For some reason, the Bible has become less and less important in the daily lives of believers. This seems especially true of believers in the Western world. While many parts of the world are desperate to get their hands on the Word of God, Western believers have easy access to the Word and yet many are neglecting the daily discipline of reading the Bible. Why is this?
One reason we may be less inclined to regularly feed on the Word is because we have forgotten the benefits this daily discipline affords us. For those of us who have forgotten these benefits, here are 6 benefits the Word promises we will receive:
One of my spiritual hero’s was John Wimber. He is widely known as the founder of the Vineyard movement of churches. One of the things I respect most about him is that it was said of him when he pastored his first church, he created the substantial growth of 7 other churches in his city because he was leading so many people to the Lord. He was a very enthusiastic evangelist, right from his own conversion in the early 1960’s.
John Wimber was a famous producer in the music industry in the early ’60’s before he became a pastor. Within a few years of his conversion to Christ, he was approached by the Beatles and asked to produce one of their albums. He consulted with the church he was attending and was told that he shouldn’t associate himself with them and strongly advised to not accept the offer. Knowing the type of passionate believer and evangelist John was, what if he had taken the gig? What could have happened if he had been allowed to work with and influence the world’s most popular and listened to group?
I think one of the most entertaining chapters in all the Bible is Acts 15. It tells the story of the one of the early churches first Board Meetings. And you’ll never believe what the topic was!
The Apostle Paul was in the height of his church planting ministry and he was traveling from city to city seeing huge results. Many were being added to the church. Many leaders were being raised up. And there were many miracles. However, a group of zealous Jewish believers were following behind Paul and taking it upon themselves to “disciple” the new converts. One of their main objectives was to ensure that all of the believers, Jews and non-Jews, understood that Christianity was a Jewish religion and that it required every believer to adhere to the full Jewish law. And yes, this included circumcision.
“The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.”
~ Dr. Timothy Keller ~
There are many differences between Jesus’ ministry and my own, but one really stands out to me. Jesus had an uncanny ability to attract the outcasts, outsiders whom the mainstream of society rejected. He loved them and they loved him.
Wayne Dyer, a well known author said, “All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”
One of the most valuable foundational breakthroughs for me as a Senior Pastor occurred the day I realized that I am responsible for the environment of my church. I couldn’t blame the community I was in, the people I inherited, or the money (or lack thereof) in the bank account. I couldn’t be frustrated with my people any longer for not inviting the unchurched. I was responsible.
Lou Holtz, the famous Head Football Coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, said, “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.”