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May 2021

Out of Breath?  

by Chris Brooks

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:10-17 NIV

Do me a favor and take three deep breaths.

It seems like most of us who work and volunteer in the church are consistently trying to catch our breath between services and from one Sunday to the next. There is so much planning and preparation that goes into creating compelling environments where the gospel can be presented clearly. This doesn’t happen without the hard work of the men and women behind the scenes who are rarely thanked but always recognized when something goes wrong. Whoever said Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest obviously didn’t work or volunteer in the church. It is so easy for us to run around for Jesus and never find time to sit with Jesus and simply catch our breath.

Many feel overworked and undervalued and have resorted to simply holding our breath until the day ends – gasping for the air of the abundant life Christ promised.

So let’s take another three deep breaths. It feels good to breathe. What if we treated scripture like it was the breath for our souls?

All scripture is God-breathed and useful for Teaching, Rebuking, Correcting, and Training so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

If this text is true and I believe it is – all scripture is God-breathed – then many of us need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from God to bring us back to life.

During the infancy of the church, Paul knew that Timothy and his small group and his tiny church would need the breath of God from the word of God to persevere in the face of suffering and sacrifice. There were bad things and bad people and bad theology polluting the air. There was asthmatic antagonism on the outside and the inside of the church. They needed to gather together in oxygen-rich discipling environments if they were going to not only survive but thrive. So Paul reminds them not to forget the oxygen tank, the scripture.

All scripture is God-breathed and useful for Teaching, Rebuking, Correcting, and Training so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I know the Bible is difficult to read sometimes. I know it can feel like a discipline before it becomes a delight. I know your attention span is limited. I know it is easier to grab a book about the Bible rather than read the Bible for yourself. I know it easier to make sure people can read scripture on screen than it is to make sure it is written on your heart. I know the temptation as a church worker is to make sure everyone else can breathe while you suffocate in silence.

But what if today you decided enough is enough, I am a child of God who has the power of the holy spirit to encounter the person of Jesus in the pages of scripture? What if you decided that reading the Bible would become a powerful habit of holiness in your daily life? So much so, those days you neglected it you felt like you could barely breathe. What if you truly believed that Jesus alone has the words of life? What if you breathed in scripture and exhaled identity and obedience?

If you do, I can promise you won’t just read the word, the word will read you.

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching correcting rebuking and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

A Couple of Questions for Consideration:

  1. Do I have a constant pattern of reading the Word of God and then letting the word of God read me? 
  2. Do I have encouragement and accountability to do this with others?
  3. How could I incorporate scripture (maybe even the text that will be preached) into a program meeting with your team or volunteers?

About the author:

Chris Brooks is a dreamer and schemer for the kingdom of God. Voted “least likely to be used by God’ in his small hometown church, Chris finally experienced a life-changing intimacy with Jesus at college because of a young bible professor and a small group of friends who were fiercely loving and loyal. Still broken but very much beloved by God, Chris set out on the adventure of a lifetime to surrender himself in obedience to King and Kingdom. His sweet spot is creating space through creative communication so the broken can become brave again.

Chris earned his master’s from Beeson School of Divinity and his doctorate in spiritual formation from Fuller Theological Seminary. Dr. Brooks (please don’t call him that) is married to Audrey (the real minister) and they have four children whose names and ages he has a hard time getting right (but he loves them more than life itself and considers being a father his greatest calling). Chris is a competitive popcorn eater, paper cut survivor, and award-winning unpublished author.


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