There are certain messages that you hear, which you never forget. I remember hearing Jon Courson speak at a missions conference in Austria in the early 2000’s. I don’t remember much of what he said, but I do remember this phrase, which he repeated several times:
Read your Bible and pray,
every single day.
Novel concept for a group of missionaries and pastors, right?
Well, it is actually. Because one rut that preachers and Bible teachers in particular tend to fall into is that of only reading your Bible to look for something to preach on or teach about: “sermon material” if you will.
What I have found is that when I read the Bible purely to hear from the Lord and delight in His Word, it keeps me so fresh and alive as a Christian, that it makes me a better minister.
For example, yesterday I was reading through 2 Chronicles, and I read chapters 20-23. That’s one of those sections of the Bible that people like to skip over, because it’s full of hard to pronounce names and stories that are downright confusing – because it’s never clear who the “good guy” really is (hint: the only “good guy” in the story is GOD himself!).
After reading those passages, I went to meet with a brother from our church, and it just so happened that the very chapters I had read spoke directly to what he was going through in his life – in a way that was actually quite moving. And it wasn’t just one thing – it was several things from various stories in those 4 chapters. If I hadn’t been reading through the Word consistently, I’m sure I would have had something to share with this brother, but it wouldn’t have been so alive and prophetic as this was.
Another thing I remember Jon Courson saying:
Wherever you are in the Word, that’s where you are.
That was basically Jon’s way of saying that in the providence of God, the scriptures you will read as you read through the Bible will often apply directly to the situation you are in. I have found that to be very true.
May we never be people who only look to God’s word for “material” that we can USE in speaking to others. May we come to it always as the fountain of life. But if you do that, you will also find that when you hide His Word in your heart, you will have plenty of “material” to share with others.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. – Proverbs 14:27