Bible

Six Anchors: 40 Days of Hope (Part 1)

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Where is your hope? What are you trusting in to carry you through life? Journey with us in discovering six unshakable anchors of hope.

About 10 and a half years ago, my mom lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 55. She was very dear to me; my confidant, my prayer warrior, and a strong woman of faith. When she passed, I was emotionally and spiritually devastated. I have been a Christian my whole life, and at the time, I had been pastoring for over 10 years. I had preached on faith and healing and saw many people miraculously healed, several from cancer. We all fully expected healing for my mom, and when it didn’t happen, I became deeply upset and angry with God. Why did He let me down? Why did He not come through when I needed the most?

At this point, I contemplated quitting the ministry. I couldn’t bring myself to preach a gospel that didn’t work for me when I needed it to the most. How could I preach with confidence something I wasn’t even sure I believed anymore?

Mark 11:22 says “Have faith in God.” Period. This was the verse my wife brought to my attention that snapped me out of my downward spiral. I quickly realized the meaning of this verse; to trust God regardless of the outcome, that His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts higher than my thoughts, and that He was God and I was not. This began my journey of discovering the 6 Anchors of steadfast hope.

Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope is an anchor for the soul.” The Amplified Bible describes that anchor as “one that will not give out no matter the pressure upon it”. This is the hope that I longed for. Although I assumed my hope was in the right place, it gave way under the pressure of my circumstances. So, I scoured the scriptures for “this hope.” During my search, I came upon six places in which the Bible instructs us to place our hope; anchors that will remain strong no matter the storm I face. Today, we are taking a look at the first three of those anchors.

Anchor #1 - The Word

In Acts 27, we read of Paul and a ship full of men becoming stranded in a mighty storm out at sea. The crew was becoming scared and disheartened but Paul arose and spoke hope to the men. He had received a word from God and was certain they would be saved. I can only imagine how much doubt Paul would have received in response, however, the men were drawn to his confidence. I too was drawn to the source of that confidence - the word from God.

In Paul’s instance, he heard a direct message from God. However, for you and I, we do not need a directive from above because we have the Word of God set before us in the Bible. I find the Bible to be a great way to hear from God. It is a sure anchor and remains strong no matter the circumstances. The Psalmist of Psalm 119:81 found the same to be true when he said, “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have my hope in your word.” When he had lost all hope, he found his anchor in the Word.

Anchor #2 - Jesus

In Luke 8, Jesus and his disciples were on a journey across a lake. Suddenly, their boat was struck by a major storm. The disciples, some of them experienced fishermen, were filled with fear. Their hope was placed in their experience on the waters, however, this anchor gave way. Jesus asked them, “Where is your faith?” In this time of chaos and panic, Jesus was teaching them to relocate their faith to Him. He qualifies as an anchor that will withstand whatever pressure that bears upon it.

Paul speaks of Jesus in this way in Colossians 1. Paul had discovered that he could be content, even happy, in spite of his circumstances. This statement is astounding coming from a man who was currently in prison, suffering immense abuse. He told the Colossian church that his secret; “Christ in me, the hope of glory.” He discovered an anchor that held.

Things of this life are fickle and don’t satisfy as we think they would, but Jesus does. He satisfies us and brings a deep joy and peace despite what is going on around us. We must see Jesus as who He is, see what He has accomplished on the cross, and see what he has done through His resurrection. If we sit and wait for God to move, then we tend to look to the wrong things for hope. We look to our being good enough, or praying enough, or for people to be ready enough, or for the right things to align instead of realizing that Jesus already did enough. He is our hope. He is our anchor.

Anchor #3 - Heaven

The hope of heaven is really anchored in the resurrection of Jesus. This one event has utmost importance in our faith. The fact that Jesus beat death allows us all to do the same and lean into the sure anchor of eternal life in Heaven. I implore everyone to personally prove to themselves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the resurrection of Jesus is true. When you do this, all things become possible and Heaven is a sure thing.

As believers, our destiny is stronger than our history, our crown outweighs our cross, and our hope in heaven outweighs the hardships on earth. C.S. Lewis said, “If you read history you will find that Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.

Like I said in the book in Chapter 16, “The reality of heaven means we can remain steadfast. This world can throw anything at us, and we can remain unshaken because this world is just a small part of who we are; it’s not the finality of our existence. Again, this hope creates an unbreakable anchor that allows us to trust God more as well as love others on a deeper level.” We need to trust God more and we need to love others on a deeper level, because the church is the hope of the world and we are on our God-given mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Get your copy of the 6 Anchors devotional today! It is available on Kindle and as a paperback. Find it here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Our Top Reads of 2017

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Reading has been referred to as "the gymnasium for the mind." As leaders, we can learn and grow so much from it. Both Pastor Gene and I love reading and hope to inspire you to take on some great books this year!

In this week's podcast, Pastor Gene and I are sharing with you our top reads of 2017. If you would like to purchase a copy of your own, simply click the book title. Let’s get started!

Pastor Kelly’s #3: Own the Moment by Carl Lentz

This was my most recent read. Carl Lentz is the pastor of the Hillsong New York Church and his book follows the many stories of his life and of his ministry. It is incredibly inspiring and honest. I took away many great principles from what Lentz shared, principles that I want to apply to my own life and ministry as a pastor.

For me, the most memorable story Lentz included was one of an experience he had while attending the Hillsong Bible College. He was asked to come up to the front of the class to pray but he was so terrified that he ran away and hid in the bathroom, even standing atop a toilet so that no one would know he was there. It was amazing to read that account from a man who is now being interviewed across America and has become one of the biggest spokespeople for the next generation church. It just shows that God can use anyone, anywhere, and that even though some of our heroes look like they have it all together, everyone has their struggles. God can use our greatest weaknesses for His glory! I think my favourite quote from the book would have to be when Lentz said, “I want to be a leader and a husband and a pastor who is so secure that I can love quickly, give generously, and forgive freely because I know where my life is anchored.”

Pastor Kelly’s #2: The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day by John Maxwell

This book is a devotional for leaders and is taken from John Maxwell’s book called The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership but is a Bible study. Maxwell takes the 21 laws and gives an example of a Biblical character, walking you through their process of mastering a particular law. I love that he takes a character and a law and gives you a week's worth of devotions for them. It allows you to meditate for a week on that law and put it into practice yourself. I’d highly recommend every pastor and leader get this devotional.

If I am honest, I have been bored of Maxwell’s books lately. Don’t get me wrong, he is one of my all-time favourite authors and no one compares to him when it comes to leadership. However, I have found a number of his latest books to be receptive of his earlier works and I didn’t get much out of them. But, this one was different. I found it refreshing, inspiring, and very very practical. I just wanted to get that out there just in case there were others that were feeling the same about Maxwell’s writing lately.

I think this book partners very well with The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. The devotional digs a little further into each law by giving an actual historical example through the Biblical characters. I think the 21 Laws book is one of the best leadership books ever written and would highly suggest you put it on the top of your reading list for 2018. And get Maxwell’s devotional to partner with it; the two of them will take your leadership to another level!

Pastor Gene’s #3: Instinct by TD Jakes

This one was a re-read for me. I decided to go through it again because I really appreciate the phrasing of Jakes’ thoughts. My favourite quote is about Jakes watching his children “unpack the inventory of their uniqueness”. I am still “unpacking my uniqueness,” as is Pastor Kelly.

Pastor Gene’s #2: Ted Talks by Chris Anderson & Spark and Grind by Erik Wahl

Ted Talks is one of my favourite websites. This book is about how the various speakers create their Ted Talks. It is very practical and references various talks that were challenging to the presenter. Everyone from Monica Lewinsky to Colin Powell.

Pastor Kelly read Talk like Ted which is one of his top picks for 2017 as well. It is one of the reasons our church has switched to 18-minute sermons on Sunday’s.

One of my main takeaways from Talk like Ted was the thought that “overstuffed” equals “under-explained”. Woodrow Wilson famously said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Presenting just one idea and doing it well takes time. Richard Bach writes, “Great writing is all about the power of the deleted word.” I believe the same is true in speaking.

My second choice for the #2 slot is Spark and Grind by Erik Wahl. “Spark” refers to those “aha!” moments when we have an idea. “Grind” refers to “grinding an idea to the finish line.” We often face the problem of running with a good idea and ignoring better ideas that may come up along the way. Grinders are people who ignore better sparks along the way. We need to learn to do both; always expect new sparks and always be grinding ideas to their finish line. Our first idea is never the best because ideas grow. The point is to spark new ideas even while grinding our first idea to the finish line.

Pastor Gene’s #1: Resilience by Eric Greitens

This is an awesome book of letters from one Navy Seal to another. For Navy Seals, the frontline is where they live with purpose and experience victories and friendships, but also a place of fear, struggle, and suffering. Once out of their military service, they have to find a new purpose, similar to when people go through challenging times like divorce or addiction. Greitens challenges his friend that the words we say to ourselves are tools by which resilience is maximized.

He sites professional climbers and the discipline of packing well. Every tool has a purpose; a sleeping bag for sleeping, a lantern for light, gloves for protection etc. Every tool has a purpose and every tool has a weight. At sea level, an axe feels like a feather but at 12,000 feet, hours from the summit, an extra pound feels like an anvil. Words have value and the right words can right your balance. We have to carry what is essential and leave the rest behind. Thus the quote, “When we’re struggling, we need the right words in our mind.” Resilience is packed full of truths that line up with the Word of God but are freshly worded.

Pastor Kelly’s #1: Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch

This is not a new book, in fact, it’s been out for a while, but I got to it just last year. I think one reason I avoided it is the sheer size of the book: it’s quite a hefty read. I also didn’t know how much of it would apply to me. But, I found it to be a fascinating read and I took a bunch of practical principles from it that I could apply to my own leadership.

I think my ultimate top pick for #1 would have to be my new book coming out this year! It is called Six Anchors and is a 40-day devotional based on hope. Hebrews 6:19 says that “this hope will be an anchor for our souls.” The Amplified Bible defines that anchor as one that “cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it.” So, I did a Bible study on the word hope and exactly where the Bible says we can place our hope that would not give out. I found six specific places where the Bible instructs us to place our hope, hence the name “Six Anchors”. My prayer is that it will help readers to locate (or relocate) their hope so that they can live life with the fullest confidence regardless of the circumstances surrounding them. The book certainly helped me with this as I wrote it. We hope to release it on Easter Sunday: April 1st, 2018. 

Motivation for Reading

I am addicted to reading. I think it is because as leaders, we are constantly faced with new problems and challenges. I find that I am always looking for new solutions and ideas to face the ever-changing challenges that come my way as a leader. It is one discipline that helps me refuel and re-fire for the future. It helps me stay solution focused instead of problem focused. I need it or I won’t survive as a leader.

The Word of God is the best read anytime and anywhere; it’s really our number one read at all times. 2018 is a great time to encourage people - and yourself - to read the Bible with fresh eyes and a fresh heart every time they pick it up. The Bible is alive and there has never been, and never will be, a book that can duplicate it. It comes partnered with the Holy Spirit who makes what was written in it thousands of years ago so alive for life today. It’s the lifeblood of every human, especially leaders, and most definitely for us pastors. We need it, not just as a preparation tool for our sermons, but as a life source for us personally. Why? Because it is in the Bible that we can hear from God the best and get His guidance to lead His church as the hope of the world on our God-given mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

The Outside Focused Church

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The natural tendency of the local church is to stay insider focused. But in order to accomplish our mission, the church must become outsider focused. What should the church do to reach unchurched people?

In our churches, we just finished a series entitled “Whatever it Takes” based on the early church in the Book of Acts. It is so easy to get inspired by the men and women God used to get the church off the ground. Their courage and determination to spread the Gospel to the masses is incredible. This time, going through Acts, I was caught by how they thought and how they prayed. I compared their mindset and prayers with my own, and I admittedly felt a little ashamed by my small thinking and weak prayers. They prayed for boldness to keep preaching the Gospel to those in need, in the face of life threatening danger. I tend to pray for safety, for protection, and for blessings for me and my family. “Whatever it Takes” was a challenging series and I hope I can move forward from here with the same courage and focus of the early church.

Keeping vs. Reaching

Today, I am going to work on answering some questions we have received from one of our listeners. They began by stating, “The tendency in a church is to focus most of our time, effort and energy on those sitting right in front of us each Sunday morning”. If we turn again to the Book of Acts, we can begin to learn how the early church focused their efforts.

As a pastor, I find it easier and more natural to focus more on who I am trying to keep, however, the church in the Book of Acts focused their thinking on those they wanted to reach. In Acts 4, they prayed for boldness to continue preaching, despite the fact that they were just threatened with a death sentence by the High Priest. They were focusing more on who they wanted to reach, and less on who they were trying to keep. In Acts 15, they had their first board meeting to discuss which of the Old Testament laws they would keep and which they would get rid of; namely in regards to circumcision. James and Peter boldly decided “to not make it difficult for the Gentiles to come to God”, voting against the archaic practice. That was a bold decision. It may have cost them a significant portion of the Jewish members in the church, who would have deeply disagreed with them discarding Moses’ laws and their traditions. But, James and Peter decided to focus more on who they were trying to reach, as opposed to who they were keep. These are just two examples but the entire book displays this mentality of the first church. This mindset is why the church moved forward with such power and influence.

The Balance

Our listener went on to say, “There is nothing necessarily wrong with this [the tendency of the church to focus time, effort and energy on those sitting right in from of them each Sunday] but how do you effectively communicate that the balance may be off and that there needs to be more emphasis put on reaching and bringing in and compelling the unchurched to come in so they can become part of God’s family and then the local church’s family?

For me, I am not sure there is a balance. If I am going to lean one way or another, I would prefer to lean towards focusing on those I am trying to reach. I believe the best way to effectively communicate this emphasis is through the Lead Pastor from the pulpit. It is easy to preach this focus because Jesus made it His focus. He said, “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost.” He modelled this purpose in everything he did. The early church then followed his example. 

When I arrived in Lethbridge over 6 years ago, I recognized a church that had become insider focused. I believe this happens naturally to every church over time. It takes a regular course of correction from the pulpit by the Lead Pastor to counter this natural drift. When I discovered this problem in Lethbridge, I began preaching about being outsider focused and went through the Book of Acts. This is why I spoke through the Book of Acts again this past month; it was time to correct our church and prevent any insider drift from taking place again. I don’t think any change can happen effectively in a church until it has been preached passionately. If people can see it in the Word, they will go to work making it happen in their lives and in the church. That is the power of the Word. So, it must be preached first and then regularly in order to bring a change of direction in the church.

Waiting on the Holy Spirit

Next, our listener says this: “I find some of the responses from church members when being asked the question of what could or should we do to reach people are, ‘Well if they are really searching and truly need to become saved, the Holy Spirit will draw them in.’ My question to you Pastor Kelly is: If we are to wait until the Holy Spirit draws people into the church, what do we do with the Great Commission, to ‘Go into all the world and make disciples’ ?” 

I have heard this from a lot of well meaning Christians. They are waiting on a move of God. The only problem with this thinking is that God has already moved. He has done everything needed in order for salvation to happen. Jesus took care or the sin problem and made relationship with Him accessible to everyone. Next, He sent the Holy Spirit. When Peter and the 120 received the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, they went out and preached. The Holy Spirit did not compel people in; He empowered them to go out.

The Holy Spirit’s job is not to draw people in; they don’t have the Holy Spirit, we do. The Holy Spirit’s job is to work in us and through us to go and reach. Paul said this in Romans 10: Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”  We are the ones to preach. It’s on us.

If it is the Holy Spirit’s job to bring people into my church, then why does he like some churches more than others? If one church is growing and seeing souls saved and one is not, isn’t he playing favourites? Why does He like their church more than mine? It is like a farmer who has a field right next to the field of another farmer. If one reaps a bumper harvest and the other doesn’t, is it God’s fault? Or does it reflect on the skill of the farmer? The farmer can’t make a plant grow, only God can do that. But, the farmer plays a big role in the process. Has has to prepare the soil, plant the seed, fertilize the seed, water the field, get rid of the weeds, and collect the harvest. God made the crop grow, but it was the farmer who had to skillfully work the field to reap the harvest. The same is true in the church. It is God who saves, but it is us who have to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, and reap the harvest.

Designing a Service

Continuing on, the listener has received this answer in response to the question "What could or should we do to reach people?": “We can’t limit the elements of our service (lessen the music time or hold back from going really deep or shortening sermons or preaching on topics rather than whatever God would lead the pastor to preach each week) just so unchurched feel more comfortable.” This begs the question, how should the church “go deep” and for whom and when?

I believe each church needs to go deep, but each church has to reach. So, are we preparing our services for those we are trying to keep more than for those we are trying to reach? These are great questions and ones that I have wrestled with for a long time. One thing I discovered in our church is that, the way we were designing our services was creating completely dependant followers. What I mean by that is, as a team, we had to define what a “disciple” was in order to go and make them. we noticed how John wrote to the early church in 1 John 2. He wrote, “I write to you little children, I write to you young men, and I write to you fathers.” He was addressing three different groups in one church, based on their spiritual maturity. Our team looked at that and knew we must have those three groups in our church as well.

A little child is completely dependant on someone else. They need someone to feed them and clean up their messes. A young man is strong and independent. In fact, John wrote that when he said, “I write to you young men because you are strong in the Word and have overcome the evil one.” Young men are strong because they have the ability to feed themselves. When we discovered this, we noticed that we were designing our services in such a way that kept the congregation as dependants—as little children. We were trying to preach people full on Sunday’s by giving them heavy meat, instead of preaching them hungry so that they could go and feed themselves. Christians were never meant to get all of their spiritual meat in a Sunday gathering; they were meant to get it from the Word on their own. The language of little children is “I’m not being fed,” because they are completely dependant on someone else to feed them. So, we endeavoured to get people to begin growing themselves. When they do, you are not “limiting” their growth by cutting back on anything in your services because they are not solely dependent on you anymore. 

The Holy Spirit and the Unchurched

Now, is there a difference in the way and in the relevance of the Holy Spirit as He moves in the hearts of the churched versus the unchurched? I believe so. Look at what Jesus told the 120 before they received the Holy Spirit. They were followers of Him yet He told then to wait until they received the Holy Spirit before they went and preached the Word. This exemplifies the purpose of the Holy Spirit as well as the difference in His role within a believer versus a non-believer. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to the church; it’s for the believers and the unchurched will not recognize Him. In fact, Paul said that, to the unbeliever, the Holy Spirit will appear like foolishness.

So, the Holy Spirit is to guide and comfort the church, and is also a source of boldness. Our job is to be the preachers, to be the ones who compel them to come meet Jesus. We have to tell them, teach them, and explain to them. That is why Paul warned the church in Corinth to be careful with the gifts of the Spirit in the presence of unbelievers. They need to become believers before they will fully appreciate who He is and what He can do in and through us.

A final response to the question, “what could and should the local church do to reach unchurched people” is this: “People will be attracted to our uncompromising elements of the service.” However, how would unchurched people know whether the “elements of a service” are compromising or uncompromising?

This saddens me, because it is not biblical. Paul explained his approach to reaching the lost in 1 Corinthians 9. He said, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” To me, this doesn’t sound like compromise; this sounds like someone who is dedicated to reaching as many people as possible. When churches say “people will be attracted to our uncompromising elements”, it is like Paul saying, “because I am a Jew, the Gentiles will be attracted to God through my traditions and the law.” Paul realized that to them, it would be foolishness, even though the law is a part of the Bible. He said he became like them and spoke in a way they would understand, in order that he may win some. We see him do this in Acts 17 while he was in Athens. He quoted their poets as a part of his sermon when he said, “in him we live and move and have our being.” That is a direct quote from a poem by Epimedes of Crete in reference to Zeus. Most Christians today would accuse Paul of compromise, yet he was successful in planting a church in Athens.

Did Paul compromise? No. The guideline for me is to keep the message sacred, not the methods. The message is Jesus and His resurrection; I will never compromise that. The methods we use to preach that message are totally up for discussion. Our methods and traditions are the music we play, the order of service, the length of service, the length of music, the type of altar calls, the dress code, the language we use etc. When churches that are reaching the unchurched are criticized, it is usually over the fact that they are using different methods than what are traditional. It is rarely over the fact that the message is incorrect. We need to learn to discern the message from the methods and be open to messing with the methods in order to open people up to receive the message. This will help us “win some”.

In the weeks to come, we will go deeper into this subject. This approach to ministry challenges every church to do things relevant to the unchurched as well as the churched. I would be lying if I said I didn’t regularly wrestle with my traditional preferences and with the willingness to lay them down for the sake of reaching someone with the gospel. It is an easy trap to fall into; we all have the natural tendency to focus more on those we want to keep than on those we want to reach. But we have to do everything we can to resist that tendency and keep our focus on the mission. Why? Because the church is the hope of the world, and we’ve been given a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca

The Secret to Exponential Growth

Pastors, what if I could give you a secret that would increase the income in your church by 416%? What if I could guarantee a way to increase your parishioners sharing their faith with others by 228%? What if the same secret would be a key to increasing the discipleship in your church by 231%? Would you be interested? Do I have your attention, yet? Bible_Reading_Guy

These numbers are taken from a study conducted by the Center for Bible Engagement released in August 2012. It was a survey conducted on the Key to Spiritual Growth. You can find the survey at www.centerforbibleengagement.org. The secret? These astounding numbers were caused by simply increasing the number of times individuals read the Bible in a week. The results showed a dramatic climb in spiritual growth and just as dramatic decreases in struggles and bad habits if an individual would engage in the Bible 4 times a week or more!

This begs a question be asked. If simply increasing the number of times a week an individual reads the Bible can have such a dramatic effect on their lives and on the life of a church, how do we encourage our parishioners to engage more in the Word?

You see, I think we have a major problem in our churches. For the most part, our programs and systems are producing lazy, dependent Christians. They are so dependent on Pastors and Teachers feeding them the Word, that they have stopped feeding themselves. There is nothing wrong with being fed from great preachers, I make a habit of listening to 2-4 sermons a week myself. However, I've noticed that over the last few decades there has been a steady decline in the emphasis of daily devotions and personal Bible study. More and more, I am finding believers who struggle with a daily routine of reading the Word. Yet, such a habit can be life changing. Just read the above survey and read the results yourself!

But we don't need a survey to tell us these things. The Bible, itself tells us the same. Look what James wrote in James 1:25.

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James tells us there are 4 things we need to do if we desire to be blessed in all that we do.

  1. We need to READ the Word intently. (whoever looks intently in the perfect law) What if we helped our parishioners engage in daily reading plans? It could change their lives!
  2. We need to REVIEW the Word. (and continues in it) Reviewing the Word is studying the Word. It's a step deeper than just reading. One of the best ways to examine the Word and study it is by engaging in meaningful discussion with others. What if we helped our people establish small groups to do just that, discuss and study the Word together?
  3. We need to REMEMBER the Word. (not forgetting what they heard) One of the most significant spiritual practices is Bible memory. Quoting verses like Jesus did to his tempter, is one of the best ways to overcome temptation. The only way to do that is through memorization. What if we encouraged people to memorize a verse a week?
  4. We need to RESPOND to the Word. (but doing it) This is an active faith. What if we created opportunities for our people to act on the Word they've just been taught?

These steps and corresponding questions are something me and my staff are discussing right now. We are trying to discover the best way to encourage Bible engagement among our people. Because we believe, as the Bible tells us that it is the best way for them to be blessed in what they do.

Question: How many times a week do you read the Bible personally?

The Miracle Cure

miracle_cure If I told you I had discovered a pill, that if you took it daily, would transform every area of your life, would you want to know more? What if I could prove to you that people who took the pill 4 times a week or more, decreased their odds of giving in to the following temptations:

  • Overeating or mishandling food decreased by 20%
  • Gambling decreased by 45%
  • Having sex outside of marriage decreased by 59%
  • Viewing pornography decreased by 59%
  • Neglecting family decreased by 26%
  • Lies decreased decreased by 28%
  • Lashing out in anger decreased by 31%
  • Drinking to excess decreased by 62%
  • Gossiping decreased by 28%
  • Overspending or mishandling money decreased by 20%

But that's not all of it. Studies have shown that people who took the pill 4 times a week or more decreased their odds of struggling with the following issues as well:

  • They had 32% lower odds of thinking destructively about self or others
  • They had 18% lower odds of thinking unkindly about others
  • They had 60% lower odds of feeling spiritually stagnant
  • They had 44% lower odds of feeling they can't please God
  • They had 30% lower odds of experiencing loneliness
  • They had 40% lower odds of feeling bitter
  • They had 31% lower odds of having difficulty forgiving others
  • They had 26% lower odds of having difficulty forgiving themselves
  • They had 32% lower odds of feeling like they had to hide
  • They had 31% lower odds of feeling discouraged
  • They had 14% lower odds of experiencing fear or anxiety

Would you be interested? Do you want to know where you can get this miracle cure?

The truth is, most of you already have the cure in your home. The problem is, most of us don't take it enough. The studies show that the greatest results happen when individuals increased their intake to 4 or more times a week or more. So what is the miracle cure?

It's the Bible.

That's right. An organization called Back to the Bible conducted a number of surveys over the last few years and the results I listed above are the real numbers they found for people who read their Bible 4 times a week or more! You can access the study yourself by clicking HERE.

These results shouldn't shock us. The authors of the Bible told us as much.

Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32) He promised freedom would come in our lives if we continued in His Word. That's the secret. The secret to freedom is the daily habit of reading His Word.

King David said, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." (Psalm 119:11) King David discovered that when he read the Word and meditated on it so that it would take root in his heart, that he sinned less. Again, that's what the studies prove. Those who daily read the Word found their struggles with temptation substantially decreased. It truly is the miracle cure!

If you are feeling trapped by a specific temptation and can't seem to get free, try reading the Word daily and watch how easily you will get free of your struggle. In fact, I would encourage you to visit www.settingcaptivesfree.com and find a daily Bible study that is specific to your temptation. I have assigned this website to many, many people who have come to me for help with a specific temptation. And without exception, those who followed through with the study were set free. The results are 100% guaranteed. The Word is the key.

Question: I have signed up with YouVersion.com for a daily Bible reading plan. Will you join me? Will you join the challenge to read the Word daily?