Except let's not call it homework. Let's call it Reflection. Sounds much better than homework. Between my two kids, I have WAY too much homework in my life as it is.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read this. 101 Wednesdays is a weekly series I'm doing based on a small group I'm leading in my community. We are talking about the basics of faith, and every Wednesday, after I meet with the women face to face, I'll be posting some teaching and questions for reflection for those of you who are following along here.
Let me just start by giving you some helpful tips for participating in this Bible study.
1. Keep a notebook and pen at your side.
2. Find a space of about 30 minutes when you're least likely to be interrupted. It will be tempting to multi-task and read your chapters out loud to your child, since this is technically a children's Bible. And that's okay, as long as you also take time to read it alone also.
3. Before you read, ask God to open your eyes and heart to what He wants to show you. Doesn't have to be a complicated or formal prayer. Just take a minute to center your heart and acknowledge that He is the one who is actually teaching you based on what He knows you need.
4. Write in your Bible. Underline, highlight, whatever, but jot thoughts or impressions in the margins as you go. Make note of what jumps out at you or that you have questions about.
5. Take time to write your answers to the Reflection questions in your notebook. And remember, these are written for YOU. You won't get a grade. If one of the questions doesn't seem relevant to you, then skip it. But no matter what, be honest with yourself. Dig deep. Let what you're learning seep into your past, present, and future. If this kind of reflection is not something you're used to, it may feel difficult at first, and it make take some self-discipline to follow through. But it is important to learn how to live an examined life, and that takes practice.
6. Finally, spend a few minutes talking to God about what you read or are learning. Tell Him when you're confused or thankful or frustrated. If your mind wanders, it's helpful to write out your prayers. Remember that notebook sitting there? It's only for you to see, so don't be afraid to be real. Prayer is two things, in my mind: being real with God and listening.
We are not in this study just to know more about God. We are in it to know God.
Here is the assignment for Week 1:
Chapters 1-3 (Wait, go to the Table of Contents and number those chapters first) through page 36.
1. List three impressions or feelings you already had about the Bible, either positive or negative.
2. So now that we know we will learn how the Bible is one big story, name one way you hope that this story may help you in your own personal story.
3. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the garden, they allowed a terrible lie to come into the hearts of mankind: God doesn’t love me. Describe a time in your life when you doubted that God saw or cared for you. How did you feel?
4. God didn’t want them to eat the fruit because He knew Adam and Eve would then think they knew everything. This is the definition of pride, thinking we know better than God does, living our own way. God knew we would stop trusting Him, and He knew what would happen in our hearts. Fear and control can set in when faith is absent. Describe a situation where you struggled with fear and/or control. If you had trusted God at the time, how might things have changed (even if only in your heart)?
5. Reread page 36. End your time by telling God in your heart or on paper how you feel about the story so far. Have you been running from Him? Do you miss Him? Are you needing to be rescued with His Never-Stopping Love?
I'm so excited you're here, following along. Really I am. Community is the best. We will learn a lot together, I have no doubt.