How to do PBJ

January 27, 2013
Pastor Michael Hockett

 Word!

How to Do PBJ

Opening (Please take a seat.)

Good day! I have a story to tell, so go ahead and take your seats. Have you noticed that it’s a pretty instinctive thing to pray when a crisis pops up in your life? It’s the old military adage that there are no atheists in fox holes.

The first memorable crisis I had that drove me to instinctively pray was when I was a kid in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cheyenne was in tornado country. We had tornadoes so often that my dad and I would sometimes go up on the roof to watch them form and touch down. We lived across the street from a golf course, so it was a great view! We knew when to go up there because in country like that, tornado warnings go off on radios and TVs and electronic alert devices in the home and around town.

One summer while I was swimming with a friend at his neighborhood pool, the tornado warnings started blaring. For some reason we decided that instead of riding our bikes to his home and the safety of his basement a couple blocks away, we’d ride to my house a couple miles away in a whole different neighborhood! My general brilliance was evident even at an early age.

As we rode to my house, these heavy, dark clouds rolled in and started to swirl very low in the sky. And as we topped the hill that then sloped down to my street, we saw a funnel cloud form, touch down on the golf course in the distance and headstraight for my street. It was spitting out dirt and debris everywhere, and we could feel the rumble of the air and earth as the monster came roaring right towards us. It was a serious Wizard of Oz moment.

My friend and I grew up in a strict Southern Baptist church and households, so we knew not to use the Lord’s name in vein. And we didn’t.But I can tell you what both our heartfelt prayers were at that moment: “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” That’s all we could get out. My mom saw us, and I could see prayers on her lips as well.

She shewed us into the front door and down into the basement. We thought the house would be flattened, but the tornado bounced right over us, as tornados often do as they touch down and lift off. Even though it didn’t hit us, the noise it made was unbelievableThe winds were roaring, and all the vents in the house were making an insane clickety-clack racket. It sounded just like a gigantic locomotive was racing along tracks across our roof!

You’ll never guess where that tornado touched down again…. Right in my friend’s neighborhood! The houses across the street from his were all flattened. And his had a two-by-four sticking out of the roof and the windows were blown out. I don’t know if God directed us or we were just stupid, but by going a couple of miles instead of a couple of blocksall things did work for the good of those who love God on that day!

So like I said, it’s common to pray in a crisis. And God answers those prayers! But it’s not common to develop and sustain a genuine relationship with God only through the random crisis episodes of our lives.

A genuine relationship with anyone is not just about going to them when you have a desperate need for something. That’s like a teenager going to mom and dad only when they need gas money.

A relationship is about being with someone because you like their company, their presence. You value what’s happening in their life as well as your own. You want them to speak into your life because they give you insights that make your life better and more joyful. And they help you discover and understand who you really are.

That’s the kind of relationship God wants to have with you. He doesn’t want to just be your personal 911 dispatcher. He wants you to develop a genuine, daily relationship with Him. God came to us as a man, Jesus Christ, to fulfill both these purposes. Jesus came as our Savior and our friend, as He says in John 15:15Jesus came so the human race could experience that kind of relationship with God firsthand to see how it works.

And now through the Holy Spirit, each of us can not only access the salvation Jesus offers, but also engage in the friendship He wants.

But as with any relationship, we have to make ourselves available. We have to include God in our daily lives. As Christians, one important way we do that is through prayer, Bible study, and journalingwhat we like to call PBJ here at Life Center.

So PBJ is the very practical idea we’re going to focus on today. Let’s begin where PBJ begins, in prayer. Let’s pray.

Prayer

Lord, help us to seek you always, every day, and not reduce you to a mere cosmic 911 line. You have so much more in store for us if we will only make room for you in our lives. Help us explore how to make time for you in our daily lives and then actually do it, starting this very week. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Greeting

What’s an experience you’ve had that made you instinctively cry out to God?

Message/Offering

If you brought a tithe or an offering, you can prepare that now as the ushers come. Today we’re continuing on with our series about learning, loving and living God’s Word, the Bible, as followers of Jesus. So far in the series we’ve looked at why we need to read the Bible and how to think about what we’re reading more deeply.

For this talk we’re going to focus on the nuts and bolts of having a daily devotional time that’s centered on God’s Word through a practice of prayer, Bible study, and journaling. We affectionately call this devotional practice PBJThink of it as a child’s regular staple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! As children of God, we like our PBJ!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the service, in John 15:15, Jesus, God the Son, invites us into a friendship with Himself. What both starts and sustains a relationship is the time we spend together. No time, no relationship. So our beginning point for PBJ starts right there, which is the first point on your outline:

1. Make a standing time and place to be with God.

What’s the number one reason we don’t spend focused, dedicated time with God each day? Hands down, we’re too busy.

If you want to know God, you have to set aside a time and place to be with Him. Even Jesus recognized His need for carving out focused time with His Father. What the Gospels tell us is that as Jesus’ preached and healed, He got wildly popular —as we can well imagine! So people began filling up His whole day. Let’s look at what He does in response to that urgent need:

Luke 5:15-16
15 … the news about him spread …, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Let’s make Luke 15:16 our memory verse this week; repeat it with me.)

When Jesus’ days started filling up with activity, He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” He withdrew despite the fact that the people’s needs were important and urgent.

Jesus didn’t just assume that what He was already doing was too important to make time meet with God the Father. He didn’t assume that healing people trumped time with God. He didn’t assume catching a game on ESPN trumped time with God. He assumed all His reason for living flowed from the Father. Here’s how Jesus describes it:

John 5:19
Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

Jesus sees that if there’s no time for a relationship with God, there’s no genuine and powerful life in and for the Kingdom of God. Why would we—who have no divine power of our own—presume anything less for ourselves? So what can we do to carve out some time for God? 

Let’s start with timing:
Jesus was intentional about making regular time to spend with God the Father. The Gospel of Mark gives us some detail about how Jesus made this happen:

Mark 1:35-37
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

There are a couple of things I want us to see here: First, Jesus didn’t leave to chance when He would meet with His Father. He didn’t think, Well, if the time comes up, I’ll take it. He knew better. He intentionally chose to wake up before the crowds could get to Him, before even His own disciples could get to Him, to meet with God!

ILL: I can relate to Jesus on this one in my own humble way. I wake up before Leslie and the kids to meet with God in PBJ. I don’t actually leave my bed right away, because I’ve found that if I start creaking around the house, the kids wake up, and then the game is over! So I just lie there and use either the backlit Bible on my iPhone or a regular print Bible with a book light.

In fact, I started to use a devotional practice we see first in the Old Testament. Moses is giving a speech to the Israelites as they’re preparing to enter the Promised Land, and he says something interesting to them in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 about the earliest Scriptures that we now have in the Bible. He says to them,

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

He’s basically saying, “From the time you get up to the time you go to bed, let God’s Word be part of your conversations and what you’re doing.”

If you use Life Center’s daily Bible reading plan, you know it’s generally three to four chapters a day. I don’t know about you, but that takes me some time to get through! So following Moses’ lead, I read a couple of chapters in bed at night, and then I read a couple of chapters in the morning. 

Then during that morning time with God, once I’ve read and once the furnace has kicked on and is warming the house and making some white noise— I creep quietly to the dining room to write and pray in my journal.

Usually just around the time I finish my conversation with God on paper, the kids are starting to wander out, and they then get at least two benefits: 1) a dad who’s modeling a daily relationship with God, 2) a dad who’s had an attitude adjustment with God and gotten past at least some of his morning grumpiness!

I wish I were a lot more like Jesus. But like Jesus, I do make intentional time to be with God each day. If you haven’t already made such a time or times, you need to as well if you’re going to have a true friendship with God.

Your best time may not be in the morning. It could be that you’re so grumpy in the morning, not even God wants to be with you then. Maybe a break time or lunch time would work best for you. Maybe in the evening after the kids have gone to bed or you’re relaxed after the day’s work would be best.

To each his own. I’m confident God likes company all day round! Just pick a time, or times, and make it happen.

So what about the place?
As you can tell from Jesus’ example of slipping away, one key thing about the place is that it leaves you uninterrupted. I’d also recommend picking a place that makes you comfortable. Bed works great for me! And I also like my dining room table because there’s a heat vent that blows a nice stream of warm air right over me. It’s not quite the breath of the Holy Spirit, but it sure sets the stage for feeling His warm presence! Joe likes his hot tub, so I hope God likes total hedonists.

When we meet with friends to enjoy conversation, we meet with them in comfortable places in our homes or in coffee shops or other places that set a relaxing, inviting environment. Where is that place going to be for you and God on a daily basis? So here’s what I want you to do right now:

Action
Write down on your outline the time and place you’re going to start meeting with God on a daily basis, starting today or tomorrow.

For those of you who already have a time and place, pat yourselves on the back! But also think about how optimal those are. Now that you’ve been thinking about them a little, is it possible another time or place would work better?

Okay, I’ll give you about 17 seconds to make a date and write it down… Doesn’t it make you feel important to have just scheduled a meeting with God? Think how you’d feel if you’d just scheduled an appointment with the governor or the president…. You just scheduled a time with the God of the universe….

Trans: So you’ve just set your date, and today or tomorrow you’re going to suddenly find yourself “stuck” with God. If you’re new to this, it can almost be like going on a blind date. You’re probably asking yourself the question that’s in the second point on the outline: 

2. So what are we going to do?
… the “we” there being you and God.

I can tell you this: as with any relationship, if you don’t say or do something, in most cases the loooong pregnant silence is going to get awkward. Thankfully, God has written you that big, long, juicy letter we call the Bible. And He’s actually going to sit there and read it with you. And He’s going talk with you about it if you’ll let Him.

The first thing I recommend doing is preparing the place. 

a. Prepare the Place
Set out the following things:

a. Prepare the Place [Bible]

  • Your Bible—use one that you don’t mind marking in.

a. Prepare the Place [Pen]

  • Your Bible

  • A pen—get one that won’t smear or blot in your Bible

a. Prepare the Place [Journal]

  • Your Bible

  • A pen

  • Your journal—we’ll talk more about what to journal in a little while

a. Prepare the Place [Coffee]

  • Your Bible

  • A pen

  • Your journal

  • Something to eat and drink—whatever you’d have with a friend,

have with God. Did you notice the graphic we’re using for this series? That coffee cup in the place of the O is no accident! Having something to drink or eat while conversing is deeply human. Why do you think the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was originally wrapped around a meal with bread and wine, which were the common foodstuffs of the day? Get some coffee or tea and help break down your own barriers and defenses as you meet with God.

Some people like to have a symbol of Jesus’ presence with them. If you’d like, you could set out another cup of coffee for Jesus. (As a side note, if God ever drinks the coffee you offer Him, please let Heidi at the Common Cup know about it. She’d like to find out what you’re serving.)

a. Prepare the Place [Checklist]

  • Your Bible

  • A pen

  • Your journal

  • Something to eat and drink

  • A checklist or note paper—not everyone needs this,

but if you’re type A and you get distracted by tasks that pop into your head while you’re reading or praying, just write them down, and then you don’t have to keep worrying that you’re going to forget about them!

Once you’ve written them down, either let them go, or if they’re really occupying your attention, talk with God about them. After all, He’s right there, He’s your friend, and He’s interested!

Trans: So the first thing to do is set up your meeting place. The second thing I recommend doing is letter b on your outline:

b. Follow a Reading Plan

You have a lot of options here:

  • The standard Life Center reading plan takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice a year. We’ve had it attached to our bulletins the last few weeks, we have it at the Info Center on book marks, and it’s embedded in the journal that’s available at the Info Center. You can also get to it on our website.It takes your through 3-4 chapters a day and takes about 20-25 minutes.

  • We also have a shorter 5-minute reading plan available on our website. It follows the same books and chapters day by day, so it keeps you in the conversation with others, but it gives you selections from them each day. It’s the Reader’s Digest version!

  • I know people who choose to just do the Old Testament portions one year and the New Testament portions the next and alternate them. Their idea isn’t to skimp on time, but to spend more time in the passages and go deeper in prayer, thought and study.

  • You can also try other plans or methods that you find suit you better. For years I used a three-bookmark plan: one marker starting in Genesis, one in Job, and one in Matthew. Then I’d just read three chapters a day, and that would take me through the law and history, the wisdom books and prophets, and the New Testament every day across the year.

I ended up switching to the Life Center plan for two reasons:

1) Many others are on the Bible reading plan, so it’s fun talking with them.

2) The Life Center plan goes through the New Testament twicewhich is nice. The New Testament gives us our fullest knowledge of the Old Testament Messiah, the Christ, in the person of Jesus Christ. And we know God best and get to know God best through Jesus. 

If you miss a day here or there on your reading plan, don’t let it derail you! Joe likes to say that if you miss a meal it two because you get busy, you don’t just throw up your hands and say, “That’s it. I’m giving up even trying to eat!” If you miss a meal, what do you do? You just eat the next meal!

Just do the same thing with your reading plan. If your plan has specific dates, like the Life Center plan does, just pick up on the day everyone else is on so you can keep being part of the conversational community.

The Bible is highly redundant on purpose. God knows His creatures learn through redundancy. So you’ll eventually pick up what He wants you to know whether you’ve missed some days here or there or not. If you get curious about what you missed, just go back to it when you get some free time.

If your reading plan isn’t linked to a calendar, like the three-bookmark plan, just start diving in again wherever you left off. The key is not to give up. The goal isn’t to maintain a perfect record. The goal is to develop a daily relationship with God.

So if you miss a day or two … or thirty, don’t just slink away. Come back and re-engage, and keep on engaging until it’s like any other habit you build: it’s pleasurable to do and distressing to miss.

Trans: God—the Creator of the Universe, the Pioneer and Perfecter of your faith [Heb. 12:2]—has told us in person that He wants to be your friend if you’ll simply spend time with Him and get to know Him. Given that proper perspective, the third thing I recommend in letter c is to

c. Enter each time with a prayer of expectation
Relationships take work, they take effort on our part. So there’s a part of us that resists starting and maintaining them. And that’s not even to mention the darker spiritual forces in this world that want to keep us apart from God. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 that “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

(To get a fascinating imaginative view into that world, I recommend reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis sometime.)

We don’t always know exactly what drives our resistance to meeting with God, but what we do know is that the resistance is there. Don’t try to employ just raw, cold willpower to overcome it. You might be successful in getting the task of PBJ done, but your time will lack the relational spark that will make you look forward to your next get-together.

ILL: I have a men’s Life Group that meets at o’dark-thirty each week. I’ve already indicated that I’m not a morning person. Yet I’ve been a faithful member of this group for 6 or 7 years now!

Most nights before group I start feeling a resistance to having to get up, and this little voice in my head says, Why do you keep doing this? Just quit. Sleep in! No one’s even going to notice you’re gone. (You should know, by the way, that I lead the group.) 

Given this weekly internal resistance, why do I still go? I really enjoy these guys and the conversations we have about the Bible! My expectation for experiencing a great time with them overrides my longing to skip it and do something else, like sleep in!

With your daily devotions, think about what it is you’re doing: You’re meeting with the God of the universe. Do you think He might just have something there for you to make it worth your while? We skip time with God because our expectations are so out of whack with the reality of what’s possible when we encounter the living God.

So when you sit down to begin your PBJ time, come in with high expectations. I recommend starting with a short prayer along the following lines:

Lord, I never cease to be amazed that you want to spend time with me. I’m thrilled to be here, and I look forward to being with you, learning from you, and having You rub off on me. Thank you for this time!” 

We don’t say such a prayer for His sake, although I’m sure He appreciates it! We do that because it helps remind us that when we’re with God, He changes us. He forms us more and more into all He created us to be. We need to come to God with expectation. 

Trans: So how do you now go about having that expectation fulfilled?

d. Use SOAP

This isn’t so you’ll smell good for God. SOAP is a simple but powerful approach to reading the Bible. It will help you engage with whatever Scriptures you’re reading and hear something from God to take away. Here’s the down and dirty on how to use SOAP:

d. Use SOAP

Scripture: read the Bible.

After your short prayer of expectation, just jump right into whatever Scripture readings your Bible reading plan has laid out for you. As you read, use that pen you brought along to underline ideas that grab your attention.

While reading the Bible, look for [Keep up until “remove slide” below]

  • Lessons to be learned

  • Examples to be followed

  • Promises to be enjoyed

  • Jesus to be revealed (Foursquare Life Journal, 2013, pg. 16)

Pay attention to ideas that cause you to reflect on your own thoughts, attitudes or actions, particularly in relation to who God is and what He wants for you and the world.

Once you’ve done your readings and underlined some ideas that stuck out, ask God what one thing He’d like you to take away and mull over until the next time you meet. [Remove slide.]

This is where your journal comes into play. Take one thing that strikes you as being the most important to ponder for your life that day, and move to the “Observation” stage of your devotion.

d. Use SOAP

  • Scripture: read the Bible.

  • Observation: what does it mean?

Taking that one idea that really sticks out for you, think about what it probably meant for the original writer and audience. I highly recommend you use a study Bible, such as the NIV or NLT Study Bibles we have at the Info Center.

ILL: Joe’s Administrative Assistant, Penny Kafflen, told me just the other day about something in Jesus’ teaching that didn’t make much sense to her until just recently when she read some background in her study Bible footnote. Jesus talks about how if salt loses its saltiness, it’s no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled upon [Mt 5:13].

The type of salt we have today is fairly pure, so it doesn’t lose its essential saltiness. So metaphorically, that would mean Jesus is setting up a hypothetical that would presumably never happen. His choice of metaphor would be conveying the idea that Once we’re God’s people, we’ll always be God’s people doing God’s work in the world. Of course, that would be gross misinterpretation of what Jesus was conveying then and now.

During Jesus’ time, “salt” was a mixture of compounds from the Dead Sea, and it would indeed go stale and lose its saltiness. In a world without refrigeration, salt was a preservative as well as a seasoning. But once it lost its saltiness, it was simply tossed out on the streets.

With that understanding, we realize Jesus is telling us that even as believing people, we can get complacent about our relationship with God, and we can lose our vital connection with Him and our usefulness in expanding His kingdom. Instead of being a preservative in this world and adding savor to it through God’s power in our lives, we end up marginalized and good only for the world to trample.

If you think about why many people don’t like the church, a good part of it has to do with professed Christians being hypocrites. We’re not truly living out Jesus’ call to love God and love people. When we profess Christ, but live like … the rest of the world, we leave ourselves and the Lord’s good name in the position of being trampled.

1 John 4:16 tells us that “God is love.” It’s only by loving others through God’s power that they can then see His work through us and glorify Him. Only true saltiness will work.

Penny was able to travel down this line of thought because a simple, timely footnote in her study Bible gave her insight into how Jesus’ audience would have understood His meaning about salt losing its saltiness.

So taking the time to better understand the original context of the Scripture you’re interested in is important. Oftentimes that’s obvious just from the passage you’re reading—it provides its own background. For instance, Mark often explains Jewish customs and terms for the Roman audience he’s writing to. But sometimes the footnotes in a study Bible or a Commentary will become your best friend. Let your curiosity and your questions drive you to answers.

Once you’ve observed what’s happening in the text you’re reading, briefly jot those observations down so you’ll better remember them. Such notes will also prove handy to come back to when you run into related passages and you remember you had come across something important along those lines before.

When you write down your observations, don’t feel like you need to write a whole essay a class: you’re just making a little journal note to jog your memory. Take the saltiness issue again. Something along the following lines for the observation we made would work great:

Observation
It turns out that in Jesus’ time salt really could lose its saltiness! Those listening to Jesus would have understood that being “salt,” being “God’s people” as Jews, didn’t guarantee they’d be a preservative in the world and add savor to it. They needed to maintain a close relationship with God to do that.

Trans: Once you have your observations thought out and jotted down, you’re ready to apply that Scripture that caught your attention to your own life. That’s the next step in SOAP:

d. Use SOAP

  • Scripture: read the Bible.

  • Observation: what does it mean?

  • Application: what does it mean to me? 

This is not the time to journal a nice little generality or platitude:

Application

I need to be salt in the world.

Well, duh! …That’s some pretty bland salt if you ask me. It has all the power and potential of a titmouse. It’s going to change little if anything in your life.

Here’s the question to answer for your application: what’s the Holy Spirit telling you about your life? I can think of times when I was teaching in public schools and a public university when my application to this passage may have read something like this:

Application

My colleagues seem to be getting irritated with me and my faith. The truth is they’re irritated far more often than they are asking questions and having conversations with me that would indicate my life stirs some kind of interest in Jesus in them. What might Jesus be leading me to do or say today and throughout the week to show Bill and Mary, in particular, what His love is like? What would His “salt” look like in the way I relate with them? 

Remember that we’re having a conversation with God while we read and ponder and write, so asking questions as I’ve done above is fair play. In fact, I often write directly to Jesus in the application and simply recognize that I’m praying as I write.

Either way, expect that if you ask questions, and you then listen, the Holy Spirit is going to move your heart and bring ideas to your mind as you go about your day.

On the other hand, sometimes as you write your application, the Holy Spirit will say something very clear you can act on. If so, then write that down. Here’s what it might look like:

Application

Mary and Bill strike me as being all work and no play, and it seems to me that they’re lonely. (They’re certainly grumpy!) Lord, I sense you’d like me to invite them to lunch and just listen to them about their lives to get to know them better. You showed your love for people many times simply by being with them, by making time for them. I want to be like You.

Trans: Once you’ve made an application from reading Scripture and listening to a nudge, or perhaps a push, from the Holy Spirit, don’t assume your own good intentions and willpower are going to get you to act! The Christian life is a life empowered by Christ. Jesus is pretty pointblank about this issue in

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

That need for empowerment takes us to our final step in SOAP devotions:

d. Use SOAP

  • Scripture: read the Bible.

  • Observation: what does it mean?

  • Application: what does it mean to me?

  • Prayer: pray it back to God.

As I noted at the beginning of the service, left to our own devices, we often pray primarily for our perceived crises. We want God to intervene on our behalf for something we urgently want for ourselves or for others. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. Jesus Himself teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer to ask God for our daily needs.

But the way we pray in this SOAP method reminds us that we go to God primarily so He can work in our lives and make His image and purposes dwell in them. Our primary relationship with God shouldn’t be defined as Him being that Great Santa Claus in the sky who gives presents to all the good boys and girls. Jesus has invited us into friendship with Him so He can influence and mold our lives. He says the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21). How do you think that happens?

Earlier in the talk I mentioned picking up the novel The Screwtape Letters

by C.S. Lewis if you’d like to explore various ways Satan distracts us from staying close to God. Lewis himself is a genius and a well-loved Christian writer. Many of you are familiar with him and his Christian novels, books and essays.

What you may not know is that he married an American writer named Joy Gresham fairly late in his life. Regrettably, Joy was fairly quickly overtaken with an aggressive cancer, and he lost her.

There’s a movie titled Shadowlands in which Anthony Hopkins does a marvelous job of portraying Lewis’s courtship and marriage with Joy.

There’s a point after Joy’s first round of treatment when her cancer goes into remission, and it’s interesting how Lewis responds to his close friends who are encouraging him about answered prayer. Let’s check it out: Shadowlands clip.

Do you suspect Lewis prayed for Joy to be healed? He’s human, and he loved her deeply, so I imagine so! But regardless of the answer God gave, notice how Lewis himself views prayer: it’s not a way for him to get what he wants from God.

From Lewis’s perspective here, prayer—at all times, at its very core—is a conversation in which we’re allowing God to change us. That change doesn’t mean God erasing who we presently are, but God making us everything He created us to be.

Even when we’re facing desperate need, even when crisis beckons us to pray, we need to remember that we come to God not first and foremost for blessing, but to know the Blesser and to be transformed by Him. He often uses crises for just those purposes. In truth, He uses everything for those purposes!

So what might our prayer look like given the scenario I provided with my hypothetical colleagues Bill and Mary? I might pray and write something like this in my journal.

Prayer

Dear Lord, as I’ve already noted, my work relations haven’t been the best with Bill and Mary lately. And I don’t think they’ve been getting a good savor of what faith in You looks like from me! Help me to love them as You do. Give me inviting words and give them open hearts today as I try to set up a lunch date with them. Please make inroads for all of us to get to know each other—and You—better as I follow your lead. Amen.

Conclusion

The whole point of PBJ is to get you to this kind of prayer. It’s a prayer in which you’re letting God speak into your life every day through His Word, and you’re asking for His help in living out His purposes for you each day.

As Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer, we’re in essence praying, “May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and we’re paying attention to specific ways God wants to make that happen in our lives.

So as we do with PBJ, let’s close by asking for God to help us carry this desire.

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,

It’s a tremendous honor that you want to meet with us daily, that You describe your desired relationship with us as a friendship. Draw us to You, and help us to develop our daily relationship with You so that it becomes the true core of our lives now and into eternity. Amen.

Benediction

Your assignment this week is to do your daily PBJ! May God bless your time.

By | 2017-03-24T16:05:05+00:00 January 27th, 2013|Sermons, Word|Comments Off on How to do PBJ