There are only a few things that could bring me out of my ReFocus blogging hiatus as I work on my doctorate research and a book by my colleague and friend Michael Chanley is one of them. I am pleased to share this resource with you and am excited about how God is leading the research you have been graciously supporting me during my time off writing for ReFocus.
As a minister focused on connecting generations and church and at home, I am always on the lookout for bible studies that can be used by a wide variety of ages and life experiences. I am an advocate for ways of studying the Bible that aren’t necessarily focused on one age group or a specific life experience. This book invites us instead to focus on learning from the life, story, and calling of Jonah.
What is so interesting about this bible study is that it is less about the story and more about what God is speaking to us through the story and the experiences of Jonah. The author, Michael Chanley, invites us to join him a slow and deliberate reading of Scripture, specifically looking at the book of Jonah.
In my conversations Michael, I mentioned that this kind of Scripture reading reminds me of lectio divina, a traditional practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s word. The spiritual formation experience of slowly reading and meditating on Scripture is indeed one of the goals of this book.
Using the acronym W.H.A.L.E.S. to help guide our reading, the book encourages thoughtful study and practical application of Scripture that can sometimes turn into familiar stories that fade in the background. For a lot of us, the story of Jonah can become almost like a fairy-tale of a man being swallowed by a whale and cartoonishly deposited on a shoreline. This study instead tunes us into the whole story – the fear and frustration, the conviction and the celebration, the apathy and the passion. All of these things, studied slowly and steadily, with a heart attuned to what God is speaking to us through it all.
And, because of the way the book is structured, it can be done as a daily, weekly, or even monthly reading/study. This would be appropriate to use on your own as a devotional or around a dinner table with your family. It would also be helpful in a group bible study situation or just between two friends. If you are looking for a place to slow down and really allow the Scripture and the Spirit to speak to your soul, this book will provide that space.
Interested in checking it out? See the QR code on the image for a chance to be part of a free study group. Micheal has also graciously made the book available for free on Amazon on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22. http://chasingwhales.michaeljchanley.com/. Be blessed!
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