read short chunks.
  3. Stop to explain and gauge comprehension.
  4. Think of age-appropriate questions for discussion.
  5. Connect each passage to Jesus.
  6. Let Bible reading lead to prayer.

The best way to foster a love for God’s Word in your child is to show them what a love for God’s Word looks like. This can be done by reading the Bible with your kids. Based on the NASB, the Power Bible is a tool that can help you do just that, engage your child with an age appropriate presentation of the Bible in a beautifully illustrated and solidly Biblical way.

Not familiar with the Power Bible? Find out why professors from Biola and Westminster endorse this full-color comic format of the Bible.

Learn more here: https://316publishing.com/green-egg-media/