My Daily Journal:
What an amazing night we had last night with the first and second graders! These kids are so inspiring in their willingness to shout out the name Jesus, to confess their unwavering belief in Him as their personal savior and friend. As part of the first night we passed out the questions and each child completed the first day including the question related to what they learned about the bible. One little guy wrote, “Gses did 4 me” (Jesus died for me).
One of the things I love about spending time in bible study with young believers is that they don’t waste time and worry, they simply believe the word of God. That was also something I really loved about the notes this week. One of the ways the evil one attempts to cast doubt is to raise the question of whether the bible, particularly the New Testament, is reliable. We see this teaching in organizations such as the Latter Day Saints or in popular fiction writers such as Dan Brown; an argument that the writings in the bible have been corrupted. When we look at the world and see how mankind has corrupted everything else, it can cast doubt. But God didn’t recite the bible word for word, he inspired 40 people to write it and He has inspired others to translate it. God is alive and active. God is the same and He is true and He uses human translators to give us His Holy Word in our language so we can learn about Him and use His Word to guide our life. He does this with translators the same way He did with the original writers. If God can use a man to write it with truth and accuracy, He can use another man to translate it in the exact same way.
I am really excited about the new format and tone of the notes this year. I love the reference out to other books and materials (e.g., Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell). I cut out the “Outline of Matthew’s Gospel” presented in the notes and laminated it and I’m keeping it in my bible this year as we go through the study. If you are not in a study and getting the notes, it is really an important addition – the notes are good!
I am really excited to begin our study of Matthew this year.
I had a great summer and participated in a 10 week Precept In and Out study on Revelation Part 1 which covered the letters to the churches. It was a great study and I’m both excited and nervous about studying the Book of Revelation in BSF in a couple of years.
There are so many new great things in BSF this year. We had our first leaders’ meeting last weekend and I left very fired up in the spirit. I don’t want to take away the thunder from your group so I’m trying to keep quiet on the changes, but there is one I have to praise: memory verses. I’m a children’s leader and in the lower levels we really emphasis putting God’s word in your heart and memory each week. Every week we have a specific memory verse that ties to our lesson and we spend the last 15 minutes of the night going over fun ways, such as songs, rhythms, pictures, and hand motions to memorize the verse and its address in scripture. Starting with the new format of Matthew not only is a weekly memory verse front and center in the children’s lesson, but it is now also printed on everyone’s lesson! I think this is such a great addition and I’m challenging everyone to take 15 minutes in your week and just memorize it. At the end you will have 30 verses tucked away in your head and heart and you will be amazed at how often you use them in your daily language and discussions.
For the blog, I am making a few changes/improvements as well. You may have already noticed a new visual theme (thanks WordPress!). I picked this theme because it has a great mobile view and, as more and more people are doing their study on iPads, Kindle and other mobile devices, this is increasingly important. It also is very clean and prints well. I’m still including links to the scriptures, but I’m going to change the order of my posts and put my Daily Journal at the top and my answers to questions below. With more personal applications questions in the study this year, I want to move the emphasis of writing to application of the Big God Story and less on my particular answer to question 7b.
I get to work with Level 1 this year, 1st and 2nd grade, and I am very excited. The faith these young children have and their openness to diving deep into the Word of God always impresses and humbles me. When God provides the instructors, our Children’s Administrator said we might split and form 2 Level 1 classes. I know many BSF classes are struggling to fill all levels of their children’s program but it is so exciting to think we have so many Dads wanting to bring their young children that we may need 2 classes. Praise the Lord.
I’m asking for more dialog this year on this blog, more comments, more questions, more sharing. We are not trying to duplicate a BSF class, that is not the point. But God is big and His church is big and we can learn from each other in many ways and through shared experiences. Thanks for being part of the journey with us.