Category Archives: Faith Journey

The Day After Thanksgiving: Is it Good Friday or Black Friday… and What Are We Really Searching For?

 

In less than 10 days, our world will come together for the most anticipated Friday of the year: Black Friday.

Long ago, I discovered some gray neutral ground for Black Friday. I do not actively avoid it, however I am not consumed by it. TBH, I appreciate the occasion for people-watching on a grand scale. The BEST part about the Friday after Thanksgiving, though, is the window of opportunity to share the some FREE, life changing truth (no catch!).

Here it is, 4 differences between Black Friday and Good Friday, and how they might make you forget every item on your wish list:

  1. On Black Friday, people stay up all night to stand in line for a deal. On Good Friday, Jesus was up all night, standing before accusers, and was dealt judgement on our behalf.
  2. On Black Friday, crowds trample each other for gadgets. On Good Friday, Jesus was trampled for the crowds to have restored relationship between God and man.
  3. On Black Friday, department stores put on-trend items on clearance. On Good Friday, Jesus put salvation and adoption into the family of God clear-of-all-charge: He made it absolutely free.
  4. On Black Friday, stores provide access to hot deals to the the first 50 shoppers in line.. On Good Friday, Jesus provided all-access redemption with the Holy God of creation to anyone who would receive it.

Though the sky, indeed, turned black on the day Jesus died, we remember it as GOOD because it is the ONLY way humanity can ever be in the light.

When we search for fulfillment via Black Friday, we get a momentary thrill. When we search for fulfillment via Good Friday, we find true rest, redemption, and eternal-filling with joy!

I might snag the perfect gift for my special-someone, at a once-in-a-lifetime affordable price, on Black Friday this year. But I will probably feel compelled to do it all again the next year.

However, because of Good Friday, I am considered special to the ultimate Someone, who reminds me to pass the true Gift on and on. For some, it truly will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear about life-giving hope.

Because of this, I cannot keep from sharing His story, “as though God were making his appeal through [me]. [I] implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:20-21‬

Whatever your reason for waking up next Friday, I pray you continue in the spirit of gratitude and kindness of Thanksgiving throughout the week.

With Hope,

Becky

PS. Don’t know where to start when it comes to Good News about Good Friday? Check out this post for some Gospel H.A.C.K.S.

Please SHARE this post to offer hope and clarity from the Friday confusion.

*This post originally appeared on November 21, 2016. It has been updated to optimize encouragement for readers of campfiregrace.com.
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5 Gospel Sharing Hacks That Will Change the World

Are you tired of anxiety hijacking your chance to share your faith with a co-worker? Does the idea of evangelism spark an eye-roll reflex? Have awkward experiences tarnished the idea of gospel-sharing for you or your family?

I get it. I have been there before. Talking about church, God, faith, sin, and the afterlife can be incredibly intimidating. Many of us worry that talking about our faith will come across as

  • judgemental
  • fake
  • awkward
  • preachy
  • holier than thou

However, when we stop letting these presuppositions prevent us from talking about Jesus, we have the chance to join our Savior in changing the world.

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. 1 Peter 3:15-16b

In other words, let’s make it a thing. With practice and a few tools, talking about the good news of God’s love can become normal, not awkward, in your sphere of influence.

Here are 5 H.A.C.K.S. that my husband and I have learned along our own journey:

H. Hold the Gospel Close:

When a cup is poured into with more than it can hold, it splashes over on its surroundings. Similarly, when a Christian spends time treasuring the grace and freedom in a relationship with Jesus, he or she will overflow with joy and excitement for others to experience it as well.

  • Schedule time daily to treasure God’s love for you by reading your Bible.
  • Wake up every day and affirm your identity in Christ. Say “I am a child of God.” As children of the King of kings, we are also ambassadors of His Kingdom. The first is our primary identity. The second is our primary occupation.
  • Talk about the undeserved goodness of God’s grace with other believers. Gather often and get excited about what God is doing. Make it important.

A. Ask The Gospel:

Change your thinking from “share the gospel,” to “ask the gospel.” Most Christians think evangelism is a speech to memorize. However, the Bible is full of stories of men, including Jesus, who introduced the gospel via good questions. Greg Stier created a fantastic method for this: Ask, Admire, Admit:

ASK:  If you think your friend or family member is a Christian, ask, “what was the day like when you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior?” If they have a salvation experience to share, they will. If they do not, that will become clear and you can skip to “admire” below.

If you do not know about your friend’s or co-worker’s beliefs, ask, “How would you describe your spiritual journey?”

ADMIREFind one thing you can relate with or celebrate about the person’s answer. This is not the time to disagree. Use “I” statements to ensure the person feels loved and heard:

“I totally get your commitment to mindfulness.”

“I have always appreciated the kindness of your religion.”

“I deeply admire your resilience through so many hardships.”

ADMIT: This is not your chance to prove them wrong. In fact, this is your chance to admit your own wrong-ness. Find a piece of the person’s story that connects with your own need for a Savior. Then tell the story how Jesus rescued you, adopted you, and changed your life forever. Here’s an example:

“In my own life, I find no matter how hard I tried to balance out my good and bad, I always felt the scale tipping. But when I was 12, I finally understood that I am loved deeply by the God who created me. He sent Jesus to take the punishment I deserve for my imperfect identity. Now I have a relationship with God, not because I walked the right path, but because I trusted in Jesus to get me there.”

After ADMIT, offer a non-awkward way to continue the conversation in which you can finish your story with the G.O.S.P.E.L. (see below). Say something like, “I really appreciate you listening to my perspective. Is there a good time we can meet to talk more about this?” Their answer will clue you into their interest level:

“Yes, now please.”

“Sure, how about at _____ time and place.”

“No, I’m not interested.”

C. Carry The Gospel (Publicly):

Intentionally create built-in gospel sharing opportunities into your life. This is another way to ADMIT your need for the gospel. For example, my husband and I chose our children’s names so we could share the hope of Jesus with everyone who interacts with our family. Because of my kid’s names, I had the privilege of a simple gospel conversation with a new mom I met in the park. I asked what her child’s unique name meant; she answered and then reciprocated the question. In a few short words, I was able to give her a glimpse into the hope that I have.

“Our son’s name means defender, or intercessor. We chose this name because we believe people are completely separated from God without Jesus stepping in our place on the cross. Our daughter’s name means ‘a flowing river of good news.’ We hope she will be a life-giver and always share the good news that God loves all people.”

A built in gospel-opportunity might feel corny or obnoxious. You must discover what fits your personality and gives you that open door to be open about your relationship with Jesus. Besides the plethora of Christian t-shirts and bumper stickers available, here are some ideas:

    1. Wear stand-out jewelry that champions justice like Jesus does.
    2. Read an actual Bible in the break room (no one can tell if you read Scripture via smartphone or tablet).
    3. Say no to compromise and offer a Jesus-centered explanation: “When I accepted Jesus into my life, I decided He was going to be in charge. So even though I enjoy spending time with you, this [specific activity] doesn’t line up with my new life.”
    4. Change your name: After encountering God, Saul became Paul, Jacob became Israel, etc.
    5. Talk about what you love… if you hold the gospel close, you might naturally talk about Jesus.

K. Know The G.O.S.P.E.L.

Many years ago, we traveled many miles for a missions trip to practice sharing the gospel. We learned how to talk to people and how to ask spiritual questions. However, by the end of the trip, I was still unclear on what the actual GOSPEL was. I knew I was saved because I accepted Jesus’ death for my sins, but I could not articulate the full story of the Good News. Dare 2 Share Ministries has changed that for me. This G.O.S.P.E.L. acronym is easy to remember, and simple to regurgitate in your own words. Because the Gospel is not a hard copy of the Holy Bible. The Gospel is the Good News we know from what the Bible says. Memorize just the first word of each statement, and you are half way there:

  1. God created us to be with Him.
  2. Our sins separate us from God.
  3. Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
  4. Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
  5. Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
  6. Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!

S. Scatter The Gospel.

In a society of strategy and statistics, a Christian is understandably hesitant to invest a courageous gospel conversation in someone not 100% ready to agree and commit. However, when we step outside the western mindset, we find gospel sharing is less intimidating. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 13. about a man who planted seeds on 4 patches of soil, only to see a harvest from 1 good soil patch.

One thing we can learn from this parable is that followers of Jesus are to be faithful seed planters regardless of the result. It is not a Christian’s job to soften hearts. The Holy Spirit takes care of that. We do not have to avoid sharing the gospel until the soil is good and ready. We get to scatter hope regardless. When we stop measuring success based on results, we learn how to trust God with the harvest. We also learn to equally celebrate each opportunity in the field: planting, cultivating, and harvesting. Our measure of success is obedience: did I sow some seeds this week? If not, have I taken time to reaffirm my primary identity and primary occupation (see Hack #1).

 

What Gospel Sharing Hack do you plan to focus on this week? Share this post and beef up the disciple-making tool box for someone else too!

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6 Ways To Make Reading The Bible In A Year Work For You


Our church has decided to read the Bible in a year. 

I’ll be honest, even as a pastors wife, this seems daunting to me. I would probably not do it on my own. But the prospect of reading it as a church family—in communion with God and His people for one full year—definitely motivates me. 

  • What revival within my own heart could this journey provide? 
  • What power could God display through a people pressed in, searching Scripture together? 
  • What spark could ignite through the conversations, the accountability, the vulnerability we present when we are all, literally, on the same page? 

I can’t wait to find out!

If I am going to say YES to this intensive time in God’s Word, and reap the benefits of it alongside my church family, then I need to have a game plan. 

Perhaps these ideas will help you too!

1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier: Studies show its amazing what you can get done if you wake up a half-hour earlier each morning, particularly to accomplish a specific goal. 

2. Skip a day, and let it go: Life happens, and most of us will fail to stay on track. Instead of racking up the missed chapters and lagging behind, stay on track with the group. Its unconventional, but it has power. Briefly scan the missed chapters to catch up, the read the Scripture of the day as planned, along with the rest of your group.

3. Listen to it: Put an audio Bible on in your headphones at the gym, or your car stereo on the drive to work. Hearing names or foreign locations pronounced can simplify how your brain digests certain passages (the book of Numbers, for instance).

4. Bring it up in conversation: Use the readings to spark conversation and pursue great vulnerability with others on the Bible in a Year journey. Share what you are learning, ask tough questions, brainstorm application, and celebrate the wonder together!

5. Replace screen time with Scripture: Download the Bible app on your phone or iPad and click it first before other apps steal your attention (Candy Crush, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) Think of the go-to screen time moments: lying in bed trying to wake up/fall asleep, waiting in the grocery store line, killing time between classes, on the porcelain throne (oh come, on let’s all admit it!) are great opportunities to read a quick chapter from the Bible. 

6. Make it a habit: Sometimes, we don’t feel like reading Scripture. So we don’t, claiming it has no meaning if our hearts aren’t in it. But, we still brush our teeth, eat vegetables, work out, go to jobs, and clean our homes every day, even when we don’t feel like it. These are non-negotiable for our health and citizenship and well being. Why should our spiritual health and heavenly citizenship be any less? 

I am finding so much energy as the New Year approaches! With heart wide open, I pray for the presence of Jesus to flood our awareness as we pursue Him together. 

Download the YouVersion plan ‘CCV: The Bible in ONE Year’. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/m 

For more tips on conquering the most convincing reasons for not reading your Bible, check out my post, “10 Go-To Excuses to Avoid Studying The Bible.” 

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Lame Church: What To Do When Your Teenager Thinks Church Is Less Than Appealing

Lame Church: What to do when your teenager thinks church is less than appealing

“It’s so BORING.”

“Why can’t I just sleep in?”

“But none of my friends go to youth group!”

“I don’t get anything out of the Bible study, what’s the point?”

“I have too much homework to go to small group tonight?”

“I would rather help in the nursery.”

“I forgot.”

Parents, we have heard it all (amirite)? Ok, my kids aren’t teenagers yet, but my husband is a youth pastor and I get the privilege to reach out to young people alongside him for the glory of God. And I too, have heard all of these statements about “lame church.”

I get it, personally even. I was the kid who “helped” in the nursery for countless Sunday’s because I didn’t want to sit through the sermon. As a teen, I didn’t go to youth group because I was the awkward homeschooled girl intimidated by my gorgeous older sister’s cool friends.

Statistics show us that at least half of students raised in a Christian home who at one point claim to have accepted Christ as Savior will turn away from the Christian faith after high school graduation. This number is not ok with me.

Thankfully, research shows us a significant factor for those that maintain their walk with God into adulthood: they have at least 5 Christian adults investing specifically in the student’s relationship with God. (source)

Churches used to employ the “bouncer” approach to youth–have one adult for every 5 kids at the pizza night. Now, we strive to connect every 1 student to 5 caring and Christ-centered adults who will walk the faith journey with them.

For example, Kadee’s 5 might be:

  1. Mom
  2. Grandpa
  3. Small group Leader
  4. Christian coach
  5. Youth pastor

And let me say, this is not easy. Especially when kids present the “lame church” excuses.

May I suggest that, often the kids who claim “church is lame” are truly “lame” themselves.

Hear me out. Mark 2:1-12  tells us the story of a lame man, stuck on his mat, unable to get to Jesus for healing and abundant life. Four friends were willing to hoist him on his bed, carry him through the city, dig a hole through a roof, attach some belay cables to the lame man’s bed and lower him down to Jesus. This was no small effort.

Adolescents are children moving toward adulthood. They haven’t arrived yet (have any of us?). However, they are still capable of a beautiful, intimate, world-changing relationship with God. But in order to get there, some teens will need a faithful 4 or 5 to help them get to Jesus. As a parent, you are the most influential one of those 5, and you have a significant amount of power in helping find the other 4.

Help for the Lame Teen

So how do you pry the video game controller from your teen’s “paralyzed” hands and usher her into a fighting chance at a relationship with Jesus? Here are a few practical ideas:

Pray:

I dare you to pray Ephesians 3:14-21, on your knees, every day for your teen, and see what God does.

Send a Message:

Does your teen see that YOU believe their faith is important? Do we encourage our daughters and sons to have a Bible study or time spent with God? Dowe sit down with them, not just to help with homework, but to unpack Gods word together? Have we put youth group on the calendar so we don’t forget, even when they claim they do?

Try it out! Ask your son or daughter the following question: “What do you think is the most important part of your life to me?… Why?”

If needed, adjust which priorities you promote for your child through conversation, social media posts, rules and expectations, or praise.

Model:

Make your own walk with God available for the watchful eyes of your kids. Our prayer times can be so intimate when we finally get a quiet, private moment. Unfortunately, our children cannot pick up on habits they have not seen in practice. They can only mirror or imitate what they have visual access too.

Phone a Friend:

Prayerfully invite 3 or 4 other faith-heroes to invest in the life of your teen. Look outside your own peer group. I have seen powerful life-changes through the relationships of senior women who disciple teen girls into Godly womanhood.

Shift the Power:

Is your teen still complaining about lame church? Place the power on their shoulders. One mom always reminded her teenage boys every Sunday night before youth group, “remember, it’s not fun unless YOU make it fun.”

It’s true, kids set the tone for “cool” long before the youth pastor can. And believe me, he is trying. But in the end, we are not here to entertain, we are here to facilitate closer relationships with the living and loving God.

So encourage your teen to be the one that “blows it up” by inviting friends, baking cookies, or simply just asking good questions. Remind them of their power and influence to make church “the” place to be. Encourage them to take ownership of their faith community and invest in it. We all need to remember: church is not for us, church is us.

I understand, no-where in the Bible does it say a student has to attend church or youth group to have a relationship with God. However, the Bible is clear that fellowship with God’s family is not only a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God, it is also a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God that lasts. If you think about it, it is easy to stray away when you are always on the fringes of community; however, it is more difficult to stray away when you’ve been sitting at the table of God’s family.

Ultimately, I am not suggesting you drag your teenager on his mattress to church this Sunday. And please don’t dig a hole in in the roof of the youth leaders house. But somehow consider how you might put in a lame-man’s-friend type of effort to escort your teenager to a closer walk with Jesus. For his sake, both now and for the next 10-50 years of his life.

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Let Go of Tidy Faith 

I am not a neat freak. At least when it comes to our home, my bedroom, and my hairstyle.tidy faith large

Unfortunately, I can be a perfectionist of presentation when it comes to my faith.

When life presents difficult moments, moments when I doubt God’s provision, I cling to this concept of tidy faith. When exhaustion, discouragement, and loneliness settle in for a siege on my soul, I cling to truth of Scripture as my life-line. I busy myself with life-giving tasks that remind me I am not defeated. I pray, hard. This is absolutely the appropriate response in difficult times… save for one missing piece: acknowledging the distress.

Recovering perfectionists like myself would never say out loud that we have it all together, but we try to present such confidence in our faith.

Tidy Faith skips the relational step of crying out to God: this hurts! It jumps straight to the part where we preach truth to ourselves (which, of course, is crucial). However, we should not pursue the strength to move on without acknowledging the need for an intimate outpouring of our hearts to God. (Psalm 62:8)

tidy faith

Messy Faith provides this avenue for intimacy with God. He is inviting us to just be real with Him for a change.

Tidy Faith is a breeding ground for false humility. False humility is, in fact,  pride. Often, I think so lowly of my struggles that I assume God does not care about these little battles. Because I am still thinking of myself, albeit negatively, my pride is still on full display. I rewrite first Peter 5:7 to say “cast all your cares on yourself, Becky, because they are too insignificant for God to be concerned.”

Messy Faith gets me thinking about God’s greatness, His kindness… His closeness to invite me, with all my own small problems, into His embrace. With eyes on Him, I can experience the true humility required to let go of presentable faith. Engaging in messy faith gives me permission to be real and honest with my emotions and discouragement. God says that He cares(!), so we should be humble, messy enough to cast all our cares on Him!

messy faith

Tidy Faith upholds a sense of respect and honor towards God. It drives us to worship Him instead of complaining about our distress. While this perspective is necessary and admirable, I believe God wants more than respect and honor. Many of the Psalms exemplify the reality of messy faith. To cry out in anguish, question the Almighty, and lay all burdens of woe at His feet, and still proclaim His faithful lovingkindness. God desires intimate relationship in the untidy moments of despair.

Messy Faith gives us that intimacy.

I should note that we cannot remove faith from the equation. It is tempting to simply allow ourselves to be messy, but we must not let our emotions run rampant, trampling down truth so it can’t heal our hearts. Trust is a choice that should not be confused with emotion.

Can we let go of Tidy Faith.

Can we embrace a messy faith which acknowledges pain, uncertainty, and discouragement?

Could we welcome a wild-haired faith, which brings all the real feelings of a fractured heart to the feet of our Savior?

Dare we champion a disorderly faith which, before moving on to strength-getting and onward-marching, relishes those uncomfortable moments where Jesus meets us, right where we are?

Campfire Check In:

How do you let go of Tidy Faith?

Join me in #40fasts with author Alicia Britt Chole’s book 40 Days of Decrease. Day 5 challenges readers to fast from Tidy Faith, the inspiration for this post.

 

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In Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis: The Savior, the Spoiled, and the Sanctified

I sit in my quiet living room, overwhelmed by my wealth. My babies are napping peacefully (for now). I am safe. I am dry and warm, but not too hot thanks to air conditioning. I live in a 3 bedroom, 2-bath house, with a spacious living space, and a 2 car garage and countless amenities. Our neighborhood even has an HOA (Home Owners Association) to help maintain our standard of living.

At a recent HOA meeting, I realized how important peoples homes are to them. With stocks down and investments failing, our neighbors are desperate to maintain their property value. In many ways, they consider it their last hope.

I left the meeting feeling sorry for these individuals. They do not have hope for eternity like I do. I know my hope rests in Christ, and my final home is in heaven, not this sunny hill in northern Wyoming. Feeling quite abstemious, I sat down to unwind, thanking God for liberating me from such materialism. I know I am blessed, but I don’t cling to my blessings like others do…

As I scrolled through social media, a reoccurring theme captured my attention: Syria. Isis. Refugees. Lifeless children washed up on a beach. Pictures and news articles of the largest refugee crisis since WWII. A great call for people across the globe to open their homes and welcome the stranger.

refugee crisis

And it hit me. I don’t want to welcome a stranger. This is my safe place. This house is where our family can unwind together. This is where my kids can sleep in peace and I can find sanctuary. We host dinners and movies for broke college kids here, how could we do that ministry with another family taking up space?

Oh, how my heart broke at my own proclivity to selfishness. Moments earlier I touted such self-righteousness compared to my neighbors. Now, with the reality of thousands of homeless families, dying children, before my eyes, I am the one clinging to my home, rather than to Jesus.

I realize I am spoiled. Rotten.

And in my quest to refocus on Gods best, I understand I need to change my perspective of my wealth, my home. Unfortunately, my first inclination is to respond to a personal sense of self-righteousness, rather than the Holy spirit’s actual conviction.

In my pride, I assume I have to be the savior. A self-propelled guilt says I should give everything I own to save the world. I must sacrifice my comfort, my health, and those of my family, to go above and beyond to change this planet for the better. Glory to Me!, I mean, glory to God…

The Holy Spirit helps me realize this extreme view is also wrong. God does not overwhelm me with wealth, safety, beautiful children, a strong marriage, and an able body just so I can sit and enjoy it all. However, He also does not overwhelm me with such wealth so that I can personally save each soul and needy child on earth. My pride would love such drama and accolade, but that is not God’s idea of obedience.

God does not expect us to be the saviors, but he also does not call us to be the spoiled. As my husband always says, “you can be spoiled, but you cannot behave spoiled.” I think the sweet-spot between these two extremes is God’s calling for us to be sanctified.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

To be sanctified means to be set apart, to be different from the rest of the world, to be made holy. By accepting Jesus as Savior, my identity is now considered holy because of Christ in me. However, my actions, thoughts, and life-patterns still sometimes look more like my human self, rather than Jesus. Thus, the Holy Spirit engages me in the process of sanctification. It is slow, and takes time. But I can participate by working out my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). And I choose to do so now with regards to the refugee crisis.

I begin by praying for God’s perspective; how does He see this situation? I know God is big enough to comfort each broken heart and torn apart family. I prayerfully proclaim His sovereignty over the country of Syria. I petition God to convert “Sauls” of Isis into great evangelists of salvation through Jesus, as He did for Paul in the book of Acts. I pray for the hearts and homes of Christians in Greece and Turkey to be open to offer help and hospitality.

The Spirit leads me to read Isaiah 58 to further redefine my idea of what it means to cling to Jesus, not my home:

5  Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord?

6  Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke?

7  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?

8  Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.

9  At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer; when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you get rid of the yoke among you, the finger-pointing and malicious speaking,

10 and if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will be like noonday.

Shane and I have begun the process of making our hearts refugee-ready. We are brainstorming ideas to make our home, our budget, and our family refugee-ready as well. Adoption, financial donation, foster care, volunteering, selfless prayers, and being a safe place for a hurting college kid are all ways we can embody hospitality. It might not feel safe or comfy, but we want lead our children in obedience to God’s standards, not the comfort of American standards.crisis pin

We aren’t ready yet, but God is sanctifying us in that direction. Whether in the crisis of invasion or drought or simple brokenness of a sinful word, we want to be remembered by our open arms like Jesus was.

For more information on how you can become refugee ready, visit WeWelcomeRefugees.com

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10 Go-To Excuses to Avoid Studying the Bible (and practical ways to overcome them!)

A few months ago, I asked a question via Facebook: “Why do you typically avoid studying the Bible?”

I received some insightful responses, and joyfully ventured into dangerous territory: debunking the excuses.

While I enjoyed the idea of helping others overcome their Bible study blockades, I was not so happy when God brought up some of my own common excuses, like boredom and lack of motivation.

I still do not have a consistent time studying the Bible. I still struggle to apply and obey what I read. But, thank the Lord, God’s not done with me yet.

I can say with confidence that He’s not done with you either. Can you find your go-to excuse in the following list? Most of these are the direct answers from my little FB survey. 

1. I’m a Beginner

Bible Study Tips and Resources for Beginners: 10 Helpful Tips and Resources to Study the Bible for YourselfYou might say: “I’ve never studied the Bible before. I don’t know where to start.”

Click HERE for tools and tips to start your own adventure in God’s Word! (It will change your life!)

2. I Feel Stuck

Bible Study Tips for the StuckYou might say: “I feel like I don’t know what I’m looking for. I have trouble understanding the relevance of what I’m reading to my life without some sort of sermon, bible notes, etc.”*

Click HERE for 3 simple ways to get going, or KEEP going, when you feel overwhelmed by Scripture.

3. I’m a Devotional Book Junkie (ie: I can’t “feed” myself):

Bible Study Tips: For The Devotional Book Junkie

You might say: “I feel like I don’t get much from just reading the Bible. I feel like devotional books apply to me more.”*

Click here to discover where the devotional book fits in a Christ-centered Bible study.

 

4. I’m Easily-Distracted:

Bible Study Tips For The Easily DistractedYou might say: “My weakness is doing *anything* consistently. Daily habits work for 2……maybe 3 weeks (including Bible) and then I forget about it for months, and then I read it again.”*

Click HERE to understand 6 distractions that keep us from being filled with the Spirit, and how to overcome them.

 

5. I Don’t like to Read:

Bible Study Tips for People who Don't like to ReadYou might say: “I’ve never liked studying or reading.”*

Click HERE to see how the non-reader types study the Bible for themselves (It’s possible!).

 

6. I’m Unmotivated:

Bible Study Tips for the UnmotivatedYou might admit you don’t read the Bible because of: “Laziness.”*

or: “I hate to admit it but I don’t feel like it.“*

Click HERE for 5 reasons to “labor and strive because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men…” 1 Timothy 4:10

 

7. I’m Too Busy: 

Bible Study Tips for Busy PeopleYou might say: “My life is a rush without a minute to spare!”

Click HERE for help in making time for God in the rush of 21 Century living.

 

8. It’s So Boring:

Bible Study Tips for those of us who get bored reading scriptureYou might say: “I find it really uninteresting and hard to get into.” *

or “When I do try, I end up falling asleep.” *

Click HERE to get out of a “Bible Study boredom” rut, and on the path to finally interested!

 

9. Don’t Care:

Bible Study Tips For those who don't really care what the Bible saysYou might say: “I’m not ready for the conviction.”* “[When I am] avoiding sins I have not confessed that God is working on in me, it hurts less sometimes to avoid reading His Word.”*

or: “[When I am] avoiding sins I have not confessed that God is working on in me, it hurts less sometimes to avoid reading His Word.”*

Click HERE for Bible study tips for when you, honest to goodness, just don’t care what the Bible says.

 

10. Not Relevant:

Bible Study Tips for the #SelfieYou might say: “other than encouragement and prayer, how is reading Leviticus going to help me manage my time better so that I can maintain my 3.8 GPA while taking 21 credits?”*

Click HERE for how to study God’s Word in a #selfie world.

I greatly appreciate everyone’s honesty regarding these reasons we don’t study God’s Word. It takes courage to ‘fess up to our excuses. That’s the first step: to recognize what justifications we mentally conjure up, then knock them down to pursue deeper knowledge of God.

I think these quotes, also from the Facebook questionnaire, sum it up nicely:

“At some level, disbelief is a part of the problem. I.e. “If I really believed that this was the inspired Word of the Almighty Holy God, how could I NOT read it.” All the other answers also apply in some measure. However if you TRULY believe the Word of God is what you SAY you believe it is… then all the other explanations look pretty shallow and/or unbelievable. And yes I am preaching to myself a bit here too!”* -S

“I know that if God didn’t want us to follow or gain knowledge from a book he wouldn’t have had it written. So I really should stop being a greedy, selfish, sinful human & just do something as simple as read a book. A little a day if that’s what it takes.” * -A

I find it very difficult to overcome many of these excuses. But I know God’s Word is good. Living and Active. Trustworthy. Filled with promises. Loaded with truth. Crucial to my understanding, and therefore worship, of the God I claim to believe. Join me in ditching the excuses. Click on any of the above links for tools and encouragement in your particular struggle.

What is your go-to excuse? Is there an excuse you typically use that wasn’t mentioned here? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

*These are actual comments I received from my question forum on facebook.

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