Bible Reading Plan

God invites us to let the scriptures renew our minds, let our hearts connect with God and conform us into the image of Christ.

What those inside and outside of our church community need is to connect with God, to meet Jesus and interact with who He is and how He seeks to love them.

We encourage you to spend time each day in God’s Word, to see the redemptive plan of God and the character and beauty of Christ so we can learn to enjoy Christ. As we enjoy and love God, we begin to live like Him, which is the essence of being on mission for Him.

Today’s Reading: Wed., March 1

Acts 9:1-31

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

BIBLE READING JOURNAL: RESPOND

Whether we realize it or not, our God is active and moving in our lives and in our communities. With the speed of life and length of our to-do lists, it can become difficult to notice God’s work in and through us. A large part of fearlessly following Jesus is understanding what He is doing and wants to do, then responding with faith in Him and obedience to His Word. For centuries Christians have responded to who God is in many ways – singing, praying, repenting, giving, etc. Fearless Follower, as we take time to reflect on who God is and what He is doing, join us in responding with faith and obedience.
We’ll spend five days reading Scripture on each topic below, offering you, your family and your Life Group opportunities to take a step toward these things:
Pursuing Truth
Enjoying Creation
Hearing God
Wisdom & Discernment
Prayer
Singing
Obeying
Trusting
Accepting Grace
Repenting
Receiving Forgiveness
Giving
Sabbath Keeping

BIBLE STUDY METHOD

BIBLE STUDY METHOD 

Studying Scripture can feel like a daunting task. Not all of us have studied Greek or Hebrew. Few of us have Bible college or seminary degrees. This is where a helpful tool for understanding Scripture can become tremendously helpful. There are many methods that you can use to understand and apply Scripture, but here’s a tool we use and teach:

Pray: Ask God to bless your time in His Word by coming near and using this time to develop your relationship with Him. (Psalm 86:12a “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness.”)

Read: Read the text through twice. First to orient yourself to the text, then to begin the work of understanding it. Look at surrounding verses, look for patterns and identify key themes.

Listen: Confident in God’s work to teach you through His Word, review your observations and prayerfully ask God what He is teaching you or asking of you.

Do: Specifically determine how you’ll demonstrate and/or declare what you’ve learned. Share with your family, a friend or your Life Group what you’re aiming to do in response to what you’ve learned.

Review: Ask yourself – or maybe allow someone you trust to ask: “Did you do what you set out to do?” If so, “How’d it go?” If not, “Why not?”

bible-study-round-table

This week's Journal: January 30-February 3

PRAYER
Prayer is how Fearless Followers speak to God. Prayer is also one of the ways God speaks to us. When we genuinely enter into prayer, we step into God’s presence to speak praises or requests, to hear His dreams, desires and truth for us and to respond to His leadership.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
Imagine you’re sitting next to someone who is 100% safe. This person is gentle and comfortable to be with. Imagine you could trust them with your whole self. What would you say to this person? Would you ask for help or advice? Reveal your deep needs?

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: Matthew 6:5-13
Day 2: Psalm 5
Day 3: Daniel 9:1-19
Day 4: Luke 18:1-8
Day 5: Philippians 1:3-11

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Make a commitment to pray twice a day every day for a week (meals don’t count). Speak to God like you would talk to the person you’ve imagined in the section THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK.
As a Family:  Make a list of prayer requests for each family member. For one week, have each family member take five minutes before leaving for work/school and before you go to bed (ten minutes total) to pray for each other.
In your Life Group: Select a day (or a set time of the day) to fast and pray. Break your fast together with a shared meal, and share some of the things God revealed to you in your prayer time. You can use the Prayer Guide in the back of this journal to help structure your time.

This week's Journal: February 6-10

SINGING
The most common response to God and His work in our lives is worship. Worship literally means “to fall down before” and is a physical expression of our thoughts and feelings towards God. Singing is the most common form of worship as we express ourselves and respond to God through song.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
In Colossians, Paul tells us that singing is one of the main ways God’s Word remains in us.
What are some of your favorite worship songs?
Think of the lyrics of a song you still recall from childhood. What are the words? How have those words impacted you over the years?

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: Ephesians 5:17-20, Colossians 3:15-17
Day 2: Ezra 3
Day 3: Acts 16:16-34
Day 4: Psalm 33
Day 5: Psalm 100

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Sing your favorite worship song to God. It doesn’t have to be loud or in front of others, but take time to sing praise to God.
As a Family: Make a worship playlist with your family for family car rides or during free time around the house and sing along. Discuss why these songs are important and what they mean to all of you.
In your Life Group: Go to church together and sit in the same section, during the same service and worship together. Afterwards, share a meal together and talk about your experience.

This week's Journal: February 13-17

OBEYING
Jesus is the One who looks after us and guides us. He’s our Good Shepherd. We call God our good, good Father. Because our God is good, we can fearlessly obey Him. As Fearless Followers, we aim to listen to and then obey Jesus.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
As a child, were you a rule-follower or a rule-breaker? Why?
Which rules/law/commands are easy for you to obey? Which ones are more difficult for you to obey?
How is obedience beneficial?

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: Exodus 19
Day 2: Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Day 3: John 15:1-17
Day 4: Genesis 6:9-7:5
Day 5: Deuteronomy 6

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Consider the future described in Psalm 132. Journal about the hope this future brings. How can this hope propel you to greater obedience?
As a Family: Play “Simon Says.” Afterwards, discuss how difficult or easy it was to follow the commands given to you, and compare it to how easy or difficult it is to follow the commands God has given us.
In your Life Group: Split into sub-groups and share an area of your life where you struggle to obey God. Share what you believe He desires in this area of your life. Pray for one another and encourage each other toward obedience. Refer to the Your Identity page in the back of this journal.

This week's Journal: February 20-24

TRUSTING
A Fearless Follower is someone who trusts God. This is easy when life is going well, but when relationships fall apart, deals fall through and diagnoses come, our trust in God can waiver. This week we’ll look at responding to God with trust, even when things are difficult.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
Who is the most trust-worthy person in your life?  What makes them so?
How is trust established? How is it maintained?
Is God trustworthy?

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: 2 Samuel 7:18-29
Day 2: Psalm 31
Day 3: Jeremiah 17:5-18
Day 4: Matthew 14:22-36
Day 5: Hebrews 11

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Reflect on Psalm 31. In your journal, describe the circumstances that led David to trust God. What reasons did the psalmist give for trusting God? Which reason is significant to you? Write a short prayer expressing why this reason to trust Him is significant to you.
As a Family: Set up a simple obstacle course in your home, using chairs, shoes, etc. Play Follow the Leader through the obstacle course, allowing everyone to lead at least once. Then discuss what it’s like to follow a leader.
In your Life Group: Take a trust walk. Pair up all  Life Group members, blindfold one person in each pair, then have all pairs go on a walk. After a while, switch roles. When you’re done, share your experiences with the rest of the group. What did you learn about yourself and your ability to trust or not trust?

This week's Journal: February 27-March 3

ACCEPTING GRACE
We get grace, but we don’t get it. We receive grace from God, but it is hard for us to understand the nature of God’s grace and why He gives it to us. Grace, the undeserving favor of God towards us, is foundational to our faith. Once Fearless Followers fully realize how broken we are and how awesome God’s grace is, we are able to respond to His love in new ways.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
How do we receive God’s grace? Is it available for everyone?
Think of a time you were given a gift you didn’t deserve. How did you feel?
God’s grace is a free gift that redeems and restores us. This week, take time to celebrate God’s grace in your life and consider how you can share this grace with others.

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: Luke 22:54-62, John 21:15-19
Day 2: Hebrews 4:14-16
Day 3: Acts 9:1-31
Day 4: Titus 2:11-3:8
Day 5: Psalm 84

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Look up the lyrics for Amazing Grace. Pray through the words, thanking God for His grace in your life.
As a Family: Embody grace. When one of your family members (ideally children or grandchildren, but it can be any relative) does something wrong, take on their consequences for them. Explain that this is what Jesus did for us.
In your Life Group: Watch and discuss the YouTube video by the Skit Guys called “Grace” (https://youtu.be/EhoFEuw2GPA, or on YouTube’s homepage search for “Skit Guys Grace” the video should be about 4 minutes long). The story they tell is in John 21.

This week's Journal: March 6-10

REPENTING
When we realize who Jesus is, we recognize who we are. And often, we discover that to be more like Jesus we need to change our behaviors, priorities or expectations. These kinds of changes are called repentance –  changing or turning our minds in a new direction. As we repent, we participate with God in the renewing of our minds, and our relationship with Him becomes more intimate.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
Jesus does not demand perfection from us. Instead, He invites us into deeper relationship with Him.
What about this invitation excites you?
What does a deeper relationship with Jesus look like? What step can you take this week to move closer to that kind of a relationship with Jesus?

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: Romans 2:1-11
Day 2: Isaiah 30:1-18
Day 3: 2 Samuel 12:1-13
Day 4: Psalm 51
Day 5: 1 John 1:5-10, Matthew 21:28-32

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Take ten minutes to write a letter to God. In your letter, tell Him how good He has been to you. Acknowledge the areas in your life where you need to make positive changes. Ask God to help you make those changes. Thank God for His love and forgiveness.
As a Family: Share a meal celebrating God’s kindness to you and your kindness toward each other. Come up with a list of ways He has shown His kindness to you (your meals, your health, your home, etc.). Discuss together what you can change, as a family, in order to show this same kindness to each other and to those around you. Ask God to help you make those changes.
In your Life Group: Share with one another how the last part of Romans 2:4 (…”God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance”) challenges or supports your current view of God and repentance.

This week's Journal: March 13-17

RECEIVING FORGIVENESS
In a variety of ways, we run when forgiveness is offered because receiving forgiveness can feel humiliating. By receiving forgiveness, we admit we need help from someone else – help to repair a relationship, correct a situation or break a habit. But receiving forgiveness is an incredibly important (and freeing!) response to who God is and what He’s doing. By definition, a Fearless Follower is someone who has received Jesus’ forgiveness.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
Would you rather offer forgiveness to someone else or receive forgiveness from someone else? Why?
In what areas of your life do you need to accept God’s forgiveness?
What wrong could ever be beyond God’s forgiveness?

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: Luke 7:36-50
Day 2: Matthew 18:21-35
Day 3: John 8:1-11
Day 4: Psalm 103
Day 5: Luke 15:11-32                                                             

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Take time this week to journal about the forgiveness God offers you (be specific about the things He has forgiven). Thank Him for His forgiveness.
As a Family: Go to Lake Michigan and try to find the shore on the other side. Pick up a few rocks, and see if you can throw them to the other side. Explain that when we accept God’s forgiveness, He throws our sins away from us, further than the other side of Lake Michigan.
In your Life Group: Discuss the questions in the THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK section above.

This week's Journal: March 20-24

GIVING
We have become so rich in Jesus’s goodness toward us that we can’t afford to withhold sharing His goodness with others. Jesus blesses us with money, food, shelter, gifts and talents. When we realize how much Jesus has generously given to us, we can fearlessly and generously give to others.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK 
What blessings have you received from God?
How does giving to others express our love for God?
When is it difficult for you to give to others?

BIBLE READINGS 
Day 1: Deuteronomy 15:7-11
Day 2: Luke 20:45-21:4
Day 3: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Day 4: James 2:1-19
Day 5: Luke 12:13-21

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES 
By Yourself: Journal about how much God has given to you. Thank Him for your health, your relationships and His daily provision. Listen for ways you can invest these things for the benefit of others.
As a Family: Invite a family over for dinner — a family you’ve not yet welcomed into your home. Prepare your favorite homemade meal for your guests, and help them enjoy your best.
In your Life Group: Identify a family or individual whom you know is in need. Put together a giving plan that could include meals, rides, gift cards, clothing, notes of encouragement or whatever you discern this family or individual needs. Then follow through on your giving plan.

This week's Journal: March 27-31

SABBATH KEEPING
Sabbath keeping is a practice often lost in our busy and hurried lives. Yet throughout the Bible God reminds us of our need for rest, recreation and renewal. Sabbath rest was and is a gift to us because it highlights our constant need for Him.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT THIS WEEK
“Anyone who overworks is really a slave. Anyone who cannot rest from work is a slave—to a need for success, to a materialistic culture, to exploitative employers, to parental expectations, or to all of the above. These slave masters will abuse you if you are not disciplined in the practice of Sabbath rest. Sabbath is a declaration of freedom.
“Thus Sabbath is about more than external rest of the body; it is about inner rest of the soul. We need rest from the anxiety and strain of our overwork, which is really an attempt to justify ourselves—to gain the money or the status or the reputation we think we have to have. Avoiding overwork requires deep rest in Christ’s finished work for your salvation. Only then will you be able to ‘walk away’ regularly from your vocational work and rest.”
– Tim Keller, Wisdom & Sabbath Rest

BIBLE READINGS
Day 1: Genesis 1:26-2:3, Exodus 20:8-11
Day 2: Matthew 6:25-34
Day 3: Psalm 23
Day 4: Ecclesiastes 3:1-14
Day 5: Hebrews 4:1-10

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES
By Yourself: Pick a day of the week when you won’t set your alarm. Sleep until your body is rested, then get out of bed and journal, thanking God for providing rest for your soul, body and mind.
As a Family: Choose a tech-free weekend. Get outside. Play games. Have friends over. Do something that helps your family rest and enjoy what God has given you.
In Your Life Group: Plan a content-free gathering. Get together for a meal or an activity, and simply enjoy each others’ company. Before you leave, thank God for His provision and plan another date to do something similar. And invite your friends!