WHERE DO I BEGIN? (Back to top)
Here’s some food for thought: Most people’s view of God is not completely accurate because they have only listened to other people’s opinions about God. What people have heard about Him may come from family, philosophy books, T.V., radio, movies, etc., but oftentimes conclusions have been made based on inaccurate information and the traditions of men instead of the Word of God. One problem is that God has often never been given a chance to speak for Himself. People may have read bits and pieces from the Bible, but it must be the "whole counsel of God." For example, in Matthew 4:6 when Satan misquotes scripture, Jesus responds with scripture and says "The scriptures ALSO say…." i.e., the WHOLE counsel of God.
Common sense has it that none of us would want to spend time with someone if we have heard things that would make that person less than desirable. Unfortunately many people have the wrong view of God, and so they don’t want to spend time with Him in His Word. Therefore, when they finally go to the Word, the God that they are about to meet, may not at all be the same God they think they are going to meet. So…let me introduce you now to the True God and His awesome character…let’s let Him speak for Himself!
If Someone is a new believer, we suggest they complete the following for the first six days, then begin reading John, and continue as outlined in "The Big Four"
- Day One:
- Read Psalm 103 and underline each word or phrase that speaks of God’s character.
- What is He like?
- Day Two:
- Read Isaiah 40:25-31, Romans 8:31-39, Psalm 145
- Underline each word or phrase that speaks of God’s character.
- Day Three:
- Read Psalm 139 & underline each word or phrase that describes:
- What God knows about me,
- What He does for me
- What you discover about Him
(You may want to underline in three different colors for future reference).
- Day Four:
- Read Daniel 3 and meet three men who believed what God said in Psalm 103 and Psalm 139. What words come to your mind to:
describe the three men and
- What words come to mind to describe the King?
- Day Five:
- So, What’s next?
- Have you ever read a novel before, or known of anyone who has? Would you say that the Bible is the same size, if not smaller than most novels? Well, then couldn’t we agree that it is a possibility to read through the Bible? O.K., now that we have that settled, let me help you get started.
- The following books together will give you an overview of the entire Bible: Genesis - Exodus 20 then Matthew then John then Romans. Please read these books first. ( Refer to the sheet entitled "An Overview of the Bible - The Big Four"). Get started today!! Begin in Genesis 1!
- Day Six:
- Each day following, continue reading as much as you feel comfortable with (perhaps a chapter a day; other days you may delight in meditating and studying on just a verse or two).
- We all like to accomplish a goal so, for example, when you read chapter one of Genesis, put a "check mark" next to the chapter reference for chapter one. Do the same for the rest of the chapters in Genesis. Then, when you complete the book of Genesis, go to the table of contents in the front of your Bible. There are 66 books listed there. Put a check mark beside "Genesis". Now, how many books do you have left to go? That’s right! 65! You should read the books included in the Overview of the Bible first and then proceed on to the rest of the Bible. When you are finished reading the entire Bible, let someone know and celebrate your victory by doing something special like going out to dinner!
- Now what in the world are you going to do now that you have finished reading the entire Bible? That’s right! Start over! It is most assuredly the "Book without Bottom!!!" You’ll never tire hearing His voice!
A Few Words of Encouragement
- Don't Just Read, Listen...Remember to not just "read the Bible" but desire to "listen to God speak to you" as you read. Be sure to ask Him to do just that….He is just waiting for you to ask and He loves that you want to! How will you know God is speaking to you? Will a bush catch on fire? Will a thundering voice peal through the heavens? No, it’s not that mysterious. It’s really as simple as a verse that seems to "jump out" at you, or as you’re reading a verse seems to "speak" right to an issue or situation in your life. It’s truly that easy! This is a personal relationship, not a course in Bible knowledge alone
- Underline...Please be sure to underline anything you sense the Lord speaking to you about. Remember, this is no ordinary Book! This Book is "the Word of God" written to you, "up close and personal.
- Find Out What God is Like...Let me encourage you now on your FIRST TIME reading through the Bible to make it a point to find out what God is like…what His character is like. If you read the Bible and search for God’s character daily, you will come to know Him in a deeper way. This will give you a balanced view of what He is really like, and you will find Him irresistible, kind, patient, loyal, a "Man of His Word", forgiving, long-suffering and serious about what He says to you.
- On the Other Hand...You will also learn that He can have righteous anger and that, in EVERYTHING He says, He is always motivated by love because we are His children and He longs to protect us. He even has a sense of humor and this list could go on and on, but I’ll let you add to it!
- Trusting Becomes Easier...I find that after reflecting on these few things it is so much easier to think about Trusting in Him, instead of myself. I cannot even begin to tell you how important this is. Why? Because, most likeIy, we are not going to trust someone we don’t know. And walking with God is all about trusting Him. Again, work through the Bible daily…taking note of what He is really like……, with whatever passages or chapters you have read.
When we meet together in Salt & Light each week we will share with one another the Treasures that God has impressed on our hearts and minds. In addition to underlining verses as you read, it will help you remember what He said by recording His word to you in a journal.
For our meeting time together: Ask God: out of ALL you read and of ALL the verses He impressed on your heart, what would He want you to share with the other members of your group. Also, each week from your reading, ask God what verse He wants you to remember, write it on an index card, and we will practice memorizing our verses with each other each time we meet!
One Final Note:
The Bible was penned by over forty men, through the inspiration of God’s Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Many of these men never knew each other, yet all these books fit together perfectly! Did you know that this Book has been burned more than any other book in the world? Did you also know that more people have died for this Book than any other book? What is it about this Book that people would die for It, as well as burn It? You’re on a journey to find out just that!
May you be richly blessed and changed as you meet with Him each day! Hang on for the ride of your life! He is anything but boring!
THE BIG FOUR (Back to top)
An Overview of the Bible -The Big Four
Genesis - Exodus 20 — The Old Test. is the foundation for the New Test. (Luke 24:27,32)
Genesis 1-11 : 4 major events: Creation, the Fall, the Flood, Babel
- Attributes of God
- Where sin came from
- Judgment of God
Genesis 12-50 : 4 major people: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
- Promises of God
- Faithfulness of God
- God remembers His covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (2:23,24)
- Passover (Exodus chapter 12)
- Ten commandments (Exodus chapter 20)
Matthew — The link book to the Old Testament (see Matthew chapter 1)
- Jesus as king (Matthew 2:2)
- Jesus as the new lawgiver (Matthew 5 ties into Exodus 20)
John — Goes back to the beginning ( John 1:1-3)
- Emphasis on belief (John 20:31)
- 7 signs
- 7 "I ams" demonstrate who Jesus is
Romans — Paul’s clear and logical explanation about the gospel ( Romans 1:16-17)
- God’s righteousness
- Man’s sinfulness
- God’s solution
Why use the Big Four?
- Many people are no longer familiar with the Bible — this gets them into the Bible.
- Those who are familiar with the Bible have it in bits and pieces — this gives the big picture.
- This is Bible based — gets people into the Word on a personal basis and allows for self-discovery.
- God’s Word, not Bible study material, becomes the source of authority.
- They read the Bible on their own when not with you — extensive and intensive sowing.
- The habit of spending time in the Word begins forming and carries over after conversion.
- You can use this in small groups or one-on-one.
- This is an evangelism method that helps to produce disciples.
- Read these books and look for the above-mentioned themes in each book.
- Begin praying for someone to share this with.
Reprinted with permission of Mark Bogart
WHAT WE DO (Back to top)
A suggested format to follow for “Salt & Light” groups :
(PLEASE BE SURE THAT YOU INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING THINGS THROUGHOUT YOUR EVENING)
Every Other Week.....
- REVIEW: As soon as each person arrives, get a partner, exchange scripture memory verse cards, and review your old verses (Why Review ? If you don’t use it you lose it )
- PRAY: Leader gathers everyone for prayer
- NEW SCRIPTURE MEMORY VERSE: Each person hands their new verse card to the person on their right and one at a time, each person says their new verse to the whole group. (Leader passes around “Scripture Memory Chart” so each person can record their new verse. Usually other group members like to record in their journal the verses others are sharing …for future use. Also pass around the “Bible Reading Chart” at this time)
- SHARING FROM THE WORD: Each person then shares from the Word one at a time. As someone takes their turn, everyone else turns to the Book, chapter, and verse the person is sharing from. Usually other group members record the references used by others. At this time individuals can recount stories and examples of how God is using His Word in their life. This continues around the room until each person has had a chance to tell us what God has been teaching them in His Word.
- CLOSE IN PRAYER: On alternate weeks we do a Salt & Light 2 together.
Click here for Salt & Light 2
WHAT IF...SATAN CALLED A WORLDWIDE CONVENTION? (Back to top)
And in his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the people from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from conservative values. But, we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience with God. If they gain that connection with God, our power over them is broken.
So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that experience with God. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their God and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels.
Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent un-numbered schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”
“Over stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non biblical, contradicting music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with God.”
Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogs, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services, and false hopes.”
Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies instead.
And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotion.
“Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from God. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”
It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.
Has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge.
How about this definition of BUSY?
Has our Lord spoken to your heart? Please stop and have a talk with Him. If he has exposed anything that needs a change in your life, make it a prayer request. "He is just waiting for you to ask!" Remember that He said:
He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor
And...He is passionate about His relationship with you