Playing the odds (Conclusions)

Posted: November 12, 2010 in Me and God, Parenting, The Bible

If you are a teenager, college student or adult who wants to grow spiritually, you may find this interesting. (unusually long for my blogs, but still useful I hope)

“Playing the odds” is a simple three-part-blog-entry that attempts to learn from history, for the ultimate benefit of my kids… -and myself.

As a father, I want my kids to grow up to be successful in what they do –in everything they do. I want them to be the best students, faithful friends, effective at their jobs, financially stable, holding life-long marriages, exemplary parents, contributing citizens to society, love and deed givers, healthy and happy. Whith all that being said, what I want the most for them, and arguably what would allow them to succeed in every other area, is to walk in a vibrant and fruitful relationship with Jesus all of their lives.

However, based on what we see today, the news and statistics I have pointed out, many of the kids who grow in Christian families end up abandoning their faith; and I want to do whatever it takes to increase the chances of that NOT happening to my kids.

What’s the cause? Although there are many reasons people argue as the cause for this happening (“they were not really Christians”, liberal academia, sexual desires, academics stress, spirit-willing vs flesh-weak etc), I have noticed that most studies find as a most common reason the fact that the students face questions to which they don’t have the answer, thus making them doubt everything they thought to be the truth. When I look at the graphs, I notice that less than half of those students had been involved in home-group-type Bible studies and, in an even lower percentage, did any kind of significant systematic study of the Bible. This can be deeply understood –as shown by the stats, by the apparent lack of Biblical knowledge that their parents have; we the adults. Of course, if you have not studied the game-rules book, anyone with a bit more of twisted knowledge and perhaps ill-intent can come and make you doubt, and cause you to play the game with the wrong rules or even lead you to quit.

What to do? There are many reasons why I think this lack of Bible knowledge in both parents and students is a core cause of this problem. One of them is the consideration of what led to the great revivals in the last centuries; events in which the spiritual awakening was so great that not only hundreds and thousands came to know Jesus but there was also a tangible results in day-to-day life in decreased crime rates and lives restored. Most historians and scholars agree about the two common activities that seemingly sparked these outstanding waves of Christianity with tangible effects in society: a wholly devoted sense of common prayer across age, gender, cultural and denominational boundaries, and a desire and execution of a systematic intentional study of The Word of God. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s been said that the best way to train a bank teller in how to spot a fake bill, is to count and manipulate over and over the real thing.. so, when a fake comes, you can recognize it right away.

How to do it? There are several approaches to this and I am no expert on education or theology by any means, but two things I know from experience:

1. You cannot expect to learn the Bible in one year; it may -and it will take several years to learn more and more and the process will never end –you will never come to the point of knowing it all, there is always something new God speaks to you. Still, you have to start somewhere, right now.

2.  If you study a passage of the Bible, a book, a chapter, a character because you know you will teach it, you will prepare better and be ready to answer questions. Then you can find creative ways to teach it –in an age appropriate way, to your kids (or wife or friends or family –anyone). The best way to learn is to teach.

The specifics of how or where or when to study are a whole different topic on its own. Each person needs to find what works best. Here some ideas that may help:

  • Based on statistics from The Department of Labor, the average person spends anywhere between 1 and 5 hours a day in leisure activity, such as watching TV, socializing, playing video games or exercising
  • If all you learned was from the 30-60 min Sunday morning service at church (Assuming it was a systematic through the Bible type of study) , if could take you about 10-20 years to review the whole Bible
  • If you listened to a 1-hr Bible study, as you commute to work or get ready for bed, (see recommended sites on the left for free mp3’s available on-line), 3 times a week, you could review and study in-depth a Gospel (life of Jesus) in about 1 year
  • If you listened to a 1-hr Bible study, 4 times a week, you could review The whole New Testament in-depth in about 1-3 years
  • If you listened to a 1-hr Bible study, 4 times a week, you could review The whole Bible in-depth in about 4-5 years
  • If you spent 3 hours a week, reading 30 verses in each hour and reading Bible commentaries on them, you would have reviewed the whole Bible in about 7 years
  • If you think The Bible is too complicated or you don’t know where to start, or you are not sure of whether The Bible is actually inspired by God, I suggest that if you can spent 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, for 3 months you can listen and learn and get a good picture of The Bible as a whole (see “Learn The Bible in 24 hours”)
  • In the same fashion, you can mix listening and reading excerpts, books and commentaries about the Bible, religions in the world and how to defend your faith.

I can’t guarantee this will keep my kids from abandoning their faith –it ultimately depends on the choices they make, however I do think The Bible  promises and historical data give me a good reason to believe that if I become a serious student of God’s Word, ‘the odds’ of a personal spiritual growth and success for me and my family increase dramatically.

  1. Angela says:

    Babe, I finally sat down to read your 3 part series. I really like it You are wonderful example of being committed to learning God’s Word. I love you!!

  2. Hey brother, I found you through Scott Williams’ page! I’m looking forward to reading more of your work/heart for teenagers!

    Bless you!


    • Thank you Steve. Though not all of my blog entries are specifically teen-driven, i definitely have a heart for Christian growth and teenagers -as the church of tomorrow and more specifically, of today, are at the center of it. I believe if we want to see big moves of the Holy Spirit and real revivals and strong men and women like Spurgeon and Finley and so on, we need to start with each of us individually and with our kids and youth.
      Thanks for the comment.

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