Only 20% of people that attend church spend time in The Word. 80% don't read the Bible. Those that do read the Bible average only 2 to 3 minutes per day. Don't use this information to be judgmental or sad at the state of the church. Look at it as opportunity. Just think, if we can build and encourage more disciples and disciple makers we can make dramatic change in the world. The bar may be low, but our sight must remain high.
Let's look at the power of multiplication
Hopefully, the power of multiplication shows you the tremendous possibilities we have through this mission of disciple-making. It's the snowball effect we need for transformation.
Willow Creek Discovery:
Reading, Reflecting, & Responding to Scripture. Doesn't sound that hard.
Keys to Growing in Our Relationship with God
what do the following verses SAY about the importance of spending time with God?
I want to share some of the more practical aspects of the WHAT and the HOW. A good place to start is by defining the term ‘quiet time’. It is meant to be a regular time where we routinely & consistently set aside everything else for the single purpose of having undistracted...
….fellowship with God, imagine. We have the privilege to share time alone with the God of Everything.
….marked by communication & closeness. Communication here is an honest and intimate dialogue where you
….listen & respond to God. That communication is two-way: He talks; you listen. Then you talk; He listens. It is for the purpose of our gaining …
….daily insight & direction. We can receive exactly what we need to face the battles before us. We get our marching orders as Christian Soldiers from the source of those orders,
….His Word. Our insights and direction come not from our own hunches, opinions or thoughts. We find the personalized truth and wisdom we need for each day, one day at a time, from God’s Word as His Holy Spirit opens our hearts to discern them.
Some would tell you that our physical bodies require routine hydration to stay healthy. We are not like camels that can tank up enough water to last for a number of days. For us, having a big glass of water on Sunday isn’t going to last until we return to the source the following Sunday. We need to routinely resupply our fluid intake. Our souls are the same. We require a daily intake from God’s Word to remain spiritually healthy, with the operative term being daily quiet times with God.
“Every day in which I do not penetrate more deeply into the knowledge of God’s Word in Holy Scripture is a lost day for me.” “Do not ask how you should tell it to others, but ask what it tells you! Then ponder this word in your heart at length, until it is entirely within you and has taken possession of you.” --~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is known for not sugar-coating truth. This quote is just one example. His attitude is that if personal discipline is required to receive what you need for the day, so be it. A tough approach? So what? Instead of receiving the nutrients to grow, we become depleted. We stay stuck in place or worse yet, we can shrink back in our current level of spiritual maturity to a lesser one.
QUIET TIME STARTER GUIDE:
First We Stop & Focus on the Lord
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. - MARK 1:35
Jesus provides the perfect example of how to start your quiet time. Early in the morning, in a solitary place. Where he prayed.
Next, we look - dig into the word
Three things to LOOK for:
- What jumps out at you? Underline or highlight your observations
- How do these truths apply to my life, even today?
- What am I supposed to do with what I will read or have just read?
Part of LOOKING involves marking up our Bibles to aid in meditation.
Mark the words or phrases that stand out to you. You can underline, put an exclamation point at key parts, or a question mark. Anything that will help you look deeper into the passage to discover new truth. Don’t complicate this. Keep it simple. Notate in a way that you recognize and associate so you can share this revelation with someone else.
Now it's time to listen.
What is the Lord Telling you?
What do these verses teach about listening?
Lastly, respond through action.
What does God want you to do?
There are different ways God’s Holy Spirit will encourage us to respond. Someone a lot more clever than me came up with the acronym SPECK. After your Bible meditation, you can mentally ask, “Lord, how do you want me to respond?
This is how many of us go about our time with God. We may have read His Word, but it doesn’t have any real connection with how we are responding to Him through our prayers. We may discover something in the Word, and we may have listened to what His Holy Spirit revealed. Yet our response doesn’t relate to that truth. Instead it simply reflects our personal issues and desires at that time.
Instead of simply praying my thoughts to God, pray back Scripture -- the thoughts of God that the Lord revealed to you while you were looking and listening as well as those new discoveries you discerned. Pray those back to the Lord first and then prayerfully ask how you should respond to His truth.
Communication and closeness with God is accomplished when we Stop to focus on the Lord, Look in the scriptures for a relationship with Him, carefully Listen to what He is telling us, and Respond appropriately.