This weekend I taught on why the Scriptures are central to the life of our church, Calvary. If you missed this weekend, I encourage you to listen to it: http://calvaryop.sermon.net/main/main/20585933 .
At the end of the sermon, I gave a model for reading the scriptures along with scriptures that I think should be memorized. Both the list along with the model is modified from the teachings of Dallas Willard. I hope it serves you as well as it has served me.
It is an invitation to read the bible differently.
1) Choose a few chunks of scripture to memorize. Start with ones already familiar to you. Here is a list that Dallas Willard thinks every Christian should memorize:
- Psalm 23 & 27
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Colossians 1 & 3
- Romans 5, 8 & 12
- Philippians 2
Don’t be intimated by the list. Choose one scripture text to begin with (the Lord’s prayer is perfect, most of us know it!). Don’t believe the lie that you can’t memorize scripture. You can and it will change everything!
2) Once you have chosen your scripture text, and have memorized it (or even a part of it), take time during your day to consider the text. Each time you do this, decide that this is going to be a holy encounter with God. Certainly, it will be.
3) After you read a part of your memorized scripture, practice the following process:
a) Information: what did the author mean to say in that text.
b) Inspiration: imagine what your life would be like if this were true for you.
c) Affirmation: declare that what this text says is true for you.
d) Invocation (prayer): pray for the specific places in your life where you desire to see this scripture text come to life.
e) Watch & Wait: watch and see expectantly, throughout your day, God answering your prayers to see the text come alive.
Here is an example:
The text I chose for my example: “The Lord is my shepherd” (from Psalm 23; notice it is short but believe me, you could do this process on this one phrase all day!):
- Information: David saw the God of the Universe as a personal being who took a personal interest in his life. More than that, David saw God as someone who cared deeply for him…
- Inspiration: How amazing it would be if I could live in the daily, moment by moment reality that the God of the universe in the person of Jesus cared for me like a shepherd (shepherds love their sheep, feed them, protect them, know them, take care of them, and is close to them!).
- Affirmation: This must be true; it is the witness of scripture! Jesus is my shepherd.
- Invocation: Lord, I desire to experience you as my shepherd today. I want to know that you care for every aspect of my life. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear.
- Affirmation: Now, I get to wait and see expectantly throughout my day the ways that God cares for me as a shepherd does his sheep.
Here is one tool that might help you meet the living Jesus. Know this: Jesus deeply desires to meet you. When he does, everything changes!
I invite you to read the bible differently.