Written by Ryan Morris
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
We have now completed the first week of the Foundry Bible Immersion Program – a ten-week program in which we read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, go deep into important Biblical topics with the amazing pastoral staff at Immanuel Bible Church, and evangelize at local college campuses. I don’t think I quite had a grasp on what it meant to be “Immersed” until about halfway through this first week. It seems that virtually from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep I’m either reading my Bible, learning about God, talking about God, or sharing the gospel. And I am so thankful for every second of it. Here are the highlights of our first week…
We start each morning with a time of learning, worship, and prayer. Each day of the week we have a different pastor leading us, and there isn’t a better way to start the day. David Jones’s devotional on Monday struck a personal chord with me. He led us through the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, and we compared Cain’s opinion of worship with Abel’s attitude of worship. Cain brought forth his offering out of obligation, not out of love, whereas Abel brought forth his best possible offering. We learned it’s the same way when we worship. This devotional really challenged me to think about where my heart is when I am worshipping. David shared a quote by Martin Luther with us: “God is not interested in any works if it is not done out of love.”
Two hours each day are devoted to reading God’s word. During our first week, we read from Genesis 1 to Leviticus 5, and it is so amazing to read so much of God’s word in such a short amount of time. In these first few books of our Holy Bible, a few of God’s amazing qualities have been very apparent:
- God’s sovereignty
From the first verse in Genesis, it is so evident that God has a perfect plan. Whether it’s God prophesizing about His Son’s coming triumph over Satan in Genesis 3:15, or God allowing Joseph to be sold into slavery so he could eventually save all of Egypt from a great famine, it’s crystal clear that God is working everything, whether big or small, for His glory, and for the good of those who love Him.
- God’s patience
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” –Genesis 6:5
Even just six chapters into the Bible, man is consumed by evil, yet God is patient. And as the reading went on, there was a very stark contrast between man’s lack of faith, and God’s faithfulness. As Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, it appeared they had no faith in God’s ability to provide, yet God continued to be faithful and provide anyway.
- God’s great power
He created a universe that is too big and beautiful and complex to comprehend in six days. He parted the Red Sea in order to deliver his people from Pharaoh. He can harden hearts (Exodus 10:20), close wombs (Genesis 20:18), and make bread rain from the sky (Exodus 16:4). God is great and His power is beyond understanding.
How to Study The Bible
After lunch, we have two hours of class. Every week we have a different pastor teaching us and a different subject, and this first week we had the honor of learning from Pastor Bob Hartman. He taught us on how to study the Bible. We started off learning about how we got the Bible, why we can trust it, and what it’s about, and then the last three days we learned some practical ways to improve our Bible Study. It was amazing to take a passage I thought I knew well, only to dig deep into it and to realize that my understanding was just scratching the surface.
We had two opportunities to evangelize on college campuses this week – Monday at George Mason University and Wednesday at Northern Virginia Community College. When we first stepped on that George Mason campus, I thought there was no way anyone was going to take time out of their busy days to stop and talk about the Gospel, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sure, there were a couple students who had to hurry to class or didn’t want to talk about “religion,” but the vast majority of people that we talked to were very open to discussion. We heard all sorts of different formulas that people thought could get them into heaven, but it seemed that everyone we talked to was trusting in some sort of their own works or deeds. However, by God’s grace a lot of people heard the true Gospel this past week, so we could use prayer that God will open their eyes and work in their hearts.
We are blessed to have most of our dinners at the homes of some amazing families in the church. Every time we go to someone’s house for dinner, I am absolutely blown away by their hospitality, love for God, and, of course, their culinary skills. This program wouldn’t be possible with out the generosity and sacrifice that so many families in the church are making, and we are so thankful for them. We could use prayer for the Good family, the Leach family, the Faught family, and the Pinkley family, thanking them for opening up their homes and spending time with us, and prayer that God will continue to bless and watch over them.
Last but not least, I have had the pleasure of sharing all these experiences with six great children of God. We are together for most of our waking hours; we eat together, buy groceries together, and it’s already starting to feel like a big, happy family. On Saturday, all seven of us went to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (a.k.a. the Air and Space Museum) in Chantilly. The planes were so interesting, but what struck me the most was the exhibits focusing on the Universe. There is so much beauty in our Universe, and all I could think of was Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (verse 1) We also had the pleasure of spending dinner on Saturday with the Standridges, the highlight of which was an authentic Italian dinner prepared by Jordan Standridge himself. I am so thankful for my fellow FBI students, and am so excited to get to know them over the next nine weeks. We could use prayer that God will continue to grow us closer to each other, that our love for God and our love for each other will grow, and that we will glorify God in everything that we do.
After this first week, I am even more excited and thankful for this program than when we started. Absolutely everything has blown away my expectations. My fellow students are amazing, our host families are so hospitable, and the teaching is so helpful. Sometimes it feels like a fire-hose of great information is being blasted into our faces, but I feel like my knowledge of the Bible and love for God has increased exponentially in just this first week. We are so thankful for everyone involved in the program, and can’t wait to continue to share our experiences as the weeks go on!