If you’re looking for great curriculum for your children’s ministry, check out DiscipleLand.
In college I took a lot of art classes which were required for my major, and I loved creating all of the projects that went along with those classes. I’ve always loved creating, and I think it started with that first whiff of Play Doh® in kindergarten and rolling out my first “snake.” But somewhere along the way of a too-busy life, creating has been put aside to make way for the tyranny of the urgent. And I’ve missed it. I’ve missed it terribly.
In his book Life after Art: What You Forgot about Life and Faith since You Left the Art Room, Matt Appling not only reminds me of what I’ve missed and forgotten, but he also gives me hope that I can get it back. That I need to get it back. He says, “I suspect humanity’s drive to create is one of the keys to what it means to be ‘made in the image of God.'” That is incredibly validating to me. He reminds me that God placed this need to create within me. He is the Master Creator of all and I am made in His image. Not only is creating not a waste of time, but it is also a way to honor God and display His presence in my life.
One of the most refreshing and intriguing aspects of this book is the author’s insistence on “following directions” when it comes to art. It seems like following directions has become a negative thing – especially when it comes to creativity. In fact following directions is viewed as practically anti-creative. But Matt says, “Trying to rebel against the constraints in your life, trying to color outside the lines that have been laid out for you, is not a recipe for success. . . It is a recipe for frustration, for discontentment, for defeat in life.” There are rules for creating art, and the first one is NO GLITTER. (LOL – you’ll have to read the book to understand that!)
Don’t get me wrong. This book is not a legalistic list of do’s and don’t’s for art or for life. However, there are certain limitations or constraints that have been put in place by God for both art and life. If we try to color outside of those lines, as Matt says, then the result is chaos. And chaos is rarely beautiful or beneficial in life or in art.
Please read this book. Even if you think you are not the creative type and are completely uninterested in art, I promise you will learn so much more than you think you will. Do like I did and read it with a highlighter in your hand. My copy is glowing with neon yellow lines. And I plan to re-read this book as soon as possible. Matt is smart, witty, compassionate and understanding. I believe you will relate to him on many levels. And, who knows? You just might find you have an inner artist lurking deep inside!
If you are looking for a study Bible, you can stop now. This is it. This is THE ONE. It truly is the best study Bible available. It is The New Inductive Study Bible from Precept Ministries International.
In my opinion, one of the most important features of a good study Bible is lack of commentary. Yes, lack of commentary. If you are studying the Bible yourself, why would you want someone else’s study notes right on the page? You should come to the Scriptures with fresh, unbiased eyes and heart. Dig deep into the words yourself. Meditate on them. Pray hard over them. Read them over and over and over again. Take notes. Do word studies. Make lists. Then after you have done all of those things, you can pick up a commentary and read what someone else has discovered in their own personal time of study. After doing your own in-depth studying, you will be prepared to discern the opinion of the commentator. Are his conclusions correct? Is his worldview biblical? Does he accept the inerrancy of the Bible as the Word of God? Once you’ve studied it for yourself, you will be equipped to answer those questions in an accurate and knowledgeable way.
This brand new edition of The New Inductive Study Bible has all of the great features and resources of previous editions. The hardback version is shown above, but the bonded leather version comes in 2 new colors – soft green and charcoal. And there’s also a genuine leather version. Another bonus – this new edition comes in the ESV as well as the NASB translation!
Click here to read more about all of the features of this great study Bible or to order one from Precept Ministries. The hardcover NASB and ESV can also be ordered from the Precept Camden Store in the right sidebar.
A few years ago I picked up a small book by Amy Carmichael called If. I had been introduced to the writings of Amy Carmichael through the ministry of Elisabeth Elliot who had been greatly influenced by her. She wrote an excellent biography about Amy and her 55-year ministry in Dohnavur, India, called A Chance to Die. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
But the book I want to tell you about is If. It is only 94 pages long, but it is one of the most powerful and convicting 94 pages you will ever read. Each page begins with the statement “If I. . .” and ends with the statement, “. . . then I know nothing of Calvary love.” She cuts to the motives of the heart with each statement testing the true depth of our love and comparing it to the love of Christ – the love which led Him to give His life at Calvary.
Here’s one: “If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” That convicted this Navy wife on more than one occasion when faced with orders to change locations. How about this one: “If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Ouch. That hurts.
If you want a better understanding of Calvary love. . . If you want to hold your heart up to a mirror. . . If you aren’t afraid of the ugliness you may see there. . . If you want to love like Christ. . . then get If. Read one page per week. Contemplate it. Meditate on it. Then love with a Calvary kind of love.
I have a new set of Bible marking pens. Or maybe I should say I have a new set of Bible marking markers. I love my new set of Bible marking markers. I got my new set of Bible marking markers on a recent trip to Japan. Yes, you read that right. I went to Japan! Oh, the awesomeness of office supplies in Japan. I should write a haiku about all of the awesome pens available in Japan. Maybe another day…
The good news is that you don’t have to travel to Japan to have a set of these gorgeous Frixion Erasable Markers just like mine! They are available online at Jet Pens. Anyone who has visited Precept Camden knows of our love of Jet Pens. Just go to that search box there on the right and type in Jet Pens and you will see. (Or click here.) Somehow I had missed these markers on their site, but I discovered them in Japan and am happy that Jet Pens carries them in their online store so that you can get your very own set. Even with the thicker line, the ink still does not bleed through thin Bible pages. And, like all of the Frixion line, they are erasable.
Click here to order your own set of these markers from Jet Pens.
(Not a paid endorsement. I just love Jet Pens!)
Precept Camden’s new study is underway! This Bible study can be taken in person (if you are local to our area) or online (if you’re not). For all of the info on taking this study, click here.