31 October is Reformation Day. The first step to reforming our church is personal Reformation.
1. Schedule time with God in your diary. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. If something (or someone) is important then you need to schedule time in your diary. Just as you would not miss an appointment with anyone else, be sure to honour your appointment with God.
"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9
2. Switch off your cell phone in Church, during your devotions and in prayer meetings. No one is more important than God and nothing is more important than our relationship with Him.
"What does the Lord your God ask of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 10:12
3. Build the Bible into your daily routine. Until something is a daily habit it does not really control our lives.
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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." Deuteronomy 6:6-7
4. Make it a principle that the Bible comes before breakfast. Start your day with wisdom - read a chapter of Proverbs every morning. There are 31 chapters of Proverbs, so that would work out to one for every day of the month. Proverbs are an inexhaustible treasury of wisdom, insights and solutions for our daily problems and challenges.
"Oh, how I love Your Law! I meditate on it all day long." Psalm 119.97
5. Read a Psalm before every lunch. The Psalms are the prayer book of the Bible. If you want to revitalise your prayer life, start praying through the Psalms. There are 150 Psalms, so you can go through the whole book of Psalms every 5 months.
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16
6. Scripture before supper. We tend to be regular about meal times, so to ensure a balanced diet - feeding our minds and souls as well as our bodies - we should incorporate Bible reading into our meal times. Otherwise it could be missed.
"Man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." Deuteronomy 8:3
7. Read through the whole Bible in one year. If you read 4 chapters a day, then you will be able to complete the whole Bible in just one year. Work your way through every Book of the Bible.
"All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16
8. Tithe your day. Devote at least two and a half hours of every day to spiritual exercises - reading your Bible, Christian books and publications and to prayer, worship and outreach.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6
9. Do a thorough job of repentance and restitution. Do everything you can to restore relationships with estranged brethren. Forgive those who have sinned against you.
"Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind." 1 Peter 2:1
10. Invest in renewing your mind. Buy, or borrow, Christian biographies, missionary books, devotionals and doctrinal books.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
11. Attend the Bible Study and prayer meetings of your Church. Join, or start, a Bible Study and prayer meeting at your workplace, or school.
"...Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture..." 1 Timothy 4:13
12. Volunteer some of your time to help your local church, or a local mission.
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11
13. Make Sundays special. Honour the Lord's Day by avoiding normal work activities, including shopping, on the Lord's Day. Ensure that Sundays in your home are truly a day of rest, a day of worship and a day for the family - free from commercial activities and worldly distractions.
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath... if you call the Sabbath a delight... if you honour it... Then you will find your joy in the Lord..." Isaiah 58:13-14
14. Receive Evangelistic training such as Evangelism Explosion, Way of the Master and the Great Commission Course and begin the weekly habit of lifestyle Evangelism, sharing your Faith with those you come into contact with, naturally and effectively.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be My witnesses..." Acts 1:8
15. Expect opposition and criticism. Resolve to neither listen to gossip nor to spread it.
"Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour's life. I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:15-16
16. Keep focussed on our Lord Jesus the Author and Perfector of our Faith.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our Faith." Hebrews 12:2
17. For those who say that they do not have the time for these Steps to Personal Reformation, I can add another suggestion: Disconnect your TV and stop reading the daily newspapers. That will provide most people with a couple of extra hours every day!
"Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16
Reformation Day Celebration in Franschhoek
Does your church, or school, plan to celebrate the Reformation this October? If you are in the Cape Town area, please join us for the Reformation and Revival events, including the Reformation 500 Conference, 30 October and the Guided Tours of the Huguenot Museum (10-12am) and Reformation Day Celebration service at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek at 12 noon, 31 October, or invite Reformation speakers to address your school, or church.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
The Greatest Century of Reformation
Practical Steps to Reformation
Are You Praying for Revival?
95 Theses for Reformation Today
Why Celebrate the Reformation?
Reformation and Desecration?
Are You Praying for Revival?
The Reformation Roots of Western Civilisation
How to Start a Reformation Society
Africa Reformation Overland Mission
Making Disciples of All Nations