The awesome RobinBryce.com and I went, daughters in tow, to Catalyst in Atlanta the week before last. We came back fired up but also in "seeking mode" as in seeking God's will for how we should be engaged and plugged into ministry, church, work and community.
One of the speakers was Francis Chan, a Catalyst regular staple the last few years. I was struck with wonder at the humility he displayed in conveying what God is doing in his life. Here is a man who has resigned the growing church he planted in Southern California to go to Asia with an open call. The thing that grabbed me was that his humility and his calling are the result of the time he spends in the Word. I need that.
I remember what it used to be like when I spent more time in the Word just letting God speak to me. It was all so fresh. Over the years I have allowed myself to become callous to the freshness of God's Word. The fault lies not in His Word but in my heart. Let me explain.
I have learned a lot through God's Word. Following Christ 32 years plus a college and seminary degree sort of get you more immersed as well. There lies the problem. Now when I come to a passage I am typically aware of the context. I usually remember or have a quick awareness of the main message and I even remember a few Hebrew and Greek words now and then. I typically just jump right in and outline the passage, dig a little in some portion that I think seems the right spot an come up with a fair to good Bible study or message. Please don't get me wrong. I do not for a moment discount Holy Spirit's role in guiding and directing me. He does and I am thankful. The problem really is that I do not allow Him time to speak.
By jumping in armed with what I already know I often circumvent the process of starting with a blank page and letting Him fill it up.
I have lost my curiosity. I use the knowledge as a time saver or short cut to the finish line rather than a head start that will allow me to dig deeper and find the richer and more bountiful teachings of Scripture.
I need the resolve to let Him speak. I need the purposefulness to go before Him and stay in His Word like I am on a great adventure discovering new territory rather than plowing through like a horse headed to the barn.
My plan is to do two things. One, set aside more time to just be in the Word. I don't mean sitting down with a buffet of study Bibles and Logos at hand on the computer. I mean just take the Word, open it and read slowly and aloud if possible. I plan on stopping between the paragraphs or the chapters and making sure I am hearing and understanding. It needs to be like a trip where you are driving and actually do stop to read the historical markers!
Second, in Bible study or message preparation I need to "return to my first love". I need to zero in on the passage and let The Father speak to me before I dig out the study aids. I need to make sure the message is really connecting in my heart before I try to make it connect in others.
I'll keep you posted on how this goes. What about you? Is there anyone else who feels this way or has felt this way and if so what did you do about it?