The Bible is a collection of stories of very different people who have found God. But one of the common refrains imbedded in these stories is that the people who find God are also the people who seek Him. God actually invites His people, “Seek the LORD your God and you will find him”. Jesus echoes this same refrain in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
In 2019, we would like to encourage each of you to “seek the Lord” devotionally through Scripture reading and prayer. While there are a number of quality daily bible-reading plans out there, we are specifically encouraging folks to consider using a resource called the Community Bible Reading Journal. To better understand this resource you can go to the official CBR Journal website: https://www.thecbrjournal.com. The stated purpose of this resource is not to enable you to read the entire bible in 1-2 years. Lets be honest, like many of our New Years resolutions we tend to over-promise and under-deliver while affording little opportunity for grace. The end result is that at soon as we get a few days behind, we are likely to throw in the towel and give up on daily devotions altogether. Here is why we love the CBR Journal:
- The Purpose of the CBR Journal is simply to experience the presence of God. While this tool does afford people the opportunity to read through the Bible in a 3 year period, the purpose is to increase your intimacy with Jesus. So we encourage folks to shift their mindset from trying to accomplish a goal other than experiencing God’s presence on a daily basis.
- The CBR Journal uses the ACTS paradigm for study and reflection (see the sample pictured left). As you read through the day’s scripture you look through the lens of Adoration, Confession of Sin, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. We love this paradigm so much that if you look closely at the bulletin of your typical Midtown worship service, you’ll notice that we use this same ACTS paradigm for our liturgy.
- The CBR Journal values community. The authors of this journal understand that community is intended to be an asset in our quest for intimacy with Jesus. As such it is intended to push us deeper in our relationship with God and broader in our relationships with others.
If you want a CBR Journal, we will have them available on the resource table in the Fellowship Hall after each of our worship services. The cost is $10, so if you pick up a journal just put money in the glass jar on the table whenever you have the opportunity. We only have 25 of them, so it is first come first serve. However, if we run out, just let Pastor Lindsey know and he can order more.
Here is our one request if you pick up the CBR Journal. We encourage you NOT to seek the Lord alone. The people who seek the Lord with the greatest amount of fruitfulness are the ones who do so in community with others. Hebrew 10:24 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing to near.” With that in mind, consider 2-3 other people at Midtown Church whom you could invite to join you. A great place to start is with the existing relationships promoted by the church, such as your own family, community group, or discipleship group*. Or perhaps it is someone you have met at church for which this could be a great opportunity to get to know them on a deeper level. The idea would be that you commit to connecting with these individuals with some measure of regularity (at least once/month) to share what you are learning and to encourage one another in seeking the Lord. If you need assistance in connecting with other individuals who might join you in this endeavor, please feel free to reach out to any of our elders or Women’s Shepherding Team.
*If you want more information on what a discipleship group is and how to start one, please contact Pastor Lindsey for more information.