We've had questions about the Journey into Faith eDevotional series. Here are some answers to the ones we hear most often:
Q: Why was this devotional developed?
A: The two authors realized that there was a need to do such a study with each of their sons as a step in preparing them to enter the world as men of God that were grounded in His Word. The desire was for all of us to understand and incorporate the characteristics of a Godly man and to be better bonded as fathers and sons in the process..
Q: Are there other studies out there similar to this one?
A: When we initially looked for a study of this type, neither of us could find a single devotional designed for fathers and sons to do together. The Journey into Faith eDevotional was developed to fill this role. At this time we are not aware of another similar devotional in this genre.
Q: Why is this a weekly versus daily study plan?
A: While a daily devotional may fit for an individual’s schedule, coordinating two (or more) busy schedules with 1) time alone with the study, usually 30 minutes and 2) another 30 minutes spent together, made a weekly study more realistic. Starting each week’s study with the previous lessons ‘Thoughts for the Week Ahead’ section, reinforces the last week’s concepts. The current week’s ‘Questions for Discussion’ moves into reflection on the lesson each of you read and reflected on that week.
We should keep in mind that many times we walk away from a class, lecture or sermon with only one or two key points that stay with us. This study isn't a theology course for you or your son, and we try not to make it into one. The Journey into Faith series is a chance to ponder some of the qualities that can shape us into the men we want to become as we mature. If we can take one or two Biblically sound action items into each week, think of the positive change and growth over the course of a year!
Q: Why is the eDevotional in a workbook format?
A: In this type of ‘reflect and discuss’ study it is helpful to have a section at the end of each lesson to write down your thoughts, with questions that probe your understanding, and that invite discussion. The format helps to organize your learning as you go along, and facilitates going back later to review key concepts. Simply reading a few pages of a devotional without personalizing your understanding doesn’t stick with you near as well.
Q: How were the weekly topics chosen?
A: We undertook a lengthy review of Scripture, looking for the character qualities that describe a man of God, as well as Biblical examples of men who lived those qualities. We also searched for other pertinent topics aimed at spiritually grounding young men entering into adulthood. Its amazing how those same topics applied equally to fathers! After much prayer, we chose the fifty two topics found in the Journey into Faith eDevotional, and developed a year’s worth of weekly lessons. Obviously, there are many other lesson topics that could be substituted or added. We hope to do that with time, and eventually expand the lesson plan.
Q: What are the weekly topics?
A: Click here to see all 52 of the current weekly topics.
Q: How long should the weekly study take?
A: We attempted to take big topics and concentrate them into a few pages that could be read by each individual through the week in ~30 minutes, and then discussed together in about 30 minutes, depending on the topic and the interaction between participants.
Q: How will this study help my son grow?
A: The process of challenging young men of this age with these topics, then listening to their answers and the depth of their understanding is very enlightening. The material is designed to provoke them to think about the topics in a new and challenging way. Sometimes we assume too much as to what they know of spiritual things. Asking them to explain their thoughts in the process of discussion will stretch them mentally and spiritually. And many times, we don’t really know what we think or believe until we write it down, or say it aloud.
Q: Why is this type of study so important?
A: One of the greatest responsibilities as a parent is our accountability to the Lord to raise them in the knowledge of His Word. This is discussed in Deuteronomy 6. If a young man is not grounded in the Word, not knowing what he believes and why, he is set up for spiritual failure on the path ahead. Our world is genuinely hostile to true Christianity. Whether we’re in the university or the workplace, we need the internal qualities and the external tools to be true ambassadors of Christ’s’ love and truth.
Q: How can I get my son to agree to taking this on?
A: There are multiple ways to encourage your son to give a personal devotional a go; but to start with, he needs to know that a devotional study and the material in it is important to you. Share your desire for the both of you to grow in becoming the man that God intends for you to be.
It is also helpful to admit that you haven’t mastered all the key answers to life’s questions, but you do know where they can be found, and that you would like to get closer to him through that process.
Q: What if I have no training in Biblical studies?
A: Whether you have a PhD. in Biblical studies or barely a high school education, neither is a barrier to this devotional series.. We purposely wrote the devotional in such a way that the subject matter could be understood and studied by anyone, regardless of background. Who knows, your son may even have more Biblical knowledge than you, but he doesn’t have the life experience, knowledge and wisdom you have with your added years, whether you did it right with each life decision, or not. Your experiences will add a dimension to the discussion section with a perspective he would otherwise never have considered if doing a devotional alone.
Q: Could my son be too young or too old for this study?
A: We designed the study for advanced younger adolescents (12-13), up to young adults. Some of the topics may not be as appropriate or fruitful for discussion at ages younger than 14. Take a look at the sample weekly lesson we sent you. Between reading comprehension and emotional maturity, you can sense if your son is ready for this level of devotional study. The question could also be directed to you as well. Too young? Doubtful there. Too old? We’ve had men in their 70s and 80’s going over these studies with either their grandsons or boys and young men that they were mentoring.
Q: What if I believe I’ve already covered these topics in the past with him?
A: Unless you have covered these subjects within the last year or two with your adolescent son or young man, you need to reconsider. What a child learns as a child is limited as to the depth of his understanding. When he travels into the adolescent years he begins to reconsider the beliefs he has grown up with and either rejects them, or reaffirms and strengthens them. The purpose of the study is to support the latter choice. Having covered some of these topics with a 7 or a 10 year old in the past is far different than discussing the same with a young man in high school or college years. Additionally, some of the topics discussed don’t lend themselves to young ears.
Q: My schedule is very tight. Is this the best use of my time with this type of format?
A: For this very reason, this eDevotional could be ideal for you. We have put in the time to go through the Word and select out topics that will benefit you and your son. On your own it would take considerable time to select the topics for him and then do the Biblical study in preparation. The questions we present at the end of each lesson were designed to be a springboard for meaningful discussions between you and your son. Those discussions are for you to individualize, the rest has been put together for you, which makes the most efficient use of your time.
Q: Who are the authors?
A: Paul Brillhart and Jeff Baker have been friends and medical colleagues for 35 years. Paul has one son, and Jeff has a son and four daughters. Each has a faith walk of 45+ years, and they have drawn on lifelong personal, ministry, medical and spiritual experience and insight to team in writing Journey into Faith.
Q: Why a 52 week series in email format?
A: We put Journey into Faith out first in a printed workbook and then in a Kindle book version, but we soon realized that there were drawbacks with each of these. We all know that we have purchased books before with good intentions to dig in and read them through. All too often and for various reasons they got put on a shelf and collected dust until we rediscovered them again, usually much later. With the email format, you will receive a weekly email with an introduction to the lesson, which is attached as a pdf, as a reminder that it’s time for the next lesson. We have found that one is far more likely to stick with the program when prompted weekly in this way. Another advantage is that by sending it in a PDF format, you are able to download it and then directly print it out, making copies for both you and your son(s). This is far more cost effective for you. At $24.95 for a year's eDevotional vs. two printed Journey into Faith workbooks from Amazon at $19.95 each, you cut your cost considerably. If you have two or more sons, the savings goes up proportionally. Jacob could have covered all twelve sons for $24.95! We do ask that you print copies only for those you mentor personally.
Q: What do I need to do to get started?
A: Click through to our website on the button below, place an order, and check your Inbox to begin!