Fresh

Fresh

I love my church so much. It’s actually the fourth church we’ve attended in twenty or so years. For the longest time, I felt guilty about that, disloyal, then I came to realize: We haven’t left God. We just moved to a different house of his. When I look back, I can see why he had us in each place. I’m grateful for all four congregations and the lessons we learned at each church.

On Sunday mornings in the church we attend now,* after we worship, we read a chapter of the Bible and take five minutes to discuss it with the folks around us. We do this because of Col. 3:16—“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Then, whoever is teaching that day shares their thoughts on the chapter.

One Sunday last fall, a young law student named Jimmy taught on Nehemiah 9. His three application points blew fresh breath on my faith. Based on the text, he encouraged us to:

-Declare who God is.

-Remember what God has done.

-Acknowledge what God will do.

As I reflected on his message the following week, I came up with my own take on these three exhortations. Pick a scripture, any scripture. For instance, I love James 1:17. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Using Jimmy’s technique, here’s what I gleaned from this text.

-God is a giver.

-God gives good gifts.

-God dwells above us, in light.

-God is a father.

-God does not change.

-Because he does not change, he will continue to give good gifts.

I often do this exercise when I walk in the morning. I pick a scripture from the handful that I’ve committed to memory and I hold them up against Jimmy’s three questions. This practice causes me to engage in the Bible in a fresh way, and honestly, it feels as if it increases my confidence in the Lord.

But wait! There’s more. You can also do this exercise with your own life. Ask yourself these questions:

-Who is God to me?

-What has God done in my life?

-In the future, what will God do in my life, in my family?

As I reflect on how God is my father, provider, healer and more, I feel much closer to him. When I think about the incredible things he has accomplished in my life and in my family’s, I am exceedingly grateful. And when I consider I’m only halfway through my life, I get really excited to see what he will do next, in me and in my family.

Hey, Jimmy? If by chance you read this, know that I thank my God every time I remember your message.

*City Church in Morgantown, West Virginia

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Tarantini

Diane Tarantini

Besides being a daughter of the King and a dearly loved wife, Diane is mother to three children, two kitties, and a bunny rabbit. She loves words: writing them, reading them, and speaking them out loud. Good coffee, creating (and enjoying) great food, and the color aqua are very important to her, as is establishing West Virginia as the Best Virginia. She shares her hard-earned wisdom at dianetarantini.com.
Diane Tarantini

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10 thoughts on “Fresh

  1. Sis

    Such a great message. I wish more people understood that church membership is now about changing and growing. Not necessarily loyalty. Just as people don’t work for the same company all their lives, people find they are led to different communities. Well said.

    Reply

  2. Gretchen

    Jimmy’s idea is great! It’s very similar to inductive Bible studies I’ve done. Leave it to a lawyer to help us remain logical in our steadfast faith. So good for those of us who know unbelievers (all of us), so that we can unravel Scripture with them – and needless to say, good for all of us who want to continue to unravel Scripture on our own or in our church communities.

    Reply

  3. Terri Stone

    Diane, thanks for a “fresh” perspective on being in a few of God’s houses along the way. Since becoming a Christ follower in 2000, I’ve only been at two. Both have greatly informed my faith, stretched me farther than I ever thought I could stretch, and helped me develop a deep, deep love for Christ and his church. I’m a pastor at my church which means I very seldom have the opportunity to see and experience other houses in the community. I appreciate your perspective on what you’ve gotten from being at different places. I’m grateful God’s working in so many places and in so many ways – he has to do “church” this way as there’s just so much work to be done – in us and in the world. I appreciate your thoughts!

    Reply

  4. Denise

    Diane,
    A great message! A good way to remain humble and acknowledge who God is in every area of our life…past, present and future. I’m going to begin this exercise. Thank you!

    Reply

  5. Rebecca Preston

    Such a practical way to contemplate/meditate on scripture! i will keep this for the future…thanks Jimmy… and you, too, Diane, for giving this pearl of wisdom!

    Reply

  6. Tara

    Love this bible study technique, can’t wait to give it a try.
    Even though I’m an introvert, I think it’d be cool to try in church too- but my palms get sweaty just thinking about it. LOL. Thanks Diane and Jimmy!

    Reply

  7. Diane Tarantini

    Hey gals! Thanks for all the positive feedback! Sis, I remember being terrified at the thought of leaving our first congregation. “Shouldn’t we be loyal to the pastor, to the fellowship?” I asked my husband. “What about to God?” was his response! And yes, this is a great (two actually) way to spend your quiet time–meditating on the answers to these questions. I am forever grateful to Jimmy the lawyer for this message. And Tara, yes, new people get a little nervous when asked to turn to their neighbor(s) and discuss a passage of scripture. My husband and I always let our 16-year old son go first. He has incredible insights to the Word. Love you, ladies:)

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  8. Barbara Whittington

    I’m doing something similar when I read a morning devotional. I have three or four books I read from and found that the passage for that day I’d read through then not remember an hour later. When I read now I make note of one or two points of importance and think about them during the day. I’m remembering more that way. I feel there is so much I have yet to learn about Our Lord. Hugs and thanks for this reminder that He is King.

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  9. Diane

    ‘As I reflect on how God is my father, provider, healer and more, I feel much closer to him.’ So true, especially he ‘reflect’ part of that statement. Without that, I feel a little like a checklist Christian – checking off the box that I’ve read the Bible for today, rather than just taking whatever time I need to hear what he is saying. Thanks, Diane, always an insightful refreshment from you!!!

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  10. Sheila

    This is like a fresh drink from a cold water fountain…
    I enjoyed the explanation and I will be looking at the word in a new perspective! Your a very talented writer.

    Reply

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