I am so thankful for the Bible, God’s Holy Word! Through it God draws me to Himself and changes my life. In fact, as I look back on my journey with Jesus, the Bible stands out as an absolutely indispensable, hugely transformative aspect of my spiritual life.
Through the Bible, God brought me to faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus. On the night I was born again, the pastor who helped me read John 1:12 to me: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” He asked me if I believed in Jesus and, when I said, “Yes,” he said, “You are a Christian.”
Fast forward now 42 years to the present. How is God at work in my life through His Word today? Let me tell you.
As I have mentioned in the past, I use The One Year Bible for my daily Bible reading program. As I am reading through the Bible, this week I have been in 2 Chronicles. Twice this week God has used specific verses to encourage my heart. That is unusual in my experience. Every now and then a verse may “jump out at me,” but that is usually not a weekly experience. And to have two in one week … that is out of the ordinary! But I am very grateful to our heavenly Father for that. He knows what is going on in my life and what I need. And He is kind enough to speak to me in my need. He is good.
The Lord is helping me in another way through His Word besides pointing out passages that help me in the moment. What I have been noticing, and thinking about lately, is how reading the Bible shapes the way I think.
Let’s face the facts: we are engaged in a spiritual war. To a large extent, the battle is for our minds. Thoughts can lead to beliefs, and beliefs do lead to behavior. This is quite clear in the way God put together many of the letters in the New Testament, such as Ephesians and Colossians. The first halves of these books reveal to us truths to believe; the latter halves of the books give specific instructions about how we are to live. Beliefs lead to behavior.
Satan is working hard to fill our minds with God-less thoughts. He is very effective in tempting people to believe things that are not true. And he has many slick ways to get his evil thoughts into our minds. The world around us, the culture in which we live is under his influence. And he uses all possible avenues—the internet, social media, TV, movies, news outlets, books, classrooms, advertisement … anything.
We live in a world of ideas. We are being constantly influenced by what we see and hear. If we are passively, absent-mindedly absorbing the thoughts and ideas that swirl around us, we will end up having the worldview of our culture. We will actually have a God-less mindset.
This is where God’s Word is so absolutely vital. We can combat Satan’s falsehoods with God’s truth … if we are immersing ourselves in the Bible, God’s true Word to us.
So this is what I have been noticing, and appreciating lately: God’s Word guards my mind, strengthens me in the battle, and cultivates in me a God-filled mindset. Regularly reading the Bible is a slow-drip way of infusing a biblical worldview into my mind and of resisting the God-less worldview Satan wants me to have.
Several months ago we canceled our subscription to a newspaper we used to receive daily. I enjoyed reading the paper while I ate my breakfast. However, the subscription price has escalated dramatically over the past few years, and cost increases were coming more and more frequently. If I got a letter in the mail from the newspaper, I knew what it was before I opened it: subscription rates were going up.
Now, when I sit down with my bowl of cereal and cup of freshly brewed loose-leaf tea, I read The One Year Bible. I am enjoying it! As you likely know from experience, reading the Bible is not always enjoyable or fun or easy. Sometimes it’s something you just have to make yourself do … like taking your prescription medication. It’s a discipline. However, there are times when God gives you a special word of encouragement. And, what I’ve been noticing lately is that God is using this regular reading to protect my mind and to build and reinforce a God-centered way of thinking.
Thank God for the Bible!
We continue to move forward together in the Journey Vision!
In the month of July, the church family decided to change the name of our church from the Evangelical Free Church of Clinton, Iowa to Journey Church of Clinton, Iowa. We had two business meetings in which this decision was made. The first business meeting was on July 8 and it was there that the members voted to approve our name change. The vote was conducted by secret ballot and required a 2/3 majority for approval. The motion to change our name passed.
A second business meeting was held on July 15. Our By Laws required this second meeting. The motion being voted on in that meeting was to replace in our Articles of Incorporation and By Laws all occurrences of our former name with our new name. This motion was presented and tabled on July 8 and then voted upon on July 15. As with the vote on July 8, the vote was conducted by secret ballot and required a 2/3 majority for approval. The motion to revise these church documents passed.
We have now begun the process of officially changing our name with the state of Iowa. This process is estimated to take 2 months. We are hopeful that the process will be completed by September 9, the launch date for Journey Vision. We will wait until September 9 to begin using our new name.
There are many, many things to take care of in the meantime, such as signage, stationery, website, email, notifications, business cards, church brochures, …. We are grateful that God has provided for the costs of these changes through the generous gift of a donor! Please pray for God to bless the efforts of all, especially the church staff, who are working on these details.
We have finished our Journey Vision sermon series. However, on August 12, we will have a Journey recap sermon from Jeremiah 32 entitled, “How Big Is Our God?”
As previously mentioned, September 9 is the launch date for our new vision. What will take place on that day? As God wills,
- We will begin using the new Worship Journey liturgy.
- We will begin a 4-part sermon series from 1 Peter entitled “Sojourners.”
- We will have our new Journey Church signage in place.
- We will unveil details of our Outreach Journey.
- We will display some renderings related to our Facility Improvement Plan.
- We will enjoy a celebratory meal together after our worship service!
September 9 will be a great day! I hope you will be there! We are moving forward together!