Over the next little while I am going to post some of the things I talked about at the Trinity Baptist Church Young Adults Retreat this past weekend at beautiful Pinery Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Huron. The age group represented (18-30) is an important one because they are the next generation of leaders in both the church and the world. Therefore it is crucial that they begin to think through a number of issues and challenges that they will face in the days ahead. This past weekend in the four sessions allotted to me I focused on 6 specific areas: reading, prayer, church involvement, the development of community, social responsibilities and the challenge of technology. All of these are full topics in their own right and we could have spent the weekend considering any one of them, but I thought it would be good to look at these in an general overall way and get a sense of the kind of things we are up against today.
1. The Importance of Reading
This is may seem like a strange place to start but I believe it flows from the fact that God is a talking God who communicates to us by means of words and a book. God could have waited until the CD or DVD was invented and communicated by means of music or movies, but he did not. He spoke in words and then made sure that what we need to know is carefully written down for us to study, memorize and obey. Even God's ultimate revelation in his Son Jesus is made known to us through words that were written down by those chosen and authorized to record the pertinent details of his life and ministry.
Reading is essential to our development as human beings because it expands our minds and our world, something that is essential in the 21st century. It helps us stay current and keeps us from getting stuck in a time-warp that renders us unable to deal effectively with new problems that present themselves. One Christian group that I know of tells its potential leaders that "a call to lead is a call to read." They know that leaders in particular must be constantly learning and growing. Stagnation is deadly.
We must read the Bible first and foremost. It is the book of books. It is God's book and completely unique. If we read only one book on a regular basis it should be the Bible. It is divided into two main parts, the Old Testament and New Testament, and it tells one story throughout. That story is about God's way of salvation through Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and human beings.
But beyond the Bible, we should read other books as well. There are so many other books available to us in almost every area. Some will be more interesting than others, but it is important that we read. There are Bible commentaries, books on theology, lifestyle issues, history and biographies. Never in the history of the church has there been so many books available on a whole array of topics and never has there been a greater need to read those books to the glory of God.
Next time: I will talk about the how's of reading and help for those who find reading a chore.