I don’t know if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I’m convinced that the time I spend immediately before it impacts my day from start to finish. On a typical day, I make my way into the living room and sit down with an iPad, coffee and my Bible. Then comes the challenge of making the most of that time.
I don’t always have a firm plan in place for reading and meditating on God’s Word, and those times usually don’t turn out great for me. Honestly, sometimes it can feel like reading for reading’s sake. However, the past few weeks I have found my morning reading time to be one of worship and reflection, and God has used a specific tool to bring that about—the digital guide.
The digital guide has been a faithful companion, pointing me toward the knowledge of the triune God. Instead of just hearing a sermon over a passage of Scripture, I’ve had the chance to read and reflect on my own, meditate and worship through song, think through questions over what I’m learning and read further on historical or theological issues that the text may have raised.
What I love about using the digital guide is how it amplifies what I am already learning from the sermon series. Rather than using my morning time to read something unrelated, I use it to layer my understanding of and exposure to the lessons our church is learning corporately from the current series. The digital guide has been crafted with this end in mind, offering four key areas of reinforcement: the Word, music, questions and resources.
Each week the digital guide provides a link to the passage that will be covered in a given sermon. It’s exciting to know that each week I’m reading the same text as other brothers and sisters in Christ at The Village. There’s a sense of anticipation knowing that I will meditate on these words during the week and then hear them taught with a gathering of other Christians on the weekend. I hear the sermon differently when I’ve spent time living in the text it is based on beforehand. I’m able to draw more from the teaching than I otherwise could.
The digital guide lists the songs each campus will be singing during the upcoming weekend. Listening to these songs strengthens my heart with truth and prepares me for the gathering of the saints. When people know the words, rhythms and melodies of songs, it gives them confidence and freedom to sing with joy. There is nothing quite like hearing a room full of saints worshiping the Lord in song together. The digital guide not only helps us prepare and enjoy the weekend services; it also helps build up the body.
There’s also playlists of songs that match the themes and tones of the sermon series. These playlists have a cinematic feel and add a sense of growth and movement that can amplify the words on the page. This part may not be for everyone, but I encourage you to give it a try.
The digital guide gives groups questions to help them dig deeper into God's Word together. The questions push me to think beyond what the sermon covered, asking me to apply truth to my life. Though not necessarily for everyone and every group, I’ve found these questions helpful to consider as I reflect on the reading for a given week.
Even with a pastor who preaches for 50 minutes each week, some topics can’t be covered during the sermon time. The resources linked in the guide help me explore specific topics that fall outside the scope of the sermon but are still useful to know. There is also a recap from Matt regarding the previous week and a preview of the upcoming sermon.
Maybe this all seems like too much, especially if you are new to studying the Bible. Here's a suggested starting point: Just pick one element to try this week.
Listen to the songs that will be played at your campus this week. Put on the playlist and read the Scriptures listed for the current week. Give yourself some time to take in the words and imagine the events or people they describe.
Or use the guide as a means for remembering the ground we have already covered in the series. Reinforce what you have learned by referencing the guide as a “file cabinet” for our church’s shared experience of the sermon series.
Take some time to explore how you can benefit from using the digital guide during your week. I pray that, as I have, you’ll find it to be a doorway to deeper worship, community and study.