It’s BSF Time Again (Well, Almost!)

Hey all,

Hope everyone had a restful and relaxing summer.  We just back from a camping trip where a hummingbird got stuck in our tent.  It was so amazing to see up close just how fast those wings actually move.  God’s creations are amazing!Hummingbird

Like last year, I’m wondering start dates for you all.  I will be doing the Study of Moses (sorry to all those Revelation guinea pigs out there :(  Will have to wait until next year.

I’m SUPER excited as I’ll be taking on an expanded volunteer role with BSF (and, no, not a group leader, although maybe one day).

Just leave your start date below as a comment.

Thanks and have a fantastic, blessed week!

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Homiletics or Hermeneutics?

I received a comment on my blog, saying Bible Study Fellowship has it wrong for the final question every lesson.  It’s not “homiletics”.  It should be “hermeneutics.”

Never having heard of hermeneutics, I googled.   And now I am wondering myself which is it that BSF means.

Homiletics is “the application of Scripture” or “the study of the composition and delivery of a sermon.”  Webster’s defines homiletics as “the art of preaching.”

Hermeneutics is “the interpretation of Scripture” or exegesis.  Webster’s defines hermeneutics as “the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)”.

Exegesis is according to Webster’s “exposition, explanation; an explanation or critical interpretation of a text”.

When I took the Homiletic seminar a few years back offered by BSF, I understood it as the interpretation of Scripture and what is the Word saying.  But is BSF looking for what is the Word saying or what is the Word saying TO ME?  Or is it how to preach??

While there is infinite applications, there is usually only one (or a couple if not clear) interpretations.

I’m confused after having done my own research on just what is BSF looking for on that last question.  What the Bible is saying?  What is the Bible saying to me?  Or how to give a sermon to others on what the Bible is saying?  Or how to give a sermon to others on applications from the passage?

Would love to know from you leaders out there which it is…

Extend the Spiritual Life Survey

Hey all!

To those of you who were invited to participate in BSF’s spiritual life survey (I was told 55 classes were selected randomly to participate), I’d like to ask your thoughts on it afterwards and what/if you learned anything.

To me, it was a bit depressing, especially the part that addressed my engagement with non-Christians.

I’m a homebody.  I don’t get out much.  I homeschool.  I don’t have a lot of friends.  Hence, I really don’t talk about Christian issues either with Christians or non-Christians.

Hence, most of my answers were ‘never’ to those questions.

I also was a bit negative about being prepared by BSF to speak about my faith.  I don’t feel comfortable explaining Jesus to others.  Probably because I’ve never really done it.  Weird, right?

I don’t get into a lot of Jesus conversations.  Probably because I don’t get out much…

I was also negative about the seminars because since they don’t offer childcare, I am unable to attend any of them.  I was negative about the community BSF is and the relationships it creates because personally I have made no friends at BSF.  I can’t attend fellowships much due to my children as well which doesn’t help.  I was negative about the group leaders because most of the time they never answer a question and my group leader is an acquaintance, someone I’d chat with about the weather, and nothing more.  This has been the case for my entire 4 years in BSF.

The teaching leader I was ambivalent on as well.  To me, being an engaging speaker is more important than being personal.  If I’m falling asleep during lecture, it won’t matter what you talk about, be it personal or not, in the end.

Surprisingly, there were no questions on the notes.  Hmmm…..

I’m not sure how BSF will use the survey because none of the questions offered concrete suggestions or offered up any ideas as to improvement.  It was only things like “Are we doing such and such?” and not “What if we did offer childcare at seminars, would you come?”  Stuff like that.

Anyways, I thought overall it was good.  It asked questions on how you are growing spiritually right now and if you are studying His word and your home church.  I think it should be extended to all classes because it was a good self-evaluative tool–however depressing the results were as in my case.

It just made me feel like I’m not doing enough.  Like I don’t talk to others about Jesus when I should be.  Like I need to be more involved with my church, the poor, and others.  That God isn’t number one in my life.  That I’m not growing as I should be.  That Christian relationships aren’t important to me.  That I don’t serve enough.  That I’m failing in my Christian walk as a broken, Fallen, inherently selfish human being.  Depressing…

I also felt guilty for rating BSF’s job as low sometimes and guilty about pretty much everything else aforementioned.  Mainly because I don’t feel like it’s BSF’s job to fix any of this.  It’s mine with God’s help.  I guess some of the questions struck me as odd that BSF feels it’s their job to help me grow spiritually.  BSF is just a tool in my opinion–a tool that I must wield.

I’m responsible for my growth.  I’m responsible for growing with others.  I’m responsible for making friends or not.  I’m responsible for putting God first and learning His word.  I’m responsible for attending extra learning opportunities.  I’m responsible for everything.  But the questions made it seem like I wasn’t at times.  Does that make sense?

Hopefully, you all had a better feeling afterwards and are growing with God.

The question I was most embarrassed to answer was this:  have you read the Bible all the way through?  I had to say no.  It’s one of my goals, but I’ve been stuck in the book of John for two years now.  So that was depressing.  SEVERELY so…

I’d be curious to hear more about how BSF will use the results and how they will offer improvements.  I’m sure they spent some money on this so am just wondering if it will be fruitful or not.

I don’t know.  I feel like I’m being negative here when I don’t mean to be.  I guess it’s just because I’m in a negative funk right now.  I’m struggling with attending church.  BSF lessons have been a struggle for me as I POSTED a bit ago.  Praying has been a struggle as has prioritizing God in my life.  Doing much of anything outside of daily living is a struggle.  Motivation is severely lacking to say the least…

So I will pray.  Pray about my negative attitude.  Pray about why I’m in a valley right now in my spiritual growth.  Pray for BSF for whatever they are seeking from this survey and pray I helped in some small way.

I will pray….

What else can I do?

Moses or Revelations?

I’m taking an informal poll.

Please leave a comment on which study you will be doing next year.

We are doing Moses but I’ve already received emails about Revelation help so am trying to decide here.

Thanks and God Bless!

“Atozmom’s Blog Ruining BSF”

This was a hit I received on my blog yesterday.

Admittedly, it made me chuckle.

I also received this one, probably from the same person: “how dare women put bsf material on internet”

Was just wondering your thoughts on the matter?

Am I ruining your experience and/or BSF?

Am I a hindrance or an asset or some annoying lady with some weird compulsion?

It’s That Time of Year Again…

So I was sitting in class when I, again, heard my answer recited verbatim.  If you hadn’t noticed, I use certain words that many of you probably do not.  It’s just my writing style that is unique to everyone.

And this was one of those unique answers full of words that are not common that I use regularly on my site.  And it was verbatim as well.

“Sigh”

Last year (See post HERE), it was one woman.  This year there are at least 3 women in my group who I have noticed that use my answers consistently in class.

It seems to be that time of year where it has become easier to just copy off of my site rather than do your own work.  Truthfully, it does bother me.  It bothers me because I know that woman probably didn’t do the lesson ahead of time.  She either copied or printed off from this website.  And then said, “Well, I got…”

It saddens me a bit.

Am I complaining?  No.  For this site is public for all to learn off of as its intent is.  It is sad though when I feel some are not learning at all.  I even wonder if those of you who do use my answers verbatim even read the question or the passage, which is defeating the whole purpose of bible study.

Yes, consequences of posting my answers.  For anyone could just print these off all year long and have the answers.  But those of you that do are only cheating yourselves.  You are not learning as you should nor internalizing God’s word and what He has to say to you.  For this is what He has said to me, not you.

It saddens me.  It truly does.

And I pray for those women to find the time to study His word and find their own answers and THEN come to my site and see what I have to say BEFORE class.

I know I am probably wasting my time with this post for I believe it is a minority of you that do this and I believe I won’t change anyone’s heart.  But I figured it was worth a shot.

To those who do use my answers:  at least try to paraphrase them.  For I bet half the women in your group know you are using my answers and they are probably thinking/feeling how I am.  Yes, it might take an extra minute to do so but maybe in that minute as you ponder the question you will hear from Him and just not me.  For I am a mere human who knows nothing.  He is the omniscient, One True God who is waiting for you.

Please know I am not saying you don’t do your lesson or you don’t open the Word and study it.  And if you do, I am not speaking to you.  I am speaking to those who don’t.

I am not judging you either.  I am merely yearning for you to hear from God.  For isn’t that why we are all here?

And if you use my answer because you like how it sounds better than yours, go for it.  For in your heart God knows you are seeking Him.  That is totally different.  That is how this site is supposed to be used.

I am only addressing those (hopefully few) who don’t do the lesson and just print off or copy my answers and then use them in class as their own.

And you know who you are.

Everyone else can ignore this post.