A long time ago I realized reading was going to be a struggle for me. It is not something that I love doing. As I began to sort out the discipleship model in my life, I knew that staying connected to God’s Word was important. I also knew that since I don’t enjoy reading, I decided the only things I would read would be Christian books and the Bible. This practice began on vicarage, through my internship, and has continued along this path ever since. I have my Bible reading plan on my phone; I am reading a book for my Bible study on Tuesday nights; and trying to tack on some other books as well. The staff and I are going through “Storyline”, and many at Mt. Calvary know I am rereading, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” Someone recently bought me a book called, “Intentional Walk”, and that is next on my list.
Almost everyday I make a small inventory of the mistakes I made the day before, repent, and think through what I want to change today. There are plenty of times I look at the list of things I need to read and find myself frustrated at the places where I missed the mark.
This weekend we study a unique reading where Jesus quotes Scripture to the Pharisees. Jesus does this multiple times, but pondering that He is the Word, and ultimately He is speaking the words connected to Him, sometimes the Word is substituted for Him, as it is in John; but the Pharisees would only understand and receive this through Scriptures. Then after He spoke the words they memorized and claimed they lived, He responded with His words: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
I will spend the next couple of days in Kansas City, attending the funeral of my Grandma Hanke. Grandma loved to sing. Hers was the story in last year’s Christmas sermon titled, “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” Although Grandma was struggling with Alzheimer’s, my brother and sisters enjoyed one last visit with her. We spent a day with her last Christmas, and afterwards hung out with my aunt and shared some memories. Grandma has been ready for Jesus for a long time so this is a good thing. I am not sad; rather, it is another reminder of someone who for many years taught me about eternal life, and now is living it. What does sadden me is thinking about the legacy that is now gone. Grandpa and Grandma Hanke taught us about faith. Grandpa Hanke is the whole reason I often use the saying, “Holy Habits.” He used to say, “Will, habits create sin.” This got me thinking about habits and how they can be the opposite as well. My grandparents taught me “Holy Habits” for a long time. Now it is my turn to help disciple my family and my congregation, as I continue to struggle with the same thing. I am constantly allowing God’s Holy Spirit to work those “Holy Habits” in me.
The Gospel message comes ringing clear when I know Jesus is the Word. Because He comes to rescue me and love me, and as I ponder my mistakes, He gives me forgiveness and reminds me how He is working in my life. This was so clearly evident the other night when Jacob and Gavin were watching the Cardinal game. Jacob said, “Dad I am so tired, can we just read the Bible tonight!” Wow, the Gospel appears when I am in my weakest moment and doubting myself. Jacob meant that we should skip the other reading, but not the Bible. Why? It’s because we try to read the Bible every night, and I am passionate about this. I believe that for years the Church gave people outs, and we ultimately read the Bible for them at services on Wednesdays, Sundays, and so on. Now I believe so strongly that is part, only part of the reason some of us struggle with reading daily. I believe Read 1 speaks to that. We want to connect with God’s Word every day, not just with devotions, but through God’s actual Words. The CECE hands out Bibles at age two. Our Children’s Ministry will be handing out Bibles and worship bags this weekend. We, as the people of Mt. Calvary, are creating a “Holy Habit.” This is what Read 1 is all about. It is a key piece to B1 disciple, which was what Jesus was teaching His disciples in the presence of the Pharisees. Sunday we dive into it!