We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 


Extra Strength for: Q&A with The Two Michaels, Dr. Michael Rydelnik and Dr. Michael Vanlaningham

by Ivan Soto 

The Bible

The inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. No other book is it’s equal. No other book has stood the test of time. The very revelation of God’s purpose and plan for all humanity, and above all, the very revelation of His Son (John 5:39).

This past Sunday we had the special privilege to have “The Two Michaels,” Dr. Michael Rydelnik and Dr. Michael Vanlaningham with us. What an amazing time it was to have these very well educated, equipped, men of God share with us what God has shown them through their many years of study, and we were all granted with the great opportunity to “Ask It.” They tackled all sorts of topics from the authenticity of Scripture, the crisis in the Middle East, the sovereignty of God and His goodness, our security in salvation, all the way to the glorious doctrine of the trinity.

Of all the things discussed on Sunday, nothing stood out to me more than Dr. Rydelnik’s response to the question: “what is the best way to study and unlock the mysteries of the Bible?” As he held up the Bible in his hand and with a short pause he replied, “Read it”. So many times we wonder about some of the deeper teachings of the Bible, or we witness men like “The Two Michaels” share their great knowledge of the Bible and we wonder if we can ever begin to learn what the Bible teaches. The answer is yes. All it takes is for us to “read it”.

Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, and all it takes for us to gain knowledge about Him and His statues is for us to be intentional about reading it; the Holy Spirit empowers understanding, revelation and conviction and is faithful to this job.

Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth”. In those days a land owner would go to the market place, which was the gathering place for day laborers. A man who wanted work would go there first thing in the morning with his tools and wait for someone to hire him. The land owner would choose his day laborer and if he found the man worthy, they would agree to a price and the land owner would send him to work (See parable of the workers in Matthew 20). In essence what Paul is encouraging us to do in this verse is to study, so that we can show ourselves before God as approved workers, unashamed and fit to take His Word and proclaim it with boldness and proper care to those we encounter in our everyday lives. Many times we are afraid or hesitant to speak about God because we haven’t taken the time to study about Him. This verse assures us that the more time we take to “read it”, the more boldly we can proclaim its truths as we “rightly handle the Word of truth” proving to be approved workers for God.

So, is knowing enough? Does reading and gaining knowledge produce everything we need for Christian maturity? Absolutely not. 1 Corinthians 8:1 reminds us that knowledge “puffs up, but love builds up.” All the knowledge in the world is meaningless unless it causes us to take the knowledge that we have gained and act upon it with love. Knowledge is great for equipping us and preparing us to know what God’s plan is for us, but if there is anything that we have learned last fall was that “Love Does.” In speaking about the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, at the end of that chapter Paul tells us to “desire the gifts of the Spirit”, but that he will still “show us a more excellent way” (vs 31). Then he breaks into 1 Corinthians 13, the famous chapter of love.

So, as we grab our Bibles this week, let us make sure that we take the time to “read it,” and as we allow its words to penetrate our hearts and minds, may the Spirit cause us to act upon what the Word says. Perhaps the best way to put it is the way James 1:22 does: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”.

Ivan Soto is the husband of Milly and the father of two beautiful daughters, Emily (6), and Kaylee (3) Soto. He currently works full time at Health Care Services Corp in the IT department. In the past, Ivan has served as Worship Director and Elder at his former Church and currently holds Bible studies in his home at River Grove every Thursday. When he is not at work or serving in ministry, Ivan enjoys studying the Word of God, Church history and spending time with his loving family.

Be Challenged:

  • Before you read your Bible, ask the Spirit to increase your understanding and convict you to put into practice what you’ve read.

2 thoughts on “Extra Strength: Do the Word (Ivan)

  1. Ivan, I absolutely loved your post! Such a great encouragement! I too left Sunday’s service with the conviction that we must continually be students of the Word. I especially how you hit both sides of the coin when it comes to knowing and obeying scripture. It’s not just enough to learn facts, but we need to put it into action in love for God and others. I’m so glad you’re a part of our church family! I’d love to keep reading more posts from you Ivan. Blessings, Bryan

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