Thursday, November 01, 2007

I Took the Pledge

Earlier this year I formulated five things I wanted to pray for on a regular basis (January 24, “Five Prayers I’m Praying”). One of these was that God would rekindle in me a hunger for his Word. I had gotten to the point where reading the Bible was part of the necessary labor for preaching and teaching, but it had grown stale and wooden. God has been faithful to that prayer; I am discovering anew the vitality and vibrancy of the Scriptures.

Recently, I came across “The Preacher’s Pledge” in a preaching magazine:

"I pledge to make the Bible my primary resource in sermon preparation and preaching. I may use other resources such as commentaries and web sites to enhance, not replace, my personal interaction with Scripture. As I study I will strive to accurately understand and honestly apply God’s Word, allowing Him to uniquely proclaim His truth in a relevant way through me."

The reason for offering this pledge is that many preachers use sites like (the sponsor of this pledge) to gather stories, illustrations, and preaching starters to help craft their sermons, but in the end they short-change God’s Word because it is only one of many resources, not the primary one.

I took the pledge, and I am intrigued by this effort because a few months ago I was reading an interview with the venerable evangelical preacher and scholar John Stott, who extolled the value of expository (as opposed to topical) preaching. He said, “God’s Word grows the church. God’s Word grows Christians.” I was struck by the power and persuasiveness of that bold conviction.

Listen to how Eugene Peterson, author of the widely used Bible translation, The Message, speaks about the relationship between Christians and Scripture.

"Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we feed on it. We assimilate it, taking it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in the company of the Son…We open this book and find that on page after page it takes us off guard, surprises us, and draws us into its reality, pulls us into participation with God on his terms… The Bible, all of it, is livable. It is, in fact, the text for living our lives."

Here is my challenge to you: Make God’s Word a part of your life. Do the weekly Bible readings I post in the pew sheet and on-line. Bring your Bibles to worship and follow along as I preach, and to Bible class, and to Life Group for the discussion time. Pick one book of the Bible and study it on your own. Then pick a second book and do the same. Then tell me in three months if you haven’t grown spiritually. I pledge to you that you will.


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