Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
A note from John: The following was developed primarily by my friend, Tim Clark, and used with permission. We collaborate on pretty much everything!
Dear Church Family,
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light…” Genesis 1:1-3
For me, the first week of January has long been a time of creative potential. I look at the clean slate of a year yet to be lived, and I imagine the possibilities ahead of me. For a year that has just been born, ANYTHING is possible.
But more than just using my own imagination, I invite the Spirit of the Lord to hover over the empty places in my life (and my schedule) and welcome Him to do a creative work in me. I ask the Lord to speak the words “let there be light” into the dark and shapeless parts of my own life, and then anticipate Him creating all kinds of form and fruit and fullness out of nothing—the same way He did with our universe at the beginning of time.
That’s one of the things I love about kicking off the year reading the Bible starting in the most appropriate place: Genesis.
Genesis chapter 1 starts at the beginning…actually the very beginning, when there was nothing yet created, nothing yet shaped, nothing yet scheduled. God took a whole lot of nothing and made it into something quite spectacular, and every time I read it I’m filled with anticipation that He can make something amazing in me out of the “not-yet” of the year to come.
But then I read in Genesis 2 that after He created this “something,” He assigned part of His creation—human beings—to actively steward all that was created.
Whatever God is preparing to shape in you for this year, He also intends to invite you to steward. Really, it’s a mind-blowing proposition: God makes something out of nothing in us, then He partners with us to steward that creation into fruitful and exponential multiplication.
I want to suggest that one of the ways God resources the multiplication of His good work in us is through our growing intimacy with Him. The better we hear Him and obey Him, the more on-track we can be with His plans and purposes for our lives. I would further suggest that one of the best ways to start to learn to hear Him is by being habitually immersed in His Word.
That’s why Pastor Tim Clark and I invest significant time every year to update and publish the Pause Bible Reading Plan we created some years ago (and, in fact, even this devotional was produced in a collaborative effort). The plan itself is available online and over the last couple of years West Salem Foursquare Church, along with The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, CA, has given journals to anyone in the church who desires them. We are doing so again at the beginning of 2018 in order to encourage participation in reading the Bible together!
If you don’t already have an intentional pattern of reading though the Bible, I want to encourage you to pick up one of these journals this next Sunday (or just follow along online) and start reading God’s word along with your church family. If each of us would learn to get a word from God from the Word of God every day, and we would obediently follow that word, I am convinced that our lives, and our world, would experience the manifestation of God’s creative purposes like we’ve never seen in our lifetime!
Grace and Peace,
Pastors John & Denise