One of the verses that has influenced me and in my journey and inspired my passion for disciplemaking is Luke 9:51 -
As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
I discovered that Luke uses a common Hebrew phrase to describe the resolve of Jesus to go to Jerusalem, “he set his face….” It means that Jesus fixed his gaze upon his destination and mission. He would not be distracted or detoured from accomplishing his Father’s plan for his life. Even his looming death would not deter him from the cross. I like the way The Message translates this phrase, “he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem.” Now that’s what I call, resolve!
Challenged by the resolve and commitment of Jesus to fulfill his life’s mission has caused me to resolve to focus upon completing the mission God has laid out for my life. I believe I can best accomplish this by committing to a daily practice of receiving nourishment from God’s Word. I am so grateful for what God has shown me in these first few days of the journey through Luke’s Gospel. Apparently, this simple Bible Study method has been a blessing and encouragement to other fellow travelers. Listen to one couple who have resolved to the daily practice of “GEARing up for the Journey.”
Thank you so much for G.E.A.R. How can we be so old and yet still learning how to read the Bible? The entire message, from redwood trees to how to’s, was so relevant to our lives as retired and too often relaxed partners. I’ve journaled two pages, and I’m only in chapter 10! I think “R” will be the hardest part but the most needed for me. Old habits die hard, and the “senior” part of me tends to reflect too much on the past…mistakes, memories, what ifs, and why didn'ts. It’s hard to “press on" and leave all that garbage behind.
In addition, when conversation between [my husband] and me tends to dwindle and books or TV replace it, we will work at discussing specific scriptures as we plan our days. Having trod the path of all the technology that is available as well as the cares of this world, I look forward to fertilizing my roots with God’s Word in a new and deeper study. I find myself even checking out several different Bibles to improve my G.E.A.R.
And this from another outfitter:
After today’s entry, it came to me to let you know two things. One is that I’m doing the G.E.A.R. exercise and I’m not finding it a burden, but rather a solace! Secondly, it is working to get me back into a more intimate relation with God. For many reasons, I was struggling to connect – like I had abandoned HIM when I need Him the most.
If you would like to try out this simple method of Transformational Bible Study, look at my entry on February 26, “Essential G.E.A.R for Following Jesus.” I explain the process and give you a sample of how you might apply this method to a portion of Scripture.
May God honor your resolve to follow Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
A few years ago we walked through a message series at Grace Church called “Essential G.E.A.R. for Following Jesus.” For seven weeks we took a look at a portion of Luke’s gospel that records the conversations and events of Jesus as He takes His final journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. In the first message of the series we offered a practical guide for reading through the Scriptures that enabled each of us to dig deeper into the Bible and to help us apply what we have read to our daily lives.
I first learned of this method while attending a pastor’s conference in February 2003. A pastor named Wayne Cordeiro, from New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, challenged each of us to join him in a simple method of personal Bible study that he had used successfully for years. As a result, I have found this devotional method to be very helpful for me in digging deeper into the Scriptures. This method is also easily reproducible for others to apply to their lives. In light of our outfitter’s image of discipleship at Grace Church, I modified the method to fit within our context.
For those of you who may not remember this teaching, I’ll briefly summarize the G.E.A.R method of Transformational Bible Study.
1. Select a portion of Scripture to read. (During these next seven weeks we will be focusing upon Luke 9:51 thorough Luke 19:27.)
2. After you have read your portion for the day, select a verse or two that seems to stand out to you and that you would like to spend a few moments reflecting upon.
3. Now that you have a verse or two to focus upon, you will begin the G.E.A.R. method of Bible Study.
God’s Word: Write out word for word the Scripture you have selected for the day.
Examine: Now begin to examine what the text is saying by making observations. This is where you answer some of the following questions, “What is the context of this verse?” “What does the text say?” “Who is speaking?” “Who is the recipient?” “What is happening here?” “When is this taking place?” “Where is this happening?” “Why is this event taking place?” “How did this happen?” You also look for key or repeated words. Write down in a few sentences what you have discovered in this examination stage.
Apply: Here you answer the question: “What is God saying to ME through this Scripture?” “How should I respond?” “How does this work in MY life?” After you have a sense of how this Scripture might be applied to your life, spend a few moments writing our your thoughts.
Resolve: In light of what God has revealed and said to you, how will your life be different as a result of reading this Scripture? What will you resolve to do? To be resolved means to come to a definite decision about something, to make up your mind to obey what you have learned. Once you have a sense of how you might commit to live out a lesson that comes from this Scripture, take a moment to write it down as a prayer of commitment.
Now that I’ve unpacked the method for you, let me illustrate this method on a verse of Scripture so that you might see an example of the G.E.A.R. method.
God’s Word: “Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
Examine: The Lord is speaking through His prophet, Jeremiah, to God’s people in Judah. They have turned from following the Lord and have placed their trust in the strength of other nations who do not worship the Lord. Unfortunately, the majority of God’s very own people have turned their hearts away from the Lord God. In these two verses Jeremiah reveals that those who determine to trust in the Lord and place their hope and confidence in Him will receive God’s blessings and favor. They will stand strong and healthy like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Even in times of drought and distress, these trees will continue to produce fruit.
Apply: Even when my life is in distress and turmoil and I am tempted to place my trust in human wisdom and strength, I must continue to trust in the Lord and His Word. When I place my hope and confidence in Him and develop a discipline of nourishing my soul from God’s Word, then I will be fruitful no matter how difficult the circumstances are at the moment.
Resolve: Lord, I want to thank you for your abundant provisions for my life. In light of this passage, I resolve to begin a daily practice of reading and studying your Word so that my spiritual roots will be nourished and my life will be fruitful and productive.
Let me encourage you to begin this time alone with God and His Word by praying for God to open your eyes to the wonderful truths in His Word. Here are a few sample prayers taken right from the Scriptures:
Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.
Teach me, O Lord, to follow every one of your principles.
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.
Denny & Cindy Heiberg