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How to Study the Bible

with Nicole Unice

How to Study the Bible Episodes
Introducing: The Happy Rant Podcast
June 23, 2022 - 38 min
In this episode of the Happy Rant, Ted Kluck, Ronnie Martin, and Barnabas Piper wander to and fro through a variety of topics:

1. Who we are, a brief introduction for new listeners
2. What we love about podcasting together
3. How we would describe our show: The Seinfeld of podcasts, a Piper family dinner party, and a description to aspirational college students

Subscribe to Happy Rant:
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-happy-rant/id878250651
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3iIwABQZ3mTsFtOx6hOafX

Listen on LifeAudio: https://www.lifeaudio.com/the-happy-rant/episodes
Finding Security Despite Uncertainty (Re-Air)
June 20, 2022 - 12 min
This month we are re-airing Nicole’s 2020, 4-part miniseries called "Comfort in God’s Promises." We'll be using what we learned through the Alive Method of Bible Study in order to apply God’s never-changing truth to the ever-changing circumstances of our lives.

“When the things we have found our comfort and security in are failing, it is at that point Jesus invites us to go deeper with him.” - Nicole Unice

In this episode, Nicole walks us through Luke 5:4-11 using the Alive Method of Bible Study, guiding us to our true source of security when life is uncertain.

RESOURCES:
Help, My Bible Is Alive!: https://www.amazon.com/Help-My-Bible-Alive-Understand/dp/1641580216

Subscribe to Nicole’s weekly podcast, Let's Be Real: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-be-real-with-nicole-unice/id1505817001

FOLLOW NICOLE:

Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Finding Peace in Anxiety (Re-Air)
June 14, 2022 - 14 min
This month we are re-airing Nicole’s 2020, 4-part miniseries called "Comfort in God’s Promises." We'll be using what we learned through the Alive Method of Bible Study in order to apply God’s never-changing truth to the ever-changing circumstances of our lives.

“As a people of God, we are called to bold and courageous action. But when our lives get smaller and smaller because of the fear of what we think might happen, we actually are out of accord with God’s purpose and design for our lives.”

Fear is real, and it’s because we do have real things to be afraid of. But sometimes, our survival instincts, like fear, can begin to work overtime and unnecessarily become anxiety. In today’s episode, Nicole unpacks what to do when our fears become anxieties that begin to impact how we make decisions. If you struggle with anxiety, this is a must-listen episode.

This is episode #2 in Nicole's 4-part series "Finding Comfort in the Promises of God." You can listen to part one here: Finding Hope in Stressful Times

RESOURCES:
Help, My Bible Is Alive!: https://www.amazon.com/Help-My-Bible-Alive-Understand/dp/1641580216

Subscribe to Nicole’s weekly podcast, Let's Be Real: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-be-real-with-nicole-unice/id1505817001

FOLLOW NICOLE:

Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Finding Hope in Stressful Times
June 06, 2022 - 13 min
This month we are re-airing Nicole’s 2020, 4-part miniseries called "Comfort in God’s Promises." We'll be using what we learned through the Alive Method of Bible Study in order to apply God’s never-changing truth to the ever-changing circumstances of our lives.

In this episode, Nicole unpacks how to go to Scripture to find hope in stressful times. Learn what it looks like to "go back to home base” whenever you feel discouraged or confused.

Scripture References:
Matthew 13:44; Matthew 6:19-21; Ecclesiastes 2; Philippians 4:19

RESOURCES:
Help, My Bible Is Alive!: https://www.amazon.com/Help-My-Bible-Alive-Understand/dp/1641580216

Subscribe to Nicole’s weekly podcast, Let's Be Real: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-be-real-with-nicole-unice/id1505817001

FOLLOW NICOLE:

Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Stories Jesus Told: The Prodigal Son, Part 2 (Luke 15)
May 31, 2022 - 20 min
If you’ve been in the church or faith for a while, the temptation to believe “God, aren’t I good enough to get the best from you?” When we say that, we really mean what seems best to us. This is an easy but dangerous mindset for the “good person” to slip into.
In this last session in our Stories Jesus Told series, we are looking once again at the Prodigal of the Lost Son. But this week, we’ll be looking at the older son, the second half of this parable.

**1. WHAT DOES IT SAY?**

What a cliffhanger ending! A courageous conversation from the father, and we do not know if the older son accepts and receives this word from the father.

In the older brother’s heart is resentment and a refusal to go into the celebration. The younger son went far away in his heart and body. The older son went away in his heart and is now physically outside. The father goes to both, but the reactions of the sons are different.

The father’s posture toward both sons is continual generosity.

**2. WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?**

The older son always gets a double portion, which is not touched by the younger son. The anger, animosity and resentment are not because the younger brother swindled him.

**3. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?**

It is by grace we are saved. For the younger brother, the sin is obvious and so are the consequences of that sin. What’s less obvious is how sin interrupts the older brother’s life, but the consequences are there, too.

Who’s outside the party now?

The older brother fails to realize that “anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him” (1 John 2:9-11).

**4. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?**

In this story, the child closest to home is the one who has allowed sin to blind him from his own reality, from his own need for lavish grace.

How are you like the older brother, demanding the best from God (as defined by you)?

Are you willing to open your eyes to see the gift of right standing with God – or are you allowing comparison and resentment to keep you from the party?

***
Check out: Rembrandt’s ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’ - https://bit.ly/3PCQmkL

Check out Nicole’s book on this topic: Help! My Bible Is Alive: 30 Days of Learning to Love and Understand God’s Word - https://www.amazon.com/Help-My-Bible-Alive-Understand/dp/1641580216

FOLLOW NICOLE:

Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Stories Jesus Told: The Prodigal Son, Part 1 (Luke 15)
May 23, 2022 - 17 min
“We will find ourselves far from home all throughout life, because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The question is, when we find ourselves there, what will we do with grace?”

This is perhaps the most famous parable Jesus told. This week, we are looking at this story from the eyes of the father, and the eyes of the younger son.

Check out: Rembrandt’s ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’ - https://bit.ly/3PCQmkL

1. WHAT DOES IT SAY?

- The younger son says he wants his inheritance. This is egregious- who asks for their inheritance before the parent dies? But the father doesn’t protest – he gives the son his share of the inheritance.

- He leaves for a distant country and squanders it all. Then the country experiences a famine, and unprepared, he finds himself with nothing. He goes to feed pigs – an unclean animal to the Jews. He’s so hungry he wants to eat the food of the pigs. No one is there for him.

- Decides to go back to his father and beg to become his servant.

- The father sees the son, runs to him, kisses him, clothes him, and celebrates his return.

2. WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?

Jesus is telling stories of things people lose – and the final story is about an actual person who is lost.

3. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Our Heavenly Father is waiting for our return, scanning the horizon. He runs to us, full of compassion.

4. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?

What piece of this story can you relate to?
Are you trying to will yourself back to the good path?
Can you recognize yourself in the younger son? What will you do with the astounding level of grace and love God has for you?
We reap what we sow – what are we reaping in this life?

***
Check out Nicole’s book on this topic: Help! My Bible Is Alive: 30 Days of Learning to Love and Understand God’s Word - https://www.amazon.com/Help-My-Bible-Alive-Understand/dp/1641580216

Follow Nicole:
Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Stories Jesus Told: The Great Banquet (Luke 14)
May 16, 2022 - 19 min
A reminder: A parable is a story that tells us a spiritual truth.

The blessings of the kingdom are available to all who will come to Christ by faith. We have a part in accepting that invitation.

1. WHAT DOES IT SAY?

The question asked of Jesus: What does it mean to be righteous? What behaviors make you righteous? Jesus shocked them with a different way to see the kingdom.

The man preparing the banquet – God. This is God’s story.

Think about the excuses that were given – are they “good excuses”?

Jesus makes it clear that the kingdom of heaven is open for people who would not normally get an invitation.

2. WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?

Who was “one of those” – a prominent Pharisee
Where was the table? – the Pharisee’s house

3. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

It’s not about what you have to get invited, it’s about whether you say yes. The only ones left out are the ones who choose to be left out. The blessings of the kingdom are available by faith.

The inclusion of the Gentiles is a fulfillment of Hosea 2:23, “I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).


4. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?

We need to realize that as we become comfortable in our faith, as we are more and more surrounded by those who are also Christians, the edge of self-righteousness can creep in. Let’s not lose the spirit of the invitation!

God is seeking people intentionally and intensely seeking people for his kingdom. The people in Jesus’ time who wanted to put restrictions around who was invited were the ones Jesus directed these parables to.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER THIS WEEK:

Are we inadvertently putting up barriers between ourselves and other people, to say someone is in or out of the kingdom?

Am I more concerned with naming behaviors that help me know who is in or out of the kingdom? Or, am I more concerned with the heart of God, a God who is extending an intense and urgent invitation out into the world?

***
Check out Nicole’s book on this topic: Help! My Bible Is Alive: 30 Days of Learning to Love and Understand God’s Word - https://www.amazon.com/Help-My-Bible-Alive-Understand/dp/1641580216

Follow Nicole:
Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Stories Jesus Told: Asking God for Good Things (Luke 11:5-13)
May 09, 2022 - 17 min
“We do not become less needy and less dependent when we pray, we become more needy, more dependent, that is to say, more human.” - Eugene Peterson

God invites us into a relationship where we are more dependent on him, not less and less.

1. WHAT IT SAYS
One friend is needy and dependent on another. What makes the other friend finally get up? The persistent, shameless knocking.

2. WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?
This whole passage comes right after Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Now Jesus is telling a parable centered around one friend asking another friend for food.

3. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
God wants to meet us in the human stuff of life. He wants to meet our real needs. Above all, he gives the Holy Spirit.

When we ask for good things, he will not give us bad things. The best thing he can give us is the Holy Spirit.

4. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
Do we come to God more and more dependent? God is inviting us to become more and more dependent on him, not less. He is inviting us to become more aware of our need for him.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER THIS WEEK:

Have you found yourself no longer asking God for things in prayer? Have you stopped being shamelessly audacious? Are your dreams smaller and smaller? Are you less dependent and open to receiving from the Lord?

Perhaps God is knocking on the door of your heart to allow Him to give you good things. Be honest about your daily needs. And be confident that he meets those needs with a filling of the Holy Spirit.

***
Check out Nicole’s book on this topic: Help! My Bible Is Alive: 30 Days of Learning to Love and Understand God’s Word - https://www.amazon.com/Help-My-Bible-Alive-Understand/dp/1641580216

Follow Nicole:
Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Stories Jesus Told: Two Debtors (Luke 7 & Matthew 18)
May 02, 2022 - 20 min
This week, we’re looking at two different stories about debts owed, Jesus’ response to those debts, and our experience with forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not necessarily always mean the restoration of a relationship. If someone hurts you repeatedly, it does not mean you should put yourself in a position to be hurt again and again. But what God does call us to is forgiveness, because it is good for our souls.

When we are not forgiven, we are bound up, and when we are bound up, we are not receiving the mercy of God for ourselves. We’re not receiving the love of God for our deep debt.

--1. What Does It Say?--

In both stories, we have –

Two debtors: one who owes a little, and one who owes a lot.
A merciful king, willing to relieve the debt
A different way of receiving the forgiveness that is happening

--2. What Does It Mean?--

Forgiveness for us and to us is not optional in the Kingdom of God. Our relationship to forgiveness will be in direct proportion to our ability to love.

God gives two options in Matthew 18 – do you want justice or mercy?

--3. What Does It Mean for Me?--

God has called you to forgive because it is good for your souls, and because he wants you to receive forgiveness.

--Questions to consider this week:--
What would it look like for me to live with a heart of mercy?
Are there any places in my heart where I am harboring unforgiveness and hurt?
Do you want to live with your Father who is merciful, or your Father who is just?


***
Follow Nicole:
Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
Stories Jesus Told: The Neighbor (Luke 10:25-37)
April 25, 2022 - 18 min
Parable means “to throw alongside” – Jesus uses everyday stories to teach spiritual truths.

- 1. - What does it say:

This story is so familiar that even those outside of Christianity know and use the phrase “the good Samaritan.”

Who are the characters?

The lawyer – this was a religious leader whose job it was to interpret the Law for the people, to explain how to live righteously.

People groups called out – Jesus uses different people groups that would have a known context to his listeners and to provoke thought and engagement

- 2. - What’s the backstory:

Usually, the person in authority would ask the questions of the teacher, but immediately Jesus turns it on its head and asks the lawyer to answer the question.

To deal with anything “left half-dead” would make you unclean. The uncleanliness of helping a half-dead man would leave the religious leaders unable to perform their religious duties.

- 3. - What does it mean:

Both ‘neighbor’ and ‘love’ are redefined by Jesus in this parable. The expert correctly links the love of God and love of neighbor to each other, but Jesus redefines who was a neighbor, therefore expanding the love of God.

He is showing that religious duties are not as important as offering mercy to the people in your path.

- 4. - What does it mean for me?

The right question is not “who is my neighbor?” The right question is “who is being a good neighbor?” How can we “go and do likewise”?

Am I being a neighbor? Perhaps in big things, it would be easy, but what about in little things?

Neighbor is no longer defined by the other person, it’s defined by my action.

***
Follow Nicole:
Website: https://nicoleunice.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nicoleunice
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleunice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.unice/
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