Operation Deepen Faith – 2014

Becky hosts this challenge every year and it’s a great way to commit to reading and studying the Bible.

I have failed in the past trying to do some of these so am keeping it simple this year with the ones that I’m already doing regularly.

I. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Read the Bible using a Bible Plan. 
VI. Christian Nonfiction. Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Read some theology. You choose the number of books to aim for. 

I likely will also do
IV.  Meditate or Memorize.
as I’m already working on memorizing Ephesians 1 and plan to go on with the rest of Ephesians.

For #1 – I will be doing the Bible in 90 Days from February 1 through May 1. Then I plan to use Professor Horner’s reading plan for the remaining 8 months.

For #6 – the books I regularly read fall into this category. I’m not going to set a number, though I’m sure I’ll read at least 40 or so. Some of the potential books include:
A Biblical Theology of Missions

Learn to Study the Bible (40 Bible Study Methods)

Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

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Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt

Lately I have been looking into and researching women’s ministry in the church. In the process, I checked out Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Duncan and Hunt from the library.
Women's Ministry in the Local Church

This book was excellent!  A good primer on the importance of women’s ministry and what is needed. It is written by complementarians, which I am finding that I lean more toward that view than egalitarian. In other words, I lean more toward the view that women are not to be pastors or teachers of men, but have other roles in the church. Here are some quotes from this book that really resonated with me.

Questions to ask:
“Why should a church have a women’s ministry – what is the biblical apologetic?”
“Who is responsible for the women’s ministry in a church?”
“How does a women’s ministry relate to the other ministries in a church?”
“What are the tasks of a women’s ministry?”
“How does a church implement a biblical approach to women’s ministry?”

“A women’s ministry is one component of the total life and work of a local church.”
“how can we invest in women in a way that equips them as disciples, for their own spiritual maturation, for the good of the marriages and families of the church, for the betterment of the total ministry of the church, and for their life in the world?”

“Study: the first step in a biblical approach to women’s ministry is for church leadership to have a biblical apologetic for women’s ministry.”
“Evaluate: determine strengths and weaknesses of the existing ministry.
Reorganize: determine a focus and direction and ways to implement needed changes.
Organize: plan for a new ministry.
Train: yearly training of leaders will help maintain theological grounding and prevent the ministry from becoming task driven.
Recruit: give potential leaders a biblical vision for women’s ministry by asking them to read the book and then to pray about assuming a position of leadership.
Educate: if a church is beginning a women’s ministry, teach it to the women at large, perhaps in a women’s Sunday School class, so that women understand a biblical approach to women’s ministry.”

“Without a biblical apologetic for womanhood, individual women and women’s ministries will lose their way.”
“Are we being helpers or hinderers?
Are we being life-givers or life-takers?
Are we equipping women to be helpers and life-givers?”

“(1) We need to cultivate godly, feminine, Christian women…
(2) We need to promote healthy Christian marriages…
(4) We need to cultivate among our Christian women a joyous embrace of godly, healthy, Christian, male spiritual leadership in the church.”
“(5) We need to help Christian women appreciate the manifold areas of service that are open to them in the church and to equip them distinctively as women to fulfill their ministry.”

“…why a distinctive discipleship of women is important…”

“Unless a women’s ministry is an overflow of the gospel, women will become hinderers and not helpers in God’s Church. Those who plan for and implement a women’s ministry must be intentional in maintaining a gospel orientation in their hearts and lives.”

Foundational Themes:
(1) The Gospel
(2) Truth
(3) Sound Doctrine
“…it is in the context of healthy doctrine and ecclesiology that we can engage in healthy discipleship relationships.”
(4) Discipleship
“This is the substance and the form of true biblical discipleship – a balanced blend of sound doctrine taught in the context of covenant relationships that reflect that doctrine.”
(5) Covenant
“The covenant should characterize all of church life.”
“The covenant is sovereignly initiated”
“The covenant is restorative”
“The covenant is relational”   “…covenant relationships that mirror God’s relationship with us.”
“The covenant is compassionate”
“The covenant is corporate”   “…isolationism and independence are antithetical to the covenant way of life.”
“The covenant is generational”  “…equip women to pass the legacy of biblical womanhood to the next generation of women.”

“The goal is not to get every woman to participate in the women’s ministry, but for the women’s ministry to serve and encourage every woman in the church.”

“Biblical discipleship is not simply imparting facts or inculcating personal habits of Bible study, prayer, and evangelism, as helpful as those disciplines are. It is transmitting a way of thinking and living that unites all the parts into the glorious whole of glorifying God. It is passing on a legacy of biblical faith and life to the next generation.”

“Women who disciple women are to have a holy reverence for God that is reflected in their character and conduct.”

“Women discipling women is not just a program – it is the covenant lifestyle of redeemed women.”

“…it is absolutely essential that the church equip women to speak to the burning issues of the culture by being trained in the disciplines of theology and apologetics.
“Two marks of maturity are submission to God’s word and a teachable heart that listens to and learns from others.”
“The Bible should be the centerpiece of a woman’s ministry. It should form the infrastructure of everything the women’s ministry does…”

“…all of the Christian life, and all ministry, is beyond the limits of our own personal power and abilities.”

The Wayfinding Bible

Wayfinding Bible-NLT

I love Bibles! So when an opportunity to review this recent Bible from Tyndale came, I jumped at the chance. I’m also passionate about getting people into reading the Bible. So I really like that this Bible has 3 different reading plans to get into God’s Word.

First, the flyover route – this gives you an overview of the events of the Bible in 54 readings.
The direct route – 215 readings to give you a full perspective of the Bible and how it all fits together
Or, the scenic route – diving into the depth of the Bible in 386 readings

Along the way are observation points and exploration points to learn more about the passage. Themes (called side trips) are indicated where you can jump to another passage that deals with the same subject. Information about the lands and cities talked about are included to get more background information on what you are reading.

In the back the Thru-Hike plan is given to read through the entire Bible chronologically. I love how this Bible has reading plans right along with the passages, along with all the helpful historical and background information. The theme of navigating God’s Word is interspersed, making this a journey into discovering Scripture for yourself and perhaps not so daunting a task by having different routes mapped out.

I would definitely recommend this Bible as another way to get into the Word and learn about God. It is the New Living Translation, so is easy to read and understand.

You can see the book trailer here.

*I received this Bible free from the publisher in exchange for my review.