Guest Post By John Richardson
The Cat in The Hat was a favorite of mine and for many years the only book I had ever finished…for a while. As a child I loved to read, but as time passed my patience and desire waned. I filled my time with easy things and left books and all of their nerdy stereotypes on the shelf. All of this changed when I became a Christian, because to know God required me to read and study His Word. The Christian walk placed the thing I loved most (God) against the thing I hated worst (reading). God won and keeps on winning as I fall more in love with His Word.
Not only did I grow in my desire to read God’s Word, but I also found myself picking up books that helped me understand him more. Soon I piled books around myself and held tightly to Ravi Zacharias’ words, “Our intellect is not intended to be an end in itself, but only a means to the very mind of God.”
Soon though my passion for God and the intellectual pursuit of Him became an idol, as I bragged about my ability to devour books. God smashed my idol on the ground and I began to ask, “How do I glorify God through my reading and work to ensure I was not reading in vain?” God clearly spoke in verse 3 of Philippians 2: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (or yourself for me). This moved me to read and learn in a way to not be a cul-de-sac, but a conduit of the knowledge. Below is the method that I began to employ:
I continued to devour books, but I employed a strategy to ensure that my reading did not end only in my own growth. As I read now I do a few different things that help me record the interesting ideas and easily pass them on to others.
- As I read I highlight portion of the book that I find moving, thoughtful, or controversial. This is not a huge insight but it doesn’t stop there.
- I keep word documents with specific titles (suffering, faith, culture, etc.) to track the recorded ideas according to the categories. As I read new ideas I just keep making word documents.
- Example: Truth
Quote: “…make your judgment of the Christian message based on truth, not the mood of our times. Moods change. Truth does not.
Publishing Info: Zacharias, Ravi K. Jesus among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message. Nashville, TN: Word Pub., 2000. Print.
Date Read: 2014
- The example allows me to inventory all of the content so that I can use the quotes/thoughts in sermon prep, discipleship conversation, and counseling sessions.
The goal of all of my personal reading and study is to learn who God is and invest those truths into the lives of other believers. Believers need to be learning for the next generation as they make disciples that make disciples.
Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:
• REACT. Do something.
• RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
• REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.