Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Few, The Proud...The Muddy! Mud Run Photos

Back in September our class put together 2 teams to participate in the annual Marine Mud Run [link] at Melton Hill Park. This was by far the most fun I have ever had in a race. For 3 miles we ran up hills and down hills, sloshed our way through parts of the lake, jumped over logs, climbed over logs, and waded through several mud pits.

You can view the entire slide show here [link].

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big Creek Trail - Revisited

Back in August, I know August seems so far away, the class took another trip to the popular Big Creek Trail.

Along the trail there is a great swimming place the locals call midnight hole. The water is clear, deep, and very very cold. We had a great time together that day and look forward to going back again next summer.

You can view the entire photo album here [link].

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oakes Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch - This Saturday

The air is cool, football season is well underway, the leaves are changing, and before you know it Thanksgiving will be here. This month we have planned a class get together at the Oakes Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch [link].

Here are the details:
When? Saturday, October 25th - 3:00 P.M.

See you Saturday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quiet Time

You often hear Christians talk about their "quiet time" which is really funny to those who have children because these are two words that just don't exist anymore.

There is never any time and seldom is it quiet. Yet even in a house full of children or not it is important that we as believers set aside some time each day/week apart from corporate worship within our churches, apart from Sunday School, discipleship class, or small group environments, apart from praying with our spouse to be completely alone with God, reading His word, hearing from Him.

Paul tells us that all scripture is God breathed and is useful for instruction, and correction. Jesus used scripture to combat Satan, and David sung of hiding God's word in his heart so as not to sin against God.

Over the years I have started many of these "quite times" employing varying methods including different times and places. Since it is hard for me to get up in the mornings I tried scheduling some time at lunches or in the evenings before bed. What I found was that lunches never work because there is always an emergency or there is always someone, a customer or a co-worker who wants to go to lunch. Right before bed doesn't work well for me because I found myself snoozing in and out of my prayer time.

I have also tried to incorporate a "quiet time" using devotionals such as My Utmost for His Highest as a means to kick-start my study. These are great intros into developing the habit but left me wanting more, wanting to study my Bible rather than read another book about the Bible.

So what does my routine look like these days?

1. It is scheduled. My quiet time is on the calendar. Each morning I get up around 6:00 or so. My coffee is ready and I head to the E and C library. If I don't schedule it or make it a part of my day it just doesn't happen.

2. My pastor, Brother Holie, gave a great sermon on personal worship so I use his format which loosely goes like this-
Always begin by praising Jesus either through reading a Psalm, singing a hymn, or simply thanking Him through prayer. Pray asking for forgiveness of sins by specifically naming your sins. Ask for your needs and the needs of others. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the scripture you are about to read, to show you of commands you need to obey, sins you need to repent of, and principals you need to take hold of. Thank Jesus for hearing your prayers and for all the wonderful things He will be doing.

3. Once you have praised and prayed now it is time to dig into the word. Make sure you have a version of the Bible that is both accurate and easy for you to read. I love the King James Version but at 6:00 in the morning I can't comprehend smite and smote so I use the New King James Version. Other great translations are the ESV, the ASV, and the NIV.

4. Do your reading in a logical manner. Begin at the beginning of a book, start, and work your way through it. Don't jump around from various passages without direction and read at a pace that you can comprehend and contemplate. Don't jump into a book and try to read three chapters a day. Read slowly and with purpose.

5. Write it down - I keep a journal and a pen with me during my morning study times (see above picture). I read the passage, usually one chapter a day, re-read the chapter, then open my journal. In my journal I write the date and the book/chapter of the scripture I am reading. I then list the facts of the chapter, the who, what, when, where, and why. I then try to summarize the chapter in 10 words or less to capture the main point of the chapter. I finish by writing out how the chapter applies to me personally by asking...What command is God giving through this passage? What promise is God asking me to take hold of? What sin is God convicting me to repent of?

6. I always close in prayer asking Jesus to help me understand and to receive what I just read and what He just spoke to me.

7. I remember that having a study time, being consistent in my "quiet time" does not make me holy and it does nothing to add to my salvation or my standing with God. I am Holy only through the blood of Jesus, I am saved only through the blood of Jesus, and I have good standing with God only through the blood of Jesus.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Where are the lessons?

We just started a new Marriage study, From Surviving to Thriving, and I know some of you are probably asking, maybe not...."Where are the lessons and why aren't you posting them here at the site?" Anytime we go through a published study, such as this one, I have made the decision not to post the lesson so as not to infringe on any copyrights.

However, during the next 7 weeks I will be posting articles useful in your Christian walk so be sure to visit on a weekly basis.

Got a question?

Want to hear more about a certain topic?

Leave your comment here and maybe you will see your request published!

Tools you can use - Pay

As mentioned in the previous post, I love books, software, electronics, things that make life easier and tools that help me study the Bible. While there are lots of great free resources available there are also some wonderful pay for tools available I think you should know about. Here are some that I highly recommend.

1. Get a great study Bible - What's your favorite translation? KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV? Mine? The ESV. All of these are great Bibles to read, teach, and preach from. Just so happens that this month Crossway is releasing the ESV study Bible for the very first time [link].

2. Bible Dictionary - Sooner or later you are going to come across a term or word you just don't get. A Bible Dictionary is a great help and there are many to choose from.

3. Commentary Set - You don't have to purchase a commentary set in order to study the Bible. A good commentary can give you background information, history, and color to what you are studying as well as an interpretation. Commentary sets range from 1 volume up to many and range in prices. I would recommend the two volume set - The Bible Knowledge Commentary [link] which is a fantastic set, doesn't cost much, and doesn't take up much room. I also like James Montgomery Boice [link] and Matthew Henry [link].

4. Software - I had the privilege of attending a conference in Seattle this February and during that time I attended a session hosted by Logos Bible Software [link] and was completely blown away! I had used Bible Software in the past but had never seen anything this powerful or easy to use. The intent of Logos really is to get people into their Bibles and to get those who do not know the Hebrew and Greek into the original languages. Logos is diligent in their ministry and are continually in the process of updating the software to make it easier and better and their customer service should it say it? Magnific!

By the way....Thank you Phil for showing me how to add Reftagger [link] to our blog for free! I was contacted by one of the guys at Logos who helped me add a very neat tool to our blog that automatically links up scripture to any reference I type in. Here is an example - John 3:16.

5. Not a must but very nice - iPod. Why in the world did I include an iPod in the list of tools to help you study your Bible? One word - free podcasts! I guess that is two words. When you use itunes in conjunction with your iPod you have access to thousands of lectures, sermons, music, and preaching/teaching for free! I can provide a tutorial to anyone who needs help. You can download free audio Bibles as well. The best part is that you can take it with you where ever you go.

I hope this helps you in your studies and brings you closer to Jesus. Enjoy!

Feel free to post your suggestions in the comments section.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tools you can use - Free

I enjoy books, commentaries, software, and study aides that help me in better understanding the Bible. I like these even better when they are free.

Here are some tools that I use that are free that I thought might be a blessing to you. Feel free to comment and let me know of any sites or tools that you use that would be beneficial to others.

1. E Sword - [link] This is free Bible software you can download to your PC. There are many translations of the Bible to choose from as well as built in commentaries, word searches, Greek helps and so on.

2. - a really great Bible site that allows you to search via translation, key word, and subject.

3. - a great source of tools at your fingertips to include Bible translations, key word searches, and 23 commentaries

4. - an online library with literally thousands of great books to download and read for free.

5. - this is an online ministry completely devoted to pointing people to Jesus and setting them free from habitual sins such as pornography, food worship, alcoholism, gambling, and smoking. The ministry consists of a daily Bible study and accountability via an assigned mentor.