Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Testament Leader's Guide

Finally the New Testament Leader's Guide for Basic Bible 101 has gone to press. If all looks good then it will be on the market by Monday!! My sincere apologies for taking so long to get this done. The material was developed years ago, but I have been editing, and re-editing, and formatting it until I can no longer see straight. I have also been updating the students section of the website with the answers to the homework lessons. Many of you have emailed asking where the answers are and I have stalled saying "I'm working on it," and I was.

All this brings me to my main point: whenever we set out to do something that is life-changing all the evil elements in the universe conspire to keep us from completing it. I know this because every time I start a diet these forces present me with delicacies too yummy to resist. No doubt you've faced it too. The desire to be consistent in Bible study, to change any bad habit, or to reach out to those less fortunate always encounters tremendous resistance.

Of course nothing would be accomplished in and through us if we didn't face that resistance with courage, faith and perseverance. I have learned that the power to have courage and faith comes from the Spirit. Perseverance is more practical, but just as Spirit-filled. Perseverance means not giving up even when the odds are overwhelmingly against you. James (1) says "Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Lately this maturity has taken the form of deliberate planning and a sound training program. John Ortberg says in his wonderful book, "The life you've always wanted," that we can keep trying, or we can start training. Training implies we have a coach, we have a scheduled time for training, and we have a plan. So that's how Basic Bible 101 finally came to be. Some dear friends have coached me, some scheduled time was set aside to work on it (though frequently upsurped by my day job) and a plan was set in place to eliminate every other distraction (even the good things I could have done) so that this one life-changing work could be completed.

I know Basic Bible 101 is life-changing because so many of you have told me so. The podcasts are now downloaded to more than 35 countries (can you believe that?). Once I complete the homework lessons on the website I would like to start a second course. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I know we cover the New Testament so briefly in 101. I am pondering a more indepth look at the teachings of Jesus or the letters of Paul. Let me know what you think. Now it's time to celebrate the completion of this course with praise to God, who overcomes all obstacles in order to bring about His purpose. Be blessed.

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