One of the best books I read this summer is called Encounters with Jesus by Timothy Keller. In an excerpt from the book, Keller discusses the importance of really “sitting with” and meditating on the word of God.
“I went to a conference for Bible study leaders. I’ll never forget one of the exercises. The instructor gave us one verse, Mark 1:17 (ESV): “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.’” She asked us to spend thirty minutes studying the verse. She warned us that after five or ten minutes we would think we had seen all there was to see, but she challenged us to keep going. “Write down at least thirty things you see or learn from the verse.”
Ten minutes into the exercise I was finished (or so I thought) and bored. But I dutifully pushed on and kept looking. To my surprise there was more. When we all returned she asked us to look at our list and circle the most penetrating, moving and personally helpful insight. Then she asked us a question: “How many of you discovered your best insight in the first five minutes? Raise your hands.” No hands. “How many after ten minutes?” One or two hands. “Fifteen?” More. “Twenty?” A large number now raised their hands. “Twenty Five?” Many of us now raised our hands, smiling and shaking our heads.”
I keep learning that there is good value and usefulness in learning how to spend time with the Word of God. Reading it, praying about it, and asking God to reveal insights about a passage are helpful as we try to take hold of the Living Word.
Isaiah 55:11 (NIV) promises us that the word of God will not go out into the world and then return “empty, but will accomplish what God desires, and achieve the purpose for which God sent it.”
I invite you all to check out this book as we move into August! It covers a number of some key encounters people had with Jesus.
Personally, I think that the people who met Jesus in real life probably dealt with some of the same big “life questions” we all face in 2015.
The difference is that when they met him, they recognized that Jesus not only had all the answers – He was the answer.
Happy August, Presbyterian Church of Broomfield!