Jumpstart the New Year

January is a time for New Year’s resolutions, and one of the most popular resolutions Christians will make is to spend more time with God this year. Here are a few ideas for jumpstarting your quiet time.

Change things up. Variety is the spice of life, and sometimes trying different ways to connect with God can make a big difference. Go for a walk while listening to an audio Bible or a sermon. If you’ve been in the habit of reading the Bible by itself, try switching gears to watching or listening to sermons or reading a book.

Watch a video series on RightNow Media. I’m not marketing for RNM! There are a variety of places online with video-based teaching you can access. However, I’m recommending RightNow Media because (1) I know their content is biblical and evangelical, and (2) if you’re part of the LakeView Church family, you can get access to RNM at no cost to you (and there’s a TON of great content on there for you, your kids, everyone!). If you don’t have access to RNM and would like to get it, just send Tara Wheeler (our LV Kids Director & Office Assistant) an email: tara@lakevc.org.

Read a devotional. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is my all-time favorite devotional book. I also like Through the Bible Through the Year by John Stott.

Try a self-guided Bible study. One of the best I’ve found is this series by NavPress. These are self-guided inductive Bible studies that help you dig deeper into God’s Word.

Use a good study Bible. I most often recommend the Life Application Study Bible. You can get it in several popular English translations, like the NIV, NLT, NKJV, and HCSB. My personal favorite study Bible is the NET Bible. It’s an excellent translation, and the footnotes are, quite simply, amazing in their scope and quality.

Read a commentary with your Bible. Commentaries are great for those wishing to go still deeper than self-guided study and the footnotes of a study Bible. They’re not usually considered light reading, but for those wanting to get geeky with God’s Word, they contain a wealth of knowledge and insight. One of my favorite devotional commentary series is the BE Series Commentary by Warren Wiersbe. Another commentary series I really like, although it’s a little more technical than the BE series, is The Bible Speaks Today series.

Read a Christian book. There are a lot of good books out there (and a lot of bad ones). I like books that are studies of the Bible, kind of like a sermon series in written form. The Meaning of Marriage, The Prodigal God, and Jesus the King all by Tim Keller are three of my favorites. There are also topically-oriented books, but finding good ones that go deeper than a mud puddle can be difficult. The Gospel Coalition has a recommended books page, and you can trust that they’re not going to recommend fluff. Over time you’ll find authors you know are good, like Francis Chan, Jennie Allen, David Platt, Dallas Willard, and Larry Osborne.

Another kind of book that often gets overlooked by people who aren’t pastors is the theological book. These aren’t necessarily “how-to” books on Christian living or in-depth biblical studies. Rather, they tackle theological topics and are often quite interesting. A few of my favorites include Reclaiming Surrendered Ground: Protecting Your Family from Spiritual Attacks by Jim Logan, Hearing God by Dallas Willard, and Kingdom Triangle by J. P. Moreland.

Of course, there are many more books and other ideas out there for revamping (or starting) your quiet time. My prayer for the week is that you’ll find a rhythm with God that works to bring you consistently closer to him this year.

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