Meanderings of a Minister

Children’s Book or Serious Question?

In the book, What If He Had Not Come?, David Nicholson has undertaken the task of updating a well-known story that has captivated everyone from children to theologians for many years.  The question is:  what if Jesus had never come?  What would change?  Before you jump to the conclusion that it is just churches or religious stuff that would change, Nan Weeks first suggested that many other things would be affected including:  hospitals (most were started by churches or Christians), shelters for homeless people (most have Christian roots), retirement homes (mostly started by Christians as well), etc.

The pictures in this version are simple and yet effective at helping the reader picture what the main character goes through when being faced with the situation if Jesus had never come.

While I received the eBook of this title, I am sure that board book version would be just as helpful and durable for many readings which could even lead to a family tradition.

Nicholson’s version also comes with a discussion and study guide for those interested in using this to study together as a family or in a Sunday School setting.

This book will certainly help to focus the minds of young children on the real reason for which many families celebrate Christmas.

*This ebook was provided for review by BookLook*


A Simple Way to Study Your Bible


How to Study Your Bible

Robby Gallaty, in his book, Foundations, has provided a very simple framework for teaching people how to study their Bibles devotionally.  If you have ever attempted to study your Bible daily, you probably ran into one obstacle or another.  Either you could not find the right devotion book that had stories and commentary that was to your liking, or you just did not know how to start out on your own.  I have found the following method to be helpful.  It is called the HEAR method of Bible Study.

“H” stands for highlight.  After reading a passage of scripture, hopefully a few paragraphs, find a verse that stands out to you either based upon the scene in which the verse is found, a situation you are going through in life, or some other way that God seems to be speaking at the moment.  For instance, I recently read the story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.  (Genesis 25) At the end of this story, Esau tells Jacob, “I am about to die, of what use is a birthright to me?”  This verse stood out to me as it illustrated Esau’s thought process.

“E” stands for explain.  Using as much information as you have and as much understanding of the passage as you possess, explain what you think the verse means in its context.  For instance, this verse, in context, is Esau’s expression that shows he is taking something of great value (his birthright) and exchanging it for something that seemed urgent, but was of little value (stew).  I might also list that the birthright is the double portion of the inheritance that is normally given to the older brother.  Additionally, God had already told Jacob that he was to receive the blessing, but Esau acts rashly to bring about God’s ultimate plan.  Esau, for his part, allowed his passions and desires to crowd out the truly valuable from his life.

“A” stands for apply.  This is where you take the concept you outlined in the explanation and apply it to your life.  For instance, my application was that in 2016, I set a goal of purchasing no new, unnecessary books until I have read all of the books on my shelves.  This was so that the money that would be spent on those books could go to paying off debt for my family.  As the year wore on, I became enamored with this new book or that new fad and by the end of the year, I had purchased a dozen new books.  I allowed the desire to have (not to read, but to have) the newest books override my desire for my family to get out of debt so we can give more to the Lord’s work.  There are many other applications I could have mentioned, like how watching TV can sometimes crowd out my quiet time.  Or how eating out can crowd out my desire for weight loss.  The list is endless.

“R” stands for respond.  This is where you write out a prayer that communicates with God based upon your understanding of the scripture you have read and the application that came to mind and was written above.  Here is my prayer: “Lord, I need Your courage, focus, vision, resolve, strength, and perseverance to even get something as simple as finances right for my family.  I don’t want this distraction of debt to take my eyes off of You.  How do I grow in contentment?  How do I shut off the urges and passions that work against me?  I can’t.  You can.  HELP!

Using this devotional study method, all you need to read your Bible and actually get something out of it to apply to your life right now is your Bible and a journal or piece of paper and a pen.  There is no need to purchase a devotion book or other study aid unless you want to study deeper for understanding.  I have used this method for all of 2016 and am using it again for 2017.  I have been amazed at how much more I have gotten from my devotional Bible reading.  Perhaps it could help you as well.