Message Recap - 2/26/10 - Church for One: Part One

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Last time, Pastor Dan wrapped up an excellent series on evangelism. You should definitely brush up by reading the recap:

Power Evangelism

This week we are on to a whole new series called "Church for One." This series will cover (among other things) some of the aspects, strategies relating to devotions and how our walk with God carries itself out on a daily basis.

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The point is not to condemn you, but to inspire you to seek God's face on a regular basis in your secret place.

The key verse for this series is in Psalm 27:8:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Tonight, part one:

Let's start out with a little honesty. Honestly, even Pastor Dan sometimes struggles with reading the Bible every day. There are days when he doesn't read his Bible.

He's not coming at this from the perspective of one who has it all together and is doing everything perfectly.

It is a struggle – sometimes it is a struggle to find the time to read, other times it's the struggle to get something out of what you've read.

There are times when every word seems so alive and speaks to your situation.

And then there are days when you feel like, “blech.” Nothing is sinking in, nothing seems to mean anything.

Tonight we are going to talk about how to get the most out of reading the Bible. After all, the Bible doesn't change from day to day... it's we who change and struggle sometimes. You're not alone if this happens to you!

Maybe you've heard arguments against the Bible, that it is inacurate or irrelevant or contradictory.

Lets address those first.

Common arguments against the Bible:

1. The Bible is irrelevant

Part of what you're reading in the Bible is about a culture that is 6,000 years old. There are definitely parts, that are related to the culture, that don't apply today. For example, you may not be struggling with selling your birthright like Esau was. The cultural aspect of that story is irrelevant, but the message of the story is anything but. There is a reason that the story is in the Bible – so often we take a short-term view of life, and miss out on what God has for us in exchange for a passing pleasure. That message is extremely relevant today!

Check out 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

None of those traits could possibly apply to anyone today! This is sooooo outdated!

Erm, no. This is an extremely relevant scripture for our times!

The Bible has something to say about what you are going through! Take the time to discover what it is saying!

2. The Bible Contains Historical Inaccuracies

There have been many instances of times when historians believed that the Bible was written wrong, until they find archeological evidence of exactly what the Bible mentions! Just because we live in the 21st century does not mean we know everything... there are always new things surfacing which support the history in the Bible. Until we discover every piece of historical evidence, why not err on the side of believing God?

3. The Bible Contains Internal Contradictions

Some people argue that there are places where the Bible contradicts itself. There are always two sides to this argument, and the sections they are quoting are most often taken out of context. If you take the time to study the scriptures out, you will find out the reason behind the supposed contradiction.

Don't just blindly believe what someone tells you, do some research! Even research what Pastor Dan says!

Search the scriptures, hear both sides.

Those are the three main problems that people most often have with believing the Bible. Understand that it is still going to take faith – all of your questions will never be answered, but why not put your faith in the Creator of the universe?

let's see what God has to say about His word in the Bible:

Psalm 119:105

Psalm 119:130

Deuteronomy 8:3b

Matthew 24:35

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Hebrews 4:12

Sometimes we like to play games with ourselves, manipulating what is right and wrong in our own minds. The Word of God cuts through all that, getting right to the heart of the issue and showing you the truth.

James 1:22

OK, now on to how to read the Bible:

Don't beat yourself up. There are a lot of people who read a lot of Bible. There are a lot who pretend to read a lot of Bible, but don't.

Different people read at different paces. Read what you can read – for some it may be 1 chapter a day, for others it will be 20 per day. If reading is a hard way to learn for you, get the Bible on CD or MP3. Just make sure you are taking it in on a regular basis.

Read enough. Yes, keeping the above in mind, but also make sure that you are giving God a chance to speak to you through the Word! Don't just read one chapter of genealogy and expect a life changing impartation.

Imagine starting a conversation with God and never giving Him a chance to say anything.

Give yourself a chance to settle in and listen. Don't just speed-read or skim it - allow yourself to get into the conversation. Read your Bible for extended periods of time – even if it takes you 35 minutes to read 3 verses.

Ask the Holy Spirit to speak.

The bible is not one dimensional. There are layers of meaning! There is a meaning that is straightforward and true and great, but there is also a meaning to that same verse that is brand new to you! No matter how many times you have read the Bible, there is always something new to discover.

The Bible is not meant to be used on its own. It's mean to be read with the help of the Holy Spirit. People can get really messed up from reading the Bible on its own. Some weird doctrine comes out of that.

God made the Bible so big that you can take it waaaay out of context if you don't read it through the lens of the Holy Spirit. People have used the Bible without the Holy Spirit to justify all kinds of horrible things.

There is nothing inherently holy about the physical Bible. But when we're reading and the Holy Spirit takes those words and shines light on them, suddenly it carries power and life.

Here are some questions to ask as you read:

1. What is the context?

What is the author talking about, what are they dealing with?

For instance, Philippians 4:19 says,

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

This verse is often taken out of context – but really, Paul is talking about the results of generous giving. It changes the whole meaning when we know the context.

2. What is it saying?

Its easy to skim over it, but ask yourself what the Bible is saying to you.

3. What do other scriptures say about this subject?

You can do a word study by going to or using an old fashioned concordance... find out what the Bible says in other places about the subject.

4. How does this apply to my life?

This is a big one. Don't just learn a principle, but find out how does the scripture apply to your life, your choices, how you live your life. It may not be obvious right away, you may need to think about it for awhile. This is often called “meditating.” When a verse pops out at you is a good time to put this to use. Start researching the words in the verse, praying about it, reading it again and again, thinking about it, going over and over it in your mind.

Some verses are not like yogurt; they are like steak in that it takes work to chew them. Sometimes it takes time and mental "chewing" to get the nutrients and nourishment from the scriptures.

As you chew it over, parts you didn't understand become clear and God teaches you as you think about it. Instead of thinking about Tetris or how to avoid work, think about God's word!

And finally, here are just a few of the benefits of reading God's Word:

1. Comfort

2. Getting to know God

Devotions are not about a duty. It's not a chore, it's about a relationship with God.

3. Direction

4. Wisdom

5. Correction

Believe it or not, you will be wrong at certain times in your life. You need the word of God to show you where you are wrong and how to right it.

6. Peace

7. Encouragement

So, what are you waiting for? Crack open that Bible your parents got you when you were 8 and take a look!

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Revolution Church said...

Hooray for the new blog! (and 1st comment)

Billy said...

hey, these recaps are good! maybe I should have started reading them

Unknown said...

That's what we've been telling you this whole time, Billy! :)

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