We (the Colorado district) had our district finals yesterday, so congratulations to everyone on their awesome performances! I'm so excited for what next season will bring us, and how we can grow our district in the years to come! There is a lot of potential here :P
Today I'll be sharing something that's been on my heart for a while now, and that is, how Bible quizzing can inspire our personal walks with the Lord. And when I say "inspire" I'm referring to how benefits from quizzing can carry over into our spiritual growth, and relationship with our Father.
So here we go!
1. How Knowing the Word Inspires
For one, spending time in the Word and learning it is the main way that we plant good seeds in our hearts (just like the parable of the sower in the beginning of Luke 8), and in Romans, Paul says that faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Also, God often speaks to us through His Word, and that's awesome!
By knowing what the Word says, we're sharpening our swords as well - but just having a sharp sword doesn't mean you know how to use it, and I'll try to talk a little bit more about that later on.
2. How Meditating (thinking about, chewing on, etc.) on the Word Inspires
This is one of the ways we get that deeper meaning out of the Scripture. Of course, we all know that having our Bible study time/coffee with Jesus is important, and I don't think I have to defend that point :P But like I said in a previous post, head knowledge doesn't profit you anything eternal or anything worth this much effort - talking to Jesus about it and letting Him enrich and teach you through it is where the real reward is.
I included a link of a Bible study outline over our quiz material at the bottom of this post. I know there are a lot of options for Bible studies out there, but if you don't want to spend time searching for one, you can download the printable here :P It's very simplistic, focused and prayed-over format, which includes thought-provoking questions about the passage, and things to ask the Lord about.
3. How Applying the Word Inspires
Most of you have probably heard the phrase, "Fake it 'till you make it" but here's another one for you: "Faith it 'till you make it!" and yes, I know it's a little cheesy (:P) but it's so reflective of how we can grow with Christ! That being said, don't focus on works over relationship and your honest spiritual health, but don't be afraid to start walking out and putting into action what we're instructed to live like.
For instance, love is pretty much the most important thing we can walk in. But the only way we can live in love, is if we have gotten a revelation of how much God loves us. Again, most people have the head knowledge that, "yeah, I know Jesus loves me", but fewer people have gotten a real revelation that changes them from the inside out.
I really want to share my testimony about this, but I'll have to do it another time :P I mentioned it briefly in my "About Me" Page though, if you'd like to check that out.
Praying for people, being an encouraging voice and face, and just being bold enough to respond with Scripture or with whatever the Lord puts on your heart, can really make a difference! We're called to love each other as Christ loved us, and even though we won't do it perfectly, all the time, we can certainly let Him flow through us and keep growing towards His image.
What do you say? Are we going to let Bible quizzing flow into the other areas of our life? Lets get some eternal benefits flowing up in here! :D
Seriously, with the amount of effort we're seeing teens put in to learn the Word today, can you imagine what an effect our generation is going to have on the world, tomorrow?
So, for the take away - know the word and plant those seeds, water them through meditating on them from a spiritual point of view, and then apply it, and continue to live it out, and keep growing and being conformed to the image of Christ!
Love you guys, thanks for reading! Have an awesome break if your season is over, and I can't wait to see you next season! And if it's not, keep up the good work and know the eternal value your efforts are going to have for you and everyone you touch!
Keep calm and quiz on (and out)!
Your fellow quizzer,
Today I thought I would talk to you a little about "next level quizzing".
This can be both from the perspective of rising to your next level and improving yourself, or from the perspective of rising to the level of the best. Where are you in your goals right now? Where do you want to go? How hard are you willing to work?
Also, you may want to check out my post about different levels of quizzing which has correlating, color coated, printable study guides!
To me, there are three main areas in which we can focus on becoming better: studying, jumping, and answering questions.
Studying - Time, Quality, and making a Schedule
Time is essential; you may get a lot from the material from focusing well over short periods of time, but soaking in it is a good idea - especially for captains/co-captains (so that we get a deeper understanding of what's going on).
We need to make sure that the time we are spending studying is actually having an effect - that we not only have quantity, but also quality. If we're not paying attention, we might not get much (if anything) out of the session. A sacrifice of time, together with our full attention, can have some awesome results!
Making a schedule is also a good idea if you're having trouble getting into it. Knowing what to study and fun ways to do so is very helpful when you're struggling to find motivation. If you don't make a schedule regularly, my post "Composing a Simplistic Study Outline" would be a great place to start!
Jumping - Pre-jumping, Team Strategy, and Reflex/Timed Styles
Pre-jumping is a basic necessity for taking quizzing to the next level. It can seem a little daunting, since you have to finish the question and answer it, but after some practice it becomes a piece of cake! You have to get out of your comfort zone to pre-jump sometimes, and you have to assume that you know all the answers, so that you don't have to analyze it before you jump - as my old coach used to say, "Think on your feet, and not on your seat".
In tournaments, its a good idea to have a team strategy. For example, someone to jump on memory verses, someone to jump on according to's, generals, etc. so that everyone knows what to focus on in the quiz round. Also, team strategy through splitting up the questions helps the individual quizzers know what to practice/study, and helps the team to support each other and share the load against a good opponent.
The way I see it, there's two pre-jumping styles: reflex and timed. The timed-style is usually what the memory and according to quizzers use. They practice jumping on their question specialty, so that they jump right as the necessary information is revealed (i.e. just as the first syllable of the verse, or verse reference, is said) which is pretty consistent for these types.
The reflex-style, on the other hand, requires the quizzers who specialize in pretty much all other types of questions, to hear what the quiz master is saying, and then anticipate when the unique information will be given. For general questions, it can be anywhere from two to five syllables, for situation it can be as little as the first sound, and contexts are kind of unpredictable.
Question specialty - Why, How, and Studying Accordingly
Pretty much all of the top quizzers choose and focus on a specific question type, and we call that their question specialty. When you have one type of question to focus on, it makes practices more intense, study time more beneficial, and tournaments simpler. Also, you're better able to help your team, by giving them some near-guaranteed points per round, as the fruit of your work.
Most people find their question specialty either their first or second season, and that just by figuring out what they enjoy the most and what they're best at - and then they usually sick with and build on that for the remainder of their quizzing career. You can switch your question specialty later on (I'm focusing on according to's right now for my team, even though my original specialty was generals), but it can be difficult.
Of course, each question type requires slightly different skills, and many different ways to study and practice them. In my post about Behind the Scenes of Top Ten Quizzers, I asked five different people what their number one tip would be for their question type - two according to quizzers, two general question quizzers, and one memory quizzer. And since I specialized in generals, I wrote a Part 1 and Part 2 about how to rock those!
Taking yourself to that next level is definitely a challenge, but it's nothing you can't handle! I would encourage you, that while you're improving yourself, to not lose focus of why we're doing this.
In the end, the person who places thirtieth at a tournament could be getting more from the material, and growing more in their walk with the Lord through quizzing, than the person who gets first. Ask Him why He said what He did, and what those weird parables mean, why the drops of His blood and sweat had your name written on them.
When we do well in quizzing, as we're learning to do, we have to make sure that it's actually accomplishing some eternal good - or else it means nothing.
But the awesome news is, that once Jesus is the foundation and center of our motivation, quizzing becomes so much easier! It destroys any performance-related stress, gives the sport real purpose, and enables you to grow closer to God while participating in an awesome and fun ministry!
I hope that these things help you along on your quizzing journey, and motivate you to keep chugging along in your walk with the Lord! Thanks for reading!
Keep calm and quiz on (and out)!
Your fellow quizzer,
Hello beautiful people!
A few months ago, when we had just finished adding in Luke 12 to our quiz schedule, I did a post about my favorite parts (of the first half) of the material. And, as promised, I'm here again for Part 2 of that post, in which I'll be sharing with you my favorite parts of the second half of the material (Luke 13-24) and why they are such!
So here we go! And again, it was really hard to choose just three areas, but I did my best and I'll have the next runners up at the end of the post! :P
3. The Widow's Offering (Luke 21:1-4)
This is a very small section, but the message is huge! Jesus is telling his disciples that it doesn't really matter how much you give compared to everyone else. He is saying that what matters to Him is the state of our hearts - if we're committed to trusting Him with everything.
Messages directed at teenagers are often either from 1 Timothy 4:12, or about something similar to this. They may focus on the point that there's "really not much" that we as kids, can do for, or give to God right now, and that "that's okay" (as a comforting message).
But after really thinking and talking to God about it, I've come to the conclusion that I really don't agree with this philosophy at all, and that it can even be dangerous. When we accept the lie that there's not much or anything that we can do for God right now, we become complacent and too laid back.
We're not in a dress rehearsal, or a team huddle, my friends - we are in the performance, right now, today; we are in the middle of the final game. We can do things, we can start growing on purpose with a purpose right now, we can train to become soldiers for God - we can (and will) take the world by storm. But that does include making some sacrifices every once in a while.
Whether we like it or not, we're the next generation of the church. Sometimes we just have to sit down and let that fact sink in. Are we going to reach the world (God's beautiful children) with the good news of the kingdom of God, or are we going to fall into the muck of religion, and chase the world away with our inner strife and lack of joy as His body, the church?
Guys, I want you to know that we are not incapable of furthering His kingdom until we graduate from college and go full time into the ministry, or even until we're legal adults. Let's start the journey now; learn His Word, and how to operate in His kingdom, and start living in the gifts that He's given us.
But to do that, we do have to continually, consciously choose trust Him with everything we are, and everything we do - as the poor widow does in this passage.
2. The Blind Beggar/Zacchaeus (Luke 18:35-43/Luke 19:1-10)
In these two areas there's one main similarity that stands out to me; their desperation for Jesus. It makes me wonder if I want to see Him that much, if I am so committed, to the point that I don't care about what others think, or say to me.
Especially in the story about the Blind Beggar, it is very evident that he'd heard of Jesus and that he'd been wanting to see Him and get healed. He may have even dreamed about what exactly he would do if Jesus ever came his way.
And when Jesus finally did come, when He was passing right in front of him on the road, he called out for Him over and over and would not be turned away. Even when the people in the crowd were embarrassed about his outburst, even when they told him to be quiet because he wasn't worth it, even when it seemed like Jesus might not hear him or know he was there.
There is definitely something powerful about desperation when it's mixed with Jesus and His love and power. Are we desperate for Jesus today? Are we willing to give up certain things in order to spend quality time with our Father? Things like shows, video games, texting, social media, and pleasure reading?
I want you to know that I am just as guilty of indulging in these things as the next person, and I'm familiar with what it's like to feel like you've somehow stood Jesus up for your coffee/Bible study.
But today, let's throw our yesterdays into the past, where they should be, and look to our tomorrows with expectation of good. Lets press into the Lord this week - in His presence is fullness of joy!
3. Counting The Cost (Luke 14:25-35)
The first question that comes up in this section, is "Why would Jesus want us to hate our families, and ourselves?!". But He's not saying that - rather, that you must know that you know that when/if you're presented with the choice, you would choose Jesus and what He's told you to do, over your family and what they're telling you to do.
The second question, is the matter of carrying your cross. One way of looking at this is persecution - obviously the cross was the symbol of suffering, pain, and shame in their day, and so this makes sense. Jesus said that everyone would hate us because of Him, and that His road would not always be easy in our sin-ruled world.
But another view of what it means to carry your cross, equally valid, is just to be like Jesus. Yes, taking on the persecution like He did, but also the operating in the love in which He operated. We all know that Jesus died on the cross purely because of His love for us - He allowed himself to be beaten and mocked by the guards and sneered at by the rulers because He was so enthralled with the idea of how He would be able to love you afterwards.
But the thing, is that we're charged to love the world as well. That may not mean that we're going to go through all of the things that Jesus went through, but that same agape love is what causes people to lay down their lives in similar ways - even today.
Probably not physically, but if you're loud enough, and radical enough, people will socially crucify you.
Counting the cost of following Jesus isn't something necessarily fun to do. Most of what is included in the "cost" is not a pleasant thing to think about. But God waits for you to consider, and then make that decision.
Why is it important to do that? Because once you're investing all that you are in Christ, and loving the world as He did and does, no matter what may happen to you, you're going to be a force to be reckoned with - the devil will not be able to scare you away.
So there's my favorite parts of the second half of Luke! The other fierce competitors include, Jesus and the Little Children, all three of the parables about The Lost in chapter 15, the Parables of the Mustard Seed and Yeast, Jesus at Gethsemane, and the whole story of Peter denying Jesus.
Man, there's a lot of awesome stuff in Luke! :P
I hope you enjoyed the post, thanks for reading! And until next time, keep fighting the good fight, keep being the awesome you that our Father specifically designed you to be, and keep trusting and living in the promises the Lord has blessed us with! Love you guys!
Keep calm and quiz on (and out)!
Your fellow quizzer,
How are you today? What's God teaching you?
I wanted to talk to you guys today about... dun, dun, dun... MOTIVATION! Or inspiration, or zeal, or whatever you like to call it :P
To quiz, you must learn how to be self-motivated. Google definition (:P) for self-motivation: "Initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another's prodding or supervision" and that's pretty much the gist of it.
When you're self-motivated, you hit three birds with one stone (ouchy):
So it's really a win-win situation, because you aren't dependent on other people (most people don't like when they're leaned on all the time), and you'll learn some great life skills and build up your will power for when you grow up and are living in the real world.
So I'm going to show you some things I've learned, which motivate me to do my best, and try to become a better person and quizzer!
Whenever I really don't feel like getting down into Luke, or I don't feel like putting in the effort and setting aside an hour of my day for studying, I just remind myself of these things (usually only takes one or two of them to convince me :P) and I'm able to get to it! And, as a plus, I'm learning how to really enjoy it more consistently!
I've been trying to establish for myself, through the Word, a good foundation of... 1) who I am in Christ, 2) where I want to go in my life, 3) how hard I'm willing to work in order to get there, 4) how big I'm willing to dream, and 5) how much of the past I'm willing to let go of. And all of these work together to form excitement for my future (motivation) and ability to work harder while I'm in high school, and setting my life into motion.
But in regard to quizzing, keeping track of how you're doing is essential if you want this point to make a difference. Know how far you've come, congratulate yourself in view of your progress, keep your eyes on the future (what you want from it) and know that you are capable of attaining it. And finally, realize and remind yourself everyday that every hour, every effort, counts. Know your worth, and your potential!
Don't you dare look at yourself through your own eyes, or through the eyes of others: see yourself as God sees you!
There's really two different areas in which we can do this: competition and attitude. Moving up to Colorado has played a pretty big part in how this now motivates me to be a better quizzer.
If I can be completely transparent with you guys, I seriously considered quitting the sport, a few weeks after moving up. And that was partly because I was intimidated by the idea of being the "grandma" (as we joked about in south Texas) of the district.
I didn't think I was good enough, to be a mentor or an example, I think is the kindest way to put it. But I came to learn that all I have to do is focus on myself (more on this here), encourage and build up these incredible kids, and then they take that and fly away with it!
With some help from a few old friends, I finally reached the conclusion that being the best version of myself, working hard and doing my best, involuntarily enables me to better lead/direct the newer quizzers in my district.
Obviously, making it fun is something that each quizzer will have to figure out how to do for their particular personality. Some people find it more enjoyable to sit down with a nice drink and kind of chill while they study, and other people like to get their heart pumping and workout or dance around and sing between reading/quoting verses. But the possibilities are endless, as to how you can manipulate your study time into something that you genuinely enjoy and look forward to.
I'm obviously still working on this, and it's hard sometimes to come up with a way to make it fun, just because of all the extra brain power we're using to get through high school (or middle school). A good idea, one that's helped me, is to sit down on a Saturday, and just brain storm all of the different ways that I can try to add caffeine (figuratively.... most of the time) to my study sessions.
I write these down, and then work through the list during the week. And it is trial and error - not everything you come up with is going to be the best thing that ever happened to your quizzing study :P But occasionally, you will come across those golden nuggets that you can use over and over an over again!
So that's all I have for you guys today! I hope that these keys help you to find your spark of motivation, especially as a few of the regions are already starting the long, quiz-dry period before nationals at the end of June.
Keep your head up! God loves you and He's got AMAZING plans for every single one of you! You guys are world-changers! I pray peace over your week, joy, and supernatural boldness so that you can be the lion He created you to be! Thanks for reading!
Keep calm and quiz on (and out)!
Your fellow quizzer,
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Mallory is a sixth-year Teen Bible Quizzer originally from the Southern region, and now in the Northwest, quizzing over the book of John with her three younger siblings. <3
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