Monthly Archives: June 2011

My Top 15 Elements for Successful Bible Study – Valley of Vision

As we grow in our walk with Christ, knowing God’s word (and seeking it with zeal) is one of the most important things we can do.  After all, he’s revealed himself to us in two primary ways: Through his Holy Spirit, which we received as a gift when we became Christians, and in his Word.

This post is the 13th of 15.  In each post, I’ll be examining my personal “Top 15″ things leading to successful bible study.  This series of posts can be filed under “Reflection.”

Click the link to view yesterday’s post on keeping a journal.
Reflection – Valley of Vision.   I mentioned in an earlier post (Puritan Prayer – the Valley of Vision) on the special time I carve out for my bible study that I ususally conclude with a reading from Valley of Vision … a book of Puritan Prayers that Austin Stone worship leader Aaron Ivey uses from time to time during our services.  I also wrote about it specifically here.  The reason I’ve included it again here is that I view my devotional time with valley of Vision to be an important part of my reflection time.
As simple as it sounds, learning how to pray is, I think, a lifetime goal.  Jesus was a great example of this … he would seclude himself and pray for hours on end – a habit he never forsook.  The puritan prayers in this book are prayers the way I often wish I could pray.  They’re so clear, lucid and beautiful … and are 100% grounded in scripture.  They add immeasurably to the value of my daily study.
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My Top 15 Elements for Successful Bible Study – A Journal

As we grow in our walk with Christ, knowing God’s word (and seeking it with zeal) is one of the most important things we can do.  After all, he’s revealed himself to us in two primary ways: Through his Holy Spirit, which we received as a gift when we became Christians, and in his Word.

This post is the 12th of 15.  In each post, I’ll be examining my personal “Top 15″ things leading to successful bible study.  This series of posts can be filed under “Reflection.”

Click the link to view my last post on dedicating time for study.
Reflection – A Journal. One of the things I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I love inputs of all kinds.  I soak up ideas like a sponge – even if they aren’t immediately relevant to my life.  In fact, if you’ve ever used Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton’s “StrengthFinder” tool, “Input” is one of my top five traits. [In case you’re wondering, the others are Innovative, Strategic, Connected and … I can’t remember the last one.]
All the stuff that I “input” into my brain tends to rattle around up there – combining with other ideas – until a new insight emerges.  But that happens best when I have a time and a place to reflect on the things I’ve just read.  A lot of people will keep a journal of one kind or anohter to store their ideas, insights and learnings.  In fact, my old boss, Jack Lord (the founder of Humana’s Innovation Center) used to think that kind of journaling was so important that he mandated that every leader in his team write a daily update reflecting on:
  • What they’d accomplished;
  • What they’d learned; and
  • To whom they were thankful.  
I may have been the only person (other than Jack himself) who didn’t hate daily updates!  As I study the bible, I wanted to make sure that I had a place to store my reflections and ideas.  And since I’m a social media geek, and wanted to get better with WordPress anyway, I started this blog as my reflection place.  Even though this blog is only a few monhts old, I can already look back at my archives and remember what it felt like when I wrote my older posts … and it makes me really glad that I have a place to capture them all.  And if anyone else gets any value from it – so much the better!  Do you keep a journal of your bible studies?  How does it work for you?

The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God?

You know the feeling you get when you open a box in an attic, and discover something that you once treasured?  The way that memories flood over you – remembering the time and place that this thing represents for you?  I had one of those moments today.  I was searching through Alistair Begg‘s sermons to find a resource for a friend (his Truth for Life Ministries site is indexed beautifully) when I came upon this sermon: The Kingdom of God.

You can link to The Kingdom of God here.

I heard this sermon first when I was living in Germany with my new wife (she’s an old wife now; we’ll be celebrating 15 years together next week).  We were both Christians, but we were not living Christian lives in the sense of putting God first.  I was at one of those stages of frustration with the church, and was continually confusing the church for its politics … a sore subject for me.  Anyway, this sermon by Alistair Begg was like having scales removed from my eyes in terms of what the church is really meant to be … what it should mean to us as Christians, but more importantly what it means for us as we interact with the world around us.

This sermon was originally preached in 1996, but it is just as relevant and pointed now as it was then.  It was a signal that helped to change my life then – and I can still see the changes happening today. Give it a listen!

And – at long last – My series on the Top 15 Elements of a Successful Bible Study will resume tomorrow, so stay tuned!