I have a confession to make.
I have always struggled with daily spending time reading the Bible. I don’t mean as a study or as preparation for sermons or teaching. I mean as care for my soul. I mean as simply reading to know more about God and to know Him more deeply. It’s not that I don’t get that as I prepare to teach, I do. But I have always desired more time there.
I often allow busyness to steal my time. I wake to thoughts of the things that need to get done on a day and then spend the day doing them with little thought for my lack of time in the Word. In the past I’ve made New Year’s resolutions to be more disciplined. They have usually started well and ended poorly.
I feel OK making this confession because I know I am in good company! The Apostle Paul wrote this in Romans 7:
19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Paul was talking about the Christian struggle with sin. We often want to do the right thing, like read the Word of God and seek more of Him, but we fail. Maybe it is the sin of busyness. Maybe it is the sin of pride – not recognizing our need for Him. Whatever it is, it is a problem common to us all.
So, how do we overcome this problem?
Should we just be OK with not spending time in God’s Word? NO!
Paul says that it in Christ that we find delivery. Part of that delivery is the work of His Spirit – prodding us, encouraging us, reminding us, but there is another way that Jesus helps us. Community.
Jesus gives us a family, he brings us into a new Community. In this community we receive encouragement, reminders, and even prodding… yes the Spirit works through the people of God! Aaaaaaannnnnnnnnddddddd there is a way that this gift works with the gift of His Word! It is called Community Bible Reading (CBR)!
CBR is like a Bible reading plan, only it is designed to be utilized in community!
Rather than me resolving, alone, to read the Bible more, I belong to a community of New City folks who are also reading the Bible with me. Each day my CBR community reads the same 2 chapters of the Bible. Then each member of my CBR community who has read, sends a short note via text (or GroupMe) to the community, sharing something that stood out to them or something that spoke to them from their reading.
I’ve been using the CBR plan since last Spring. It has been amazing! It is always encouraging to see what my community is learning. It is also a reminder ever morning to slow down and spend a little time in the Word. I still have my days of busyness and pride. I still miss some readings. BUT because I am not a part of a community who is in this together, I don’t stop! I just start over.
Later this month and into February, New City will begin organizing more CBR communities through our Missional Communities! We are really excited about this. We have spent the last several months going through this with our elders, staff and many of our other leaders including MC leaders.
So what can you do to be ready?
1) Check out the Community Bible Reading website for more information. If you want to use a CBR Journal, order yours now through CBR.
2) Go to your phone app store and download the Community Bible Reading app. When you open the app you’ll notice an option for 2ch or 4ch. We’ll be using the 2ch.
It may also be helpful to download the GroupMe app as well. Group me will allow you and your community to group together rather than using standard texting.
3) We’ll talk more about this at our Partners meeting January 12th. After January 12th, ask your MC leader when they plan to start their Community Bible Reading!
You don’t have to wait to get started! Once you download the CBR app for your phone, start reading!