Get to know Families in the Word!
So you may be wondering, who IS Families in the Word? What brought it about? Where? When? Why? And How? The tool of Questions is a great place to start!
Who? I (Janice) am simply a wife and mom with an ongoing hunger to feed on God's Word and share how to know it with others. Some people like to shop; I like to dig into God's Word. I've been curious since I was in high school why my church taught this and my friends' church taught that...why the difference if we both claim to be Christians? I would struggle to read the Bible...it seemed so old and far away and not connected to my life now.
I remember my Grandmother praying for me as a teen. She not only prayed for me (with me) but she prayed for my children and grandchildren, that we would all know God personally. I thought that was really strange, as I wasn't even an adult yet! And yet today, I see the fruit of those prayers growing in my life and my family. I cannot minimize the power of God-honoring prayer! Families in the Word is an outgrowth of those prayers. Through the years, God has continually put in my heart a desire to teach others what He has taught me about knowing Him firsthand through His Word.
Several godly men and women have taught and trained me in handling accurately God's Word; some who lived in earlier times and some who continue to lead by example. Pastor Bob Utley (www.freebiblecommentary.org) was the first to spread out a Strong's Concordance and Greek Lexicon to teach young couples who wanted to study back in 1981. I didn't think it was possible to really learn to study firsthand if you didn't go to seminary or get a lot of degrees. But God says that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher (John 14:26) and that if we ask for wisdom, God will give it generously and without reproach (James 1:5). He does!
God's Word became alive to me as I learned to study inductively through Kay Arthur's teaching of Philippians (www.precept.org) in 1988. I began the study with a haughty heart, thinking I already knew Bible stories, but the Holy Spirit humbled me, fed me, and challenged me to dig in and take Him at His Word. During the next to the last lesson, my husband lost his job and we had no savings. I had just been learning about rejoicing in all things, be anxious for nothing, prayer, and trust. I took my itty bitty mustard seed of trust and gave it to Him. He walked us through this valley and taught me that He is utterly and completely trustworthy!
Since that time, My Lord has opened doors for me to equip and teach parents, children, children's workers and pastors in the US, Peru and Argentina. I've dug into the Bible through 23 different Precept studies, 3 Lord series and led 30 groups. While homeschooling my children, He enabled me to write 7 Children's Inductive Bible Studies that equipped more than 10,000 children and their parents through 13 years of homeschool conferences and more than 100 workshops in small groups, churches, and conferences. I remember visiting Moody Bible Institute while at a conference in Chicago and going to the basement book store just to see if they had more books to help me understand the Word more completely; my shopping fun!
Although I do not have a seminary degree, I continue to be mentored by the Holy Spirit, gifting me with my father-in-law's pastoral library, sermon notes from both of my grandfathers, and others, and spiritual gifts of teaching and exhortation. Currently, I enjoy learning from Alistair Begg (www.truthforlife.org), C.H. Spurgeon's writings, Charles Stanley (www.intouch.org), Irving Jensen, Dr. Howard Hendricks, and Ray Stedman's books.
The last several years I have written and taught studies for women, children, and one-on-one discipleship. He has also allowed me to go through a life-lab of caregiving and intense personal growth. I am keenly aware of my accountability to my Lord to handle His Word accurately (2 Tim 2:15) and the stricter judgment that comes to those who teach. It is sobering, and yet I can't keep from sharing with others how to know Him firsthand through His Word.
Psalm 71:17-19 has become my heartbeat during the last few years:
O God, You have taught me from my youth,
And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.
And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare your strength to this generation,
Your power to all who are to come.
For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens,
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like you?
So, Families in the Word is a ministry to equip families with tools and resources to know God and His Word firsthand. As we dig into God's Word, not just to study and know things but to study and know Him, He meets us and guides us into an incredible lifewalk with Him. I look forward to walking this journey with you, and hearing from you what God is teaching you through His Word. Write and let me know!
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla via Unsplash