We are thrilled to announce that the Bible Study Media app is now available for download in mobile app and smart TV stores!
The mobile app, available in the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore, is your source for on-the-go access to everything from Bible Study Media! Download the app to your smartphone or tablet, and use it for all of the following:
In addition, download our TV app on Apple TV and Roku in order to easily access all of the videos from our studies for your small group meetings.
By Brooke Holt, Adult Curriculum Specialist
I am one of those strange people who absolutely loves a good challenge. At least twice a year, I sign up for a challenge to work out six times a week, five workouts in the gym and one workout on my own. These are not easy workouts; they are specifically designed to challenge the participants physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Some days it is easy to make it to my workouts. Some days it is just not. In fact, this morning was one of those days I could have missed the workout for a hundred reasons. BUT, I have no margin in my schedule this week, so I awoke at 5:00 in the morning to make the 5:45am class. It was painful, but I did it. And you know what? I felt great after the class. There is something to be said about discipline and commitment.
The health industry is pushing people to learn new disciplines which strengthen and heal the body. Is the church encouraging its people to learn new disciplines which strengthen and heal the soul? There is something unique about a challenge, about accountability, about being pushed beyond what you would normally do on your own. There is also something special about community formed in a challenge.
This Lent, I challenge you to take on a 40 Day Lenten discipline! What would it look like for you to invite your church, your small group, your friends into a 40 Day Challenge with you? Bible Study Media understands the power of a Lenten study and has provided resources for you. Consider The Crucified Life. What does it mean to die to self in order to live to Christ? Or take on the challenge of Draw Near and learn what it means to live a life of worship. Each of these studies has 7 weeks of daily devotional readings, plus weekly small group questions and online video teachings.
The resurrection of Jesus takes on even greater meaning after 40 days of discipline and sacrifice. This Lent, I would love to support you in your own discipline, your own challenge. Let me help you find the right study for your church, your small group, or yourself.
I am at the end of my 40 day health challenge. I feel strong, accomplished, and awakened to new possibilities in my life. In fact, I am already thinking about my next challenge. While the process of transformation is not easy, it is so good. My ultimate desire is to look more like Jesus. In order to reach that goal, I need daily transformation!
What transformation does God want to do in you this Lent? My coaching hat is on, and I am ready to walk this challenge with you. 40 days of discipline really can change your life.
Imagine for a moment the impact on your church if for 40 days every person in your congregation lived in alignment with God’s will in the pattern of Jesus’ call to pick up our cross and follow him. What if your people lived in powerful community with their small groups to discuss and pray over lives sacrificed to God? What if, as groups and individual people began to experience the power of God in their lives as they surrendered all to Jesus Christ?
By intentionally coordinating and aligning the elements of your Lenten season using The Crucified Life materials, you will make an environment for spiritual growth that will move your congregation from self to surrender.
By aligning the following three elements of participation, you will see the power of God working in your church because of the intentional focus on the heart of the Gospel and the grace offered in the cross of Jesus Christ:
By creating a singular Lenten focus on what it means to “pick up our cross” and follow Jesus in the way of the Crucified Life, the entire congregation is called to a Holy Lent together. This unified focus will burst forth in new life with the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday!
Have you set your New Year’s Resolutions? If so, how are you doing with them a few days into the new year? As I am making my resolutions for the year, these are the questions I am asking myself: Are my resolutions God’s resolutions? Do my desires for the year align with God’s desires for my year?
The health industry LOVES the New Year! Gyms are full; diets are started. Everyone has good intentions. From what I can tell, all these resolutions are all about me. Make me look better, make me feel better about myself, help me achieve my goals. Don’t get me wrong, I think health goals are very important. If we do not take care of these bodies that God has entrusted to us, how can we go about doing the work he has given us to do with energy, vitality, and joy? Health is important.
Scripture does address our need to care for the body, but even more important than the body is the spirit. In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul writes: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” As we are making health goals, are we also making spiritual goals? What do those look like and how do they help us to truly grow in godliness?
If you are looking for tools to help in your spiritual training, you may want to consider taking on The Bible Challenge: https://thebiblechallenge.org. There are 4 readings for each day of the year. At the end of the year, you will find that you have gotten through the entire Bible. If you want to go deeper, there are daily devotionals that align with the daily readings and even Old Testament and New Testament study guides. Studying God’s Word is the greatest exercise we could ever do!
New Year’s resolutions can be powerful tools of transformation.
Are you making yours, keeping yours, or breaking yours? Ask yourself these questions: Are these your resolutions or God’s resolutions? Do your desires for the year align with God’s desires for your year?
In John 11, we read about the death of Jesus’ good friend, Lazarus. By the time Jesus gets to Lazarus’ hometown, the man has been in the grave for 4 days. Grief is the reality experienced by the family and friends.
Jesus arrives at the tomb and speaks the unexpected command: “Remove the stone.” Martha reminds Jesus that Lazarus has been dead for four days so there will be a stench. Jesus is undaunted by her words or that reality. After praying to his Father, he shouts these powerful words: “Lazarus, come out!’
Lazarus walks out of the tomb, wrapped in his grave clothes. The man who has been in the grave for 4 days has now been set free. In fact, Jesus commands the people watching to unbind Lazarus from those grave clothes.
Prior to working this miracle, Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would be raised from the grave. Martha believed Lazarus would be raised at the end of time. Jesus explains that he is the Resurrection and the Life and that Martha did not have to wait until the end of time.
Nothing Too Difficult for God
This is where this story applies powerfully to us. We may hope that Jesus can resurrect all things at the end of time, but are we missing what he wants to do in us today? Just as Jesus was not afraid of the stench of death, he is not afraid of the mess he finds in our lives. Where we see death and defeat, Jesus sees the opportunity to work a miracle. Calling a dead man out of the grave exemplifies the truth that there is nothing too difficult for God.
The question is will we come out of our graves? As Beth Moore describes in her book Get Out of Your Pit, we often choose to stay in our grave, wrapped in our grave clothes. Though our graves are miserable, they are also comfortable. We know them, feel in control of them, have a sense of safety there.
Walking out of our graves is risky. There is so much unknown out there. Light shines brighter than darkness. Light brings vulnerability. Light also brings life. And we were made for life, abundant life (John 10:10).
Listen to Jesus’s words to us today: “Come out!” Will we come? Will we allow Jesus to carefully unwrap us of those grave clothes that hold us? Can we lay those things at his feet? Scary? Oh yes, but also liberating, exciting, and life giving.
Jesus speaks these words to us today: “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live” (John 11:25-26, The Message).
By: Brooke Holt
1. The Challenge
Throughout The Crucified Life, Charlie challenges us as Christians to follow Jesus in the way of the cross. As we lay down our lives to the Lord, we actually find our lives. On day 38, Charlie writes, “The key to receiving the life of God is in surrendering our spirit to his Spirit that we might be mysteriously united in the wonderful mystery of his will.”
For me, the act of surrendering is not easy, even in little things. Jesus speaks these words from the cross right before he dies: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Jesus, being fully God and fully human, entrusts himself to the Father all the way to the cross, to his last dying breath.
3. God is Good
There is nothing I want more than to fully entrust myself to the Lord. I have been wrestling with this all week. In my mind and spirit, I know that God is good; his ways are good; he is fully worthy of my trust and submission. In my flesh, I want what I want, and I have this great desire to control my own life.
4. Submit your Spirit
Ultimately, I want to land into the loving arms of my Father. I want to submit my spirit, my very life to him. I have been asking him to show me how to do this, to make his will my will, his desires my desires. I wish I could say that after a week of wrestling and praying that I have this fully mastered. I certainly don’t! However, it has become my daily heartfelt prayer.
Romans 8:31-32 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how we he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
5. God is for us!
God is for us! He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I may not have this surrender thing down, but I will daily lay my life before the Lord and ask him to help me fully commit myself and my ways before him. I want him. I want his life.
Charlie ends the devotional writing with these words: “Entrust him with your entire life today.” What does that look like for you today?