What an exciting set of services we had at WBF this morning! After a beautiful and Spirit filled worship set, I was privileged to bring a message out of Heb 4:12-13 about the importance and value of knowing God's word. The sermon has been posted and you can hear it here.
At the end of the sermon, we issued a challenge for everyone to abandon something for 30 days and devote that time to reading the Word of God. We offered 4 Bible reading programs to help us walk through a commitment to obey the commandment to know the Bible (Psalm 119:9-16, Deut 6:17, 2 Tim 2:15 to name a few).
For me, personally, it was TV. I have been convicted about spending more time in front of the TV than I do reading the Bible. So, I'm giving up the TV for 30 days to adapt one of the Bible reading plans listed below. Instead of watching TV, I'm going to spend that time in the Word;
- The most intriguing and probably most beneficial is Professor Grant Horner's Bible Reading System. This is the one Kelly and I will be following.
- Another good one is A Bible Reading Record devised by Don Whitney. This one is still comprehensive but not as complex as Professor Horne's plan.
- For those that feel a one year plan is too much of a challenge, there is the Gospel Coalition's Two Year Bible Reading Plan.
- Finally, there is The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers. Don't be fooled nor dissuaded by the tongue-in-cheek title. This is another good and highly beneficial plan.
The challenge is designed to do two things; to get us, as a church, involved in reading the Word of God systematically as part of our day and to cause us to examine our personal lives and determine if there is anything we place a higher priority on than God and His Word.
For me, I was challenged on how much time I spend watching TV. Some folks may be moved to give up time in a hobby or an activity they can't tear themselves away from. In any event, we don't necessarily have to abandon that activity all together, we just have to be willing to examine our hearts closely enough to determine if that particular endeavor has a higher priority than God does in our lives. If our day boils down to engaging in that activity or reading the Bible, we lose out on the blessing of God and the fullness of joy (John 15:10-11) if we choose the activity.
The benefits are huge. Know the Bible! Thus, know God, His character, nature, commandments, statutes and ordinances as well. This will have transformational power in our lives. It can hugely impact those all around us as we set the example of making God first above all other things.
In examining the way I spend my time and trying to determine how I was going to find the time to do this, I had to ask myself, "When was the last time a TV show (or fill in the blank with your favorite distraction or pastime) changed my life or the life of someone close to me...for the better...eternally?" The resounding answer was, "Never!" In my life, I've spent thousands of hours in front of the TV. How many have I spent reading the Bible and praying? What does this say to my family and friends about where my priorities are and where theirs should be? What were my priorities? Is God truly supreme in all things or is He just someone I spend time with when it's convenient? After the sacrifice He made for me, what sacrifices am I willing to make for Him in appreciation?
These are tough questions. But they need to be asked. They also demand an honest and objective answer.
I'm in for at least 30 days. Judging by the reaction we saw this morning, a good number of people are in as well.
A heads up! We can't do this on our own, folks. We need the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit motivating us, compelling us, convicting us, giving us strength and helping us find our rest in Him (Heb 4:1-11). We also need to do this together. We should be able to gently and with compassion, hold each other accountable, edify each other, lift each outer up and encourage each other in the bond of unity and a spirit of love.
This is the next step for us as a church, folks. As we begin our Sunday School hour next week studying The Trellis and The Vine, we will find ourselves equipped and ready to take what we have been learning at WBF for the last 7 years out into the community reflecting Christ to all those around us and allowing God to draw people to Himself through His work in each of us. The goal is to see people come in to the Kingdom, even if they don't come in to WBF!
To help us along in this challenge, we will be stocking a number of resources in the WBF Bookstore. Everything should arrive early this week.
- NASB Bible on CD, Voice Only - $41.00
- NASB Bible in MP3 format - $17.00
- NASB Digital Bible Player - $51.00
- Leather Bound Giant Print NASB Bible - $41.00
- Compact New Testament paperback - Free!
- Any Large Print NASB in our pews - Free!
Kelly and I start this afternoon. We will be praying for all of you. May the Lord strengthen you, bless you and encourage you in your efforts as well.