Making a Case

This past Sunday as we continued our series, How to Read the Bible, we talked about why engaging with the Scriptures is something worth your time. When the percentage of American’s who engage with the Scriptures has fallen 10% in the last year, this is something we need to know for ourselves and so that we can share it with others. Read on to discover some reasons this matters so much in your life and in the lives of the people around you.

Making a Case

Have you ever had someone try to convince you to do something you weren’t interested in or perhaps even opposed to doing? Have you tried to do it to someone else? How did that go? Did they succeed in their aim? What kind of an approach did you take? There are many different options available depending on the nature of the relationship between the two of you. In school, something like this often takes the form of basic peer pressure. They could have used the “everybody’s doing it” line. They might have offered a variety of reasons why you should do it. It could be they started mocking you for your unwillingness to join in, calling you any manner of names in the process—”scaredy cat,” “goodie two-shoes,” “weakling,” and so on and so forth. It could have been a pretty girl or handsome guy enticing you toward whatever it was with the promise of more personal attention if you came. There may have even been the threat of physical violence toward you if you didn’t join in. 

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Peter 1:3-4

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For the last few weeks, I have been taking my congregation (and you as well) on a journey to understand how to read the Bible a little better than they did before. This has mostly been Christianity 101 type of stuff, and the next two parts of the series will be no different. I had been planning on this series for a few months and was pretty excited about it. Engaging with the Scriptures and encouraging followers of Jesus to do that in their own lives is something I’m pretty passionate about. But personally, I don’t always practice that passion as well as I feel it. As I fell asleep last night and when I was lying in bed for a bit this morning before getting up, I was thinking about what I would be writing about today. Leaving for the office a little later, I still didn’t know. Then God did what God has a knack for doing and gave it to me in a rush. We’re going to spend a little bit of time this morning engaging with the Scriptures together and seeing in action why doing it can make such a difference in our lives.

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What Is the Bible Anyway?

This week we kick off a brand-new teaching series. For the next four weeks, we are going to be talking about how to read the Bible. We’re going to talk about how to read it, why to read it, and what it even is in the first place. If you have ever felt like you didn’t really know what you were doing when it came to trying to read or study it, this is going to be a great series for you. Listen and share it with a friend who’s asking the same questions. You’ll be glad you did.

What Is the Bible Anyway?

If you are someone who’s been around the church for a little while, have you ever been told before that you should read your Bible? If you’re someone who hasn’t been around the church for all that long, do you remember ever being told by a well-meaning believer that you should read your Bible? Okay, here’s a follow-up question for both groups of people: Did you go from there and heed that counsel? I did. The reason I engage with the Scriptures on a daily basis today is because when I was about 13-years-old, two volunteers with my church youth group (who were both men in their late-50s or early-60s—if you find yourself in or near that category and you are not volunteering with our students, you are missing out on the opportunity to change someone’s life forever; case in point: I probably wouldn’t be a pastor today unless I had started reading my Bible all those years ago because those two men told me I should) told me that I should be reading my Bible every day and that if I did it for 21 days in a row, it would become a habit. I did and…it did. If you were another one of those folks who took that advice and started reading your Bible, did you know what you were doing when you got started? I didn’t, and I suspect there’s a pretty good chance that you didn’t either. 

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Digging in Deeper: Psalms 119:27

“Help me understand the meaning of your precepts so that I can meditate on your wonders.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Granting you’re doing at least a little bit of this right now, but when was the last time you made a good faith effort to engage with the Scriptures? Notice, I didn’t say, “read your Bible.” We usually think in terms of the latter, but the first is more helpful. Either way, if you’re like most people who give the notion of following Jesus some part of the time of day, it’s probably something you’ve tried at least once or twice. And if you’re like most people who fit into that category, you probably got started pretty well, but then gradually fell off the wagon. The odds are better than average that the reason you eventually quit is that you ran into something you didn’t understand. Engaging with the Scriptures can be tough. What the writer of Psalm 119 – which is entirely dedicated to extolling the virtues and worth of God’s word – offers us here is a strategy for staying engaged even when it’s hard. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:8-11

“The crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do for them as was his custom. Pilate answered them, ‘Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?’ For he knew it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd so that he would release Barabbas to them instead.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever read or listened to someone else read the Bible out loud? Forget about the Bible for a second, have you ever read or heard someone else read any story out loud? How does that usually sound? If we’re being honest, pretty dull and lifeless. Most people read out loud with a monotone voice. Have you ever noticed that? That’s really interesting to me. I don’t know many people who talk like that. When you’re telling someone else a story you care about, you put all kinds of emotion and feeling into it. Your face is animated, you move your hands, you alter the pitch and tone of your voice for emphasis. It’s engaging for others. But when we read something someone else wrote, all of that goes away. I’ve never really been sure why exactly that is. Now, come back to the Bible with me. When we read the Bible out loud like we read everything else out loud, what gets conveyed to the listener is that this is really boring stuff. There’s no life to it. There’s no excitement. There’s no real story. It’s just…blah. The thing is, though, the Bible is anything but blah. Here’s a story that proves it.

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