Life is a journey. We begin in one place at one time, and steadily move onward. Its not a question of if we are progressing, but toward what or whom are we progressing? The decisions we make shape the journey, and a key decision is the direction in which we choose to move. This is a description of discipleship that is gaining traction in our day. Discipleship is a direction, not a destination. It is seeking to move a little closer to Christ every day. In our attitude, actions, beliefs, ethics, relationships, in every facet our lives we should be striving toward honoring God.
Discipleship is a direction, not a destination. It is the journey with Christ.
Given that the sin in our lives causes us to tend to drift away from God, we must realize that we will never accidentally grow closer to Him. We must intentionally accept His invitation to journey through life with us. How do we draw closer to God? How do we move in a Christ-ward direction in every facet of our lives? How do we navigate the rapidly changing ethics and morality of our culture? The only tried and true method is to follow a guide, a Shepherd, who knows the way.
One of the keys in this movement is understanding God, an impossible task if not for one invaluable tool: the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God. In its pages, God has revealed Himself in a timeless way. No matter what language, culture, or era we find ourselves living in, God’s Word is still applicable because it reveals an unchanging and eternal God. It gives us both His ways and His works to help us on the journey. It is the map that points the way to both home and hope. If this is true, and it is, then every page and word demands exploration.
As a pastor who loves God’s Word and tries to encourage others to prioritize it in their own lives, I’ve had many discussions with people about why they don’t explore His Word. What I’ve concluded is that the very attributes of Scripture that make it so important to us are often the same aspects that seem so difficult. The depth of this living Word that enables its truths to transcend time, language, and culture can seem like imposing and incomprehensible obstacles instead of the landmarks that clearly mark the way on a map.
Over the past several years, I've become convinced that people genuinely want to know and experience God. In spite of that desire, many are overwhelmed when it comes to daily navigating His Word. We live in a culture that is post-Christian and biblically illiterate. For many, just telling them to read the Bible would be like asking me to read engineering schematics in French. Sure, there are some great tools that could help, but even these often ask too much of well-intentioned believers trying to start or renew their Christ-ward journey.
So, how do we begin this Christ-ward journey through reading and applying His Word? Answering this question is at the heart of the FOCUS Method. I want to help you discover how to read the map, set the course, and start the journey. It isn’t so much about arriving as much as it is about understanding the steps needed for today, this very moment. As you explore the FOCUS Method, recognize that it is only a system to help you get more out of your time in God’s Word. It can help you gain more for listening to a sermon, see more clearly in small group, and interact more powerfully every time you read the Scriptures. It is not the journey or the map, but hopefully it will be a key that unlocks the map so that you can take the next step.