How to choose a good NON-study Bible.

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Earlier in this series, I suggested that if you were going to get a new Bible in 2017, you should invest in a Study Bible. However, that might not be the best fit for you if you are looking for something lightweight or that contains no extra-biblical material such as commentary or study notes. In fact, we can read probably Scripture faster and more focused without all the supplemental material. If you are in the market for a streamlined edition of the Word for daily reading there are still a few “upgrades” worth investigating in before making your final selection.

My three favorite “extras” when selecting a Bible.

  1. A concordance. This is hands down, my favorite feature in my Bibles. If you are unsure what a concordance is, it is a section (usually located in the back) of many Bibles that contains important biblical words and where you can find them. Perhaps you can’t remember the location of a specific verse but you remember it contains a keyword such as “baptism” thus you can look in the concordance for a list of verses that contain that word. I have found that it also helps broaden my understanding of a word or concept to see it used in another context. The bigger the concordance the better!
  2. A wide margin. There are many Bibles that have ample space for writing in them. A few ways you can utilize that space: taking notes during a meaningful message at church, prayer journaling, scripture doodle, structural laws for inductive study, or anything else that you can think of!
  3. Center-column cross references. A cross reference is a verse that has a similar theme or topic as the verse that you are reading. It’s a helpful tool that can help you “connect the dots” across the pages of Scripture. I love to see when an Old Testament passage or prophecy is being quoted in the New Testament and reference its original location. Especially when Jesus is doing it!

 

Why am I sharing this?

The new year has begun and many of us have committed to reading through the entire Bible in 2017, so I thought it might be helpful to start a blog series and share some of the resources that I use and some of my favorites.

I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let us know what you’re using to engage with Scripture so that everyone can benefit from your breakthrough!

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How to read the Bible when it’s hard to read.

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Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” and this weekend many of us have taken the first step! As with any journey, reading the entire Bible in a year will have long, difficult stretches. A little preparation & a lot of perseverance will ensure that we can reach our destination. 

Here are my three favorite ways to get through a hard portion of Scripture: 

  1. A dramatized audio Bible. A few years ago I discovered The Bible Experience and it was a game changer! There are times where I don’t feel like reading or where a passage of scripture itself is difficult to follow (i.e The Book of Leviticus) so I listen to it instead. I prefer to listen to a dramatized audio Bible because it includes sound effects, background music, and has different readers narrating the text with actual emphasis/inflection in their voice. Whereas an “audio Bible” typically has a single monotone reader simply narrating the text.
  2. Use an easier translation or paraphrase. I prefer to read the Bible in a modern yet accurate translation such as the ESV or NIV but certain books of the Bible (i.e The Book of Job) are much easier and more enjoyable to read in a version such as the New Living Translation or The Message.
  3. Find an outline or chart of the book. I have found it helpful to read through an overview of a book of the Bible before I set out to read it in an effort to understand the original author’s train of thought and the context in which it was written. This is particularly useful for some of Paul’s doctrinal works (i.e The Book of Romans) Many Bibles have outlines preceding each book, so slow down and explore yours or look online and you will find an array of supplemental materials to broaden your understanding.

 

Why am I sharing this?

The new year has begun and many of us have committed to reading through the entire Bible in 2017, so I thought it might be helpful to start a blog series and share some of the resources that I use as well as some of my favorites.

I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let us know what you’re using to engage with Scripture so that everyone can benefit from your breakthrough!

If you’re going to get a new Bible, try a Study Bible.

Here are my three favorite study Bibles: 

  1. The New Spirit Filled Life Study Bible. Very organized & helpful section at the bottom of every page that helps you understand the context and original language of Scripture. This Bible is full of life application, theologically accessible, and written from a  very balanced charismatic perspective. Easily my favorite Bible and the first one I would recommend to anyone, regardless of their level of biblical literacy.
  2. Archeological Study Bible. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about the historical setting or geographic intricacies that seem to be presuppositional in Scripture, this is the Bible for you. It is also full of detailed maps, charts & diagrams, and full color photos of the Holy Land.
  3. Life Application Study Bible. It’s the number one selling Study Bible in the world and very approachable if you are a new believer or haven’t spent much time reading the Bible.

Why am I sharing this?

As we prepare to kick off a new year and go through the Bible together as a church, I’ve noticed several of my friends asking questions on Social Media about the Bible. I thought it might be helpful to start a blog series and share some of resources that I use as well as some of my favorites.

I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let us know what you’re using to engage with Scripture so that everyone can benefit from your breakthrough!

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Have you ever thought about what your legacy will be? I think about it all the time. Especially when I look at my children and think about their future. I ask myself “What am I going to leave behind for them once I am gone?” For most of us it will be memories, for others it will be valuable life lessons, and for some it might even be wealth or possessions. The bottom line though is the same for us all – our legacy is determined by our investments. 

Last week we received the shocking news of the untimely death of Seacoast Student Minister, Jacob Hull. Jacob had been a teenager in my youth group in California and moved to Charleston to follow God’s call into vocational ministry. As the news of his accident began to spread, an overwhelming response of Facebook posts and pictures came pouring in along with letters, cards, emails, and text messages. WHY? Because although Jacob was only 22 years old, he left incredible proof of investment behind.

In fact, you can see it here: http://m.live5news.com/live5news/db/330614/content/goPHFIi6

Although Jacob is gone, he left behind a legacy that stretches from California to the Carolinas. He invested his TIME relationally in teenagers and young adults, used his TALENTS to serve others any way he could, and generously gave his TREASURE towards global missions and the ministry of Seacoast Church.

As we prepare for his funeral, (Friday, Jan 29th at 4pm at Seacoast Church: West Ashley Campus) and teenagers & adults alike continue to share their stories of how Jacob’s life has affected them, I want to challenge you to ask yourself a few questions :

Who am I helping grow their faith?

What skills or abilities could I use to serve others? 

Am I using my money to make a difference? 

Our message is clear: “You Belong”

Over the past few weeks, I have met several people from our area that had no idea that our Campus even existed! Unless you drive by Charleston Collegiate School on a Sunday morning, you might never realize that there is a life-giving church in your neighborhood. We need your help to get the word out to our community. Here are a few simple things you can do:

• Invite your friends! This is the single greatest thing you can do to let people know about our church. Word of mouth advertising beats all other forms, especially when it comes from someone you trust.
• Grab a hand full of “You Belong” cards and give them out to people you meet that are new in town or looking for a church home. It could also be fun to sneak them into a “random act of kindness”
• Start taking pictures of some of the great things happening while you are at church and post them to your Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to add Seacoast Church: Johns Island Campus as your location.
• Check into our location on Facebook when you get here on Sundays and write something short and positive as you post. Be sure you have “Liked” our Page: https://www.facebook.com/seacoastjohnsisland/

I believe that God is doing something incredible each and every Sunday as we gather. Let’s spread the good news by inviting our friends and neighbors so that we can see lives change and people discover God’s love!

It’s Summer! What do I do with my Small Group?

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that the seasons have changed and the days have gotten hotter! This is the time of year when people get the itch to travel, go to the beach, sleep in, and have less structure in their weekly schedule. For this reason, we are asking all of our Small Groups to start planning how they will slow down and eventually take a break from their regular rhythm of meeting for the summer.
As you know Seacoast Church is committed to being externally focused and our Small Groups are a major part of that strategy. This is why we have clearly defined “start” and “stop” dates for our Small Groups. New people need to feel like they can easily get connected when Groups kickoff and that the commitment has a time limit. This can be tough to hear when you feel like you’ve got a good thing going. So here are a few ideas you might consider if you don’t simply want to take a break:
– Meet twice a month instead of weekly during June and July
– Have fun together and focus on relational growth instead of meeting to study
– Plan an outreach/serve project and make an impact in our community
– Spend this summer in discipleship with someone in your group to train them to start a new group in the Fall
We will be doing a Small Group leader’s training in August and then a hosting a rally to highlight Small Groups where people can join one. We will also be calling for new Groups and Leaders to rise up. We currently have 11 Small Group that meet throughout the Sea Islands but we still have lots of disconnected people. Would you begin to pray that God would raise up 9 new leaders and groups so that we would have 20 Small Groups up and running in the Fall? I am praying specifically for new Small Groups to meet in the new neighborhoods on Johns Island and also behind the gates of Kiawah and Seabrook. What area of our city has God put on your heart? Let’s pray together and ask God to do “Immeasurably MORE” through life-giving relationships!

Small Group Leader: You Can Do It!

Being a Small Group Leader is one of the most exciting ways to serve in ministry at Seacoast Church. As you open up your heart and home to your neighbors on Kiawah, Seabrook, Wadmalaw and Johns Island, you will see God do incredible things!  We’ve been thinking about how we do Small Groups lately and believe these four priorities will empower you to lead well regardless of the size or style of your group.

E – Encourage people in your group. Small Groups are the primary way we take care of one another at Seacoast. Listen closely as people share and look for ways you can speak life into them. Grace, Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace should be takeaways each time you meet. Encouraged people will always want to come back to your group!

S – Scripture is critical to seeing people grow. We want everyone to know who God is and who they are as revealed in the Word of God. Look for opportunities to point your people to Biblical solutions for situations they find themselves in. Spending time in Scripture personally is vital to being a great small group leader. You may not always have the answer to every question, but time in His word brings a better understanding of the Father’s heart for His people.

P – Prayer is the power of God being released into the lives of our people. When you gather, adopt the habit of stopping to pray for each person that has expressed a need instead of simply sharing prayer requests. Great things to pray for: physical/emotional healing, financial provision, salvation of friends and family, relational conflict to be resolved, an application of God’s Word, and anything else relevant to your group. Offer opportunities for your group to pray for one another and allow time for it to happen.

N – “Next Steps” are an essential part of walking by Faith. Look for specific ways to apply the scripture or the truth that was discussed. One form of doing this is by ALWAYS asking your group, “What is one thing you can/will do in light of tonight’s discussion?” Don’t rush through this phase of the meeting! Follow up with people throughout the week and help them stay focused on their “next step.” A few to lead people towards: giving their life to Christ, having a Bible reading plan, being baptized, finding an accountability/prayer partner, trusting God with their finances, joining the Dream Team, etc. We believe God is always speaking, and part of the small group leader’s privilege is to guide his or her members in listening to what God is saying and encouraging them to do something about it.

Are you looking for a life-giving church with a vibrant small group landscape? The Johns Island Campus of Seacoast Church meets at Charleston Collegiate School (2024 Academy Rd, Johns Island, SC 29455) Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and 11:15 am.  We would love to meet you and help you find a small group that’s an ideal fit for you! Our weekend experience includes engaging kids and student ministries, compelling worship and timely teaching– with a small-town charm.