Thursday, April 03, 2014

Growing Spiritually: Daily Bible Reading

The value of daily Scripture reading in our lives is not to be overlooked; there is a reason the Psalmist wrote: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I mighty not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) and “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The only way you can hide God’s word in your heart is through reading Scripture.  The Psalmist is telling us when we hide God’s word in our heart it becomes a safeguard in our life.  When we become tempted with sin our heart reminds us of the truth of God and helps us to avoid sin.  When we avoid sin God’s word becomes a light for our path.  I want you to think of God’s word like a bright flashlight you can use on a dark night.  A flashlight doesn’t show you everything around you but it lights your path so you can safely get where you want.

Maybe when I mentioned daily Scripture reading you remembered the time you tried to read through the entire Bible in one year and how ashamed your felt quitting in March.  Statistics tell us: at least 90% of all households in America own a Bible but only 20% of those who own a Bible will ever read through it, in its entirety, in their lifetime.  It’s staggering to think only 20% of Christians will ever read through their Bible in their life.  Once again, growing spiritually never works when motivated by guilt.  You may never read through the entire Bible but how does Scripture reading become a priority in your life at this stage?

Starting on January 13 my church started a church-wide Bible reading plan that we think will impact people who are seeking Jesus all the way to those who’ve been Christ followers for years.  Its a Bible reading plan that doesn’t have any dates attached so you won’t feel bad if you miss a day (not guilt based Bible reading).  Its a Bible reading program built around 100 carefully selected short Bible passages — 50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament.  Its going to enable you to get the big picture of God's Word and in the process of a daily Bible reading habit.  Its called the Essential 100 but for short its called E100.

The E100 Bible passages are usually one to two chapters in length and can easily be read in 10 minutes or less.  The E100 Challenge will take us through all of the major types of biblical writing including: Historical books, Poetry, Wisdom Literature, the Prophets, the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles and Revelation.  My hope, this morning, is to wet your appetite for daily Scripture reading and I think this is just the way.  You can read the E100 in your Bible or if you have the You Version App on your phone or tablet you can access the E100 plan there also.  We’re also going to link the reading plan to our church website!

Before you convince yourself there’s no way you could possibly commit to 100 days of Scripture reading you need to know the value this will have for your life.  Our Campus Pastors and Elders just finished reading a book titled Move.  Move was a study done by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago to measure spiritual growth.  Over a six year time period data was collected from over a quarter million people in well over a thousand churches of every size, denomination, and geographic area in the US.  Of all the data presented in this survey, the thing that stuck out most to me was: daily Scripture reading was one of the major catalysts for Spiritual Growth.  To say this differently, if you’re going to grow spiritually it has to involve daily Scripture reading.

The E100 challenge may not be for you, but find a daily Bible reading plan!  Share with others what you're using.

No comments: