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Summary: Sometimes we come to church hoping to be stirred up to some great compelling vision. We’re praying for God to speak in a way that transforms our perspective so that we can go boldly in His name to transform the world.

AFRICAN-AMERICANS MOST BIBLE ENGAGED IN THE US

The Bible tops coffee, sweets, and Social Media

African-Americans have higher levels of Bible engagement than the general U.S. population, which is demonstrated by their beliefs and practices, according to the latest State of the Bible survey by American Bible Society. For many African-Americans it is more important to start the day with the Bible than coffee, as 37 percent chose the Bible over coffee (17 percent), sweets (26 percent) and social media (20 percent). Of those considered Bible Centered, 60 percent use the Bible every day.

African-Americans with higher levels of Bible engagement are also more likely to desire even more interaction with the Bible (more than 90 percent of both Bible Centered and Bible Engaged2). And half of all African-Americans say they always feel more connected to God when they read the Bible, while 75 percent usually or always experience a curiosity to know God better when reading the Bible.

"African-Americans know that Bible engagement can impact all areas of their lives for the better," said Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society. "The Bible is the source of ultimate hope and joy. People who devote time in it can discover for themselves how the Word of God can help make sense of life."

African-Americans who use the Bible at least once a month were found to:

Feel more willing to engage with their faith (96 percent)Be more generous with time, energy or financial resources (94 percent)Show a more loving behavior toward others (98 percent) .

Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and take them to heart that, by the patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life. … through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Do you need a Word from the Lord?

Luke 5:1–3 ESV

1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

Sometimes we come to church hoping to be stirred up to some great compelling vision. We’re praying for God to speak in a way that transforms our perspective so that we can go boldly in His name to transform the world.

Other times, we come seeking wisdom or direction, asking God to “make a way out of no way.”

Other times, we just want to know that, as the old saying goes, “God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the World.”

As our text continues, there was a crowd of people for whom Jesus was no longer a curiosity or a celebrity. He had become, in their hearing, the source for God’s Word to them. They were hungry, and He was feeding them the Bread of Life; they were thirsty and He was giving them Living Water. His understanding of His mission and their understanding of His purpose were in complete sync, and they “were pressing in on Him to hear the Word of God.”

It’s a beautiful thing to see that happening. How many of you hear today get exciting every Monday evening? No, not just during football season, but every Monday evening? As a young Christian, I looked forward to Wednesday night Bible Study more than I looked forward to Sunday Morning worship because I felt that I would get a chance to dig deeply into God’s Word and experience the truth of the words that I heard from the wise old saints who quoted:

Proverbs 4:7 NKJV

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

I read an article last week that referred to the study done by the American Bible Society that I read to you earlier. One the one hand, it feels good to know that, as a people, we love God’s Word, Amen? At the same time, it pains me to see us living lives that seem to declare that God’s Word is of no effect as we struggle just to survive in what is still, after almost 400 years, a “strange land” where we are asked to sing the songs of Zion through our tears...

Psalm 137:1–4 ESV

1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?

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