God’s grace enables us to stay steady in our love and service to Him no matter the circumstances that may come our way. His grace enables and strengthens us. He is mighty to save, deliver and lead. I hope this message I recently preached at IHOP-KC touches your heart.
View Message HERE
I hear ya. Me too. There are many who struggle with giving themselves in a consistent way to reading the Word. However we can’t let this be our story. We must have a breakthrough. It can be done.
Here are few keys that may help you. These have proven to help me stay in the Word and encounter more of God in my day to day Christian walk. This, by the way, is His supreme desire for all of us. To encounter Him in our hearts and minds thus unlocking our love to be spent on Him.
The Bible is the primary way in which God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Not the only way, but the primary way. Therefore we don’t have an option in whether or not we’re going to be students of His Word. We sign up because we long to know Him and know His heart for us. He will help us.
I approach the Bible as if it were God’s personal letter written to me. As if it showed up one day in my mailbox, a letter personalized for me from God. This is right for you too. The Word of God is God’s Word for you. It’s profoundly personal.
As I open the letter and begin reading I remind myself of His great desire, to reveal Himself to me. This is why I open the book, to discover God. There’s more to Bible Study than simply getting through the “devotion” for the day or reading the Book through in one year. There’s more than retaining a few cool stories to be recited later. There’s more. There’s the revelation of the Creator. We were made for encounter. We were made for God. As we read we are invited in to encountering the very Author Himself, the Creator Himself, Jesus.
So I remind myself constantly of the goal of my study. It’s not only to retain information or to complete my devotion, it’s to experience the Person who gave His life for me, He loves me more than I know. This is my main motive, this is main goal of Bible reading. I open the pages and go from verse to verse hungry for my heart to connect to truth and my mind to be exhilarated with God.
I have to resist my own religious tendencies of changing my goal and motive. It’s not to simply “check the box” that my Bible reading is completed for the day so I can feel good about myself. I don’t want to just “check the box.” I want more in my motive. I want more for my heart. I want Him.
Jesus told the pharisees in John 5:39-40 a very sobering thing as it relates to Bible study with the wrong motive. 39 You search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
In essence Jesus was saying that Bible study without encountering the Author Himself or talking to the Author Himself is fruitless. It’s not about the motions of Bible-reading discipline. It’s about connecting with Jesus. This is what will bolster our heart and life in God. This is where eternal life is found.
1) Resist the religious approach to the Scriptures of simply going through the motions without reaching with your heart and mind to talk and connect with Jesus while we read.
2) Keep your goal to be “encounter” vs. “checking the box”
3) Read slow and when your heart moves or your mind is inspired pause and dialogue with Jesus. Resist the feeling of having to get through your devotion. Sometimes you may not complete the devotion material for the day. Who cares?! If it’s because your encountering the heart of Jesus it’s worth it! That’s the true goal.
4) Be motivated more about your heart being alive in God compared to memorizing all the right scriptures. I love information but I want more than information. I want my heart to be alive in God.
I’ll leave you with this verse. This is the fruit of true God-encountering Bible Study. Luke 24:32 “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked to us on the road and while He opened the scriptures to us!”
Lord open the Bible to us that our hearts might burn within us.
Don’t give up.
For more on this you can watch/listen a message I spoke and/or download more notes by clicking HERE.
We definitely had a spiral of emotion last month when we thought we were heading to FL to adopt Jamaican twins, one boy and one girl. It fell through. Perhaps the mom changed her mind or someone in her family stepped up to the plate. We simply don’t know. After the mom initially contacted the adoption agency she never responded again. Of course I can only imagine the emotion she was going through. That’s anything but a small decision. God bless her and the babies.
So Amanda and I are back to the glorious waiting in the adoption process. We’re so grateful for the many people that responded immediately to our need and then insisted that we keep the funds for a future adoption when we notified them that this particular one had changed direction. Praise God for generous people that love kids.
We’re waiting and praying.
Wes, Amanda, Owen and Maci
We said yes to adoption earlier this year and finished our homestudy this past April. We’ve been waiting ever since. Today, out of the blue, we got a call and there are twins being born this Monday in Florida. We know the mom is Jamaican, not sure about the dad. The babies are one boy and one girl and they’re healthy. That’s really all we know. We said yes immediately and are now waiting for the final confirmation. We should know within 48 hours.
We’ll need $30k total of which we have $10k ready to go that we’ve already set back for this. We weren’t expecting the double cost but here we go!
Pray and Give if you can. If we don’t get the babies we’ll be waiting again. Apparently this can happen at any moment, keeps it interesting for sure
Any questions let me know.
Thanks for reading, praying and standing with us.
God bless the Martin Family of KC!!!!
Here is a piece of text cut out of our “Charli and Ali” page found on our website. Their 5th birthday is tomorrow, Nov. 1st, 2011. They only lived a short time yet their lives touched us so deeply. Amanda and I will never forget them.
Around the sixth month of pregnancy we began Level II ultrasounds as most twin pregnancies do. We found out that something was wrong with the girls. When scanning the head of Charli (baby B as we knew her then), the specialist began to notice excess fluid on the brain. As we went from week to week the diagnosis changed and adjusted as we would see more as the girls grew. We soon found that Ali was also affected.
Over the next couple of months we went on a roller coaster ride of hope, fear, sadness, and peace. It ended up that both girls suffered the lack of formation of the brain altogether. Still to this day there is no known reason why. The specialists all agree that somewhere around day 3 or 4 of conception something went wrong causing the brains to suffer correct formation.
Charli and Ali were born on Wednesday, November 1st, 2006 early in the afternoon and some early MRI’s confirmed what we were seeing. Neither of our daughters had formed a brain beyond a bit of brain stem. Charli lived until after 4pm on the following Monday, the 6th, and Ali passed away early in the morning ten days later on the 16th. We only got a short amount of time with them but the time was profoundly impacting, joyous, affectionate, and satisfying. We would not trade the time spent with our daughters for anything.
Amanda said it best as we were holding Charli moments after she died, “I only got 5 days with you and I would do it all over again for 5 days.” If we could do it all over again for only a few short days we would not hesitate. Charli and Ali were an absolute delight and our hearts were and still are filled with love towards them. That little time changed our lives forever. Our daughters taught us how to love better and honor life to a whole new level. read more…
I spoke on this subject several months ago at our Sunday service here at IHOP-KC and the theme keeps coming up. It’s very simple. It’s a “meat and potatoes” message so to speak, some of the basics of our Christian faith. The point is to engage with the Person of God while reading the Bible. This must remain our goal in Bible study.
If you’re like me many times I feel the pressure to get through the study, complete the chapter, or get to the next book of the Bible. It’s like an unspoken presence that insists I get done so I can check the box that I completed my study or devotion for the day. At that moment I must ask myself what my goal is in the Bible study. Is my main goal to complete the devotion so I can feel good about my accomplishment? If so this will lead us to a Christianity based on rituals, rules and disciplines that lead to no true life in God. read more…
onething regionals are the International House of Prayer’s conferences for young adults, held in cities throughout the United States as well as in other countries. We end each yearlong tour in downtown Kansas City with our annual onething national gathering. This last year over 30,000 registered for the 4-day event.
At this important time in history, God is raising up a movement of young adults and awakening their hearts to intimately encounter Him, that they might give themselves to love Jesus with all their hearts, proclaim His Word to their generation, and bring the kingdom to every sphere of society.
onething regionals exist to communicate these truths to high school and college students everywhere. It is our dream to see thousands upon thousands make the decision to embrace the glory of living a life of one thing, as expressed by King David in Psalm 27:4.
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple (Ps. 27:4, NKJV)”
This year we’ve already had 3 regionals. We gathered just over 1,300 young adults in Orlando, FL in January as we partnered with the Orlando House of Prayer (OHOP), 1,100 in Rockford, IL and most recently 1,500 in Pasadena, CA. Each regional has it’s own unique story as we connect with what God is already doing in that region. We’re constantly encouraged to see how many different congregations and denominations are working together in prayer and outreach. And then to see all of them join efforts in hosting onething and get to serve alongside of them for a weekend is always a tremendous highlight.
Pray for us. We still have a full schedule ahead of us for 2011. We’ll be heading to Nashville, TN next, just over a week away. After that we’re off to Dallas, Detroit, Ohio, New Jersey, Houston and then Raleigh-Durham.
All of our paperwork is done, application filled out, referrals, background checks, finger prints…check. Our first meeting for our home-study is next week. We’re full steam ahead with pursuit of bringing in another child to the Martin Family. We’re pumped, nervous, excited and sobered by this unbelievably great opportunity. Amanda and I both feel the pleasure and fear of God.
We could have a child as early as May. That is crazy.
Pray for us and believe God that His face will continue to shine upon our family.
This past Sunday, 12.12, we hosted Convoy of Hope as they launched 12.12 Global Day of Prayer for the Poor and Suffering. We prayed from 12pm to 12am for God to raise up workers that will minister, for food, water, healthcare, education and shelter to be given and for Jesus to be powerfully preached amongst the poor. It was a sobering and powerful time as the 12-hour duration was met with the grueling facts of the numbers globally that are in profound lack. The Lord was moved. We were moved. And we know that many were affected because of the prayer that went forth.
Look for 12.12 in the future to be an established day in the Christian calendar. This day will soon be an annual time that the church worldwide is intentional about praying for and giving towards the poor and suffering of the earth. My personal commitment is that the 12th of every month I will be intentional to pray the poor in my own community and a specific nation that the Lord puts on my heart. There are several nations already on my heart but I’m asking God to give me insight and a spirit of prayer specifically for one of them.
Hopefully by this posture of prayer for the poor we’ll gain a heart to minister to the poor and truly be people of compassion.
Pray with us.