VSB Values: Student Focused

Village Schools of the Bible aspires to be Student Focused. What does this mean and how do we accomplish it?


You, our students, are the primary focus of everything we do at Village Schools of the Bible. We value our students and want to serve you. We want to see all students grow in their faith, knowledge of God and the Bible and in their character.

Our hope is that as students dig into the Word and learn from their teachers, they will be “transformed by the renewing of their minds. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2 NIV

Transformation means change… a heart, mind and spirit change. This is the key to spiritual growth and development. The Holy Spirit works in our lives as we read the Scriptures and seek to follow Jesus more closely.

Students are better able to serve the body of Christ as they are transformed and become more mature in their faith. This is another goal we have for our students. We strive to

  • Equip students to continue their spiritual journey independently. It sets them up for lifelong learning.
  • Empower people for service in the church. 2 Tim 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV
  • Enable people to become disciple makers: “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  2 Tim 2:2 ESV

As we teach, prepare courses and engage with students, we are humbly asking God to help us do the very best we can to serve you well.

Are there ways we can serve you better? Please let us know. Call us at 952-540-9460 or email Trish@villageschoolsofthebible.org.

VSB Values: Student Focused

Psalm 25

Hello, my friend.  I was so interested the other day in a conversation with student who said that she has found this exercise of Bible study of exceptional value.  She says she has found it helpful to intentionally spend time reading the Psalm for the day and pondering it awhile, before reading my comments.  She says that then my brief chat seems to deal with familiar material, and becomes a double blessing. 

Now I’m excited to look with you at PSALM 25, filled with treasures of encouragement to all who seriously are seeking the Lord.   I was thrilled a couple of years ago when one of my students, told me that vs. 4/5 was his life verse:  “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  I had had the privilege of leading Jim to Christ the year before, and he was showing the mark of spiritual health, a desire to grow in Christ, to let the Lord teach him and reveal Himself to Jim.

In fact, you will find further verses in this Psalm along this same line.  Vs.12, ‘Who is the man that fears the Lord?  He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.’  And vs.14, “The Lord confides in those who fear him, who revere and love Him, and He makes His covenant, or His Word, known unto them.”

But isn’t it strange that, after all these words of confidence and trust, David reverts there in vs. 16 by saying, “I am lonely and afflicted.  The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.”  God has never promised to save us from all our troubles, but He has promised always to save us in our troubles, if we allow him to do this.   I had a student who had undergone a terrible childhood and was marred and scarred by her early anguish.  When I met her, she was preoccupied with her past and she felt she had been injured beyond hope.  But when she saw that the quickest way to let a wound heal is to let it alone.  To keep picking at it, tearing away the scab, only makes the problem worse.  And continually reminding ourselves of our difficulties is to somehow make them even more permanent, will even make the scar more prominent in our thinking.  Life is difficult, but the Lord came to save us in our difficulties with the glorious Light of His Presence.

“Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the privilege, in spite of our storm-tossed emotions and our difficulties, of trusting in you, of getting to know and love and share you and to find such healing as we do it.  Thank you, Lord, for my friend who is alongside in prayer and blessing.  And we pray now for those in very special need, known and loved by You.” 

Thank you, partner, for your being alongside.  Cheerio!

Psalm 25

Psalm 24

Hello, my friend.   There is sometimes a wonderful shout of glory in the Psalms, a paragraph or phrase which really needs trumpets and drums and many instruments to rightly declare it.  Sometimes, I get a tingle as I think how a great symphony of praise would accompany them, to the stir of heart and challenge of life.

I knew a dear old Scotsman in South Africa, whom we all called Father Anderson.  He worshipped with us in our church and we loved to hear him pray, so closely did he walk with the Lord. Years slipped by, his wife died and he became very old.  But I would go and visit with him, and we loved to sing old hymns together.  One of them was based on PSALM 24, our Psalm for today.  The chorus would go, “Lift up your heads, oh ye gates, and be ye lifted up so that the King of Glory may come in.”  Then I would sing, “Who is this king of glory?”  And he would sing back the next line of the hymn, “The Lord strong and mighty.”  Then I would sing back, “Who is this King of Glory?”  And Father Anderson would respond, “The Lord so strong in battle.”  And we’d sing the rest of the hymn together.  We both loved to sing!

One day I remember his daughter Ruth phoned me and said Father Anderson was dying.  I hadn’t seen him for quite a while, so I hurried to her home, and found him in a comatose state.  I stood by his bed, holding his hand, with tears in my eyes, as I knew the old warrior was almost home.  I began to sing, “Lift up your heads, oh ye gates, and be ye lifted up so that the King of Glory may come in.”  As I sang, I felt a twitch of his hand.   And I sang, “Who is this King of Glory?”  And amazingly he croaked, “The Lord strong and mighty.”   And he looked at me, with such love in his eyes and said, “Thanks, laddie, I’ll see you in the morning.”  And he died.  It was a rare moment of glory.  I was swept with a longing to see the Lord with my friend!

So we’ve looked at Psalm 22, and thought of Christ’s redemptive work in the past.  And in Psalm 23 we saw His enabling work for us in the present.  Here in Psalm 24 we think of Christ’s triumphal return in the future.  And we read about those for whom He will come, those who may ascend the hill of the Lord, who may stand in his holy place!  Such an important question.  We read the description of them, in vss.3-6. They are those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to idols, or swear by what is false.  Most of all, they will be the generation of those who seek the Lord, who seek His face, the God of Jacob.   Whose lives are wide open that the King of Glory may enter in. What a wondrous thought!

“Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the stir of heart and the challenge of life to be able to live in the light of your coming again.  Help us today to swing open the doors of our hearts, so that we may seek you every hour, that you with triumph may enter in.  Help us to be the people whose lives declare, “The earth is the Lord’s and every-thing in it, the world and all who live in it”…which includes all we are and have.  Bless my friend who is alongside and others in special need for whom we lovingly pray this day.”

Thank you, my fellow-worker, for your prayers.  Cheerio!

Psalm 24

VSB Values: Christ-centered

Value: “denotes the importance of some thing or action, to determine what actions are best to do or what way is best to live.” Wikipedia

Recently, Village Schools of the Bible Board of Directors and Staff determined our ministry values. We wanted to formalize our priorities in decision making, communication and relationships. Our intentions are that whether you are the mail delivery person, a new student or a ministry partner, you will experience our four values of being Christ-centered, Spirit-filled, Student focused and Always growing. Over the next four weeks, we will expound on these four values in our blog. We propose to express these values in all we do so that nothing encumbers our stewardship of VSB’s mission–to teach the Bible to transform lives. 


Jesus is the “visible image of the Godhead. He created all things and is preeminent. In Him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (From Col. 1: 16-18). We are to “look to Jesus as the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).   

Considering these passages, what does it mean to be Christ-centered? It means that we align our heart and actions to His primary concerns on how to live, which He emphasized in the great commandments–to love God and others as our neighbors. The law of love must operate freely in our ministry. We aim to look after the interests of others rather than our own interests (Phil 2: 4). This means practically that if we have missed someone’s expectations, we must first move toward understanding their perspective rather than defending our own. It means we look for ways to add value to those we serve and to bless those with whom we partner.

The imagery of the vine and branches comes to mind when we think of being Christ-centered. In John 15, Jesus commands his disciples to connect to Him as intimately as a branch attaches to a vine in order to bear fruit. He insists that without this dependence on Him, we can do nothing. “John is speaking of the union of believers with Christ, apart from whom they can do nothing. This union, originating in his initiative and sealed by his death on their behalf, is completed by the believers’ responsive love and obedience, and is the essence of Christianity’” (C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John). 

Jesus promised us that as we remain or abide in Him (requiring our obedience to His commands), that we will bear much fruit. And this fruit points back to God–to bring Him glory (John 15:8). As a ministry team, we have plans to grow our reach (to bear much fruit). Our vision is to make certain younger people, immigrants and English speakers all over the globe can take Cover-to-Cover in the next five to ten years. Yet, as we expand the reach of Village Schools, being Christ centered means that the credit for growth points to the grace and favor that God provides us, not our own leadership.  

Daily practices of being Christ-centered are 

· Prayer 

· Humility 

· Seeking to understand rather than being understood 

· Keeping short accounts with one another 

· Loving with words and deeds 

We invite you, as a student or former student or as a ministry partner, to join us in our value of being Christ centered in your decision making, communication and relationships. Let’s be salt and light in a world that needs us to live and act like Jesus for His glory. 

By Laurie Besonen,
Executive Director
Village Schools of the Bible

VSB Values: Christ-centered

Psalm 23

Hello, my friend.  It’s so stimulating, as we read through the Psalms, to see how they capture so many aspects of one’s life.  In fact, I often feel that they cover them all. Some have been set to music, some have been engraved in stone, some have been memorized for future needs, some have been rephrased so they rhyme metrically, and all have been pondered and treasured over the years.

Today we come to the one Psalm which is perhaps the best known and most frequently quoted of all 150.  This is PSALM 23.  How can we give it justice in just a couple of minutes.  But there are some things about it, perhaps, that some may not have noticed, and it is that which I want to look at today.  You may have noticed that the Lord provides (vs.1), peace and leads me beside still waters, always restoring me (vs.2) and that He guides me.  But why does He do all this?  You see it in vs. 3, “for His Name’s Sake.”   And I find it really necessary to stress this great truth, which we all saw back in I Kings 8.  In vs. 17 we hear Solomon say, “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the name of the Lord.”  And eight times in I Kings chapter 8 we read that the temple was to be built for the Name of the Lord.   So we can see how important this is as we study the Old Testament, encountering many names for the Lord.

As you look at Psalm 23 you will see how remarkably it reflects the names of the Lord.  Jehovah-Jireh means “the Lord provides.”  And Psalm 23 vs. 1 says, since the Lord is my shepherd, “I shall not be in want.”  Jehovah-Shalom means “the Lord is my peace” and vs. 2 says “He makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside still waters.”  Jehovah-Rapha means, “the Lord is my healer”, and vs. 3 says “He restores my soul.”  Jehovah-Tsidkenu means “the Lord is my righteousness” and vs. 3 says “He guides me in paths of righteousness.”  Jehovah-Shammah means “the Lord is here” and vs. 4 of Psalm 23, shifting from referring to the Lord as ‘He’, begins referring to Him as ‘you’.  In other words, it is often in the time of sorrow or darkness that we sense the Lord is with us.   Jehovah-Nissi means “the Lord is my banner”, and vs. 5 says, “You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows”.  Like a flag waving in the wind, so my overflowing cup declares to the world the fullness of the Lord in my life.

There are three phrases in Ps.23 which I have marked in my Bible, and linked them together.  They are “The Lord…”(vs.1),  is “with me”(vs.4)  “forever”(vs.6).

Because of what the Lord accomplished on the Cross, giving His life for us, as we saw yesterday in Psalm 22, so we can enter into the fullness of what the Lord is doing at the present time in all of our lives, and doing it “for His Name’s sake.”  It is wonderful to know that He finds joy as we serve and love Him. 

“Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of looking intently at this great Psalm and finding that even as you are the heart of it, so you are the heart of our lives.  We love and praise you and thank you forever.  Bless my friend, and we pray especially for anyone in special need at this moment.” 

Thank you, partner, for being along.  Cheerio!

Psalm 23

Psalm 22

Hello, my friend.   I am so encouraged by the way several of you have said this look at the Psalms is turning into a really valuable spiritual experience.  It has been refreshing for me, as well, and so we continue with this adventure into this great body of Scripture.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we seek here in the Village Schools to encourage people to stop playing around with the Bible and begin to study it seriously, intentionally.

We will be looking during these next three days at three remarkable Psalms, in the way they reveal prophetic teaching.  PSALM 22, our Psalm for today, refers to Christ’s work in the Past.  In Psalm 22, the good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep (John 10:11).  Psalm 23 reflects Christ’s enabling work in the present, and the great shepherd tenderly cares for His sheep (Heb.13:20).  Psalm 24 reflects Christ’s victorious work in the future, when the Chief Shepherd (I Peter 5:4) appears as King of glory to bring His children home.  This is what salvation really is.  Its past work is redemption, its present work is sanctification and its future work is glorification.   And today we look at Psalm 22, an amazing prediction of Christ’s redemptive death on the cross, an event which was to occur many centuries later.

I’m sure you’ve been startled as you read in Psalm 22:1 Christ’s cry on the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?” fulfilled in Matt. 27:46.  You read in vs. 8 the mockery of the tormentors who said, “He trusts the Lord; let the Lord rescue him,” as recorded in Matt. 27:42.  We read in vs. 13 his cry, “I thirst”, as fulfilled in John 19:28.  And in vs. 16, “they have pierced my hands and my feet”, referred to in John 19:18.   And vs. 18 we read “they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing”, exactly what happened as described in John 19:23. 

When it is remembered that crucifixion was a Roman, not Jewish, form of execution, then this whole chapter proves that only inspiration from the Lord could have made such a prophecy possible.  At vs. 22, this 22nd Psalm shifts from Christ’s crucifixion to His resurrection, anticipating Christ’s command to His disciples to share the good news to his brethren gathered in the house of Mary (John 20:17).   In the closing verses of this Psalm we rejoice, that “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before thee, for the Kingdom is the Lord’s…”  He breaks the power of canceled sin and sets the prisoner free.

“Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of pondering these amazing prophetic Scriptures, describing your death and your resurrection for us.  Thank you for the confidence and trust we have in the assurance that our sins have been forgiven and we are alive in you.  Bless my friend who is alongside, even as we pray for each family.  And we pray, Lord, for those in stress and in heavy needs.  Thanks for your loving presence with us all.” 

Thank you, partner, for your encouragement. Cheerio!

Psalm 22

Psalm 21

Hello, my friend.  What an exciting thing it is to see new life around us.  I am blessed each week as I see students learning what it means in fact to be freed from the shackles of old sins and habits, old resentments, old indifference and to discover that, in fact, the Lord’s mercies are new every morning, every day, every new week, as Lamentations 3:22,23 tell us. 

Our chapter for today is PSALM 21, and I keep wondering what you thought of it.

It seems almost like a personal soliloquy on the part of the king, as he reflects on the goodness of the Lord in his life.  He rejoices from verse 1 through 7 on the Lord’s provision of strength, of joy and victory, granting him the desires of his heart, welcoming him with rich blessings, long life, making the king glad in the presence of the Lord.  I don’t feel this was in any sense a recitation of how great the king was, but how wonderful the king’s God was.  I think it is so important to review, from time to time, the wonderful blessings God has poured out on our lives.  Even as that old song goes, which we learned as kids, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.  Are you ever burdened with a load of care?  Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?  Count your many blessings–every doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by.”

I think this is just what David is doing in this great anthem of praise to his God, whom he loves and serves.  And I particularly love vs. 6 and 7, “Surely you have granted him eternal blessing and made him glad with the joy of your presence.  For the king trusts in the Lord, through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”  Isn’t that good.  David rejoiced in the conscious presence of the Lord.  As Brother Lawrence put it so well, “A great benefit which the soul receives from the Presence of God is that faith grows more alive and active in all the events of life, particularly when we feel our need, since it obtains for us the strengthening of His grace when we are tempted.  Also, by the practice of the Presence of God, by steadfast gaze on Him, the soul comes to a knowledge of God, full and deep, to an unclouded vision; all its life is passed in unceasing acts of worship and love, of prayer and praise and service.  At times, indeed, life seems to be but one long unbroken practice of God’s Divine Presence.” (The Practice of the Presence of God.)

As John Oxenham put it, “Is your place a small place?  Tend it with care!  God set you there.  Is your place a large place?  Guard it with care!  God set you there.  Whate’er your place, it is not yours alone, but His who set you there.”  And so we can know what He has placed in me, is His to care. 

“Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of thanking you for all the blessings of life, large and small.  Thank you for my friend who has joined in, for whom I give you special thanks, even as we pray for those in very special need.” 

A blessing to know you, partner.  Cheerio!

Psalm 21

Psalm 20

Hello, my friend. Today’s reading is PSALM 20, a kind of anthem of sheer praise to the Lord.  It is not only a shout of praise to the Lord, but a prayer from David for those reading this song… a prayer to the Lord that He would answer them in distress, that the name of God would protect them, that they would find help from the sanctuary.  But in vss.4-5, I particularly think of one of God’s names and that is Jehovah-jireh.    

Perhaps you remember when we first encountered the word in our Bible Survey, back there in Genesis chapter 22.  It describes Abraham’s greatest test, his willingness to sacrifice his precious son, Isaac, whose name simply means “laughter”.  I’m sure you remember the story, how he is commanded to sacrifice Isaac there on Mt. Moriah, and how he immediately obeys God’s challenge.  And in vs. 10, we read he “reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son….and the Lord said, ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy..now I know that you fear God.’”  He looked up, saw a ram in a thicket, took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  Vs.14 says, “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide,” which in the Hebrew is simply, ‘Jehovah-jireh.’

How powerfully does this apply to Psalm 20:4,5, which says, “May the Lord give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests.”   And this is linked to that great 16th chapter of Proverbs, where we are told so plainly, vs. 1, “To a man belong the plans of the heart…but motives are weighed by the Lord.  Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.”  And vs. 9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Here we have again the wonderful partnership we can enjoy, when the Lord is in control of our lives. 

“Thank you, dear Lord, for this great anthem of praise. And with David we too can say, ‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.’  Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of sharing your life.  Bless my friend who is alongside,  and  those in special need.  Thank you, Lord.” 

I thank God for you, my friend. Thanks for your prayers.  Cheerio

Psalm 20

Psalm 19

Hello, my friend.  Now today we read PSALM 19, which is surely one of the mountain peaks of this great collection of inspired writings.  It shouts the glad tidings that God longs to speak to us, His beloved children, and has done so in three particular ways, through His World, vss.1-6, through His Word, vss. 7-10 and through His Workers, His children scattered throughout the world, vss. 11-14.  You will notice how forcefully David writes about the fact that God longs to share with us the wonders of Himself.

First, he shouts that the heavens declare God’s glory, and the skies proclaim His embroidery-work, as one has put it.  Is there a God?  Just look around, David cries, reminding us that every day creation displays the knowledge of God, throughout the world.  And we find it a fact that ethnologists, who study the various societies of the world, primitive and modern, have never found any society, be it ever so remote from other human contact, ever so rudimentary in its physical development, which does not have at its core a strong religious belief.  The heavens declare God’s glory.

Then we read that God’s Word is perfect, trustworthy, right, making the simple wise, and giving joy to the heart.  As we revere God and His Word, we find that indeed the Scriptures are more precious than gold, sweeter than fresh honey from the honey-comb, a delight to the eye and great pleasure to our deepest needs.

Finally, in vss.11-14, God speaks to the world through His servants, His children, who live in the light of His Word, with a longing to be kept pure and effective, praying for protection from the danger of presumptuous sins, the easy foolishness of refusing to allow God to reveal His glory to the world, among my colleagues at work, wherever, through people like you and me.

And in that last memorable verse, David says (vs.14),  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  I love that word in Luke 6:45, “..out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  That’s the key, being filled with the Spirit, filled with the Word, filled with a sense of God’s glory.  And that makes every day a joy on the journey.

“Thank you, Lord, for this precious Psalm, which stirs us to continue to proclaim the works of your hands, by the way we live this coming day let us somehow also declare your glory.   Bless my friend, who is alongside, Lord, and especially those in urgent need.  We love you, Lord.” 

And I thank Him for you, my friend.  Cheerio!

Psalm 19