Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Three Ways to Build Your Life on God's Word
by Tom Goodman
January 6, 2010

Master Planning Meeting
This Sunday, January 10

We want to hear from you!  Following the 10 a.m. worship service, our architect will lead us in a congregational forum to hear your ideas on campus improvements.  A BBQ lunch will be served and the youth will host a party for elementary-school aged kids on the third floor (preschool care will be provided in the preschool wing).

Here are three steps that will help you value your Bible in 2010.

First, read it.  Set aside time to read it daily.  Read it when there's nothing worthwhile on TV.  Read it while you're waiting in an airport terminal.  Listen to recordings of scripture readings while you're driving.

Now, maybe you doubt you'll get anything out of Bible reading because you tried it before and concluded, "I'm never going to understand it!"  You will if you keep at it.  A few years ago, I bought a CD drive for my computer, and when I opened the instruction manual to install the thing, I saw all kinds of language I had never seen before.  The instruction manual told me to locate the primary IDE channel, secondary IDE channel, 40-pin IDE cable, and a shunt.  I said to myself, "Uh-oh."  Then when I opened the computer case, I saw all these wires running everywhere and I thought, "What have I gotten myself into?"  But I kept working with it, and I soon had the thing installed and working perfectly.

Keep working with your Bible, and what is currently strange and foreign will eventually become rich and beautiful to you.  When reading a book that was written several thousand years ago in a Near Eastern culture very different from yours, it takes time to understand the ancient customs and idioms and theological concepts.  But as you consistently read Scripture, your understanding will grow.

Second, think about it.  Take time to reflect on what you're reading.  Get in Bible study groups that will help you understand your Bible.  Read books that will answer the questions that come up during your reading times.  As you study the Bible, keep a journal of your reactions and questions.

Third, live it.  James Emery White described believers who do not grow in spiritual maturity as "saved but not seized."  It's not enough to simply read the Bible and think about it.  We need to let ourselves be seized with conviction by the scriptural challenges.  When we discover changes that need to be made or habits that need to be started, we need to take action, depending on the power of the Spirit and the encouragement of other believers.

The Old Testament poet said, "Oh, how I love your word!  I think about it all day long" (Psalm 119:97, LB).  Let that be your testimony when 2010 is through!

Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored," with its Links to Your World -- interesting and informative links, posted every Tuesday.

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