This is a big year for our church! We are challenging each other to BE READY. Ready for what is happening in our culture, for changes occurring in our church, for the opportunities we have in ministry, and most importantly for what God is doing in history. The clock is ticking and Jesus will return soon. He said, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:44, emphasis mine). We want to be found faithful and ready.
I once spent two weeks n Brownsville, Texas, volunteering for World Mission Builders erecting a church from the ground up. When we left it was ready for brick on the outside and drywall inside. While we saved the newly planted church nearly a half a million dollars in labor, it still was very costly work. Not only did it cost time, it also cost a lot of pain. Hammering nails all day does takes its toll on the forearms, especially untrained forearms like mine. I had never hammered so many nails. I hammered floor joist braces, hammered spacers up in the rafters, hammered off the same spacers once the rafters where supported… We were hammering all the time and my arms ached all the time. I even bought some Bengay at a local Walmart and rubbed it in each night.
Biblica recently did a study trying to figure out why churchgoers in general have lost their appetite for reading their Bible. Let me share the three reasons they discovered and add some thoughts of my own. Put a napkin on your lap and lets dig in:
1. Bible Reading Is Down Because People Read It In Fragments
We have all read those books where the author gives his or her opinion about something important and then supports it all with a verse from the Bible. These are usually good books and have a place in our lives. But when this is our preferred diet of Scripture, bite-sized morsels, we lose our taste for thicker cuts of premium truth. After awhile of dining on what others have served us, we don’t know what to do with all the words we find in the Bible. We are overwhelmed and can’t order because we not sure how to even read the menu. We just aren’t used to hearing God speak to us like this. We prefer that someone order for us and so we go back to the other books.
2. Bible Reading Is Down Because People Read It A-Historically
Reading the Bible apart from understanding the history that was happening at the time is a lot like ordering a hamburger at fine steak restaurant. I understand that both come from the same place. But when the hamburger arrives on a china plate, it suddenly is somewhat out of place. God’s truth is truth no matter how we package it. But God’s truth can lose so much juiciness and texture when it is taken away from its rich history. Like a good food connoisseur, it takes time engaging all the senses to fully appreciate what the master chef has created for us to enjoy. We need to have at least a working knowledge of the history in the Bible.
3. Bible Reading Is Down Because People Read It In Isolation
If you have ever tried to prepare a five-course meal for just yourself, you know what a disappointing experience it is. Not that you are bad cook. I bet your soufflé and roast duck are to die for. It’s just that when everything is served and you sit down to dine, something missing. That something is someone else. No one likes to cook for one. The more the better and this is true when it comes to dining on God’s Word. Together we discover the full richness of what he has placed before us. Together we can ask insightful questions to better understand the ingredients. Together we can celebrate God’s nourishment in our lives.
There is no book like the Bible. It is God’s Word and no supplement comes close to replacing it. As a church family we have spent the last few months feasting on the Bible. “The Story” is not a commentary on the Bible or a book that casually quotes a passage here or there. “The Story” is stuffed full of large chunks of Scripture arranged beautifully. It doesn’t dull your taste for the Word of God, but rather makes your mouth water for more. If you are reading the Story with us, you are developing a distinguished taste for Godly truth.