For the last twenty weeks, we’ve been going through the e100 Bible reading challenge from Scripture Union. Many people have shared that it’s helped them to get into God’s Word and grow in their faith. The book is great, but having finished the book, I don’t think people need another book. In my mind, there are three ingredients that make the e100 challenge so powerful and it’s those three ingredients that I would commend to people for a lifetime of Bible reading.
I love to listen to the stories that capture people’s imagination, because they often give insights into how people think and what they believe. Popular stories command an audience because they express things that resonate with how people see the world. So when the latest Star Wars installment came out, I was interested to see what its message might be. If you can handle a minor spoiler, I’d like to share what I learned from Yoda about the Bible.
When I lived in Japan, one afternoon, without warning, I got a hurried call from a church member. She was in the area with her daughter and wondered if they could stop by. I agreed and seconds later the door bell rang. They must have been in the parking lot already. I invited them in and we exchanged pleasantries. I had heard and prayed for her adult daughter but today was meeting her for the first time. I sensed that there was some urgency to the visit, but neither of them were giving me any clues as to what it might be. I introduced myself, I asked questions, but got little response. Was this just a social call? She shared about a health concern she was facing and I prayed for her. Finally, I asked whether I might read a portion of Scripture with them. It was one of those times where you take a chance, not knowing how the person will respond or what God might do.
As we have been studying through the opening chapters of the book of 1 Samuel, Hannah’s relationship with her child Samuel has been front and centre. As she prepared to dedicate her child to God’s service, we saw that she must have been conscious each day that she was preparing her son to serve in the presence of God. Her example is a challenge to all parents to consider what their words, decisions and lifestyle communicate to their children about what is most important in life. As a Christian parent, the greatest desire should be to see your child trust in Christ. But how do you do that? And how do you know what is happening in your child’s faith?
At Christmas, Christians usually warn each other about not getting caught up with the materialism of Christmas and instead encourage one another to focus on the Saviour. That's an important message. But I’d like to encourage you to consider buying yourself or someone you know a particular kind of present this Christmas. I want to encourage you to make an investment in your spiritual tool kit with a study Bible.