The Bible says you are the “apple of His eye.” It refers to the “pupil” of the eye, which is most precious. You are precious to God! That is the way God “sees” you. It is why He sent Jesus to die for you.
There is another kind of “pupil” in our language. A pupil is a student, someone who is learning, someone who is growing—sometimes called a disciple. Second Peter 3:18 says, “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The Apple a Day Challenge is a unique approach to spiritual growth. There are many great Bible studies available. Most start with a verse from Scripture. Some add a practical application portion at the end by providing content or questions for thought or discussion. An Apple a Day is organized opposite of that approach. It provides a daily reflection about the challenges of life. Like reverse engineering, this approach reverses Scripture application: (1) the challenge, (2) a “prescription” to learn God’s approach, and (3) support from Scripture.
The Apple a Day approach is a user-friendly daily dose of “inductive” Bible teaching applied to the challenges of life. Each day includes a prescription for spiritual living. It is a daily spiritual vitamin that promotes mission health while strengthening your spiritual immune system.
Consider the well-known story of Jesus and the little children. Instead of teaching doctrine of how He loves little children, or beginning a sermon about “faith as a little child,” the Scripture introduces us to a narrative, a real scenario. (1) Children come to Jesus. (2) The disciples see them as an interruption. (3) Jesus says, “Permit the little children to come to me.” Then, Jesus gets to the “logical” point: (4) “Unless you receive God’s Kingdom like a child, you will not enter it” (Mark 10:13-15). We call it childlike faith—unconditional trust. This is an inductive, narrative approach.
In his introductory comments to Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the translator of The Message version of Scripture, Eugene Peterson, writes:
None of the qualities of the Christian life can be learned out of a book. Something more like an apprenticeship is required, being around someone who out of years of devoted discipline shows us, by his or her entire behavior, what it is. Moments of verbal instruction will certainly occur, but mostly an apprentice acquires skill by daily and intimate association with a “master” picking up subtle but absolutely essential things, such as timing and rhythm and “touch.”
…Paul doesn’t tell us that we can be happy or how to be happy. He simply and unmistakably ishappy. None of his circumstances contribute to his joy; he writes from a jail cell.
Circumstances are incidental compared to the life of Jesus, the Messiah, that Paul experiences from the inside.
This is why I formatted An Apple a Day the way I did. It starts with a challenge that most anybody can encounter. It is followed by a prescription from someone who has been in the Christian faith for a long time—me. At the end is a Scripture verse that, in most cases, actually uses some of the words in the content above. Beginning with a narrative and ending with a teaching causes the Bible verse to “pop” with credibility and impact.
At least, that is my hope! This is a totally different way of looking at applying Scripture to life. Yet, it appears to me to be the Bible’s way. It is also the way good preachers start their sermons, with a real story about an issue of life and thenmoving toward the application of Scripture. The (1) inductive approach and the (2) use of story are powerful tools in the way Scripture points us to our Savior.
Each day is part of seven days focused on a common area of life—the theme for the week. At the end of each daily “dose” is the Scripture message that speaks to the unique challenge. The narrative of the challenge adds focus on the power of God’s Word as a practical takeaway. The title, story, application, and Bible passage are unique for each daily reading, but the theme runs for a week. The content covers 52 weeks.
Many churches today are challenged to reach our increasingly secular society. An Apple a Day leverages narrative and applicable Scripture to support action and mission approaches. It focuses on encouragement to reach out to those who are unchurched in our social networks. The emphasis is not simply academic. Jesus is real. Faith in Christ works for everyday life.
The Apple a Day Challenge is to multiply impact—to be “fruitful and multiply.” It reflects that disciples of Jesus make disciples of Jesus. It is not a program, but a movement. This Apple a Day Challenge invites you to encourage everyone in your church, small group, and social network to take the Apple a Day Challenge. It is also an ideal gift for friends, relatives, and those at work or school. It represents three to five minutes a day to focus on relevant issues, followed by an applicable Scripture. It is a small daily dose for everyday faith. Never underestimate the power of God’s Word and the dynamic of multiplication. Five minutes a day for 365 days equals 1,825 minutes, which is just over 30 hours.
Invite everyone you know to join you in the one-year Apple a Day Challenge. Announce it in church. Email or text your friends. Post it on your website. Share it with your Facebook friends. Give it as gifts to those in your social network. Move the movement. When you do, God gives you the power to change the nation and the world, one person at a time.
Get your copy of this brand-new book resource today! Start increasing your Bible reading, spiritual formation, and discipleship by joining the Apple a Day Challenge and inviting everyone in your church to join the challenge. Bulk discounts are available by contacting email@example.com.