BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
By Andrew Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
How are you at taking advice?
I’ll be honest with you: I’m not the best. I’m great at giving it, but when it comes to acting on the pearls of wisdom that others give me on a regular basis I’m not so hot.
Sometimes it’s not hugely important, but sometimes it has serious effects.
As you’ll know if you’ve been doing the Alpha course with your Life Group, last week we watched a video all about reading the Bible and how important it is.
At the end, in our group, my wife Julie had a very clever idea. She asked everyone in the group how often they read the Bible. We’re a very close-knit group and we made it very clear that there was no judgement whatsoever – it was just a question.
There were a variety of answers and when it came to my turn I said that I liked to read a Bible plan each morning (generally Nicky and Pippa Gumbel’s Bible in One Year) and that I notice it if I don’t. Ultimately what it boils down to is that I don’t feel as close to God.
Then on Saturday I said to Julie that I was feeling a bit down about my business and one or two other things, and a bit removed from God. She said, “Have you read your Bible today?”
I admitted that I hadn’t. She said something to the effect of “Why on earth not? You read it every other day, why wouldn’t you read it on Saturday?”
“I don’t know!” I said. What I didn’t tell her is that I hadn’t been reading it every day for a good few weeks.
I don’t know what had happened. Why I’d stopped. I think I’d fallen into the age-old trap of thinking “I’ve got too much work to do to spend half and hour reading!”
If someone said that to me, I would tell them that they had too much work on NOT to spend half an hour with God. But, as I say, I’m not so hot at taking my own advice.
On this occasion, though, I did. I poured myself a coffee, went upstairs, read my Bible and spent some time praying. Since then I’ve managed to read it every day and I’m glad to report that I’m feeling a whole lot better.
What I’m not saying is that reading the Bible will make your life perfect. But I do know that God wants to have a relationship with us, and that the best and arguably only way to do that is by praying. I also know that He wants to help us and has left us a book to help us with even the thorniest of problems.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If you struggle with reading the Bible, then I would urge you just to start doing it – at a pace you can manage. I’m onto my second or third reading of the Bible in One Year plan but don’t for one minute think that I ever actually complete it in one year – I read it at my own pace.
If you’re comfortable with reading on your phone or tablet, then there are a variety of plans on the Bible App which take you through the Bible in full. I recommend the Gumbels’ plan because it offers some very helpful explanations, about the Old Testament in particular.
If you’d rather read an actual book, then there are an equally large selection of Bibles available which split the whole books into 365 chunks in a variety of ways. I have one which has a Proverb or a Psalm, two or three Old Testament chapters and several verses from the New Testament each day.
If you’re not keen on the Gumbels’ take, or have read it before and just want a new commentary, there are many others available too. However, I would recommend a Bible in One Year plan of some description; some of the plans on the Bible app are great but contain very little actual Bible.
So here’s my advice: Read your Bible. It’s really a very good idea and you won’t regret it.
Andrew Greenhalgh with his wise wife Julie
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?
Nicki and Dave on how walking the streets and praying for our neighbours can lead to some unexpected opportunities to spread God’s word.