Traci Martin, Author at Big Dream Ministries
Big Dream Ministries exists to help people understand the Bible as God's amazing Word and help them apply Biblical truth to their daily lives. We do this by offering studies that drive people to the Scriptures for answers and equipping leaders with excellent resources to reinforce learning.
The Amazing Collection, Bible study, Know the Word, Biblical Truth
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Author: Traci Martin

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You know how Saturdays are! Before starting any fun activities, you have a list of “must-do” chores that need be finished to make your work week flow smoothly. My husband and I had that kind of day recently. We were plowing through the last of our chore list before winding down to shower and watch a movie. My final task of putting away clean laundry and tidying the closet was underway. Without any warning or storm to blame, the electricity went out. After checking out any possible causes within our home, we realized the power outage was a problem with the whole neighborhood, and we called the electric company. It would be hours before it would be restored. It was starting to get dark outside so I got out our flashlights. They were small, but bright. Without thinking about it, I stood one of the flashlights on its end on the counter. The tiny beam of light suddenly illuminated the entire room as it bounced off of the white ceiling. It was great! Since a movie was now out of the question, we were able to enjoy reading our books from the glow of the single flashlight.

How impactful the small light became when it was positioned to maximize its purpose!

It reminds me of how much the dark world needs the Light of the world. We hear, or even experience for ourselves, news of loved ones getting a diagnosis that is not promising, of an addiction that causes families to crumble, or even destroyed relationships due to unreconciled strife. The list is endless of all the heaviness people deal with on a daily basis. However, as believers we have access to the Light people desperately need in our world. The Light of the world is Jesus (John 8:12).

The Bible teaches who Jesus is and provides wisdom to live in the light. Knowing Jesus makes a difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” – Matthew 5:14-15

As a believer, you are a light-bearer of Christ! You can make a difference by helping those around you see their situations a little more clearly.  As you prepare to attend or lead a Bible study this fall season, consider sharing the Light with others by inviting those in your sphere of influence to join you in learning the Bible. Open the doors to those who are not believers, those who may be seeking, those who are hurting, or those who may need a friend.

Adopt an attitude of “the more the merrier.”  You may never realize the impact of your willingness to put the “Light of the world” on a stand for all to see.  Use your neighborhood bulletin board, social media group, or local newsletter to invite others to join you.  Even better, send personal invitations to those you know.  People will respond more positively to an invitation than simply seeing a posting about the details.  We often hear testimonies of people who attended a Bible study only because a friend invited them, but they ended up loving the Word and the Lord.

To help facilitate sharing your BDM study, we have a brand new Facebook group called “Find a Study.” We encourage you to share your study information in this group or you can contact our office via email or phone with information about your study and how others should contact you. We regularly receive calls from people looking for a study in their area. Hopefully this information will be useful in pointing others to nearby studies that they can attend. Imagine how much darkness would be overcome if we all remove the basket from our study time and invite even more to join us. It is amazing how powerful a small light will be when placed for many to see!


A Father’s Masterpiece

A son, grieving the loss of his father, began the arduous task of cleaning out his father’s German home and art studio. His tiny home was crammed with the treasures of his craft – paints, brushes, canvases, and books. Willy Wiedmann developed a style of art called polycon, a unique flowing art form with straight lines and sharp angles using vibrant colors woven together to tell a story. His son always admired his father’s work and appreciated his contribution to the art world, but he was not prepared for the discovery of his father’s masterpiece in the attic – the entire Bible painted in his iconic polycon style.  The pages for each book of the Bible were folded in an accordion fashion and then individually bound. His son, overwhelmed by the beauty of the Biblical artwork, shared the collection with the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. Understanding the rare treasure in their possession, the museum curators created a special exhibition to showcase the work.

One-of-a-kind Bible is over a mile long

Recently, our family traveled to the nation’s capital to visit the museum and had the opportunity to participate in the unfolding of this one-of-a-kind Bible. Each of the Bible books had been connected together and loaded on a specially designed cart. Hundreds of volunteers were arranged around the Lincoln reflecting pond at the National Mall as the organizers slowly pushed the cart, unfolding the illustrated Bible as it was distributed to the waiting volunteers.  All stretched out, the Wiedmann Illustrated Bible is over a mile long.

All of the participants were trying to pinpoint the section of the Scripture they were holding. Because of the unique and somewhat abstract style, it was hard to say, especially without the ability to see the whole context of what was in our hands. Across the reflecting pond, we could see the mixture of colors the artist used, vibrant colors mixed with deep dark tones. We were grateful the museum had a team in place to answer our questions. It turns out that the vibrant rainbow of colors represented the garden and Psalms. The bright light colors expressed the work of the Holy Spirit, while the deep, dark tones indicated sin and pain. Collectively, it was absolutely striking! Not one section could be eliminated; each panel was necessary to tell the beautiful and complete story.

It was a magnificent story of a son revealing his father’s work.

It took over an hour to unfold all of the pages of this unique work of art. However, when the last panel was given out, there were loud shouts of victory. We had remained to see the whole project completed. Wiedmann’s son was present at this historic event in Washington D.C. to see his father’s artwork shared. It was a magnificent story of a son revealing his father’s work.

But more than that, seeing the illustrated Bible fully unfolded gives us a glimpse of our heavenly Father’s view. It is the whole story of redemption – the light and happy events of life interwoven with the deeply painful moments, unfolded to reveal His complete story of redemption in our lives. Our stories remain incomplete until the Son reveals His masterpiece in our lives.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

 

Learn more about the Wiedman Bible at https://youtu.be/0kxXiqb5upU

A Testimony from Rachel Coward about The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book
I spent most of my quiet time in the summer of 2015 asking God for real connections with other believers. We had found a church home at Gateway’s Southlake campus, but I still felt like a random face in a sea of faces. I had been saved for many years but after having my daughter, I started pursing God with a new passion. I wanted more than church on Sundays, and I wanted friendships that were centered around God. Week after week, I made my requests to God – Lord please send me friends who desire to know you more…who will be real…who will accept me.
Each week at church, I would hear the senior pastor say – get plugged in – find a small group… so in a big leap of faith and discomfort, I decided to flip the switch, turn off my pride, and go where I felt like God was leading me.
On a Tuesday morning in September 2015, I walked the sidewalk to a complete stranger’s door and pulled up a chair. I sat in a room full of people I didn’t know, and God happened. I knew instantly that while I might not “know” these ladies it was clear that I was in the right place. I can tell you with complete clarity that I didn’t see myself doing a full study of the Bible. In fact, once I found out it was a 3-year study, I quickly felt overwhelmed and a little out of my element. Some days I would show up and it felt like I knew nothing, but I kept reading and pressing in to God’s word. Each week I learned something about God, myself, and how I saw God.
During the first year of TAC, I wrote these words in my Bible – Return from Exile. As I studied more of God’s word, I knew he was speaking to me specifically about my mother and the pain and rejection I felt surrounding her illness and death. God was changing things in my heart and part of me wanted to run. Instead, I kept reading…
In the final year of the study, as we read 2 Timothy and Paul’s instructions on endurance these words from one of the daily lessons stood out to me: Both community and solitude are used by God in our lives to fashion us into the kind of people he wants us to be (Workbook 10 at page 61). And there it was…the thing that had caused me to separate and isolate myself from people was the thing that God used to heal me. Book by book, word by word, He put the pieces back together. Those 3 years played out differently for everyone, but many of the women from The Amazing Collection study have become close and dear friends – truly answered prayer.
It is hard to put in to words what reading the Bible and working through The Amazing Collection study has done for my life, my walk with God, and my desire to be n God’s word. It is a true study of the Bible, but it’s so much more. From the workbooks, to the personal testimonies shared on the videos each week, the curriculum leads you through God’s word in a way that connects the dots.
I am currently leading year one of The Amazing Collection, and I am excited about the Bible in a way I never dreamed possible. The Bible is so much more than an interesting collection of stories. It’s my prayer that more women can experience a revival in their love for God’s word. The Amazing Collection facilitated that for me and I am thankful that I can do the same for others.
For information about Gateway Church, visit their website at gatewaypeople.com

For information about The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book visit our preview page at https://www.bigdreamministries.org/preview-materials/the-amazing-collection/

 

 

 

 

Almost daily we receive questions about our newest study, The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ. It is exciting to hear how many people are looking forward to learning more about Jesus.  We are making the study available to you as soon as it is ready.

Status by Product

The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ Workbook – Part 1

  • Status: Currently in stock with thousands more being delivered the first week of August

The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ DVD Set – Part 1

  • Status: Currently in stock

The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ Digital Streaming – Part 1

  • Status: Currently available on bigdreamministries.org/product-category/digital-streaming

The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ Workbook – Part 2

  • Status: Limited quantities of the first edition are currently in stock.
  • The final round of copyediting is completed and will be delivered to the printer by the end of July.

The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ DVD Set – Part 2

  • Status: The filming is complete and post-production edits are anticipated in autumn.

The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ Digital Streaming – Part 2

  • Status: The videos will be uploaded for streaming following the post-production edits.

Pricing for the Study

  • Workbooks

o   $24.50 direct from Big Dream Ministries

o   $25.99 online from Amazon

  • DVD Sets – 12 video lessons and 1 workbook

o   159.99

  • Digital Streaming

o   $7.50 each lesson

You are going to be blessed by participating in this study. Reach out to us if you have any further questions about The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ.

Bible study “season” is upon us and soon, women from every stage in life will walk through the doors of our churches and homes for an encounter with the living God. We will experience so many needs and personalities; it could almost be overwhelming – a lot like a puzzle when you first dump it out on a card table.

It takes patience and time for those pieces to start to make sense. Some frame the scene, others bring color, still others make up the background you don’t always notice right away. Wherever the specific piece fits, it’s undeniable each one is needed, or the picture is not complete.

As leaders of women and ministry, we already know the “big picture” – that God’s Word is the key to our relationship with Jesus. But we may not realize how important each little “puzzle piece” is to our growth in Christ.

The body of Christ is about more than just getting together on Sundays and drinking coffee, singing songs, hearing a sermon, and going home. We have deep, eternal, significant work to do when we are together – any time we are together. It is mysterious and at the same time, completely tangible.

We need Truth. And we need to know and love God more. But we also need each other. Did you know that? No one likes to be needy. And sometimes, we don’t want to be needed! But, we need each other because of what – and Who – is inside us. We have a gift to give and that gift can only be given and received when we are together. (Facebook and FaceTime don’t count. This means face to face!)

Peter explained this truth for us in 1 Peter 1:3-7:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

This is a beautiful reminder of who we are and where we are bound. But let’s focus on the word “various” in verse 6 … in “various trials.” Various in the Greek is poikilos and means “existence in various kinds or modes, diversified, manifold, variegated, many colored.” Even “woven or embroidered.”

 We see this word often in the Gospels, when Jesus healed the sick with various diseases. His grace and power were sufficient for every single one. The word is also used secularly, as a descriptive in nature. The spots on a leopard. The plumage of a peacock. The glint of granite. It can also describe the character of something or someone that’s complex, clever, or resourceful. This is a beautiful concept layered with meaning.

We are promised trials many times in Scripture. We aren’t told how often or what kind, but we do get to know something of the greater purpose. Verse 7 tells us we are grieved by these various trials, “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Greater future glory for Him and for us!

Peter leads us onward in 4:10, where we receive our “horizontal” high calling:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

There’s that word again. Varied, various … poikilos. So, our trials are various –multicolored, diverse, complex. Could it be that Peter is saying God’s grace is as well? Yes. That is exactly what he is saying.

Here’s William Barclay’s thoughts on this:

“To speak of the grace of God as poikilos means that there is no color in the human situation which the grace of God cannot match. And no possible problem can arise to which the grace of God cannot supply the solution. There is no possible set of circumstances, no possible crisis, emergency or demand through which the grace of God cannot find a way, and which the grace of God cannot triumphantly deal with and overcome. There is nothing in life with which the grace of God cannot cope. There is a grace to match every trial, and there is no trial without its grace.”

But wait – there’s more! Note the context of “varied” in verse 10. Could this mean that we are somehow involved in dispensing the very grace of God to one another? Scripture could not be more clear.

You have a treasure inside you – a gift given at the moment of your salvation. But unlike presents under the tree, this isn’t a gift for you. It is a gift for everyone else. Someone needs the grace that has been entrusted to you. And each gathering is a joyful opportunity to give it away.

So when you come to Bible study each week, you are so much more than a participant or a leader. As a believer, you are a steward. An ambassador. An overseer. A custodian.

As stewards of God’s grace, we should show up anytime we meet as believers – or anytime we meet with anyone – and instead of thinking, as we are all prone to do, “Here I am! Who’s going to say hi to me? Who’s going to ask how I am? Who’s going to notice me?” our spirit-led attitude and renewed mind must think instead, “There you are! I’m going to reach out first; I’m not only going ask how she is, I’m going to listen to what she says. Humble me, Lord. Use me and the grace you have deposited inside me to love and encourage and point someone to Your Son today.”

His Spirit is dwelling in and among us even now. And each of us possesses a supernatural gift, provided by our heavenly Father, intended to strengthen other believers with His sovereign grace. I need you. You need me. We need each other. We can choose each day to participate in His beautiful plan of restoration and blessing. What a privilege to be a vessel through which God’s infinite, abundant grace is poured out unceasingly on His people!

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Harley with Jennifer McClish, Fay Runnion, and Kellye Rickman.

She was a prayer warrior. As a Bible study teacher, she prayed for all of her students. She kept her heart open for God to show her who to invest into their lives in order to raise them up to walk in the same spiritual footsteps. Eleanor Lewis, one of our founding teachers, recognized three women in particular who had a love for the Word, an eagerness to learn to more, and a willingness to share what God was doing in their hearts. These three women, Jennifer McClish, Kellye Rickman, and Fay Runnion did not see themselves as Bible study teachers, yet because of the investment Eleanor made in their lives, all of them are now teachers for Big Dream Ministries.

Throughout Paul’s letters in the New Testament, we can see how he understood and taught this principle of duplicating yourself for the sake of the gospel.  Jesus called Paul to take the message into the nations, yet he was only one person. Paul intentionally invested time training and encouraging teachers of God’s Word as a way to multiply his effectiveness. He did this by sharing what he has gone through for the sake of the gospel and how to live in light of eternal salvation by the grace of Christ. Paul goes so far to say, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Paul was a teacher of the Scriptures who expected the hearers to grow in their own knowledge of the Word. The author of Hebrews expects knowledge to progress from being a student to becoming a teacher (5:12-14). Yet, the book of James warns that not all should become teachers because of the high standard which must be held (3:1). As a Bible study teacher, God calls you to lead others to a deeper understanding of who He is by teaching His Word. It is an honor and an incredible responsibility!

Whether teaching 1 person or 1000, teachers are accountable for how they handle the Scriptures. We need to keep the Writings within their original context while being able to provide current applications. Additionally, we want to help our students mature from a basic knowledge to a deep love and understanding of the Bible – perhaps so they will also desire to share what they have learned with others. Is there someone in your sphere of influence that you recognize as having the potential to grow into the role of teacher? Think of the impact in their life and your ministry!

At Big Dream Ministries we are dedicated to providing materials and training to equip your Bible study teaching and discipleship of others. Our studies have been used for over 15 years to help teach every book of the Bible and our training conference provides the skills and confidence teachers need to accurately present the Word in any environment the Lord has called them to lead. Consider us your partner in your efforts to educate others in the Word of God.

For information about our studies or the upcoming conference in April 2018, visit us online at www.BigDreamMinistries.org.

In observance of Easter, the Big Dream Ministries business office will be closed from March 30th through April 5th. All phone and online orders placed during this time will be shipped when the office reopens on Monday, April 6, 2015.

Easter Hours