Discipleship: Reading God’s Word in Community
Life is busy and it can often be difficult to find time to set aside for God. But in the midst of the busyness, God calls us to himself. At North Park, we believe that God’s Word is primary and that the best way to know God’s will for your life is to spend time in His Word. But we also realize the importance of community! It is much easier to daily spend time in God’s Word when other people are reading the same passage as you, keeping you accountable to read, and learning right alongside of you. Because of that, we have designed a reading plan that goes along with the sermons for every sermon series we preach. That way you can read the Bible, discuss with friends and family, and be challenged by God’s Word in the sermon. There are multiple ways to engage in the reading of God’s Word each day. Here are some potentially helpful ways you can engage:
Daily devo talks with your kids:
After reading the story, ask them questions like…
a. Who were the characters in the story?
b. What happened in the story?
c. What stood out to you in the story?
d. What did you learn about Jesus?
e. What did you learn from the story?
f. How can you be more like _______ (one of the characters in the story)
Summarize the reflections they gave and share one truth from the story that you want them to learn. Then close your time in prayer.
Daily devo talks with your teens: Give the teens time to do the HEAR journal on their own each day. At dinner time (or another time), have each person in the family share which verse they Highlighted and why they chose that verse.
Daily devo talks with your spouse: What verse did you highlight and why? How can we apply the truths in this passage to our marriage/parenting/workplace/etc.? Take time to pray together.
Weekly devo talks with a friend(s): Looking back at the reading this week, what stood out to you and why? Share one of the passages you highlighted this week and what impact it has had on you?
Scripture reading can also have a greater impact when there is accountability. Consider joining a group where you can meet each week to grow deeper in your friendship, discuss what you have learned in the reading, keep each other accountable, pray for each other, and pray for friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors that do not know Jesus yet.
Sometimes people have too rigid of a definition of prayer. Often times, our prayer life is limited to our requests. We come to God with our list of things that are wrong in our life our the lives of others. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are encouraged to “pray continually.” God is always with us, we don’t have to limit our prayers to a certain time of the day or to the requests that we have. That means that you can pray on your way to the meeting with that co-worker you don’t like. You can pray when you are frustrated and overwhelmed at work. You can pray on your way to school that God would give you patience with the other student that teases you. You can pray a prayer of thanks and rejoicing when something good happens. You can pray a prayer of thanks and rejoicing when something bad happens, because even in the midst of the suffering, God is still good. The point is, prayer should be a part of who we are, not just a part of our day. If you are new to this idea, just try it today. Set alarms on your phone throughout the day and when they go off, pray. Praise God, thank God, ask for God’s guidance, ask for forgiveness, pray for someone that is on your heart, pray for your current situation, etc. Just pray! In the difficult moments, Romans 8:26-27 says that even when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. We have the great privilege that when we draw near to God, he draws near to us (James 4:8)
God has given us Spiritual Gifts for the edification of the body. In other words, he has given us gifts so we can serve. By serving, we help the church operate at full capacity because everyone had different gifts and abilities. In our membership class, we talk about how God has uniquely shaped each of us. He has given each of us:
Heart (things we care about)
God uses each of those things uniquely as we serve Him and get plugged in to the local church. God has given you gifts, passions, abilities, and experiences to be used by Him for His glory. And the awesome thing about that is, when we truly serve God through our gifting, we experience blessing as well. If you are attending North Park and would like to know how you can get plugged in to serving in the church, attend our new connections class or talk to one of our pastors.
As mentioned in the section on reading God’s Word, community is of utmost importance. God has created us for community. It can be difficult to grow in your walk with God on your own with no support. That is why we encourage those that attend North Park to plug in to ABFs, Homegroups, and an accountability relationship with some close friends.