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!

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A Private Litany of Humility

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, help me put my self importance aside to learn the kind of cooperation with others that makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household.

From the prayer book, For Jesuits, Loyola Press, 1963 – adapted from a prayer by Rafael, Cardinal Merry Del Val (1865-1930)

Photo by: Kim Graham – Charleston, SC

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.

Let’s read the Bible together in 2015!

Consistently reading the Bible has always been a struggle for me. It just seems to be something that causes my internal wiring to short circuit. My mind and body seem to respond to extended times of reading Scripture like a cat thrown into a swimming pool. According to my Myers-Briggs personality type, I am an ENTP which means I am a dreamer who enjoys the world around me and thrive on change. I have also battled ADHD my entire life. Simply put, sitting quietly and focusing on any one thing day after day is just shy of torture. Rather than using my shortcomings as an excuse or thinking I get a “free pass” from a devotional life, I have continued to experiment with times, places, plans, and methods that others recommend. I have discovered a few things that are actually working and might help others struggling in this area.

First – I’ve chosen a specific Bible reading plan. I know playing Bible roulette is not sustainable and I have never grown from a shot in the dark approach to spiritual reading. I have had success in past years the Moravian Daily Text but this year I decided to try the One Year Bible. It is the reading plan that many of my friends and mentors are already doing. It seems very reliable and I will be able to talk with people I love about what I am reading in God’s Word – which is absolute gold for an extrovert. Using this plan in community will add an extra layer of accountability, which I find spurs me to read on, even when I don’t feel like it. I also love that it is was available as a hard copy Bible and/or digital on the YouVersion Bible App for free. Laura and I will be starting fresh on New Year’s Day and we’d love for you to join us! If you are interested, you can find out more info here:  http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com

Next – I had to decide when & how I will carry out this plan. This is just as important as the plan itself because it involves dedication and consistency. Because the One Year Bible is divided into four sections (Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, & Proverbs) I thought it would be great to intersperse these passages throughout my day. This will help my attention span and set me up for success. I’m going to use the same formula that worked well when I was using the Moravian plan. I usually read the Psalms & Proverbs in the mornings on my iPhone through the YouVersion App before I head to work. If something really jumped out at me, I might share that verse from the reading on Facebook or Twitter. Rather than reading in the afternoon, I often listen to the Old Testament passage on “The Bible Experience” or another audio Bible that I’ve imported through iTunes while wearing headphones; this really helps keep my attention, partly because I share an office. Finally in the evenings, I read through the New Testament passage in a physical Bible so that my mind doesn’t wander onto a website or check baseball scores. These are usually very short intervals thus making my devotional times sustainable and life giving.

How about you? Do you have a specific plan to reading God’s Word in 2015? Do you struggle with consistency? What could you do to join together with people you are in community with to unpack Scripture and apply it to your life?