"Make a plan. See it through." That's the best advice I ever got from a TV show (White Collar). Last January I had my set of resolutions I wanted to accomplish, but the difference for 2016 was that I was going to make a plan and see it through. At least, I did that for some of the resolutions, and those were the only ones that I stuck with and accomplished. I had a big vision for the others, but I never laid out simple steps to get there, steps that I actually could accomplish. I never thought through how to incorporate these goals into the regular rhythms of my life. Because of that, I ended up being really inconsistent in my pursuit of them, and they eventually were set aside.
A goal that many of us have every year is to commit more faithfully to daily Bible reading and if we have families, to have some amount of daily Bible study together. Usually, things will go really well the first month, especially if we start with Genesis and all of its interesting stories, but eventually life will start pulling at us. If we have not incorporated this into the rhythms of our lives, by the book of Leviticus we'll probably set it aside and repeat the process next year.
There are many important goals we can be working towards this year, but I want to suggest that spending time daily in the Bible should top the list. This is because we believe that this is no ordinary book. These are the very words of God given to us so that through them we can know Him. His Word instructs our minds, builds our faith, fuels our prayers, develops our passions, and opens our eyes to see the world as He sees it. In the Word, we meet with the living God who loves us.
Let's make a plan
Know what you are going to read and when you are going to read it.
Below are some links to Bible reading plans that may work for you and your family. The Bible Project plan has really great videos for each book of the Bible that point out some key ideas to lookout for as you read. Also think about what time of the day works best for your family. If a special event comes up, how will you adjust?
- Versions for Preschool, Younger Kids, Older Kids & Students
- A Tour of the Bible
- 30 Days for New Christians
- 30 Days with Jesus
If you have a wide range of ages in your family, it may be a challenge to hold the attention of everyone. Here are some ideas:
- Picture Bible- If you have young children, have them follow along in their picture Bible as you read from yours.
- Draw What You Hear- The whole family could draw what they hear happening in the story as it is being read, or you could read the story then assign everyone a section to draw. When they are finished, you could put them in order on the fridge as a reminder throughout the week.
- Script It- If your kids are at a reading age and you all have your own copies of the Bible, you could assign everyone a part to read of the passage has a lot of dialogue (ex. Narrator, Jesus, Disciple #1, Disciple #2, "The Crowds," etc.)
- Act It Out- You could assign every family member a part to act out as one person reads the story. If you have props, use props! A fun activity to get everyone excited about the story could be making props together the night before. Use items you already have around the house, or get as crafty as you want!
- Sing Along- Find a key verse in the passage to memorize by singing the words to a familiar tune.
- I'm Glad You Asked- Pause in the reading and ask your kids questions. "What does this tell us about God? What does this tell us about ourselves? Does this tell us to do anything? Why do you think this character asked this or responded this way?" Etc. Give your kids a chance to ask questions as well.
- Do It- Look for ways as a family to put into practice what you read. If you read about taking care of the hungry or clothing the poor, you could find ways to serve together by creating ServeNOLA bags to hand out to the homeless, or you could do a closet cleaning day to donate clothes to a shelter. Whatever it is, find ways to let your kids take ownership in obedience to the Word and connect to the story that is bigger than them.
Make a plan. See it through. And on the hard days, let that plan just be to read together.