One Year, One Book—One Exciting Journey

by Kim Adetunji, brand manager

As the year winds down and a new year is on the horizon, many people begin reflecting on the previous year and making plans for the new one. Our thoughts may return to the highlights and lowlights of the year we are in as well as remembering God’s faithfulness and the lessons we learned. We then turn to our goals and aspirations for the new year, the things we want to get right this year and the things we want to keep—or start—doing. The new year holds so much hope and promise, especially when the current year has been a difficult one. It’s a brand new beginning—365 days to pursue God, become more like Christ, rest in his presence, listen for his voice, and follow where he leads. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities that lie ahead.

Will the new year hold new friendships, a new job, or new opportunities? Will we finally reach that goal we’ve been striving for? Will our long-time prayers for a spouse or healing or a mended relationship or a different heartache finally be answered? Will our trust in God grow deeper than we ever thought possible? Will our hard hearts soften? Will we experience joy once again? Will we finally be able to put aside that fear, anger, resentment, disbelief, or “you name it” that is holding us back from trusting God fully? Will we surrender new areas of our lives to God? In what ways will God stretch us beyond what we think we are capable of? Will we sense God’s deep, unconditional love anew? Who will we share the Good News with this year?

We may even think about new ways we’d like to grow spiritually, whether it’s growing more patient with our spouse or kids or letting the peace of Christ rule more fully in our hearts. How could we move toward God’s plan for us rather than shrinking away from where we hear God calling us to. What are new ways to step out into obedience this year? How can we slow down our schedule just a little bit more to create space to listen for God’s gentle whisper? What truths from Scripture have I dismissed? How can I give God my very best each day? Do I dedicate enough of my day to those things that draw me closer to God and allow me to hear his voice? Am I following through on God’s promptings? Am I open to allowing God to challenge me in a new area?

Do you plan to track your prayers in the new year? the ways you intentionally follow God’s lead? your service projects and how God expands your heart through those experiences? the ways you’ve seen God’s faithfulness in your life? answered prayers? words from him? verses you’ve memorized? There are so many unique ways to track our spiritual growth and keep focused on our goal to pursue and honor God. Each of us is unique, and there is no one right way to do it. If you’re like me, you may be constantly seeking new ways to become more efficient with recording and tracking everything that is meaningful—all in one place.

As the new year approaches, you may search for a new journal, notebook, daily planner, or app to help you organize your year and capture all the memories, highlights, and learnings. Journaling Bibles are a great way to capture all that God is doing in your life in one place. There are two One Year Bible journaling editions—Expressions and Reflections—that give you a daily reading plus space in the wide margins alongside each day’s reading to reflect on the passage you’ve read, write notes or journal entries, keep track of highlights from your day, or archive mementos or pictures. It’s a very practical way to document God-sightings in your life while being intentional about reading God’s Word daily.

Many people have been doing this, where their Bible becomes a treasured keepsake with 365 days’ worth of investment in knowing and following God, including observations from his Word and practical applications. The One Year Bible readings offer a portion from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for each day. It is organized so you’ll finish the Bible in one year with the investment of just 15 minutes a day. At the end of the year, you will have an incredible collection of highlights, milestones, and so much more to look back on in your Bible as you look toward the new year.

Check out the One Year Expressions Bibles

Check out the One Year Chronological Expressions Bibles

Check out the One Year Reflections Bibles

Going beyond Genetics—Leaving a Legacy of Faith

A recent popular trend is ancestry kits. People want to know their heritage—where they came from and who they are. Throughout the Bible we see the importance of lineage. Slugging through those difficult names can seem like a burden, but the point is that each of those names has a story. It is a lineage of choices, mistakes, triumphs, joys, and sorrows.

Through Christ we are part of God’s lineage of grace. We can pass on more than just DNA to the next generation. We can leave a legacy of faith. That’s what our friend Hank is doing.

Each year he chooses a different family member and reads through a One Year Bible, making specific notes and sharing personal insights that he felt God calling him to share with that loved one. Is there a more beautiful gift than a legacy of faith and love?

“For 19 years I read a One Year Bible, and each year I dedicated it to a family member to be given to them when I die. The notes in the margin were personal, such as ‘This is my prayer for you.’ I’ve underlined,circled, and highlighted many passages, letting them know what inspires me. It is my legacy to them.” – Hank Snyder

What notes, reflections, inspirations, and prayers would you share with your loved one? What has helped guide you through God’s Word?

Look inside the OneYear Reflections Bible

Finding Buried Treasure

Do you have a closet where everything that has no place to go gets shoved? We do. And recently, the door didn’t close, which meant it was time for a purge. In addition to finding matchless gloves, some shoes no one in our house would claim, and an abundance of dust, I found my Bible from high school. Inside were photos with friends from Bible camp and items to remind tome of inside jokes long forgotten. But squeezed in the margins, next to highlighted text, and scribbled on the inside covers were notes, thoughts, and prayers that were important to me in those formative years.

There were areas and portions of the Bible you could tell were well-loved—read and reread—while in other places (I’m talking about you, 1 Chronicles),the pages looked like new. Sometimes it takes that extra something to get us out of the “these are my favorite verses” and into reading and understand the entire Bible as God’s revelation of love and truth to us—even 1 Chronicles.

For many, knowing where to start or how to get into reading the Bible can be difficult. Do I start at the beginning? Should I read the New Testament first or the Old Testament? Others want structure to help them stay on task, and still others are looking for a more interactive way to stay motivated. We all have unique roadblocks that hinder us from reading the Bible each day.

The One Year Bible was created to help people move beyond roadblocks into daily conversation with God through his Word. There are daily reading plan versions that have a portion from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs each day. Or,if you want to read the Bible in the order the events occurred, there are chronological plans. Note-taking, coloring, and journaling provide more options to help you engage in God’s Word each and every day of the year.

So this year I am going to be on the lookout for buried treasure. Whether buried in the often-ignored junk closet or in the pages of Scripture I tend to avoid.

Check out a few of TheOne Year Bible options:

Daily Reading

Daily Reading with Coloring

Daily Reading with Wide-Margins

Chronological Reading Plan

The Word Became Human

Article from the Swindoll Study Bible

Read John 1:1-18

THE SON OF GOD, as “very God” (to quote the Nicene Creed), arrived on this earth as a man. He came to the mountains He created. He faced the rivers with their rushing currents. He crossed the valleys. He gazed upon the sea. He walked beneath the skies and the stars and the moon and the sun. But the tragedy of all tragedies is this: “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him” (John 1:10). The world didn’t recognize the One who had created it. In other words, “He came to his own people, and even they rejected him” (John 1:11).

In our world, people look at the beauty of creation but refuse to acknowledge the Creator. Imagine Walt Disney coming to Disneyland on its opening day in 1955—but nobody even acknowledging him or acknowledging the fact that everything in the park had come from his imagination and creativity. Imagine them all saying, “Oh, it just happened.” Such an illustration can’t really do justice to this magnificent passage of Scripture, but you get the picture.

We all know the Christmas story: The Creator came to our planet as a baby, but there was no room at the inn for the One who had created the rocks from which that inn was made. There was no welcome mat for Christ. Isn’t it remarkable that the One who is coequal, coeternal, and coexistent with the Father and the Spirit—the One who divinely decreed the events that would run their course on this earth in perfect timing with His profound plan—could come to the earth and be beaten and spit upon, have spikes driven through His hands and feet, be hung on a cross, and be cursed until He died? Even after being raised from the dead, He is still denied, rejected, and refused some twenty centuries later. There is still no room for the Savior.

What about you? Do you know what it means that God, who made everything, reduced Himself to take on skin, subject Himself to the very gravity that He put into effect, and limit Himself to a tiny space of property—for you?

From the vanishing point of the past to the vanishing point of the future, Jesus Christ remains in His nature and His attributes very God. But Christ, in order that human beings might be able to see what God is like in tangible form, became a human for all eternity future. This introduction to the Gospel of John concludes, “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us” (John 1:18).

Do you wonder what the Father is like? Make a study of Christ. Do you wonder how God could be a God of grace, at the same time both gentle and full of justice and purity? Look at Christ. He shares the Father’s divine nature, and He explains it and models it in perfect terms so that we can grasp the person of the Father.

The world didn’t recognize the One who created it. Do we?

Take a look inside the Swindoll Study Bible

Joseph’s Quandary

“Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.” Matthew 1:19, NLT

We aren’t given many details about Joseph, but we can draw a pretty
accurate portrait from what we do know. He was a “good man” and betrothed to Mary—meaning he was in a covenant almost as unbreakable as marriage and bound by God and his own sense of honor to fulfill it. These covenants could only be broken if the terms had been misrepresented or if one of the parties fell into sin. And from Joseph’s perspective, that’s exactly what had happened. Those around him would have affirmed his right to cancel the wedding.

That’s what Joseph planned to do, though not publicly with his indignation
on display. He could have divorced Mary and openly answered the
questions that would follow, but he preferred to endure any questions quietly and let the silence cover her. As Mary’s betrothed, Joseph was just as chosen as she was, and his quiet sense of honor may be one of the reasons God chose him. Most men would have a hard time letting God rearrange their expectations for life and marriage and then fading into the background of the story. Joseph took on a responsibility no man before or since has taken on, and we hear very little else about him throughout the Gospels—an early death in Jesus’ late childhood or early adulthood seems a natural conclusion. But we know God trusted him to handle earth’s greatest treasure and allow his wife and her son to get far more attention than he ever would.

In Their Steps
Some of the most vital roles in God’s Kingdom remain in the background of the Kingdom story. Many personalities aren’t equipped for that level of humility. Joseph was. Mary apparently lived long enough to tell Luke some of the things she stored in her heart (Luke 2:51), but Joseph must have treasured the story too. And he submitted himself to it honorably.

Taken from the Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible

Helping Others to Feast on God’s Word

by Laura Livingston, Resource Development Officer at Oasis International

Have you ever been out to dinner in an exotic restaurant and the menu was incomprehensible?  I recently experienced that in an Ethiopian restaurant. If the hovering waiter hadn’t been there to explain to what the unpronounceable dish names referred, I would never have been able to order. Once he helped me understand, I enjoyed an incredible culinary experience. There was Injera and Doro Wat and Fir-fir available, but with no one to explain it in my language, I had no way to satisfy my hunger.

That experience is not unlike the challenge of pastors and leaders in French-speaking Africa trying to prepare to preach with little or no resources in their language of education. They are hungry to feed on the Word of God, to go deeper in their understanding, but often the resources are only available in English, and even more often they are not adapted to life in Africa. The Africa Study Bible: French Edition, a theological library in one volume, will open a whole new world of understanding to Francophone pastors in Africa. It will put the food on the table!

There are 600 million believers in Africa that are tragically under-resourced for discipleship, according to the International Review of Mission. Yet, the Church is growing faster in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world. According to the Pew foundation 25 percent of the world’s Christians are located in Africa and that will rise to 40% by 2050. In partnership with Tyndale House Foundation, and using their New Living Translation, Oasis International published the landmark Africa Study Bible (ASB) in English last year. The ASB is the first study Bible that applies God’s Word to the contexts of Africa. With over 2,600 features written by 350 contributors from 50 countries, looking at God’s Word through African eyes, the English edition of the Africa Study Bible was launched to enthusiastic acclaim in seven countries and is already in use in 16.

With its commitment to empowering discipleship, Tyndale House has been a key partner for Oasis International in developing this unparalleled biblical resource. A Kenyan pastor, participating in an ASB training seminar, described the potential impact of the ASB this way,

The Africa Study Bible makes it very easy for us to connect directly to our context. It is going to encourage (young pastors) back to study the African cultures, the way of life, and the storytelling that will be very important in their preaching because they are serving people who are living in this context.

Oasis has launched the Africa Study Bible in seven countries already and is working hard to reach all 24 countries that have English as a language of education. However, 23 more African countries have French as an official language. And while contextualized discipleship resources are certainly not abundant in English-speaking Africa, they are significantly more scarce in Francophone Africa. Dr. Daniel Bourdanné, General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) describes it this way,

French-speaking Africa is known for its material poverty. One element of this poverty is the lack of Christian literature resources in the French language. The need for French-language Bible study materials is and remains to be, an even more profound source of poverty for the region.

An Oasis partner visiting the library at one of the most prominent seminaries in Francophone Africa, FATEB (Central African Republic), reported that only 20 percent of the books were in French, while the remaining volumes were primarily in English, a language many of the students can’t understand. The library of the Yamoussoukro Bible Institute (Côte d’Ivoire), where I lived and taught for 34 years, typifies the problem with its shelves full of old, tattered, English commentaries and theological books donated by retiring missionaries. Almost none of the students can read and understand them. It was not uncommon for me to visit former students only to discover that the pastor and his wife’s main resources were well-worn photocopies received years ago in our classes.

One key reason for this lack of resources is the religious makeup of France. Christian resources in English are available in Africa from sources in the United States and England, among others. But few comparable resources come from France in which only five percent of the population attends a church of any sort and 24 percent are avowed atheists (2014 demographic survey).  The impact of the Africa Study Bible: French Edition will be even greater than the English edition because the need for resources is exponentially greater in French.

Believers in Francophone Africa are hungry for biblical resources in French adapted to the contexts in which they live. The Africa Study Bible puts the food on the table for those who are hungry to feed on the Word of God. Every one of its features was written to look at God’s Word through African eyes. Finishing the Africa Study Bible: French Edition is an obtainable goal. To date, almost all the ASB notes and features are translated into French, but funds designated for the French edition are exhausted and work has slowed on this crucial project. At this pivotal moment in the project, God, in his grace, has provided a matching grant of $150,000 to bring this study Bible to completion.

Oasis International is boldly asking God to provide the first $50,000 by the end of 2018. And we are asking you to give whatever you are able to help us reach that goal. Together we can make the Africa Study Bible available in the 23 countries of Africa that needs contextualized, biblical resources in French. Together we can put the food on the table and feed half a continent with a deeper, fuller understanding of God’s Word!

Give today

Laura spent 33 years as a missionary with the Christian Missionary Alliance in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa) before joining Oasis International.

Lives Transformed Through the Africa Study Bible

Richard Houmengi is a member of the Africa Study Bible: French Edition review team. As an African theologian whose primary language is French he understands the desperate need for a resource and how it will help deepen people’s understanding of God’s Word. Below is an English translation, but you can also click on the video link to hear him share this in French.

I am so pleased, so delighted to be able to hold this marvelous work in my hands, the Africa Study Bible. I say this because, by God’s grace, I was among the contributors. I was chosen to edit the main articles that were written by French speakers.  And this work was a painstaking and difficult task, but also blessed because, in the end, it was completed by God’s grace. And today I am in Nairobi and I was able to meet with Hannah. I am so happy to make her acquaintance, God is really marvelous because I never expected to have such an encounter.  I am here, therefore, to express all my gratitude to the Lord, all my thanksgiving for this blessed work which will certainly be a source of deliverance for Africa, a source of joy for many people who will encounter it. I am already very happy to hold in my hands this English version, and to know that in the near future the French version will be available. I am equally happy to know that across the world people have a burden to see lives saved, changed, and above all to see that people can hold in their hands a Bible in which they can see themselves, in which they can read these articles which reflect African thought, which reflect—how should I say it—the love God has for Africans. I am so pleased and I hope this is the beginning of a new era, the beginning of a new way for Africans to be able to testify to their love and attachment to the God, to the Lord.

Hear Richard share in French

Here are a few more ways the Africa Study Bible is transforming lives.

“I really love my Bible. My students love their Bibles. While Zimbabwe is trapped for finance, people know and love what is good. Matthew, this work you and your team did is very, very, very honorable. A ministry to the people of God indeed.”
–Elesinah Chauke, More than a Mile Deep

“Did you know that more than 80% of the churches in Africa are led by pastors with little or no training? This means without the help of a tool like the Africa Study Bible, these dedicated pastors struggle so much to understand the Bible let alone preach its message well. I personally have used it a lot and I can tell you it needs to get into the hands of every pastor in the continent.”
–Bramuel Musya, Kids Around the World

“This is an all-in-one theological training resource. We have so many pastors are willing and committed to work in rural areas where it is not easy but most of them lack the necessary tools like study Bibles in Swahili. Most educated pastors with resources in English are unwilling to go and serve in rural pastorates. So, we have the majority of the population being pastored by untrained and underdeveloped pastors with limited access to good resources. But with a resource like the Africa Study Bible, these pastors could have truly Biblical training at the tip of their fingers.”
-Cosmas Kisela Ntalima, Global University

Learn more and donate to be a part of creating the Africa Study Bible in French.

How Tyndale House Publishers and One Christian Ministry Are Bringing Resources To Disciple New Christians in Africa

Tyndale and Oasis International recently signed the Africa Speaks Accord. The Accord refuses to accept that status quo of not keeping pace with the needs of the growing African Church and therefore it cannot be “business as usual.”

The far-reaching accord calls for:

  1. A culture of writing by African authors
  2. Support for African authors and paying appropriate royalties
  3. Self-sustaining publishing versus bible donations in Africa
  4. Viable booksellers offering affordable prices
  5. Use of technology and social media to widely distribute biblical content
  6. Resources in English, French, and Portuguese—three languages can disciple a continent

Home to the largest Christian population of any continent, most believers still have very limited access to the resources they need to deepen their faith and continue spreading the Gospel. More than 200 million Christians in Africa do not even own a Bible. Over the years, Tyndale and Oasis have collaborated to meet this challenge and most recently through joint distribution of the Life Application Study Bible and the Africa Study Bible. As the #1 and #2 best-selling study Bibles in Africa, these resources have yet to even scratch the surface.

The gap for materials in French is even greater than English-speaking Africa with over 100 million underserved readers. In recognition of this, a foundation in California recently awarded Oasis International a $150,000 matching grant to make the Africa Study Bible available in French.

By coming alongside Oasis International, you can be a global change-maker by providing this powerful discipleship resource for French-speaking Africa. Give or learn more

Don’t Give In!

The Girls Life Application Study Bible gets right to the issues and questions the next generation of young women face. It takes them into God’s Word in a way they can understand and engage with, allowing them to grow in their faith and grow closer to the God who loves them beyond measure.

The book of 1 John is filled with amazing truth to help Christians understand how to love God and others. Read this passage from 1 John 3 and then the note from the Girls Life Application Study Bible that allows girls to reflect on what the writer is saying and learn how to apply it to their lives.

1 John 3:7-10

“Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.”

Note from the Girls Life Application Study Bible

John warned believers against allowing Satan—the enemy of Christians—to tempt them to wrong actions. We all have areas where we feel especially tempted. But these verses are not directed at people who are working to overcome a particular sin even if for the time being they seem to keep on sinning. John is not talking about people whose victories are still incomplete; he is talking about people who make a practice of sinning and look for ways to justify it. That attitude comes from the enemy. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to avoid giving in to temptation. But he won’t force us to use his temptation escape route. We must choose to do so. Will you?

Take a look inside the Girls Life Application Study Bible