Wednesday, January 20, 2016


At the Vineyard we have begun our series "By Every Word" while at the same time embarking on a 40 day reading of the New Testament. Yesterdays reading was Luke 4:14-9:50 and the word astonished showed up three times! We had first seen it when Jesus was found teaching in the temple as a boy - his parents were astonished by what he said. Now in our reading it says they were ALL astonished. Although some other translations use the word amazed I have found that he word astonished has captured my attention.

I cannot remember the last time I was astonished. I could make the excuse that I haven't seen the miracles that were happening in these chapters of Luke but then there are daily  miracles in my life when I understand that "from Him, and through Him and to Him is everything." But there is more - they were astonished at His teaching. I have His teaching in front of me every day - speaking to me with His authority,,,, but I am not astonished by it.

So, today I am reflecting on my great lack of astonishment in the face of such good gifts as His constant care and work in my life and His Word. Perhaps it is as we considered last Sunday - I have just forgotten how much I need it - I have been too filled up with other things and it has dulled my appetite for His word and clouded my eyes to His work. Or perhaps I don't let the Word penetrate deep enough and don't readily give thanks for His work...

So Lord, today, "open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your word."ps. 119

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

By Every Word

In the middle of this month the Vineyard will begin our New Testament Immersion: a 40 day journey through the New Testament. As a church we will be reading through the whole New Testament and then having a variety of "hands on" opportunities to interact with one another over what the Spirit shows us as we read and wait on His Word. At the same time we will take a short 8 week break from our teaching series in Matthew and embark on a winter series titled: By Every Word in which we will look closely at what we really believe about the written revelation and examine how we can understand it and be transformed through our interactions with it.

I have been pondering recently about why I so dearly love the Word of God. From my earliest memories it has always been there. Coloring pages from Sunday School with the verse on top, family devotions as a child from Our Daily Bread, Bible memory contests in the boys Sunday School class at the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church, my Bible verse memory trophy from Awana, the Jr. high Bible quiz team. Do they still do those? There were also times of falling asleep as a little kid with my head on my Bible, my first leather bound Scofield Bible from my Dad that still sits tattered on my shelf, the old woman who sat next to me at Maranatha when I was 12 and showed me - from the Word- why I could know that I had eternal life. And there were those unforgettable times when I just heard a verse and began to weep or experience calling or conviction or when I shared a passage and saw the light go on in someone else's heart.

The Word has brought comfort, guidance, encouragement and answers. At times it has just overwhelmed me with pictures of God and other times it has sat unlooked at and I have been the poorer for it.

Man shall not live on bread alone but By Every Word! When I am not eating and chewing on and relishing in the good taste of the Word I begin to languish and doubt and ultimately become disoriented in this confusing world. When I take it in, I don't always understand it and it's flavors are sometimes foreign to me but it satisfies, ministers the presence of God in my life and it's voice is always familiar - the voice my God and my redeemer.