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  • Monday, August 31, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Ben Jennings  Assimilation Pastor Canton Baptist Temple

    There are many Incredible benefits to being in God’s Word using journaling as a method. Today I want to tell you about a new journaling format for studying God’s Word called the H.E.A.R. Journaling Method. I’ve really enjoyed it. There are 5 components to this method that make it a great way to stay in God’s Word consistently in a way that helps you grow spiritually.

    Component #1- You need a plan.

    To stay in God’s Word daily you need a reading plan. There are many ways to systematically read through God’s Word.

    • Some people like to read through the Bible in a year.
    • Some people like to read a book at a time. On my blog, I go verse by verse through the text I’ll be teaching each Sunday in our groups.
    • Some people like to read through a topical plan. You can find reading plans that take you to passages that deal with specific topics you are interested in.

    Component #2- Highlight.

    The H.E.A.R. Journaling method is formatted based on this acronym. The H stands for highlight. This is where you’ll write out specific verses that you’ve read. Before you read, pray and ask for God to speak to you through His Word. As you read through the text pay attention to what you’re reading. After you read, decide on a verse or verses that you’ll want to include in your journal. You’ll highlight this verse in your journal by writing it out.

    Component #3- Explain.

    E stands for explain. Once you’ve chosen the verse to highlight and written in out, you’ll explain this verse in your own words. You definitely want to seek to understand the text in its context. Here are some questions to help you think through it:

    • Who is the original author and audience? What did the author mean by writing this?
    • What are the key words in the scripture I highlighted?
    • How do the verses that come before and after affect the meaning of the text?

    Component #4- Apply.

    A stands for apply. Now that you have explained what the verses mean, you’ll want to think about how they apply. Here are some prompting questions to help you think of the application to your life:

    • What is true for me because of the meaning of the text?
    • What should the reader of this text do in response to this verse?
    • How does this apply to my life?

    Component #5- Respond.

    Now that you’ve read the scripture, highlighted it in your journal, explained it in its context, and thought through how it applies, it’s time to respond in your own life. What are you going to do today in response to what you’ve read, understood and applied? It’s time to be obedient to what God is teaching you through His Word. Give yourself homework, and put God’s Word to action.


  • Wednesday, July 01, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Ken Braddy

    I recently read a book that was recommended to me by a friend in the Christian publishing industry. Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger has quickly become one of my favorite reads this year. I’ve told others about it in dozens of training meetings I’ve led over the past two months. Canoeing the mountains (of Sunday School) is going to be required as our churches get ready to reopen groups on campus and invite people back for in-group experiences.


  • Friday, June 26, 2020 9:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Ken Braddy  Director of Sunday School, Lifeway Christian Resources

    Today’s teaching tip is all about patience and time. If you desire to be a better teacher, marinate your Bible study – don’t microwave it!

    Two days ago my wife brought some great looking steaks home from the grocery store. I could have just thrown them on the grill, but decided to marinate them in a nice mesquite flavored steakhouse marinade for about 2 hours. I then decided to cook them over indirect heat on my charcoal grill. The result was the most succulent steaks I’d ever cooked. Yes it took more time to slow cook the steaks, but the preparation time in the marinade plus cooking over indirect heat made the difference. I suppose I could have gone the other route: fire up the grill and throw them on without any kind of preparation (kind of a quick “microwave” version of the cooking process) but the results would not have been near as good.


  • Monday, June 15, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Ben Jennings Assimilation Pastor Canton Baptist Temple

    You may be asking, “What is an open group?”

    Open Groups….

    …Expect new people every time they meet.

    If you were having guests over to your house for dinner, how would youprepare? Would your house be clean? Would you make sure they knew how to get there? Would you be warm and welcoming?  Would you talk over your guest’s head or speak to them where they are?  Open groups expect that guests are coming and are completely prepared to meet them, make them feel welcome, and help them be a part of the group.

    …Take the Great Commission as a group and individual mandate.

    When Jesus gave the Great Commission to go and make disciples to His disciples, He gave it to them as a group.  They understood that although it was a personal commission it was best done together.  It’s easier to reach people when you do it with others.

    …View their enrollment as a ministry and prayer list.

    So many Sunday School classes view their enrollment as a list of people who could possibly come.  Often, if a person doesn’t come for a while they are taken off a list. Also, they don’t add people to their list until they come a few times.  This is not a good idea if you want to grow.  Think about it–>They make it difficult to be a part of the group, and easy for them to stop being a part of the group.  Open groups view their enrollment as a list of people to whom they minister.  They plan what ministry needs to be done on a weekly basis based on this list.  Leaders of open groups pray for their people and lead their groups to pray for each other as well.  Open groups cultivate prospect lists that they pray for as a group.

    …Look for ways to invite new people.

    If a group is open, they will be disappointed and think that something is wrong if there was no one new attending when they meet.  They are always looking for people to invite.  They are constantly looking to create a culture of invitation in their group.  Activities and fellowships are not just for people who already belong, but they are also opportunities to invite new people to connect to the group.

    …Allow people to belong before they believe.

    People may not agree with everything we believe, but they should feel loved, accepted, and cared for the moment they come to the class, if not before.  They come back because they are loved and ministered to, and this gives the opportunity for the person who doesn’t believe to be under the practical teaching of God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

    …Realize that it takes effort to stay open.

    The natural tendency of every group is to become closed.  It takes effort, vision, focus – leadership - to stay open.


  • Friday, May 15, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Dr. Jake Tovissi Pastor Care Canton Baptist Temple

    The concluding issue I want to bring to your attention is death. Yes, during this pandemic many people have died from the coronavirus. It has been sad and very difficult. However, deaths of any kind happen every day. During this lockdown death and loss, if they could have become harder they have. It has affected both the dying as well as the living. The dying have been affected by the fact that they are dying with no family present. Nurses and care givers have been their last personal vestige of human touch. Let me take the opportunity to thank all the nurses and caregivers for the sympathy and empathy toward their patients. Many blessings to you. Death has taken its toll on them as well.

    Let me make two observations about death. In one way all of us are alonewhen we die. No one physically can die for us. However, for those who have a personal relationship with Christ; we are never alone. Christ is with us and when we die we are more spiritually alive than we have ever been and will remain that way for all eternity.

    The living have suffered and grieved in more challenging ways during this lock down. First, they have not been able to be with their loved ones as they passed into eternity. What a woeful time. Then due to the lockdown normal calling hours, funerals and graveside services have been seriously altered or postponed to a future date. This has created two grief issues. First, abbreviated services with limited people available to give their condolences has created only a partial and temporary relief from grief. Secondly, when services, calling hours and celebration of life are postponed they create a partial limited grief experience that will become a reopened grief wound in the future. I want to suggest that both at the time of death as well as at the future services that you take time to grieve appropriately and completely.

    Please allow me to complete this article by communicating the ultimate path to surviving the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. All that we go through in this life both good and bad is temporary no matter how long it lasts. One day it will all be gone. We’ve all experienced some loss during this time either physically or materially. When it’s all gone only the eternal will last. There is only one way to acquire the eternal and that is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by Me”. (John 14:6).

    God loves you so much that He gave His Son to die for you that through Christ’s death and resurrection you may have eternal life. (John 3:16; I Cor. 15:1-4).

    I pray this article was an encouragement to you. If it has please contact me through my email:


  • Wednesday, May 13, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Dr. Jake Tovissi  Pastor Care Canton Baptist Temple

    Secondly I want to discuss loneliness. The lockdown has many health benefits. However, it has one major detriment. That is loneliness. It overwhelms us in a very short amount of time. Let me also be clear that you do not have to be alone to be lonely. The majority of those that are lonely are by themselves; widows, widowers, singles and divorced. For those of you in these categories be proactive. Use whatever technologies you have to communicate with others. You can call family, friends, neighbors and fellow church members if applicable. When you reach out to others you will not only find that you forget about your loneliness but that others are lonely as well.

    Secondly limit your intake of media. In reality this is good for all of us. Many of us are suffering from media overdose, social or otherwise. It is appropriate to take in news and information but limit it. Finally, saturate with eternal things. Read your Bibles, pray and sing hymn songs and spiritual songs unto the Lord. Remember if you have a personal relationship with God, you are never alone.

    Now what about those of us that are not alone but lonely. The same rules above apply to you. Also, find ways to interact with others without violating social distancing principles. I’m a major people person. When I finish my daily quiet time with the Lord, I’m ready for people. I’m so thankful for the technology of Zoom and that I’ve been able to interact with and preach the Word of God to those I love dearly. Believe me it helps me as much as them.

    Let me also encourage you to have prayer with someone over the phone or through FaceTime and if you have a computer look for good Bible devotional sites. One last thing, loneliness can be used in a positive way to examine yourself. If you find things about yourself, that you want to change, seek to change them with God’s help.


  • Monday, May 11, 2020 10:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Dr. Jake Tovissi  Pastor Care Canton Baptist Temple

    It has been a challenge to minister to people during this coronavirus lock down. Most of my ministry has consisted of Zoom Sunday School, phone calls, texts and an occasional FaceTime. Nothing in person, no handshakes or hugs, just social distancing. As a pastor I’ve felt incomplete in my ministry.

    When I communicated with people three topics were most prevalent. Family issues, loneliness and death. These issues are relevant for the whole church family!

    I want to take the time to give you help, comfort and peace for each of these real and challenging issues.

    First of all let’s look at families. The issues of the family fall into two categories, too much separation and too much togetherness.

    Let’s look first at too much separation. The coronavirus lock down has resulted in generational separation. In multigenerational families grandparents, their children, grandchildren and possibly great grandchildren have been forced into separational lockdown. In American society today we have created a strong generational dependency. Now it has been put on hold. Grandparents have been affected most by the isolation. Ages 65+ have been deemed vulnerable during the pandemic. The younger generations though not effected by the virus may be carriers that can pass the illness onto the elderly and immune deficient. Therefore, grandparents are in isolation, especially if they are living alone. Although they feel very alone the rest of the family tree suffers as well. So what can we do to help? First use technology to its fullest extent whenever you can. Modern inventions such as FaceTime, video, phone calls, and texts should be utilized whenever possible. A picture really is worth a thousand words. May I also suggest the archaic handwritten letter or note? Your family will value your time and effort, not to mention that they will live in posterity. Finally keep your loved ones close by lifting them up in prayer.

    Secondly, let’s look at too much time together. You may think I’ve lost my counseling mind on this but hear me out. In our previously busy, rushed and over achieving life style, many of us pleaded for more time to be with our loved ones. Now that we have it we want to get rid of it. First, let me consider the husband and wife dynamic. It is vital the spouses spend time together, we all need to love, care and support our spouses. We also need our space. Whenever I’m off for an extended time with my wife, I tend to let’s say, “get in her way”, you could call it a harmless form of harassment! When this happens she has a common phrase that she uses, “This is why men go to work every day”. Guess what, she’s right.

    So, how do we combat too much time together? We must find proper ways of separation. I have a home library to which I retire. Although I’m not working from my church office, I am responsible to be working from home. I’ve found the best way to accomplish this is through maintaining my ordinary ministry habits as much as I can. Establish a consistent wake up time, exercise, and pre work preparation. This means get cleaned up, showered and dressed, then go to work, even though it’s just down the hall. My wife has been busy keeping the house clean, laundry done, meals prepared. Important safety tip guys; help in those areas when you can. It’s not just her job.

    On a more serious note, disagreements, squabbles, fights and worst of all abuse do take place during lockdown situations. Just like a boxing match we have to sometimes go to our separate corners. While you are in your separate corners be productive. Examine your relationship with your spouse. Consider what initially attracted you to them. List their positive attributes. Write them a handwritten note and then you need to establish normal communications.

    Now, let’s look at the family dynamic. The same cause and effect principles apply to the children as they did to the spouse. Although they would most times disagree; children thrive in a controlled family environment. Let me give you a view of what this looks like. The day starts with a regular wake up time, a good breakfast and then age appropriate chores. Everyone participates and pitches in. Next, get your daily school work done. Again same time every day, Monday through Friday. Do your best to make it fun and interesting but do it. Kids then need daily exercise and activity, make the most of what is available. I also want to recommend family game time, movies and home videos.

    Finally during this time when God has seemed to put the brakes on, slow down! Parents need to have time with God; individually and separately. Family devotions can and must be taken advantage of during this lockdown. Dads lead but everyone participates. Parents also get your children to do age appropriate personal devotions. This is finally completed by prayer; spousal, family and individually. Give lots of hugs too!


  • Friday, May 01, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    Ben Jennings  Assimilation Pastor Canton Baptist Temple

    If you’re like me you have had seasons of your life where you’ve not been as consistent in your devotional life as you should be. The Bible is so powerful, and we need His wisdom and guidance every day. Yet, for much of my life, I have not had a daily habit of Bible study.

    I’ve recently been using a journaling method to help me stay more consistently in the Word of God, and God has used it in a substantial way. I’ve started and stopped with journaling several times in the past, but after finding the H.E.A.R. Journal method and tying that to my daily routine that has changed. I have found that it has brought me several benefits, and I believe it can do the same thing for you. Here are four of the many benefits I have found to journaling.

    Journaling makes your quiet time more substantial. It’s good to read God’s Word, but by journaling about what you’ve read you go from just reading to studying. You ask and answer questions about the text. You meditate on the meaning of the text and how it applies. You are more likely to actually do something about what you’ve read when you have written down what you ought to do. I’ve found I’m also more consistent because I can hold myself accountable for how often I’m studying because I can see the dated entry in my journal.

    Journaling helps you to be closer to the Lord. Because I’m spending more time and getting more out of God’s Word each day, it has impacted my prayer life. Bible reading and prayer go hand in hand for the child of God. More Word in my life means more life change, which means more consistency in reading and applying, which means more prayer, and a better relationship with God.

    Journaling helps you to lead others in discipleship. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations in the Great Commission. He said that we should teach those are reached “to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.” Discipling people apart from the Word of God is impossible. As you are consistently in God’s Word, you are able to teach others to do the same, and you can hold them accountable for doing it. It’s hard to get people to do something that you are not doing. When they get into God’s Word consistently they will grow!

    Journaling helps me be a better teacher and writer. I don’t claim to be the best teacher or writer. I have found that writing things out every day and meditating on God’s Word using pen and ink has helped me to grow in my ability to organize my thoughts and communicate. I’m not great, but I’m getting better.

    There are certainly other benefits that I’ve found to journaling God’s Word every day.

    Do you journal? What benefits have you found?


  • Friday, April 17, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Ken Braddy  Director of Sunday School, Lifeway Christian Resources

    The word diaspora was first used in John 7:35 to refer to the Jews who were dispersed and lived among the Greeks. In Acts 8:1-4, it is the Jewish Christians who were scattered because of the persecution of the church that began with the stoning of Stephen. In Acts 11:19 the word diaspora is used again in connection with scattered Jewish Christians who began sharing the gospel with Gentiles.


  • Friday, April 03, 2020 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Ben Jennings   Assimilation Pastor, Canton Baptist Temple, Canton, Ohio

    Being able to meet with your bible study groups has been a challenge over the last several weeks.  With many online options not providing an effective way for everyone to interact, Zoom and other conferencing platforms provide a unique opportunity.  Ben Jennings shares 6 steps that you can incorporate to make your Zoom meeting successful.

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