Bible Study for Losers

Bible Study for Losers

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Ever feel like a Bible study loser? Me, too.

I’ve been in the big ones that are worldwide, neatly organized, really well written, and push me to get ‘er done. I’ve loved them in the seasons where I could be a part of them.

In other seasons, I have met with smaller groups, in more casual settings, and I’ve also tried to go it alone. I’m highly self-motivated, but going it alone is not a good match for me. I’m a Bible study loser, for the most part.

Last summer as I contemplated what to do about my lousy lack of Bible study, I felt like the Holy Spirit was nudging me to connect with my across-the-street neighbor. I actually just started the text to her with, “I’m not really sure what God is asking of me, but I thought I’d reach out. . .”

Turns out, she thinks she’s a Bible study loser, too. We picked a book we were both interested in, met early on a Friday morning, fumbled our way through it, and forgot to pray.

But it was good. Know why?

God is more interested in the us than the what, why, where, how, and when. He has something to show you, a way to love you more, a window into the goodness that is him. No pressure. No perfection required. Just you, showing up.

We’re still not very good at this Bible study thing, but we are showing up. We can trust God to do whatever it is he has for us and we can rest knowing that he loves us enough to change what needs to be changed. Even if we don’t fill in all the blanks. We can be Bible study losers who get to the end of our lives and still hear God say to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”, because all the work is his, and he promises that he will exquisitely finish what he has begun.

Take the pressure off yourself. It isn’t yours to bear.

Great Bible Study Resources (For Losers and Non-Losers Alike)

How Religion Ruins Christmas

How Religion Ruins Christmas

In the autumn of 2010, we took our three teenaged boys to Washington D.C. for a week. There, in the last stretch of summertime’s heat and beauty, we explored national monuments and museums and history and culture.

While we were visiting the capitol, the Smithsonian American Art Museum was featuring an impressive exhibit of Norman Rockwell paintings in the private collections of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. You can watch a short video about their friendly competition to collect the pieces here.

Amongst the more than 4,000 works Mr. Rockwell produced in his lifetime, several stick out in my mind and memory, and of those, one in particular has left an indelible impression. It’s titled “Sunday Morning”, but because of copyright restrictions, I cannot post it. If you want to see the picture itself from an Amazon link, click here .

In one masterfully detailed snapshot of real life, Rockwell sums up the stench of our religious piety and behaviorism in a single vibrant shot, doesn’t he? There’s a woman who rather missed the essential command of the faith that drives her religion: Love your neighbor as yourself. Husband sits at home, obviously judged for his lack of righteousness, while she marches the children off to Sunday School. I just can’t imagine why he wouldn’t be compelled to follow.

“But religion isn’t a bad thing!” we are tempted to think.

And I know what you mean. Religion, we think, is part and parcel of faith. The problem is with our verbiage. What the word religion has come to mean is not what it could have meant. It could have meant a relationship with God that informs our allegiances and transforms our lives.

But the definition most commonly assigned to the word religion has nothing to do with a relationship with the living God, and it relies almost entirely on the doing rather than the being. On the works and the effort and the repeating of certain behaviors and not at all on the spending time in the presence of, being changed by, or profoundly understanding our worth because of God.

RELIGION ruins Christmas.

Christmas, in all its simplicity and juxtapositional extravagance, is meant to be experienced, not adhered to. It is meant to show us the Son of God. Our humanity. His deity. His lovingkindness. His great, spectacular, over-the-top light show of love for his people.

We are meant to gape, open-mouthed, like the children we are, and desire to follow him wherever he goes because we want to be just like that guy. The promise of the relationship of humans to God is that he will, in fact, make us just like him as we follow behind as children of the living God.

Can you imagine that Normal Rockwell painting? There would be no one left complacently on a chair because the whole neighborhood of humanity would be running to catch up with the One at the head of the line. Religion doesn’t do that. The love of God does.

Religion doesn't compel us to follow. The love of God does.