How to Get Started with One-to-One Bible Reading

One way powerful and easy way to share the gospel with an unbeliever and introduce them to Christ is by reading the Bible with them evangelistically. This is called one-to-one Bible reading. As a church, we want to create a culture of outreach where we routinely invite people to "come and see" Jesus in the Scriptures. This is one way to do that

The following tips will help you get started in one-to-one Bible reading.

Step 1 - Pray

Pray that the Lord would open your eyes to see the people around you and give you the desire to engage them.

Pray for a burden for the lost and a zeal for the gospel.

Pray that God would bring someone into your life who is interested in learning more about Jesus and who would be willing to read the Gospel of John with you.

Pray the Lord would grant you Spirit-given boldness to ask someone to read John with you.

Step 2 - Ask

Once you've identified someone, simply ask something like, "Would you like to read the Gospel of John with me?"

Your friend might say no. That's ok. The fruit isn't ripe. Pray that the Lord would ripen the fruit in your friend's life and, meanwhile, pray you'd find someone else to read with you.

When someone says yes, pick a place where you can read together and have a discussion. If you don't know the person well, you might choose a public spot, like a coffee shop or the library. If you know them well, you might choose your living room.

I highly recommend that you keep the time to no more than an hour and set that expectation. If you let the time consistently go longer than that, commitment usually drops over time.

Remember: We have Gospel of John books available on our hospitality table each week for you to give to your friend who says yes.

Step 3 - Read

When you get together, spend a few minutes chatting and then get right into it. I recommend you organize your time as Prayer-Bible-Prayer.

Prayer
Open with a brief prayer, asking that the Lord would help you to understand and focus on the reading, that he would guide your discussion, and that his truth would be revealed.

Bible
Then simply read perhaps a chapter or two or three of the Gospel of John. You can take turns reading paragraphs or sections. Stop along the way if your friend has a question. Resist the urge to teach through the reading. Instead, let the word have its effect as it is read. At either the end of your reading or the end of each chapter, consider using the following questions to guide your discussion.

  • What does this passage say about Jesus?
  • What does this passage say about faith?
  • What does this passage require of us?

You can certainly use other questions, but by asking the same, basic questions each time, it will help your friend know what to expect and get in the habit of looking for answers to these questions during the reading. These questions will also help you routinely get to the gospel.

Prayer
Ask your friend if there is anything he or she would like you to pray for. Then pray, being sure to give God thanks for his Word, for discoveries made in the reading, for your time together, and for Jesus.

Have confidence that God's Word does not return void. For some, he gives new life. For some, he hardens their hearts. Our success is not measured by how many conversions we see in our lifetime. We are simply to be faithful to His command to share the good news of the gospel with the lost.

Change of Rooms for April 15 and 22

Our Sunday services will change from our usual rooms at the Classic Center to different ones on April 15 and 22.

Correction: On April 15, the service will be in Grand Halls 7 (down the escalator).

On April 22, the service will be in the Grand Atrium (down the escalator). There will be no children's Sunday school this Sunday.

Update: The service on April 22 will be back in our regular space-- the Parthenon Rooms.

We anticipate being back in our usual rooms thereafter.

Updated Inclement Weather Policy

Our preference is to wait as long as possible to see what the actual situation is rather than rely upon news station reports that might present the worst-case scenario.

We will decide whether to cancel our Sunday morning services by 8:30 a.m. on that morning.

Cancellation notifications will be posted on our website.

Since many who attend TCC come from a long distance, please use your discretion about your own local conditions as to whether it is best for you to come or not. We realize that just because conditions are fine in Athens, they may not be safe where you are.

The 5/7 Plan

The first Bible reading plan anyone ever shared with me may be the best plan for developing a daily habit of Bible reading.

I learned it soon after I was saved as a college freshman, and it's called the 5/7 plan. The plan is to read the Bible for at least five minutes a day, seven days a week. This idea is deceptively simple, yet effective in making Bible reading a daily habit.

Here's the secret that everyone who daily reads the Bible knows: the hard part is getting started.

But with the 5/7 plan, the time commitment on the front end isn't large, so it's easy to get started. And everyone has five minutes to give in a day.

When I first tried it, something surprised me. As it turned out, that five minute period actually went by pretty fast and I ended up reading longer than five minutes. As I became consistent, I was increasingly eager to read the Bible and devoted more time to it.

Someone could object: "Five minutes isn't long enough!"

But here's the math: 5 > 0. Better to read something than nothing.

Just by starting, most people will read for longer than 5 minutes.

Here's one other benefit to the 5/7 plan that I didn't learn until later. By consistently reading each day, the amount of the Bible I could read over time was massive.

Average readers read between 200 to 300 words per minute. How long do you suppose it would take you to read the entire Bible every year at those speeds?

At 200 w.p.m., just under 11 minutes a day.

At 250 w.p.m., under 9 minutes a day.

At 300 w.p.m., about 7 minutes a day.

It's like a dripping faucet. Each drip doesn't amount to much. But come back later and the bucket will be filled.

In this way, I read the entire Bible for the first time in my life as an undergrad.

So if you haven't developed the habit of daily Bible reading, try the 5/7 plan. You'll be amazed at how easy it is and how much of the Bible you'll read.

Drip. Drip. Drip. . .

5 Tips for Jumping Back into Bible Reading

We're already one-quarter into the year. If your Bible reading has fallen off, here's five tips to jump back in.


1. Start anywhere you'd like.

For many people, starting in Genesis and working your way through Revelation won't be the best plan. Pick a book of the Bible you're interested in reading and begin reading there.


2. Keep a record of what you've read.

We all have favorite books in the Bible that we enjoy reading. That's great, but we also want to take in the whole counsel of God in all the Scriptures. To avoid reading the same books over and over again, keep a log of what you've read this year. I've been using this one from the Navigator's for nearly two decades.


3. Try listening while you read.

Does your mind ever wander as you read? One way to help stay focused is to listen to the Bible read as you read along. I especially like doing this with Old Testament narrative books. I use the ESV mobile app.

You'll notice that the app reads slower than what you can probably read. One trick I use is to speed up the audio. In the ESV app, I timed the Fast Speed at 250 words per minute, a pace that is still very easy to comprehend but keeps moving so that you'll stay with it.

One caution: as you listen, don't start doing something else (like checking your email). Have your Bible open and follow along. Your understanding of the text will increase, plus you'll learn how to say all those hard-to-pronounce names!


4. Make a plan, a place, and a space.

Without a plan, a place, and a space, the likelihood that you'll be consistent in Bible reading is slim. So, first, make a plan. Know before you go to bed what you'll be reading the next day. What chapter will you start with and where will you end? A Bible reading plan can be a great tool to help you read through the whole Bible regularly. 

Next, know before you go to bed when you'll be reading your Bible. In other words, make a space in your calendar. Treat it like a doctor's appointment. You won't cancel those appointments unless it's an emergency. So make a commitment. This is a time to read God's very words, after all.

Finally, make a space where you'll go to read. Know exactly where you plan to read. Is it a favorite chair? A coffee shop? A park? Decide now and put it in your calendar. If it's in your home, make the space free of distractions the night before (e.g., take the laundry off the chair!).


5. Start fresh every day.

Let's say yesterday you got off schedule and didn't read what you'd planned. Start fresh today. Forget about trying to make up readings. That gets discouraging. Just start right back in today with a clean slate. His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).

Keep at it. God has treasures stored in his word waiting for you to discover. Just imagine what he has in store for you as you read in 2016!

 

One-Year Celebration of Services

It's hard to believe that we're about ready to celebrate our one-year anniversary of launching services. TCC's first Sunday morning service was March 1st of last year.

This Sunday (2/28) we'll recognize this one-year milestone.

Come early for breakfast snacks (bagels, muffins, pastries, coffee, and tea) and let's enjoy each other's fellowship.

We'll also announce plans for our next after-church picnic on March 20th. Save the date!

Great start to the women's fellowship

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The new TCC women's fellowship got off to a great start on Monday night. The women are studying John MacArthur's, Twelve Extraordinary Women, a book detailing the lives of 12 ordinary women in the Bible who were used by God in extraordinary ways. The women also enjoyed a time of prayer, a craft themed to the chapter, and dessert. 

The women's fellowship meets every other Monday night at 7 p.m. in Athens. 

Resources to help you pray

During the sermon this morning, Pastor Boyd gave a list of a number of resources he uses to help him pray. The resources are linked below: 

Seven Things to Pray for Your Children - Desiring God

 9 Ways to Pray for Your Soul - Desiring God

What Should We Pray For? - Desiring God

 I Pray This For My Children - Dr. Greg Harris

A Sample Prayer Plan - Mike Riccardi (Cripplegate)

Praying with Paul - book by D.A. Carson

Save the Dates - TCC's Women's Ministry

Begin making plans now for several events in the new year! All of these events are for women college-aged and up.

Baby Shower - Monday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.
In lieu of gifts for the baby, we'll be gathering donations of items for a local homeless shelter for women and their children.

Mercy Ministry - Monday, Jan. 25 (time to be determined)
Women will have the opportunity to provide a meal for the women and children who are living at the homeless shelter.

Women's Book Study - Monday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.
On this date, the women's book study will begin and continue every other week. The book will be announced shortly.

More new year plans for the whole church will be announced in the coming weeks, including a schedule of midweek gatherings.
 

TCC Moves to its new home

Beginning this Sunday (Nov. 1st), TCC will have a new home at the Hilton Garden Inn at the edge of campus and downtown.

Services are at 10:30 a.m. and will be held in the Magnolia Room, adjacent to the Hilton's parking garage.

Parking is free for guests of TCC in the Hilton's private parking garage. The gate will be lifted one hour prior to service.

For more information on visiting TCC, click on our Visitor's page.

Download John Piper's Notes for Tonight's Study

Tonight, we begin the 4-week video seminar, Why We Believe the Bible, taught by John Piper.

Piper's notes are available to download. These are the same notes that Piper used when he taught the seminar and they contain almost all of the content he uses on slides.

We highly recommend you either print these notes or download them to a tablet device and bring them with you to the sessions. Doing so will greatly enhance what you get out of the seminar.

Download the notes here.

Registration now open for our John Piper Video Study

TCC is hosting a four-week, video (DVD) seminar featuring the high-impact teaching of John Piper on why the Bible alone is worthy of our confidence as God's revealed word.

Seminar: Why We Believe the Bible
Dates
: Thursdays, September 17th - October 8th
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: On UGA's campus at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center, 1197 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA, 30602.

The event is free, but space is limited, so register today.

We're Growing!

Our church is growing and we've been at near-maximum seating capacity recently. So we're moving to a new room to accommodate our size beginning this Sunday!

This week, we'll be in Rooms Y/Z of the UGA Hotel and Conference Center. Plan a few extra minutes this week to get to our new space.

Prior to the service, TCC hosts wearing badges (see below) will be in the lobby to help you find your way.

host badge
 

It's Not Over. We Won't Give In

In the days ahead, Christians will be pressured to approve and celebrate homosexuality and same-sex marriage. We will be threatened if we do not celebrate their sin. We will be ridiculed in order to silence us. 

We're already being told that the issue is now over and it’s time for us to move on.

That's exactly the message posted last Friday at time.com in an article entitled, “This Is the Time to Move Past the God vs. Gays Debate":

“Friday’s historic Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality presents all of us with an opportunity to hit the reset button. The marriage question has cast its shadow over American discourse for the past several years, and now it’s time to move beyond the God v. Gays stalemate.

“No doubt, there will continue to be some grumblings, both quiet and shrill, about the decision, mostly from religious people. After all, 50% of Americans believe homosexuality is a sin, according to a September Pew poll. And no doubt there will also be some grumblings, strangely enough, from some gay activists, many of whom have made a career out of finding homophobia everywhere.

“But grumblings or not, gay marriage is now the law of the land. And all of us—right and left, gay and straight, religious and agnostic—need to take a moment to regroup and refocus. From this day on, we need to behave differently toward one another.

“Since Christians are under an extreme obligation from their founder to take the lead on reconciliation, I think they should be the ones to set the example here. That means, whatever their private theological convictions on the matter, they need to respect the law and find ways to honor and even celebrate their gay neighbors’ happiness. . . .

“If Christians can’t find the humility to re-evaluate their most cherished beliefs about sexuality, then at the very least they should err on the side of charity and quietly resign themselves to the fact that marriage equality is here to stay. . . .

“Those who are happy with the decision should take a moment and celebrate. Those who are angry about it should take a moment and question their convictions to decide how best to proceed in a way that respects the law. But then we should move on. It’s about time.”

But for Christians, it’s not over. We can’t and won’t move on.

Our convictions aren't determined by who wins elections, what public opinion polls say, what five justices or even nine justices decree, or how the government moves to assert its secularism on us.

Our convictions are determined by the unchanging Word of God.

It can’t be over because we are not arrogant enough to disregard God’s Word and create a new morality for a new day.

We are humble enough to be bound by Scripture.

So, it's not over. It will never be over until Jesus returns. And we won't give in.