Teachers Study: "Looking beyond Ourselves"
There are times when I journal, that is keep a diary of what is going on in my life. I sometimes look back on them and gain new insight on what I was going through, that I did not have back then. I have become more adept to interpret God's leading and plan for me the more I experience life and receive what He has done. By looking back on what we have been through and see the hand of God there, it will give great comfort and encouragement for what lies ahead or what we are going through now.
As I gain new insight into my personality and the Lord's working into my issues and problems, I realize how shadows they are compared to my Lord's holiness and greatness.
By concentrating on Christ and what He has done will lift us up better and more complete than anything we could ever do. Thus the thrust of journaling has taught me is to look beyond myself and keep focused on Christ. The other end of journaling is a problem that people, including Christians, in their zeal keep faithful to their journals, is that they become self absorbed and only see themselves and their problems and not the Lord. So be careful if you do this exercise of journaling, keep focused on why you are doing it, that is to grow closer to the Lord and not to yourself.
We are called to keep focused on Him and not ourselves, so we are looking at God's Word as a mirror to ourselves, to our soul, as not to see us, but to see God working in us. When we only see ourselves, we see sin, brokenness, failure, self-seeking inclinations, and wrong attitudes.
We must see God's interests and not our own, then the journey of maturing in the faith will become more real as our problems become less, He becomes more.
The same thing can happen when we read the Word. We become so consumed with our interests, we do not see the calling and response we are to give. Thus we grow bitter, thinking that this devotion stuff is not for me, so we turn it off. We replace it with so much activity that God is pushed out of our lives, except on Sunday morning. But even then we are rushed and stressed and do not feel the worship or hear the lesson. We only hear ourselves, our problems of getting the kids ready, or the stress at work or at school. The results of a mature life will respond from the impact of our devotional life, by applying what Christ has done.
We need to respond to the text with a surrendered will and a mind cleared of our anxious thoughts. When we are focused on our fears, hopes, dreams, needs, or emotions, we have no room to learn what God has for us. We will not be able to think deeply enough into the text so there is a transformation of our nature and will, as philosophers call our existential core. There can be no serious behavior or personality change unless the core of who we are changes. And Christ is the only one who does that right!
This transformation in Romans 12 cannot happen when we are in the way. God does as He pleases, but He usually does not override our will. He waits for us to be surrendered and poured out to Him. So do not take the chance and allow your stubbornness to get in the way of God working in you!
Remember to begin in prayer!
· Prayer 5 min
· Pick one of the options 5-10 min
· Read lesson and bible passages 10-15min (you can do this and discussions
· Discussion groups 15-30 min
· Going deep 5-10 min
· End in prayer and repeat application. 5 min
Total lesson time 45 min- 1 hr
Get some marbles and scatter them on the floor, ask students to pick them up with their feet: first shoes on, then with shoes off, and finally with their hands.
§ Ask, which was easier?How is this like reading God's Word with knowing the right way of doing it?
§ Ask, "If you were on a long trip, What could you can hardly wait to get back to? Your bed, friends, boyfriend/ girl friend/ husband/ wife, hobby, TV, computer, Bible, school, car, shower, your room, video games, parents, work, music, church, or pets?"
§ Ask, "what gives you peace and joy?
§ Do the two questions have the same answer?
§ If so why? If not, why?
§ You can show a movie clip of "The Wizard of Oz" where Dorothy says, "there is no
place like home."
§ Home is where we find comfort and safety, is God your home?
§ Read Psalm 84
Lesson: Step II "HOW:" THE METHOD OF GETTING INTO GOD'S WORD
(For this lesson use a computer software program and print off a chapter of Scripture. Romans 12 is a good one to start with, lots of stuff to dig into. You can give a quick overview of this and then jump into the discussion.)
These are the basics on how we can go about studying God's Word. This is called the science of "exegetical method," but there is no need for big words here. These are the basic procedures a pastor or experienced teacher of the Word will learn in Bible School and Seminary to prepare sermons and commentaries. But boiled down in a clearer and simpler way for you to understand and apply.
This will allow you to better understand and apply God's Word and then even teach it to others! These methods are not for the professional Christians only, they are the tools for all disciples of the Lord!
Remember there is no "best way," only that we do it. This study is about placing the "bur" under the saddle to get the horse moving or plugging in the computer so we can use it!
REMEMBER: It is simply not enough to know what you want to do. You have to know the right way of doing it. Like following a recipe in cooking or working on your car with the manual.
FIRST: PRAY! (Proverbs 2:4)
· Ask God into your study as your teacher. Ask Him to free your mind from distractions and help you concentrate. You are entering a learning partnership with Christ!
· A good plan is essential to any undertaking.
SECOND: LOOK AT THE WHOLE BOOK (i.e. a single book in the Bible)
For example; if you are going to study John, read the book of John in an easy to read translation, like the "New Living Translation." Read it like reading a favorite novel! Enjoy it! Read it through in one sitting with no distractions. An average reader will take 30 minutes to 1 hour. That way you will gain an overall understanding. It is best to do this step two or three times!
· Preview it. Read it like a novel, try the New Living Bible. Then Read slowly and keep re-reading, this will help you remember.
· Like a wide-angle lens, "OVERVIEW" the big picture. Remember the context! See the whole picture of what is going on. The reason most people do not get it is because they do not get in it!
· Study whole books; book by book and not just topics.
· Like putting together a puzzle, start with a corner and then the straight edges. Start with the obvious in its context, and the rest will be revealed from there!
THIRD: READ CAREFULLY. EXAMINE IT WITH A MICROSCOPE.
"WHOLE TO PARTS TO WHOLE"
· Start by skimming, then re-read more carefully, then read it very carefully and slowly. Then check out commentaries and dictionaries. Repetition is the key to understanding!
· Read carefully; study it! Use the NIV or NASB versions. Do not be distracted and do not stop. Try reading aloud for better concentration.
· Do not read a passage here and there. Read through a whole book through and through systematically, you are not at a buffet.
· Imagine yourself as a participant. As if it is your story. As if you are there.
· Let God speak to you, as the main goal is to know our Lord better, not just to gain more knowledge!
· Look out for topics, logic and direction.
· Meditate and pray over the passages that "Speak" to you as you re-read, then memorize those key passages.
FOURTH: MAKE USE OF THE BOOK CHART.
Write down what God is saying to you and what you have discovered and learned. Doing this will allow you to apply it to your life better!
· Examine what is being said.I. In chapters.
II. In Paragraphs
ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE CONTEXT!!!
Take your passage, (Rom. 12 or choose a short book like II or III John or Jude or…) and go through it together or in small groups with these steps.
1. PRAY! (Proverbs 2:4)
· Ask God into your study as your teacher.
2. SECOND: LOOK AT THE WHOLE BOOK (for this lesson chapter, or chose a shout book like II or III John or Jude or…)
· Preview it in a paraphrase. OVERVIEW
3. THIRD: READ CAREFULLY WHOLE TO PARTS TO WHOLE
· Start by skimming, then re-read more carefully, then read it very carefully and slowly.
· Then read carefully; study it! Use the NIV or NASB versions.
· Q:" How can we imagine ourselves as a participant, as if it is our story, as if we are there?"
· Remember to let God speak to you, "Meditate," as the main goal is to know our Lord better, not just to gain more knowledge!
· Look for topics, logic, and direction.
4. FOURTH:MAKE USE OF THE BOOK CHART. Or just use a separate sheet of paper to write down what you have discovered and learned.
· Examine what is being said.I. In chapters.
II. In ParagraphsIII. In Verses.
Ask the students to try to keep a journal or diary of their devotional reading this week. At least a list of what they read and when they read it.
Ask students to find a secluded and quiet place, and spend that time with God for the remaining of the time. They can also go over with God what they learned.© 2000, Rev. Richard .J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org