Participate In Your Own Growth

The Elders and Deacons at Transcend have been discussing Discipleship heavily recently.  Moreover, we’ve talked about encouraging a deep seated love for The Word of God among the body.

As a local church we have a vision and a mission. Vision is the end state – the mission is the path there. Ours are as stated below:

Joining with God, His community, and His purpose.

– Proclaiming God to the City
– Developing a Hunger for God and Scripture
– Connecting People to their Mission through Service and Discipleship
– Glorifying God in Community
– Proclaiming God to the City

Proclamation of God to the city will happen through a people who hunger for God and Scripture. Service and Discipleship will pour forward from the same – which will bring God glory in the community. The hub of the wheel at Transcend is Scripture. As such, in our resolution to grow in  Scripture will be the center.

Below are a few scripturally-focused disciplines, as well as approaches to life which will aid in your growing love for Scripture, and some tools and suggestions for the same.

Let me know if you have questions!

Bible Reading
Scripture is the living Word of God by which we’re taught by the Spirit of God that lives in the believer. we wrote on how to read your Bible inductively here. Reading your Bible is a discipline – meaning that many people won’t necessarily want to do it naturally. There may be seasons in which you have a strong desire; however, even if you don’t desire to read, it is good for you, regardless. Setting aside a time of day and an approach to Bible study is a great aid in being certain that Bible reading WILL happen.

That said, I’ve provided a few approaches to reading your Bible below:

I use the YouVersion, glo Bible iphone, and Logos Bibles on my phone.

The resources I’ve provided below are for YouVersion. I’m sticking with two reading plans this year: those are M’Cheyne and Discipleship Journey. These are my go-to plans. While there are hundreds more, I’m providing two to avoid paralysis by analysis. Further, I find it encouraging to read across swaths of scripture rather than reading through single chapters of the Bible at a time.

That said, here are links to electronic reading plans:

Discipleship Journals 5 day plan

M’Cheyne’s reading plan

You can print this page and keep it in your Bible – these are links to annual reading plans:

M’cheyne reading plan

Discipleship Journey reading plan

Inductive Study
This method of studying your Bible engages you as a reader. It’s called Inductive Bible Study and we wrote on how to read your Bible inductively here. This approach can enrich your reading of either of the above styles of reading. I do annual reading plans some years, and on off years I do a devotional reading style – this is to say, I take off from plowing through the Word and I read repeatedly through Psalms and/or Proverbs.

Have you ever journaled as you’ve done your daily reading? This will work for some people; this is a way of sticking more of your reading and devotional time into your memory. If you feel stuck in growth, journal. Maybe you’re working through some specific areas of difficulty – journal. Maybe you’ve never tried journaling, so try it.

This is a basic approach to a daily journaling devotional reading:

– Pray before reading.
– Read the entire reading (chapter(s)) first.
– Reread a passage or key section several times.
– Look for any main points.
– Write out a summary or theme for the reading (try to make it specific to your current circumstances).
– Pray for God to show you application.
– After praying, write down your thoughts on those points.
– Write/doodle your observations.
– Write/doodle any definitions that help you to understand the passage.
– Write down any references to similar verses that stand out to you.
– Write questions and answers you have about the reading and consider it that day; come back with answers to update the journal if you find some.
– Make sure to keep everything in its proper context.
– Always consider using more than one translation.
– Write down how this point applies to your life.
– Pray after journaling.

Sermon Engagement
Imagine if the weekly sermon was a powerful player in your life – it can be. As you actively seek to grow an affinity for your Bible, leverage the weekly sermon as a means to consider what you’re reading weekly. Here are some thoughts on sermon engagement I’ve considered over the years:

Prepare – I prepare with hours of study, and you should prepare, too. Saturday evening set aside time to prepare the soul. Your thoughts can be pointed at Sunday as The Lord’s Day. Set Sunday aside for worship and reflection and begin praying. Read ahead; you know where we were last week, and we’ll be picking up from there next week. Also, get rest! The mind is sharper when it has adequate sleep – discipline yourself to this.

On Sunday morning, direct your prayers to the day of public worship, and pray for yourself to not be distracted. Pray for others, pray for the Word of God to go forward; let’s take seriously the weekly event of public worship.

Keep notes – I have wonderful notes from Pastor Paul Scozzafava in Santa Fe New Mexico. Going back over sermon notes after a period of time is encouraging. Having notes for home group ensures that you’re participating and learning richly, and that others are learning through what God’s shown you, too.

Bring your Bible – I love digital Bibles BUT they can be a distraction and I love what carrying a print Bible communicates. I think an environment of people carrying Bibles around speaks volumes. Also, like the Bereans in Acts 17, we should take what is said and compare it to The Word. It’s simply easier to flip pages than to move through your phone to call up verses. Challenge me to a race: if you lose, start bringing your Bible. Deal?

Listen for application – Our lives should live out the lessons of the sermons we’re hearing. If the Bible is God’s word to us, and God’s desire for us is: a) salvation b) sanctification c) glorification of Him in this life, then we should expect that His Word will lead us in that direction. That said, as you take notes and take in Scripture, listen to find the application of weekly passages. Catch those, write them down, and carry them through your week and into your home group to be discussed.

Grace and peace,

Pastor John Weathersby

Questions, Thoughts, Comments