Launching “15 minutes with Jesus” devotional

The Bible Society – Lebanon launched a book entitled “15 minutes with Jesus” at the Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Mathaf on the 10th of December 2021. This book was prepared in partnership with Pastorale, Mar Charbel movements in Beirut, Daroun and Montreal in Canada, Mary’s Apostolic Movement and The Good Shepherd’s Vine movement in Damascus, Syria.
The event started with an opening prayer by Bishop Charles Murad as the host, and then continued to explain to the attendees the story behind how this book came to be.
Tony Tahan, head of St. Charbel youth movement in Beirut, shared how when the coronavirus first started two years ago, he felt that the youth were hungry for the Word of God and that Zoom meetings weren’t enough especially during the stressful times everyone was going through. He came up with the idea of short devotionals for youth and contacted Fr. Jules Boutros to ask for advice and help him in developing the idea. Then other groups around Lebanon and even in Syria and Canada expressed interest in the idea. Together, the groups started writing down devotionals, collecting worship songs on YouTube, and began to knit the project together. This project was first launched over WhatsApp and Facebook, and then they decided to make it into a book and reached out to the Bible Society to make that happen.
Fr. Jules Boutros then shared how one of the toughest questions they had to battle with prior to starting this project was if the timing is good or appropriate for publishing a book considering that people around the country are hungry, employment rates are skyrocketing, and the financial crisis is at its peak. Dwelling on this question made him think of Jesus’ disciples and he realized that the situation during their time was not much better than ours today; however, they still committed to faithfully spread the Gospel. Similarly, this book is a group’s attempt to bring the everlasting Word of God to the youth, in a language and format tailored to them, and speaks to their lives.

Then Juliana Salameh, the designer, explained the idea behind the design and colors of the book.

The same two actors who performed the videos in the devotional book also performed a short comedic sketch during the event. The sketch presented how the reader should use the book and shared more information about the groups behind this project.
Rev. Dr. Issa Diab, the Global Translation Advisor for United Bible Societies, then said a word on behalf of Bible Society’s General secretary, Dr. Mike Bassous, about how the book “15 minutes with Jesus” aligns perfectly with Bible Society’s vision to spread the Gospel. It uses new ways to bring the Word of God to the youth using text, music, and videos all in one product. This book also mirrors Bible Society’s work as being inter-confessional, as the content came from a team coming from a diverse group of churches.
At the end of the event, we were happy to see the crowd rushing to take their copy of the book. We pray that this weekly devotional will be a blessing and an encouragement to our youth.

This book is the first of our publications that contains interactive elements. “15 minutes with Jesus” contains 52 devotionals, one for every week of the year, addressing different spiritual and life topics. Each devotional centers around a passage from the Bible and takes the reader on a journey to dig deeper into the text through reading the explanation, listening to a worship song, watching a video, answering some questions, and ending with a prayer.

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