Hi. My name’s Craig Hardinger. I’m the executive director of VCN Churches in Northern California and Nevada. And I’d like to begin with a song. “The B I B L E. Yes, that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the word of God, the B I B L E.” Don’t you just miss the old hymns? I know I do. Well, if you grew up in churches, no doubt that may have been the first song you ever learned as a child in church. That’s probably the case for me.
I don’t think there is a more relevant song in our culture and in our churches than that one right there. And it’s because of that one phrase, “I stand alone on the word of God.” If you go to a Venture Church Network local church in your region, I’m guessing you have the assurance that you go to a church that stands on the word of God alone. But we live in a day and age where that is not the case. You go on the internet, you read books, you find all kinds of paths to “truth,” and you find out there are all kinds of platforms on which people can stand.
And in many of the churches in North America, the bible becomes a platform, not the platform by which we stand. That’s why I think it’s very very important that we continue in Venture Church Network to hold up the word of God, saying, “This alone is what we stand on as a nation, but also as a local church.” I think that’s a very powerful statement, but also that statement can have another angle to it.
You and I both know that we are living in a postmodern, post-Christian culture. And that means that as we stand on the word of God alone, it may mean that we stand alone. That we are standing by ourselves, isolated, visible, simply because we resolve to stand alone on the word of God.
And that’s why I’d like to, as your brother in Christ, provide a little bit of practical wisdom here. I have with me my wife’s grandma’s bible, and I’ve also got my grandma’s bible. And both these grandmas died at a ripe old age. They were faithful to Christ for many many decades. And I know for my sake and for my wife’s sake, we were raised watching our grandmothers read their bibles. My grandfather and my wife’s grandfather were the same way. Her folks, my folks the same way. Every day I would see them crack open these books and read the word of God.
My bible is not as worn as these, but I hope one day it will be. I’m hoping one day, my grandson or my granddaughter will look at this and say, “This is what my grandfather stood alone on.” And that he stood on the word of God alone. I want that to be a statement. The reason why I mention that is because we live in a digital age, don’t we? So, a lot of us have the bible on our devices, our iPads, our tablets, our smartphones, and our computers. And more often than not, we’re using them more and more to read scripture. I get it. And I would never criticize anybody for doing that.
But here’s the thing, are they bearing witness to the faithfulness of God’s word? When your children see you with your device open or your tablet open, you might be reading the word of God, but they might be thinking you’re just shopping on Amazon. But when you have the bible open, the hard copy bible open, and looking in and pouring over it and reading it on a daily basis, that is bearing witness to your children, to your grandchildren – that you are willing to stand alone on the word of God.
I pray for your church locally that they stand on the word of God alone, but I also pray for you as you every day learn to stand alone on the word of God. Blessings to you and your fellowship and your region. I praise God for you. We love you.