Viewing entries tagged

Pass It On by Laura Williams

Do you ever find yourself struggling to retain what you read in the Bible? Or even to remember what you learned from a Sunday sermon or message? There are so many times that I have been deeply moved by a particular message at church, and months later I’ll find my notes from that message and realize I forgot all about the special thing the Lord spoke to my heart.

It can be embarrassing sometimes to recognize my inability to recall something that sincerely spoke to my heart. It’s not that I didn’t hear God speaking to me and desire to remember and apply what I learned. It just never found solid footing in my life, and I let it sit on the back burner of my heart long enough that it was simply forgotten. Don’t you wish we could find a way to remember and retain all of the beautiful truths we learn and keep them close in our hearts?

Something that has helped me tremendously in this area is the importance of SHARING what God is teaching me with someone else. When you teach the very things you are learning and pass them along to another person, those truths sink deeper into your own heart.

If you can teach it to someone else, your own understanding of that truth grows and becomes easier to remember.

When you read your Bible and God teaches you through it, share that with someone! You will mature in your knowledge and faith when you are able to teach someone else what God has taught you!

“Teaching the Bible” is an intimidating idea for most of us. Most of us would probably never describe ourselves as Bible teachers. You may feel you don’t KNOW enough, or perhaps you might be asked a question you won’t know the answers to! It is true that you cannot teach what you do not know and understand yourself, but what is different about teaching the BIBLE, is that the Holy Spirit Himself is able to speak through you and give you words to say! And also, it is completely normal and okay not to have all the answers!

Our faith grows when we step out and put our trust in God’s ability to speak through us! And once you do this a few times, you will begin to see that it is, in fact God who does the teaching, and you are simply his vessel—his voice—to speak to others.

Don’t be afraid to share what God has been teaching you, no matter how simple you may think it sounds!

Those truths will sink themselves deeper into your own heart, and you will get to see God use you to teach others!

And this can look different for each of us. You may want to find a friend who can be that person you share with on a regular basis—maybe you both can meet up during the week and share what God is teaching you that week. Or maybe you and your spouse can make an effort to share more with each other about your personal walks with Jesus. Another way that can be very helpful in maturing us and expanding our knowledge of the Bible is through teaching children! Teaching kids causes us to study the simple and foundational truths of Scripture in order to pass them along in a clear way. Pray about how God might want to be using you to teach someone else this week!

However you feel that this applies best to you, let me encourage you to start now! Be confident that God will use your willingness to share with others for both your own good and the good of others! Preach His Word, encourage one another, and watch how Jesus uses you!

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” -2 Timothy 4:1-2

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

Set A Goal To See Jesus by Alesha Sinks

It’s a New Year and perhaps you, like many, have set a Bible reading goal. And maybe, I’m not alone in finding this to be a daunting task. Or maybe, you’ve never even thought about the fact that there may be more than one way to go about this.

It sometimes seems like every “really spiritual” Christian sets a goal to read through the whole Bible in a year, and that anything less than that is a failure.

There are so many ways to approach your Bible reading goals, and yet we so often focus on just this one: reading the whole Bible in a year.

However, I’ve had several years of Bible reading where I haven’t come even close to reading the whole Bible, and yet, I have grown in profound ways in my understanding of and love for God and His Word.

This, I believe, is the fundamental shift that needs to take place in our approach to our Bible reading goals. The purpose of reading our Bible is not to consume as much as possible as quickly as possible, or even to achieve the “gold-standard” of reading the whole Bible in one year.

The purpose of Bible reading is to better understand who God is, and to know His Son, Jesus.

Jesus Himself said, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me."
John 5:39

Ultimately, when we learn more about Jesus, when we better understand who He is and how much He loves us, we begin to love Him more. And when we fall more in love with God, when we stand in greater awe and gratitude for what He has done for us and for who He is, then we will desire and begin to become more like Him our daily living.

Goals and plans can surely help us, but we will ultimately fail at Bible reading if we fail to love God more as a result of it.

Knowing this, that the goal of our studying God's word is to first fall more in love with Jesus and then to become more like Him, it should be with great eagerness that we take on the lifelong journey of growing in our knowledge and understanding of Him and His Word. Granted, we are human and any growth will often feel difficult and painful, but it is so worth the work.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed by New Years resolutions to "read the Bible more", let's set our hearts to fall more in love with Jesus and plan a path of studying and growing in God's Word that will help us to do just that.

To help you as desire to grow in your understanding of God’s Word, I want to share a few of my favorite approaches to reading God’s Word:

1. Set a goal to become more familiar with the Bible as a whole.

Become comfortable with the layout and sections and flow of it as a whole. Usually the best way to approach this is to read the Bible through rather quickly, in a year or so.

My favorite way to do this is by using a reading plan. I like plans like this one, where you read a little bit from the Old Testament, a little bit from the New Testament, and a little bit from the book of Psalms each day. However, other good approaches are chronological reading plans or taking the Bible one book at a time, in any order you choose, and checking each book off until you have read the whole thing.

However you do it, reading the Bible all the way through (in a year or two) is one of my favorite ways to approach God’s Word. You will gain such an appreciation for the consistency shown by God through His Word, and will develop a broader understanding of the biblical timeline as you do.

2. Set a goal to dig deep into a specific book of the Bible.

This is a great way to use your inductive bible study skills, which Pastor Travis taught in a previous blog series: Part 1 - Part 2. Additionally, this is a wonderful way to study along with the Sunday morning sermons series or our 3-minute message series.

Pull out a notebook or journal and some study helps, and take it really slow, a chapter, or just a section of a chapter, at a time. Maybe even copy the entire section into your journal to help you slow down and really listen to every phrase.

3. Set a goal to study a specific Biblical topic.

There are so many reading plans available to help you with this and you can easily find lists of scripture by topic online. Or you can purchase a more traditional Bible study book on the topic you want to study, and use that to guide you. As always, you can find hundreds of sermons online to supplement your Bible reading and help you gain even more insight into a particular topic. Here a few good preachers to start with, when looking for sermons on specific passages or topics.

4. Set a goal to memorize and meditate on key sections of scripture so that you can quickly call to mind encouragement and wisdom and reminders of grace.

This kind of goal works really well in conjunction with the topical Bible study or even study of a specific book, discussed above. Pick a key verse(s) or section and spend a little time every day memorizing and pondering that passage. This way, you will always have that section to remind you of the things you learned during your study.

Whether you are memorizing a passage or not, going slowly and prayerfully through the same section over and over again is a wonderful way to help the truths of God’s Word sink deep into your heart and begin to transform your mind.

There are so many ways to study God’s Word, and none is better or more spiritual than the other. In fact, applying a wide variety of bible study techniques throughout your life will actually help you grow in your understanding of God’s Word.

Plans and systems and goals are wonderful things, but if we loose sight of their purpose, helping us to know and love Jesus more, then they become worthless pursuits. So as we seek to know and love Jesus more fully, let’s remember that this is something He has called us to and has given us the ability to do through Jesus.

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence”
2 Peter 1:3

He has given us everything we need to fulfill what He has called us to do for His glory in this life, and He has given it to us through knowing Him. Yet how do we learn to know Him more? Though His Word and His Spirit.

I pray that this year would be one of growth and maturity for you in the area of knowing God through His Word.

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

One Piece of Advice by Daniel Williams

As a pastor I get to spend time talking with people with many different backgrounds, personalities, and life stories. I love people, and I love hearing their stories and learning about their lives. It is humbling and sobering sometimes to be the person that people come to for advice. My wife and I have counseled with many different people during our years in ministry. And as reflect on the conversations we have had, I find that there is one piece of advice that I have given to just about every person I have counseled. 

It is something that applies to people who have been walking with Jesus for 30 years or 3 days. It has helped atheists, those who call themselves spiritual, and those who are far from God. I have shared this with friends that are married, single, bisexuals or homosexuals. It has even helped people who are super wealthy, unemployed, or homeless. I could go on, but you get my point…this piece of advice is for everyone—even YOU!

So, are you ready to get to it and find out what it is?

It is very simple. READ THE BIBLE.

I know this sounds simple…because it is! I believe there is nothing better for people to do than to read the Bible. To know the thoughts and will of God by reading His Word, studying His Word and applying His Word. It is one of the greatest investments we can make. This is because the Word of God doesn’t return void! This means that it will always change us. It doesn’t enter our minds and go back out again without having an effect on who we are!  Reading the Bible is always profitable for our lives. Listen to what the prophet Isaiah says about God’s Word: 

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” -Isa 55:9-11

God gives us His Word for a reason! His Word is inspired by His Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), it is profitable for our lives (2 Tim 3:16-17), it washes us of impurity (Eph 5:26 ), it revives our souls (Psalm 19 ), it builds our faith (Rom 10:17 ), it proves itself to be true and guards us (Prov 30:5; John 17:17), It brings us peace (Phil 4:8-9; Psalm 18:30 ), it gives us wisdom (Psalm 119:105), it gives us hope (Rom 15:4), it helps us mature in our faith (1 Peter 2:2), it brings life (John 6:63) it points us to Jesus (John 5:39), Jesus’ disciples should abide in it (John 8:31), it is to be desired more than gold (Psalm 19:10-11), it is to be mediated on day and night (Psalm 1:1-2), it is to be studied (2 Tim 2:15) it is to be obeyed (John 13:17; Joshua 1:7-8), and it will never pass away (Matt 24:35; Isaiah 40:8).

Not only does the Bible declare itself to be powerful, but many people have been changed by reading it and seen God work in their lives because of it! I have been changed by reading the Bible, and as I continue to do this, I can see why so many godly men and women have said similar things…

"Nobody ever outgrows Scriptures;  the Book widens and deepens with our years” -Charles H Spurgeon
“Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” -A. W. Tozer
“Christians cannot live victoriously when disconnected from the Word of God” - Brian Brodersen
”The bible is a mine that can never be exhausted of all of it's treasures." - Levi Lusko
"The BIBLE is the Constitution of Christianity” -Billy Graham
“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” -Theodore Roosevelt

The word of God has changed my life and has blessed me. I believe so strongly in the value of God’s Word that I have made my life about studying and teaching it. Remember, God’s Word won’t return void, so you won’t regret reading it. Even if there doesn’t seem to be an instant change or impact on us, we can know that it will bring forth fruit and point us to Jesus. So yes, I give this simple piece advice all the time: READ THE BIBLE! And I will continue to do so. I want everyone I know to experience the joy of reading, studying and obeying God’s Word. 

My prayer is that you would make this a daily practice too, and see all that God wants to do in and through you! Even if you’ve never read the Bible before, it is not too late to start. God always speaks through His Word. You can CLICK HERE for some tips on HOW to study the Bible, whether it is brand new to you or not! So, quit reading this blog, and go pick up your Bible! You’ll be glad you did.

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

How To Study The Bible (pt2) by Travis Sinks

Last week, we covered the attitude we need to have when approaching the Bible to study it. If you haven’t read that yet, I encourage you to at THIS LINK.

Now that we’ve prepared our hearts to receive from God’s Word, we’re going to cover the simple three step process and tools for you to study the Bible with.

1. Observation

All good study begins with observation. This takes the form of noticing key characters, events, locations, etc. Sometimes this means looking at a book of the Bible as a whole to know more about the context, such as who was the author and who was the original reader, but oftentimes we can gain enough to understand a passage by reading a few verses beforehand and a few after in order to see what the author was trying to communicate. Remember that the original writing wasn’t broken up by chapters and verses (except for the Psalms and some of Proverbs) and so consider reading a previous chapter to gain more context. By observing, we can learn the context for something that was said or done.

One helpful tip for this section is to use the 5 W’s and an H. Look at the text and ask yourself, who is this about, what is happening, when is this happening, where did it take place and how is it happening or how is God working in this situation, etc. But save the last “w" (why) for the next section.

2. Interpretation

Obverving words and actions without interpretation is meaningless. After observing the passage, we are confronted with a big "so what?" What truth is God communicating to us through this passage? Why is this important or valuable? The primary way we can learn to interpret scripture well is through other verses in the Bible.

Imagine that someone wrote a very detailed explaination of the reason for life and how to live it well. That book would be riddled with references to other sections within the same book to help gain clarity and context without rewriting all of the same content. Now imagine that book was written thousands of years ago in another laungage and culture and has now been brought to your native language but has kept all of it's cultural references. That would be very much like the Bible we have today.

So, what do we do with all of these internal references and explainations and having cultural references that are not our own? A big piece of interpretation is bridging the gap between how the original readers would understand a passage and how our western and modern eyes read it. This gap, thankfully, is something we can learn to adjust to, and as we learn more scripture, it become increasingly easier.

To start, however, there are many resources at our disposal. We have many specific books, podcasts, and online helps listed on our RESOURCES PAGE, but here are a few ideas:

  • Sermons - Many great pastors have broken down parts of the Bible and explained interpretation for any of us to be able to listen to at our leisure online. At Redemption Church, we study and teach the Bible weekly and have studied through many books that you can access on our TEACHINGS PAGE.
  • Verse References - Many Bibles include verse references to show passages that relate to the passage you're reading. Not every verse will seem applicable, but many have obvious connections that help bring understanding to the meaning of the passage. Blue Letter Bible in particular has a great section for each verse in the Bible called their "treasury of scripture" feature that lists related verses.
  • Concordances - Similar to verse references, concordances show each place a specific word is used. Keep in mind that because the Bible was originally written in different languages, we are reading translated versions which means that sometimes you could look up a word and have it point to sections that use other words, but they were the same word in the original laungage. This also helps bring clarity to the meaning the purpose of a passage of scripture. The Strongs and Vines concordances are the most common, and both can be found for free on Blue Letter Bible as well.
  • Commentaries - Much like sermons, commentaries break down sections of scripture and normally are more in depth and focused on simply interpretation rather than application (depending on the commentary). I personally use many commentaries, but I think the Warren Wiersbe Commentaries set listed on our RESOURCES PAGE is one of the most helpful if you only have time for one. As another great suggestion, my wife’s favorite, is by David Guzik which can be found on Blue Letter Bible for free.

3. Application

After we interpret the meaning of a passage, we are left with a complete waste of time unless we apply the passage to our lives. This means that we need to decide, and then act on, a direct and practical response to the passage we just interpreted. We believe that there is only one interpretation of scripture, but that there can be many applications. For example, let's take 1 Timothy 1:15 which states that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst."

The interpretation, of this passage is that Jesus came into the world as our Savior with the purpose of saving everyone and anyone is is willing to receive His salvation. Furthermore, we recognize that all sin is extremely devastating to our relationship with God and therefore we cannot judge others as worse than ourselves in order to gain a status above them or become judgmental on them, as demonstrated by Paul in this passage.

  • One application we could take is to remember how much we personally need the grace of God, and that we are never too far from God for His grace to save, redeem, and transform us. So we humble ourselves before God and ask Him to forgive us for sins and to transform us to be more like Him.
  • A second way we could apply this passage is to focus on the part where it reminds us that Christ Jesus came to save sinners. This was His whole purpose, and He has called us to share this Gospel. Not only is it our calling to share Jesus' grace with others, but the latter part of the verse reminds us that He can save anyone, and because of that we are to take any opportunity we are given to share His Gospel.

These are just two ways we could apply this passage, but notice that we never deviated from the basic interpretation of the message. It's truth stayed the same wherever we applied it. Similar to a bandage that can be applied to any part of the body, God's Word is meant to be applied in many areas of our lives.

I want to leave you with an analogy from everyday life that will hopefully take away some of the intimidation of studying the Bible.

Imagine you're in your kitchen and you notice that the light on your dishwasher is on (OBSERVATION).
Because the light is on, you're aware that the dishwasher is currently running (INTERPRETATION)
And since the dishwasher is running, you decide to put the dish in the sink rather than inside the dishwasher since then you'd end up with water all over your floor (APPLICATION).

That example may seem simplistic, but that's really all that is happening when we read the Bible. Yes, you may need to look at the dishwasher's manual in order to understand what that light means just as we go to commentaries and other parts of scripture, but the concept is still the same.

I hope this has helped diffuse any fear of reading the Bible that you may have, and that it has equipped you to study it better. Please remember that no matter what the cost of understanding the Bible, this is the most important and valuable thing you will ever do. Without studying and submitting to God's Word, we cannot hope to see God Himself and have a transformed life with Him. When we study and apply God’s Word well, we can say, like the Psalmist:

"I rejoice at Your Word like one who finds great spoil.” Psalm 119:162

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

How To Study The Bible (pt1) by Travis Sinks

The Bible is such more than just a book. Even more than a compilation of 66 books.

The Bible has been described as "God lowering Himself to the status of an author," and since He has, we should read and respond to it as though it must be the most valuable piece ever written.

But where do we start?
How do we begin reading the Bible?

People attend seminaries and various schools and study the Bible for their entire life, while still claiming there's more to learn - and I believe them. If God truly wrote a book, I'd expect it's entire depth and teaching to be beyond anything I could grasp in my lifetime.

At the same time, the Bible is simple enough for any of us to gain all that we need to have a full and vibrant life and relationship God.

It's been said that the Bible is shallow enough for the youngest child to splash in its water, yet deep enough for the most studious scholar to never reach its bottom. It is this Word that we have the pleasure, benefit, and duty to ready, study, and apply.

Because of the depth of God's Word, we can't go into all aspects of studying it, but I think part of the problem most people face is that they let the depth of the Bible paralyze them from gleaning anything. If this describes you, I want to help you.

The simple inductive Bible method we'll go over is:

  1. Observation
  2. Interpretation
  3. Application

We're going to look at this three step process next week that will help us study any passage of scripture, but before we do, there's an attitude and approach to reading God’s Word that we need to clarify:

1. The purpose of studying the Bible is to know Jesus better

Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:39, “you study the scriptures, for in them you think you have life, but it is they that speak of Me." He told the Bible scholars of His day that they missed the entire point of the scriptures they devoted their lives to studying. They had studied the Bible in hopes that they could be saved because of their religious activity, while God's purpose in His Word is for us to find our salvation in a life-giving and life-changing relationship with Jesus. Whenever we read the Bible simply as a self-help book or tips to a better life, we miss the entire point of drawing nearer to Jesus.

2. This is a supernatural endeavor

I don't mean to say that studying the Bible is not also a scholarly endevor, it is actually both. However, I think too often we try to boil down the Bible to merely a really amazing piece of writing and not the actual Word of God which requires our spiritual eyes to be open and not merely our physical ones. In order to truly understand and apply God's Word to our lives, we need to come before God humbly knowing that only He can teach us spiritual things and give us life. I encourage everyone to begin their time in God's Word with prayer, asking Him to speak to them and work in their lives through His Word.

3. Are we the teacher, or God?

I know this seems silly to even say, but so often we can come to God's Word with our own agenda and want God to simply enforce our current beliefs. If there are never truths in God's Word that require you to change your belief or submit to it even though you naturally disagree, then you are not letting God be your teacher, but you are instead trying to read your predetermined beliefs into the Bible.

As one pastor recalled, when someone had asked him what he should do if he disagreed with something the Bible said, the pastor told the man, “Then you must be wrong, and you should change your belief." Sometimes we try to be God's teacher rather than let God teach us. If you come to the Bible with this perspective, you will not receive from the Bible what God would desire you to have.

4. None of this matters if we don't apply it

Although the third step in this inductive Bible method (Application) is simply applying what we read in scripture, it's important to come to God's Word with a desire to have change in our hearts and lives. The book of James warns us that we can become hard to the Word and that our faith is not true faith if it doesn't affect our lives (James 1:22-25). We should always be on guard of hearing God's truth and not acting on it because as we begin that cycle it becomes easier and easier to not obey and follow Jesus.

It’s only after we have prepared our heart and mind for God's Word that we are ready to study the Bible. Next week, we’ll cover different tools and methods you can use to study the Bible for yourself.

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

Do You Know His Voice? by Laura Williams

Do you ever wonder if you have ever heard God speaking to your heart? Really heard Him for yourself? Or have you ever had a thought come into your mind out of the blue and thought, "Is that my own imagination? Is that God speaking to me?" Those are questions that I think we all ask. How can I know when God speaks to me? Or, on the other hand, what if I THINK God is speaking to me, but really it's just my own thoughts?!

The verse we hear most often in reference to "hearing the voice of God" comes from Jesus in John 10:27 where He said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." This has often led me to wonder why it is that I don't always know when I am hearing God speak to my heart. I'm left wondering how I can be His sheep and still not know His voice. But notice that Jesus said that not only do the sheep hear His voice, but He KNOWS them. 

Jesus knows how to speak to each one of us, and He does this differently for us all. For example, in the Bible we can read about how the Lord spoke out loud to Abraham, but a burning bush is what caught Moses's attention when He first heard from God. He directed the children of Isreal with a pillar of fire at night, but He called Samuel in a familiar voice when he was sleeping. 

It is important to know that God doesn't want to play games with us--He is not a God who wants us to struggle to hear Him and then laughs when we make a mistake. You can read in Matthew chapter 7 how Jesus compared the love of our Heavenly Father to that of our earthly dads. He wants to bless us, He wants us to hear and know Him, and He delights in His children. You can trust that God will speak to you as a loving Father who intimately knows the way you think, the doubts you may have, and the inmost person of your heart.

Another important thing to consider is HOW we come to recognize His voice. Just as with anyone, we LEARN to recognize His voice the more we listen to Him. And the primary way that we can hear God's heart, His voice, and His words is through the Bible! As you spend time reading His Word, you will become accustomed to the quiet way the Holy Spirit teaches you in it. When you read a passage of the Bible, and sense God's conviction and are reminded of His promises to you, this is the voice of God speaking to you! 

To become familiar with the voice of our Savior is to let His Word penetrate our hearts on a daily basis that we might begin to recognize His voice!

Another beautiful part of spending time in the Bible is that we also receive a firm foundation of truth--Jesus said to His Father in Heaven, "Sanctify me by your truth--Your WORD is truth." So as we read and study the Word of God, the truths He teaches us will also resonate with us when we hear His voice outside of our reading time. You may be at the grocery store on your way to the car when you see an item in the cart that you forgot to pay for by accident. And a voice in your heart says, "Go back. It doesn't belong to you. Be honest." And perhaps this may follow with in inward dialogue on the ethical benefit of paying for the item--"Really is it worth that much anyway? I mean, Walmart already has bazillions of dollars, do they really need the $2.27 for this dish soap?!" (may or may not have been me stalled with my cart in the middle of the blazing parking lot debating this with myself last week :)

So, in those moments (that we ALL have, I know) we will be able to recognize the voice of God in us as the same voice we hear in His Word! Does the voice in your head match the heart of God you see in the Bible? When you feel "prompted" (a Christian word for a hunch or thought that isn't exactly your own) to go and tell someone God loves them, or maybe to ask your waitress if you can pray for her, ask yourself, "Is this consistent with the heart of God?"It would certainly make sense for God to want to use you to share His love with someone, or to reach out and pray for a stranger. However uncomfortable that may be! :) But the truth is, because God is such a loving Father, even IF it were only your own thought and you acted out of obedience to what you believed to be God speaking to you, He loves you! God is never disappointed in us for acting in faith! 

We won't be perfect--that day is saved for Heaven, but take comfort in knowing that you have a Father in Heaven who has made His voice known to you in His Word, who KNOWS how to speak to you, and loves us even when we make mistakes. There will certainly be times we hear God telling us to take a step of faith in our heart (like speaking to a stranger or even returning dish soap) and we may not always obey. And as the Holy Spirit gently convicts us of our lack of faith or our unwillingness to listen, He always restores us and speaks to us again. 

Be comforted knowing that Your Father in Heaven delights in you today. And spend time getting to know Him and His voice in His Word today. He always speaks to us there. :)

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

Being Centered In God's Word Every Day by Alesha Sinks

Being Centered In God's Word.jpg

It’s the beginning of a new school year. Although I am not in school anymore and I don’t yet have kids in school, I still crave the new and steady rhythms that fall brings.

I love the fresh and free of summer, but by the end of it I’m feeling the need for stability and normality again.

But there’s one way I steady my heart and mind no matter the season of life: consistently reading God’s Word.

No matter the season of life, crazy or calm, scheduled or sporadic, fast or slow, I’ve learned that I can be centered and grounded and steadied in Jesus. The best way for me to do that is through spending time in His Word.

Whether you love to read or hate it…
Whether you crave routine or defy it...
Whether you have a family or are by yourself...
Whether you work or stay home...
Whether you are far too busy or far too bored...
Whether you know the Bible very well or feel overwhelmed just thinking about it...

Regularly reading God’s Word is essential.

I’ve found that the craziest seasons of my life are the times that I most need to be studying the Bible. And no matter how smoothly my life is going, I notice that I am less joyful and peaceful when I fail to spend time in God’s Word even for one day. This is because the Bible is meant to point us to Jesus and draw us into relationship with Him.

The Bible is the number one way that God speaks to us, because it is His actual word, written down for us to read.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Bible is a help and resource in resisting temptation. Even Jesus quoted scripture when Satan tempted Him in the desert.

"But he (Jesus) answered, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’”
Matthew 4:4

The Bible teaches the truth about God, ourselves, and this world which gives us true hope and joy in this life.

"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4

The Bible is the living word of God and He will use it to speak to us, to convict us, to encourage us, and to grow us.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12

The Bible points us to Jesus, and seeing Jesus more clearly will always lead us to worship.

"Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
Psalm 119:164-165

But even when I know how essential God's Word is to my joy, peace, and walk with Him, I still struggle at times to actually do it. It's so easy to get this screwed up notion in your head of what reading the Bible is supposed to look like.

We think it has to be 2 chapters every day and we have to get up at 5:30 in the morning in order to do it. Or we think we have to sit in perfect peace and stillness with a journal and pen ready to record great insights that we find. Or we think we need to be reading in three different parts of the Bible at once in order for it to "really count".

However, all these ideals and restrictions that we place on our Bible reading simply keeps us from the most important part… actually doing it.

Here are seven practical ways I've found to keep my heart centered in God's Word every day:

Listen to Sermons

This is particularly helpful if you have trouble understanding God's Word when you read it on your own or if you have extra time while exercising, driving, or even cleaning the house. You can listen to the Redemption Church sermon recordings each week through our podcast. This helps you stay connected and encouraged if you miss a Sunday or are serving in Kids Ministry or simply want to re-listen to the message in order to dig in a little deeper.

Beyond just our church, there are so many other great Bible teachers out there who have their weekly sermons online for free. On our the Redemption Church resources page you can find links to the podcasts of some wonderful godly teachers who love Jesus and his Word.

Listen to the Bible Read Aloud

You can download some wonderful Bible apps to your smart phone, like the YouVersion app, that will read the Bible aloud to you. Sometimes I even read along while it is being read to me to help it sink in a little more.

Memorize Bible Verses

What better way to focus your heart on God than to recite His Word that you have memorized? In those stressful or busy moments where you might not be able to sit down and open your Bible, you can call it to mind instantly and be encouraged and built up in Jesus.

Watch Bible Teaching Videos

This summer Pastor Daniel made 2-minute videos that share a snippet of truth for us from our study through the gospel of John as a church. Many times I've found myself coming back to that bit of truth from the Bible over and over throughout the day.

Read the Bible with Others

If you are struggling to stay consistent or perhaps struggling to know what to read, joining a group is a great help. It can keep you accountable to actually read every day and give you a starting point for talking about God's Word with your friends. This summer we read through the Gospel of John together as Pastor Daniel teaching on conversations Jesus had, as recorded in that book for us.

Journal as You Read the Bible

Keeping a journal is a great way to help you learn from God's Word as you read. There are so many ways to do this, ranging from simply copying scripture to writing outlines to journaling prayers that correspond to what you read. However you journal, it is a great way to dig deeper into God's Word.

Simply Open the Bible

Keep your Bible (or your Bible app) nearby and just open it when you have a spare minute or two or twenty. There is no substitute for opening God's Word, reading it, and asking Him to speak. Start in Genesis and read straight through, or pick a gospel and dive in there.

Even in seasons where I've struggled to understand God's Word or to hear from Him, I have never regretted the time I've spent reading the Bible.

I pray that these tips and encouragements to get into the Bible are helpful to you and that together we can seek Jesus through His Word. I know we will be blessed because of it.

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

Kids and The Word of God by Laura Williams

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

This is the verse we learned on Kids Sunday last month. As I was preparing the lesson for the 1st-8th graders last month, I was reminded again and again of the importance of our kids knowing God’s Word—not just the stories in the Bible, but the PROMISES of God, the TRUTHS we know and believe about who God is, and the WORDS of Jesus about Himself.

So, this summer, the kids were challenged to learn 10 different Bible verses about the character of God and His love for them! I have been blown away by their eagerness to memorize these verses and say them—it’s only a few weeks in, and there have already been a few kids who have come close to memorizing all 10 verses already! 

I love knowing that as they take these scriptures and hide them in their hearts, the Lord will use them to reassure them of His goodness and character throughout their lives. Many of the scriptures that have become very close to my heart through the years were taught to me at a very young age, and I know that as we continue to pour into these kids, we will see God do many great things in their hearts. 

If you’d like to join in on the Memory Verse Challenge, here are the verses we are learning:



Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8


What God is LIKE

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8 



Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28


The WISDOM of God

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! Romans 11:33


The LOVE of God

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8


The LIGHT God gives us

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5



Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8



Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. Psalm 116:5



Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5



Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory! Isaiah 6:3

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.