Why not make the decision to start a new habit that will reward you for a lifetime? It's not as hard or improbable as it seems.
God has given us the scriptures in the bible to not only teach us about Him but to also teach us how He wants us to live our lives. It’s not just there as head knowledge but so that we can apply the teaching and principles to our lives. And when we do, it will be life changing!
As we read and meditate on the scriptures, the Holy Spirit gives us understanding and revelation. When this happens, the word of God becomes living and powerful; becoming simply life changing.
Oh, the joys of those who … delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)
You might have tried reading the Bible and found it hard to stick at. Perhaps you haven't really even seen the point. There are 3 keys to meaningfully engaging with what the Bible has to say if you want it to truly impact your life.
3 Keys To Engaging With Scripture In A Life Changing Way
It's as simple as Reading, Reflecting and Responding. And the benefits are enormous!
Some of the Benefits of Regularly Engaging In Scripture
A survey of over 100,ooo people has found that regularly engaging with scripture has the following incredible benefits:
“We find that if a person who engages the Bible four or more times a week their odds of giving in to these temptations decreases:
Receiving, reflecting on, and responding to God’s Word four or more times a week decreases a person’s odds of struggling with these issues:
SOAPing; a Great Tool To Help You Regularly Engage With God’s Word
SOAPing is simply a tool to help you engage with scripture in a way that becomes life changing as you partner with the Holy Spirit in applying God’s word to your life.
If you aren’t already using amore comprehensive reading plan or if your church doesn't recommend a particular reading plan, you can use the 2 month plan below.
This plan will help you start a habit that will reward you for a lifetime by leading you to read 1 chapter a day over 52 days, starting with the story of Jesus life and then the story of some of the first believers found in the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. After this there are 2 short letters written by the Apostle Paul.
You can SOAP by simply:
Observation – write what this scripture is saying to you
Application – write how you will apply this to your life
Prayer – commit this to prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to help you
4. Take steps towards living the life God wants you to live and that He will blessYou can watch a short video helping to explain how you can SOAP here.
How Long Will This take Me Every Day
On average it takes 3 to 4 minutes to read a chapter form the New Testament. That's not a lot of time is it? So if you were to read a chapter a day and SOAP on that. it's likely to take you just 10 to 15 minutes a day. I don't think anyone can say that they don't have the time to do this! It's more a matter of whether you want to make the time to start a habit that will reward you for a lifetime.
A Reading Plan To Help You Get Started
For those who have already developed the habit of SOAPing regularly, we recommend that you keep using a comprehensive reading plan such as the Life Journal reading plan or the plan that your church recommends.
However for those starting off, it may be easier to start off using an introductory reading plan like the one below. What’s really most important isn’t how much of the bible that you read and meditate on, but that you develop a regular habit that leads you to meditate on scripture every day.
Below you will see a 52 day introductory reading plan; 1 chapter of the Bible a day through January and February. Why not give it a go and get SOAPing?
Happy SOAPing! May the benefits be life changing!
Tim O'Neill President A2A
As we approach Christmas, it’s a great time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for.
To me the spirit of Christmas is all about giving. We catch a glimpse of this in that this is the one time of year where a diverse range of people across our country engage in the act of giving, and of course also in receiving!
Giving is as old as Christmas; older in fact! We read about the generous giving of the Magi in Matthew 2:11
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Magi sought Jesus out. They worshipped Him. And they unleashed generosity on Him.
To me, these actions reflect the Spirit of Christmas and the generosity of the Magi reflects God’s heart and it should reflect our hearts as well.
Jesus came to earth as God’s gift to us, and He gave His precious life to us. What an amazing gift that we have much to be thankful for!
For some reading this, perhaps this last year hasn’t gone as you have expected. Perhaps there are dreams that remain unfulfilled and plans that remain incomplete. Perhaps you have experienced the hard of life and ministry in a way that you didn’t anticipate. And maybe you are finding it hard to be thankful at present. Or perhaps this last year has been a wonderful year and a time of great blessing.
Either way, all of us have much to be thankful for and Christmas is a powerful reminder of this. For all of us, Christmas is more than a reminder of what Jesus gave to us. Christmas provides a wonderful opportunity to recalibrate our attitudes and perspectives to embrace thankfulness.
For Sharon and I, 2018 has been a year where we have seen incredible grief and acts of evil, as well as unexpected and major crises, but in the midst of this, God’s grace and love have been amazingly evident.
The world in which we minister is undoubtedly becoming darker, but as this happens the light of Jesus shines brighter through people like us and faith communities like the churches that we lead and are a part of.
Looking back on the past year, we can see the hand of God in calling us to be a “sent” people, carrying the scent of Jesus into our communities.
Being a “sent” people means that we will love Jesus so much that we will obey and follow Him, and we will love our neighbour so much that we will take risks for them in the hope that they will come to know and receive the incomparable grace that Jesus offers.
As churches, we are to be His people on a mission. As a movement we are to be a fellowship of diverse churches united by the desire to see our nation reached for Jesus.
We have much to celebrate from this last year:
As we prepare for a new year, I encourage you to uphold the value of journalling on scripture and develop strategies to see people in your churches decide to practice this as a healthy spiritual habit.
Having adopted this habit now for over 16 years, I still get blessed by the fresh revelation and insights that I receive from journalling on God’s word to us. In fact, I’m still pondering the insights I gained from journalling just this morning!
A short video explaining how to SOAP is below. Why not show this to your church? with thanks to #ourchurch
I would also appreciate your prayers for the National Leadership Team as we will be preparing for another retreat in the new year, specifically putting aside Tuesday 12 February as a day when we will be coming together to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance for our movement for the times ahead.
We have a great sense of anticipation about the 2019 National Conference to be held on the Gold Coast commencing Monday evening 29 April. If you haven’t booked yet, just reminder that the early bird discount is still available until 31 December. You can book for the Conference using the LINK HERE.
And finally, don’t forget to register for the next round of Leaders Together days in February. We have a guest speaker lined up to come and provide excellent input at these days. Dates and locations are as follows:
You can book for the LT using the LINK HERE.
Thank you for being part of A2A.
We are a diverse group of men and women who God has pulled together to be an alliance of dynamic missional churches, loving on our communities, impacting them and making disciples.
It is my prayer that you will be filled with the joy and peace of Jesus, overflowing with thankfulness to Him and that you will be freshly envisioned, inspired and invigorated for the work He is calling you to in the year and years ahead.
19 December 2018