Monday, May 13, 2013

WordSowers Scripture Tellers School

I would like to let you know about the WordSower Scripture Tellers School.

The dates for the school are July 9-26th and it will be held in Winterset, IA. I have wanted to participate in this training for about 2 years (since I first heard about it) but it is usually held in Oregon. The cost for this opportunity is $500 plus travel costs (which includes meals, housing, and materials). If anyone else is interested in participating this year, please let me know and I can share some more details with you. There is one prerequisite to attending, which is memorizing at least a 3 chapter long book of the Bible (I am memorizing the book of 2 Corinthians).

Some topics studied are the Disciplines of Oral Interpretation, Acting, Storytelling, Communication, and Hermeneutics. All are oriented toward effective oral communication of Scripture. I will be studying the Bible, the Church and Christian Discipleship and how each of us might best build up the body of Christ through the public reading/recitation of the Word of God. The goal is to share Word for Word Dramatic Recitations of Scripture and musical presentations, using Scripture for lyrics for the edification, exhortation, comfort and equipping of God's people.

So, basically I will be learning how to recite Scripture beautifully and artfully to encourage believers to hide God’s Word in their hearts. I love to memorize God’s Word and I hope this opportunity will help me be better equipped to share my love for memorizing the Scriptures with others.

I would love it if more friends were able to attend this year. So far I am the only participate signed up. (there are 6-8 spaces). Those of you who have been involved in Bible Bee in the past may find it helpful to memorize one of the Bible Bee books studied in the past. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thoughts on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Rejoice always, praying without ceasing, in everything gives thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." ~      1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wow. Those are some challenging commands to follow.  Does it really mean to rejoice always? To pray without ceasing? To give thanks in everything?  These were (and still are) some of my initial thoughts about this passage in 1 Thessalonians 5.  I mean, how can I truly apply this to my life? It it even possible? 

No. It is not possible. I cannot rejoice always, praying without cease, and give thanks in everything without Jesus Christ.  Humanly, it is not possible.  But with God all things are possible.  

Sure, it's easy to thank God when things are going my way, when life is good.  But what about when things are not good from my limited view point? When things don't do my way? Do I still believe that God has planned it for good? That everything is a gift from Him?  So many times I let my circumstances control my attitude instead of letting Jesus Christ rule over all.  

In order to be thankful at all times I must realize that God works all things out for good.  I must look for the good in the "bad".  Until I realize that all is a gift from God, I will complain when life doesn't go my way.  All I have is a gift from Him and without His grace I will fail to see these gifts.  That's why I must pray without ceasing.  I must live in constant dependance on Him because if I'm not dependent on Him, I will be dependent on my flesh.   And my flesh doesn't want to thank anyone for anything because it depends on itself.   Without Jesus Christ's grace, I won't even want to look for the good.

So I must die to my flesh and purpose to look for the gifts of God in each and every moment of life.   

This is hard.  It doesn't come naturally. But with God all things are possible.  I won't be perfect.  But I must continue, by God's grace, to create the habit of looking for God's gifts.  To practice, practice, practice.  To ask God to open my eyes that I may see His wonderful works.  

This is where the joy comes in.  The Bible says, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11b)  Joy is found in God.  And God is evident everywhere - if I'm looking for Him.   I must choose to acknowledge His presence and His working in every detail of every part of my life.  It's when I thank God for His gifts that I can live in His presence.  "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name." (Psalm 100:4)  Joy only comes with thanksgiving.  I cannot rejoice always unless I am thankful, unless I am continually looking for the gifts God bestows on me.  

So, "rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks." Creating these habits will allow me to live life to its fullest -  "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  There's no better place to be than in His will.  

May God give me grace to live these verses out in my life!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Be Thou My Vision

As we national contestants prepare these last few days, may the words of this song be our prayer:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art-
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
Hight King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Praying for you all!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We've been hearing the Word a lot recently...

For all of you participating in the National Bible Bee this year, I'm sure that you agree that you've been hearing the Word a lot.  We've all been studying it for hours on end.  We've been memorizing it and getting into our minds constantly.  What a great opportunity this has been! To think that we are able spend hours at a time just absorbing the very Word of God.

So yes, we've all been hearing the Word a lot recently.  But we can't just be hearers of the Word - We have to be doing it.  We have to be applying it to our every day lives.

This can sometimes be a struggle for me.  I can sit down and study the Word - Recite verses and investigate passages for hours on end.   But once I've checked it off my list, I've been living my life how I want to live it.   I've been convicted of separating the Word from my daily life.  Of course, I agree with the Word and its main principles.  But I am truly applying it to my life?  Am I letting it change my heart - not just my mind.   When my mom asks me to help her with my siblings, do I truly do it with thanksgiving, rejoicing that I can serve?  Or do I do it half-heartly with complaining because I'm not able to get my studying done.   I can get so caught up in studying to get things checked off my list that I forget the ultimate purpose for studying in the first place.  My ultimate goal should be to glorify and exalt the name of Christ, not to get my verses perfect or to know every greek word possible.   My main goal should be to learn more about my great God and what He would want me to do, not to try to live up to men's expectations of me.  My main goal should not be to know the Word in my mind, but to truly hide it in my heart that I might not sin against God.  I need to be a doer of the Word not just a hearer.  I cannot become complacent with just studying the Word and patting myself on the back for being in the Word.  It means nothing unless I let it transform my life.

So the next time your mom asks you to help her and you still have two hours worth of Bible Bee study to complete, don't sigh and help only half heartedly. "And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men" (NKJV) We've all memorized it - but have we truly hidden it in our hearts? Or have we simply reviewed it enough to make sure that it's word perfect? 

We must remember that doing the Word is just as important (if not more important) as studying it.  All our studies will be useless if we don't let them impact our daily life.   Let's be doers of the Word, not just hearers, that others may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.  Let's do it all for the praise and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

When the going gets tough....

Summer is a busy season! Every week holds its own excitements, trials, and obstacles to overcome. The biggest obstacle for me to overcome each week is finding time to do everything! And sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. I start doing things with less energy and enthusiasm. I skim through the Sword Study, run through my verses quickly; to check it off the list. I start worrying about the local contest coming up in five short weeks - yikes! I don't have my verses perfect yet. I don't know all my cross-references. When my mind starts getting overwhelmed thinking about my to-do lists, many activities to get to, "Bible Bee worries," and countless other things, I need calm down. I need to be still and know that the Lord is God. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Beginning and the End. He's my Savior and merciful Redeemer. There is no god like Him. He is the one, the only true God. When I start thinking about how great my God is, the things of my "oh-so-important" life don't seem that important anymore. I realize that my life is so insignificant, so little. I'm wasting my life by living for myself. My life is but for a moment; like the flower of the field which is here today and is gone tomorrow. What really matters? What am I living for? Am I living for the praise and glory of God alone? Or do I live for my own little kingdom that I've created for myself?

When I sit down to go through my Bible Bee materials with these questions playing through my head, I have a completely different perspective. Instead of feeling rushed, discouraged, and worried, I can come into the presence of God ready to learn from His Word. Why do I do it? So that I can glorify my King by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

"To God Alone" by Aaron Shust is song that I have been blessed by as I consider these things. I wanted to share the lyrics with you all:

Can You take by the hand?
Can You use me as I am?
Break me into who You want me to be

When the time is finally right
Will You open up my eyes
And show me everything You want me to see?

This life is not my own
To God alone be the glory
To God alone be the praise
Everything I say and do
May it be all for You;
The glory is Yours alone;
Yours alone.

Take the offering I bring
You want more than I can sing
Can I give You every part of me?

Turn these pennies into gold;
Take this life I call my own
Until I'm running after Your heart.

I'm needing to let go.

To God alone be the glory
To God alone be the praise
Everything I say and do
May it be all for You;
The glory is Yours alone;
We will rise and we will fall
But You remain after all
You're glorious and beautiful
You're beautiful.

To God alone be the glory

To God alone be the praise
Everything I say and do
May it be all for You;
The glory is Yours alone;
Yours alone.

So, when the going gets tough, be still and know that the Lord is God. Let that thought change your perspective.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Greetings and Advice from a Bible Bee Alumni :)

As I look on this year of BB I am excited yet somewhat sad.  This is my first year of not officially participating the Bible Bee.  :(  But... I know that all the verses I learned over the past three years and all the books we studied (Genesis, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Matthew, Acts, Romans, Colossians, 1 Peter, 2 Peter) will remain forever.  And all the study habits we all learned and shared with each other will last a lifetime.  As each of you are endeavoring to continue to study God's Word through another year of Bible Bee I would like to share with all of you some things I have learned along the way.

First, always remember the purpose of why you are memorizing and studying the Word.  That is to develop a closer relationship with your Savior.  Never forget that or get caught up is all the practicing, reciting and memorizing that you for get the purpose, " know Christ, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings..." (see if you can find where this verse is from)  :)

Second, meditate on God's Word.  Don't let your knowledge become just head knowledge about the Scriptures, really "know" God's Word and make it a part of your life, make it heart knowledge.

Third, memorize 2 Timothy in its entirety so that you can recite it to others.  (this is something I wish I had done with the study books in the past).  Even if the locals are as far as you get you will be able to share that book of the Bible with those you know.

Fourth, remember that if you diligently study and seek the Lord through this summer, no matter where you place in the scoring, you have won in the sight of God.  There are no losers in the Scripture memory except those who do not start.  Even if you only memorize 1 passage that is still 1 more passage you did not have before you started!

Fifth, include your family in the studying process and share what you have learned with your family and friends.  Include your siblings as much as possible (even if they are not actually participating in the Bible Bee)

Sixth, use what you have learned as a conversation starter to share the Gospel with unbelievers.  (the Bible Bee T-shirts are a great starter)  :)  Also, ask friends to help listen to your verses and share with them what God has taught you through His Word.

Seventh, always keep a humble attitude.  This may be one of the hardest things in the entire Bible Bee.  It is God who has given us His Word, He is the one who gave us the ability to memorize it, He is the one who gives us life.  He is the one who is to receive the glory!  Remember "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

Eighth, remember that the most important thing is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Back in 2009 at the Nationals, the Harris brothers gave a sobering warning, "You can participate in the Bible Bee, memorize all the verses and the entire study book, you can even win first place at nationals but it would all be in vain if in the end you did not have personal relationship with the Lord"
This is my prayer of each of you, that you may know Christ, that you may walk in obedience to His commands, that you delight in His Word and in His Law, that the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart may be pleasing in His sight, that others may see the light of Christ in your life, and that you delight with your whole heart in obeying the Savior and following His commands!

Your sister in Christ,