What I want for you in 2015. I want you to be happy but more than that I want you to have peace and joy that comes from a source separate from your circumstances, an underground river that is never depleted from which you draw constantly. I also want you to be prepared for anything that comes your way. I want you to be ready for good and bad because both will come your way. I want you to know the secret Paul knows, how to be content and satisfied when you have plenty and when you have little (Philippians 4:11-13). I want you to be healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Those are all connected. Just as if you didn’t eat for weeks your mind and emotions would be affected, so too if you are spiritually anorexic it will affect your whole being. I want you to be wise, skilled at living life well. I want you to be wise in managing relationships, resources, and yourself. You get these things that I want for you by knowing God. Not just about him (though this is the beginning of wisdom - Psalm 111:10), but also knowing him. One of the most amazing things about the God of the Bible is that he wants you to know him, to talk to him, to cry out to him, to hear from him. The start of this is to read and meditate on his Word. Drink it in, dwell on it, memorize it, talk about it, roll it over in your mind (Joshua 1:8, Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Talk to him. Prayer is important. If you don’t know how, begin with how Jesus taught (Matthew 6:9-13). If this is so important and so valuable and so life giving, why don’t we do it? Why aren’t we better at it? One reason is that we think we are too busy. We feel like our life is so full and we can’t do without any little thing we’ve shoved into our day. But you probably aren’t too busy. Or maybe you are too busy. If you are, stop it! Make time for paying attention to God. Jesus did and if he needed time with God to live life well so bad that he got up before everyone else to be with God (Mark 1:35-37) then I can assure you that we need it too. Another reason we don’t read the Bible is that we think it’s too hard. Yes, it is. It is difficult to understand in some places. Go slow and ask questions. It is hard, but worth it! It is also tempting to think that we don’t get anything out of it. We want immediate gratification. I can almost promise that your life won’t change completely after one day of reading the Bible. You probably won’t notice anything after a month. But I promise you that God’s Word changes you. Fight the temptation to move on because it “doesn’t work.” It does! God promised so. His Word always accomplishes what he purposes (Isaiah 55:11). We also might want to stop asking, What am I getting out of this? What if you never got anything out of reading the Bible? What if you just did it because God has said it is important? What if it was just obedience? It would still be valuable because it is obedience! I promise you that even if you never understand a single word of the Bible, the act of prioritizing your day around paying attention to God will have a profound impact on your peace, joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life. This year we at BCC we are going to be using the Book of Common Prayer to guide us through Scripture. There are many ways to get it. If you are one of the millions like me that rely on your phone to tell you what you are supposed to be doing, I’m going to recommend a couple of apps that I think will help. The first is YouVersion Holy Bible. It is cross platform, has a ton of different reading plans, and even has a social component where you can buy instagram followers or ask questions or share things with your “friends.” Download it, click on plans in the menu bar, find and click the magnifying glass, search for Book of Common Prayer and add it. Readings every day. If you aren't an app person, I highly recommend a book...with pages...that you turn. They are awesome. Use them. I’m also recommend checking out the Fighter Verses app. This is a curated list of verses for memorizing Scripture. There is a website but for a three of your dollars you can get the app (Apple, Android) which has memorization quizzes, it will read the verse to you, and it has other goodies too. The people at Desiring God even write a blog each week about the memory verse to help you understand what and why you are memorizing the passage. It is very helpful. When you are standing in line waiting to check out and pull out your phone you can work on a memory verse. If you do it every week you will have meditated on and committed to memory fifty two passages from God’s word to you. If you are an Inbox Zero kind of human (if you don’t know what that is say a prayer of thanksgiving and skip this paragraph) you can have Biblegateway email you the reading every day. It sits right there in your inbox until you read it. Sign up type A people!