I want our collective hearts to be warmed by the truth of Jesus. I want our minds captivated so that our love would abound more and more for Him, for one another, and for the lost. God has called The Paradox Church to saturate Fort Worth with the glory and grace of Jesus—there is a city full of people all around us who are broken, lost, and don’t know there is a big God with big grace. And our hearts won’t be warm to them until our hearts are warm to Him.
Nothing can replace the regular reading of God’s word as our primary way to commune with Him. According to Pew Research, 60% of Christians wish they read the bible more—even though, on average, we have 4.4 bibles in our homes. Yet, only 25% read the bible four or more times a week.
One of the best ways to improve your time in the word is to commit to a bible reading plan. That’s where #prdx365 comes into play, our annual 365 day reading plan that synchronizes our reading of God’s word across the entire church. A reading plan for 2019, yes, but even more, a commitment together to pursue more intimacy with the Father through the Word and Spirit. It is two chapters a day—a book of the bible that we read through, and a Psalm or Proverb.
The reading plan is available to you on our official church app right now. This way you can go to one spot to catch up on sermons, access the songs we sang on Sunday, and join in on the reading plan. When you open the app, select Bible from the bottom menu and then Reading Plan.
You may be thinking, “Can you give some tips on how to read my bible?” I’m glad you asked!
• It’s not a textbook, and there is no test. You can’t master the bible and you won’t understand everything. Even what you do understand, you won’t know the depths of. So just read it. The God of the Universe has spoken, and He loves you.
• Ask it questions. When you read a chapter (or verse) of the bible, ask questions of it like you would in any conversation with someone. What does this say about God? What is God like? What does God do? What does it say about me? What is it asking me to do? Am I supposed to rejoice? Repent? Cry out? What does obedience to this text look like?
• Read. Journal. Pray. When you read the bible, often a phrase or word or verse or idea or concept will stand out. Write that down. Meditate on it. Pray through it. Journal your thoughts. In journaling, you are continuing a conversation with God that He started. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be right, it doesn’t have to be long. Talk with God.
• Share with your community. Do you have a question about something you read? Ask someone in your City Group. Were you stirred by something? Don’t keep that to yourself, tell a coworker. Engage people with what you read like you would share a good conversation you had last night with a friend the next day.
I want to encourage you to commit to read in the morning. We’re not trying to be legalistic about this, but there’s just something about the morning. For millennia, saints have found morning devotionals to be the best practice. I know some of you work at night. I know some of you have young children. Will you commit to this anyway? Hear what the Psalmist’s have said about the morning:
• He wakens me morning by morning (Isaiah 50:4).
• In the morning my prayer comes before you (Psalm 88:13).
• My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD (Psalm 5:3).•
• Awake, my soul! I will awaken the dawn (Psalm 57:8).
• Ask God when He wants to wake you. Then be willing to get up when He does.
If you miss a morning, that’s ok. Jesus still loves you. Jump back in the next day. Know that reading your bible every day will not be easy. The enemy does not want you to do this. Every time you open your bible it’s an act of war. Your mind will wander, your kids will get up early, you’ll be in a bad mood—you’re picking up the Sword (Eph. 6:17), expect the enemy to fight back.
Will you join us in this? I pray that you do.
If you’d like further resources on reading the bible there are a few below, and we will be sending more out each week:
How to Read the Bible for Yourself
6 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Bible
5 Strategies for Daily Bible Reading
Keep Looking — The Life Changing Secret of Reading the Bible