September 2013Walking Worthy: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Internship

In the summer of 2008 I spent the summer in Chattanooga, TN with some really incredible people. I packed up my Pontiac Grand Am and started my journey from Texas to Chattanooga for a summer internship at Precept Ministries.  Each summer college-aged students are selected from a group of applications to spend the summer as an intern for the student ministry division of Precept.

Purpose of Being an Intern
The purpose of the summer internship is intentional discipleship for disciple makers. Precept is all about teaching people how to study the Word of God. Each intern leaves equipped to study the Word for themselves and lead others to do that same.

The Intern Program
The program is part training part experience. Each intern is expected to complete a Precept upon Precept study before they arrive for the summer. The program itself is strict. You spend most of each weekday in intensive classes learning the ins and out of both leadership and studying the Bible. In addition each intern serves as a teacher and counselor at Boot Camp as well as serving in the local church and the Chattanooga community.
My Intern Experience
I honestly do not know where to start. As an intern I learned priceless skills as a disciple maker. The Lord gave me a heart for discipleship which grew with my internship. My fellow interns became like family to me. We studied together, ate together, did ministry together and of course we had fun together. Each of us were given mentors for the summer. These people poured into us. They listened to us teach and critiqued us. They encouraged us.

I have so many memories from that summer. Some of my favorites were family dinners, watching the entire DVD collection of Band of Brothers (at least once), car trips in the family van (otherwise known as the Precept mini-van, and dinners at both the Ritterbush's and the Johnson's.
Life After the Internship
Of course the summer does end. It has taken me several years to truly understand how the summer of 2008 transformed me. I want to share some life transformations with you.

Confidence: I began the summer feeling very intimidated by my teaching skills. Through the course of the summer I was stretched and forced to see some of my teaching flaws. I gained confidence in teaching the Inductive Study Method like never before.

Heart for Discipleship: While I always had a heart for discipleship, my time as an intern gave me the skills to truly be a disciple maker. As my confidence in teaching grew, so did my confidence to walk through life with others.

Leading Discussions: My biggest struggle as an intern was leading discussions. I just wanted to teach and tell them what to think instead of allow the Holy Spirit to lead the conversation. The Lord used my time as an intern to strengthen my ability to lead a small group discussion.

Willing to Walk through Hard Heartedness: I think each intern from the summer of 2008 would tell you we felt major attack from the enemy. We struggled with apathy toward one another and the Word. We also learned the vitality of fighting for one another in prayer. We learned that at times your heart will feel hard or apathetic, but that does not mean you give in to defeat. Instead, you must press on, get in the Word, and ask Jesus to change you from the inside out.

Accountability: The last lesson I want to share with you is about accountability. As an intern I learned why accountability is important. I watched it done well and I watched it lack. I saw the difference in my life when someone held me accountable and asked me hard questions.

Why You Should Be an Intern
So what about you? Should you consider applying for a summer internship at Precept? Well let's consider some things.

First let's consider what a, internship is not about. It's not about playing all summer. It's not a vacation, being an intern requires hard work and discipline. It's not about spending the summer on a spiritual high, but about being brought face to face with the Word of God and allowing it to truly transform you.

Next, do you meet all the requirements?

If the answer is yes, then consider if you want to grow. Do you want to grow as a leader, teacher, and disciple of Jesus? I believe my summer internship played a pivotal role in helping me grow as a disciple and disciple maker.

Finally, the most important one. Is God calling you? You see we can be well meaning and desire a good thing, but this internship is hard and awesome at the same time. This requires time spent seeking the Lord and asking Him to direct your path.

If you are still with me, and want to find out more about the summer internship, then click here for more information. And don't forget: you need to apply! So go get the application. Applications are due November 16, 2013. 
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Recently

Weddinging It
Last weekend my honey and I were in a wedding together. We have known the groom’s family for some time now. They sort of adopted us (okay so we totally adopted them). The groom’s parents also serve as leaders in our college ministry. We love this family and were blessed to share in their joy! So here are some highlights from the wedding:
Mentor Date
My honey and I both have college students that we meet with weekly and mentor. Our typical mentor night is Tuesday night. This past Tuesday we had free tickets to Kirk Cameron’s movie Unstoppable. So we invited our mentee’s over for dinner and then took them to see the movie in downtown Ft. Worth. Here are some pics we took!
 Design Time
I have been spending a lot of my time playing with different design things. I love creating scripture art. When I was in college I put scripture everywhere. Somewhere along the way I decided it needed to look pretty, so I would hand draw scriptures on plain white notecards. More recently I have moved my scripture art to the digital realm. I want to share a scripture art that I created recently for one of my college girls. I pray that it reminds you who God is and what He has done and that He never changes! 
 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Boot Camp

This month I am highlighting Precept Ministries International. Precept exists to establish people in God's Word. They participate ministries all over the world. I am most familiar with their student ministry Transform. I began as a student 15 years ago and continue to partner with Transform today.

So what is Boot Camp?
Boot Camp is Transform's summer camp for students. Each summer students fly in from around the world and spend 8 days intensely learning how to study the Bible using the Inductive Study Method.
A Day in the Life
Boot Camp begins each foggy Chattanooga morning with prayer and breakfast. Every morning and afternoon students spend several hours in intense study of the Word of God. Students learn how to study the Bible for themselves by actually studying the Bible. There is individual study, class study and group discussion each day. Every afternoon students enjoy sports time and free time. Each evening is filled with team discussion and fun along with worship and teaching.

Why should I be interested in this Boot Camp thing?
Well...because it is awesome! Boot Camp is where I first met people my age who not only cared about God's Word, but they actually lived it out. I had never in my life met people who were my age that were serious about their faith.
The time in the Word is like none other. I never really experienced studying the Word for myself until I went to Boot Camp. I knew I should have a quiet time, but I really had no clue what that would look like. Boot Camp grew in me a love of the Word. Boot Camp helped me realize the vast importance of God's Word in my life, not just to know it, but to live it out. Boot Camp gave me the tools to take home and continue studying the Word for yourself.

You leave renewed and refreshed. No, I am not talking about the typical camp high. This is something completely different. Because of the time you have spent in God's Word you are renewed and refreshed when you leave Boot Camp.

Lifelong friendships are made at Boot Camp. I have told you about my friend Whitney before and the huge influence she made on my life. Whitney is just an example of some of the friendships I know that first began at Boot Camp! Each Boot Camp I went to I met new people and made new friends. Those friendships continued throughout the year. I finally had friends who would pray for me, encourage me in my walk, and hold me accountable to the things God had showed me at camp.
You leave changed. Every time I left Boot Camp, I left changed. Not by people or because someone told me to, but because I had encountered God's Word for myself and it changed me.

Some of my Favorite Boot Camp Memories
The Summer Talent Show
It never failed to be hilarious. Each year we had a different theme. My favorite is still my first year when it was the Oscars. I remember hearing my counselors up late each night giggling and spraying something. I didn't know until later they were chopping off Barbie's hair and spray painting her gold to make her look like an Oscar.
The Obstacle Course
Each year it has a different name, but it always has the same idea. Each team competes against the other teams. There is always a fun prize for the winner. My least favorite obstacle course memory: it has to go to the year I had to put on clothes that were soaked Italian dressing and some other gagging concoction that I am pretty sure Jessi Lawson created. My favorite obstacle course memory was the year I served as an intern and we had the hill. At the last minute I got asked to help on the hill (tarp going up a hill soaked with water and soap). It was awesome!
Team Time
Each night of Boot Camp we hang out in our team. Each Boot Camper is assigned to a team. You play sports as a team each afternoon and have team discussion each evening. Team time is where you really get to share what God is showing you. Team time is also where I learned how to play important games like mafia, I've never, and 2 Truths and a Lie.

How Do I Get There?
Boot Camp runs two sessions each summer. To attend Boot Camp you must submit an application. Yep, that's right, an application. Next summer's applications will be posted here. They aren't up yet, so keep checking back and then submit your application!!

I cannot say enough good things about Boot Camp! I am so grateful to my parents for sending me to camp each summer. I know that was a sacrifice for you. Thank you! To my Precept family, I just want you to know how grateful I am for each of you! You can lived out the Gospel in front of me and taught me so many lessons. I am blessed to continue to do ministry with you!!

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Forgiveness the Key to Letting Go

Recently I have been struggling with forgiveness. There are ways I have been hurt or things that have been done to me that I just did not want to let go.

Maybe you are like me. As I sat down and looked at what God's Word said about forgiveness, God radically changed my perspective of what forgiveness is really all about! I encourage you to check out my latest blog for Transform Student Ministries to find out exactly what God showed me! 
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Monday, September 9, 2013

It's Vital: How I Study the Bible

Sitting down on my bed, I pick up my Bible. I open it up and begin to search the Scriptures. I have questions and I need answers.

For the past 15 years I have been studying the same way. As a teenager I went to a camp where I learned how to study the Word of God. The tools I learned I began putting into practice as a college student. In college I began teaching the Bible for the first time. Now as an adult I continue to use the tools I learned as a 9th grader as I teach others how to study the same way.

When I began working with students 11 years ago I quickly realized how little they knew about the Bible. It appalled me that no one seemed to be doing anything about it. During this time the Lord grew in me a passion to teach the next generation how to study the Bible.

We don't Know God
Knowing the Bible is vital to any believers growth. You cannot know love God without knowing Him. You cannot follow God without knowing Him. To not know God is very dangerous, we see what happens in Judges when a generation rises up that does not know God. Unfortunately I see many in the next generation that are doing what is right in their own eyes.

We Too Easily Trust Man
There is another problem I see arising. That is the problem of trusting man's words over the Bible. The Internet and YouTube have given us countless preachers and pastors we can listen to and learn from. The problem lies when we only listen to these pastors and preachers and do not study the Word for ourselves.

So how do we then learn how to study the Bible for ourselves? I would like to introduce you to the way I study. It's not something I made up, so I cannot take any credit for any of these tools!

The Inductive Study Method
The way I study is called the Inductive Study Method. I first learned this attending a summer camp at Precept Ministries International. The premise of the this way of studying is that you learn directly from the Bible, not from reading books or commentaries and not from listening to a pastor talk about it on YouTube.

The Inductive Study Method is comprised of three easy steps: Observation, Interpretation, & Application.

Observation
Observation is the first step I use when studying. Observation is simply focusing on what does the Bible say. There are several tools we use when observing. The first is called reading with a purpose. Reading with a purpose is simply reading through a passage of scripture with intention and focus. It means as  I read I am asking myself questions and looking for the answers. I ask things like who is writing, who are they writing to, why are the writing, etc.

The next thing I do is I mark key words. Key words are repeated words or phrases that unlock the meaning of the text. Some easy key words I always mark: author or main character, recipient (who the author is writing to), God, Jesus, Holy Spirit.

Next, I make lists. Almost all of my lists are focused on my key words. I write down everything that I learn about that word.

There are other steps that help me observe scripture. I look for contrasts & comparisons, I look for terms of conclusion (word like therefore), and I mark time & geography. Once I have done all of these I start looking for themes. I might be looking for the theme of the entire book, a chapter, or a paragraph. Sometimes the writer will tell me why the book the written, but other times I use what I have observed to determine the theme. Most often this is determined by the key words I marked & listed.

Interpretation
Interpretation is the next step I use when studying the Bible. Please note, proper interpretation can only happen when we properly observe scripture. Interpretation is focusing on what the Bible says. There are two phrases I want you to remember with interpretation: context is King & scripture best interprets scripture.

Context is King because it rules in interpretation. I develop context when I intentionally observe the text and take the entire book and it's theme into consideration as I study.

Scripture interprets scripture is something called a cross reference. A cross reference is when I look at another place in scripture that talks about the same idea or key word in the book I am studying.

Along with context and cross references, word studies are important when determining what the Bible means. Word studies are one of my favorite parts of Bible study. A word study is when I look up the Greek or Hebrew definition of a word. You see we don't realize it, but we often come to scripture with a modern day perspective or connotation of a word. Word studies help us understand what the words means instead of thinking we already know what it means. The easiest way to do a word study is with Blue Letter Bible. They have great tutorials that will show you how to do a word study!

Application
After I have learned what the Bible says and what it means, then I must turn inward and consider how it applies to me. Application happens when I allow what I learn in the Bible to change the way I believe  or how I live my life. Ultimately, application is the purpose of Bible study. I always want to finish my time studying with asking "What does this mean for me?" "How should this truth change the way I live my life?"

So there you have it. This is how I have been studying the Bible for the last 15 years. I pray that it encourages you to pick up your Bible and study it for yourself. I encourage you to check out what Precept is doing and pick up one of their Bible study books.

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