You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, March 9, 2014 {Listen to the message HERE!}

By Hyacynth Worth

My husband and I are in the midst of undergoing a home study as part of the process for adopting a teen girl from overseas with whom we hosted in our home this past winter. A home study, if you are unfamiliar, is a thick document that’s created after a social worker essentially studies your life and digs in to find the most basic as well as the most intimate details of your home, your family.

One of the essential parts of the home study requires both parents to fill out an autobiography questionnaire, which includes myriad personal, detail-seeking questions that span about 22 pages. Each.

“The more you write down, the better,” our social worker said. “We’re trying to get a good understanding of your life and your family. We can’t do that with one sentence answers.”

We nodded, noting that in this case more information was better than less.

“The more we know about you, the easier it will be to understand who you are.”

John and I spent a good two weeks answering questions about our lives with intimate details, trying to help create as accurate a picture of our lives as possible.

We sent our autobiographies off to the social worker this week, and now we await the next part — an in-person visit in our home.

Because it’s not just enough to tell her about who we are — she needs to visit, too, spend time here exploring who we are, developing a context, if she’s going to be able to write a home study that accurately reflects our family and lives.

Is it easy work? No. Is is short and simple? Not in the loosest definition of either word. But it’s work that’s necessary to understand the whole story.

And so it goes with God’s Word.

It’s tempting, isn’t it, to pick up a devotional or read a verse a day from an app on our smart phones and call it Bible study. Often enough, we ingest these verses, quickly trying to digest them and discern God’s voice or find an answer to our prayers.

The daily nibbles method of Bible reading, pulling here and there for random verses to fit specific events in our lives, is dangerous because it leaves us with barely a glimpse of God’s bigger-picture story. It leaves us knowing only fragmented parts of God’s character rather than grasping Him in fuller way. And it often leaves us scrambling to making sense of verses on our own without the overarching truths that context offers.

“Every verse in the Bible has a central meaning. It’s our job to dig in and understand the true meaning. Any passage might have lots of application, but it only has one interpretation.” – Pastor Joe Boerman

And all of this is no more effective than John and I handing our social worker a paragraph summary of, say, our days and expecting her to accurately and effectively communicate who we are to people who are trying to understand us.

Context requires paying attention to the details and asking questions that matter — the who, what, when, where and whys give a bigger-picture understanding of our lives just as asking those same questions while reading Bible passages leave us with a greater, fuller, better understanding of God and His grand story.

Is it time-consuming? Yes.

But is knowing the full story worth it?

{I think I agree with our governing state when I say} yes, indeed; the time spent gathering context for the full story is worth the time.

Last island hurrah for the year. Say it ain't so.

Hyacynth Worth is grateful daughter to the Perfect Father, wife to John and mother to two little boys and three souls she will one day meet in Heaven. In between mothering and coordinating online communication for Immanuel, she writes about grace, motherhood and living a healthy lifestyle at Undercover Mother.

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