Saturday, November 9, 2013

Guest post: Proper channels of stewardship in 1 Nephi 16

This guest post is from my friend Chas Hathaway, author of Scripture Study Made Awesome, which I reviewed back in June.  I was curious about what he'd been learning from his scripture study recently, so I asked him to share, along with the scripture study method by which he gained the insight. (Remember, his book has over 100 awesome study methods!) 

Something occurred to me recently while studying 1st Nephi 16. The Lord intentionally works through an organization of leaders. Even after Lehi had murmured about his situation, Nephi, who had remained faithfully non-complaining, came to his father with his father to ask where he should go to seek food to hunt. He could have gone to the Lord himself, but he wanted to go through the proper channels.

We have the opportunity and responsibility to receive revelation regarding our stewardship, but for things outside or above our stewardship, everyone works up the proper channels.

I teach Sunbeams. If I have a concern, question, or suggestion regarding my calling, I go to the sister who is the primary president. If she has a question, she goes to the bishop. He goes to the stake president.

The channels keep going up. Even the prophet is often instructed of angels, and all are subject to the direction of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

This insight wasn't never-heard-of news, but it came at a good time for me. It also came while trying one of my newest scripture methods that I highly recommend.

Here's the method:

If you don't have the LDS Library app the church created, get it. If you don't have a mobile device, you can do the same thing on the church's website by signing in, and going to a chapter of scripture on the site, and making sure the little box at the bottom is checked that says, "Study mode." I believe it's checked by default. From there, you just need to double-click or highlight any word with the mouse.

It's only recently that I discovered the real power of the online scriptures and mobile app on my android. As far as I know it works the same on the iPhone. If you hold down your finger on a word in the scriptures, it highlights the word(s). Then you can add a note, link, or choose a highlight color.

Now that you know how to use the app, let's talk about the method: Likening EVERY Verse

Start at the very beginning of a book or chapter (depending on how long you want to keep using this method), and read the very first verse. Think hard about it. Consider how you can liken this verse to your own life. If you're having trouble thinking of something specific, pray and ask Heavenly Father. With the Spirit guiding your study, you'll find a good way to liken the scripture. Then click or touch the number preceding the verse. Decide on a color that represents your likening verses. Leave a note stating exactly how you can liken this verse to yourself. Once you've finished, write the date (so it's sort of a quasi-journal entry), and save the note. Then do the same for the next verse. Continue through the end of the chapter or book.

Not only will this help you get more out of every verse, but it will train your mind to look for useful life application of any verse you read.

Chances are, while in church, or studying the verses weeks, months, or years later, you'll see another application for the same verse. At that point, you can edit the note, and at the bottom, write the new way you can liken the verse. Don't forget to write the date again--these are becoming valuable journal entries that will show your spiritual growth, and perhaps one day your kids or grandkids will see how you used the scriptures to help you deal with real everyday challenges.

As well as authoring his fantastic book full of interesting scripture study methods, Chas has also written Marriage is Ordained of God, But Who Came Up With Dating?, and Giraffe Tracks about his experience as a missionary in post-Apartheid South Africa.  He is also writes piano arrangements to some our favorite hymns. (My fav is his version of "All Creatures of Our God and King.") His secret to a rockin' life is to marry awesome, have boat-load of kids, and eat lots of parmesian cheese covered popcorn. Oh, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, completely and passionately.