Kneeling beside my bed one day in 1968, I began to pray, "Lord, what do I have to do to get from where I am to where You want me to be?" I opened my eyes and as I saw my Bible laying on the bed in front of me, I heard the Lord say, "Just put My Word in your heart and it will do the rest."
Although the Lord spoke that to me in prayer, it was important for me to see it in the Word. He revealed and confirmed it to me through a parable in Mark 4:26-29. It says,
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;  And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.  For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.  But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. Mark 4:26-29
In this parable, Jesus compared the Word of God to a seed (Mark 4:14). Today, since so few of us are farmers, it might take a little explanation for us to fully grasp these truths.
First, He taught that God's Word has to be planted like a seed in our hearts. Just as a seed doesn't release its life until it is planted into the ground, God's Word will not set us free until we get it in our hearts. Having the Bible on our tables, in our hands, or in our heads is not sufficient; we have to let God's Word penetrate our hearts.
Second, the man who sowed the seed slept and rose day after day. It takes time for a seed to germinate. You can't plant a seed one day and expect to see it growing the next day. Just because there's nothing visible above ground doesn't mean the seed isn't growing. If you dig it up every day to see if anything is happening, it will die.
A farmer has to leave his seed in the ground and believe that it's growing even though he can't see it. Likewise, you have to have faith that the seed of God's Word will do what it was designed by God to do: Produce its fruit in its time. Many people dig up the Word by speaking directly against what it says. They will let natural circumstances override what God says.
But when we meditate on God's Word, we are undergoing effortless change! We may not see ourselves growing, but we are - just like that planted seed is growing under the ground even though the farmer can't see it!
I know that effortless change sounds impossible to most people. The vast majority of people view change as one of the most traumatic experiences in life. But there is a way to change effortlessly. That is to take the seed of God's Word and sow it in our hearts. Then the Word will produce all the change we need.
You've never seen an apple tree travail to produce an apple. It takes time, but it comes effortlessly. Likewise, it is the nature of all true born-again believers to be like Jesus. But it can't happen without planting the seed of God's Word in your heart.
Growth means change. Have you ever seen a plant that's green and growing and not in a constant state of change? For the plant, it's effortless; it just grows, and the change is evident to everyone. Your life should be just like that - green, growing, changing, and evident to the world. The plant never resolved to do anything. It just grows and produces fruit because of what it is. The Word of God is the same. When planted, it just produces - effortlessly.
If you're like a lot of Christians, you have probably tried to change many times but have found it hard and frustrating. That's because you aren't going about it God's way. You substitute prayer, fasting, and your own effort for the seed of God's Word. Don't get me wrong: Prayer and fasting are like water and fertilizer to a seed. A seed needs those things. But it is the seed that has the miracle of life in it.
The only effort on your part is to put God's Word in your heart and protect and nurture it. Then God's Word will produce the change.
My whole life and ministry are the product of meditating on God's Word. Any good thing in my life or ministry can be traced back to how God's Word has changed me. I believe it's the same for you. In the natural world, everything revolves around seed, time, and harvest. It's the same in the spiritual world. God's Word is the seed that, given time, produces a harvest.
I want to help make this new year the most fruitful time of change and harvest you've ever had. I've put together a combination of resources that will help you succeed in planting the seed of God's Word in your life.
To get you started, I've enclosed a Bible reading guide similar to the one our Charis Bible College (CBC) students use. It is required that all first-year CBC students read through the Bible in one year. This simple guide lets you complete the Bible in one year by reading only a few chapters per day. The seed of God's Word can't release its power until you get it inside you. This is my free gift to you.
I also would like to offer you my teaching entitled Effortless Change. It will expand on what I've shared in this letter and put your feet on the path to godly, effortless change. The package - which includes my book, study guide, and CD or DVD teaching - normally £40, is now £30.
And most importantly, I would like you to have my Living Commentary. This is a digital commentary on the Bible. I've spent nearly forty-six years studying the Word of God day and night, and this commentary is the most comprehensive approach I've ever had to sharing the truths the Lord has shown me.
Many years ago, I came out with the Life for Today Bible. This was a series of hard-copy Bible studies from Matthew through Colossians. There were 3,200 footnotes in it. (You can access these notes free through our website.) But when I started on television in 2000, I didn't have the time to continue producing the Life for Today Bible. However, I didn't stop studying.
I continued to write notes on my own Bible computer program. Eventually, I went to my Computer Department and asked if they could do something to take the hard-copy notes I wrote in the Life for Today Bible and combine them with the personal notes I've written since then. The result is my Living Commentary.
The Living Commentary has over 18,000 verses that I've written notes on throughout the whole Bible. And as the name suggests, it's an ongoing process. I still continue to update and write new notes all the time. Over the last six years, I've averaged over 125 new notes each month.
My Living Commentary is much more than just my personal study notes. The Bible software we use for it is called WORDsearch. It has Greek and Hebrew study guides included along with other commentaries, several Bible translations, topical cross references, maps and photos, and more! You can add even more of these study tools for a one-time fee from WORDsearch. There is a lot involved, and I recommend that you watch our January Inside Story on our website to get all the details. On that Inside Story, I interview Stan Priest, the head of my Computer Department, to give a more complete explanation of what the Living Commentary is all about.
I know some of you might be put off by studying God's Word using a computer program, but I can assure you that if I can do it, you can do it. It's simple, and the reward is definitely worth the effort. I've got to where it's hard for me just to read the Bible without all my study helps on my computer. This is awesome!
The Word is a seed that contains the very life of God. When it's planted in your heart and left there, it will release that life. The only effort on your part is to take the time and make the effort to plant the seed. This Living Commentary is to Bible study as "Miracle-Gro" is to plants. I guarantee it will accelerate your understanding of the Scriptures.
For instance, King Nebuchadnezzar actually conquered Jerusalem four different times. And the names of the kings that he conquered vary from 2 Kings to 2 Chronicles to Jeremiah. They are all the same kings but called by different names by the different authors. It took me years to figure all of this out, but I've written notes that simplify all of this into something very easy to understand.
I have notes in the historical books to show where Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the other prophets fit into these narratives. I spent over twenty years adding all the years of people's lives together to date things like the Flood, Abraham's life, the Exodus, and all the other Bible events in the years after Adam's fall. This is very helpful in putting all this information in its proper relation to everything else.
I've put tens of thousands of hours of study into writing these notes. And like I said, I'm always writing new ones, so my staff in the Publications Department put in twenty-five or more hours a week proof-reading and refining them for public release every month. That's why it's called a living commentary. There's no way I could quantify how much care and effort has gone into this to make it the best Bible commentary around! This has simplified my study of the Scriptures tremendously.
I use these notes all the time. I think you will too.
This will enable you to start receiving directly from the Holy Spirit through the Word instead of having to depend on someone to instruct you. I am one of those the Lord has called and anointed to teach people God's Word, but I want to work myself out of a job. You can go right to the same source that I've been going to all these years.
In the natural, we recognize that we can't have a harvest without planting seeds. But in the spiritual realm, Christians try it all the time. Instead of going to the Word and meditating in the Scriptures themselves, they run to someone who has spent time in the Word and ask them for help. It's an attempt to shortcut the process of seed, time and harvest.
Then, if they don't see results, they get confused and offended. God can meet needs through the faith of others but it's temporary and His secondary way of touching us. God's best is to take the seed of His Word and plant it in our hearts where it will naturally and effortlessly produce the changes we desire.
When the Lord directed me to focus on His Word, everything changed. That is overly simple to some but that word from God all those years ago has been my prime directive for forty-six years and has produced miraculous results. The change this has produced has been nearly effortless, all I had to do was stay committed to God's Word.
My Living Commentary offer includes the newly relaunched Bible software program - which has all my notes and commentary and everything I mentioned that's in WORDsearch - and the Bible reading guide. It's £60, and for orders placed by the end of January 2014, we'll include the Effortless Change book and the Bible reading plan for free. Order online: www.awme.net, by calling our Helpline, or by completing the enclosed form and returning it in the envelope provided.
I'd like to hear from you about how it's going. The greatest part about CBC is making disciples. I love seeing the students in the Word and the results that it brings. Of course, I get to hear from them in the hallway! As you read the Word, you will see the growth and fruit in your life. So, go to my guestbook at http://guestbook.awmi.net and share with me and others the fruit that you see in your life. I look forward to reading your testimony!
God bless you as you study and grow into all that God has for you.
Andrew and Jamie
P.S. About the time you receive this, we'll be holding our first day of classes in Woodland Park. Praise God for all that He has done! The Grand Opening celebration is March 22, the night before the 46th anniversary of my life-altering encounter with the Lord. I hope that you'll make plans to join us. More details are available online: www.awmi.net. Thanks to all our partners and friends that God used to bring this to pass. Great is your reward! You are a blessing.