First of all, we have received a large shipment of the Devotions for Lent booklets. We will have them at the church for you to pick up for $3, beginning tomorrow morning. A few words on "Reading for Transformation..."
Most reading we do is either for information or recreation. With informational reading the goal is to receive data, facts and ideas and to churn them around our brains until the end result is knowledge.
Recreational reading seeks to help the reader escape. Though the acquisition of knowledge may occur, the main purpose isn't knowledge, but enjoyment. (In a similar way, informational reading can also be enjoyable, even though that isn't the primary goal.)
When we read the Bible and other Christian writings, the acquisition of information and enjoyment are certainly things that occur, but neither should be the main point. Instead, our prayer should always be that in devotional reading we are being transformed. This means that God, through our engagement with the words on the page, is turning us into a different person after the reading than we were before the reading. The change that occurs within us may be monumental and instantaneous, but is most often incremental and gradual.
A key component of this is that we remain engaged with what we are reading. Remember, the Bible was written, and for centuries was received, in an oral culture. For the majority of Christian history, where very few people were literate, Scripture and devotional reading was heard, not read.
When we read things, our eyes can always scan back over the words as we seek to master what is written. But when we hear things those parts of our minds that imagine and intuit are awakened through engagement with the text. And only when our imaginations are quickened and we envision what our lives can be, are we transformed.
As you read the selections in Devotions for Lent, and as you read Scripture and any other spiritual material, go into the experience expecting to be changed. Engage with the text. Wrestle with it. Reread it slowly. Reread it quickly. Live it.
If you have time, there is a perfect example of what engaging with the text and reading Scripture imaginatively may look like, check out THE FEBRUARY 23rd sermon from Truett's chapel by our friend Robert Creech...