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New from Max Lucado | Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer

before amenSpent some time with a new study from Max Lucado this week.  Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer is Lucado’s newest study.  Dubbed “America’s Pastor” by Reader’s Digest and  named one of the most influential leaders in social media by The New York Times, Lucado is the Preaching Minister at San Antonio’s Oak Hills Church, and no stranger to most.  In almost 25 years of writing, more than 100 million products—80 million books—filled with his words have been sold.

Designed for anyone desiring an improved prayer life, Lucado reveals his struggles with prayer and his discovery that having a conversation with God is for everyone, not just for the pious few. Through the use of a simple, easy-to-remember, pocket-sized prayer that he distilled from the prayers in the Bible, he shows us how everyone can build a prayer life that is stronger, better and deeper.  “Father, you are good.  I need help.  They need help.  Thank you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

DVD-driven, Before Amen is a four session study featuring the teaching of Max Lucado.  At 16 to 20 minutes in length, the video component will hold your members’ attention with Lucado’s inimitable style.

The study guide is well written and easy to use.  Developed by Kevin and Sherry Harney the study guide includes leader helps, discussion questions, conversation starters, and between-session activities to enhance your understanding and application of Max’s teaching.  Many groups will want to read Lucado’s book by the same title along with the study.

Prayer and how to pray is such a basic and common interest of nearly everyone (Christians and non-Christians alike), Before Amen will appeal to many groups.  I like it and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

The Power of God’s Names by Dr. Tony Evans

power of gods namesFinally had an opportunity this week to spend some time with a new study from Dr. Tony Evans.  The Power of God’s Names was published earlier this year (2014) and is another great offering from one of America’s most dynamic preachers.  Evans has been the Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship for close to four decades and is a popular conference speaker.

“In biblical times, names communicated a person’s essence–their history, nature, or character.  That’s why God revealed Himself by dozens of different names in Scripture.  No single name could convey the fullness of His character and works.  Learn the meanings of God’s names to know Him more fully and experience Him more deeply.” (from the cover)

A six session study, The Power of God’s Names examines 11 names of God.  Filmed live, the DVD segments capture Dr. Evans’ signature energy and style.  At an average length of 25 to 30 minutes, Dr. Evans intensity and the strength of his content will hold your members’ attention.

The member book includes a well-written set of opening questions designed to help members engage in the discussion.  A viewer guide makes it easy to follow the Dr. Evans’ teaching.  Each of the sessions conclude with a carefully designed set of discussion questions that will help members respond to what they have learned and experienced.

Each session in the member book also includes a set of five daily devotional studies that will help deepen your members’ understanding and expand application.

The leader kit also includes a copy of Dr. Evans’ book by the same title.  Members that desire a deeper understanding of the names of God may decide to read the book in addition to completing the weekly devotionals.

The Names of God is a powerful study that will be just the thing for groups searching for deeper knowledge of God’s character.  If you’re looking for a study that will show your members more of who God is, The Name of God ought to be on your radar.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

The Best Yes: Lysa TerKeurst’s Newest DVD-Driven Study

the best yesSpent some time this week with the newest study by Lysa TerKeurst: The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.  TerKeurst is New York Times bestselling author and speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith through following Jesus Christ. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa has led thousands to make their walk with God an invigorating journey.

In this six-session video-based Bible study Lysa TerKeurst shares how to make better use of the two most powerful words, yes and no.  Using Biblical teaching and practical insights this study will help you be more equipped to discern the best yes answers for your life.

The six topics covered in the study include:

  • Set Your Heart to Wisdom examines the beginning of wisdom.
  • Establish a Pattern of Wisdom studies a woman that established a pattern of wisdom that saved her city.
  • Practice Wisdom covers how wisdom must be practiced in daily life.
  • Predetermine Your Best Yes teaches the power of the small “no”.
  • Avoid the Traps of People Pleasing studies how we must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.
  • Build a Best Yes Legacy teaches how to become more confident in making good decisions.

DVD-driven, The Best Yes is a six session study based on TerKeurst’s book by the same title.  A dynamic speaker, the sessions are just the right length.  At an average length of 13 to 18 minutes, they capture and hold attention as well as set up discussion very well.  Filmed on location in England, each session is set in a visually interesting location.

The study guide is very creatively designed.  With additional instructions for groups that meet for two hours, the study can be completed in 60 minutes.  Each session includes a video viewing guide and a simple set of discussion questions.  The sessions also include elements that engage every participant.  Providing a daily experience, each session also includes a Between Sessions Personal Bible Study.  Keeping today’s busy schedules in mind, these personal studies can be completed with a commitment of about 8 to 10 minutes a day.  The study guide also includes a optional plan to read through the Book of Proverbs during the six session study.

I am always looking for studies that will interest a broad cross section of adults.  When I can find a topic that appeals to new Christians and seasoned veterans, and will even appeal to friends and neighbors, I know I’ve found a winner; what I call a cross-cultural study.  The Best Yes is that kind of study!   If you’re looking for a study that will capture the attention of the women in your church (and their friends), you need to take a look at The Best Yes.  I loved it and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

New from Bill Hybels and John Ortberg: Life Lessons from Jesus

life lessons from JesusI spent some time this week with a new collection of Bible studies you’re going to want to know about.  Life Lessons from Jesus is actually a collection of 5 studies (with a total of 36 lessons), all of which will appeal to your small group leaders and members.

While Life Lessons from Jesus is not a DVD-driven study and it doesn’t include a leader’s guide, it’s written in a way that will be relatively easy for all but the least experienced leaders to facilitate.

Originally published as 5 individual studies in a series called New Community Bible Studies, this is a great collection of the studies that feature the teaching of Jesus.  The 5 studies that are included in the collection are:

  • The Sermon on the Mount by Bill Hybels (12 sessions)
  • The Lord’s Prayer by John Ortberg (6 sessions)
  • The Parables by John Ortberg (6 sessions)
  • The Passion by Bill Hybels (6 sessions)
  • Luke by Bill Hybels (6 sessions)

Life Lessons from Jesus is designed to expose group members to Jesus, the Great Teacher.  Every session includes a well-written ice-breaker question or two that will pull members into the truth of the lesson.  A thought-provoking set of discussion questions will help explore the truths taught by Jesus the Rabbi.  Each session also includes an emphasis on reflection and application.  Far more than a study that will help members learn about Jesus, these sessions are designed to help members become like Jesus.

This is a very good collection of studies.  If your group is looking for a study that digs deeply into the teachings of Jesus, you’re going to want to take a look at Life Lessons from Jesus.  I like this study and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Do Not Miss “From This Day Forward” by Craig and Amy Groeschel

from this day forwardHad an opportunity this week to spend some time with a great new study from Craig and Amy Groeschel.  From This Day Forward: Five Commitments to Fail-Proof Your Marriage is based on a message series delivered at LifeChurch in 2012 and is a very powerful experience.  The core idea?  “Your key to a joyful, life-giving marriage begins with you completely understanding this one simple phrase: “I, [your name here], take you [your spouse's name here], to have and to hold, from this day forward.”

Known for his highly practical and application-oriented teaching style, From This Day Forward is packed with takeaways.  The five principles taught in this study are:

  • Seek God
  • Fight Fair
  • Have Fun
  • Stay Pure
  • Never Give Up

DVD-driven, every session is set up with an opening conversation between Craig and Amy Groeschel and then cuts to footage from the message series delivered live at LifeChurch.tv.  One of America’s most dynamic communicators, these sessions are action packed and easily capture and hold attention.  Just the right length, the sessions average 16 to 19 minutes.

The study guide is easy to use and will help group members dig into this extremely important topic.  A very thorough video teaching guide is included for every session, making note taking and capturing key points easy.  The video discussion and Bible exploration section is well-written and will help everyone engage.  I really like the combination of questions that prompt discussion about everyday life and questions that practically explore relevant Bible passages.

The study guide also includes between sessions content that encourages a continued pursuit of the topic through the following week.  There is also a reference to the related chapters from Craig and Amy Groeschel’s book by the same title.

Although there isn’t a leader’s guide, this is a simple study with powerful implications.  The study is well-designed and should be easily facilitated by both brand new leaders and leaders with lots of experience.

This is a great study!  Very powerful and practical, it has real potential to be a study that will greatly impact the married and engaged couples in your church.  I really like From This Day Forward and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

New from Priscilla Shirer: Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath

breatheSpent some time with a new study from Priscilla Shirer this week.  Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath is a 5 session DVD-driven study that will help you discover Sabbath margin–”the boundary God enables us to put around things we enjoy so that we never become slaves again.”

This is a timely study and could be very impactful for many women.  This note says it all: “In a jam-packed life, what’s missing is space–space for God to speak, room for you to hear.  It’s time to set aside the activities and busyness that swallows up rest and peace, it’s time for us to breathe and build margin into our lives for God.”

The video sessions were filmed live at the final Deeper Still event at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.  If you’ve never seen Priscilla Shirer live you are in for a great experience.  If you have been to one of her events…you know exactly what to expect.  The daughter of well-known pastor Tony Evans, Shirer is a very popular teacher in her own right.  A dynamic communicator, this is a study that will resonate very well with many Bible study groups.

Breathe can be used as a 5 session group experience or as a weekend retreat.

The video sessions run as long as 35 minutes and as short as 15 minutes in length.  Filmed at a live event, there is the sense that you are at the event.  Each session is introduced and set-up by Priscilla, allowing your members to refocus their attention and prepare for the topic ahead.

The study journal includes a viewer guide, making it easier to take notes and remember the most important aspects of each video session.  Also included is a journal experience to be used between the video sessions.  Each session’s journal experience reads like a book with room to jot down responses and thoughts.  Averaging 20+ pages, each session’s journal experience will take some time to digest what is being processed.

The study journal also includes a helpful leader’s guide with ideas and suggestions for each session as well.  In addition, the leader’s guide offers some very practical set-up ideas for your Bible study or retreat.

The DVD also includes a special message to leaders from Priscilla with important information and tips about the unique nature of Breathe.  Also included is a video trailer that could be used to promote the study or retreat.

This is a powerful study and could be just the topic the women in your study need to take a next step with God.  Priscilla’s message is very captivating and the study journal is written in a way that will bring encouragement for the journey.  I like Breathe and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Be the Message: A New Church-Wide Campaign from Kerry Shook

be the messageSpent some time this week reviewing a new church-wide campaign that I think you’re going to want to hear about.  Be the Message is the newest campaign from Kerry and Chris Shook, founders of Woodlands Church, a multi-campus church with attendance of over 18,000 outside of Houston, Texas.  No strangers to the development of church-wide campaigns, their previous campaigns (One Month to Live, Love at Last Sight, and Stolen) have been very popular.

Be the Message is a 5 session study based on a very simple idea: “the gospel is not about what you say.  It is about who you are and what you do–and how you can be God’s hands and feet in the world.”

Truly a church-wide campaign, the Be the Message Challenge Kit includes everything you need to do this campaign at your church (weekly sermon outlines, promotional artwork, outreach ideas, and much more).  Free downloadable children’s curriculum on the website makes it possible for everyone to have the same conversation.

The DVD features 5 video messages featuring Kerry and Chris Shook.  Averaging 8 to 13 minutes, these segments are short and at just the right length that will easily hold the attention of your members.  Well produced, there is a great look and feel that will help your members feel like they are in a conversation with Kerry and Chris.

The small group interactive guide is very simple to use.  The video teaching will set up a good discussion and the included set of well written discussion questions will guide your group through the study.  Each session also includes a love the one in front of you assignment that will help your members apply the powerful truths they will be learning.  A personal application section provides several questions for reflection in the days in between group meetings.

In addition to participating in a small group using the interactive guide, the full experience also includes a short reading assignment from the companion book, Be the Message.  Along with the reading assignment, members are challenged to read one chapter a day from the Book of John.

Be the Message will expose your congregation to a a lifestyle that is at the same time simple and very profound.  If you’re looking for a study that will help your members live the gospel, you need to take a look at this church-wide campaign.  This simple idea and practical next steps will help your members be the message.

Don’t Miss This Unique Study: The Power of Your Story

power of your storyI had the opportunity this week to spend some time with a study from Thomas Nelson that I think you might find pretty interesting.  The Power of Your Story is not brand new (it was published in 2012), but is so different and fresh that I think you’ll want to check it out.

Developed by Ben Arment, creator of Story in Chicago and Dream Year (and author of Dream Year), The Power of Your Story is “designed to explore the Christian life through the lens of story.  Each of the seven sessions is oriented around a classic element of screenwriting.  If you enjoy watching movies, you’ll love considering your own life through the same storytelling principles (from the Conversation Guide).”

DVD-driven, The Power of Your Story is a 7 session small group experience.  Every  session features a fascinating conversation between five very interesting people (Ben Arment, Ginny Owens, Chris Seay, Leonard Sweet, and Pete Wilson).  Also included in every session is a vignette featuring an engaging story told by one of the five).  The DVD segments are just the right length (12 to 18 minutes) and will easily hold your members’ attention.

The Conversation Guide includes several elements that will help your members engage in the study.  Along with the DVD segment, every session features a Bible study that will help your members get into the story of David.  Every session also include a well-designed set of group discussion questions, an experiments in story segment, and an exploring the story further section (daily Bible readings and reflection questions).

The Power of Your Story also includes a very comprehensive Leader’s Guide that will help even brand new leaders facilitate an very good group experience.

If you’re looking for a study that will provide a unique experience for groups, take a look at The Power of Your Story.  I’m not sure how I missed it in 2012…but I loved this one and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Don’t Miss This Study: Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry

OverwhelmedHad an opportunity this week to preview a new study from Perry Noble.  Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry is a six week, DVD-driven study on a topic that is dead center for many, many people.  Noble, the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church, “a growing, vibrant church with multiple locations all over the state of South Carolina,” is a gifted communicator and teacher, convicted about speaking the truth as plainly as possible.

Overwhelmed is a DVD-driven study, featuring the dynamic teaching of Perry Noble.  At 20 to 23 minutes in length, these sessions will hold everyone’s attention.  Clipped from a weekend message series at NewSpring, there is never a dull moment.  Powerful personal examples and great visuals will captivate your members.

The Bible study book is well designed and includes everything your members need for a powerful experience.  Each of the six sessions includes three components to help every member get the most out of the meeting:

  1. Start includes questions to get the study started and introduce the video
  2. Watch features a video viewing guide to make it easier to to take notes
  3. Respond is a great set of discussion questions that will help your group respond to the Bible and Perry Noble’s teaching.

Also included in every session are three components designed to help your members understand and apply concepts before the next session:

  1. Closer Look is designed to help members assess their personal situation.
  2. Personal Study is designed to help members understand what God has to say to them.
  3. Next Steps is designed to help members apply what they’ve learned.

Overwhelmed is a very good study and it will impact many, many people in almost every group.  Perry Noble is one of the most dynamic communicators in America and his own personal experiences with this topic will grab your members attention from the opening moments.  The application elements that are built in to the Bible study book are really exceptional.  Some very good work has crafted an excellent experience.  I loved Overwhelmed and I think you will too.  I highly recommend this study.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Don’t Miss “Jesus Is”: A New DVD-Driven Study from Judah Smith

jesus isHad an opportunity this week to preview a new study by Judah Smith.  Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human is an 8 session small group study that reveals the character of Jesus in a powerful way.  Judah Smith is the Lead Pastor of The City Church, a multi-site church with thousands in attendance each weekend in the Seattle area.  He’s also a popular speaker at conferences and events in the United States and abroad.

(From the introduction) “Jesus is ______________?  That question was at the heart of a campaign The City Church launched with the goal of getting Seattle to think about Jesus.  Given a chance to fill in the blank on a website, Jesus-Is.org, thousands of answers came in.  “Some were profound.  Some were hilarious.  Some were spiteful.  But all of them said something about the spiritual journeys of the people filling in the blanks.”

Jesus Is “breaks down who Jesus is and explains how understanding Jesus more fully will enrich your life and give new meaning to your existence.”  The session titles are:

  • Scandalous Grace
  • Friend of Sinners
  • With You Always
  • Alive Together
  • Accusers & Advocates
  • Count the Ways
  • With Us and For Us
  • Live Like You’re Righteous

DVD-driven, Jesus Is features a series of simple but profound teachings by Smith.  The videos are short, averaging 5 to 8 minutes in length.

The Participant’s Guide is simple but very effective.  After watching the DVD, every discussion is set up with several scripture passages to be read aloud by the group.  A well crafted set of thought-provoking questions prompt group discussion.  Daily readings accompany each session and consist of a Bible passage, a short devotional thought and a few questions for reflection.  Although there is no leader’s guide, this study is well-designed and easy to use for brand new and experienced group leaders.

Jesus Is will fill in a blank spot on many recommended lists.  If you’re looking for a study that will help group members gain a deeper understanding of Jesus and His character, you need to take a look at Jesus Is.  I liked it and I think you will too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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