Posted in Faith Nuggets

A Blown Mind

I enjoy a good, fictional story. Whether it’s a movie or a book, I like the experience of working through the tale from start to finish and enjoying the nice, neatly wrapped package of an introduction, a crisis, a climax, and a resolution.

Yes, I know life is not like that. Life never presents us a concluded story. From birth to death, life is one long, complex, interwoven series of stories that never truly find solid conclusion. They are ever evolving, ever changing, and ever intermingling with one another. When we watch movies, read novels, or even dive into biographies, we are essentially pulling a single thread – maybe even two or three – from a much more complex piece of fabric. We focus on this relationship or that experience, but the remaining realities such as work or extended family or history that, in real life, strongly impact those threads are only side thoughts and setting for our compact story.

And you know what? That’s okay! It is not wrong to enjoy the narrative of a few threads, even learning powerful truths from that narrative if we choose our entertainment well.

The problem comes, though, when we apply the same reading style to Scripture.

Too often, I read God’s Word with a desire for a nicely wrapped package. I enjoy meditating on a passage for days on end, but if I have my preference, each day will bring a thought that I can wrap my head around. Even if the learning grows each day, I want something tangible and solid every time I meditate.

But, it doesn’t always work that way. Some days, what I end up with is the birth of a realization. The first tricklings of learning that completely evade understanding. In a nutshell, my mind is just blown, and it feels like the millions of scattered pieces will never come back together.

Sometimes, the light bulb begins to come on within a day or two, and increased depth of learning follows understanding. But other times it’s a slower development. I’ve hashed through certain mind blowing concepts for years on end, pulling in a piece here and an edge there, assembling the most challenging puzzle I have ever encountered in an attempt to get even the smallest glimpse of what the final picture looks like.

As overwhelmed as I feel when my mind is blown by Scripture – as much as I prefer the nice, neat, storybook package of study, learning, and growth – I am learning to crave this type of open-ended learning more and more. I’m learning to hunger for questions that take weeks, months, or even years of study and exploration to answer.

The written Word that we hold in our hands, creation all around us, and even God’s active work in our daily lives and throughout history are all just a tiny glimpse of the essence of the Almighty King of all existence. He is so much greater. So much more profound than anything we can imagine. His gifts of revelation represent a depth that our hearts and minds will never fully reach, no matter how many years we are given on this earth. But that should never prevent us from diving!

If our minds are not blown at least every now and then, it is not evidence of the vastness of what we know. Instead, it is an indictment against us, showing our failure to even try to plumb the depths of the revelation our amazing, loving Father has so graciously given us.

Oh, may I hunger more and more for a glimpse of just how much I have left to learn.

May I never fear a blown mind.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Philippians-Discovering Joy Through Relationships

I love inductive Bible studies. But, I often get burned out quickly when trying to process through them, simply because of the time they take. Don’t get me wrong – I could delightfully spend the hours each week digging deeply into Scripture. But, the honest truth is that I need to be able to dig in much less time than that.

Enter Sue Edwards’ Discover Together Bible study series. The newest addition to the Discover Together series is Philippians – Discovering Joy Through Relationships. Like other studies in the series, this Philippians study helps women dive deeply and quickly into the word through several integral components:

History

Rather than focusing on Philippians along, this study establishes context. Who is the author? Why is he writing the letter? To whom is he writing the letter? What is the historical setting of the recipients? This is information is critical to the true study of any Bible passage.

Admittedly, I’d encourage any believer to learn to research this information for themselves, just to know how to do it. But, as a wife and mom with a very full slate of responsibilities, I appreciate the blessing of having all the resources right here in one place.

Context

A true study of Scripture must also explore how a passage or book fits into the grander picture of the whole Bible. This study pulls passages from throughout Scripture to explore the message of Philippians in this greater context.

Scripture Memory

A memory verse is included in each lesson. Although the verses are not all from Philippians, they all correspond to that lesson’s focus.

Basic, Yet Thought-Provoking, Questions

The format of the questions makes weekly progress very manageable when studying with a group. But, there is also a depth to the questions that leaves some women desiring to slow down and spend two or three weeks on each lesson. And that’s just at the basic level.

In the margins, those processing through this study will find quotes from authors, pastors, and theologians as well as notes from Sue Edwards. But, they will also find “Digging Deeper” options, encouraging even more thought and processing regarding the application of lessons from Philippians. Feel free to take your time!

Supplements

Video supplements are available at discovertogetherseries.com or via QR codes embedded in the study. While the videos are not necessary, they do add to the fullness of the study.

Philippians – Discovering Joy Through Relationships can be completed alone, with a group, or even through Facebook chats with the author. There is also a general Discover Together series leader guide, offering tips for leading a small group. This will be considered by some as the drawback or negative, as there is not a leader’s guide for this specific study.

I went through this study quickly and on my own for the sake of this review. But, I look forward to going through it again more slowly, and hopefully with a group, in the future. I will be recommending it to any woman seeking a Bible study option.

This book was sent to me by Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.