Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Use the H.E.A.R. Journaling Method for Spiritual Growth

I’m really excited to start a Monday through Friday devotional study through Numbers and Deuteronomy starting Monday, November 25th! Subscribe on my blog or like my facebook page and join me studying select passages through these two very practical books.

As I talked about in yesterday’s post, there are many incredible benefits to being in God’s Word using journaling as a method.

Today I want to tell you about a new journaling format for studying God’s Word called the H.E.A.R. Journaling Method. I’ve really enjoyed it. There are 5 components to this method that make it a great way to stay in God’s Word consistently in a way that helps you grow spiritually.

Component #1- You need a plan.

To stay in God’s Word daily you need a reading plan. There are many ways to systematically read through God’s Word.

  • Some people like to read through the Bible in a year. My church puts a reading plan like this in the bulletin each week.
  • Some people like to read a book at a time. On this blog I will be going verse by verse through the text I’ll be teaching each Sunday in our groups. We are on a 9 year plan to study through every book of the Bible.
  • Some people like to read through a topical plan. You can find reading plans that take you to passages that deal with specific topics you are interested in. I take people I’m discipling in groups through a 16 week plan to learn the fundamentals of the Christian life.

Component #2- Highlight.

The H.E.A.R. Journaling method is formatted based on this acronym. The H stands for highlight. This is where you’ll write out specific verses that you’ve read. Before you read pray and ask for God to speak to you through His Word. As you read through the text pay attention to what you’re reading. After you read decide on a verse or verses that you’ll want to include in your journal. You’ll highlight this verse in your journal by writing it out.

Component #3- Explain.

E stands for explain. Once you’ve chosen the verse to highlight and written in out, you’ll explain this verse in your own words. You definitely want to seek to understand the text in its context. Here are some questions to help you think through it:

  • Who is the original author and audience? What did the author mean by writing this? How would the original audience have understood what was written?
  • What are the key words in the scripture I highlighted?
  • How do the verses that come before and after affect the meaning of the text?

Component #4- Apply.

A stands for apply. Now that you have explained what the verses mean, you’ll want to think about how they apply. Here are some prompting questions to help you think of the application to your life.

  • What is true for me because of the meaning of the text?
  • What should the reader of this text do in response to this verse?
  • How does this apply to my life?

Component #5- Respond.

Now that you’ve read the scripture, highlighted it in your journal, explained it in its context, and thought through how it applies, it’s time to respond in your own life. What are you going to do today in response to what you’ve read, understood and applied? It’s time to be obedient to what God is teaching you through His Word. Give yourself homework, and put God’s Word to action.

One of the things I love about this method is that it expands with the experience and spiritual maturity with the person that is doing it. With the right reading plan a person who has known the Lord for a long time, and the person who is new in their relationship with Christ can both read and get something out of it.

The point is to read, understand, and ultimately to obey. God’s Word brings life as we are obedient to what it says.

What method have you used to get into God’s Word consistently? What has worked for you?

4 Benefits to Journaling God’s Word Daily

If you’re like me you have had seasons of your life where you’ve not been as consistent in your devotional life as you should be. The Bible is so powerful, and we need His wisdom and guidance every day. Yet, for much of my life I have not had a daily habit of Bible study.

I’ve recently been using a journaling method to help me stay more consistently in the word of God.  God has used it in a substantial way. I’ve started and stopped with journaling several times in the past, but after finding the H.E.A.R. Journal method and tying that to my daily routine that has changed. I have found that it has brought me several benefits, and I believe it can do the same thing for you. Here are four of the many benefits I have found to journaling.

Journaling makes your quiet time more substantial. It’s good to read God’s Word, but by journaling about what you’ve read you go from just reading to studying. You ask and answer questions about the text. You meditating on the meaning of the text and how it applies. You are more likely to actually do something about what you’ve read when you have written down what you ought to do. I’ve found I’m also more consistent because I can hold myself accountable for how often I’m studying because I can see the dated entry in my journal.

Journaling helps you to be closer to the Lord. Because I’m spending more time and getting more out of God’s Word each day, it has impacted my prayer life. Bible reading and prayer go hand in hand for the child of God. More Word in my life means more life change, which means more consistency in reading and applying, which means more prayer, and a better relationship with God.

Journaling helps you to lead others in discipleship. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations in the great commission. He said that we should teach those are reached “to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.” Discipling people apart from the Word of God is impossible. As you are consistently in God’s Word you are able to teach others to do the same, and you can hold them accountable for doing it. It’s hard to get people to do something that you are not doing. When they get into God’s Word consistently they will grow!

Journaling helps me be a better teacher and writer. I don’t claim to be the best teacher or writer. I have found that writing things out every day, and meditating on God’s Word using pen and ink has helped me to grow in my ability to organize my thoughts and communicate. I’m not great, but I’m getting better.

There are certainly other benefits that I’ve found to journaling God’s Word every day. Do you journal? What benefits have you found?

3 Crucial Elements for Igniting Passion in Your Ministry

I’d like to tell you a story.  Here is a 3 minute read.

We had just moved into our first house as a married couple.  We had just started our first job in ministry, and it was our first time having friends over for dinner. I was excited to grill out for everyone and so I went out and got a charcoal grill to cook on for the meal.

I had never really grilled up until this point, and so I thought it would be easy light the fire.  In my mind I thought I would throw a match on the charcoal and it would just light up easily.

I remember trying to light the charcoal for the grill and having the hardest time getting it to ignite.  It would just not light up.  I ended up using lighter fluid and a hair dryer to get the flame going and we had dinner later than I wanted.  Also, I ruined my wife’s hair dryer. (Sorry again, Megan.)

After some effort and time the fire was ignited, but we ate later than expected.  Starting a fire was more difficult than I thought it was going to be.

Sometimes in ministry I’ve felt the same thing in trying to lead people.  Fire is such a great metaphor for passion, energy, and momentum.  We try and try to stoke the fires of passion around evangelism and ministry and often it seems like there is so much that keeps the flame from igniting in the hearts of our people.

But there have been times in ministry where I have seen God light a fire in someones heart.  When he does the results are amazing.

Passion is needed because apathy is so typical.  For our churches to be effective, we need a passion for the lost that is a burning flame.

But how can we influence people to be passionate about evangelism and ministry? 

I want to suggest three elements that are crucial to igniting a passion in your ministry.

Passion is ignited by personal conviction.

Do you have a conviction about your own personal evangelistic ministry?    Do you understand the example you are for good or bad in terms of personal evangelism?  Do you own the stewardship God has given to you of leading your class to reach people?

To be effective in evangelism as a leader you must have a conviction that the lost must be reached and that you must be personally involved in reaching them.

Passion is ignited by personal prayer.

Personal evangelism and disciple making are spiritual endeavors.  Reaching, teaching, and ministering are the categories of great commission ministry that the Holy Spirit does through us.

Nothing of any eternal consequence has ever been done without prayer.If we as leaders are not on our knees pleading to God that our class catch a vision for evangelism then it is unlikely to happen.

Passion is ignited by personal example.

Example is most effective if it is seen.  We must do good.  We must be seen doing good.

This means we must manage the tension between a desire to influence others with a right example and the desire to be seen of men to be admired.  Providing an example is critical.  Being prideful can destroy the spiritual work God wants to do.  We need the Holy Spirit to guide us through this effectively.

This past Wednesday my friend Tristyn Dibell was able to lead a lady named Kathy to Christ.  Her kids came to camp.  Trent and Tristyn have been intentionally following up on her and her kids.  They showed love to Kathy and shared the gospel with her and she received Christ!  Isn’t that amazing?

Here is the bottom line:  We can not expect people to be more passionate and involved than we are.  Passionless leaders who go through the motions don’t inspire passion in their followers.

Go participate.  Get a story.  Use the story to inspire others.

Examine your convictions.  Pray for yourself and your people.  Exemplify great commission ministry to those who follow you.

5 Excuses for Not Answering God’s Call (Session 1 – Exodus 3:4-14; 4:13-16)

God could have rescued the Israelites from Egypt without Moses’ help. But He chose to do it through Moses. Appearing to Moses at the burning bush, the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my p…

Source: 5 Excuses for Not Answering God’s Call (Session 1 – Exodus 3:4-14; 4:13-16)