Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sweet Journey - Chapters 1 and 2

Chapter 1: The Need for Discipleship
Chapter 2: The Word

These chapters go together nicely, so we combined them. I'd love to hear your general thoughts on this study - how you think it's going to go, any way that it's already helped you, etc. But I also have some specific points and questions, so let's just jump right in!

I do want to point out something she mentions - that the verses in this book use the King James Version of the Bible. I understand her reasons for using this version, and if you are already comfortable with the KJV then by all means, continue to use it. If not, though, please take the time to look up the verses in your own Bible translation - it's totally worth it! 

Here are some questions for you to consider, and to respond to in the Comments section below. You can respond to all of them or as many as you choose.

Question 1:

In the first chapter, Teri reminds us to actually put forth the effort to read the Bible verses and not just skip to the questions. What is the danger in skipping the actual reading of the verses and just looking at the question? After all, a lot of these questions are what we would call “basic” questions – we could probably answer them without looking at the verses.

Question 2:

Critical Thinking Question:  Near the beginning of chapter 2 (right after the long letter), she states, “…if she will begin to do this project, she will start hearing from the Lord what she needs to hear for the solutions to her difficulties.” (emphasis mine)   
Now, I know for a fact that Teri Maxwell does not believe we can receive new revelation from God, nor does she practice Contemplative Prayer or any other mystical discipline. She is referring here to the idea that we learn from God’s Word what He wants to “say” to us – what we need to “hear.” She is NOT saying that if you do this study you will hear God’s voice speaking audibly to you. 
But this wording does bring up a question – how can we respond when someone says, “I heard the Lord telling me…” or indicates some belief that God speaks audibly to people in this day and age, or that they wish He would?

My Big Takeaway From These Two Chapters:

I love the story she tells about how she and her husband, when they were first saved, were “satisfied with being spoon-fed the Word at church,” but that how later they realized that their spiritual growth had been stunted from lack of nourishment. 
She goes on to say, “Would a baby grow and thrive if he only drank milk once a week? Yet somehow we have come to think that if we are in church every Sunday, we’ll receive the spiritual nourishment we need. A once-a-week bottle isn’t enough sustenance for a human baby, nor is a once-a-week drink from the spiritual milk of the Word enough sustenance for a Christian.”  Later she reminds us again that spiritual growth doesn’t come about “just by attending church. Instead, it is achieved when we make the commitment, and keep it, to be in the Word every day and stop making excuses for why we aren’t.”

Sound Off!

I feel like this sums up her whole point and purpose for this book - we have a duty to learn and grow from the Word, and we need to get busy! So, practically speaking, how can we do this? What kinds of things are you doing to fit in your time in the Word every day? 

There you go! Now it's your turn! Again, feel free to respond to any/all of the questions or points, or just put in your own two-cents regarding the chapters or something you learned. And don't forget to come back later and respond to any comments others make. Remember, this is only as interactive as we make it. 

Talk to you soon!


The Beginning of Our "Sweet Journey"

We are beginning our online study of Teri Maxwell's book Sweet Journey, and are glad you've decided to join us! If you haven't already gotten a copy of the book, you can do so from Teri's website here , or you can get the Kindle version from Amazon here.

I’m going to start with the same caveat that I think all book studies should start with: This book will not solve all your problems. This book is just that – a book. It is a book that is designed to encourage you to study the Word and to pray regularly, and it is designed to get you going in the right direction. But ultimately, it is just a book – written by a fallible human.  This book will not solve all your problems. But the Bible will!  This book will not be error free. But the Bible is! The author of this book will make mistakes.  But the Author of the Bible has NEVER made a mistake and never will!  So please, use this book and this study the way it was intended – as a way to get you into THE Book that will help you know and love THE One who gave everything for you!

I know she says the book is designed to be done one chapter a week, but I think a couple of the chapters go together very nicely and are short enough to combine. So I suggest we break it down this way:
Week 1: Chapters 1 and 2 - Complete and Respond by May 30
Week 2: Chapters 3 and 4 - Complete and Respond by June 6
Week 3: Chapter 5 - Complete and Respond by June 13
Week 4: Chapter 6 - Complete and Respond by June 20
Week 5: Chapter 7 - Complete and Respond by June 27
Week 6: Chapter 8 - Complete and Respond by July 5
Week 7: Chapters 9 and 10 - Complete and Respond by July 12
Week 8: Chapter 11 – This is the wrap up chapter.   

This will take us through most of the Summer.  I realize that we are all coming to this study in various stages of spiritual growth and understanding and that some of us are also doing (or will be doing) other Bible studies this Summer. If you fall behind or can’t respond in any particular week, please don’t feel like you can’t continue. Participate as much as you can, however you feel led to, and we will work with what we have. This is a casual study group – designed to give us a way to talk about things and “study” a book together without actually seeing each other face to face. Ultimately, you will benefit the most from interacting, but if you feel that you just want to “lurk” then go ahead and do so; just please don’t forget to actually DO the study and read the Word and learn and grow!

Each chapter comes with questions inside, and I suggest that you do those on your own as you study. The answers, should you need them, are at the end of each chapter.  

I will post something at the beginning of each week and include some additional questions or topics for discussion. Come back any time during the week to respond and participate.  

Try to come back more than once – in case someone responds to your questions/comments or has a question for you.

One last thing - if you need to be reminded to come and check the blog each week, just contact me, and I'll put you on the automated reminder list. If you use a blog reader with RSS feeds, you can just subscribe on the right-hand side of this page, where it says "subscribe."

In a few minutes I'll post the first set of questions - for Chapters 1 and 2. Here we go!