When talking with others about CB&J, the number one question that always comes up is, “How do you have time for this?!” For me, preparation is the key!
If I am really going to implement CB&J in our routine, I must make it a priority. At the beginning of each month, I take a few days where there is no pressure to do any CB&J activities. The only thing on my to-do list is dive into a study of our Bible story. Knowing of a story is one thing but knowing it well enough to teach, is another! I tell a story with more passion and excitement when I have spent time in the Word feasting on the truth!
For a couple of days, I simply read through the particular Bible story. This month, the story of Abraham and Sarah is one that I generally knew but was a little rusty on the details. It is longer and more spread out than most, so I wanted to make sure I had a solid understanding of all that was going on.
During my quiet time (whenever I can find it; varies from early in the morning to nap time to late at night), I write things down that stand out as new information I may not have known or simply forgotten. I also find myself asking a question that I learned from Krisi McClelland: “What does it teach me about God?” instead of “What does it teach me about me?”
This month I wrote down the following observations when reading about Sarah and Abraham:
- Sarah and Abraham were half brother and sister! (Terah was their father.) But, this makes sense, because there were not millions of people on the earth yet. Abraham was a ninth generation descendent from Shem, son of Noah.
- Abraham waited 25 YEARS for God to fulfill his promise!
- Abraham didn’t demand a timeline from God of when his promise would be fulfilled.
- Abraham was a pagan, following other gods, when God called him to leave his home and follow him! (Joshua 24:2-4) This is mind blowing. God truly calls and uses ordinary people to amazing acts of faith through His power.
- Abraham didn’t complain about how difficult it was to not have something everyone else seemed to have.
- My favorite nugget God revealed was how He continued to give Abraham reminders of his promise throughout the 25 years of waiting! He could have made the promise and been silent for 25 years, but God continued to give Abraham exactly what he needed to sustain him! He first said that he would make a great nation from Abram in Genesis 12:2. Then, when Abraham began his travel and arrived at the tree of Moreh the Lord appeared to him again and reassured him, “To your offspring I will give this land.” (vs.7) In Genesis 13:14, God told him again that his offspring would inherit the land. The Lord came to Abram in a vision (Genesis 15:1-5), through a “smoking firepot with a blazing torch” (Genesis 15:17) as he displayed his covenant with Abram, and He appeared to him again when he changed his name in Genesis 17:1. In Genesis 20:17, God answered Abraham’s prayer for healing, and FINALLY, Sarah gave birth to Isaac and the Lord’s promise was fulfilled in Genesis 21.
“And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” -Hebrews 6:15
After I study a story in my Bible, I try to read parts of a commentary or a book to learn more about the subject. This month, I read the chapter about Sarah in Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur. I also use this preparation time to gather up our Children’s Bibles and see which ones contain the story of Abraham and Sarah. Because my boys’ ages range from 3-7, I typically read to them from different Bibles. These are the Children’s Bibles we have that reference the story of Abraham and Sarah.
The lessons from Bible stories are truly meant to be the foundation for our CB&J efforts, so I strive to take intentional time preparing for this part (for me as much as my sons). I even practice telling the story out loud to myself and write notes to help keep me on track when I share it with the boys (and all the distractions that come along with trying to do so)!
Because our story this month takes place in the desert, I used sand to add a sensory aspect. After I teach a story, I like to try and read it from the Bible as many times as we can throughout the month. And on the last week of the month I ask the boys to tell me the story.
One other practical and important piece to preparation is making sure I have all the needed supplies for particular activities. Whether it’s ordering a few things off Amazon or putting in a pick-up order at Michael’s, gathering the needed supplies is essential. My hope is that one day in the near future, we can offer CB&J in a box where everything you need for an entire month’s activities will be delivered to your doorstep! Don’t forget to print your memory verses.
Lastly, I have started scheduling intentional time to simply be at home (even in light of the pandemic)! If I want my boys to enjoy learning about God’s character, then I need to provide opportunities for this to occur apart from distractions, hustle and bustle. Of course, there are great teachable moments outside our home. What better location to practice patience than sitting in traffic!? I have found, however, that when my schedule is filled with back to back playdates, errands, and events, I become stressed and my vision is blurred. Rather than seeking His kingdom first, I start comparing my life with others and outside voices (not God’s) become louder, convincing me that I have no time for CB&J and that life is just too busy. That is a LIE from Satan.
When God’s Word is on my heart and I am excited to share it, we have our needed supplies (or can easily find them or just make do), and we carve out time to simply be at home with no to-do list, we get to experience the most precious time together learning about our amazing God….even if it takes persistence and patience, doing so is worth the effort and wait!