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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.”

New from North Point: [7] Seven Questions that Rattle in the Minds of Most Men

seven questions 2[7] Seven Questions that Rattle in the Minds of Most Men is a powerful new study based on a 7 week study that has been offered at North Point over the last several years.  Now available from North Point Ministries, this is a resource you need to be aware of.

Developed as a way to help men explore God’s design for manhood, [7] invites men to “live free and lead well.”  Now available as a 7 session, DVD-driven study.  The video sessions are short, just 7 to 8 minutes (perfect for today’s attention span) and feature John Woodall, North Point’s Director of Men’s Groups.

The participant guide is really well thought out as an introductory study for men.  No preparation necessary, the study is easy to use as a first step out of the auditorium.
Although the 7 questions are very basic and you may have read in other books and resources over the years, it is a very provocative set.  They may seem elementary, but there are some powerful discussions wrapped up right here.  What are they?

  1. Where Am I?
  2. What’s My Story?
  3. Who Am I?
  4. Why Am I Here?
  5. Where Am I Going?
  6. What About Women?
  7. Who Can I Trust?

Although [7] is very intuitively designed, a helpful leader resource is available at GroupLeaders.org/7 with both video coaching from John Woodall and an online leader notes.

If you’re looking for an idea that will pull unconnected men into community, I think you’re going to discover that [7] Seven Questions that Rattle in the Minds of Most Men is a great new addition.  I really like this study and I think you will too.

Becoming More: A New Study from Lysa TerKeurst

becoming moreHad an opportunity this week to preview a new study from Lysa TerKeurst, 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.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl is a 6 session study for women that “guides participants on an incredible, tremendously rewarding journey on which they will discover how to:

  • Build personal, two-way conversations with God
  • Study the Bible and experience life-change for themselves
  • Cultivate greater authenticity and depth in their relationships
  • Make disappointments work for them, not against them
  • Find incredible joy as they live out their faith in everyday circumstances

DVD-driven, the study features Lysa TerKeurst’s easy conversational and story-telling style.  Set up with an attention grabbing personal story, a short Bible teaching lays the foundation for the sessions discussion.  With an average length of about 15 minutes, the video teaching is in the range that holds attention very well.

The participant’s guide includes a video viewing guide and a simple set of discussion questions for each session.  Providing a daily experience, the each session also includes a Between Sessions Personal Bible Study.

TerKeurst’s very popular book by the same title makes an excellent companion (and the participant’s guide provides a reading schedule).

Becoming More Than a Bible Study Girl is a straightforward study that will provide a very good next step for women’s small groups or Bible studies.  If you’re looking for a study that will help group members take spiritual next steps beyond business-as-usual, Becoming More is a study you ought to take a look at.

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.”

Follow: A New DVD-Driven Study from Andy Stanley

followI’ve been waiting for this one to arrive!  Based on a 2013 message series by Andy Stanley, Follow is an 8 session DVD-driven study that will take your group “on a journey through the Gospels, tracing Jesus’ teaching on what it means to follow.”

Back when this series was being given at North Point, I downloaded these messages and listened to them multiple times.  Andy Stanley’s way of explaining what it means to follow Jesus is very easily understood and I shared it with many of my friends.  It might be my favorite Andy Stanley message series.

DVD-driven, each of the sessions is a 17 to 22 minute clip from an Andy Stanley message.  One of the most compelling communicators in America, this is must see TV.  Never flashy or fancy, Stanley is known for his ability to draw out life-changing truth and deliver it in a way that is both inspiring and very memorable.  Follow is an excellent example of his pattern of taking difficult or challenging ideas and presenting them in a way that leads to application.

The DVD also includes a selection of promotional resources (bulletin inserts, postcard templates, poster and powerpoint slide) making Follow a study that could be used effectively as a church-wide campaign.  The only thing missing is a set of transcripts, but the inclusion of complete messages (along with the message clips) would enable a pastor to see and hear how the whole package works.

The participant’s guide includes everything you need to unpack the profound set of ideas that form the basis of this series:

  • A well-designed discussion starter helps the group take a first look at the topic.
  • A video overview and a section for taking notes enables a look ahead at the teaching to come and a place to jot down key ideas.
  • A great set of discussion questions that will help group members dig deep into the content.
  • Mileposts keep your members focused on the central truths.
  • Moving Forward and Changing Your Mind provide direction for next steps.
  • 5 short devotional segments help set up the next session.
  • Every participant guide also includes a very complete leader’s guide (making it possible for groups to rotate facilitators).

When I saw that they’d taken the content and created an 8 week small group curriculum, I was so excited for you!  This is a powerful study.  Your small group members need this content.  I love Follow 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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