Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Colossians Words Challenge Intoduction

Welcome to the Colossians Words Challenge! Together, over the next 20 days, we will journey through the book of Colossians by using 20 significant and key words. You are then encouraged, if you choose, to respond creatively. 

Words help us interpret life. They give meaning to everything from our emotions to relationships to theology. At my church we began a series back in January called Revealing God. We allowed the words of the Bible to take us on a journey showing us what Scripture reveals about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As a starting point we used the first line from A. W. Tozer's book "The Knowledge of the Holy" which says,
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."
We used that statement for each of the persons of the Trinity. That statement is also a good place to start as we journey into the book of Colossians. You see, what comes into our minds when we think about Jesus, our view of Him and who He is, will impact every area of our lives. It is the lens by which we see faith, life, people, marriage, church, creation, and on and on. If the lens is off-kilter, then so is our perspective on everything else.

The book of Colossians was written by the apostle Paul to a church whose lens was in danger of getting out of focus. Paul wrote this letter to help them remember who they are and Whose they are. The Colossian church was struggling with their identity due to teaching that allowed the cultural influences of the day to detract from the person and work of Jesus Christ and the grace of the gospel. You will often hear the issues influencing the Colossian church referred to as the "Colossian Heresy" Any teaching or philosophy that takes away from Christ's supremacy or tries to add anything to the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, is heresy. It is false doctrine or teaching. One commentary describes the issue in the Colossian church this way:  "Jewish legalism, Greek philosophy, and Oriental mysticism existed in Colosse and the combining of various ideas, beliefs, and practices (syncretism) prevailed." Syncretism is the practice of combining little bits from a variety of religions or beliefs. The book of Colossians is Paul's reminder that Jesus Christ is Lord, and He is to be the Lord of our lives. That is our identity as Christ followers, and thus, we are called to view everything in life as those who have placed Christ first in their lives. So, we will see Paul use words such as fullness, knowledge, complete, and mystery (just to name a few) to re-focus the church back on Christ, and Christ alone. He will lift up the lordship of Christ throughout the book and remind them, and us, that "Christ is all, and is in all." ~ Colossians 3:11

We also live in a day and a culture that seeks to combine the practices of the day, the influences of the culture, and various religious views with the teachings of God's Word. We face similar struggles as the Colossian church did, with different undertones. Will we find ourselves in the pages of Colossians as we read Paul's words? Do we also need reminders of Christ's supremacy and a call to live out our identity as Christ's followers? Do we find issues of syncretism threatening churches today? Do we lose our focus in the midst of busyness and fast paced lives? Do we need a lens adjustment to re-focus on Christ alone, on Christ as Lord of our lives?

Let's explore the book of Colossians together and listen for God's voice - to each of us and to the church.

May Psalm 119:18 guide us as a prayer as we journey together through this book.
"Open my eyes that I may see

    wonderful things in your law."

You can download the list of  words for the challenge here: Colossians Words List
It is also posted in the Words Facebook group.

Beginning tomorrow, August 1, there will be a devotional Bible study posted here on the blog each day through August 20. Use that post and the Bible verses to inspire your creativity. You can then share your creative practice in the Words Facebook group or in the Everyday Journals Facebook group. Both groups are participating in the Colossians Words challenge. Share using #colossianswords.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Colossians Words ~ An Art & Bible Study Challenge

I have had a long love affair with words. Ever since I learned to read at 5 years old, I have loved to read them. I have always loved writing them in my diary or journal, and in more recent years, on my blog. I enjoy looking up their meaning and origin and learning new words. When I came into a relationship with Christ in my late 20's, I found that I had a love for God's Word as well.. Over the years that love of words, and especially God's Word, has grown into a deep love of studying the Bible and it's many words. 

Words enrich us. They educate us. They help us explain our thoughts and feelings and even help us to express who we are. I think that's why I fell in love with art journaling - taking the combination of image and creativity and words and using them all to express myself. 

It is out of all of this that I created Words Challenges. These challenges combine Bible study and creativity and give us a platform from which to express God's words to us in ways that connect with the creativity He has placed within us. What began as Advent Words in December 2017, soon grew into Lent Words in February-April 2018, and has now grown into Colossians Words beginning on August 1. In all honesty I think this one most excites me!

Over the years as I learned inductive Bible study methods, and then went on to lead them in groups, I have grown to love going through an entire book most of all  When doing this you get a much greater sense of the authors intent and meaning as you read and study it in its context. Every time I have gone through a study of a book of the Bible God has used that time to open His Word more fully. In fact, about 10 years ago our church shifted to a more expository approach to preaching and we have often gone through entire books of the Bible through our Sunday morning series. Time and time again we find that God shows us things in fresh ways as we go through an entire book. 

Words have the power to change us - especially the words that God has breathed to us through His Spirit through the Bible.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I would like to invite you to join me, and a community of people that has grown to over 200 members, as we use 20 significant words from Colossians which will take us through the entire book. Each day, beginning on August 1st, there will be a devotional Bible study based on a word from Colossians. Participants are then encouraged to respond to the word and the Scripture passages in whatever creative practice you choose - art journaling, photography, Bible journaling, poetry, creative writing, etc. 

You can then share your creativity in a private Words Challenges Facebook group where you can also join in conversation about art and Bible study, and build community. To join the Words Challenge Facebook group click on the badge below

I am also a part of a group called Everyday Journals ~ Living Your Word of the Year, where the Colossians Words Challenge will be our theme this month.

For the past few weeks a group of us have been making a journal just for this challenge in my first online class offered on my site. If you are interested in learning how to make a signature journal, you can learn more about it here: All in All Signature Journal Class. It's not too late to begin a journal for this challenge or to learn to make a simple journal for any project.

Make sure you subscribe to this blog in the box in the sidebar in order to receive notice of the daily posts for the challenge.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Upcoming Class Sneak Peak

In just under a week my first class will launch. For this class I'm "stealing like an artist", to coin a phrase from a book by the same title. The artist I'm stealing from is...myself. I've looked back through my journals over the years and I'm copying some of my favorite techniques for journal making, background pages, collage and other art techniques, and I'm putting the tutorials in this class.

We'll make a journal with fold-out pages and use lots of vintage ephemera, just as I have done in my journals over the years.

The tutorials will include some of my favorite techniques such as collage strip backgrounds, hand cut letters, sunburst backgrounds, wavy journaling, lots of gesso, and a whole lot more!

The All in All Signature Journal Class will begin on July 18 and run through August 1st. The fee is $17.50 and will be hosted on a private class blog. There are also some limited edition class kits available for $10.00. To learn more and to sign up click here.

Our journals will be complete in time to use them for the next Words Art & Bible Study Challenge. Christ is All in All: Colossians Words begins on August 1 and will run for 20 days. This challenge will offer 20 words from the book of Colossians with a daily devotion on this blog to inspire your creativity. A private Facebook group for the Words challenges is available where you can share your art and join in the conversation and community. Link to the Words Facebook group is in the sidebar on the right.

Join us as we use words to journey through the book of Colossians!