Hide-and-seek was one of my favorite games growing up. I’d crouch under tables, behind bulky clothing items in closets, and pretty much anywhere else I could cram myself in the space of a minute. I wasn’t great at it, but I was seldom the first one spotted.
When I learned that the entire Bible (rather than just the second half) is about Jesus, reading the Old Testament began to feel a bit like my beloved game. If I take my time and pay attention to funny shadows or the sound of breathing, spotting the Savior—even millennia before His incarnation—might not be the hardest thing ever.
Something incredible happens when you give yourself enough space with a single passage to let it seep deep into the marrow of your soul. Today’s post is less explanation, more experiment. Grab a piece of paper to take notes on and just roll with it, okay?
Any well-traveled girl will tell you the importance of smart packing. As we jump into John’s gospel, we’ll need to make room for treasures we find along the way, little surprises to make a good journey even better.
(This post was edited for and originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on June 24, 2019. You can find it here.)
While working with a program that prepared couples for long-term missions, I began to notice a deeply troubling disparity in the expectations and the definitions of spiritual excellence for males and females. Husbands were loaded up with classes, mentoring, books, and accountability groups – but a monthly meeting was too much to ask of their wives.
Both inside and outside the world of full-time ministry, studying the finer points of our faith is a mainly masculine enterprise. Aren’t women busy enough without diving deep into the Word? Let Pinterest catechize them. But when half the Church is spiritually deficient, the entire body walks with a limp.
You brave soul. Good for you! We can tackle this beautiful book together. How?
For each chapter, there’s a corresponding schedule, a plan to keep us on track. Sermons are linked for easy online access, or you can print the whole thing out if you enjoy manually checking off calendar squares as much as I do. As we wade deeper in, I’ll post chapter summaries of favorite quotes, questions, resources, and aha moments. Get acquainted with the landing page; it will be your best friend.
I’m typically a safe adventurer. While you won’t find me out hiking mountain ranges or surviving the desert wilds, I love a good epic (and much like Bilbo, I prefer to read said good epic in front of my fireplace with a steaming cup of tea). Curled up with a sweeping journey through a vast landscape with all kinds of perils is my favorite. Should the villain gain too much ground or the challenge be too great, I can slam the book shut and go for a walk. This sort of adventuring allows for limits, boundaries to insulate its readers from insanity. (Because who needs to miss work for weeks due to the carnage of the battle at Hogwarts? Tempting, yes. Practical, no.) Calculated risks—the kind found only in the pages of a book—are my jam.
The best part of grocery shopping with my mother was the coffee aisle. Millions of beans waited in a line of plastic dispensers, each with a distinct scent. As soon as the other shoppers had moved on, I’d drift from one end of the canisters to the other, nose up close to the spouts, taking in every smell along the way. (I was an odd child.) Mom would bag up her beans, take them home, and the air would smell like heaven a few minutes later.
We took our time getting settled because I wanted the process of preliminaries to be as non-scary as possible. Now that we’ve arrived at the starting line, I’d like to offer a wide assortment of ideas to get your creative energy flowing.
The Wizard of Oz always fascinated me. Maybe it was the singing and the dancing or the pair of glittery heels with the power to change everything that impacted me so much. Or when reality shifted from greyscale to Technicolor and the world was new. I think, at the bottom, it was the characters. Remember the Tin Man? While the Scarecrow desired a brain and the Lion wanted courage, the Tin Man longed for a heart. How often have I found myself in those same metal shoes, not really feeling stupid and not really feeling afraid, but not really feeling much of anything because the heart is out of place?