When I was growing up, my father encouraged my siblings and I with the phrase “good for you.” When I brought home a report card he would say, “good for you.” When I was cast in our high school musical, he said “good for you.” When I graduated from college his words of encouragement were “good for you.” His toast to Tony and I on our wedding night was a beautiful string of memories dotted with “good for you.”
As I hear Popa’s voice saying “good for you,” I find myself wanting you to hear it too.
Today marks the finish line in Covenant’s church-wide Bible in 90 Days Challenge. Ninety days ago, many of you said YES to the challenge of reading the Bible cover-to-cover. You opened your Bibles, your hearts, and began God’s story.
Or maybe you decided this summer wasn’t the right time for you to join the 90 day challenge. “Good for you.” My prayer is that you felt encouraged just knowing the opportunity to read the Bible in community was an option. Maybe you heard a Bible in 90 Days sermon this summer that spoke to your heart. Or someone told you how the experience of reading challenged or changed them.
Maybe you started reading on May 31st, but at some point fell behind. So far behind, in fact, you were discouraged and decided you’ll try again later. “Good for you.” Chances are you read more of the Bible than you had previously, or at least parts of it that you had never read before.
Maybe you crossed the finish line today and read God’s Word, cover-to-cover, Genesis to Revelation. “Good for you.” How does it feel? Oh I wish I could sit down and talk to each one of you and hear your story! Hopefully, your small groups provided a sense of community to share, learn and pray during our summer challenge.
This week, in our Wednesday evening small group, we talked about how reading God’s Word in its entirety changed us. We observed that reading the Bible over the summer provided us with a ‘birds eye view’ of God’s story which is much different than hearing small portions at a time. Perspective — it changes everything. Many in our small group felt a closeness to God, His Holy Presence, and a desire to know Jesus even more. This desire and yearning to continue in God’s presence begs the question “How?” Maybe you are thinking it too, “what do I do next?”
The answer is very personal and will be different for each one of us. But, as we learned, over and over again, in His Word, God is faithful. If we seek Him and turn our hearts towards Him, He will answer. Some of you may have already heard an answer revealed from God about what’s next for you. Others might still be wondering as you process all that you have read this summer. Here are a few ideas to pray over as you continue to wait for the Lord to direct your path.
- Stay committed to your daily reading time. If you made notes about certain passages you wanted to go back and study, do it! Start a prayer journal or find a new-to-you devotional (My current favorite is Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young).
- Stay engaged in the church community. This Sunday is Covenant’s Preview on the Patio. Come learn about the wide offerings of classes and Bible studies offered this fall and don’t just ‘think about it’, join one!
- If you are already involved in a ministry or Bible study, pray. Ask God to direct your steps as you serve his Kingdom with the courage of Esther, the devotion of Paul and in the name of Jesus Christ.
For my entire life, I’ve loved hearing Popa tell me “good for you.” But, as I grow deeper and stronger in my relationship with Jesus, the affirmation I have my heart set on hearing is from my Heavenly Father who will prayerfully greet me one day saying, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’
And I find myself wanting you to hear it too.