Stonegate - Happy New Year!

As Christians, we love the Bible! We love the Bible because we love God. We love the Bible because in it God reveals to us the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Every story in the Bible really does “whisper His name.” So one of my hopes for 2018 is that our lives would be soaked in the Scriptures! But we shouldn’t assume this will happen. Years ago I remember reading this sentence from the pen of J.I. Packer, 

“If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop people from reading the Bible.” 

That sentence was one of God’s means of convincing me that we don’t stumble into consistently reading and memorizing the Bible. 

I need a plan. You need a plan. We all need a plan. To help you plan, we want to make you aware of two resources available to the Stonegate family. 

BIBLE READING: THE COMMUNITY BIBLE READING JOURNAL

For more information about the CBR Journal, go here or watch this video. Inside this journal, you’ll find our 2018 Bible Reading Plan. You can also download it in pdf form here. Why a Bible reading plan? 

Well, test your life. How much have you accomplished without a proactive plan? If you’re anything like me, the answer is – very little! A plan (for almost all of us) keeps good ambitions from drifting into the sea of good intentions. 

This particular plan will take us through all of the New Testament in 2018 and a part of the Old Testament. We’d love for you to make this your 2018 Bible reading plan. Inside the journal, you’ll also find various Gospel-centered resources on the Christian life. Lastly, you’ll find plenty of space to journal. There are roughly 100 pages for you to record how Jesus is working in your life through His word. 

The CBR journal will make a great companion for your Bible this year! They are available at our resource table for $5. 

SCRIPTURE MEMORY: FIGHTER VERSES

Not only do we need a plan to read the Bible, we need a plan to Memorize the Bible. First, we need to answer the question of, “Why Memorize Scripture?” 

Of all the habits that make up a Christian’s life, scripture memory is one of the most important. The Psalmist shows us one of the many benefits of memorizing Scripture, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” In his book on spiritual disciples, Donald Whitney gives other reasons why Scripture memory is important; here are just a few: 

  • Memorization Supplies Spiritual Power.
  • Memorization Strengthens Your Faith.
  • Memorization Prepares Us for Witnessing and Counseling.
  • Memorization Provides a Means of God’s Guidance.
  • Memorization Stimulates Meditation.

Donald goes on to say,

“The sword of the Word is the ‘sword of the Spirit,’ but if there is no Bible physically accessible to you, then the weapon of the Word must be present in the armory of your mind in order for the Spirit to wield it. Imagine yourself in the midst of a decision and needing guidance, or struggling with a difficult temptation and needing victory. The Holy Spirit enters your mental arsenal and looks around for available weapons, but all He finds is a John 3:16, and Genesis 1:1, and a Great Commission. Those are great swords, but they’re not made for every battle.”

To help us stock more swords in our mental arsenal, we are joining in with Desiring God’s Fighter Verses and memorizing one verse per week. Here are a few ways you can get the weekly verses: 

1. DOWNLOAD & PRINT THE BOOKMARK. The bookmark shows each passage/verse to be memorized each week. 

2. THE FIGHTER VERSE APP. You can also download the Fighter Verses App. We’ll be memorizing the 2018 ESV Set of verses. 

3. THE FIGHTER VERSE WEBSITE. You can also go to the fighter verse website for weekly devotions on the verses we’re memorizing. 

Parents, consider ways to incorporate Scripture Memory into the rhythms of your family. Memorizing Scripture is a great culture-creating habit for your home! It opens up a conversation about all sorts of important things – God, eternity, life, death, and the good news of Jesus! Memorizing Scripture is also a great way to equip your family with the swords needed for the many battles we all face!

One of my favorite pastors in American church history is Jonathan Edwards. Throughout his life, he wrote 70 resolutions. One of those resolutions dealt with his approach to the Bible. 

Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

Stonegate, I hope you’ll join me in that resolve. 

grace & peace, 

pastor rodney

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