Decide Less

Worship Communication Card prayer request: "God help me follow through on my resolution 52 times at church in 2014..." Do you think this might have more of an impact than losing a few pounds?

My observation: people don't do well spiritually when they stop participating in corporate worship or attend with high irregularity.

Sometimes there are really powerful reasons for non-attendance. And some people are exceptions, finding Christian fellowship and service in other ways. I've known a couple of people who were thriving spiritually while not attending corporate worship gatherings regularly...for a while.

But for most of us mortals, missing corporate worship is usually due to spiritual drifting, and it's usually spiritually stunting and hazardous.

It's hard to tell people that showing up for corporate worship every week is really important without sounding like a legalist. But it is no more legalistic to make corporate worship a priority in life then it is to have a daily quiet time of Bible reflection and prayer.

How does a person keep this resolution. In part, by deciding less. Decide once that this is what you will do every week. Decide once TO attend every week. Then the only other decision is NOT to attend when you have a really good reason. Don't ever decide whether or not to attend on the weekend. 

I wish a lot more people would make this resolution. It could have significant results.



Five Ways to Get into the Bible Daily

 Bible Study I

God calls us to come to him daily for our needs because he wants us to come to him daily.

So, where do you start? Here are five ways to get into the Bible daily.

1 // Group Life: Be better prepared for the weekend as you study the weekend’s passage in the daily Group Life study produced by Five Oaks volunteers with gifts and passions for writing and teaching the Bible. It’s one of the ways we listen to God together in our church community. Downloads are here. Or pick it up at the Small Groups table in the commons.

2 // Read (or listen) through the Bible. Most Bible apps have a listening feature and reading plans. There are plans that focus on key texts and plans that take you through every text in a variety of ways. I highly recommend the free YouVersion app. Check out the dozens of reading plans at BibleGateway.

3 // Practice “praying the hours.” Jews and early Christians prayed at set times of the day. You can read about it here and here. Useful and popular guides for praying the hours have been published by Phyllis Tickle and they contain an enormous amount of Scripture. For an online version of Tickle’s guide, go here. A helpful iPhone version can be found here. You’ll get more out of reading if you understand the framework of the Bible, so take the Story of God seminar or prepare for a lifetime of reading by working through the 40-day guide I wrote and that serves as the basis for the Story of God seminar.

4 // Read and reflect on the Psalms and Proverbs daily. The Psalms are the prayer book of the Jews and the church. The Proverbs contain daily wisdom from God. If you read one Psalm and on Proverb per day, you complete the Psalms approximately twice a year and the Proverbs twelve times per year.

5 // Use a devotional that has a good dose of Bible readings. Just don’t replace Bible reading with devotionals.

What would you add to this list?