Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Live Abundantly by Lenya Heitzig & Penny Rose

Heitzig & Rose help us study the book of Ephesians in Live Abundantly. Ephesians, though written to believers in Ephesus, it is written to us too, if we are “faithful in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 1:1) “Did you know that Ephesians contains a spiritual blank check from God written directly to you?” (9) Many of us are ignorant of our inheritance and do not know the true riches we possess. “It is our desire,” they write, “that as you complete this study, you, too, will know how to Live Abundantly. We pray that God will open your eyes to His wealth, your heart to worship, and your life to be worthy of His calling.” (11)

Each week of the study is divided into five days for our personal time with God. Each day's lesson has five elements.
First is “lift up.” We are encouraged to lift up prayers to God, asking for spiritual insight for the day. (These prayers are written out.)
Second is “look at.” We are asked to look at a portion of Scripture. Inductive questions are provided to help us understand the facts and other basic aspects of the passage.
Third is “learn about.” Sidebars are correlated to particular questions to help us understand what the text means. These sidebars might be a cultural insight, a definition, or a commentary.
Fourth is “live out.” Questions and exercises help us investigate how this passage is to change our life. We are challenged to live out the principles in the Word.
Fifth is “listen to.” The day's section finishes with inspiring quotes, sharing the wisdom gleaned from the lives of others.

This book would work well for personal or small group study. Heitzig & Rose have provided suggestions for both. The oversize book has plenty of room for writing.

The “look at” questions (to help us understand the facts of the passage), are very simple. Here are the questions for Ephesians 1:7-12:
    1. In Him” refers to Jesus – the Beloved Son – from verse 6. What do we as believers have in Him?
    2. By What means did Christ purchase our redemption?
    3. Redemption and forgiveness are possible “according to the riches of His grace.” (v. 7) How would you restate this phrase in your own words?
    4. Why has God made known the mystery of His will to us (v.9)?
    5. What was the purpose of God's plan (v.10)?
    6. What more have we obtained in Christ (v11)?
    7. What phrase confirms the idea that there are no accidents in a Christian's life?
    8. What is the end result of a life that trusts in Christ (v.12)?

The strength in this lesson (and the others) comes in the “live out” section. The questions for this section deal with forgiveness of sins and the inheritance we have. We are encouraged to write down some things we understand about God and some things we still don't understand. The “live out” questions would be great for discussion.

This is not a “deep” study. Each day's study can easily be done within the twenty minute suggestion. The most important part of each day is the “live out” section. Since we can easily fool ourselves, I think this study should be done in a group setting. The daily work could be done at home but the “live out” section should be discussed with others. I think the accountability found in a study group would bring greater value to this book.

Lenya Heitzig is an author and Bible teacher. She and her husband founded Calvary Church of Albuquerque. She oversees weekly bible studies and yearly retreats. She and her husband live in Albuquerque.
Penny Rose is the author of numerous books. She teaches at conferences and retreats nationwide. She lives in Albuquerque with her husband, Kerry, a pastor at Calvary Church.

David C Cook, 291 pages.  Publisher product information.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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