daily Broadcast

Coming Before God Daily

From the series The B.I.O Lifestyle

Would you describe your spiritual life as a stalled-out car – stuck and desperate? Do you wish there was a manual or guide to get you back on the road? In this message, we are kicking off our series, The B.I.O Lifestyle: 3 Essential Practices to Becoming a Romans 12 Disciple. Join Chip and our Executive Vice President Andrew Accardy as they describe a simple acronym that Jesus modeled for us that can lead to a more authentic connection to God and others.

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Message Transcript

ANDREW: Thanks Dave, great to be with all of you today. You know, over the next three days, Chip and I are going to have a conversation. And yeah, it'll be a little different kind of format, a little less formal. And we're going to talk about how we can all grow spiritually, or maybe to put it another way, how we can develop a lifestyle of spiritual growth. Chip, it's great to have you here in the studio today.

CHIP: Andrew, great to be with you. And I'm so excited about this series where we're talking about: what do we actually have to do? What's our part? What's the rhythm? What are the practices? So really the heart of our ministry is helping Christians live like Christians. This is so important. So thanks for stopping in and, man, let's jump in.

ANDREW: Now Chip, you developed a really simple set of practices to help people continue to grow spiritually no matter where they are. And as I said, really it's a lifestyle. So can you describe it for us and why did you develop it?

CHIP: Absolutely, Andrew. It has really grown out of a time of seeing people with all these busy lives and distractions and saying, “I really want to be a Christian who lives like a Christian. I want that life that's really life that Jesus promised.” You know, “I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.” And the fact of the matter is a lot of Christians would say, as you just described, “I believe that, but I'm not experiencing it.”

And as I studied the Scriptures, Jesus got up a great while before dawn to meet with His Father. And then the very first thing He did, Andrew, think about it, He built friendships with some regular guys and He did life with them. And then He formalized it and says, “We're going to do life together for the next couple or three years.”

And then what you see is He ministers to people and He’s on mission all the time with them and others, and then He sends them out. And then when He leaves, He says, “This is for you, guys, you're on mission. Bring in the kingdom of God.”

And as I studied the life of Jesus and then I studied the life of people, especially here in the Silicon Valley, a little acronym developed that made it simple without being simplistic. And it's called BIO, And the “B” is for people who are growing and whose lives are changing, they come before God daily. In other words, God said that he longs to be with us. And people that grow spiritually set aside some time to meet with God personally. And when they do that, it changes things. They get into God's Word, they pray, they often sing, they might journal. But there is an intimate relationship that they're pursuing.

The “I” is for “in community.” In other words, they're doing life with other people. They're not just in a group, but there's deep sharing, there's support, there's accountability, there's the “we're in this together,” the ups, the downs, the struggles.

And then finally, the “O” is for on-mission, and I call this on-mission 24/7. It's where they develop this others-centered focus that says, “I'm going to be a servant.” Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many. And the apostle Paul said the way relationships work is we consider others more important than ourselves.

And so, over time, there's this path where you meet with God, you practice His presence, and then you corporately come together before God with other believers. And then you do life in community, it's a lifestyle and a pattern where we come before God daily, we do life in community weekly, and we're on-mission 24/7, seeking to serve the people around us, discover the gifts God's given us, and living that out moment by moment, day by day.

ANDREW: So let's kick this off today by talking about being before God. You know, for those of us who have grown up in the Church, we kind of have a lot of check boxes, you know a lot of the to-do’s. So what does it really mean to be before God every day?

CHIP: Well, it's interesting to me that when Jesus was teaching the disciples to pray, He said, “Our Father.” You know, myself included, it's easy to get into: read two chapters or read this devotional, pray a couple prayers in the car on the way to work. And, you know, I don't feel guilty. I've kind of done my duty.

But Jesus modeled and what He wanted for His disciples was an intimate relationship with God the Father, to be able to come and talk to Him and to share your heart, to hear from Him. He said, “Man doesn't live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” And not just to get a bunch of stuff in our head, but to hear God's voice, to get direction, to share your hurts and your pains, and to actually connect in a way where you experience God as your Father, Jesus as the elder brother, and the Holy Spirit speaking and prompting and encouraging, and at times convicting you in a way that's a real life relationship.

You know, it's really such a different perspective to say the God of the universe longs to spend time with me and to be able to say, wow, if I miss that, it means I just missed out. It's like having a date on the calendar with my wife at a great restaurant or a vacation and the car breaks down and we can't get to do it. I don't feel guilty about that. I feel like, oh wow, I missed it. But that takes some time and diligence and some discipline to cultivate so that it actually works in your life. It's not automatic.

ANDREW: There are some things you do, however, in order to create that time and that intimacy. So just what are some practical ways that we can build a more intimate relationship with God?

CHIP: Well first, I think you have to start by setting aside some regular time. The idea that I'll just catch it sometime when I'm in the mood. It doesn't work in our relationships with people; it doesn't work in our relationships with God. So I think first and foremost is it's going to be a priority.

And for me, it's when are you the freshest? If I don't start my day that way, my day gets away from me. Jesus arose a great while before dawn. You don't have to get up before the sun comes up, but you need to make it a priority. And I'm not saying that everyone has to do it in the morning, but what I find is it does set your day.

The second is there has to be a spiritual diet, Andrew. You have to get into God's Word in a systematic way. It's not just opening the Bible here or there.

And then third, I think there's got to be a sharing from your heart. Because the goal is not that I did my “quiet time” or my devotions. The goal is: I met with my heavenly Father. I shared with Him what's coming up today. I asked for direction. And then something, you listen. And you listen for that still small voice. And then sometimes you say, “Lord, I look at what You've done and I just have to jot this down so I don't forget.” Journaling is a real practical, helpful way for some of us. For other people, hey, doesn't work.

And the last thing I would say in that time, and this is what I'm not good at, but it's so powerful when I do it, worshiping God, actually singing to the Lord. There's something about music and worship that connects the knowledge in our head with the emotions of our heart. I mean, I don't know about you, but I know my wife loves me, but I like it a lot more when she hugs me and tells me so, and I get to emotionally experience that. And I think we all want to have that emotional experience with the Lord as well.

ANDREW: You know, I think there's a lot of people who are thinking right now, Chip, you're a pastor. You love studying the Bible. I just don't. And if that's the way God's going to talk to me, I mean, hey, listen, I listen to Christian radio because I can understand it. I mean, I'll read the Bible sometimes because I know I'm supposed to, but I just don't get it. It's just confusing. What do you say to somebody who just has that struggle?

CHIP: Well, Andrew, that was me. My life changed, not when I went to seminary or Bible school, when a bricklayer with a high school education met me in my dorm room, for about a year and he showed me how to read the Bible, not to master everything, but to hear God's voice and actually meet with God, how to pray honestly from your heart and how to learn to listen and then how to take each day something from that truth and put it into practice to actually obey, to actually expect God to show up.

And it was hard for me, you know, I'd make it maybe two days a week, then four days a week. And little by little, at first, that became a duty. Okay, I'm going to do it. And then it became a discipline and a habit that I did regularly. And honestly, then it became a delight where I so look forward to getting up, meeting with God.

But I think sometimes we think of, since it's spiritual, It'll be automatic and it won't be hard and it won't take discipline and it doesn't require some skill. And the fact is, the reason why we develop a lot of tools is we want to help people learn those disciplines and those conduits of grace.

ANDREW: And we have a lot of these, if you want to call them instructional videos that will help you study the Bible and cultivate a relationship with God. We call it Daily Discipleship. I mean, we've had tens of thousands of people go through it and you could find it on livingontheedge.org. I really encourage you, if you find yourself stuck…

CHIP: Hmmm.

ANDREW: ...and you just need to get going, spend fifteen days with Chip. It's really short, ten, fifteen minutes a day, and it'll get you moving.

So, Chip, you know, there's another group that's out there and when they hear “before God,” it sounds, well, you know, it's pretty familiar. You know, it's Christian lingo. And maybe they're saying, “You know, I've been having a quiet time with God for years. What's the real revelation here?” But isn't there a danger, Chip, when something becomes so familiar? What should someone look for who may be unintentionally, they may not even know that they're in a rut?

CHIP: You've really hit on something that is core. And I think this is people who, you know, yeah, I understand quiet time. I even have it fairly regularly. But if the truth be known, this stuff of really hearing God's voice and vivid answers to prayer, it is a lot more like kind of checking a box.

And, Andrew, at the heart, I think is little by little by little, especially in Western cultures here, we've made it a lot about knowledge. I read the Bible, I read the Bible in a year, I go to a Bible study, I listen to messages, I listen to podcasts. But it's information, information, knowledge, knowledge, knowledge. Knowledge doesn't change your life.” Knowledge, over time, puffs you up and gets hardening of the spiritual arteries.

Obedience, the application of the Scripture, is the organ of transformation. And so what I say to people, yes, set a time, read consistently somewhere, sit quietly and really think about what it is, make one specific application. I mean, it might be, pray for so-and-so and then text him. It might be, I'm going to bring, you know, bagels or donuts to work or coffee to a friend, or I'm going to text someone.

I woke up early, there's an executive with a big job. It's affecting our nation and he happens to be a friend and the Lord woke me up at 3 a.m. and I wasn't really happy about it and this guy comes to my mind, this was yesterday. My application, it wasn't big. “Hey, I just want you to know God woke me up; He must care deeply about you. Don't know the challenges; don't need to know them. I prayed for you.” That spark of responding to the truth or the tiny little bit of light that God gave me, that's how I get to experience more and more of who He is.

And confession, He wakes me up sometimes and I just roll over. Okay? I don't do anything. But every time I just sort of traffic in the truth and don't respond, what I'm really saying is, “God, I don't really want to hear from You very much.” I love the passage in Proverbs 8:17. It says, “I love those who love Me and those who diligently seek Me will find Me.” And this is really what BIO is all about and the “before God” is really getting connected from the heart in a life-transforming way with the God of the universe.

ANDREW: Can you just sum it up for us now? I mean, how can I know if I'm headed in the right direction?

CHIP: I think there's two or three things that really stick out to me. I think the first one is desire. David said, “One thing I ask of the Lord that I will seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” That's Psalm 27:4. In other words, there's a passion inside of you. Lord, I really desire. I'm not just going through the motions. I really want to know You.

Or, Paul in Philippians 3:8 says, you know, “All my past accomplishments are like garbage compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And then he just says, in other words, I want to know You. Moses would say, “Show me Your glory.” So I think you're going in the right direction when there's this desire.

I think the second thing is that it's one thing to want to meet with Him, it's one thing to feel like I'm having an emotional experience or this is helping me. But I think part of meeting with God is you meet with the God of the universe and you have a listening ear. “Lord, what's Your will? What's Your will in my marriage? What's Your will as I go to work?” And I think you’re really in the right direction when you start asking those questions and then you read systematically through the Bible.

Andrew, you and I know God will speak about how to treat that coworker or how to give good for evil to a boss who's a jerk.

And then I think that the final thing is simply enjoying your time with God. To realize that when Jesus said, “No longer do I call you slaves, but I call you friends, because a slave doesn't know what his master is doing. But I've called you friends.” To think that this intimacy, this relationship is available. And we're going to be hit and miss. We're human. We're going to, you know, I think those things are the things that tell me, “you're moving in the right direction.”

ANDREW: That was really good, Chip. You know, the reason why we're having this family conversation with our broadcast audience, is because this issue of BIO is such a stumbling block in the Church. I mean, if you've listened for a while to this program, you've heard us say the greatest need in the world today is for Christians to live like Christians. And as you said, Christianity has become knowledge based instead of relationship based and knowledge alone just does not give you spiritual power.

CHIP: It absolutely doesn't. I think you and I were reading a study recently that Bible engagement among the Church of Jesus Christ in North America right now is at an all-time low. I think only sixteen percent of Christians, think of that, sixteen percent of Christians are in God's Word every day.

And, by the way, this isn't ignorance, this isn't people that don't care. I'm meeting with some people that go to church regularly and their confessions to me are, “I pray a little in the car or I listen to a podcast, I'm in the Bible some.” Transformation doesn't happen apart from an interaction with God's Word where obedience and fellowship that grows into commitment. And we've got to have disciples. Jesus called us to be followers, not just to be listeners or people that are kind of in the crowd agreeing with what He has to say.

ANDREW: You know, when you say sixteen percent of people are spending time with God every day, I mean, if you were to put this in football terms for a minute, that's like two out of eleven players on the field are listening to the coach.

CHIP: Right.

ANDREW: You know, there's a, there's a coach that really wants you to win. And it's like, we're kind of running in all different directions. You know,

CHIP: Andrew, that is such a great picture. And, you know, I've coached, not football, but basketball and to think that among followers of Jesus here in America, where, if we were a football team, I mean, how do you win when only two of the people are listening to the coach? And when you're not listening to the coach, it's not only the team doesn't win, but nine of them are completely missing out. We're committed to this broadcast going around the world, but what did you tell me earlier? Like fifty million people a year listen to this broadcast?

ANDREW: That's right, fifty million, yeah.

CHIP: And, you know, whether it's books or small group material, everything we do is to create tools, ability, opportunity, and training in order for people to come before God and not just get information, but to meet Him.

And, Andrew, just as we come to the end of this time together, just vividly in my mind right now, I think of the passage where the apostle Paul says, “We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed from glory to glory, just as from the Lord the Spirit.” And he's, in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, and he's contrasting the old covenant and the new covenant. Transformation, our lives changing, us becoming loving, kind, joyful, self-disciplined, others-centered, deep relationship Christians is when we get glimpses of who God really is.

That's our passion and that's our goal. And it's exciting to see what's happening. We're, by God's grace, growing like crazy, but we're in the midst of a time where we're going to invite some people to help us on the journey.

So maybe you could take a minute and talk about the match that they've heard about, what it means to broadcast, what it means to resources, and why we're absolutely committed to, together, helping Christians come before God. So this first step of being a Christian who actually lives like a Christian happens more and more frequently.

ANDREW: That's right Chip, we're just passionate. We want to help you. You know, if you're listening to this right now, this is just your first step with us, we hope. And that's why we do this broadcast every day.  That's why we have a podcast, why we have an app, you can stream it. You can also go online where we have Daily Discipleship. We have online courses. These are all things to help you grow closer to God.

And so, this month, we're in the middle of our mid-year match. And so, what it means is a small group of individuals have come together and said, “Everything that the radio audience gives in the month of June through July 9th, we're going to double it dollar for dollar.” God has used this match over the years to really propel our ministry forward.

So if this has been impactful to you, if this ministry has been impactful for you, would you make that first gift? Maybe you've never done that before or maybe you gave many years ago. Maybe you're saying, “You know what? “God gives me something every single day.” And I'd encourage you to think about becoming a recurring donor to the ministry that you can give to other people what you're receiving.

CHIP: Amen, Andrew. And I would just say for some of you who, you know, you've been giving to these matches and you give as God prompts here and there, as you know, planning is a big part of anyone's life, but it is for ministries as well. And if you could become a monthly regular partner, you cannot imagine the good that does. And it doesn't have to be a lot of money if it's just something every month that we knew was coming in, that allows us to create the kind of resources, the broadcasts, train pastors around the world, and get really highly focused on reaching the next generation. So, Andrew, what a great time to kind of sit down, have a family conference.

ANDREW: It was! And before we go back to Dave, could you just close us out in prayer today.

CHIP: Absolutely. Almighty and ever-living Father, from the moment You created the world and walked in the garden with our perfect parents, to the day when we will be in a city where there's no sun, no moon, because You are the light, and we will be Your people, and You will be our God, and we will have intimacy with You, would You create into the heart of every person hearing our voice right now a desire to meet with You and to start to do that in a new and a fresh way beginning today? In Jesus' name, amen.