UpGradual Book Review: There couldn’t be a better time than Christmas in North America for a Bible study called Refocused.
Oh, the irony!
Somehow, the season that’s meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus has become an intense, draining time of to-do lists and worldly expectations.
Then, right on it’s heels is our traditional time of self-evaluation and goal setting.
(Maybe some of you are not on this bandwagon, but, if we’re honest, I think most of us are.)
What kind of sadist set this up?
We put extreme expectations on ourselves, letting things other than God dictate how high we should jump, then we head straight into a period of self-assessment meant to establish how high we’ll continue to jump over the next 12 months.
Raise your hand if you’ve lived this discouraging, goal setting disaster. ??
If this is you, then my book review of Amy Terry’s Refocuse Bible Study is for you!
Book Review: Refocused Bible Study by Amy Terry
Here’s what Amy, author, homeschooling mom of three and wife of a NASCAR chaplain (I love that that is a thing) said to catch my attention:
“It will encourage you to look back on what God has done in this past year of your life and to look to him to make plans and goals to the future.”
No earth-shattering new ideas.
Just the reminder that God is the maker of our plans and the director of our goals anyway, so we might as well start by looking to him for self-assessment and future planning.
That’s what made me decide to write this particular book review.
Look to HIm
When so many of us – Christian and secular, alike – are jumping through worldly Christmas hoops and then assessing ourselves and planning our next steps based on our performance, how do we – individually – step off the bandwagon? How do we pick something healthier?
Entre Amy’s Refocused Bible Study.
I took this past week to walk through the introduction and the daily study guide for week one.
One week in and I recommend Refocused across the board. Amy put together versions specific to women who are single or married, with kids at home or not.
What runs through every version is prayer that readers are inspired by Hebrews 12:2, “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith.”
Amy’s ability to maintain a super simple focus on Jesus through each day of the first week was enough to impress me. But there’s more here that made me want to share it with you.
As I was reading, I circled the words and phrases that seemed most important.
Refocused describes God as ‘big, powerful, mighty and strong’. It’s full of reminders of who God is and the well chosen verses, with the appeal to ‘run to his word’, all had me focusing on what was most important.
The Beauty of REfocused
And that’s the beauty of Amy’s study, I think.
In a season that pushes me to my max, I was able to, literally, block out the noise. It helped me refocus on what is supposed to be not only ‘the source and goal of my faith’, but the reason behind every decision I make.
And, if our lives are, to a great degree, the results of every decision we make, then I’m a fan of anything that can help me make good, Godly decisions.
I found this study powerful in it’s simplicity. It challenged me to take very well known verses and really apply them to myself.
How were you fearfully and wonderfully made?
When did he plan the good works he has for you to do?
Which of your dreams are ‘for such a time as this’?
How often do we hear these verses that our brains know well without really meditating on what they mean for us? I found that following this study, I was really able to feel as if I ‘spent time in the Word’.
One last, seemingly irrelevant point…
Coolness factor – or lack thereof – can keep us from picking up the exact teachings that we need.
On the other hand, a super cool, perfectly designed – dare I say it? Flawless – study can leave us feeling, well, cold.
A Bible study that feels either too rough around the edges or unattainably perfect won’t serve it’s purpose. It won’t direct readers to Jesus so that he can change their hearts because it will never get read.
I include this point because we can tend to over-focus on being a part of the in-crowd.
And Satan loves to use this desire to be a part of the inner circle to keep us outside the will – and love – of God.
Refocused Bible Study hit the sweet spot between cool and homey. It felt like I was a member of an authentic, warm, Bible-reading, God-praising inner circle.
Too much sales?
If my review of Amy’s Refocused Bible Study was too sales-y for you, my dear reader, I apologize.
Never will you get a negative Bible study review on UpGradual.
If I read something that I can’t endorse, I will quietly do the painful deed of letting the author know that I can’t stand behind what they wrote. But I will not bash their efforts publicly.
That means, if I review it, I love it.
If I love it, I will share it on UpGradual with enthusiasm. I will recommend it to you for your sake and for the sake of the author.
In this case, Amy has put her heart into her work – and no doubt her money. Her efforts have produced something that can bring readers closer to God.
What do I Get Out of It?
One thing I got for writing this book review was a free Bible study, before the official release date. Score.
The other benefit – other than the insight that comes from studying God’s word – is that Amy’s online community and mine get to know each other.
- Check out the Refocused Bible Study website which is home to Amy’s blog as well as being one of the places to order your copy with free shipping.
- Follow Amy on:
- Finally, take A Peak Inside Refocused Bible Study. This is a great place to send friends who you think might benefit from a little refocus on Jesus for the new year.
Hey Friend! Let me know if you check out Amy’s study… and, if you decide to buy it, definitely get in touch and tell me your thoughts. I love hearing about how you’re growing in faith. ?