I woke up this morning ready to dive into the seemingly endless work that is speaking prep. I kept hearing this quiet whisper, “Spend time with me first.”
I am now staring at a list and weeping.
The list? It’s the books of the bible in chronological order.
Before you write me off as crazy (which, let’s be honest, I’ve beat you to it), let me tell you this:
When I look at this list of books, I see the places I sat and studied them. I see the hard things I fought with. I see the tears of frustration and the smiles of unexplainable joy after breakthrough. I see God’s heart weaved throughout his story. I see the revelations I got in each book that changed my life.
I see 3 months of watching God pursue and love the Israelites, and the Israelites in a constant cycle of following him and rebelling against him. I see another 3 months of watching God’s heart break throughout the prophets, and yet seeing him remain faithful to his people through it all. I see the excitement and anticipation of finally “meeting Jesus” after 6 months with the mindset of the Israelites who did not know him, and I see the disappointment in meeting him and realizing that he wasn’t what I expected. I see the moment where everything changed: Romans, when I realized for the first time what salvation actually was, and what Jesus actually did.
I see the names Numbers and The Gospel of John, the beginning and the end. In Numbers it struck me, “God freaking loves people!” In John, “woah…and he loves me“.
God asked me to spend 9 months where my only job was to read his story, to get to know him, simply to tell me that he loves me. He asked me to go to South Africa and teach the bible with the same message: he loves me. He brought me into a year of the wilderness to show me that he loves me without me doing anything to earn it.
I look at this list of books, and I see how it changed my life. How God’s story changed my life. I have no other words for it except to say that I know him, and that has changed everything.
In February I had an Uber driver pick me up at the YWAM LA base to take me to the airport. He asked what this place was as he had never been in this area of LA. I told him about YWAM and about SBS. After hearing about how intensely I had studied the bible he said to me, “Wow, that must change a person. How did studying the bible like that change your life?”
I watched the city that I love go by as I thought on this question. How did studying the bible change my life?
I told him about the wilderness I was in, how it had been the hardest, most confusing 8 months of my life, and how if I had not studied the bible there is no way I would have gotten out of this wilderness and still been a Christian. Studying the bible showed me God’s unchanging character and his heart, which made me so unbelievable secure in him. Because I studied the bible I know who he is, I know who I am, and it has made me steady.
In September I’m beginning a bible study. We’re going to go through the entire bible in 9 months chronologically. We’re going to discover God’s story together. If you want to be a part of this group, send me a message. It will stretch you and it will be hard and amazing all at the same time, you’ll have moments where you love it and where you want to quit, and it will change your life because you will get to know your God.
What I know is this: God’s story through the bible has changed everything for me. I can never be the same, I can never go back. And I will spend the rest of my life sharing the gift of the bible with the world knowing that it will change their lives too, because that’s who my God is.