Where should I start when reading the Bible?

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Copyright by Aaron Roberts Photography

While at church this morning, a friend asked me where he should start reading the bible.  It is a question that cannot be answered simply with a specific book or passage.  I have spent many years reading the bible – a practice and passion that started when I was in 7th grade.

Many earnest Christians attempting to read through the bible begin reading in Genesis 1, and are swept along by the beautiful story of Creation, and the ancient figures of the Old Testament – only to be lost in the middle of March amidst the offerings and feasts in Leviticus.

I think the answer to where you begin reading depends on the individual.  So here are a few questions to ask yourself before launching (or re-launching) into the Word of God.

  1. What am I hoping to get from reading the bible?

This is one of the first questions to ask yourself as you begin to read the bible.  I hope that you are hoping to hear from God.  The bible is not static words on a page, but it is the living active word of God that speaks to His children in a powerful way.  (Hebrews 4:12)

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Each literary genre of New and Old Testaments are different in their original purposes, and the original intentions of the authors still affect how we interpret these passages today.  The narratives of the Old Testament lay the foundation of God’s relationship with mankind, and demonstrate His care for the people of God.  The poetry of the Psalms reveals the anguish of the human heart, and the reality of human passion, yet weakness to follow God.  The prophets reveal a God who in the midst of darkness is calling to lost humankind.  Narratives from the gospels show the character of Jesus, and the one whom we aspire to imitate.  The epistles challenge and encourage the communities of God.

There are other reasons to read the bible, but we must remember that the primary reason is to connect with the Author.

2.  How much do I already know about the bible?

The bible is a complex story, and it is not the easiest book to understand.  While I believe each book is important, some books I still don’t understand after many years of study.  Many people suggest that those with a limited knowledge of the bible should start with books like John, Romans, or Genesis.

 

3.  What are my biggest obstacles to reading the bible?

People have various reasons for not reading the bible.  If a major obstacle is time, then I would encourage you to start with smaller passages rather than trying to read through the entire passage.  If reading is not your favorite activity, then find a version that you find easy to understand.

4.  What most interests you about the bible?

People read and study things that spark their interest.  Do not feel guilty on focusing on passages of scripture that feed your soul.  Fuel what interests you in the bible, and allow them to lead you into new avenues.

5.  What tools could help me?

There are so many great tools to help you as you seek to read God’s word.  A few examples include:  digital bibles (complete with yearly reading plans), daily bibles or reading checklists, chronological bibles, printed devotionals (I would suggest classics like – My Utmost for His Highest or Daily in His Presence), or sign up for an online devotional that arrives in your inbox each morning.  There are a variety of tools so pick one that you think will work for you.

6.  Who would you be reading the bible with?

The majority of the bible was written to be understood and applied within a community.  While you may not be reading side-by-side with someone, ask yourself who could you incorporate into your spiritual journey so that “iron can sharpen iron.”  It is a great idea to discuss what you are reading with your wife, children, a bible study, or other Christians in order to share how it applies to your life.
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David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016

While many are complaining about last year, 2016 was a great year at EA Resource (which stands for Emerging Adult Resources).  This year our web traffic hit an all time high.  EA Resources also launched the EA Network.

Here is a list of our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016.

10.  Establish Autonomy:  A Developmental Task of Adulthood

9.  Fact Checker:  Does college cause Emerging Adults to leave their faith?

8.  Paying Millennials to speak about the church.

7.  The Fracturing of Evangelicalism:  Why Millennials be the Wedge?

6.  An Open Letter to the Millennial Church

5.  Defining Adulthood

4.  You’ve Gotta Love Millennials – A response to the song and video of Micah Tyler.

3.  The Purpose of Engagement

2.  The Middle:  The television show that all parents of emerging adults should be watching.

  1.  Six Steps to Naming your Young Adult Ministry:  40 Name Possibilities for your church’s ministry to Emerging Adults.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  If he can help you community understand and minister to emerging adults, you can contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

Adulting: Runner-up “International Word of the Year”

All the words from Flickr via Wylio

© 2013 Graham Campbell, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Each year, the Oxford English Dictionary names an international word of the year.  This title is awarded based upon the word’s use during the past year, and how it reflects “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year.”

This year’s title went to post-truth (read what this means).

One of the shortlisted words (considered, but not chosen) was…

adulting nouninformal

The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

The Urban dictionary defines it as the process of doing grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups. (Source)

Various hashtags on the subject are also used including:

This word is often associated with the struggle of millennials to grow up.  Books and blogs have exploded on helping them overcome their apparent delayed development.

At EA Resources, we teach three developmental tasks which equip individuals to successfully transition to adulthood – which we call the E-VACuation Plan.

Here are three links that overview these three main developmental tasks.

David - Prof 2If I can help equip your parents and adolescents as children transition into adulthood, please contact me at gdavid@earesources.org.

Are we living in a ‘Post-truth’ society?

oxford-dictionaryThe Oxford English Dictionary has named “post-truth” the international word of the year.  Each year this designation is chosen based upon the word’s use during the past year, and how it reflects “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year.”

Post-truth is defined as:

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective  facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals  to emotion and personal belief.

Editors of the dictionary report that the word’s use increased due to Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States.  The word has been used as an adjective when paired with words like politics.

Our culture has shifted from a modern worldview to one that is postmodern.  This shift is foundation to how Millennials and emerging adults view the world.  Understanding this worldview shift is key if you want to understand and reach emerging adults.

David - Prof 2If I can help you understand how our world is changing, and how your community can adapt to minister to emerging adults, please contact me at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

 

Will marriage become extinct?

Marriage between man and woman today “is becoming extinct.”

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That was the view shared by Jennifer Murff of Millennials for Marriage at a recent speech to an audience of young people from various countries who attended a conference promoting marriage and families in Beverly, Massachusetts, CBN News reported.

Here is the rest of the article from Christianity Today.

My Favorite Line –

The problem is that instead of trying to reach a compromise with the young people, the older generations tend to shun them, especially since these millennials are now more often accepting of gay marriage, premarital sex and even abortion—things that are non-negotiable for many adult churchgoers.

Statements like this display the desperate need in churches for Generational Mediators.

Marriage statistics are clearly changing – due to various reasons including:  the availability of birth control, rise of cohabitation, and the lessening of sexual taboos.  Regardless of what you believe on these issues, this trend should affect our churches and how we approach, evangelize, and disciple the next generation.

While I don’t believe that marriage will become extinct, the question among Millennials is no longer, “When do we get married?”, but “Why get married at all?”

 

 

Bringing home more than their laundry – Post from Steve Argue

The team at Fuller Youth Institute have brought great resources like Sticky Faith, and Growing Young.  Share this great article to encourage and equip parents for when their child comes home for winter break.

Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry

Photo by Paul Green

 

Parents all over the country are anticipating their young adult kids coming home for the holiday break. For some, it’s the first time they’ve been home since they sent them off and set them up for the college school year. Home will feel like home again.

Likely, they’ll bring their laundry, too. 

Here is the rest of the piece.

Steven Argue joined the Fuller Theological Seminary faculty in June 2015 in a hybrid role as assistant professor of youth, family, and culture and as applied research strategist with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI).

 

The End of 2016

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It has been a great year at EA Resources, and I am thankful for our regular readers and contributors.  EA Resources is a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to Emerging Adults.

If God has blessed you financially this year, please considering supporting our work by donating to our work.

Click Here!

Sending a Different Message to Emerging Adults – An Example

The message of the organized church doesn’t seem to be sitting to well with many Emerging Adults.  Many emerging adults are exiting the church at record numbers – creating what I call the Millennial Exodus.
video-ready-to-goI believe that if we want to see a reversal of this trend, then we will need to change our message.  No, I am not talking about watering down the gospel or avoiding the today’s tough topics.  The church needs to send a different message to Emerging Adults.

The main messages that emerging adults hear from the church is that their generation.

  • Are selfish and narcissistic.
  • Are too techy (which is usually described as weird and unhealthy).
  • Are leaving the church.
  • Are endangering the future of the church.
  • Are too young to really lead.

These words may not have been spoken from the platform, or printed in the bulletin; however, the message is loud and clear to them.  They know it well because they have heard these messages while sitting in your faith classes and in your pews on Sunday mornings.

What is a better message to send to emerging adults?  Here is a great example from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

 

video-lcmsHere is a Link!

 

There is a need for denominations and churches to send a different message to emerging adults. This message should be well-crafted, simple, and repetitive.

Leave a comment of what you feel needs to be said to today’s emerging adults.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the managing director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to engage emerging adults. He is also the founder of the EA Network, a community of people who serve and love emerging adults.

Lily Endowment Funding Church Initiatives to Emerging Adults

The Lily Endowment Fund just recently released a report that they will be funding churches and organizations who will be taking new initiatives to reach young adults.

Here is a complete News Release.

lilly-endowmentLilly Endowment Inc. is launching a $19.4 million initiative to help congregations engage young adults and work with them to design innovative ministries that support and enrich their religious lives.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical company. The Endowment is committed to causes of religion, education and community development. Its religion grant making is primarily focused on initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of Christian ministry in American congregations.

I look forward to seeing how the money is used, and I pray that God uses these resources to build His kingdom.

 

I’ll be home for Christmas – Welcoming College Students Home for Break.

Christmas Tree from Flickr via Wylio

© 2011 Tom Ipri, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

While emerging adults will be home for Christmas, don’t expect them to come pounding on your door to talk.  Aside from endless family gatherings and catching up with high school friends, many of them will work in order to make spending money, or to stay relevant in their old job.

So how do we make the most of the Holiday season in regards to ministering to college students?  (Other than asking those who are musically skillful to fill into our holiday rotations – which often speaks louder to emerging adults about what and who we value than we would care to admit.)  Here are a few thoughts to get you started.

  1. Acknowledge them from the platform and in print. As a congregation, make it clear that you value them, and that you are glad that they are home.  Run an announcement in your bulletin that communicates, “You are still a part of our community, and we are glad you are home.”  During Christmas break, our church would run an announcement saying that there was a gift for every young adult in attendance.  As the pastor of young adults, I would hand out candy bars to those who stopped by (whether a student home from college, a regular attender, or a visitor).  It was a great chance to say thanks for coming, and to reacquaint with them as adults.
  2. Ask good questions. The worst question that you can ask is, “How is school going?” Remember that not all high school graduates leave town, or even attend college.  Don’t assume that the reason you haven’t seen them is because they are away at college.  Due to society’s expectations, those who are not taking classes feel embarrassed, and rather than stick around, they will stop attending.  While many more graduates are attending college, many drop out due to a variety of reasons including:  finances, family, illness, or lack of motivation.  Ask general questions, and allow them to steer the conversation.
  3. Allow them to change.  There is inevitable awkwardness.  You haven’t seen them, and they haven’t seen you, and so there is a need to reacquaint yourself with each other.  As you catch up, realize that they are not the same person as when they left.  They want people to see a difference and treat them as adults.  We need to communicate to emerging adults that they are free to grow and change within fear of rejection from our community.
  4. Plan a gathering (using social media) where they can reunite with church friends. Someone on our youth staff would host a college party over Christmas break each year.  Many Christian camps hold retreats for young adults over Christmas break which are inexpensive and a great way for them to connect with other Christians.

If you church is serious about connecting with Millennials, then you must take advantages of every opportunity – including breaks in the academic calendar.  As they come home for Christmas, I pray that you will be ready – with a purposeful greeting, a Spirit-guided conversation, and a warm embrace.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to emerging adults.  He writes and teaches regularly on spiritual formation, delayed development, and emerging adulthood at www.earesources.org and www.morethanabeard.com.  If he can help your community, contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.