Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Time in the Word: What to do, How to do it?

Lifeway Research has continuously put forth in the past few years that many American Christians are not reading their Bibles.

Here is the statement: “The survey found 90 percent of churchgoers agree "I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do," and 59 percent agree with the statement: "Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths." While the majority agree with both statements, there is a significant difference in the strength of agreement. Nearly two-thirds of churchgoers (64 percent) strongly agree with the first statement, but only 20 percent strongly agree with the second.

However, when asked how often they personally (not as part of a church worship service) read the Bible, a similar number respond "Every Day" (19 percent) as respond "Rarely/Never" (18 percent). A quarter indicate they read the Bible a few times a week. Fourteen percent say they read the Bible "Once a Week" and another 22 percent say "Once a Month" or "A Few Times a Month."

"Bible engagement has an impact in just about every area of spiritual growth," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. "You can follow Christ and see Christianity as your source of truth, but if that truth does not permeate your thoughts, aspirations and actions, you are not fully engaging the truth.”

Simple steps need to be taken:
1.  READ…just take a few minutes a day to read a few verses if you don’t have daily reading habits.  There are plenty ways to do this.  You can sign up for a daily devotional by email, there are apps you can get for free to read on your phone, our church offers a Open Windows devotional book for free every quarter, or just pick up the Word and open it.

2.  LISTEN….to what you have read.  Let it soak in, let it resonate in you and become wisdom to your heart.  What does this mean?  How does this effect you?  Is this leading you to obedience in your relationship with the Lord?  Spend time meditating on what you have read during the day.

3.  SHARE….find time through the day to share what you have read with your spouse, with friends, with coworkers, your children or family, post it on facebook or tweet it!  If it impacts your life, which it should, God’s Word needs to be shared. 

We all should be accountable to reading God’s Word.  His Word guides our lives and shares the life changing message of the Gospel, the message of salvation and hope through His Son, Jesus.  Read, Listen and Share!  God Bless, Bro. B

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prayer…a healthy church depends on it!!

Recently I read an article on prayer and the church.  Are we a praying church?  Someone who has done research on the church in the US has said that this is one of the characteristics of a thriving and growing church is the matter of prayer.  A praying church is a growing and thriving church I guess would be the sentiment.  We find in Acts 2 the church was a praying church.  So, here are some of my thoughts on this: 

How are we supposed to evaluate that question?  Are we to have a prayer counter in the sanctuary so we can count the numbers of prayers and their efficiency?  I think some would go as far as to do so. 

digital counter

The preacher can deliver some messages on prayer to spur on a believer’s prayer life.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:5…”When you pray”, so its not really an option.  Pastors should share their prayer life with others to spur others on through their experiences in their time of prayer.  Bible Study Teachers can teach a lesson on prayer which happens several times a year.  They can also share their experiences from their prayer life.

What about testimonies in worship of how God answers prayers?  We have lost this in our services in giving God the praise and glory for this because of our one-hour time limit.  Also, we don’t want to hand the microphone over to John who may talk for 15 minutes because he is preaching a mini-sermon on answered prayer in his life.  YIKES!

Determining Factors:  David writes in the Psalm….”I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:3)  A church NEEDS to Praise God constantly.  Paul writes:  “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;”  (1Thess. 1:2)  We SHOULD be praying for each other to give thanks for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  And the list goes on…praying for missions, lost folks, specific needs, etc.  The KEY is in the RESULTS of our prayers.  Even though they may be answered in victory, yes, we praise God, but what if God doesn’t answer or tells us no, yes, we praise God….it is the result of our prayers.  But the health of this whole thing….is actually praying in the first place to see and experience results of our time spent with our Heavenly Father whether positive or negative.  How is your prayer life?

The Sleepy Disciple, B