The Means of RenewalPosted: February 22, 2011
I’ve been preaching through the book of Nehemiah the last few weeks at Awaken. Nehemiah’s vision was never just to rebuild the walls, but to rebuild the walls and renew the people as a means of restoring the glory of God to Jerusalem.
Yesterday, we turned the corner from the work of rebuilding the walls to the work of renewing the people. What we find is renewal in any city starts with the people of God and renewal within the people of God always starts with God’s Word.
God’s Word is not a moral law book that must be followed in order to receive God’s love. Just the opposite, it’s the story of God’s love and pursuit in spite of our absolute failure to follow His law. Our joy and freedom to follow Him are based on what He has done for us, not what we must do for Him to earn His grace or favor.
It’s in experiencing this joy and freedom that is ours in Christ that we long to submit to His authority and to live for His glory. It’s through His Word that God gives us His heart for people, our city, and the nations.
That can’t happen if we are not intentionally studying God’s Word with others and individually. Here are some tips to help you take that important step:
- Set a no exemption time and place to meet with God. Get up extra early, use your lunch break, take a break during the day. Whenever, wherever…just pick the time and place and commit to it.
- Start your Bible reading with prayer. Spend time worshiping God for His goodness and grace. Spend time confessing known sin in your life and ask God to restore you. Ask God to speak to you through His Word.
- Have a plan. Don’t just flip the Bible open and go. You need a place. There are several great plans you can follow online or on your phone, several you can print and take with you, and others you can use a variety of ways. Pick one that works and go with it.
- Write down significant insights and scriptures. Get a notebook or a journal and spend time after each Bible reading writing down key insights and scriptures. Write about verses that give joy because of how they reveal the gospel, verses that convict you of present sin, verses that teach you how to follow and honor God, etc.
- Share your reading and insights with others. Following Jesus and gleaning from His Word was never meant to be a solo sport. You need others to keep you accountable and to help you understand and apply the Word. You can do the same for others. This will be a key part of Community Groups (launching in March!) at Awaken.
- Commit to action. The book of James calls us to not just be hearers of the Word, but doers. As God reveals His will to you through His Word and as He prompts you to follow Him, do what He says! Give, serve, share, go, tell…whatever it is, do it!
If we want to see renewal come to our lives, our city, and if we truly want to see God’s name made great in and through out lives and our church, then we must be people who are hungry to hear and committed to do God’s Word.
Get started today. If you miss a day, just pick up where you left off and keep going. Just because you miss a meal doesn’t mean you stop eating!
Go for it – your joy and freedom to follow Him will explode as you dive into His Word!