Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homiletics How To and Exodus 1:1-2:10

There are tons of methods for doing homiletics.  All you have to do is type “homiletics” into Google and tons of links and files pop up with information on the execution of the exercise.  If you’re reading this post, you probably already know that homiletics is a method of Bible study designed to take a passage of Scripture and transform it into a sermon or lesson.  You don’t have to be a preacher to study the Bible using homiletics techniques.  You can do it for your own personal study or to prepare a Bible study lesson.

One bit of advice: it’s not necessarily bad to learn from several different teachers several techniques for homiletics, but I think you need to work with one set of guidelines for a while to develop your own style and confidence.  Otherwise, you might get frustrated and quit using homiletics altogether.  Homiletics is very personal.  It’s how God talks to you.  No two people will have the same homiletics when they’re done, but I have seen very similar themes come from individuals.

Before we get started on steps, I want you to close your eyes (read what I want you to imagine BEFORE you close them) and imagine that you are sifting your fingers through sand.  You are unearthing beautiful, bright, bold and shiny gemstones.  That sand and the treasure is God’s Word and your fingers are the tool of homiletics.  The gemstones are the amazing things you’re going to learn.  OK.  Here we go…

The Steps:  There are 7 steps to studying the Bible using homiletics.  First,


You get so much more out of Bible study when you engage the Holy Spirit as your personal Tutor!  Second,


Read the passage you’re studying in its entirety.  This will give you a complete picture of your study.  You’ll get an overview of themes and you won’t take verses out of context.  Now, the process of “Shrink and Think” begins:  third,


This is your first sift through that sand with your fingers.  Group 2-4 verses together, summarizing the content of those verses using words directly from Scripture.  Write as short a summary as possible.  I struggle with this, myself, but doing this will help you boil things down later.  The “Contents” portion should be comprised of 10-20 summaries.  Fourth,


This is your second sift.  You’re starting to feel those gemstones rising to the surface.  Group your “Contents” together in 2-4 ideas, events, themes or concepts.  Write one run-on sentence to summarize the verses in each group using words directly from Scripture.  Again, make this as short as possible.  It’ll help you with the next step.  I usually take a moment to perform a third sift at this point by identifying “Principles” from Scripture for each “Division”.  Principles are absolute truths that provoke thought and encourage.  Gemstones seem to pop to the surface for me at this time.  Fifth,


In this fourth sift, more treasure is becoming visible.  Using your “Divisions,” create a sentence of no more than 10 words to summarize the entire passage you’re studying.  This sentence should have proper structure and it should identify where in Scripture the passage is located.  Sixth,


This is the goal of your teaching.  I always begin this section with “TCMAT” (To Cause My Audience To…).  This section can be one sentence or several.  Seventh,


Create open-ended (can’t be answered “yes” or “no”) questions for each of your “Divisions”.  If you’ve taken the time to identify “Principles,” you may want your application questions to relate directly to them.  Crafting and answering these questions usually brings lots of little treasures to the surface in my experience.

So, there you have it.  Your homiletics is complete.  Since it is a personal method of study, you may get a flood of treasure from the Lord while you work on “Contents” or in crafting your “Aim”.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t unearth treasure right away.  Keep praying and keep practicing your homiletics.  I’ve included a sample of my homiletics for you below.  I use the KJV as my text in case you want to compare my homiletics to the original passage.  I’m still working on tightening my “Contents” and “Divisions” summaries.  Both are too long in my opinion.  I also struggle at times with the “Subject Sentence” being decisive enough to identify exactly where in Scripture the passage I’ve studied is, but the sentence in my sample below is pretty good.

Have fun with this!  I’m going to start posting my homiletics here every Saturday.  So, if you need more samples, this is where they’ll be.  God bless you as you study.


Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                 Egypt   Who?  Children of Israel, Pharaoh, Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah), Levite couple, child (Moses), child’s sister, Pharaoh’s daughter

Children of Israel in Egypt: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher.
Souls out of Jacob = 70; Joseph died and brethren and all that generation; Israel fruitful, multiplied and mighty, land filled with them.
New king over Egypt knew not Joseph: “children of Israel more and mightier than we, let us deal wisely lest they multiply, when war they join our enemies and fight us.”
They set taskmaster to afflict them, they built cities Pithom and Raamses; the more afflicted, the more they multiplied, they grieved because of children of Israel.
Egyptians made children of Israel serve w/rigour; made lives bitter w/hard bondage, mortar, brick, service in field.
King to Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah, Puah): “when ye midwife Hebrew women, if son – kill him, if daughter – she live”; midwives feared God, did not as king commanded, saved men children.
King called midwives:  “Why ye done this?”  Midwives: “Hebrew women lively, delivered ere midwives come.”
God dealt well w/midwives, people multiplied, waxed very mighty; because midwives feared God, he made them houses; pharaoh charged all his people: “Every son ye cast in river, every daughter save alive.
Man of Levi took wife of Levi; woman conceived, bare son, hid him 3 months; when could no longer hide, took ark of bulrushes daubed w/slime and pitch, put child in, laid in flags by river’s brink; his sister stood far off to wit what would be done to him.
Daughter of Pharaoh came to wash, maidens walked by river’s edge; she saw ark, sent maid to fetch; she opened, saw child, babe wept, she had compassion: “This of Hebrews’ children.”
Sister to Pd: “Shall I call nurse?”  Pd: “Go.”  Maid called child’s mother; Pd: “Take child, nurse, I give thee wages.”  Woman took child, nursed; child grew, she brought to Pd, he became her son, called his name Moses: “Because I drew him out of water.”

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture):

Israel in Egypt; Joseph died (and all that generation); new king, knew not Joseph: “Israel more/mightier than we, when war they join enemies/fight us; set taskmasters to afflict, the more afflicted, more they multiplied; Egypt made Israel serve w/rigour, made lives bitter w/hard bondage, mortar, brick, service in field.
People fear what seems too large to control, and that fear unleashes cruel treatment.
Man’s plan to oppress will not thwart God’s will to prosper.
God’s children are often punished by man because they are blessed by God.
King to midwives: “when ye midwife Hebrew women, son-kill, daughter–live”; midwives feared God, saved men children; king: “why ye done this?” Midwives: “Hebrew women delivered ere midwives come;” people multiplied, because midwives feared God, he made them houses; pharaoh charged all his people:  “Every son, cast in river, daughter save.”
It is always better to fear God than it is to fear men.
God rewards those who fear Him.
Man/wife of Levi conceived, bare son, hid him 3 months, took ark of bulrushes, put child in, laid in flags by river’s brink, sister stood to wit that be done to him; dP came, saw ark, opened, saw, babe wept, she had compassion: “this of Hebrews’ children;”  sister: “I call nurse?” dP: “go” maid called child’s mother, dP: “nurse, I give thee wages;” child grew, brought to dP, called his name Moses: “I drew him out of water.”
Sometimes the protection from a bad situation exists right in the enemy’s household.
Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure):

Fearing Israel, Pharaoh charges: “kill boys,” while daughter saves Moses.
Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMAT know that God’s plans are never thwarted, delayed or interrupted and that He rewards those who fear Him, sometimes using the most unlikely people and circumstances.

How do you react when you are afflicted?
What do you admire about how Jesus responded to affliction and how might you adopt His behavior?
What do you do when you receive a request from someone in power over you that conflicts with what God wants you to do?
In what way does your behavior reflect that you fear God?
What change can you make in your life today to show that you fear God?
What blessings have you received from God for your faithfulness and reverence?
What is the oddest rescue operation you’ve ever seen or heard about?
When have you experienced God using an unusual person or situation for your good?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Book of Revelation by Chuck Missler – Hour 22 – Revelation 19

What an exciting lesson we have this week!  The King Returns!!!!  Hallelujah!  Dr. Missler suggests studying the book of Revelation from an aspect of praise.  I think this is a great suggestion!  We think of prophecy and doom when we think of Revelation, for sure.  But there is some of the more wonderful worship going on in these pages.

I really want to take more time to study the Jewish wedding.  Right now, as the Bride of Christ, the church is betrothed and waiting for her Husband to finish the addition He is building onto His Father’s house.  When it is complete, He will return for His bride in a surprise gathering that will involve a wedding ceremony and a feast!  In the meantime, we must prepare ourselves for His imminent return.  Also known as the rapture.

But that isn’t what’s taking place, here.  Now, the King is returning to the earth WITH the saints!  Now, He is coming to conquer and to rule.  He is coming to claim that throne of David that He was promised.  And this isn’t the end.  He will rule on earth for 1000 years!  I can’t even imagine.  Can you?

Homework for next time:  Read chapter 20.  Read Isaiah 65.  Will there be a literal “Millenium”?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All's Fair In Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Betsy St. Amant combines sweets, romance, and cooking wars and ties it all up in her new book, All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. 

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie's bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat's best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself---her---is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat's senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

Here's my review of this incredibly sweet novel:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Betsy St. Amant and her publisher for sending me a copy of "All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes” by Betsy St. Amant is truly a sweet read.  The author shows a real understanding of the ebb and flow of insecurities many of us face as her protagonists step forward to meet the challenge of competing in a national baking competition.  These fleshy characters are very lifelike, especially when it comes to making a decision that appears right at the time, but later considering all of the consequences and maybe feeling a little less sure of themselves.

Lucas is crazy about Kat.  Having been stuck in a job that she barely likes baking the same boring flavors of cupcakes every day, with no support from family to really blossom and exercise her creativity, she really seems to come alive in her own kitchen after hours with Lucas as they invent new and exotic flavor combinations that her Aunt will never let her make at the bakery.  So Lucas takes it upon himself to enter Kat in a nationally televised baking competition, hoping to boost her confidence and maybe even open her own bakery.
Kat is crazy about Lucas.  But she’s sure he doesn’t feel the same way – (a common and frustrating romance novel twist).  And after she wins a spot in a baking competition that he entered her in, that “fact” seems to be confirmed since the grand prize is a one-year internship at a bakery in New York City!  Then the neurosis kicks into high gear: nerves over the competition, nerves over dealing with her mom’s less than stellar reaction to the news, nerves over comparing herself to her perfect sister, nerves over what to do about Lucas.  And that’s before she ever sets foot on the sound stage!

These characters are just plain crazy!  They are both super likable from the beginning of this delicious tale.  There are several strategically laid obstacles on the path to “Happily Ever After” that led me to give audible advice to the pages as I frantically turned them while devouring this engaging story.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Before Amen by Max Lucado

We all pray . . . some. 
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray. 
But wouldn't we like to pray . . . 
With more fire, faith, and fervency? 
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests. 
We aren't the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested. 
Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn't we use the same? 
Join Max Lucado on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer and the power unleashed with six simple lines: 

you are good. 
I need help. 
They need help. 
Thank you. 
In Jesus' name, amen. 

Here's my review of this amazing guide on prayer:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Max Lucado and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Before Amen" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

'Before Amen' by Max Lucado is heartwarming and humorous. It is instruction and encouragement. It is loaded with Scripture and stories and practical advice to transform your prayer life. This little book is a powerful gift to give someone else. Just make sure you grab a copy for yourself. And you may want to grab a box of tissues, too, because open heart surgery is about to take place.

It’s nice to know that a Pastor and teacher like Max Lucado struggles with prayer as I do. In his silky-smooth storytelling, Max breaks prayer down to its simplest form and punctuates the teaching with stories from his life and others’ that send each point home. I was thrilled to re-learn that prayer is not about me!

Initially, I was disappointed that the study guide wasn’t included in the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). But after reading the book, I feel cleansed, refreshed, encouraged and completely blessed!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tried and True by Mary Connealy

Let Mary Connealy take you on an exciting trip back to the wild west! Tried and True, book one in Connealy's new Wild at Heart series, is sure to entertain!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister---and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk---they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"---but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.
Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

Here's my review of this incredible novel:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Mary Connealy and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Tried and True" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“Tried and True” by Mary Connealy is the first wonderful offering in her brand new Wild at Heart series.  The Wilde sisters are not your average Colorado homesteaders.  Each of these women has taken up arms in the Civil War, and they dress like men in order to avoid harassment and qualify for the service exemption that will allow them to own their land faster.  But Kylie doesn’t really like dressing like a man.  She likes pretty things, dresses, long hair.

When Aaron Masterson, the new land agent, comes to check on Kylie’s claim, he is overcome by her beauty.  So, when she tells Aaron that her brother, Kyle, is the actual homesteader, Aaron is thrilled that he will have to return to the cabin to see Kylie again.  As the story unfolds and a plot to drive Kylie off her land is revealed, Connealy reveals that she has a knack for suspense and mystery as well as comedy and romance!

This amazing novel has all the complexities of a Shakespearean comedy, complete with mistaken identities and twisting plots.  This is a fast-paced read that entertains and feeds the soul as her characters deal with regret, confession and restoration to wholeness.