Hanging Out

I have been looking forward to today for months now. Some very dear friends of ours are coming over for the first time in two and a half years. You see, they left two and half years ago to move to Estonia, a tiny European country, to become missionaries there and this summer they’re home on furlough

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Here’s the four of us, Scott and I and Joel and Keturah. Can you tell that we have fun together?

I couldn’t be more excited to catch up! Since the last time we’ve seen each other, our families have grown with my daughter Annabelle joining ours and their twin boys joining theirs, and God has moved our lives in ways that can’t be measured. We’ve talked via email and skype, we’ve seen each other over Christmas at an event in Hollywood a year ago, and Scott even went on a trip to visit and work with them last summer but none of that compares to uninterrupted, unstructured time with each other in person. In all of those instances, we were surrounded by other people, separated by an ocean, or running around trying to accomplish things, but today, today it will be just us, face to face, drinking coffee and catching up. And our heart’s seams will tighten to one another as the needle and thread of quality time and meaningful conversation pulls in and out between us.

That’s just how friendship works. You can’t get close with someone until you spend some time with them. We can’t expect it to be any different with our friendship with Jesus. Time with Him is vital to learning who He is and falling in love with Him in a way that moves and compels us to continue investing in the relationship and introducing others to Him as well. Without knowing Him, how can we expect to have faith in Him?

“So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (NIV)

I’m sure this isn’t news to you. In the Christian world we talk a lot about spending time with the Lord. We use euphemisms like “our daily quiet time” or “devotions” or “getting in the word” but all it really is you and the Lord, hanging out together over some scripture, worship music, a good book, an encouraging conversation, prayer, or thoughts filled with him. Maybe you’re familiar with all of this. But maybe you aren’t. Maybe you know you need to connect with Jesus just like I need to connect with my friends but you don’t know how.

Today, I wanted to take a little bit of a step back and share with you a few of my favorite ways to connect with and spend time with Jesus on a daily basis in an effort to provide a jumping off point for you. So here we go!

Let’s start with worship music. I am a musical person. I attended part of college on a (very) small vocal music scholarship and have been singing my whole life. Needless to say, music moves me in a way that little else does. It’s a Holy experience for me especially when the words are being sung and the notes are being played for a Holy God. There’s just something that it does to my soul. God is so big and beautiful and I love Him so much that sometimes, words aren’t enough to contain all my thoughts and feelings about Him. But music? Music provides another medium of communication for me, one that transcends words and goes straight to the heart, evoking and conveying meaning in a special way.

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I love to spend time getting to know Jesus through music that is inspired by scripture, His character, or how much we love and adore Him. That’s all worship music is; songs about Him, songs for Him, and an opportunity to experience His love for us while we share ours for Him. It’s powerful and it’s beautiful. If you’re looking for some new worship albums, try these out.

Anything by All Sons and Daughters. They’re my favorite.

Bethel  “You Make Me Brave”.

Worship Mob “Carry the Fire”

P.S. If you’re a parent and you’re looking for some great worship music for your kids that even you’ll enjoy, try Hillsong Kids “Crazy Noise” or Kids on the Move “Greater is He”.

Another way I like to connect with my friend Jesus is through reading the Bible. Think of it like an email from a friend. If they wrote it, you would take the time to read it because you want to know what’s going on with them, what they think, feel, desire, etc. That’s what the Bible is for God. It’s His letter to us filled with insights into who He is, how He loves, and what He wants for our lives.

If you’ve never attempted to spend time reading the Bible on a regular basis, I understand that it can seem daunting. That’s one big book after all. Let me make a few suggestions on how to start.

Did you know that the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters? That’s one chapter for every day of the month! Handy huh?! Proverbs is known as the book of wisdom and it’s full of easy, accessible, and applicable truth for every day life. Start by reading a chapter of Proverbs a day, corresponding with the day of the month and see what wisdom you can glean.

You could also start by reading the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These are the books of the Bible that chronicle the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus and they’re a great place to start if you’re new to this.

Another great way to dive into reading the Bible is by following a reading plan. There are countless plans out there so you can find the one that fits you best. Start by downloading the “Youversion” app or “She Reads Truth” app on your phone or tablet for free. In each one, there are numerous reading plans you can start and ways that it will keep you on track.

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Or maybe for you, a devotional, or a book or article written by someone else revolving around and including scripture, is the way to go. If you’re looking for one of these, and would like a suggestion, I am doing a study by Beth Moore right now on King David and it is amazing! I’ve also been reading a book by A.W. Tozer called the “Pursuit of God” and let me tell you, it will challenge and encourage you!

The thing I like to remember when talking about Bible reading is this: Just like when you’re eating, you should read until you’re full. It’s not about quantity i.e. how many chapters or verses you can read in a day. It’s about the quality. Are you reading until you feel the Lord reveal something to you, encourage you, or challenge you? If you are, then stop there, and then think about it, memorize it, talk about it with someone, pray about it, or journal about it so that the lesson is learned. Don’t read to reach a quota, read to get to know Jesus.

These are just a few of the ways that I like to do to spend time with Jesus. I’m sure you have others and we’d love to hear about them! Perhaps one of the most powerful ways that God speaks to us is through other people which is why we love the GLOW community so very much. So, share with us how you get to know Jesus on a daily basis. What do your hang out sessions look like? We can’t wait to get to know Him better together!