(Sunday's sermon if you trust my note-taking)
Just Do It
* "Take in'' the Word properly
Better information leads to better living. How do we 'take in' the Word?
a. Hear it.
Romans 10:17 -- Faith comes from hearing, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Put myself in position to hear the Word -- go to church, Sunday school, Bible studies...make sure I put myself in a position, regularly, to hear the Word.
b. Read it.
Get a Bible you can understand and one you enjoy reading. (Google to find out which translations are on which reading levels, or go to the bookstore and look for a Bible you like. Pray about it. Ask friends what they read and look at their Bibles. Lots of Bibles contain good study guides and notes and commentary.
1. How to approach studying my Bible
*Just read it: Maybe just read the New Testament once a year (less than a chapter a day will do it), and the Old Testament once every three years (three chapters a day or so). The way you can tell the Bible is the inspired word ... it never gets old. You almost always see new things each time you read a passage.
* Study it: look 'intently' at what the text says. Maybe read five verses a day or 10 in a dedicated study time. Pray over that text. Read it over and over. But then ...
* Just Do It --
Live out what the Bible says to live out. Bible studies and reading the Word is a good thing, but the main thing is doing what the Bible says, doing what God is telling us, through this letter to us, to do.
*A lot of us "audit" God. We don't need more Bible studies. We have lots of Bible information. But we need to DO, to live out, what the Word says. A lot of us are good "practice" players but not good in the game. And God always has us in the game.
* Mark Twain: "It's not what I DON'T understand about the Bible that scares me; it's what i DO understand but don't do."
* Am I tithing?
Do I forgive people?
Am I an instrument of reconciliation?
Am I faithful to my church family?
Do I love people?
Am I living out the Word?
Am i doing or only hearing?
* Let's say my parents leave a list of things for me to do the weekend they are gone. When they come back, they ask me if I did those things. And I say, "I studied the list. I memorized some of the list. I studied the list with friends, in a group. We argued about the list, agreed with some of the list, but felt that it was definitely an inspired and divine list. It's a good list for sure."
And my parents say, "But did you DO anything on the list we asked you to do?"
And if we say "No," it's the same principle as when we read the Bible, maybe even agree with the Bible, but decide not to do everything God asks us to do, commands us to do, in His Word. He won't ask us one day if we read the Bible; he'll ask us if we did what he asked.
God speaks through James with a passionate plea: when it comes to the Word of God, just do it.